As a commercial truck driver, you have a greater obligation to maintain road safety whether you’re a local driver or interstate driver. While driving can seem tedious after you have been doing it for awhile, it’s still important to remain alert and focused on the task of driving every time you’re operating your vehicle.
These tips can help you refresh your safe driving practices, so you can avoid the accidents and any truck accident litigation that might ensue as a result of carelessness.
Keep Your Truck in Good Operating Condition
Possibly one of the most important factors in safe driving is ensuring your truck is in good working condition. Each time you prepare to drive, you should start by conducting a check of the vehicle’s primary operating systems. The lights, windshield wipers, and brake system are among those that should be checked over.
The condition of the tires are equally important, since bald tires or those with low air pressure can inhibit stopping power and reduce fuel consumption efficiency. If you notice a problem, you should bring it to the attention of the technician in charge of caring for your truck.
Avoid Distracted Driving
While distracted driving is an issue that every driver faces, it can be especially problematic for truck drivers who are traveling to unfamiliar destinations. To avoid the distractions of looking at a map, making logbook entries, or communicating with dispatchers, it’s a good idea to program your GPS before getting on the road and verifying your destination with your dispatcher ahead of time.
Log entries should be made at each stop or updated while parked at rest areas. You should also have a hands-free system for making phone calls as they become necessary. Above all, do not try to text as you drive.
Keep an Eye on Your Speed
Speeding is still the leading cause of accidents on our highways, so it’s important to keep your eye on the speedometer from time to time. It can be very easy to let your foot get heavy on the accelerator pedal without realizing it, but this is just what leads to serious or fatal accidents.
It will take you much longer to stop your truck if you’re carrying a heavily loaded trailer. If you’re also speeding, that stopping time can be doubled or tripled. Keeping your truck within the speed limit will help you stay safe on the highway, protect your cargo, and help you conserve fuel as you travel.
Drive Appropriately for the Weather
Nobody likes to face the obstacles that bad weather presents, but there are occasions when you just have to yield to inclement weather conditions. When it’s snowing or raining heavily, you should expect the roads to be icy or slippery. These conditions are especially hazardous when you find yourself on a hill or curve, so slow down accordingly.
In general, it’s better to drive a few miles under the speed limit when that means you’ll have a better chance of arriving at your destination in one piece. When driving a truck, harsh winds may be just as hazardous as wet weather.
In the end, you’ll have to judge weather conditions based on your own driving experience, so, if you feel uncomfortable driving at a faster speed, listen to your conscience and take it a little slower.
Staying safe on the road by following these suggestions will help you protect yourself and others with whom you’ll be sharing the road. It can also help you develop a better career in logistics and protect you from civil actions that could end your career. If you feel as though these guidelines aren’t enough, consider taking a new defensive driving course to help you brush up on your skills.