Commercial and Residential trucking is vital to our economic system, but those highway and freeway miles can be dangerous without trucking safety.
The truck driver is the most important link in trucking safety. Stay healthy, fit and well rested. Driver fatigue and inattention to the road can increase the probability of an accident. To maintain your most alert state when driving, avoid alcohol, drugs, and medications that cause drowsiness. Learn and follow the hours of service requirements that apply to you. Don't multi-task while driving; keep your eyes and mind on the road.
Safe driving techniques can also reduce truck crashes.
Follow posted speed limits and local road regulations. Always wear your seatbelt. Seatbelts keep you in your truck, in your seat, and in control. Drive defensively and never assume that you can predict another driver's intentions. Be aware of your truck's "no zones" (blindspots) and check carefully before making slow, deliberate maneuvers.
On the road, keep a safe speed and maintain adequate braking distances from other vehicles. Avoid aggressive drivers and do not use aggressive moves like high speed, tailgating, and frequent or abrupt lane changes. Always slow down in construction and road work zones and as you pass stalled or stopped vehicles.
A truck driver's most important safety equipment is a well-maintained and inspected vehicle and trailer.
Conduct pre- and post-trip inspections to check for wear and tear. Make sure that all brakes and the steering system work properly. Inspect the tires for excessive wear and proper inflation. Check the headlights, brake lights and signaling devices. Frame and suspension systems should be structurally sound with no cracked or broken frame members. Examine the mirrors, windshield, and windows for cracks and damage.
Make sure that your truck is equipped with safety gear such as a fire extinguisher and road warning signals. The truck and trailer should have proper decals and reflective markings. Under-ride prevention bumpers should be in place. Dash sensors and warning devices should work properly.
Inspect your trailer and load for safety before you agree to haul it. Make sure that trailer couplings and fifth wheel assemblies are securely attached. Check the load factor; loads should be balanced and securely fastened. Tankers should be at least 3/4 full to avoid sloshing and the danger of rollover.
Follow-up on all of your hard work! Maintain your truck inspection records, hours of service logs, and repair and maintenance logs. Periodically, read trucking safety materials and attend training to practice safety maneuvers and "keep on trucking" safely.