The following truck driving safety tips are simple rules that can keep you safe and alive while out on the road. It only takes one moment for your life to change in a second. I have seen many accidents and was involved in a very serious head on accident that was no fault of mine. It is a terrible experience from start to finish and I would not wish it upon anyone. Please take the safety tips below to heart and remember what you see in the below videos.
Truck Driving Safety Tips
Tip #1) Weather and road conditions… not what you think
What is the most deadly road condition? Snow packed roads? Heavy fog? Rain slicked roads? Ice, its got to be ice right? I am telling you that none of those are deadly road conditions.
What happens in dense fog, heavy rain, snow and ice? People get scared, really scared and they slow down, pay attention and hold on to the wheel. Are there more accidents on these road conditions maybe, probably. We all hear about the sixty car pile ups in heavy fog right? So what is the most deadly weather condition?
The most deadly road condition is when you think there is no road condition. Example; The roads are cleaned up most after a minor snow storm and everyone is out and about driving the speed limit. Ever notice how there is always that slushy stuff in the middle of the road on the yellow line where nobody drives. What happens if you drift into a little of that slush? Remember road conditions are clear, except for that little spot in the middle. Watch the video.
You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but you sure can feel it. Crosswinds can and will blow over a semi truck loaded or empty. A 20 MPH crosswind can blow over an empty truck and a 60 MPH wind will blow a fully loaded truck over. So what do you do if you get caught in heavy winds. Leave your seat belt on, stop as soon as soon as safe to do so and if at all possible get your truck and trailer pointed into the wind to eliminate the wind shear on the sides of the truck and trailer.
Safety Tip #2) Look far ahead and ignore distractions
Your eyes should be looking about 1/4 mile ahead of you. It does no good to look at the hood or 200 feet ahead of you. You must know what is happening far ahead of you. This gives you ample reaction time and allows you to slowly decelerate.
The human eyes were made for driving a truck. We have good vision at 1/4 mile and our peripheral vision is very keen at seeing fast and/or unusual movement up close. You must use your eyes as they are designed. Let your far vision do its job and allow your near peripheral vision do its job. They are a team, let them work together.
Distracted driving is dangerous driving. Driving can be very boring at times and it becomes very easy to become distracted by a number of things. The radio, food, looking in passing vehicles and land marks can all cause us to take our eyes off of the road.
This driver told the State Trooper that he was distracted be him, wondered out of his lane, over corrected his mistake then lost control. He should have read The Best Truck Truck Driving Safety Tips!
Safety Tip #3) Expecting the unexpected and staying in control
You will, or at least I did develop a sixth sense of anticipating what other drivers are going to do. You become very skilled in reading traffic and seeing road hazards. For your first year or so you will no have the visual experience that veteran drivers do. That being said you must look harder, pay closer attention too and remember everything that you see.
Things happen when they happen and are mostly unexpected. You must be prepared 100% of the time for everything. 99.9% of truck driving is really boring and the other.1% of the time it is sheer terror, a close call or in the least a good learning experience. Being ready for the unexpected is a must and that requires you to be calm, ready and to have both hands on the wheel so you can remain in control during an unexpected event.
Safety Tip #4) Truck maintenance and pre-trip inspections
Pre-trip inspections are important and should never be blown off. There is an enormous amount stress on a truck and trailer while it is rolling down the road. Steer tire defects can be deadly, make sure to pay very close attention to wear patterns and look for bulges, cracks and poor wear. Both of the accidents below were due to a blown steer tire.
The next clip shows a rear trailer tire blowout. The tread has so much force that it rips the welded steel DOT bumper off of the trailer and nearly sends it through this mans windshield.
Safety Tip #4) Speed kills only when you can’t stop
The amount of energy in 40 tons moving at 70MPH is very hard to understand. Truck energy multiplies exponentially as you increase speed, meaning if you increase your speed from 55MPH to 70MPH you have already doubled the energy to takes to stop your vehicle. This becomes very apparent when descending a downgrade and this force is also amplified when friction between the roadway and your tires is lessened by slippery conditions.
The driver on the downgrade is not doing anything wrong by the law. But if he would have been driving slower he may have been able to stop in time or at least lessen the impact.
Following distance is a critical for every driver. When you are following to closely, lets say to another truck two dangerous things are happening. If the driver in front of you brakes aggressively or impacts another vehicle you will have no time to react, steer or brake.
The second problem is that you can’t see anything in front of you but a trailer. You can’t see what is happening on the road ahead of you. Is there an accident happening? Is traffic backed up? Is there a DOT checkpoint or scale house open? Is there a deer close to the road? You can’t answer any of the above questions because you can’t see where you are going.
This is an example of not having enough following distance. What a stupid accident and careless accident. Notice how the driver with the camera had plenty of distance to stop and saw what happened the moment it happened.
Safety Tip #5) G.O.A.L & backing
One of the goals of the best truck driving tips page is teach you G.O.A.L (Get Out And Look). Every time you back get out and look at what is happening behind you if you have any doubts. Ask another driver to help you if t necessary.
One of the biggest mistakes a lot of drivers make is only watching there drivers side mirror when backing. You have to glance at the blind side mirror to make sure noting has moved into your way. Remember to always turn your four ways/hazard lights on before you even start your swing to line up for your back. Your must communicate with other people and drivers that you intend on backing up so they can leave you room.
Another good tip is to roll your windows down. This helps buy removing the glare and dirt you get from looking through the window, allows you to hear someone yelling and also allows you to hear anything unusual.