The trucking industry employs hundreds of thousands of drivers every year. Although minimal when compared to the number of truck drivers, accidents can and do occur. Because of the large weight of the truck and the cargo that it is carrying, these truck accidents are often fatal. While safe driving is important regardless of what type of automobile you are operating, it is crucial to prevent truck accidents.
Never hit the road until you are ready
Driving a truck with a heavy load is much different than driving a single vehicle on the road. There are different levers and different safety protocols. It is much more difficult to climb large mountains and very different to stop the truck. For this reason, truck drivers attend a truck school before being employed. While this school is sufficient for some drivers, it does not necessarily give everyone the length of training they require. If you are not entirely comfortable on the road, it is important to sign up for more training or request to ride along with another driver. The risk is too great to hit the road unprepared. Workplace injuries can also be expensive for the trucking company, making it necessary to fully evaluate each new driver before putting them on the road.
Never drive under the influence
Drinking and driving is a common temptation on the road. Truck drivers are under extreme time pressures and being on the road for days at a time can get lonely. Some drivers will send their off time at local bars or restaurants. It is easy to misgauge alcohol content. In 2015, nearly 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. Some would say that driving a truck under the influence is even more serious, as it requires greater attention.
Get plenty of sleep
Alcohol and drugs is not the only dangerous thing that can affect truck driving safety. Fatigue is extremely common among truck drivers. Many drivers are paid by the mile and stopping to sleep means they are not getting paid. Some truck companies have attempting to cut down on fatigued driving by limiting the number of miles a truck driver can go in one day. This forces the driver to stop and take brakes as needed. Additionally, many truck stops have free bathrooms, showers, and other affordable accommodations.
Avoid distracted driving
With an increase in cell phone use, more and more people are being involved in car and truck accidents that involve distracted driving. Not only is operating a cell phone illegal while driving, but it is as dangerous as drinking and driving. Many truck drivers spend days, or even weeks, on the road and boredom can be a real problem. Find ways to entertain yourself without using your mobile phone. Upgrade your truck?s interior to include Bluetooth or hands free devices.
Slow down when needed
Road speed limit signs are for optimal driving conditions. It is important to slow down when the weather is bad or when there is construction on the road. There is a rise in construction accidents, especially when distracted driving is present. Additionally, drivers might not be aware of weather patterns and conditions in a new state and not be aware that slowing down is important. If you are unfamiliar with the roads, it is always a good idea to slow down. Follow all construction signs to avoid both fatalities and expensive fines.
According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), over 37,000 U.S. residents die in road crashes annually. There was also an estimated 32,166 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. just in 2015. Truck accidents are on the rise with distracted driving, drunk driving, and fatigued driving being the most common causes. Avoid legal charges and having to hire a car accident attorney by following these safety tips.