If you’re thinking about becoming a trucker, or have just begun your journey, it’s a really exciting time! Trucking is a highly rewarding career that many people enjoy and prefer over traditional jobs. However, it does come with some special safety considerations that new truckers should keep in mind as they get ready for life on the open road.
Switching lanes in a car is a simple maneuver, but that isn’t the case for big rigs. Truckers need to be aware of what’s going on around them and check very carefully before changing lanes to avoid an accident. Trucks have much larger blind spots and need a lot more room to safely enter a lane. Something else to consider is that other drivers will not be willing to accommodate you and will want to slip by before you enter their lane. Keep an eye on how much room you have available and switch lanes carefully so you don’t hit anyone.
When you first start driving a truck, the turn radius will probably be difficult to get the hang of. This radius will change based on your load, so it’s important to go slow and give yourself as much room as possible. Messing up a turn could end up as a simple headache that doesn’t take long to fix, but it could also end with you hitting a pole, driving into a ditch, or hitting a car. An accident will slow you down more than just taking the turn slowly, so it’s best to be careful.
Trucks are long and heavy, which means they are slow to come to a full stop. With experience, you will know exactly what your buffer zone should be depending on your speed. The higher rate of speed, the more space you should have between your truck and the car in front of you. If they slam their brakes while you’re right behind them, you won’t be able to avoid a collision through braking or swerving, as both take too long. Keeping a proper buffer zone keeps you, and everyone else on the road with you, safe.
Tired eyes and tired legs aren’t doing you any favors while you’re on the road. Plan regular stops along your route so you can get out of your truck, stretch your legs, and do a quick safety check. Every time you get out of your truck, do a lap around it to check for leaking fluid, tire problems, or cargo shifts. This only takes a few minutes, and it has the potential to save your life and the lives of other drivers. Catching an issue before it knocks your truck out of commission is worth the minimal effort it requires.
Keeping up on your preventive maintenance is a critical component of trucker safety. Don’t wait for problems to crop up. Get critical components such as your engine, brakes, electrical, and tires checked regularly to ensure your truck is in shape to head out on the road. Following a pre-trip checklist can keep you organized so everything gets done before you start your next job.
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