Driving a regular non-commercial vehicle already comes with its own hazards. Now imagine yourself behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler. Without the proper education, this can be a recipe for disaster.
At Truck Driver Academy, we wish for our students to develop good driving habits which they can take with them into future trucking jobs. Good practices are learned from experience, not an informational handbook. Here are a few trucking safety tips that we would like to share.
Check the Rear of your Truck After Parking
Always turn around and examine the rear when leaving your truck because you never know if your blinker is still ticking away or if your landing gear is raised/lowered without knowing for certain. This may come across as a simple tip for new truck drivers but even the best of us let this one slip.
Befriend your Dispatcher
Dispatchers are the ones connecting truck drivers to loads. We’ll quickly explain the importance of being on good terms with the person assigning loads to you. An increased numbers of loads received will result in more miles driven and with more miles driven, the more attractive your next paycheck appears.
Lay a Flashlight on the Ground to Shine on the Line When Backing into a Dock at Night
You may encounter many docks that are unfortunately, very poorly lit. This creates low visibility and makes it difficult for drivers to back a load in. We recommend placing a flashlight on the ground and shining it towards yourself in order to better illuminate the lines. This will aid in providing additional lighting so you can safely unload.
Keep a Bag of Salt in your Truck for Snowy Conditions
Don’t let Ice Road Truckers on the History Channel fool you. Trucking on icy roads is more difficult than it looks. With a bag of salt on hand, you can get yourself out of a bind during the winter season when roads become slick and dangerous. Salt can effectively decrease the freezing point of snow and melt it, thus providing traction for your tires.
Conduct a Thorough Pre-Trip Inspection
Be prepared because you never know when you’re hit with the question, “Did you do a pre-trip?” If asked by a DOT officer, you’ll want to be ready to impress by the inspection date with tires, lights, fifth wheel, etc.
Get a Heated Blanket
A wise investment for those colder nights and seasons when it’s just far too chilly outside. The temperature within the truck can get fairly low depending on various locations. The northern part of the United States and Canada can make the difference in a good night’s sleep. Another truck driving tip and trick is to use the heated blanket as a pain reliever for those back aches while you’re on a long drive.