8 Essential Truck Driver Safety Tips To Minimize Risk
by Abdul Aziz Mondal Automotive 30 May 2023
Timely delivery is a guarantee of satisfied customers. However, the desire to get to the destination quickly is fraught with a disregard for the rules of safe truck driving. Here are 8 tips to consider.
Encourage Your Truckers To Practice Defensive Driving
- remain attentive, concentrating on trucking, and not being distracted by music or phone;
- don’t trust other road users – a turn signal doesn’t always mean that’s the maneuver to be made;
- avoid disputable situations – it’s better to give way, even in the case of the priority of passage, than to get into an accident;
- don’t rush – with increasing speed, the danger increases (with lengthening of the braking distance and increasing time needed to make a decision);
- avoid driving while feeling unwell – this factor adversely affects the driver’s reaction.
Following the listed rules with the elaboration of a set of exercises will help strengthen the skills guaranteeing safety.
Ensure Comprehensive Pre-trip Inspections
Any trucker has a lot of responsibility when they are on the road. They know that the vehicle they are driving is more powerful, larger, and heavier, and underestimating its condition can endanger their lives and the lives of other road users.
It’s better to start the inspection by lifting the hood of the truck and checking:
- Fluid levels. Check all fluids: coolant, oil, power steering fluid, and wiper fluid. If any of these are low or need replacing, add or replace the fluid.
- Alternator, water pump, power steering pump. Make sure they are in good condition and working properly.
- Engine block. Check for leaks, wear, or cracks. Look at the fan belts and make sure they aren’t worn.
- Hoses. Shine a flashlight if necessary and inspect the hoses for cracks or wear.
Truckers don’t need special tools or the expertise of a mechanic to perform this inspection, so they can handle it themselves.
If the truck is tilted to one side, it can be dangerous if you’re pulling out onto the road. That’s why it’s important to stand in front of the truck and inspect it after checking the position under the hood.
Even if it looks only slightly tilted, go to the nearest garage right away because tilting to one side means one of the following possible problems:
- a flat tire;
- a defective shock absorber;
- a defective torsion bar;
- deformed or broken suspension components.
Tire condition determines the safety and comfort of any trip. So before going on the road, check each truck tire for severe scuffs, tread depth, cracks in the sidewall, and more. If a driver notices anything like this, they shouldn’t take to the road. They have to replace old tires with new ones.
Maintaining proper tire pressure is also important for trucks. To make sure the truck’s tire pressure is correct, it’s a good idea to have a tire pressure gauge in the cab to check it before hitting the road.
Brakes are essential to a truck’s performance and safety on the road. Whether drivers use them regularly or in emergencies, serviceable brakes can save them.
That’s why a brake system inspection is essential. Pay attention to the rotors and pads as well as the entire brake system. If necessary, replace any of the components of the brake system.
Moreover, there’s nothing more annoying than a battery refusing to work just when drivers are rushing to meet a delivery deadline. To prevent this from happening, it’s necessary to check the battery charge and recharge it if necessary. There is no need to buy special tools to check it, a measuring device like a multimeter will suffice.
Coach Drivers To Avoid Distractions
To protect themselves from distractions, truck drivers must know these rules:
- Before going on the road, inspect the truck interior for objects that may move, fall, or interfere with driving during the trip. Stack them in the glove compartment, lock some of them in place, and keep others within easy reach.
- If drivers feel tired or sleepy, they need to cheer up immediately. The best way to do this is with light concentration techniques. To do this, drivers need to straighten up, squeeze the steering wheel and scrutinize everything that is happening on the road. They should read aloud the license plate numbers of the cars in front of them and pay close attention to the road signs. In this case, their brain activity will begin to increase, and fatigue will move into the background.
- To properly adjust the controls, drivers should set the temperature mode in advance. Furthermore, it’s essential to check the condition of gasoline, engine oil, and other fluids, a deficiency of which can cause flickers on the dashboard.
The easiest and most reliable solution for drivers to concentrate on the road is to refuse to use their phones and infotainment systems in the truck, even with the help of voice control.
Watch Over Your Fleet With Real-time GPS Tracking
With GPS tracking, it will be possible to track trucks online and view their location, movement, and operation parameters of components and units, climatic conditions of transportation, refueling, and fuel discharges.
As a result, service downtime and repairs can be reduced, and the quality of transportation can be improved.
Ensure That Drivers Keep Their Distance
Drivers should maintain the correct distance between their trucks and the vehicles in front of and behind them. They should leave enough braking distance and make sure their brake lights are working. This will help other drivers react to their maneuvers properly. In adverse driving conditions, such as bad weather, drivers should double their distance.
Consider Safe Backing up
There’s an art to driving a road train in reverse. Because the trailer is affected by the pushing force, it tends to move sideways.
The driver is forced to correct the position of the driving wheels, and minor mistakes can deflect the trailer from the trajectory. It takes a lot of experience to steer a road train to the right place in reverse on the first try.
Your Drivers Must Respect Other Drivers
One of the most common mistakes truck drivers make is not adequately assessing the situation on the road before maneuvering. Your drivers should know these safety rules:
- be aware of their blind spot which can hide another vehicle from view;
- keep your eyes on the road so you have time to react if another vehicle comes to a sudden stop or slows down in front of them;
- don’t answer messages and calls while driving;
- be careful when approaching and entering intersections;
- check mirrors frequently.
Ensure that drivers turn on their turn signals when they need to turn or change lanes.
Encourage Proper Rest And Breaks
Physical and mental stress causes fatigue which impairs drivers’ performance and can lead to accidents. Sleep is the easiest way to recover. There are other options for avoiding fatigue:
- If possible, avoid driving when fatigue is natural for the body, like late at night.
- Follow a healthy diet. Eat nutritious meals, don’t skip them, and follow a schedule.
- If drivers feel drowsy, they should take a nap. Sometimes a few minutes is all they need to restore their energy.
Active exercise can also help. Drivers shouldn’t stay in the cab – a short walk can give them the energy to stay alert while driving.