Safe driving practices can help new truckers reduce the risk of traffic crashes. Operating a commercial truck requires a higher level of skill and attentiveness compared to passenger vehicles. Whether experienced or novice, truckers can follow these 4 safety tips to reduce the risk of an accident while on the job.
Causes of Trucking Accidents
Trucking accidents account for 74% of fatal passenger vehicle crashes. Of these fatalities, 67% were victims in the involved passenger vehicle. When truckers are unprepared, inattentive, or impaired, they risk their jobs as well as the lives of other drivers on the road.
The top causes of trucking accidents are:
Fatigue. Driving while fatigued leads to loss of concentration and coordination, and can cause drivers to fall asleep behind the wheel.
Substance use. Taking part in alcohol or substance abuse while driving leads to a significant impairment of driving ability. Some prescription medications may have an impact on a trucker’s ability to drive safely.
Distracted driving. Distracted driving behaviors impact a person’s ability to avoid accidents. Navigation systems, smartphones, passengers, and other distractions cause truckers to get into traffic crashes.
Overspeeding and Overtaking. Driving too fast for conditions can cause truckers to lose control of the vehicle. A speeding driver will lose significant reaction time in an accident. Overtaking smaller vehicles can force them off of the road.
Poor Maintenance and Training. Inexperienced or untrained truckers may not be able to maneuver large vehicles in high-stress conditions. Poor vehicle maintenance can lead to traffic crashes.
Safety Tips for New Truckers
There are safety steps that truckers can take to reduce the likelihood of a crash.
- A driver should be well-rested and adhere to hourly restrictions regarding daily drive time. Truckers should use required break times to rest and recharge as well.
- Driving at a pace that matches the road conditions is crucial in avoiding an accident, as well as sticking to area speed limits.
- Avoiding distractions such as cell phones and other devices can help a trucker to focus on the road, increasing the ability to react to a potential crash. Remaining clear-headed by avoiding substances can reduce the risk of a trucking accident.
- Practicing proper vehicle maintenance and training to a level of comfort with the vehicle helps new drivers avoid crashes.
Simply having a CDL does not automatically make a good trucker, and maintaining that mindset can help new truckers avoid overestimating their skill set and prevent accidents.