If you have ever had a near-miss with a semitruck, you can be forgiven for muttering obscenities under your breath while struggling to reclaim your position in your lane. It seems that we have come a long way from the days when truckers were considered to be highway knights as they were in past decades.
But truckers, like all motorists, can do much to make the roads safer. It’s a win-win situation for everyone when truckers demonstrate safe driving habits, as a semitruck accident not only snarls traffic and claims lives but leaves truckers with black marks on their DOT records.
Below are a few safety tips for truckers:
- Drive only when well-rested. Taking advantage of mandated rest breaks recharges a trucker’s physical and mental batteries. If truckers get sleepy on a long haul, they should pull over for a short catnap rather than drive drowsy.
- Reduce speeds in work zones. Speeding fines are higher in construction zones because of the increased dangers to the workers. Keep them safer by slowing down.
- Pay attention to the truck’s blind spots. It’s easy to make the tragic mistake of ignoring a motorcyclist or motorist driving a small car when they are in a truck driver’s blind spots.
- Always signal your intentions. When truckers are turning or changing lanes, they should make sure that others on the road know their plans so they can take evasive action to get out of the way.
- Never tailgate. It’s not possible for a semitruck to stop quickly, meaning that anyone in the vehicle in front of a big rig will be in jeopardy if the traffic stops suddenly.
- Don’t speed. With the often-intense pressure from trucking companies for truck drivers to deliver goods faster, it can be tempting to drive with a lead foot. Truck drivers must resist this temptation, which can result in expensive tickets and black marks on their commercial drivers license (CDL).
- Check brakes regularly. There are no runaway truck ramps here in South Texas as there are in some mountainous areas of the country. That means that if the truck’s brakes fail, there is nothing to retard speed in a highway emergency.
- Don’t cause or contribute to road rage. Antagonizing aggressive drivers escalates the problem. Ignoring angry gestures and blaring horns, and putting miles between the big rig and any unsafe drivers is always better.
Medication can impair truckers’ driving skills
Truck drivers who shun illegal drugs may still wind up driving while impaired if their legally prescribed or over-the-counter (OTC) medications leave them lethargic or sleepy. They should always ask their doctors and pharmacists if they can drive while taking a particular medicine.
Safety on the roads and highways is everyone’s responsibility. Anyone who gets injured in an accident with a semitruck may wish to learn how they can file a claim for damages and recoup some of their financial losses.