Driving any vehicle comes with its risks. Trucks come with their own unique risks that are worth being cautious of. This includes personal hazards and hazards that you may pose to other drivers. If you’ve recently started driving a truck, you may be less wary of these hazards. Below are just some of the biggest dangers to be wary of and how to avoid them.
Truck drivers often have to take long journeys, which can come with an increased risk of fatigue. Driving at night on long straight roads can be particularly tiring. If you start feeling sleepy and notice your concentration slipping, consider pulling over for a short break. Taking frequent breaks and getting out of the vehicle is the best way to combat fatigue – even if it’s just stretching your legs for five minutes. Drinking some water and rolling down the window may also help to keep you alert.
Distractions are responsible for many truck accidents. You should avoid any tasks that involve your eyes away from the wheel for long periods, or that involve using your hands for more than a few seconds. This includes eating foods that require both hands, lighting/rolling cigarettes, using your phone, or fiddling around with vehicle settings. Always pull over if you need to take your concentration away from the road for more than a couple of seconds.
Due to their height and length, trucks have more blind spots than your average vehicle. On an articulated lorry, these blindspots can extend 20ft in front and 30ft behind. You’re also unlikely to see anything directly on either side of the cabin without leaning out of the window. Some modern lorries are fitted with sensors and cameras to help you detect dangers within these blind spots. If this is not the case, you need to take great caution when changing lanes or making maneuvers. Always check your mirrors well ahead so that you can spot any cars coming up the inside. When it comes to tight parking maneuvers, don’t be afraid to get out of the vehicle and assess the situation first, or ask someone to help you.
Many truck accidents aren’t caused by truck drivers themselves but by the careless driving of others. The best you can do to protect yourself is to drive defensively – this includes keeping a suitable distance from the car in front and constantly checking your mirrors before and while doing any maneuver. Involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault? You can get past your truck accident with Pendleton Law Firm or another legal firm.
When securing loads to an open deck, it’s essential that they’re suitably strapped down so that there is no movement. Loads falling off while driving can cause major accidents that you don’t want to be responsible for. Loads within a trailer can also pose a danger if not secured – your cargo may shift and fall upon you when you open the doors. To avoid your load shifting with your trailer during transit, take precautions such as placing loads up against the headboard and keeping the load balanced. Use ratchet straps when supplied for extra security of goods. This guide at Life As A Trucker provides more tips for preventing load shifts.