Essential safety and defensive driving tips for truck drivers

13 Mar.,2023


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3. Adjust for bad weather.

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), inclement weather is responsible for roughly 21 percent of all vehicle crashes. Check these weather tips and Schneider’s bad-weather driving policy — including drivers’ stop-work authority — to stay safe.

4. Get comfortable.

Adjust the steering wheel, seat height and back rest to stay comfortable during long driving periods and get your in-truck device’s turn-by-turn navigation ready before you turn the key. Then plan to take breaks every few hours, parking in parking lots (not on the shoulder) and getting out to walk around.

5. Hang up.

Put down the phone. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Schneider restrict mobile use while operating a commercial motor vehicle.

On the road: 12 safety tips for while you drive

How many trucking accidents happen a year? According to the most recent year’s FMCSA data, large trucks were involved in almost 500,000 crashes. However, you can avoid trouble on the road by practicing safe and alert driving.

6. Use three points of contact.

When getting in or out of your tractor, always maintain three points of contact. Slips, trips and falls are a common cause of injury, so don’t risk it by rushing. Set food, beverages, paperwork or other items on your seat or floor so both hands are free to maintain a firm grip.

7. Wear your seatbelt.

It’s the law, and more importantly, it’s the right thing to do. Buckle up every time for your safety. According to the CDC, you are 30 times more likely to be ejected in a crash without your seatbelt.

8. Watch your blind spots.

Know the "no-zone" blind spots, and exercise caution before turning or changing lanes to maintain a safe distance. First decide if a lane change is really necessary or if adjusting speed is safer. Be sure mirrors are set, and use “Take 10” for lane changes (turn on signal for three seconds while checking mirrors, take seven seconds to make lane change).

9. Stay alert in work zones and school zones.

Roughly one-third of all fatal work-zone accidents involve large trucks. Take your time and follow these 10 tips for driving safely in construction zones.

10. Reduce speed on curves.

For large trucks, the posted speed limit may still be too fast, particularly on exit/entrance ramps. Slow down at least 5-10 mph below the posted speed to avoid the risk of tipping given your vehicle’s center of gravity.

11. Stay in your lane.

Keep both hands on the wheel so you can prevent wind from pulling your tractor-trailer to one side or the other. Also, if an animal runs into your lane, slow down safely, but maintain your lane. Don’t swerve to miss animals.

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