Logistics is the backbone of any country’s economy, and for the most part, trucks play a big role here. Truckers drive hundreds of miles of highways every day, transporting cargo in an endless cycle.
As a society, we often forget about the lives of these truckers and the challenges they face. In some ways, the life of a truck driver is similar to the pioneers of the old wild west. It can be a dangerous and exhausting job, but someone has to do it. In this article, we will look at three tips that can help make a trucker’s life safer.
1. Learn To Be Assertive
This might sound like an odd one, but a lot of times, bad situations arise at truck stops. You will have to pull over to refuel or sleep, and invariably, some areas can be sketchy. You will have to step out of your truck, and you can run into people trying to hustle or sell you something.
Truck stops within 30 miles of a city often have some of the most unsavory people you can meet. If you aren’t a big guy or a familiar face in the area, people can try to test you. Be assertive but also smart. You want to appear calm, confident, and unfazed by any sort of intimidation.
We aren’t saying that this is something you will face at every truck stop, but highway life can be unpredictable. You can go years undisturbed or face a sticky situation on the first day of your job.
In this context, you will need to develop an understanding of when and where to park your truck for breaks. Depending on which part of the country you’re in, be on the lookout for secure, semi truck parking spots. These are special lots that are often well-lit and gated. Sure, you might not find these everywhere, but they can be a lifesaver if you can access them.
According to Big Rig Parking, it’s important that truckers have access to parking lots where drivers can safely rest. You may need to pay a small fee, but it’s often worth it for the peace of mind.
2. The Importance of Taking Breaks
In the previous section, we talked about staying safe when pulling over to get essentials or sleep. However, even outside truck stops, you should still be pulling over to take a break every now and then.
Sadly, many truck drivers tend to neglect their health in order to complete their trips on time. The exhaustion that comes with long-distance truck driving can have serious consequences.
Long hours of continuous driving can lead to drowsiness, which impairs your alertness, reaction times, and decision-making abilities.
Fatigue is also a major contributing factor to accidents, and you don’t want to be driving when exhausted. You are more likely to make errors and miss critical cues on the road. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCA), thirteen percent of drivers were experiencing fatigue, which caused a crash.
Similarly, when you are sleep deprived, you can start going into microsleep. This refers to brief episodes of unintended sleep that last for a few seconds.
You’ve probably experienced it when trying to stay awake at some point in your life. It’s only for a few seconds, but that’s all you need to start veering off the road. You wake up alarmed, and your over-correction wrecks your truck.
3. Your Truck Is Your Best Friend: Take Care of It!
Neglecting truck maintenance is a classic case of “pay now or pay later,” and the later costs are often significantly higher. A seemingly minor issue left unaddressed can cascade into a series of compounding problems, eventually requiring extensive and costly repairs.
Data from the FMCA shows that 29% of truck crashes occur because of brake failures. Think about that for a second. A simple check-up of your truck before a long ride could easily prevent a major cause of accidents
Even worse, voiding your warranty or insurance is a common consequence of skipping regular maintenance. It leaves drivers on the hook for expensive repairs that could have been covered. Remember, the truck is essentially your only companion through long trips.
It is possible to break down in a remote area, far from any life. Waiting precious hours or possibly days in extreme situations to get towed is a nightmare you don’t want to experience.
A careless cycle of fuelling up, driving, and breaking for the night is dangerously easy to fall into. Thus, set reminders to make basic checks every day, as well as reminders to visit a mechanic regularly. You will thank yourself later for doing so.
At the end of the day, the only person you can count on is yourself. Trucking can be a well-paying and rewarding career if you enter it with the right mindset. It’s risky, yes, but every career has risks in some form or the other. Those that rise to the top know how to mitigate and manage them.
That said, highways and truck stops offer unique challenges, and it doesn’t hurt to be extra cautious. Follow as many safety protocols and practices as possible and do your best to stay safe out there.