Each year in the United States alone, more than 500,000 truck-related crashes occur. Tragically, that results in over 5,000 fatalities every year.
Truck drivers, drivers of other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists are all at risk of being involved in a truck accident, so it is vital that drivers of trucks take active steps to reduce the risk of accidents and keep themselves and others safe.
So, here are five ways in which truck driving can be made safer.
What Can You Do if You’re Involved in an Accident with a Truck?
Before we look at ways in which truck driving can be made safer, it is worth mentioning that if you are injured in an accident with a truck and you are not responsible for the accident, you have the right to claim compensation.
With the help of a truck accident lawyer, you can file an insurance claim, file a lawsuit, or take other action and obtain compensation for your expenses, such as medical bills and lost earnings.
So, make sure you consult an experienced lawyer if you find yourself involved in a truck accident.
Now, let us look at the ways to make truck driving safer so that the risk of accidents can be lowered in the first place.
1. Regularly Perform Preventative Maintenance
Truck driving can be made safer, both for the truck drivers and for other drivers on the road, by ensuring regular preventative maintenance is carried out.
By performing preventative maintenance, drivers can be sure that their trucks are in the right condition to head out onto the road.
If things like brake-pad and oil checks are not regularly completed, it is more likely that breakdowns and accidents will occur.
It can be a good idea to use telematics devices that provide real-time visibility into things like engine and odometer data to monitor any potential problems. With telematics data, preventative maintenance schedules can be put into place, based on things like mileage and previous breakdown history.
2. Complete Checks Before and After Journeys
Just as important as performing regular preventative maintenance is checking trucks before and after every time they hit the road.
Truck drivers should always inspect their vehicles to ensure everything is safe and correct.
Companies that use trucks should ensure their drivers always perform checks.
Even if companies do not have policies for checks in place, truck drivers should always complete their own checks to ensure they and other drivers are kept safe.
3. Practice Safe and Defensive Driving
It is not just the trucks themselves that can potentially put drivers at risk. The level of safe driving that truck drivers embrace will also make a huge difference in potential risk.
Therefore, it is crucial that truck drivers always maintain safe driving practices, such as following the rules of the road at all times, and adopt defensive driving techniques. The latter refers to being continually on the outlook for changes in driving and road conditions, as well as potential hazards.
By anticipating potential hazards, truck drivers can make quicker and more informed decisions to lower the risk of accidents occurring.
Safe and defensive truck driving practices include, but are not limited to:
- Being on the outlook for blind spots.
- Remembering to always signal.
- Following speed limits.
- Slowing down on turns and curves.
- Avoiding distracted driving, such as using cell phones while driving.
- Avoiding driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Wearing a seatbelt at all times when driving.
- Practicing the three-second rule, which means ensuring three full seconds pass between the time the vehicle in front reaches a specific point on the road and the time it takes the truck driver to reach the same spot.
4. Use an App to Monitor Changes in Weather and Road Conditions
Both weather conditions and road conditions can be unpredictable, especially when truck drivers are completing long journeys through different states, where weather and road conditions can change dramatically.
In turn, that can lead to a higher risk of accidents.
For instance, bumper-to-bumper traffic can increase the likelihood of accidents, as can poor weather conditions like ice, snow, and heavy rain.
To enable truck drivers to better stay on top of changing conditions, they should use route planning apps that feature real-time updates.
When truck drivers know that traffic congestion or bad weather is on the way, they can take steps to avoid those conditions by doing things like changing their routes.
5. Take Breaks
Truck drivers often regularly complete long journeys, but that can lead to fatigue. In turn, that can cause drivers to pay less attention and heighten their risks of being involved in road accidents and potentially injuring themselves and others.
Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that truck drivers take regular breaks.
HOS regulations in the U.S. state that all drivers of commercial motor vehicles must take a thirty-minute break after driving for eight hours as well as a break of between ten and eleven hours before coming back on duty.
It is important that truck drivers follow those rules, not just to legally conform to regulations but also to ensure they stay safe.
Though, it is highly recommended that truck drivers take additional breaks so that they can be at their most alert while driving and lower the risk of being involved in an accident.
If truck drivers feel sleepy or impaired in any way, they should pull over and rest.
If you work as a truck driver, it is crucial that you take note of the above advice to keep yourself and others safe on the road.
If you run a company that employs truck drivers, it is equally important that you train your drivers in how to stay safe while driving and advise them on the above recommendations.
So, to recap, you can make truck driving safer by:
- Regularly performing preventative maintenance.
- Completing checks before and after journeys.
- Practicing safe and defensive driving.
- Using an app to monitor changes in weather and road conditions.
- Taking breaks.