Whether you have been a truck driver for decades or you’re a newbie in the workforce, No truck driver wants to have an accident and write-off his vehicle.
Any type of accident can lead to harm of yourself and others, serious damage to your truck and other property, legal and insurance issues, and it can leave you off the road for an extended period of time.
Stats tell us that despite commercial trucks only being involved in 2.4% of all accidents, and only 16% of these accidents are the truck driver’s fault, it’s still extremely important to know the best proactive ways to avoid a truck accident.
Below are the most 5 common causes of truck accidents, and tips of how to best be safe on the road.
This is a no brainer. Speeding is the second-highest cause of accidents on the road behind distracted driving. Luckily in Australia we have fairly strict state laws around this. Compared to cars, trucks and semi-trucks can exert more force on whatever they make an impact with because of their sheer size and weight. This means it’s even more important that you are aware of your speed and your distance between other vehicles. No matter your schedule time or how important the job is, your safety should always come first. The advantage of being constantly aware of your driving speed will not only increase safety on the road for yourself and those vehicles around you, but it will help with travel efficiency by reducing fuel consumption therefore the cost of each trip.
Weather conditions is the number 2 cause of truck accidents. In Australia especially the forecast is unpredictable and the driving conditions can change in an instant. Being prepared to react to a change in weather will benefit your safety and the safety of others on the road. Be extremely careful when you notice changes in the temperature and clouds as it could mean the weather may begin to act up. Be cautious and keep extra distance from the vehicles in front of you, and if the weather is bad enough be aware of ice, snow, water, or debris that could now be on the road. Exercise the use of your blinkers a little longer than you normally would before you turn or cross lanes to make yourself visible and give others more time to react. When you see other trucks pulled over, chances are they are doing it for a reason and the safest thing to do might be to pull yourself over as well. The safety of yourself and the others around you comes first – No load is more important than your own life.
The most serious accidents on Australian roads are often attributed to driver fatigue. Fatigue causes a driver to slow reaction time and creates similar impairments to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Stats by the road-safety and transport show that after about 17 hours of being awake, your responsiveness and alertness begin to deteriorate significantly. Always, assess your alertness, and if you are too tired to drive, rest as soon as you can find a safe place to stop, even if you have time left on the clock. Sleep, revive and survive – that slogan could not be more true. Try using apps like Wotif and Trivago for on the road-motels and B&Bs.
It is crucial, and extremely important for every truck driver to inspect their truck regularly before and after every trip. This includes brakes, tires, fluid levels, mirrors, etc. The most common violation for out-of-service inspection is brake defects. Preventative maintenance will not only assist you by saving you money but also may prevent an accident on the road – keep up with your logging and make sure everything is functional before every trip. As you may very well be aware, If you happen to get in an accident without having the proof of a pre-trip inspection, the liability of that accident will likely fall on you, even if it wasn’t your fault. Inspections are imperative for you and your colleagues to undertake so that you vehicle isn’t prone to being unsafe on the road. You don’t want to cause accidents, and on the other hand you don’t want the liability of any accident to fall back on you due to negligence. Check you truck!
Your truck is only the vehicle. The most import part of your truck is actually YOU! Staying healthy plays a huge role in your safe driving. Eating right, taking little breaks to stretch and exercising, getting plenty of rest, and taking time to return home are a must for safe driving. Taking care of yourself will make you feel refreshed, have more energy, and be more alert and aware. As the driver and ‘the captain of your ship’ you make all the decisions. It all starts with you and your physical and mental state while on the road.
To prevent getting into an accident there are numerous factors to be aware of. Even if you have been driving for a while, it’s important that you are always aware of yourself, your surroundings and avoid getting lazy. All it takes is one mind-lapse or misjudgement to change the course of your life and the countless lives around. Staying alert saves lives!
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