9 Smart Rules for a Long Haul Truck Driver to Keep Your Product and Employees Safe

A long haul truck driver plays an essential role in transporting goods and services all over the United States. But sitting for long periods and working lots of long hours can be detrimental to the health and well-being of those truck drivers.

The average long haul truck driver drives more than 107,000 miles per year and works 60 hours a week. Many truck drivers find themselves exhausted. And not enough training is provided in order to ensure safe driving practices. 697 truck drivers or their passengers were killed in 2012 alone.

So what are some things that truck drivers can do to stay safe and healthy? Here are 11 rules for making sure they do.

1. Provide the Proper Training

Providing proper training is the responsibility of the employer. Unfortunately, many truck drivers are left to their own devices and aren’t given the proper training for the job. 

This can be especially true of entry-level drivers. Their training must meet current needs and should be updated on a regular basis. The highest level of leadership should be committed to training drivers at every level.

Drivers should be aware of weight limits and be able to adhere to cargo securement. They should be trained to practice safe driving, buckle up, and be given ways to avoid distracted or drowsy driving.

2. Wear Your Seat Belt

Many drivers fail to follow one of the most important truck driver safety tips, which is to buckle up. Even though wearing a seatbelt isn’t required of long haul truck drivers, it’s the best way to prevent injuries and fatalities.

3. Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

This might be an obvious one, but it’s a serious one and is one of the most important rules of truck safety.

Being under the influence can cause drowsiness and other dangerous symptoms that can put the lives of anyone on the road, at risk. It can also cost you your job, and if there is an accident as a result of your drowsiness, it can cost you much more.

4. Follow Speed Limits

Truck drivers often have their own speed limits because they have much less control than cars, especially when going fast.

Because of their high center of gravity, trucks often lose control when they have to make a short turn or entering and exciting ramps. It’s much easier for a truck to roll over, and as a result, they have to be much more cautious.

5. Plan Your Trip and Be Mindful of Weather

Planning your trip helps you to take ownership of every turn and move that you make. 

Even though you may have done it many times, make an effort to plan your route. Give yourself a couple of different options should you hit inclement weather. Check the weather ahead of time and plan accordingly. You don’t want to drive under extreme weather conditions if you can help it.

6. Be Extra Careful at Night

Nighttime driving is much more dangerous, not only because it’s harder to see, but also because it’s more likely you’ll become drowsy. 

Sometimes it’s hard to see exactly how the road curves or turns until it’s too late. Or sometimes something looks like an exit but it’s actually the ditch before it. Exercise extreme caution if you’re driving at night.

7. Don’t Tailgate

Tailgating is dangerous, and in a big truck, it’s even worse. Even if you feel like everyone is passing you, continue to leave plenty of room between the front of your truck and any cars ahead.

Should anything go wrong up ahead, the more space you have in front of you the more time to have to slow down, stop, or go around.

8. Use a GPS for Truckers

There are GPS apps specially designed for truckers. Use one. It will provide you with essential information, such as how far away an exit is, traffic reports, which exit to take, and when to change lanes.

Having a GPS app that helps you drive safer can help put you at ease. That being said, don’t rely on it 100%. It’s up to you to make sure that every decision you make is a safe one and to make sure you avoid tractor trailer truck accidents.

9. Stay Healthy

With gas station stops and long distance driving, it can be near impossible for a long haul truck driver to stay healthy. But there are ways to do it, and your body and mind will thank you.

Believe it or not, junk food and drinks with high sugar can actually make you feel drowsy. Stick to light, healthy snacks whenever you can. Every time you stop, walk around and stretch. And anytime you’re not driving, incorporate exercise into your life whenever you can.

Unfortunately, many truckers suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Many truck cabs are not designed well for long distance driving either. Do your best to make your cab comfortable and healthy. Bring a small cooler and pack snacks. Stick to drinking water whenever you can.

And most importantly, make sure you get enough sleep!

The Life of a Long Haul Truck Driver Can Be Hard

The life of a long haul truck driver may be hard, but it can still be healthy. If you follow the steps for safe driving, make sure you get the proper training, and take care of your mind and body while you’re on the road, you’re on a path to success.

You don’t have to do much. Opt for water and a sandwich instead of chips and a soda. Each time you stop, do 100 jumping jacks and perform a light stretch.

Drive safe and take your time to plan your route and take safe turns. Get your sleep and wear a seatbelt!

You don’t have to wait. You can start being healthier and safer today by following just a few simple rules. And you’ll feel better in the process!

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