Flatbed trucking jobs can be challenging. Managing your truck and making sure it’s safe is something you have control of but there are many factors that can cause problems when you’re on the road. There is a constant potential for being in the way of other drivers and their negligence. In order to ensure your safety, here are some helpful tips while you’re on the road!
Weather Is the Worst
In most cases, weather can be accounted for a lot of road accidents involving trucks and large vans. The more weight you have on the wheels, the worse wear and tear you’re going to incur for even the smallest things. Planning ahead for weather—and not taking one single newscast as a joke—is the surefire way to stay ahead of the storms, the bad weather, and stay out of the breakdown lane. The last thing you want is to end up in an accident.
The worst part of adverse weather effects come down to lasting damage on your vehicle. It’s extremely important to get your truck inspected on a regular basis to ensure that no lasting damage has been done due to storms or surges. Be prepared; before entering the fray of a light weather pattern, if you must, be sure to have enough rest and have full focus and control over your truck.
This one may seem the most obvious, but it’s easy to overlook. We’re used to staying up late some nights and then just sleeping off the adverse effects. If we were to get proper sleep every night, which Americans don’t do on a regular basis, we would see how much it adds to our health and focus. Those who get proper sleep are more alert, have quicker and better reflexes, and their dexterity increases nearly twofold. It’s a big deal.
The obvious safety concerns come down to falling asleep at the wheel, which nobody wants to do. Some of the most common accidents involving truckers are due to them falling asleep at the wheel and hitting other cars in other lanes. If this is the case, it becomes a pileup, and it’s at the fault of the truck driver.
Getting the right amount of sleep is also imperative to your personal safety apart from just being out on the road. If, on a regular basis, you don’t stop and get the sleep that your body needs, you’re slowly ensuring that a wreck is on the not so distant horizon. Even if your employer doesn’t like it and they want goods moved faster, you have to take your safety, and the safety of others into consideration.
You’re moving a big truck, and you never know when a bad drivers is going to appear. Many people don’t realize that you have an extremely large blind spot on either side of your truck. Avoiding traffic will lower your chance of getting into an accident. It’s absurd how often fender benders or serious accidents occur because of highway traffic. If you’re out on the road, pay close attention to the local traffic reports on the radio. The apps on your phone are only so accurate, but the verbal report from the local radio station is spot on nearly every single time.
Leave Plenty of Room
This also has a bit to do with traffic. If you’re a veteran driver, you’re still prone to make this mistake. In fact, it may come easier to you. Not leaving enough room between the front of your truck and the cars ahead of you is rookie mistake number one, and you’ll certainly feel like that if you were to get into an automobile accident as a result. Besides that, we live in the age of texting and driving, and having devices in our hands that we just can’t seem to put down. That being said, the car ahead of you may very well be slowly nudging along traffic while scrolling Facebook on their phone, and end up stopping short or getting into an accident of their own. Leaving room ensures you’re not going to get caught up in that. It may be boring to sit there while the police direct traffic into the other lanes, but it’ll be worth it. You’ll still be on your merry way no matter what.
Change Lanes Infrequently
Again, we come back to your blind spots. Other drivers would like to think that their vehicle is in the center of the entire highway, and in fact, that little Prius isn’t going to cut it. It’s not about getting into a war of road rage out on the highway, either, it’s about safety. People who’ve never driven a big rig don’t know how difficult it can be to keep it steady and have the weight play in their favor, instead of against them.
Manage Your Rig
Make frequent stops for rest, but also check that everything is okay with your rig. This is especially important if you’re driving in snowy northern weather. Make sure ice isn’t building up causing your rig to lose traction, and try to make sure that your fluids are topped off so you don’t experience any freezing.
Apart from that, it’s a good idea to give your rig a quick inspection at every stop, and a thorough one before you leave again after reaching your destination. When you’re going to travel more than one thousand miles at a time, it’s good to bring a little tearaway checklist, even if it’s just on some post it notes, so that you know what to look for during your inspections. When managing your rig, ensure that you have enough extra fluids and emergency gas. Managing your rig is about getting ready for the unexpected, no matter what climate, no matter what happens. Do this properly, and your safety will be on lockdown.
Alco Transportation is one of the country’s largest providers of transportation, warehousing, and rail service. We strive to provide our truck drivers with a job they will be proud to have! When your steel transportation and storage company cares about their drivers, you know you’ve made the right choice. Find out all about our transportation and mission statement here.