We all have to take driving lessons and pass driving tests to be able to drive independently on public roads. But truck drivers require extra training. Because of their size and the variety of cargo, semi-trucks are more difficult to maneuver, and are substantially larger hazards than most vehicles if not driven properly.
Of course, once past the truck driver test, it’s still a good idea to keep updated on safety protocols to ensure you and others are as safe as possible on the roads at all times. Here are some guidelines to keep in the forefront of your mind to remain as alert and responsible as possible while driving.
Don’t Use Your Cell Phone
This is a pretty straightforward piece of advice and something that all people should keep in mind when they’re behind the wheel. Many countries ban cellphone use while driving, and especially when driving a larger vehicle takes more time to control, it’s even more vital that your attention is on the road.
You can’t maintain full and proper control of your vehicle while using your phone, as you cannot focus all of your attention on the road ahead and what’s going on around you while you’re talking on the phone, typing on your phone or looking at anything on your phone screen. So, avoid using your cell at all times while driving your truck.
Pay Attention to the Speed Limit
Many truck drivers stop paying attention to speed limits on the freeways since they tend to be consistent. But it’s important to always stay alert. Not only will knowing the speed limit at all times help you to avoid accidental speeding, but it can help you to maintain a proper distance between your truck and other vehicles.
Plan Trips in Advance
No matter how well you may know the route you’re driving, it’s still a good idea to plan your route in advance. You never know when diversions may appear and you may need to take another route. You can avoid having to pull over and figure out an alternative route while you’re behind the wheel by being organized in advance!
Eat Healthily and Get Rest
Eating on the go is a lot easier and more convenient. But the type of food sold in service stations and other stops en route tend to be pretty unhealthy; sugary snacks, energy drinks, coffee, and other products that can leave you feeling bloated or sluggish. While they may help your attention span in the moment, you’ll likely feel worse off in the long run. Try to pack healthier snacks and lunches for your trips, and make sure you’re well rested. For long haul trips, you should invest in a truck mattress so you can pull over somewhere safe and sleep as and when you need.
Maintain a Proper Stopping Distance
Maintaining a proper stopping distance is essential for all drivers, but this is particularly important for truck drivers. Smaller cars tend to like to weave around trucks, so you may find other vehicles pulling into your stopping distance. Make sure to keep a steady speed and a proper distance between you and any vehicle ahead.
Wear Your Seatbelt
Often when you’re the bigger vehicle on the road, it’s easier to justify that you won’t need your seatbelt like any smaller vehicle would. But you are also higher from the ground, so make sure to wear your seatbelt at all times while driving or spending time in your truck. Even though you may be the largest vehicle on the road, it can still save your life.