Haulage and shipping play a huge part in the health of our economy but driving for a living is a tough profession. Whether you’re new to the haulage industry or a returning driver, there are stressors and risks involved in being on the road constantly. Issues such as working long hours, large vehicle handling, night working and weather conditions. Here are some tips to keep you safe when driving your truck on the UK roads and motorways:
- Ensure your truck is well-maintained before heading out
Most drivers are provided with a specific vehicle, so you’ll want to be familiar with the one you’ve been assigned. Maintain it and look after it as if it’s yours and give it an inspection before going out each time. Aspects like lights, oil, water levels, brakes and mirrors should be checked before each trip.
- Be aware of your blind spots.
Many truck accidents are caused by other vehicles approaching the truck and being in its blind spot. Vision is restricted for large truck drivers, with an inability to see beneath the windscreen, below the side mirrors and doors, above the truck or immediately behind. As well as always being vigilant, extra mirrors positioned at different angles can help. Ideally, your truck will be fitted with the latest vehicle safety cameras, helping you to see right around your truck with the aid of cameras. For a range of Truck camera systems, visit http://www.backwatch.co.uk/
- Reduce speed at junctions and corners
Much of road safety involves the speed at which you’re travelling. Trucks can go as fast as many other vehicles, but the difference is the size of the vehicle. The weight of the truck affects the momentum, especially when accelerating, turning and braking. Slowing down takes longer, should be done well in advance and particularly at junctions, corners and when approaching traffic.
- Properly Plan and Load Cargo
Routes should be pre-planned and safe, with minimal traffic and people and familiar. Overloading cargo to make less trips is also to be avoided. The correct weights and balance of cargo is essential for your safety and other road users, especially when cornering tight curves.
- Limit Cabin Distractions
For many drivers, the cabin becomes an extension of their home and comfort takes over, with pillows, cushions, laptops, TVs and stereos. Whilst all these things are important for ‘down time’, enabling you to relax and switch off – they should never distract you from focusing on the road. Never be tempted to use a mobile phone whilst driving or get distracted by changing music or looking at a laptop when your truck is running.
- Listen to Weather Forecasts
When planning a trip, it’s important to know if any bad weather is forecast. During winter, extreme conditions are common such as ice, heavy rain, hail and strong winds. These make driving a truck even more hazardous.