As most long-haul truckers will tell you, wisdom comes from experience, and experience usually comes with time. If you’re a new trucker, however, you don’t have to make all of the rookie mistakes yourself. By taking tips from those who have gone before, you can learn to keep safe on the road and maximize the value of your time.
Tip One: Always wear your seat belt.
You would think that this one would go without saying. Unfortunately, an insurance study as recent as 2010 reports that only 86% of truck drivers claim to wear their seat belts “often.” The matter becomes especially serious if you consider that motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of occupational fatalities in the United States in 2012, accounting for 25% of deaths. Truck drivers accounted for 46% of those deaths.
So buckle up.
Tip Two: Always inspect your vehicle before getting behind the wheel.
A visual inspection at the very least will alert you to any major issues, but it’s also wise to check your tire pressure, especially if you’re dealing with truck tires or experiencing shifts in weather. Tire pressure is directly related to temperature, so the colder the weather shift, the greater the chance for a drop in tire pressure. Low tire pressure can result not only in decreased gas mileage, but also increased risk of a blowout.
So it’s best to keep your eye on the gauge.
Tip Three: Drive defensively.
Follow posted speed limits, keep space between yourself and the cars head of you, and check your mirrors constantly. Don’t assume that drivers around you will always drive as well as you do, and be ready to adjust to their aberrations.
Always remember that you’re not just looking out for yourself; you’re also looking out for the safety of others.