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Truck Driver Travel Safety Tips

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

Have you ever been behind the wheel of a truck in bad weather or seen other drivers driving recklessly? Whether it's raining, foggy, snowing, or icy, truck drivers face a lot of dangers on the job every day.

Due to technology and societal changes, distracted drivers are now one of the biggest risks on America's roads. People who give their attention to other factors, instead of paying attention to the road can be a real danger. And aggressive drivers, especially in big cities, and those who are not accustomed to driving in inclement weather can be even more dangerous.

With all the dangers out on the road, it's important to be a safe driver. As many truck drivers will tell you, getting home to your family is a trucker's top priority. So, to help you out, we've put together a list of truck drivers safety tips to help keep you safe on the road.

#1 - Plan Ahead Of Time

Planning your trip ahead of time will significantly enhance your safety. Pay close attention to potential risks, such as:

  • High crime areas: Shipments are high-value targets for theft, which can also lead to violent assaults on truck drivers. Make sure your stops are as secure as possible, avoiding dark places and isolated areas.

  • Congested traffic: Traffic congestion increases the likelihood of a traffic accident. It is important to be aware of the areas of your route that are prone to traffic congestion. Be prepared to slow down or have an alternative route in mind.

  • Inclement weather: Keep an eye on the weather along your route so you can plan ahead and adjust your route if you need to.

  • Restricted routes: It is important to ensure that your route does not contain truck restricted roads and other potential hazards such as low clearance roads and low weight limit bridges.

#2 - Keeping Your Cargo Secure

An improperly secured load can cause a tractor-trailer unit to jackknife, roll over, or otherwise go out of control. For flatbed loads, an improperly secured load can pose a hazard to the driver and other motorists. To prevent the cargo from shifting or falling onto the roadway, use the proper load securement devices for your equipment and cargo. For dry van and refrigerated shipments, use load locks, air bags, and cinch straps as needed to keep the load from shifting. For flatbed trailers, use the proper type of strap or chains as required by the load and ensure you’ve followed DOT regulations for securing flatbed loads.

If you don't secure your load properly, it can cause a tractor-trailer unit to jackknife, flip over, or just spin out of control. Improperly secured flatbed loads can be a real danger to you and other drivers on the road. To make sure your cargo doesn't shift or fall onto the road, use the proper equipment and load securement devices. For dry refrigerated shipments, use load locks, air bags, or cinch straps as necessary to prevent the load from shifting. If you're hauling a flatbed trailer, use the correct type of strap or chains your load requires and make sure you follow DOT regulations for properly securing your flatbed loads.

#3 - Routine Maintenance & Inspections

If you drive a commercial vehicle, you know how important it is to keep up with preventative maintenance. The FMCSA says that maintenance problems are the number one cause of accidents involving tractor trailers. If you don't have a maintenance schedule, you can work with us at Curless Truck Repair to create one for you. A good habit to get into is preforming pre & post trip inspections on your truck. Pre and post trip inspections are critical in detecting equipment malfunctions before they become a safety hazard on the road for you and other drivers.

#4 - Using A GPS Or Mapping Device

A GPS designed specifically for trucking is a great way to keep you on the right track, but it's not perfect and should never be the only tool you use to route yourself. A truck atlas is still the best way to make sure you're using truck-approved routes and help avoid any issues. If you're in an area with a lot of traffic, plan an alternate route to avoid traffic backups and construction zones. Additionally, a lot of shippers and recipients include step-by-step directions to their facilities with their load paperwork. But if they don't, and you're not sure which way to get to a facility, reach out to the facility or their dispatcher to get the right route before you get there.

#5 - Prepare For Dangerous Road Conditions

Road conditions can be unpredictable and can be dangerous for everyone, especially if you're driving a big vehicle. Here are some of the most common hazardous conditions to keep an eye out for:

  • Icy roads

  • Snow

  • Rain

  • Fog

  • Disabled vehicles

  • Road construction

  • Accidents

  • Animals on the road

#6 - Be Predictable

It is easy to overlook the fact that drivers are unable to read our thoughts and that the majority of drivers on the roads are unfamiliar with how to drive their vehicles in close proximity to large commercial vehicles. Therefore, it is important to safely operate your large commercial vehicle to ensure the safety of you and others. Here are a few ways to do so:

  • Slow down on your turns

  • Be sure to activate your turn signal several seconds before switching lanes

  • Avoid frequent and unnecessary lane changes

  • Maintain a consistent speed when possible to avoid traffic congestion

  • Do not try to pass another commercial vehicle if you cannot do so quickly

Don’t Forget to Add a Closing Statement

When you're on the road, your top priority should always be to work safely, drive safely, and get home safely. Remember that no cargo is worth risking your life, so slow down or stop if it's too dangerous. If you're getting text messages, whatever it is, it can wait until you get off the road. Make sure your vehicle is in good shape, your brakes are working, your tires are in good shape, and you can safely steer. Keep your eyes on the road, pay attention to blindspots, and pull over to stop if you're tired.

Visit us or give us a call today to see how we can help you stay safe out on the road!

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