Operating a large truck requires additional precautions compared to driving a smaller vehicle. Trucking safety is essential because an accident involving a tractor-trailer can have a huge impact. Safe driving not only keeps the driver and their freight safe but also helps protect everyone else on the road.
Here are some factors commercial drivers should be aware of:
Before Your Trip
It is important for truck drivers to be in good health. The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires physicals every 24 months for those operating commercial motor vehicles. In addition to completing these mandatory check-ups, you should also monitor your health and avoid driving if you are too sick to focus on the road.
Do Not Drive Impaired
You should not drive if you are impaired in any way. This includes not drinking before any trips and not using controlled substances at any time. In addition, you should be well-rested, as a lack of sleep can also result in impairment.
Before you start driving, you need to complete a pre-trip inspection of your commercial motor vehicle. There are multiple parts you must check to ensure your truck is safe to drive.
Maintaining a safe speed is important for all drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that driving above the speed limit was a factor in 26% of motor vehicle accidents in 2017. Speeding is even more dangerous for semi-trucks. This is because the stopping distance for large trucks is already greater than standard vehicles. The higher your speed, the longer it will take to stop. Truck drivers should always follow posted speed limits and adapt their speed to road conditions.
A jackknife is a form of skid that occurs when the trailer portion of a semi-truck folds in toward the cab at an acute angle. Accidents involving jackknife can be fatal to the truck driver or any others involved, so it is important to take proper care to avoid this issue. This includes slowing down on curvy roads, properly loading the vehicle, and turning slowly and carefully.
Awareness of the Road
Staying aware of the road is one of the most important things you can do as a driver. You should keep an eye out for any hazards and always be prepared to take necessary action to avoid them. The commercial driver’s license (CDL) manual recommends looking 12 to 15 seconds ahead at all times while also paying attention to conditions closer to your truck.
Prepare For Your Trucking Career
At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we can help you prepare for a rewarding career in the trucking industry. We use a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on training to teach you how to operate a tractor-trailer. This includes important information about trucking safety as well as tips to help you succeed.