5 must know driving safety tips if you're a truck driver
There's more to being behind this wheel.
The UK’s roads are impressively safe for the amount of traffic on them. That said, road accidents are still one of the major causes of death both in the UK and worldwide.
What’s more, over 90% of them are due to human error or condition. (Traffic Injury Research Foundation, 2019). With that in mind, Andrea, Operations Manager of Trucking specialists, FleetEx, shares 5 top safety tips for truck drivers and their employers.
Only drive when you’re 100% fit to do so
A shortage of drivers plus tight schedules may lead drivers to feel that they need to show up for work unless they’re seriously ill. It’s great to have a strong work ethic, but it’s vital to recognize the safety implications. If you’re at all uncertain of your ability to manage an HGV over long periods, then you should just stay home. It’s better for everyone.
On a similar note, make sure that you take your full rest breaks when you should and make appropriate use of them. If at all possible, get out of the cab, take deep breaths and stretch. Get food and drinks if you need it and try to go for nutritious options.
Make full use of technology
Safe driving means being aware of the road and what is happening on it. That starts with being able to see the road. This has long been a challenge for HGV drivers. Fortunately, that’s exactly why technology has stepped in to assist.
If you’re taking an HGV into London, then you must now comply with the requirements on their Direct Vision scheme. This is aimed at making sure all HGV drivers can see other road users, particularly vulnerable ones like cyclists. Other urban areas may create their own versions of this scheme. Even if they don’t then it’s both sensible and ethical to address this issue.
Ensure your vehicle is maintained
Lack of maintenance means that vehicles may not respond the way they should. It also means that they are more likely to break down. Breakdowns have major safety implications both for the driver of the broken-down vehicle and other road users. They also impact schedules, which is another good reason to avoid them.
Don’t be fast or furious
Trucks are unlikely to break the official speed limit but they can certainly be driven too fast for the conditions. This was a contributory factor in 9.4% of fatal accidents and 6.4% of accidents involving serious injury. (Department for Transport, 2019). Speed is often linked with “road rage”. This is also a major safety hazard.
It can be challenging to strike a balance between staying alert and staying calm. Practising meditation outside of work can help you to achieve this. You can also use “meditation-light” aids, like a careful choice of music or spoken-word tracks.
Drive like you’re taking your test again
If you pretend that you’re taking your C(1) again every time you drive, you’re much less likely to end up losing your license through unsafe driving. In particular, respect braking distances and remember to allow for the impact of weather, especially ice. Also, make sure to follow rules even when you don’t see anyone else around. For example, always signal when you turn.
Learn defensive driving
Defensive driving always expects the driver to be on the look out for potential hazards and changes on the road when driving. This might be cars overtaking, pedestrians, change in weather and so on.
By always being on the defense you have a better chance of anticipating potential dangers and making the right decisions much quicker as opposed to not looking out for them and having to make a split decision that might put someone else in danger on the road.
About the Creator
Andrea Easton is the Head of Finance and Operations at Fleet Ex who specialise in quality ex-fleet/end of lease trucks and trailers and are global leaders in the trucking industry.
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