“It’s just the nature of the beast, that the trucking industry in general, has a tendency to be in a really big rush.” It’s the hustle and bustle that often instigates dangerous and even life-threatening accidents on the road. Especially for those involved in an industry where driving is ingrained into daily activities, safety precautions are vital. We compiled a list of tips that will help reduce the chances of road-side misfortunes. Though these pointers are common sense, they are essential to keep top-of-mind.
Michael Sheeds and Sam Perals, both seasoned drivers in the trucking industry, describe that every day on the road is different, every day on the road is dangerous and every day on the road keeps drivers on their toes. In his article, “Safe Driving Tips From Truck Drivers,” Brian Mastre outlines these veteran’s road safety philosophies. With a track record or being accident-free for 26 years and covering more than 3 million miles in his career, Sheeds' ability to escape disaster hasn’t been pure luck. “Everybody is in a hurry, but my advice is to leave a big safe cushion,” he says. “That way if you have to stop, you have plenty of time to stop. If you’re tailgating, you won't make it.”
Perales, who has been driving for 42 years, highlights the importance of looking at the bigger picture. “One of my philosophies is that it’s better to laugh than to cry,” he says about close calls on the road. Being aware of the unexpected has also helped Sheeds circumvent disasters. People will be on their phones. Prepare for it. Trucks don’t stop on a dime, he says.
But, ultimately it is best to refer to common judgement, Catherine MacMillan recommends in her article, “Top 10 Truck Driving Safety Tips for Truckers.” Be alert and always well rested. Remember to look ahead and plan an escape route while driving downhill - drivers can never be too cautious. MacMillan also proposes even going so far as checking weather reports prior to a trip. It helps to plan for necessary precautions, she comments.
While changing lanes as little as possible, avoiding traffic and being extra cautious at night are all summarized in MacMillan’s article, there is one warning she says is often disregarded - checking out delivery spots on foot. “This way you’ll see obstacles that may be in your way, such as low fire hydrants, posts, ditches, etc. Take a mental picture of the area. If you just drive in, you will NOT see the hazards.” A large percentage of accidents happen backing up, MacMillan claims. It’s not only dangerous but can impair driving records.
Ultimately, it is crucial to keep in mind that nothing is worth risking your life for…not even your job. So, slow down, take breaks, check your rig and know your limits. Happy driving!
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