Driving a commercial vehicle can be scary. It takes longer to stop and more room to make your turns. Even worse, accidents that occur with an eighteen wheeler are more likely to be fatal than other accidents. For this reason, it is important that you drive carefully when you are behind the wheel. Though many of these accidents are simply that (an accident), the truth is that many of them can be prevented.
Here are some tips to help you avoid accidents when you are the one driving a commercial vehicle.
Always, always, always check your truck and trailer before driving anywhere. Even if you only get out of your truck to run to the bathroom, it is essential that you take a walk around your commercial vehicle before you leave. You never know what could happen to your truck in your absence. Someone could have backed into your truck and broken a light or something else.
So, what should you check for? You want to make sure that your lights are working properly. You want to make sure that your fluids are filled. A quick check of the brakes and hoses will help you get to your destination safely. Make sure that your tires look good and don’t need to be refilled. If you drive for a company, they may have a checklist of items that you should look at before you leave. If you don’t, you may want to make one to carry with you.
Drive at a reasonable speed. Though many feel like the speed limit is a suggestion, the truth is that it is a limit. You shouldn’t be driving over that limit for any reason. Not only could you be pulled over for driving too fast, it isn’t safe to be going over the speed limit.
This is especially true in bad weather. Whether you are dealing with rain, snow, or even leaves on the road, it is essential that you slow down even more. Not only do you want to get home safely, it is your job to ensure that your cargo gets where it needs to be as safe as possible.
Make sure that you are well rested before you get behind the wheel. In order to stay safe, there shouldn’t be any doubt in your mind that you need to get enough sleep. If you are tired, you are going to make mistakes, and they could cost you an accident. So, do your best to get enough sleep every night in order to be focused enough to get your cargo from point A to point B.
That being said, you also need to be careful about how long you are behind the wheel. There are rules about how long you can drive in a day and how many breaks you need to take. If you are spending a few days on the road, you are going to have to sleep out on the road (or in a hotel) to make sure that you are properly rested for your trip.
You also need to stay focused. Distracted driving is a big problem for our industry. With cell phones, you can be on the phone or texting while you are driving. You can also be messing around with your radio trying to find a good station or your next playlist on your cell phone. You might be listening to audiobooks and that could be too distracting for you.
Instead, you need to pay attention to the road and the other drivers around you. Know where you are going and how you are going to get there. Stay focused on getting there safely. If you are struggling, pull over and take a quick break to get refreshed. You might be able to focus much better if you stop and get out of the truck for a few minutes.
If you want to avoid accidents while driving, you always need to check your truck and trailer before you get behind the wheel. If something is wrong, it needs to be fixed before you start on your journey. You also need to make sure that you have enough sleep so you can focus on driving. Take enough breaks so you can stay focused. Don’t talk on the phone or send text messages when you should be paying attention to the surrounding drivers. This could save your life (and countless others).
Contact us for all of your commercial truck insurance needs. We are proud to serve Florida, Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, and Tennessee.