10 Truck Driver Safety Tips
How Drivers Can Earn More Driving Safe
Practicing the basics of safe driving doesn't end when you get your CDL and gain experience driving a semi out on the road. Practicing safe driving can reduce your risk of accidents, lost time and revenue, and could even net you a hefty safety bonus. Read on to see the 10 most helpful tips for driving a truck safely.
9 Truck Driver Safety Tips
1. Buckle Up
Seat belt use remains essential. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s also the law. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an estimated 14 percent of all commercial motor vehicle drivers do not wear a seatbelt. Don’t be a part of the next statistic.
2. Check Your Blind Spots
Checking your blind spots is a great way to practice driver alertness and keep tabs on your surroundings on the road. The FMCSA recommends checking your blind spots every 8-10 seconds.
3. Be Prepared to Stop Early
Maintaining a safe following distance is only part of avoiding a collision. Staying alertive of what’s happening at least 15 seconds in front of you can help in the event you have to stop early. The FMCSA recommends leaving a following distance of one second for every 10 feet of a vehicle when traveling below 40 mph. For speeds over 40 mph, it’s recommended to leave an additional second of space.
4. Drive the Speed Limit
In open roads, it can be tempting to exceed the speed limit in order to make time. But proceed with caution. Not only is driving the speed limit a safe driving practice, but it’s also the law.
5. Avoid Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a leading cause of truck crashes in America. Common driver distractions you should avoid include texting and driving, talking on the phone, eating and drinking, and fiddling with electronics.
6. Use Turn Signals
Not using turn signals can increase the risk of an accident, since other drivers do not know your next move. Turn signals are not only a safe driving practice, they, according to AAA, are required to be used at least 100 feet before turning.
7. Practice Work Zone Safety
Failure to follow traffic laws and regulations when driving through work zones can lead to costly tickets and fines. For the safety of workers and yourself, follow proper work zone driver safety by staying alert, turning your headlights on, not tailgating the car in front of you, obeying the posted speed limit, following instructions from flaggers, and proceeding with caution - expecting the unexpected.
8. Plan for Inclement Weather
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimated 21 percent of all vehicle crashes from 2007 - 2016 were weather-related. It’s important to plan ahead and practice bad weather driving tips including ensuring your windows, headlights, and brake lights stay clear, increasing your following distance, breaking early and using proper stopping techniques, and accelerating gently in snowy/icy conditions. Paying attention to the details while driving under adverse conditions can reduce your risk of causing or getting involved in an accident.
9. Make Wide turns With Care
Reduce your speed and take your time navigating around tight curves and making wide turns. Follow the 5 steps to making a right or left turn:
- Setup in the correct lane.
- Signal 100 feet before the turn.
- Slow down.
- Survey your surroundings.
- Steer into and through the turn.
10. Practice Safe Backing Up
The tricks to practicing safe backing-up maneuvers are to take your time, maintain idling speed, ignore intimidation or impatient delivery personnel, be heard, and always get out and look if ever become unsure of the space you have.
Nationwide OTR Reefer Jobs with Safety Bonuses
Practicing safe driving while on the road can do more than just prevent accidents. When you work for a transportation company like Brakebush Transportation, your safe driving can reward you with a safety bonus. Brakebush drivers can earn a quarterly safety bonus of up to $.01 per practical mile AND an annual safety bonus of $.001 per mile after driving 250,000 miles safely.
Interested in getting paid for your safe driving? Apply to become an OTR reefer driver with our company.
Frequently Asked Questions on Truck Driver Safety
What are the two most important safety issues for trucks?
The two most important safety issues truck drivers must take into account when driving are their level of fatigue and the condition of their truck’s brakes. Be sure to keep up on the maintenance of your truck if you’re an owner-operator, or keep tabs on how your company truck is braking if your employer handles truck maintenance. Take rest breaks or pull off for the night if you begin to experience driver fatigue. Driving through fatigue can be dangerous.
How do truck drivers protect themselves?
Truck drivers can protect themselves on the road by following safe driving practices and taking necessary precautions. Be sure to wear your seatbelt, follow all traffic rules, maintain a safe driving distance, avoid distractions, take rest breaks, stay alert, take into account the weather, and monitor how your truck is driving.
What is the number one cause of truck accidents?
The number one cause of truck accidents in America according to the FMCSA is 87% related to driver error. Common errors drivers make that cause truck accidents include driving fatigued, being distracted, speeding, failing to yield, failing to anticipate hazards or misjudging, driving impaired, or simply being too inexperienced.
What are the 2 biggest things you should do when driving in adverse conditions?
The 2 most significant things to do when driving in adverse conditions are to slow your speed down and increase your following distance to other vehicles. By doing so, you widen your margin of error and make it easier to either catch potential sliding or decelerate in the event of a sudden stop.