One of the biggest concerns truckers should have as they navigate the nation's highways and byways is the safety of themselves and others. Whether it's behind the wheel of a big rig, walking through parking lots and rest stops, or working on their trucks on the side of the road, it's always important to be aware of the risks and the ways to avoid them.
Below are a few suggestions to getting every load delivered safely:
1) Get plenty of sleep
Perhaps the best way to avoid accidents or injuries of any kind are to make sure you're getting enough rest on a consistent basis, according to Trucking Office. There have been studies that show driving while you're drowsy - either because you've been awake too long or because you didn't get enough sleep the night before - is nearly as dangerous as drunk driving. For that reason, you need to be able to recognize when it's time to pull over.
2) Drive defensively
In a tractor trailer, you're the biggest thing on the road, and have a big impact on traffic around you, Trucking Office added. However, you will also require more time and space to brake, turn, change lanes and so on. As a result, you would be wise to give everyone plenty of space, take it slow, avoid hard braking and generally be more reactive than active behind the wheel.
3) Carry equipment to help you through any weather
As seasons change, you need to be prepared for whatever can arise, according to 123 Loadboard. With winter winding down and spring approaching, you may need cold-weather gear like boots, heavy gloves, tire chains, extra wiper fluid and blades - as well as a rain coat, galoshes and so on to deal with rain, melting snow and ice, and so on.
4) Make yourself visible on the side of the road
While it's not advisable, it's sometimes unavoidable: Truckers have to occasionally pull to the shoulder of the road for a litany of reasons, which can pose a danger if other drivers aren't paying attention, 123 Loadboard advised. Whenever you find that you have to do so, it's important to make sure you put down reflective signs or road flares that make you easier to see (especially at night). And, if you have to leave the truck itself for any reason, you should also remember to wear reflective clothing.
5) Be careful about carrying boxes
One of the easiest ways to injure yourself as a trucker is by lifting or carrying items that are too heavy, or are being handled improperly, according to Monster. You've probably seen the warnings about lifting with your legs, rather than your back, and that's good advice to follow - but you should also make sure you're fully prepared for the size and weight of the item you have to move. Even with proper lifting techniques, you might find it too difficult to carry, so when in doubt, use a dolly or cart to transport it.
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