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Safe Truck Driving Tips to Minimize Risks

03/03/2022 01:06

Regardless of how much truck driving experience or knowledge you have, these truck driving safety and defensive tips cover many steps of a typical daily routine on the job.

Truck drivers face many dangers on the road. These are the top eight essential safe truck driving tips to help you drive safely.

8 Safe Truck Driving Tips

1. Get enough rest.

Plan your day with the times of your shifts in mind so you'll know when it's time to start driving. If you're feeling sleepy, pull over and take some time off. Don't drive when you're sleepy.

A distracted driver who lacks sleep is dangerous. Driving without enough rest will be part of your bad driving habits. 

2. Slow down in work zones.

If lanes are often moved or redirected, adjust your speed so you don't endanger yourself, other drivers, and the workers.

In addition to that, road conditions should matter too. All professional truck drivers should take into consideration the following:

  • Weather conditions like Winter Weather or Winter Driving
  • Heavy Traffic
  • Inclement weather or Bad Weather
  • Work Road signs and Road Hazards with active road workers
  • Traffic conditions, Traffic Patterns, Road Flares 
  • Uneven Road Surfaces, Curvy Roads, Icy Roads, 
  • Lane Shifts and Escare Route 
  • Dangerous Driving Conditions
  • Entrance Ramp, Exit Ramps, 

3. Be aware of your blind spots.

Small cars can be hard to spot. Signal your intention to switch lanes or turn well before you reach them so that they have time to move out of your blind spot before you enter theirs. You may also invest in an extra side mirror to improve visibility. 

We're seeing more and more videos made by truck drivers on the road of things car drivers do without considering the needs of truck drivers. If you're driving and want to know if there's anything behind you that you might not see, a dashcam that can show your blind spots could be worth

4. Maintain a safe distance from the cars in front of you.

We know that it takes you much longer to stop driving than an average driver. Do car drivers know that they're driving too fast? Defensive driving is a crucial skill – as is not letting road rage get the better of you. Be cool.

Take note that there are times that the reaction time of truck drivers varies due to different factors.

Extra space matters. Sufficient space counts. 

5. Regularly inspect your brakes.

You don't always have a convenient runaway truck ramp near you to catch you if your car breaks down.

Pre-Trip and Post-Trip inspection really matters. It's a rule of thumb whether you are part of hire motor carriers and private carriers.

6. Follow suggested speed limits.

And if you're driving through construction zones, remember that there may be reduced speeds and higher fines for speeding.

Traffic reports could be a great help. 

7. Avoid aggressive drivers.

If we all have cellphones in our trucks, then when we see a truck driver who is driving dangerously, we should call the highway patrol to see if they can help. Don't let yourself get caught up in road rage situations; antagonizing aggressive drivers could only escalate the situation.

8. Avoid driving under the influence.

Have you heard of the worst driving distraction that can cause millions of accident? 

It's not just legal drugs and alcohol. Be careful when taking prescription and OTC drugs. Many medications make you sleepy. And drink lots of coffee. After the initial excitement has worn off, you may be too tired to drive safely.

By following these suggestions, truckers can avoid becoming personally acquainted with highway patrol officers, accident attorneys, insurance auditors, DOT representatives, and others. Instead of enjoying the camaraderie and company of fellow truckers, these dedicated freight mo­vers will be stuck in their own trucks, alone.

Bonus Safe Truck Driving Tip

Being a professional trucker can be a difficult and dangerous job. Regardless of how safety-conscious you are, other drivers on the highway can suddenly put you in a life-threatening situation. With that in mind, we'd like to recommend the 10th trucking safety tip:

Never skip tips one through eight. Nothing is worth risking a life for, so take time to follow the 9 safety guidelines above. Trucking companies rely on their drivers to practice trucking safety procedures while on the road. Also, all of those other drivers on the road depend on your expertise as well. Know the safety guidelines and follow them, always.

Yeah, that's meta, but it's true. The above 8+1 tips will keep you alive if you're faced with one of those unpredictable moments that can arise while you're behind the wheel.

Trucking safety requires a great amount of skill, but it also requires a lot of common sense and too much recordkeeping.

Trucking Industry Facts and Statistics

Over the past two decades before 2015, truck accidents increased by 20%, and 1 truck driver out of 20 was involved in an accident every year. This led to the regulations about the electronic driver logbook requirements and changes in the hours of service. FMCSA estimates say that there will be thousands of fewer accidents and hundreds of fewer injuries and deaths when truckers respect the HOS and use their ELDs.

The best way to avoid becoming part of these trucking industry statistics is to be alert, be aware, and be conservative.

Basically, be compliant with both DOT and FMCSA requirements.

Drivers have their hands full handling the tons of equipment and cargo they move. By adopting the safety tips for truck drivers above, they can avoid becoming the 1 in 20 drivers with an accident on his or her record.


Still in Need of Help Aside from this Collection of Trucker Tips? 

To help you carry that responsibility, we at Labworks USA as a DOT consortium offer administrative support when it comes to your DOT drug and alcohol compliance. We can take that off your plate and make sure all your drivers, or you, is compliant.

Feel free to reach out to us here.

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