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Road safety comes first

Road safety comes first

I find it very interesting to listen to the drivers when they tell me about the reasons why they chose the trucking profession. Most agree that they really enjoy being on the road, some say it was their dream since they were children, others do it because in their family there are those who are dedicated to the business and there are those who do it because the driver`s salary is good and, in many cases, better than some professions in which you have to invest years of study and money to pay for the studies.

Regardless of your motivation for deciding to become a truck driver, keep in mind that the process doesn`t end when you get your CDL. Learning is constant especially in the security part. This will be acquired mile after mile in your long driving days. The following recommendations can help you become a safer driver:

  • Personal care. The only person responsible for the security of your truck is you. That`s why it`s important to take care of your health by eating healthy, exercising often (at least 30 minutes a day helps), and sleeping. Plan to take breaks every few hours and go for a walk.
  • Plan your route carefully. Stay up to date on weather, road conditions, traffic, construction zones, low bridges, and regulations that sometimes vary by state.
  • Plan your trip ahead during bad weather: According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), inclement weather is responsible for approximately 21% of all vehicle accidents.
  • Get comfortable before you turn the key: Adjust the steering wheel, seat height and backrest to keep you comfortable and have your GPS ready.
  • Put the phone aside or connect the Bluetooth before you start driving.
  • Be careful when getting on or off your tractor: Slips and falls are a common cause of injury, so don`t risk rushing.
  • The seat belt is mandatory. Always fasten your seat belt for your safety. According to the CDC, you are 30 times more likely to be ejected in a crash without a seat belt.
  • Beware of your blind spots: You must know what they are and be careful before turning or changing lanes to maintain a safe distance. First decide if a lane change is really necessary or if it is safer to adjust your speed. Make sure your mirrors are adjusted and wait "10 seconds" to change lanes (turn signal on for three seconds while checking mirrors, take seven seconds to change lanes).
  • Be alert in work zones and school zones: Approximately one-third of all fatal accidents in work zones involve large trucks.
  • Reduce speed on curves.
  • Stay in your lane with both hands on the wheel: to prevent the wind, an animal or another vehicle from causing you to lose control. If this happens, safely slow down, but stay in your lane.
  • Scan ahead 15 seconds: Always keep an eye on the drivers around you to leave enough room for their unpredictable actions. Remember, you are the professional trucker. Focus on what you can control.
  • Keep seven to eight seconds distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, as large trucks require more distance to stop. In bad weather, it increases to 14 seconds.
  • Check the mirrors frequently: It is recommended every 8-10 seconds.

Have a safe and blessed day.

Safety at the Wheel


Edic.: 181
Autor: Juan Peña
Date: 8/2022