As truck drivers, we all have driving tips and techniques that we use to drive safely while also being productive. Truck drivers always have to drive defensively. It takes a semi-truck longer to brake, we take up more room and we also have a lot of weight behind the wheel. Truckers Logic CEO Spencer Jensen takes great pride in the fact that he has been accident and citation free over his 7 year career as a truck driver. With well over 500,000 accident and citation free miles officially logged, Spencer is the definition of what every truck driver should strive for.
Despite all the new rules, regulations and laws that are now into effect, we are still seeing an increase in accidents and deaths. Trucking is the eighth-most dangerous job in terms of deaths per worker, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One would think that trucking is safe, especially with the rules in place and crash technology that we have in cars and trucks but that is not the case. The stats suggest otherwise.
In this article, we’ll explore 5 tips every truck driver should know.
1. Keep Your Distance. Don’t follow too closely behind the car in front of you. People seem to think they’ll get where they’re going faster if they tailgate, but in the end the time you save is minimal (if any!) and the risk you create for yourself and your fellow drivers is significant. There’s a big difference between stopping empty and stopping loaded for one example. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and it can leave you in a life-changing situation. Trust me, you don’t want this on your mind. Please always pay attention.
2. Stay Focused. The number of distractions for drivers continues to grow every year. With truck driver technology at an all-time high, drivers can easily be distracted at this day and age. Phone calls, text messages – sometimes even the radio and other passengers – are distractions that take a driver’s focus off the road. Keep your attention on the road and not on whatever’s happening in your vehicle. Drive defensively at all times.
3. Find Time To Sleep. Commercial drivers have regulations about the amount of sleep needed between shifts. It ensures we’re in our best, safest condition when we get behind the wheel. While these same requirements are not in place for non-commercial drivers, all drivers can benefit from getting enough rest before driving. Fatigue accounts for around 13 percent of all truck driving related deaths. It can be very difficult to get sleep on the road, even at home. Still, you have to find time and put in the effort to get some sleep.
4. Planning Something? Keep Us Posted! Sometimes drivers can lose track of some of the most basic safety precautions – like signaling for lane changes! When you’re sharing the road with anyone (including large trucks that require a much longer stopping distance) it’s important that you let everyone around you know what you’re planning, so they can plan for it themselves. Simple turn signals can do the trick. If your passing another truck, use your CB. Keep a close eye on your signals and lights, make sure they are working correctly. Think safety first.
5. Give Big Trucks Some Room. When operating around large trucks, stay out of the NO ZONE! This is referring to the four blind spots of a semi-truck. You should already have a general idea of this blind zone. If you can’t see us in our mirrors, then we can’t see you. Do not pass a truck and then stop abruptly to turn. When we’re following you, we can create the proper following distance. But when you pass us and abruptly stop in front of us, you take that ability away from the truck driver. All drivers should respect other drivers.