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5 ways truckers can stay safe in the breakdown lane

3/2/2021

5 ways truckers can stay safe in the breakdown lane

Timing is everything in trucking, but sometimes unfortunate issues like breakdowns and blown tires force you off the road. When that happens, you have to do everything you can to keep yourself safe, whether you're waiting for help or just trying to deal with the problem yourself.

1) Pull over as far as possible

This is usually the easiest thing to do when you need to pull off the road, but it's not something all truckers do to the fullest extent, according to Automotive Fleet. Truckers have to understand that to keep themselves and their trucks truly safe in an emergency scenario, they should pull as far away from the road as they can so the risk of being struck by a careless driver is kept to a minimum.

2) Stay in your truck unless leaving is absolutely necessary

There are many scenarios in which you may feel you can tackle the problems that led to the breakdown on your own, but that's not a good idea in many cases, especially if you need to be on the road side of your vehicle (such as changing a tire), Automotive Fleet added. Instead, unless you're making the quickest of quick fixes, it's better to stay in your cab and avoid moving around in there too much.

3) Call for help and wait patiently

As part of your need to stay in the cab instead of trying to make a repair on your own, consider calling for help from someone who can do things a little more safely, according to FleetNet. While a tow truck or emergency repair driver's job is still dangerous, they're trained for this kind of task, and the presence of their truck adds a visual layer of protection, and helps keep you safer. And while those repairs are taking place, you can also get in touch with dispatch and your destination to keep them informed of the situation.

4) Only stand well off to the side of your truck

If, for some reason, you do have to stay outside your truck for a prolonged period, you shouldn't make the mistake of standing in front of it (relative to the flow of traffic) or behind it, according to Hogan Injury. In the latter case, other drivers won't be able to see you at all, and in the former, one mistake can put you in a highly dangerous situation. Instead, you should only stand outside of your truck well away from the road.

5) Keep yourself as visible as possible

Finally, it's important to make sure other drivers can see you and your truck as easily as possible, Hogan Injury advised. That's easy enough in daylight, but at night time you will have to be more proactive: Leave all your lights and flashers on, lay out reflective signs and flares for some distance behind your truck, and wear a reflective vest or other bright clothing.

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