Trucking is truly the backbone of America – with truck drivers carrying 80 percent of all cargo in the U.S.
If you bought it, they brought it!
The trucking industry is also one of the most dangerous.
With over 3.5 million drivers in the industry who put their life at risk delivering an array of commodities and goods each day, safety needs to be an employer’s number one priority.
To keep our drivers safe when behind the wheel, let’s take a look at 6 tips for commercial motor vehicle driving, as recommended by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Commercial drivers have to be constantly vigilant to detect unexpected road conditions, distracted drivers, and motorists who don’t understand how commercial vehicles operate.
Scan ahead about 15 seconds (a quarter mile on interstates, or one to two blocks in cities) for traffic issues, work zones, and other dangers.
Check mirrors every 8-10 seconds to be aware of vehicles entering your blind spots.
Practice Work Zone Safety
Work zones present many hazards, like lane shifts, sudden stops, uneven road surfaces, moving workers and equipment, and confused passenger vehicle drivers.
In 2014, 30% of fatal work zone crashes involved at least one large truck compared to only 11% of all fatal crashes – so it’s vital to take work zone safety seriously.
Slow down, maintain extra following space, and to be prepared to stop.
Obey all work zone signs and signals.
Scan ahead for changing traffic patterns, and be alert to vehicles entering your blind spots.
Keep a sharp eye out for road workers and flag crews.
Stay Sharp and Buckle Up
Get enough rest; don’t drive when you’re fatigued, too ill to focus, or on medications (including over-the-counter medicine) that make you drowsy or dizzy.
Use your safety belt every time. Safety belts save lives, reduce injuries, and allow drivers to stay inside and in control of their vehicles in case of a crash.
In 2014, 30% of truck drivers involved in fatal crashes were partially or totally ejected from their vehicles.
Know When to Slow and Signal for Safety
Driving too fast for weather or road conditions or failing to slow down for curves or ramps create risks for spills and rollovers, as well as crashes.
Signal and brake to give other drivers plenty of time to notice your intent.
If you must pull off the road, use flashers, reflective triangles, and road flares to alert approaching drivers.
Get the Right Information for Trip Planning
Stay up to date on weather and road conditions, detours, and mountainous routes in order to plan driving time.
Be aware that non-commercial navigation systems and apps may not provide warning of height and weight limitations and other commercial vehicle restrictions.
Never Drive Distracted
Texting is among the worst driving distractions. The odds of being involved in a crash, near-crash, or unintentional lane deviation are 23.2 times greater for truck and bus drivers who are texting while driving.
Research shows that drivers texting while driving took their eyes off the forward road for 4.6 seconds on average.
At 55 mph, this equates to traveling 371 feet (more than the length of a football field) without looking at the road.
It is illegal for a commercial driver to text while driving, and there are restrictions on using mobile phones (devices must be hands free, and dialed using no more than one button).
Eating, drinking, interacting with a navigational device, map reading, controlling a pet, or any other activity that takes focus off the road can also be a deadly distraction.
If you must attend to an activity other than driving, get off at the next exit or pullover – it’s not worth the risk.
Remember: behind the steering wheel of each vehicle is the father, mother, brother or friend of someone who cares for them and wants to know they will return safe, happy and healthy.
Start Your Journey Today with DOT Exams
Did you know that of the thousands of exams facilitated at local clinics each year, over one quarter end up having errors, such as incorrect issuing of DOT cards or passing employees who aren’t 100% physically fit to perform their job duties.
This is a major problem which not only increases your risk, but also leads to increasing work-related injuries and workers comp claims.
Axiom’s Occupational Health Programs can help reduce these risks by reviewing and correcting the examinations.
Our staff of Medical Directors are fully trained, tested and certified for DOT FMCSA exam clearances and listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
Isn’t it time to ensure work is done right the first time?
Holly is an ER nurse by trade, but loves content marketing. She was born outside the box and believes everything is better with “sprinkles and sparkles”. She is passionate about impacting lives and uses marketing as her platform for sharing practical solutions to address real life occupational health challenges.