You’re likely excited to go on the road as a rookie truck driver. But, before you do, set some goals for your first year, especially in terms of safety! Every new truck driver hopes to have an accident-free first year, and with a few basic but effective safety advice for new truck drivers, you may achieve that goal!
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
It is critical to maintain strong mental and physical health in order to be safe on the road. First and foremost, understand that things will feel chaotic throughout your first year, but with a good attitude and a healthy diet and exercise regimen, you will love your work more.
Use proper loading and unloading techniques
Follow correct loading/unloading practices to protect your cargo—and your back. Remember the rule of three points of touch (maintaining three points of contact when entering or exiting the trailer, including one hand and both feet, or both hands and one foot). When loading or unloading, make sure the freight is properly secured, use tractor and trailer parking brakes, and don’t leave a loading dock until the loading/unloading is complete and the dock plate is removed.
Keep an eye on the weather and traffic news
Check the weather and traffic conditions before leaving on a journey and plan accordingly. It’s also a good idea to check reports as frequently as possible while driving and be aware of any changes.
Allow enough space in front of your rig
Remember the seven-second rule (at the very least)! It’s critical to establish a safe space between you and other people. It might be aggravating to be following someone who is driving much below the speed limit, but this buffer zone will allow you to adjust and slow down as needed.
Be aware of your speed
It might be tempting to drive a bit too quickly, but one of the most critical safety guidelines for truckers is to slow down. Big trucks have a hard time turning. Maintaining speeds of at or below 62 mph will help you stay in control, and you should constantly alter your speed for dangerous driving situations.
Maintain vigilance and take breaks to inspect your rig
After a long period of time on the road, it’s easy to lose track of time. Maintain vigilance and pay attention to everything going on around you. Always keep an eye on the road ahead of you and plan an “exit route” in case you need to avoid a collision. Staying properly rested and taking frequent stretch breaks are two of the most important things to remember. Take a few minutes during your break to inspect the car and trailer for soft tires, air leaks, and spilling coolant or oil.
Don’t forget to bring spare valve stem covers and flashlights
You’re undoubtedly aware of the value of performing a comprehensive “pre-trip” checkup, which includes checking the lights, tires, pins, fifth wheel, and lights. Carry extra lights and valve stem covers with you, say seasoned truck drivers, since you never know when you or a fellow trucker might need them! Keep your headlights and clearing lights turned on and clean to ensure that you are always visible and able to see well!