Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Trucking Safety 101: 10 Tips for Preventing Accidents and Injuries

Last Updated on  April 29, 2024  By  eformblogadmin
pinterest-logo whatsapp-logo
safe trucking

On the road, safety is priority number one. And making sure the rig you're piloting or the fleet you're managing is safe means constant vigilance and maintenance, on and off the highway. Are your tires in good shape? Is your load secure? Do you have the right accident prevention technology? Is your body feeling all those hours behind the wheel?

A trucker’s job is to get their shipments from point A to point B. But that can happen if their most essential pieces of equipment aren’t functioning properly. Worse, an unsafe rig puts everyone in danger. So to help keep you, your truck, and other drivers safe, we’ve put together a few tips for maintaining your vehicles — and yourselves.

Maintain Preventative Maintenance Schedules

Like all vehicles, trucks need regular preventative maintenance to ensure road readiness and safety. Typically this means oil changes, tire rotations, fluid flushes, filter changes, and brake pad replacements. Maintenance should be documented and conducted by qualified technicians — and it should never be neglected. Consult your manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance schedules.

Conduct Thorough Pre-Trip Inspections

Even if you keep your rig maintained, you want to ensure everything is in working order before each run. Spend 15-30 minutes inspecting in and around the truck and evaluating critical components, especially:

Tires: Verify tread depth and pressure, and check for signs of dangerous wear. Tires with inadequate tread or improper pressure are more susceptible to blowouts.

Brakes: Inspect brake pads, rotors, airlines, and other crucial components of the braking system. Immediately repair any element that requires attention.

Safety Lights: Ensure that the turn signals, brake lights, and headlights are functioning properly.

Fluid Levels: Check oil, coolant, brake fluid, washer fluid, and other critical fluids. Replenish if low.

Verify the Load is Properly Secured

Just as important in your pre-run checklist — especially when hauling cargo — is that everything is secure. Improperly secured loads can shift, causing rollovers or spilled cargo, which can result in accidents Properly distribute weight, stack and brace cargo, and utilize appropriate straps, chains, and winches to secure the load. And never, ever overload.

Equip Trucks with Safety Mechanisms

Human error is a leading cause of accidents. But there are ingenious new safety mechanisms available for commercial trucks to help mitigate this risk.

  1. Blind spot monitoring: Alerts drivers to vehicles in blind spots to prevent merging accidents.
  2. Automatic emergency braking: Senses impending collisions and brakes automatically to avoid or reduce impact.
  3. Lane departure warning: Alerts drivers drifting out of the lane so they can correct their steering.
  4. Speed limiters: Set to safe levels, such as 65 mph, these devices prevent acceleration and condition drivers to appropriate speeds

If your rig — or if the rigs in your fleet — doesn’t come with these safety devices, consider investing in them for enhanced safety.

Convert to Fuel-Efficient Models

Newer model trucks boast increased fuel efficiency through aerodynamic frames, lightweight materials, and other design improvements. Efficiency lowers costs, reduces emissions, and means fewer stops at potentially unsafe locations. (More on that below.) Plus, newer trucks often boast the latest safety designs and technology. There are benefits for everyone.

Take Defensive Driving Courses

Everyone thinks they’re good drivers. And most are. But even the best need a refresher now and then. Defensive driving courses help lay a foundation for road safety built on anticipating hazards and evading accidents. When choosing a defensive driving course, look for ones that include how to regulate speed and space around other vehiclestechniques for recognizing and averting hazards, and proper blind spot management. Advanced courses are available, too, for the superstar overachieving drivers out there.

Seek Out Adequate Parking

This is something many drivers and fleet operators might not (consciously) think about. But limited parking — on lots, rest stops, and pull-offs — lead to unsafe parking on highway shoulders or ramps. Drivers should always avoid locations with limited parking. But this is an infrastructure issue, so what can you do? You don’t build and maintain the roads. True, but you can lobby officials and those who are responsible to improve and expand conditions by building more rest stops with parking, opening service stations to truck parking at night, and allowing use of weigh station parking off-hours. That will not only mean better, safer places for truckers to stop and rest; it will mean safer roads for every driver.

Take Care of Your Body…

If your rig started showing signs of something being wrong, you wouldn’t ignore it. The same goes for your health. Truck drivers have sedentary jobs and, often, irregular schedules. This can lead to health challenges — especially if drivers miss regular healthcare visits. So take yourself in for annual physicals — part of the human body’s routine maintenance. Pay attention to what you’re fueling yourself with — ensure a balanced diet (as much as possible). And get your shoe treads on the pavement — stretch your legs, move your body, and get the blood flowing. Your truck is only as good as its driver — it might be top of the line, but that doesn’t matter if you can’t stay behind the wheel. Make your physical health as much a priority as the health of your vehicle.

…and Your Mind

Truck driving can be demanding — those roads can stretch out in ways that play tricks on you, routes can be very long, and often you’re alone in that cab. That can all take a toll on your mind. And just like your physical health, you can’t ignore mental health. Relaxation techniques, deep breathing, and calming music can help enhance mental resilience. So can staying in regular communication with friends and family through long runs. This provides emotional support and a sense of connection amidst the miles of the open road. And it keeps your mind sharp and focused — crucial to your safety and the safety of everyone on the road.

Foster a Safety Culture

One of the most important things a driver or fleet operator can do is also one of the most overlooked: cultivate a culture of safety. This can be done through safety-focused hiring, new pilot mentorship, open and blameless communication, and rewarding hazard reporting. Safety-first drivers and companies experience far fewer incidents — and they set the right example for everyone on the road. Make safety the top priority across your organization. 

And help your fellow trucker or fleet operators on their safety-first journey by sharing what has worked for you. And share this post with them!