Being a truck driver entails being fully present with what you're doing and what's happening around you. Driving a truck also requires being constantly aware and compliant with safe driving rules.
However, there are some cases when either a new or seasoned truck driver may be too complacent and relaxed while driving and start ignoring the things they should do to maintain their safety and the safety of the people around them.
In the following, our truck driver recruiting agency shares tips on the five essential things that professional truck drivers should never do.
1. DRIVING TOO FAST WHEN GOING DOWN THE HILL
Truck driving, especially in mountain passes and steep hills, can be challenging for a beginner and seasoned truck driver. The same goes when driving under conditions – e.g., icy roads, snow, and rain when the roads are slippery.
When driving down a steep hill or mountain, the faster you are, the harder it will be to control your truck because it picks up speed quickly. And if you don't pay attention, the top downhill speed can make you lose control of your vehicle.
So, when driving down a steep hill, what should you do? First, you must take the hills slowly for your safety and the safety of other drivers. There is no need to drive fast, especially if you're unfamiliar with the roads.
Mind your speed taking into account your capacity. So if you're running at total capacity, your heavy weight will push you down the steep hill. Even if you apply your brakes, you cannot slow the truck down without burning them. So try to go slower by five mph than the posted speed limit.
Before going downhill, determine the gear you should be using as well. And importantly, take note of the signs, such as steep grades along the highways, for guidance.
NOTE about loads: Consider if your truck is full or empty because your capacity will affect your hill navigation. If you're carrying over 25,000 lbs, reduce your speed by up to 10 mph below the posted speed limit if one exists or 35 mph if none.
*This tip for driving down a hill applies when the road conditions are favorable. Meanwhile, make a judgment call and reduce your speed, considering if you're empty or loaded under other road conditions.
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2. LETTING ELECTRONIC LOGGING DEVICES (ELDs) MAKE THE DECISION ALL THE TIME
Electronic logging devices, which plug into the vehicle's onboard diagnostics port, collect data on the engine, speed, location, and miles were driven and record driving time and hours of service for commercial motor vehicles.
What is electronic logging device truck driving? The electronic logging device rule requires that truck drivers use an ELD to prepare hours of service records of daily status.
Fleet managers, truck drivers, and dispatchers use the real-time information on this device to learn about the driver's status. This ensures compliance with industry regulations, adherence to required inspections, etc.
The ELD rule aims to increase driver safety and to make tracking, managing, and sharing records of duty status data easy and manageable.
Do I need an electronic logging device? Yes, you do, but you shouldn’t let it make all the decisions for you.
Don't try to beat the clock and make many lane changes, or it can result in devastating consequences. For example, our truck driver recruiting services recommend truck drivers not to increase speed when they notice running out of their available driving hours. Instead, they must look for the nearest place to pull off the road.
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3. DRIVING WHEN TIRED
Aside from texting while driving, driving when tired is another leading cause of truck accidents.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving causes 40,000 injuries and 1,500 deaths. It also believes that some 100,000 accidents are due to drivers dozing off at the wheel.
Unfortunately, sleep deprivation can affect truck driver performance, with many reporting falling asleep behind the wheel.
Based on studies, at least forty percent of truck crashes were a result of drowsy driving.
Truck drivers should not drive when sleepy or tired.
When you feel tired, it means you're tired. So it would help if you rested instead of fighting fatigue with strong coffee or energy drinks.
Any of these is ineffective as your body will naturally still shut down and sleep when your body is tired. Don't force yourself to drive when you're sleepy or exhausted because it has numerous adverse effects on reaction time, attention span, and other things that affect safe driving.
· Slower reaction time
· Lower speed and capacity to process and absorb information
· Short attention span
Any of these can have a serious impact on the road. So stop driving and sleep, and only continue driving once you're already well-rested.
4. DOING RECREATIONAL DRUGS
Truck driving is a sensitive role. Therefore, drivers should be 100% present – mentally, emotionally, and physically.
One of the things that our Transport Logistics firm observes based on the drivers we’ve talked with - some professional truck drivers are doing recreational drugs.
Someone isn't physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if they use marijuana and other Schedule I controlled substances. They can't also carry it with them in the truck. So definitely, they're not allowed under any circumstances to be under the influence of drugs when on- or off-duty based on Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).
It is a DOT violation to be high or have marijuana in the truck. The FMCSA states that truck drivers can get suspended for one year for the first conviction for driving under the influence and up to three years if transporting hazardous materials.
5. TEXTING WHILE DRIVING
Distracted driving (changing the radio station, eating, or talking on the phone) is a severe problem in the United States.
Texting while driving is said to be the worst. This is because it takes an average of five seconds to read a text message, but only three seconds for an accident to happen.
Checking your phone while driving can result in an injury or even fatality. In addition, it can put yourself and the public in danger because it takes your eyes off the road.
Texting while driving is one of the things professional truck drivers (and any other driver) should never do. This is disregard for their safety and the safety of the public.
Don’t text and drive! There is no reason to be on the phone while driving.
Texting while driving increases crash risk or near-crash events 23.2 times as high as other types of driving distractions, according to a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study.
Of all driving distractions, texting is the worst because it combines the three types of distractions increasing the dangers of texting while driving: manual, visual, and cognitive. To text someone, you need to take your hands off the wheel (manual) and focus on texting/reading a text rather than driving (cognitive).
Texting while driving accidents: Of 2.5 million accidents in the United States annually, 1.6 million are cell phone-related crashes, accounting for 64 percent. Using a mobile phone while driving accounts for 421,000 total injuries, while 25 percent of road accidents are because of texting while driving.
[Did you know it's more dangerous than drunk driving because it's six times more likely to cause a crash?]
No texting while driving: The FMCSA established the "No Texting Rule" to reduce truck accidents due to texting while driving.
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What exactly is considered texting? According to the FMCSA, this activity involves entering text into or reading it from an electronic device. It includes but is not limited to emailing, SMS, and pressing more than a button to make or end a call with a mobile phone, etc.
If caught texting while driving, you can be disqualified from driving for up to 120 days or face fines up to $2,750. Meanwhile, employers can be fined up to $11,000 for allowing truck drivers to use handheld devices while driving.
Do you think we missed another essential tip that fellow truck drivers should know? Let our truck driver hiring agency know about it in the comment section. Finally, spread the word and inform other drivers on social media today!
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