Following the FMCSA mandate means that you’re already careful about violating HOS rules. To some extent, this may already be helping you avoid driver fatigue and unfortunate incidents.
How to Drive Trucks Safely
First of all, some generic tips, no matter the type of vehicle you have. You probably know most (all?) of these but this stuff is always worth a revisit. Keep scrolling to refresh your knowledge:
- It is not advisable to change lanes erratically. Drivers should pick one lane and stick to it, as far as possible.
- Never follow another truck or any other vehicle too closely and maintain a safe distance always.
- It’s unwise to use mobile phones while driving -period. If a driver needs to make a call, nonetheless, make sure to use a speaker or a hands-free headset.
- Drivers should never forget to carry all the necessary paperwork like the license and registration, endorsements or permits, and insurance details while driving a commercial motor vehicle.
- Drivers should strictly follow the local regulations and posted speed limits in the area, where they are driving.
Defensive Driving Tips
As you may already know, defensive driving refers to a set of advanced skills that helps a driver take precautions against potential dangers on the road. This is what you have to do when stuff happens to you because of others on the road.
We all know that even if one follows all the rules strictly, unfortunate incidents can be caused by the callousness of other drivers.
While driving large commercial vehicles, drivers can follow these tips to reduce the chance of unfortunate mishaps:
- Control your speed and modulate it with respect to the amount and speed of the rest of the traffic. Faster or slower than the folks around you are both bad.
- Keep an eagle eye on the actions of other drivers and stay alert to react as required.
- Take breaks when fatigued or drowsy to ensure the alertness doesn’t drop.
- Respect the other drivers on the road.
- Be wary of weather and road conditions and drive accordingly.
Safety Tips for Driving on Highways
This is the bread and butter. This is where you spend the most time. The highway is your home but remember that most accidents happen at home!
Here’s what you can do to stay safe:
- Always keep to the right, except when passing another vehicle on the highway. However, after making that pass, return to the right side again.
- While switching lanes, make sure to keep a 5-6 second driving distance between your truck and the vehicle in front.
- Check the rearview and wing-mirrors repeatedly and keep your speed constant while changing lanes.
- Whenever there is fog, or when the sun has not yet come up, keep the headlights on for maximum visibility.
- Get adequate rest before starting to drive. If drowsy, make a stop and take some rest before returning to the vehicle.
Safety Tips for Driving at Night
It’s unavoidable, we know. The open road in the night is a strangely calming place. But it has its fair share of danger. Drivers, who drive throughout the night, must be extra cautious at the wheel.
The following avoid potential hazards on the road:
- Well, you know this. But it bears repeating that one should never drink while at the wheel.
- Be careful of impaired vision, which can be caused by a dirty or fogged up windshield, high speed, absence of proper eye gear, oncoming traffic and more.
- Stay vigilant and look out for other impaired drivers, who may come out of nowhere.
- Avoid driving too fast, when driving at night.
Safety Tips for Driving Truck in Winter
Semi truck with refrigerator semi trailer transporting perishable and frozen food cargo on straight winter highway with snow frosty hill trees
- Make sure you have installed winter tires on the truck, which provide higher traction than normal tires.
- Clean the truck lights, as well as the windshield, before starting any journey.
- DO NOT drive while it is snowing heavily. Ask all the drivers in your company to pull the trucks over and wait for the weather condition to improve.
- Keep a track of the weather conditions by listening to or reading daily weather reports.
It’s up to individual drivers to stay safe while they’re out on the road. But a bit of education and a tiny little reminder of the best practices to follow while driving never hurt anyone. In fact, it could well prevent one from getting hurt.
Follow the road safety tips to create a safe driving culture in your company and reduce the chance of accidents.