The holiday season is a busy time of year for all drivers, but especially truck drivers who need to meet delivery deadlines during the holiday rush. To stay safe on the road, here are a few tips every truck driver should follow.
- Store up patience.
Easier said than done. Rough weather conditions can strain even the most experienced of drivers. But rushing to deliver a load is not worth the risk of rollovers, jackknifes, or collisions. If weather conditions become severe, pull over and wait it out. Every trucking company should prioritize driver safety above all else.
- Keep a safe distance.
During the winter months, increase your following distance to ensure you have more than enough space to stop and maneuver in tough traffic situations.
- Don’t exceed the limit on driver hours of service.
The holidays are a demanding time of year for drivers, but it’s important to follow the rules for driving time. Truckers shouldn’t exceed 11 hours of driving time within a 24-hour period. These laws are in place to reduce the risk of accidents caused by lack of sleep, meal breaks, exercise, and mental focus.
- Keep an eye on your fuel tank.
Keeping a fuel tank not only helps add weight to the tires, improving traction but also helps prevent water condensation from building up in the fuel lines. The smallest amount of water in the tank could keep the truck from turning on and cause it to stall or buckle. Water could also corrode the framework of the engine.
- Minimize lane changes.
For truck drivers, lane changes are especially risky. Large blind spots and tough weather conditions increase the risk of a sideswipe accident. That’s why it’s important to signal early and make a slow lane change when necessary.
- Don’t use the Jake Brake in icy conditions.
The Jake Brake releases compressed air in the cylinders and will completely stop the wheels, causing the rig to skid across icy roads and increase the risk of an accident. Instead, put the truck into a lower gear and use regular friction brakes.
- Maintain headlights.
Headlights will not only help truckers spot animals across the road, but illuminate other obstructions and stopped cars ahead. Clean the headlights regularly to remove accumulated snow and dirt.