How to Avoid a Dangerous Trucking Accident: 8 Essential Tips

How to Avoid a Dangerous Trucking Accident

Despite the truck industry gaining great notoriety over the years, there has been a 52 percent increase in trucking accidents since 2009. In fact, it’s estimated to be the fifth-largest cause of death in the USA by 2030. While truck drivers need to undergo additional training, accidents that lead to serious injuries and fatalities still happen.

But as a truck driver, you can implement some important driving tips to keep the roads safe. This not only ensures your protection but also reduces costs associated with claim payouts from a wrongful death attorney, a rise in insurance premiums, and more. Read on for our best truck driving tips to keep you safe on the road.

1. Develop Preventative Maintenance Schedules

The safety of truck drivers starts with the safety of the vehicle they’re driving. If your truck or tractor-trailer isn’t up-to-date with regular maintenance, it’s more likely to break down on the road. You should ensure to check into odometer and engine data. It enables you to take your truck to the mechanics on time for maintenance.

Through regular maintenance and quality repairs, you can ensure your truck is in top shape. This reduces the chances of breakdowns and fatal trucking accidents.

2. Practice Defensive Driving

Defensive driving helps truckers to anticipate and look out for potential hazards and changes in driving or road conditions. It allows you to make safe, well-informed decisions while behind the wheel, reducing the risk of truck accidents.

Some defensive driving techniques you may use on the road include:

Watching Out for Blind Spots

For truck drivers, it can be difficult to see cars behind or even next to their vehicle. Since rear-view and side mirrors aren’t always effective when inspecting blind spots, ensure you look over your shoulders or out the windows when changing lanes.

Maintain a Good Following Distance

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, you should maintain at least four seconds of distance if you’re driving a commercial truck at 40 mph. For a truck going 60 mph, a six-second buffer will be great.

Look Farther Ahead

Check the road at least 12 to 15 seconds ahead for potential hazards and threats. You’ll want to avoid any debris or threats before they’re too close.

Avoid Backing Up

Whenever possible, you should look for opportunities to avoid backing up. You can try pulling through to the front spot to exit forward.

Do Not Assume or Trust Other Drivers

When you are on the road, you can susceptible to the actions of the other drivers if you assume they’re good road users.

All in all, always stay alert on the road.

3. Have Tools to Respond to Changes in Road Conditions

Road conditions like traffic and bad weather can be unpredictable, especially for long-haul truck drivers. Bumper-to-bumper traffic causes your truck to constantly stop and go while bad weather conditions like rain and snow can impact your visibility or cause roads to be slippery. This increases the likelihood of a trucking accident.

Invest in weather apps and a GPS especially designed for truckers to provide live weather and traffic updates on the road. If there are bad conditions, you can easily reroute to much safer roads.

4. Avoid Distractions

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the number cause of trucking accidents. Distractions while driving can range from eating lunch, using your cellphone, changing the radio station, and more.

As a truck driver, you can save lives and money to hire a Tampa personal injury attorney by staying focused on the road. If you want to eat or use your phone, you can get off the next exit to perform these activities. You should also plan your radio station or playlist before you start your trip.

5. Get Plenty of Sleep and Follow the Rules About Driving Hours

A tired driver is a dangerous driver. This is why there are strict regulations regarding the number of hours you should be behind the wheel. For example, a truck driver may drive for 11 hours only after 10 uninterrupted hours off duty. Also, make sure you’re well-rested so you’re more alert and efficient behind the wheel. In case you get drowsy, you should pull over.

6. Use Seat Belts

Approximately one in six truck drivers do not wear their safety belts. This is very dangerous considering that more than 53% of crash-related deaths occur each year from not wearing a seatbelt. Don’t take the risk by buckling up every time you drive your truck.

Seatbelts can protect you from being thrown out of your truck in case of crush, reducing injury and saving your life.

7. Drive at the Appropriate Speed, Not the Posted Speed

Because of their size, weight, and high center of gravity, trucks can be susceptible to speed-related crashes. Speed can affect you when you aren’t able to stop the truck in time if there’s an obstacle in your way or roll over a curve. Apart from increasing the chances of a crash, it also increases the severity of the collision.

As a truck driver, you should learn to adjust your speed according to specific road conditions. When there is low visibility, heavy traffic, rainy or foggy, you should slow down even if it means dropping below the stipulated speed limit.

You should also slow down near construction and school zones, on curves, and when you’re driving with a full load.

8. Turn On Your Truck and Trailer Lights

When driving your truck, be sure to keep your headlights and clearance lights on at all times. It helps you stay visible, preventing any trucking accidents. Driving with lights on will allow fellow motorists to see your truck sooner.

It also allows them more time to adjust to any potential road hazards. Before you start your trip ensure your lights are working. Also, always make sure to clean them often.

Talk to Our Qualified Trucking Accident Lawyer in Tampa, FL

Hiring a truck accident attorney can make a difference in how your claims are handled. Our trucking accident lawyer in Tampa will work closely with you during the representation to get you the results you deserve. Request a consultation with our lawyer today.

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