Any truck driver knows accidents can happen. This is part of the reason why drivers take regular breaks, try to ensure they get enough sleep, and remain as alert as possible while on the road. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, it is important that, among other good practices, truck drivers should avoid tailgating and try to remain patient with others on the road. This can be a challenge when cargo must reach its destination at a certain time, but drivers must remember to stay safe. Additionally, operators need to give their vehicle enough time to safely stop, which typically means slowing down before halting - something that is particularly important for drivers who have heavy loads.
However, accidents can and do happen, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently awarded funds to help states work with drivers to better prevent crashes on the road.
Improved roadways and safer drivers
States and educational institutions received government funding to the tune of just over $70 million to improve commercial motor vehicle safety. Of that figure, $41.5 million was designated to be high-priority and used to improve technology and commercial vehicle safety initiatives. A further $30.7 million of the funding was allocated to implement better commercial driver's license training programs, while $1 million will be used to help veterans become truck drivers.
FMCSA Deputy Administrator Daphne Jefferson highlighted how the country's roadways need to become safer "These grants will help ensure that our state partners have the tools and resources they need to support FMCSA's mission of reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses," she said. "Safe drivers lead to safer roadways, and safer roadways ensure that our loved ones return home at the end of their journey."
Tips to stay alert on the road
As it can be hard to focus 100 percent all of the time, drivers should know how they can remain as attentive as possible to their surroundings. Sometimes, listening to music or a preferred radio program can help truckers be aware of what is going on around them. The sound will keep them sharp, and there may be less chance that they get lost in thought.
However, it is important to take regular breaks as to not experience driving fatigue; the DMV suggested that drivers who experience drooping eyes and sleepiness should pull off the road and take a nap at the first available stop. This can be extremely dangerous as many crashes are caused by drivers who inadvertently fall asleep at the wheel. Additionally, no matter how tempting it may be to keep going, it is extremely important that drivers not exceed 11 hours of straight driving time.
Raising awareness of driver safety and better educating would-be truckers are a couple of ways that those in the industry can be better at their jobs. As with any profession, there are many risks associated with long-haul truck driving, but with states and motor vehicle associations working together, all drivers can be better on the roads.
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