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Keep Your Commercial Drivers Safe with Our 6 Driving Tips

Keep Your Commercial Drivers Safe with Our 6 Driving Tips

As you send your drivers out each day, you hope they will do all they can to remain safe. You know they have a reliable vehicle, one that is up to date. You have provided instructions on how to get semi-truck road service if they need it. What else can you do to ensure they remain safe? Educate, remind, and support them as they utilize safe driving tips. Even drivers who have been on the roadways for decades could use a few reminders of simple things they can do to follow safe practices at the wheel. 

6 Driving Tips All Truckers Need to Remember

As large, formidable vehicles sharing the roadway with millions of cars each day, commercial trucks need a bit more space and a highly skilled driver behind the wheel. Here are six tips to help your truck drivers stay safe:

  1. Monitor Blind Spots: Blind spots are the bane of any large truck. Drivers need to monitor these areas (located at the very front, sides, and rear of the trailer) whenever changing lanes. Checking blind spots more often ensures trucks can maneuver around other drivers. Consider the use of dash cameras that can eliminate blind spots.
  2. Manage Wide Turns with Care: During driving school, turns are always a focal point of the process because they are challenging. Wide turns require more space and more time. Slow down, signal about them as early as possible, and ensure you are monitoring other vehicles on the roadway throughout the process. 
  3. Stopping Distances: Another common cause of accidents is not enough space between the truck and the vehicle in front of them. Poor weather conditions and traffic require increasing the amount of distance between the vehicles. Slow down sooner and more significantly, especially on ramps and curves, to reduce risks here. 
  4. Avoid Distracted Driving: Talking on the phone, eating food, arguing with a passenger, or other actions while driving increase the risk of accidents. Not only do you have to control the vehicle, but you have to focus your attention heavily on other drivers. You cannot do that if you are distracted by a text message or spilling food! Fleet owners may wish to consider AI-powered tools that can help pinpoint driver distractions and alert them in time. 
  5. Manage Speed. Telematics makes monitoring speed easy for fleet owners, but driver skill remains essential. That is especially the case when braking, accelerating to meet speed limits, or when maneuvering.
  6. Signal, Always: When changing lanes, signal to other drivers what your intentions are. This may help to reduce your risk of causing an accident. If you are pulling off the road, be sure to use flashers and reflective triangles on the trailer to warn others. 

Be Sure Your Drivers Are Ready

Before drivers head out onto the roadways, verify the following:

  • Your drivers are in good health. Those that are ill are at a higher risk of causing an accident.
  • Drivers are getting enough sleep. Be sure to verify their schedule meets all regulatory requirements. 
  • Ensure drivers have performed a trip inspection of their vehicle, including tires for pressure.
  • Ensure the truck has received all types of maintenance needed based on manufacturer requirements. 
  • Be sure your drivers know where they can get semi-truck road service on the roadways.

Reduce Driver Fatigue 

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), one study found that 13% of commercial vehicle drivers were fatigued at the time of a crash. Following the Hours of Service rules is just one aspect of making sure drivers aren’t too tired on the road. Your fleet drivers need to understand how drowsiness can impact them when driving. They need to know to get enough sleep before hitting the road. Bodies are naturally tired from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. If drivers do get drowsy, they must remember that it’s important to get off the road, even for a short 15-minute break to avoid an accident. Turning on music or opening the window may give a driver the impression that they feel more alert, but it doesn’t actually reduce the fatigue or tiredness. 

 

Managers and drivers should know and understand the symptoms of driver fatigue to take appropriate action: 

  • Blinking a lot or having trouble focusing on driving 
  • Daydreaming 
  • Swerving or drifting in and out of the lane 
  • Forgetting an exit 
  • Back stiffness or muscle twitching 

Fleet managers can use GPS tracking and other technology to watch vehicles in real-time to have information about driver behavior. This can also alert managers to drivers who speed or do not take breaks. 

 

Seasonal Driving Reminders – Winter 

Weather conditions can make driving even more hazardous. Drivers need to be prepared for winter driving with the right equipment and maintenance. Your fleet management software may even be able to identify which drivers had problems on the road last winter, giving you time to prepare them for inclement weather this year. Your fleet trucks should be suitable prepped for colder temperatures. Your drivers may need safety equipment for the different locations where they drive. Give drivers access to a semi truck road service during the winter to make sure they have access to able technicians when they need repairs. 

 

Seasonal Driving Reminders – Summer 

Summer weather poses its own problems for drivers, so they’ll want to be prepared for those conditions with a semi road truck service. The extreme temperatures of summer can be just as hazardous as snow and ice to commercial vehicles. High temperatures can impact the braking system, reducing friction that is required to stop. Tire blowouts are a bigger risk in the summer because of the heat. Underinflated tires are more likely to blowout when it’s very hot. Drivers can easily get dehydrated in the summer heat. Dehydration can affect the driver’s blood pressure, which can lead to an accident. Finally, recreational traffic increases in the summer. Commercial vehicles will need to be more aware of other vehicles on the road. 

 

Train Your Drivers to Drive Defensively 

Defensive driving techniques are designed to save lives and time, and in the case of commercial drivers, defensive driving can save money. Have a program to make sure your fleet drivers remember to use those safety skills and techniques when on the road. Dash cams and GPS tracking can help identify drivers are staying compliant with your rules. 

STTC Can Help Ensure Driver Safety – Keep Your Vehicles in Tip Top Shape!

Our goal is to help ensure your trucks and trailers are well maintained and offer a safe, smooth driving experience. We understand that problems happen on roadways, but you do not have to be alone when they do. Let us help you with semi-truck road service when there’s a need. STTC offers 24/7 emergency road service. Give us a call now at 610-954-8473 or contact us online for service and maintenance appointments as well as for tire replacements, retread tires, tire repair, and more.

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