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One of the most crucial jobs for the US economy or any other state is long-haul trucking. Drivers have the most important job of ensuring good are delivered in good time. They drive around pulling the dump bodies for long distances to keep things moving.
The thing is, however, over-the-road (OTR) driving is not as easy as it may appear to be. In fact, it is one of the most dangerous jobs on the market. Drivers face a lot of risks while going long distances and it is very easy for them to get involved in road accidents.
Many people get injured every year as a result of truck driving. The best way to avoid such things from happening is to have proper knowledge on how you can handle yourself on the road while driving your truck. The tips highlighted in this article should be able to give you everything you need.
Tip #1: Do not entertain distractions
Driving trucks for a long distance can be tempting. The driver can easily forget that they are on the road and lose direction. This sometimes happens when they are carrying heavy stuff in the dump bodies. They may reach a steep slope and forget that they are even driving when the truck is moving too slow. At this point, it becomes straightforward to forget that you are on the road and even start to sleep.
Then there are things like adverse weather conditions, other drivers, construction zones, among other that you must look out for. It is vital for a truck driver to have full concentration if they must maintain focus.
OTR drivers can be easily distracted by some things on the road. This is the condition on the roads, and it is understandable. But these distractions increase chances of road accidents. You can avoid this by using the following tips.
- Technology use
Shifts for OTR drivers take long to complete. As such, they may want to find something that keeps them busy while on the road. You may find them watch movies and using their phones to pass the time.
Phones are the number one distractions for truck drivers. You need to stay away from such. Even if you want to input routes in the GPS, only do so while packing safely.
Packing your lunch is essential as a truck driver. But you need to consider how you go about it seriously. Using foods that require you to use utensils is not one of the best ideas. Such foods will definitely make you lose concentration on the road as you will be struggling to hold them.
- Do not stare at billboards or other sceneries. Focus on the road at all times.
- The dispatch devices should be kept far when you are driving.
- Reading, writing or using paper maps should be avoided while on the road.
Tip #2: Don’t let fatigue overcome you
While on the road, it is very easy to experience drowsiness. Drowsiness for drivers is one of the most debated topics in the industry. Sometimes pulling the dump bodies may feel like it is draining your energy.
This has caused several federal and state laws to be implemented. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) set up the rules as follow:
- Weekly working hours are at a maximum of 70 hours.
- A driver can only resume after resting for 34 consecutive hours.
- A driver must rest for 30 minutes during the first 8 hours of their shift.
- Maximum driving hours in a day is 11 hours.
Such provisions can actually help a person avoid being overcome by fatigue. When you get enough rest, you will not feel sleepy on the road and stray. You will not even need to take energy drinks to boost yourself.
“If the truckers don’t have the time to go to the gym, they must perform exercises which can be done without joining the gym” – Vivotion.
It is all about ensuring that your body has rested enough and has enough energy to handle the long hours of driving.
Tip #3: Observe the conditions keenly for driving
As an OTR driver, it is crucial that you are aware of your surroundings. You don’t want just to drive blindly and get into trouble.
You need pay close attention to the condition if the road you are driving on. This will help you adjust your speed properly. You can use other drivers on the road to ask about the weather ahead and find out if there is a precaution you need to follow. Look out for;
- The weather conditions
- Curves and bumps on the road
- Entrance ramps and exits
- Driving with a loaded trailer.
Some of the dump bodies can be really hard to control when fully loaded. But if you understand the road condition, you will adjust early enough to give you time to plan.
Tip #4: Don’t forget to wear your seat belt
As a driver wearing a seat belt is not an option. It is something you must just remember to do even before you hit the road.
Unfortunately, most OTR drivers forget to wear the belts. At times the things it is a burden.
Wearing a seat belt should not just be because the law says so. It has great importance. For example, it increases your chances of surviving a crash greatly. The belts will prevent you and any passenger you might be carrying from being thrown out of the vehicle.
Tip #5: Loading
One of the major causes of road accidents for truck drivers is wrong loading. You need to ensure that you have loaded carefully and wisely. It is very easy to lose control of the truck of your loading is not as smart as it should be. Loading wisely includes balancing the load equally among the free space available.
Do not overload. This makes the truck too heavy to steer effectively. Overloading/unbalanced loading can make the truck to flip on the side; this may cause flat tires. A flat tire is the last thing you want on your journey.
Truck driving can be a fun activity as well as a challenging one. If you know what to do and how to do, you will easily get to your destination safely. The tips provided above are the best to ensure you have the best journey.
Author Bio: Mario Rolls is the blog consultant and writer at Dump Trucks.He brings 20 years of experience in various industries including heavy vehicle blogging and dump body manufacturing business. He is working for a company in Mississippi and one of the Nation’s primary manufacturers of dump truck bodies and trailers. Warren offers products and services for the smallest to the largest trucks.