Even the most experienced truck drivers can practice dangerous behavior on the road. After all, truckers are human too and their road behavior may depend on many factors. However, forgetting to act safely behind the wheel can lead to unfortunate consequences, some of which won’t be easy to fix. So even if you are a seasoned trucker, you might benefit from reviewing these simple rules.
Rule #1: Always Wear the Seatbelt
When you are on the road, you are in danger 100% of the time. Many drivers neglect to wear a seatbelt when they drive “just for a few minutes”. It only takes a second to get into an accident. While you should review you seatbelt-wearing habit, you should also think about your passenger. It’s your responsibility to make sure that the passenger’s seatbelt is fastened.
Rule #2: When in Doubt, Reduce Speed
This goes for adverse roads, bad weather conditions, and dark streets. You must reduce your speed by 30 % when you are on a wet road. A snowy road signals about reducing your speed by at least 50%. Obviously, driving on an icy road should be extremely slow and cautious. Don’t forget that the roads get especially slippery when it just starts to rain or snow.
Rule #3: Going on a ramp? Reduce Speed
Exit and entrance ramps must be approached at a slow speed. Many truck accidents occur on the ramps when the driver can’t evaluate the curve sharpness and enters at a high speed. Don’t follow the speed limit you see on the signs before the ramp. These signs are for smaller vehicles. You should reduce the speed even further in order to avoid a rollover.
Rule #4: Loaded Trailer? Reduce Speed
A loaded trailer has a high center of gravity, which means any sudden speed changes can cause load shifts. As a result, a truck can skid or even, roll over. Consider adjusting your braking distance when you carry a load. A driver of a heavily loaded trailer should consider a 20 % braking distance increase.
Rule #5: Watch Out for Work Zones
If you see a work zone, you should immediately adjust your manner of driving. Many deaths in work zones are caused by truckers driving large vehicles. You need to be extra careful about the speed when you are entering a work zone. Be ready for sudden lane closures and always be prepared to stop.
Rule #6: Don’t Forget About the Signals
A recently conducted study showed that more than 600,000 lane-change accidents happen on the USA roads every year. They can be avoided just by using the turn signals. It’s imperative to show your intent to make a lane change before doing it. This is a simple truth, but unfortunately, many truckers disregard it.
Rule #7: Look In the Mirrors
Checking the mirrors is one of the first things you learn when you start driving a vehicle. For some reason, it’s one of the rarest things some drivers do when they are on the road. The mirrors have to be checked at least once every 8 seconds to avoid accidents.