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Truck Driver Safety Tips

11 safety tips to help prevent truck accidents

Here’s a list of safe driving tips for truck drivers. Keeping these suggestions in mind can save your life and the lives of others.

  1. Take care of yourself. Truck driver fatigue can significantly increase the risk of a deadly collision. Get plenty of rest before driving. Eat healthy and stay in shape by exercising. Excess weight can cause sleep apnea and driver fatigue, both of which have been connected to causing serious truck accidents.
  2. Slow down in work zones. Many fatal truck crashes in work zones involve large tractor-trailers. Stay alert and be aware of highway construction. Take your time traveling through work zones; give yourself lots of room and be prepared for the unexpected.
  3. Do not drive distracted. It is now illegal for truck drivers to use cell phones. Do not talk on the phone, text while driving or surf the Internet. Get your grooming, eating and any other tasks finished before you get behind the wheel.
  4. Be aware of your “no zones.” Many collisions between large commercial trucks and cars take place in the “no zone” area, meaning the truck driver’s blind spots. Assume that other drivers are not aware of your blind spots. Adjust your mirrors and keep alert for drivers traveling in your “no-zone.”
  5. Turn safely. When making a sweeping right turn, make sure there are no vehicles traveling in the gap between the curb and your truck.
  6. Keep your distance. If you hit someone from behind in a rear-end crash, you will be considered at-fault regardless of the situation. Due to their mass, semi-trucks and tractor-trailers need much more stopping distance than cars. Always leave enough space between your truck and the motor vehicle in front of you.
  7. Check your breaks. Brake defects are the most common truck out-of-service inspection violation. Learn how to inspect your brakes, identify other safety defects and get them repaired.
  8. Do a pre-trip inspection. Before each trip, you must conduct a pre-trip inspection of your truck by law. To ensure continued safe operation, it’s recommended that the following maintenance checks be conducted at the beginning of every day the truck is in operation: lubrication oil, water, fuel, air clearer, air compressor, air brake system, tires, slack adjusters, lights, mechanical brakes, shift controls, automatic transmission, warning stickers, ammeter, horn, wind shield wipers and clutch pedal.
  9. Drive defensively. Given that many traffic fatalities are linked to aggressive driving behavior, it’s important to maintain a safe speed while avoiding aggressive drivers. Excessive speed can only increase your chances of getting in a serious truck accident.
  10. Buckle up. If you haven’t learned by now, buckling up is one of the most important factors in saving lives and reducing injuries. If you’re in a truck accident, a fastened seat belt will keep you in your seat instead of in the windshield. It will also allow you to maintain control of your commercial truck.
  11. Work to improve highway safety.
    Be a driving professional when on the road. Notify Michigan safety agencies and law enforcement of auto accidents, unsafe drivers, dangerous road conditions and other situations that can lead to auto accidents.

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