Truck driving is an industry that has been growing exponentially as time goes on. With the ecommerce and delivery services on the rise, transporting goods through trucking is at an all time high. Here at Heavy Weight Transportation, we promise to positively impact the global community. This promise includes maintaining every safety measure we can. According to a study conducted by Policy Advice, 70% of all products reach their destination through truck delivery. With all of that being said, it is easy to see how much truck driving contributes to our society as we know it. As a truck driver, your number one priority while on the road should be your safety and the safety of others. There are a number of different ways that you can be safer on the road and that is what we are here to discuss today. In this article, we are going to outline why truck safety is important, the cause of a majority of truck accidents, and ways to be safer on the road.
Why Truck Safety is Important
As mentioned earlier, truck driving is constantly on the rise. There are a number of different kinds of trucks on the road nowadays. No matter what kind of cargo they carry, they have the potential to be equally as dangerous. With this plethora of drivers on the road, truck accidents are at an all time high. According to statistics collected by Policy Advice, there has been a 52% increase in trucking accidents since the year 2009! That is an alarming number. In addition to truck accidents increasing, it is important to note that trucking accidents are often more dangerous than car accidents due to the increased size and weight of the vehicles. Injuries from trucking accidents may include back and neck injuries, broken bones, whiplash, head trauma, spinal cord injuries, internal bleeding, and even death. Statistics show that 74% of all fatal passenger vehicle cases include a large truck. If you are anything like us, you most likely do not want to contribute to these shocking statistics.
What is the Cause of Most Trucking Accidents?
If you are a truck driver, you might be wondering what may cause these kinds of accidents. One of the most obvious causes that people tend to result in are drug and alcohol abuse while on the road. Surprisingly, this is not the case for a majority of trucking accidents. According to a study conducted by the FMCSA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the leading cause of truck accidents is mechanical issues. These issues tend to include problems with tires, brakes, and electrical wiring. In addition to issues with tires and breaks, new tour routes, fatigue, and aggressive driving are also leading causes in truck accidents.
Another cause that contributes to frequent trucking accidents is the sheer size and weight of the vehicles that are being operated. It is clear that trucks tend to weigh a lot more than the average vehicle, especially when it is fully packed with cargo. What many people do not know is that the average weight of a fully packed truck can easily surpass forty tons. To put things into perspective, that is about twenty times as heavy as the average car. Keeping this in mind, it can be easy to see how it takes these trucks a lot longer to come to a stop than the average vehicle. It can take even longer if cargo is not loaded evenly and properly. Due to this, trucks tend to have a tremendous amount of momentum. It can be extremely difficult for drivers to stop or react to impediments on the road in a timely manner. This can often result in a truck accident.
Tips for Safe Trucking
- Always wear your seatbelt- This should be the first step to any drive, whether you are in a car or a truck. Studies show that 1 in 6 drivers do not wear their seatbelt on drives. In addition to that, more than 40% of crash related deaths in the United States are caused by not wearing a seatbelt. The use of seatbelts is not only a legal requirement, but also one of the most basic ways to prevent injury in an accident. This step is the easiest preventative measure that you can take.
- Avoid using a cell phone while driving- This is an obvious one. If you, as a driver, are paying attention to anything on the screen of your phone it is not possible to focus on the road. Using a cellphone while driving is careless and illegal.
- Be aware of speed limits everywhere- Given the fact that it can be hard for trucks to stop quickly, it is important to constantly be aware of speed limits. This is the case because you will want to be driving the same speed or a little bit slower than surrounding traffic. Stay within the specific speed limits listed for trucks to ensure more safety on the road.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol- This is an obvious one. Drugs can include any substance that impairs your judgement or physical ability. Not only is it illegal to operate heavy machinery under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but it is also extremely inconsiderate. Besides obvious safety concerns, being under the influence can cost you your job.
- Plan your trip ahead of time- As a driver, you know that there are all kinds of unexpected events that can happen on the road. In order to mitigate these unexpected occurrences, it helps to plan as much of your drive as you can ahead of time. This can include the number of hours you plan to drive, the weather during your drive, routes, stops, and everything in between.
- Maintain a proper stopping distance- As mentioned earlier, it is harder for trucks to come to a complete stop.. Keeping this in mind, it is integral to keep a proper distance between your own vehicle and all of the surrounding vehicles.
- Slow down for curves and turns- Turns and curves can be especially hard on trucks. Drivers should slow down accordingly to avoid tipping over or veering into other lanes. Fortunately, there are almost always speed limits for trucks posted around curves and turns. These should always be adhered to if you are operating a truck.
- Mind the space that your truck takes up- Always be mindful of the height and weight of the truck that you are operating. In addition to being mindful of the size of your truck, you should also maintain a proper safety cushion around the vehicle at all times. This means leaving enough room around the truck to prevent accidents from occurring.
- Eat healthy and get the proper amount of rest before every drive- One of the most important parts of being a truck driver is having good reaction time. This comes with the proper amount of rest and a good diet. In addition to doing these things, it is important to listen to the needs of your own body while you are on the road. For example, if you need to stop and stretch or eat a snack, take the time to pull over. Remember, the safety of you and everyone around you depends on your own well-being.
Now that you understand the risk that comes with being a truck driver, it’s time to implement these safety practices. Not only are they better for you, but they are also better for everyone around you. Next time you are on the road, keep these safety tips in mind!