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Safety Tips for Commercial Drivers

Being a commercial truck driver is not nearly as simple as it may appear to be. Trucking requires immense amounts of concentration as taking your eyes off the road for even a second can have harrowing consequences. At present, more than one in five accidents on the UK’s roads involves a truck according to reports by the Campaign for Better Transport.  In order to reduce these accidents, all truck drivers need to ensure that they adhere to the rules of the road at all times, applying their driving experience as well as common sense to any trying situations that may arise.  In order to ensure an increased level of road safety for all road users, a few basic safety guidelines need to be stringently adhered to at all times.

Remember the ‘3 points of contact’ rule

Did you know that nearly 25% of all injuries in the trucking industry are attributed to falls while mounting and dismounting trucks? One of the most important rules that truckers need to adhere to involves maintaining 3 points of contact at all times when entering or exiting the cab or trailer of the truck.  The rule entails the driver always having at least 3 points of contact on his vehicle – either two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand. Adhering to this rule reduces the risk of potentially-fatal trips, slips, and falls.  

Stay sober, stay alert and avoid distractions 

Always be fully aware of what is happening both in your truck an on the road. Be aware not only of who is in front of you but behind you as well and try to formulate an ‘escape plan that you can utilize should an emergency arise, especially when driving in heavy traffic. Keep both your hands on the steering wheel at all times, except when changing gears and refrain from using your cellphone, fiddling with your radio or engaging in any other distracted driving habits. While it might seem obvious that you have to refrain from drinking and using drugs while driving, you might be surprised that, on average 940 people are killed in alcohol-related accidents on the roads of the UK every year. Remember that drugs include anything that may impair your driving ability including over-the-counter pain medications that are known to cause drowsiness and diminished vision.

Be respectful of other road users 

When driving remember that all the other road users are trying to get to their respective destinations just like you are. It is important to be respectful of other drivers, giving them enough space and thus helping to avoid nasty collisions. Make sure to keep a safe stopping distance between yourself and any vehicles ahead. Under ideal conditions, there should be a minimum of seven seconds between a truck and the vehicle in front of it. This gives the truck enough time to stop in case of an emergency. When driving in inclement weather the following distance should be increased to 15 seconds to keep both the truck driver and other road users as safe as possible.

Trucking is a very demanding job that requires a lot of hard work, dedication and above all, concentration. If you ever feel that your driving ability is compromised in any way, do not get behind the wheel of your truck, regardless of how pressurised you might be to do so. By adhering to the rules of the road you will not only reduce your risk of having an accident but will also contribute to keep other road users safe as well.

Author: Cindy Trillo