Driving and maneuvering heavy commercial vehicles can be a tricky business, so it’s vital that you drive them safely.
If you’ve been a truck driver for any length of time, you’ll already be well aware of road safety best practices.
However, it’s always a good idea to run over some of the best safety tips for commercial vehicles to refresh your memory.
So here are some tips to keep your truck on the safe on the road, rather than in an unwanted accident.
Take Extra Care When Changing Lanes
There are only a few occasions where you’ll actually need to change lanes on the highway as a trucker.
But in situations where changing lanes is unavoidable, you must perform all necessary checks to avoid colliding with another vehicle.
Remember, you have some sizable blind spots, and that you should signal your intentions a long time before carrying them out so that cars have ample opportunity to give you room.
Take Frequent Breaks
As if driving a huge truck wasn’t dangerous enough, driving one while tired is a recipe for disaster.
Over 100,000 police-reported crashes and over 1,500 deaths are the direct result of drowsy driving each year.
Therefore, make sure you take frequent breaks. Also, exercise as much as possible during these breaks to keep yourself alert and negate the health drawbacks of being seated for long periods.
Give Other Drivers Plenty of Space
This may seem obvious when driving a vehicle that weighs several tons, yet most collisions involving trucks resulted from the truck hitting the back of the vehicle in front.
Commercial vehicles take a long time to stop, even if they aren’t heavily-laden with freight, so give plenty of room to the drivers in front of you.
Continue to ask yourself if the car in front of you suddenly came to a halt, could you do the same?
Strictly Adhere to Driver Hour Restrictions
These restrictions are in place for a reason. It’s often said that the most critical component of trucking safety takes place off the road.
Sufficient sleep and relaxation time are both vital elements of trucker safety.
As highlighted above, you can’t afford to be tired and on the road.
By correctly recharging your batteries, you can ensure that you don’t slip up when behind the wheel of a massive commercial vehicle.
Pay Attention to the Weather
All truck drivers should be paying attention to the weather at all times. Wet conditions can as much as double the stopping distance of a heavy vehicle.
You can increase those stopping distances by ten times in the case of ice or snow.
Therefore, make sure to check the weather before starting a driving stint, and pay attention when on the road.
In the case of icy or snowy conditions, you may want to affix tired chains to give you extra grip.
Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
While it may sound obvious, you should ensure that you never drink and drive. Concerning drugs, you must steer clear of medication that impairs your judgment or physical faculties.
For instance, even simple painkillers can make you drowsy and, therefore, dangerous behind the wheel.
Besides having safety concerns, being under the influence of any alcohol or drugs will almost certainly cost you your job, too.
So don’t take the unnecessary risk.
What if I Get Caught Up in an Accident?
Even if you follow these safety vehicle tips for commercial vehicles, there’s always a chance that the worst happens, and you end up in an accident.
Regardless of who is at fault, you first need to make a record of everything at the scene, including witnesses, physical evidence, and any injuries you might have suffered.
You then need to contact your insurance agent and follow their directions.
Suppose you’re making a claim against another truck driver.
In that case, it makes sense to consult the help of a specialist trucking accident attorney who can guide you through the claims process and negotiate a better settlement with a trucking company, taking the case to court if necessary.