Top tips to ensure your safety as a truck driver - TruckingJobs.co.uk

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Friday, 1 October 2021

Top tips to ensure your safety as a truck driver



Top tips to ensure your safety as a truck driver

There are some great sides to being a truck driver: the freedom of the open road, having your own space, the chance to see a little bit of the world. It offers some terrific opportunities and can be a great life for many, but one thing which many truck drivers are concerned about is the issue of safety. Here, Emma Tyrer, Head of Sales and Marketing at Walker Movements shares her insight into what the real risks are to drivers and what you can do to combat them.

Staying safe is important not just for yourself but for other road users too. Improving your safety helps to keep others safe as well as reducing costs. A few simple steps can help to make you and everyone around you safe and keep the country running effectively.

Driving style

The greatest risks to any driver come when you are actually out on the road. There are certain driving styles that can be adopted by truck drivers to help keep them safe, such as defensive driving. This encourages you to be constantly aware of potential hazards or changes in driving conditions. By anticipating risks it is possible to make good decisions and avoid accidents. This can be achieved by being aware of blind spots and what might be in them, remaining three seconds behind the vehicle in front, being prepared for emergencies such as breakdowns, stay calm no matter what happens, remembering to signal at every lane change or exit and remembering to slow down in response to changes on the road.

Maintaining your vehicle

A safe truck helps to keep its driver safe, so making sure it is well maintained is vital. Ensuring tyres and brakes are checked regularly and in good condition is essential in making sure the truck performs correctly. If this is not the responsibility of the driver, then ensure that your employer is performing these checks as part of a proper schedule.

Before you begin any journey, you should perform a thorough inspection to make sure that your truck is safe to drive. This gives you the opportunity to flag up any issues and have them dealt with as quickly as possible.

Plan your journey

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Planning your journey is essential to make sure that you stay safe. Knowing your route in advance will avoid any problems on the way, and also helps you to ensure that you have picked the most efficient way to get to your destination.

Planning also means being aware of any traffic situations that might occur. Look out for roadworks and listen out for news of accidents that may lead to tailbacks. Coming across unexpected traffic that causes drivers to stop and go is more likely to lead to accidents, therefore compromising safety.

Checking weather forecasts should be another essential part of your planning. Being aware of the likelihood of heavy rain, hail, snow or ice which may make roads slippery or reduce visibility can help you to know how much time to allow or whether you may be forced to pull over for a while. It can also give you an opportunity to check that your vehicle is equipped for adverse weather conditions.

There may be times where you have to stop or may become stuck for a while. Check that you have plenty of battery life in your phone, and a charger handy so that you can stay in touch no matter what happens. 

Keeping a stock of snacks and water in your cab will also help if you are in one place for a longer period of time.

GPS tracking

Ensuring that someone is able to track your vehicle is another big aspect of driver safety. In the event of an accident or breakdown, it is good to know that someone is aware of your exact location in order to send help. This can avoid lengthy waits at the side of the road which leave you at risk of further problems.

Stay rested 

Rest is so important for truck drivers that it is actually a part of UK law. Drivers of commercial vehicles must not exceed 9 hours of driving a day, and are required to have at least 11 hours of rest everyday between shifts.

Tiredness has a direct impact on how alert you are behind the wheel and can leave you at great risk of accidents, so taking breaks, even when they are not scheduled, is one of the most important things that you can do.

Think about your speed

We all know that speed kills and that we should observe the speed limits of every road, but sometimes even these are too high for some trucks. Corners, curves and ramps can all present an issue if tackled at the wrong speed and may lead to a truck overturning. Understand your speed and make sure that you know when you need to slow down.

Safety whilst driving

Whilst it is against the law to use your phone or drive without a seat belt, many drivers still do. Phones can cause distractions which can lead to fatal consequences, and the lack of a seatbelt will lead to devastating injuries. These have been made law to help protect you and those around you, so make sure that you observe them.

Cab safety

Some drivers can feel unsafe on long journeys when they are forced to pull over and take some rest. When you plan your trip, try to look for safe places to park, such as designated truck stops. These should be well lit and secure, and usually offers the added safety of having other trucks around you. Making sure that your cab has plenty of safety features, and ensuring that you always use them, will make you feel less vulnerable and therefore allow you to get some proper, well-earned rest.

Safety should always be your number one concern, and a few simple steps on the part of yourself and your employer can help to ensure that you continue to enjoy what is a fantastic career all whilst minimising your risks.

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