Truck drivers play one of the most important roles in modern society, helping to transport countless tons of freight from place to place and keep the economy running. In the US alone, the trucking industry is valued at hundreds of billions of dollars helps to support approximately 80% of the country’s communities.
It’s clear to see from these and other statistics that trucking is key and truck drivers deserve a lot of respect for the work they do. However, their work can be challenging, and it can be dangerous too. Indeed, trucking often ranks as one of the most dangerous jobs in America, and an increase in yearly truck accidents shows that the risks remain high for drivers, even in today’s world.
As large and heavy vehicles, trucks can be difficult to control in certain conditions. They have long brake times and aren’t particularly maneuverable, making it difficult for drivers to evade hazards or respond quickly to dangers ahead. All of these dangers are compounded by the fact that truckers often work long hours with minimal breaks, so it’s important to stay safe, however you can.
Truck driving is a high-pressure job. It may not look like it from the outside when we see a trucker rolling along in the slow lane of the highway, but every experienced driver knows and understands the pressures of this profession. You’re always working against the clock, trying to hit targets, meet all of your deadlines, and provide the service your clients demand.
Under such pressure, many truckers forget to take the time to look after themselves. They can drive for hours on end without even taking a break, putting their bodies on the line in the process. It’s easy to get tired, hungry, thirsty, and weak if you forget to look after yourself, so don’t make that mistake. Take breaks when you need them.
Stay Focused and Alert
One of the biggest risks you can face as a truck driver is letting your attention levels slip. It only takes a moment of negligence to cause a serious accident, and just one look away from the road or one slight decrease in concentration could lead to devastating consequences. Such is the importance of remaining focused, alert, and aware of your surroundings at all times.
There are various ways you can help yourself stay alert and concentrated. You can, for example, make sure to take rest breaks now and then and eat energetic snacks, as well as keeping yourself hydrated. To avoid boredom in the cabin, try to find a radio station you enjoy or download some podcasts to listen to on the road.
Never Use Your Phone
Following on from the previous point about alertness and awareness, one of the mistakes you can never make as a truck driver is thinking that it’s safe to use your phone while driving. This is true for every kind of driver, but it’s especially important for trucks, as they can be so much slower to stop, making it that much harder to respond to dangers and hazards.
Looking at your phone takes your attention away from the road, and these little devices are among the worst causes of distracted driving, which leads to many injuries and deaths every year. There’s no harm in using your phone when you’ve pulled over safely or before and after journeys, but try to never use it while your truck is actually in motion.
Be Overly Cautious
Every driver should be cautious. After all, you never know what other road users will do, and you can’t rely on them to behave safely and sensibly at all times. Ultimately, your life is in your own hands when you drive any kind of vehicle, and you have to pay attention to the actions of others, always hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.
This is even more important in trucks. Trucks have a lot of blind spots, and other road users aren’t always aware of these blind spots, so they can change lanes, pull out in front of you, or even park right behind your truck, totally invisible to your mirrors and eyes. This is why you should always be particularly careful, double-checking2 mirrors and always using signals when you change lanes or turn at an intersection.
Driving a truck safely isn’t always easy, especially with so many reckless road users out there trying to speed past you or hovering around your blind spots. However, with the right approach and attitude, it’s perfectly possible to make the most of your trucking career and minimize your risk of accidents.