Commercial Driver’s Safety Tips to Minimize Risk
Driving a commercial vehicle for a living can be a difficult and dangerous job. No question driving commercial vehicles requires a lot of skill and carries a lot of responsibility for the complete safety of others. plus it requires some common sense. Being safety conscious is crucial in the life of a commercial driver, as it will keep you when you’re faced with hectic moments that come up when you’re on the road. With that in mind, here are some top commercial driving tips for that professional driver to help remind those on the road each day.
- Be aware of everything going on around you, not just traffic
- Look well ahead and around your vehicle
- Know where you can move to in case of a traffic emergency
- Be aware of traffic directly in front of you, beside you, and behind you at all times
- Get plenty of rest, so you be at your best
Check Weather Reports
A good habit is always being aware of weather conditions before leaving on any trip and checking the weather reports as often as possible, especially in the areas you’ll be driving toward.
It would also be a good idea to watch your outside temperature for the possibility of changing road conditions. Knowing what to expect can help a commercial driver be better prepared for any possible bad weather so you can take necessary precautions.
Avoid Heavy Traffic
Whenever possible, avoid traveling in high-traffic volume areas and peak traffic times. The more traffic you face, the greater the odds of extending the length of the trip and the higher the risk of a vehicle collision.
Planning alternative routes to bypass higher volume areas could be a good idea, especially after a collision. Although the route may be longer distance-wise, it may save you some time because of the collision further up the road.
Using a GPS device with voice activation to know of any issues on your route you may face will assist you without having to take your eyes off the road very much.
Change Lanes Early and Safely
Although many drivers may feel the urge to change lanes often, if you find it necessary, do so very carefully. Just because your signal is on doesn’t mean someone will let you in. Since it may take a while to complete the lane change, plan your route to change lanes early. This will help to ensure you can make that lane change in time to make a turn or an exit of the highway and not take chances to attempt it when the traffic doesn’t want to let you do it.
Be Cautious Loading and Unloading at Night
Having extra caution while driving at night is always a good idea, especially during tight maneuvering situations. If you have to back up your truck, use someone else to be your spotter if someone is available. If not, get out of your truck often to check for things that may be tough to spot at night.
In general, be alert and aware, and move slowly and cautiously, especially at night in tight spaces.
Keep Space in Front of Your Vehicle
Always attempt to leave space in front of your vehicle. This buffer space in front of your vehicle will help to protect you and your truck. It usually happens that if anything goes wrong, there’s a good chance it will be in front of you.
Check your mirrors regularly for vehicles approaching from the lanes next to you and glance at the vehicle regularly to determine if they plan to move directly in front of you. We all know that brake lights and turn signals are difficult to see when the vehicle is in the blind spot close to the front of the vehicle. Anticipating the move of these vehicles can give you advanced knowledge to respond proactively.
Use a Commercial Driver’s GPS
A GPS designed especially for commercial drivers can help as it can show vital information during their trip, especially while on the highway. This includes which exit to take, the distance before the exit, when it’s recommended to change lanes, and even updated traffic reports.
If you’re wondering if they are worth the cost, they are. These systems can be a big help even for the experienced driver and can help reduce a lot of stress for the driver, especially when traveling in unknown areas.
Although they are useful, relying on them exclusively is not recommended. Planning the route you’ll be taking, especially if this is a new destination, before leaving is always the smart move. During rest stops, re-check your route on a map or GPS to determine if any new detours are in place.
This is one of the most important driving safety tips for commercial drivers. Always take the corners and ramps very slowly, at least at the posted ramp speed, but it is better if it is slower. Speed signs on ramps are for smaller vehicles, not so much for larger commercial vehicles. The main responsibility here is to get around a corner and avoid any risk or a rollover.
Travel slowly and maintain control around corners, curves, and parking areas. There’s never a need to get above 2nd gear in a parking lot. The only places to travel safely at higher speeds would be main roads and highways. Remember not to drive as fast as you think you can get away with. It’s also about controlling your vehicle when you need to slow down or stop.
Take a Break
Schedule breaks throughout your trip, whether it’s a long trip or a few short trips. Since your muscles can stiffen, especially your back, doing a few stretches can help your physical health.
One of the major issues for professional drivers, especially long-haul drivers, is back pain. This is especially true for anyone who sits for a prolonged period. Before starting your daily drive, do a few stretching exercises. They only have to take 5 or 10 minutes but can help your back remain stronger longer before any discomfort begins. Since we’re all different shapes and sizes, look for specific stretches your body can handle. It will help to get the muscles working and the blood flowing. Yoga may be the best option for many as it is simple.
Sitting on a wallet can also force you to shift to one side, which is not great for your posture or back health. Removing the wallet and anything else in your back pocket would be a good idea to allow you to sit in a more relaxed position while driving. As a proactive measure, use the heated seat option if your vehicle has it, but keeping it on low heat can help to keep the muscles relaxed.
Professional drivers should never skip any safety steps when driving for their vehicles and themselves. Skipping steps can compromise your safety and those of others traveling on the road near you.