Truck drivers are responsible for transporting goods across long distances and play a crucial economic role. But their job can be challenging, and they are exposed to various risks on the road.
So, truck drivers need to practice safe driving practices. And they should also avoid common mistakes that can cause accidents or harm to themselves and others. This article will discuss seven common truck driver mistakes and how to avoid them.
Table of Contents
1. Not Performing Proper Vehicle Inspections
One of the most critical responsibilities of a truck driver is to do proper vehicle inspections. They must do this before starting a journey. This includes checking the brakes, tires, lights, and other essential truck components.
Doing these can lead to accidents on the road, which can be fatal. Failure to do proper vehicle inspections can also result in fines and penalties. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truck drivers to complete pre- and post-trip assessments.
This is for the safety of the truck and its cargo. Failure to do so can result in fines and driver’s license suspension. So, truck drivers should make sure to inspect their vehicles well. They can learn this through an entry level course for Class A CDL training.
They should report any issues to their employer immediately. They should also record their inspections to follow FMCSA regulations.
2. Overloading Truck
Another common mistake that truck drivers need to correct is overloading their trucks. It can cause the vehicle to become unstable and difficult to control, leading to accidents on the road. Overloading the car can also result in fines and penalties.
The FMCSA has weight limit guidelines for trucks based on their size and the cargo they are carrying. Violating these guidelines can result in fines and driver’s license suspension.
In line with this, truck drivers should follow the weight limit guidelines for their trucks. They should also make sure to avoid overloading their vehicles. They should also distribute the weight of the cargo consistently throughout the car to support stability.
3. Not Taking Enough Rest
Truck drivers often have extended hours on the road, which can lead to fatigue and exhaustion. Not resting enough can impair a driver’s ability to concentrate and react immediately. It can lead to accidents on the road. Fatigue also affects a driver’s health and well-being.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), truck drivers have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. It is due to their sedentary lifestyle and irregular sleep patterns.
Because of this, truck drivers should get enough rest before starting their journey. They should also take regular breaks to avoid fatigue. They should also avoid driving during their usual hours and use sleep facilities at truck stops or rest areas.
4. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a significant cause of accidents on the road. And truck drivers need to avoid distractions while driving. It includes using mobile phones, eating or drinking while driving, and even talking to passengers in the truck.
Distracted driving also affects a driver’s reaction time and ability to make quick decisions. According to the FMCSA, using a mobile phone while driving increases the risk of a crash by six times.
So, truck drivers should always stay focused on the road and avoid any distractions that can take their attention away from driving. They should also pull over to a safe location if they need to use their phone, eat, or drink.
Speeding is another common mistake that truck drivers make, which can lead to accidents on the road. Speeding also increases the risk of receiving a citation or penalty. The FMCSA has speed limit guidelines for trucks based on their size and the road they are driving on.
Violating these guidelines can result in fines and driver’s license suspension. Truck driving safety practices calls for truck drivers to follow the speed limit guidelines for their trucks and the truck driving routes they are going on.
They should also adjust their speed according to the weather and road conditions.
6. Improper Lane Changes
Improper lane changes can also cause accidents on the road. It includes failing to signal when changing lanes, not checking blind spots, and cutting off other vehicles. Improper lane changes can also result in fines and penalties.
The FMCSA requires truck drivers to signal before changing lanes and check their blind spots before making any maneuvers. Failure to follow these regulations can result in fines and driver’s license suspension.
It is why truck drivers should signal before changing lanes, check their blind spots, and avoid cutting off other vehicles.
7. Not Adapting to Weather Conditions
Weather conditions can have a significant impact on driving. So, truck drivers need to adapt to these different driving conditions. Not adapting to weather conditions can lead to accidents on the road and put the driver and other road users at risk.
It is part of the truck driver’s responsibility to check weather forecasts and adjust their driving accordingly. They should also ensure their trucks have the necessary equipment and support visibility by cleaning their windshields and mirrors as often as possible.
Common Truck Driver Mistakes You Need to Avoid
Truck driving is demanding and requires proper training and attention to safety. Truck drivers can reduce the risk of accidents and ensure the safety of themselves and others on the road by avoiding these common truck driver mistakes.
Remember to do proper vehicle inspections, avoid overloading the truck, take enough rest, avoid distractions while driving, follow speed limit guidelines, make lane changes, and adapt to weather conditions.
Following these guidelines will help you become a better truck driver and contribute to the safety of the road.
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