Safety is the responsibility of the driver.
These truck driver safety tips are to help the driver provide the safest service possible. Remember, a ship and its actions are the captain’s responsibility; if it goes down, so does the captain. In the same way, the truck driver retains ultimate supervision over the performance of his/her vehicle. Every time you saddle up, your life and reputation are on the line. For the driver of a dedicated contract carrier, this can be compounded by the continuous switching of equipment to meet the client’s needs.
Safety begins with safe equipment.
Take the time to inspect the truck. Start by checking to see what problems have been reported by previous drivers. Pay attention to areas that have been repaired in the past. If a tire needs service, it can be reported immediately and shorten the time you are down for repair. Start by thumping the tires, then focus on the condition of the vehicle’s exterior. Once you have inspected the outside, check all the tires and mud flaps, look for missing lug nuts and exposed brake linings, look over the pigtails, and check for other body damage on the tractor and trailer – then you will know there is no major damage from the previous user. If you put on the lights and flashers, these can be checked as well.
Take a look under the hood.
Whether it means opening the hood or lifting the cab, safety tips for truck drivers should include a look at the condition of the engine systems. Start by inspecting the radiator for leaks and damage, followed by an inspection of the fan hub. Check the fan for side-to-side free play, and look at the blades and shroud for signs of misuse. Check the belts by looking for fraying or missing chunks. Inspect all the hoses for leaks and for spots of softness or mushiness. If you have ever tried to steer a rig without power-steering at slow speeds, checking these hoses will be an automatic chore. Take a peek at the coolant level and fill with a mixture of antifreeze and water if needed. See if the engine oil has any white streaks; this is a sign of water in the oil. If it appears thin and smells like gas, fuel is leaking into the oil. The level should be in the safe range, not higher or lower; a high-oil level can indicate a problem.
Stop and check those brakes
In the cab there are several areas that need your attention, none are more important than your brakes. Build the air pressure to maximum (120 psi) and then charge the trailers’ air system. Next, release the parking brake, and apply the service (foot) brake. The initial drop of pressure must not drop further with the engine idling, and the pressure should begin to build. Slow build up of pressure may indicate a bad compressor. Then turn off the engine and rapidly apply and release the brakes. The low air warning must activate before the gauge reads 60 psi. Continue to fan down the air pressure, the trailer brakes automatically apply when the gauge is between 45 and 20 psi. The “Trailer Air Supply” knob will pop out. Build the air pressure back up again (120 psi) and turn off the engine. Press and hold the service (foot) brake, and listen for air leaks by rolling down your window. In addition, watch your tank air gauges to ensure the needles do not move, which would indicate an air leak (visually). Finally, make a test stop before leaving the yard.
It pays to check your emergency equipment.
The basic emergency equipment required to be carried by a commercial truck are: a 5-B:C-rated fire extinguisher, 6 solid 30-minute burn fuses or 3 liquid 60-minute burn flares, 3 bidirectional reflective triangles, and spare fuses for any fused electrical equipment necessary for the unit’s safe operation. It is also wise to check the fire extinguisher level; tap the extinguisher while holding it against a tire to loosen the powder charge inside. It can become tightly-packed during travel, reducing its effectiveness. Other equipment good to have on hand is a first-aid kit, a gallon of pre-mixed coolant, and a gallon of motor oil.
Driving safety tips for truck drivers.
As the driver, you are in charge of the safe operation of your vehicle. As a professional driver, you will have to deal with non-professionals on the road every time you drive; don’t be influenced to operate your vehicle in an unsafe manner. The typical tractor-trailer combination is 40 times the weight and 4 times the length of common passenger vehicles. Give yourself plenty of room in front, one second for each 10 feet of vehicle length recommended. When the vehicle in front passes a shadow or a line in the pavement, provide yourself plenty of space to drive by counting, “One thousand one, one thousand two…,” until you pass that point, and slow down as necessary. This space gives you the opportunity to maneuver out of danger should an unexpected obstruction occur.
Give yourself the best chance to see everything on the road by keeping your windshield and mirrors clean. Scan your mirrors regularly to lessen the chance of a vehicle suddenly appearing where you don’t expect it to. Pay attention to the weather and traveling conditions, and adjust your driving to meet the requirements of inclement conditions. Always use signals when changing lanes, and give plenty of indication of what your intentions are. Stop regularly, stay alert, and don’t drive when overly tired. All these tips can help you to keep the rubber-side down where it belongs.
Thank you for reading our safety tips for truck drivers. Greatwide Logistics is a dedicated carrier service. To learn more about what they do and available opportunities for drivers, visit www.greatwide.com or www.driveforgreatwide.com. You can also connect with them on LinkedIn and visit on Facebook. Furthermore, find out what truckers are talking about on Twitter.