Category Archives: Legal

Proper Planning And Patience The Key To Winter Driving

With snowy conditions covering over half the United States, these can be tricky times for professional truck drivers. It is no secret that winter weather conditions provide unique challenges for truck drivers, even those with million-mile safety records. No matter the season, shippers have the same expectations that freight hauls will be delivered on-time. Slower speeds, reduced visibility and poor road conditions can put a serious crimp in this paradigm.

Yet, there are two factors that can ensure truck drivers get their freight safely from one place to another during the hazardous winter driving conditions. The two keys to winter operation are both good planning and persistent patience.

Professional truck drivers must understand that more time must be baked into the equation when winter storms are blanketing the roads. They must also do their best to plan around severe storms or unfortunate weather events. Even more, patience means not trying to rush just because road conditions are causing delays. If there is anything that could result in an unfortunate accident, it is trying to rush when conditions are unsafe.

Truck drivers must also be extra vigilant in watching for other drivers who may not know how to handle the rough winter road conditions. Whether it be leaving extra space ahead or behind the truck, stopping distances are critical when operating on wet or icy roadways.

Dispatchers must also work with truck drivers to ensure there are alternative routes ready when rough winter conditions make certain roadways unsafe. It is critical that advance research is done when heavy snow or ice is hampering your usual route. Substitute parking locations should also be part of the equation when researching how to avoid hazardous winter weather.

Trucking companies who do not live by the ethos of proper patience and planning find themselves in a bind should the worst happen. It is also important that truck drivers act on the spot when weather conditions which were not on the company weather report suddenly make road conditions too dangerous. Many truck drivers use real-time weather map apps or advanced radar systems tied to tablets or smartphones to stay ahead of the game.

It is also important to consider others who may be operating on the roadways and trying to clear the road of snow or debris. Law enforcement shares the same goal of safe operation on the nation’s roads and highways during winter. Take snow plow drivers as one example. Snow plow operators work in the most dangerous winter conditions, often with little-to-no visibility. When a truck driver sees a snow plow on the road, it is of utmost importance to give them proper space, distance, and patience to do their job.

Providing extra space when operating around snow plows is important because snow plows have wing blades that can extend 10 – 12 feet out from the side of their vehicle. Consider that is the equivalent of a full traffic lane. While these blades often have blinking lights to signal where they are, difficult visibility conditions can make it extra hard to see those lights. Allowing for safe distance and slow driving can make the difference between getting your load safely to the receiver or winding up in an accident, or worse.

Patience is a virtue, especially during winter driving. Never be tempted to pass in unsafe conditions or speed to get around an obstacle when the conditions are snowy or icy. Safe winter driving is key to maintaining a safe record. Don’t let the icy conditions blanketing half the U.S. lull you into a rushed sense of impatience or bad planning.

When Doing The Right Things Right Is What Matters

Today, we wanted to focus on some very important credos in trucking. Simple turn of phrases often carry great meaning, and the same is true in trucking. No matter what level of the trucking organization you occupy, understanding the importance of words is critical to your success. Let’s start with the first credo.

Do the Right things Right

When it comes to operating a trucking company or driving a big rig in a safe and professional manner, there is one axion that everyone should have at the front of their mind: Do the right things right. Let’s take some time to expand on that important way of thinking about things viewed through the context of safety.

You may read this credo and think, “Well, isn’t that just doing the right thing?” Not really. When it comes to communicating something well or making the proper decision, intent is key. Soldiers in the military know how important it is to understand intent when following through with an order. In situations where it is incumbent upon them to make the decision free of orders, intent is even more important.

Understanding a commander or fleet manager’s intention when issuing an order, asking a question, or providing a new directive provides the basis of how important it is to do the right things right. In the trucking business, this ethos reflects a leader’s intent, which will influence the planning and execution of the question or directive. Trucking is a dynamic business and requires a dynamic level of thinking to ensure safety and success, in-and-out, day-after-day.

Above All, Do No Harm

Here is another important credo we all must keep in mind: Nothing we do is worth harming ourselves or others. These eight simple words should influence everything you do. As a professional truck driver or transportation professional, when you are confronted with tension between competing demands, the best way to handle them is to go back to the two important credos we have just outlined. These simple phrases can be used to reconcile the tension and decide on the best course of action.

Realizing that nothing we do is worth harming ourselves or others is a qualitative statement that should guide a truck driver or trucking organization to strive for operational excellence in everything they say and do. It is important to consider that excellence is achieved and sustained only by assessing your individual and collective performance both critically and continuously. There is no room for error or time to let up when it comes to this assessment.

With the near-real time performance technologies available to us today, the right tools in the hands of fleet managers and truck drivers, when embraced, represent great ways to critically and continuously assess and improve performance measures. By making a habit of following these important credos, over time, truck drivers have fewer crashes or incidents that consume a lot of valuable time. It is better to spend time learning safety credos or technologies than it is investigating instances of failure.

Doing the right things right and ensuring we do nothing that harms ourselves or others requires investments in safety technologies and proactive programs that enable us to live by these credos. When commercial truck drivers fail to live by these simple words, they not only fail to achieve excellence, but accidents can occur. The stakes are simply far too high to allow performance to be managed passively. So, next time you have an operational question you just can’t seem to find the answer to, ask yourself, are you doing the right things right?

Top Tips For Backing Up Your Trailer – Part II

Welcome back to our two-Part series taking a closer look at the most effective ways to complete one of the most complex aspects of driving a tractor trailer: backing it up. In our first installment, we covered the basics of backing up, what it entails, and initial ways of completing it safely. This week we are going to dig a little deeper.

As a professional truck driver, maintaining a positive record is as much about driving safely on the nation’s roads and highways as it is about maneuvering your big rig. When you are backing your vehicle up, one of the most important things you can do starts with where the connection is made.

Glance At Your Tandems

Of course what your trailer is doing during the backup sequence is important, but you should also be looking at your tandems. You can likely use lines on the pavement to help you judge what angle the truck and the trailer should be at.

Don’t Be Distracted

Just like there is no shame in getting out and looking to make sure you are at the proper angle, there is also no shame in turning off your CB, putting the cell phone down, and shutting off the music. When you are backing up a heavy-duty commercial motor vehicle, you must be focused on the job at hand. Distractions can cause accidents in almost any situation.

Ask A Friend

If you are a new truck driver trying to complete a backing up maneuver in the yard, other truck drivers will be willing to spot you should you need help. Just make sure you are asking someone who is also a truck driver and feels comfortable assisting you. No one wants to see one of their fellow truck drivers get into an accident or cause a major problem because of a failed maneuver, so they will help.

Watch Others

You can learn a lot by watching someone else do something. If you feel you are deficient in your ability to back up, why not pay close attention to when someone else does it at your next opportunity? By watching someone else successfully back up, you can gain a greater understanding about how a trailer pivots.

Think Like A Bird

Imagining what it might look like to back up from an aerial view will help you get the job done correctly by giving you a different perspective. Pretend you are looking down at a toy truck and try to visualize what you need to do to square up the space on a pivot. Visualization lets your minds eye picture where you want it to go. Pairing that with getting out to check once your brain has pictured it completes the observation.

Keep Your Foot On The Brake

Always remember that when you are backing up, you should have your foot ready on the brake once you start rolling backwards at a low rate of speed. Keep your foot covering the brake pedal so that you can be ready to slow down or stop if necessary.

Don’t Back Up

This may sound completely counter intuitive, but it is very true. If it makes sense to not have to back the vehicle up, then why do so? Especially if backing up is not your strongest ability to begin with. Wise truck drivers will do their best to find parking spots that they can pull through. This will not only save time but it will minimize risk.

We hope you have learned something from our two-Part series on backing up! As one of the more complex maneuvers a trucker must undertake, being comfortable with it is critical to driving safe and accident-free!

Key Tips To Improving Your CSA Scores – Part III

Welcome to our final installment where we look at how to improve your CSA scores. Even though we are facing a wholesale change as CSA scores transform into the IRT model, trucking companies must still live and die by the current model, so we want to cover everything we can to help you make sure your fleet is prepared.

Today, we are going to finish out our look at how you can ensure your CSA scores are in tip-top shape. Let’s first dive into preventative maintenance, pre-trip inspections, and your DVIR. As any fleet manager knows, it is absolutely critical that a systematic maintenance on all vehicles and trailers in the fleet are completed, but what more should they know?

Looking at Inspections

A motor carrier’s truck drivers should be well-trained on how to do pre-trip inspections. The best way to train a truck driver is to provide an example and show them examples of how to do it. Are you properly watching how long your truck drivers spend on an inspection? This should be a matter of company policy and should provide a standard by which all your operators live by.

Note that Federal regulation 396.13 state that the truck driver needs to do the following before hopping in the cab and operating the commercial motor vehicle:

  • They must be satisfied that the motor vehicle is in safe operating condition.
  • They must review the last driver vehicle inspection report.
  • They must sign the duty report and note any defects or deficiencies.

Are you performing simple tests to ensure your truck drivers are performing their pre-trip inspection properly? How many of them should have noticed issues that were not picked up during the inspection? Furthermore, how are they properly ensuring the cargo they are carrying is secured?

Consider that things falling off the truck could not only harm CSA scores, it could cause potential injury or death to other drivers on the road. When a truck driver puts something on the vehicle, they have got to ensure it does not move, is blocked, braced, and tied down.

There are two pre-trip schedules. Schedule A is a pre-trip inspection performed by a mechanic or shop technician. Schedule B is an inspection that generally refers to keeping oil healthy. Annual inspections should be standard operating procedure. Is your fleet ensuring they are completed?

HazMat Compliance

There is something very important to consider. If your fleet transports hazardous materials, you need to make sure your truck drivers are thoroughly familiar with the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). Fleets that carry HazMat freight are required to have a higher CSA score than regular motor carriers. Common issues that HazMat carriers must be trained in include:

  • Ensuring HazMat goods are classified and packaged correctly.
  • Ensuring shipping papers are correct.
  • Ensuring correct markings, labels, and placards are present.
  • Ensuring an emergency response kit is readily available within the vehicle.

Another thing to consider is the route. HazMat drivers operating on restricted routes can receive a CSA violation. Are you operating with a commercial-grade navigation system that complies with truck-legal routes?

Effective Safety Committee

Not all motor carriers have a safety committee, but yours should. Implementing a safety committee ensures your fleet is safety-conscious. Even more, as CSA moves towards the IRT model, the FMCSA is going to be looking at safety culture as barometer for fleet performance.

A safety committee is designed to learn the root cause of safety issues, as well as how to fix them. Even more, a safety committee cannot be just for show. It must have the authority to implement changes as it sees fit.

In the end, even though CSA is changing, to win the business your fleet is deserved, you need to make sure you have safety on the mind. CSA scores and your bottom line stand to benefit from this mindset.

The Keys To Proper Coaching – Part II

In our last installment of this Two-Part series, we looked at an important measure of truck driver success: Coaching. To ensure new truck drivers are up-to-speed on how they should operate commercial motor vehicles, fleets must put time and effort into taking care that they are properly coached.

While technology and matching up truck drivers are important, there is more that goes into coaching. This week we will move on from cost and technical requirements and look at the real red meat of coaching. How long does coaching take and what really matters? What should a motor carrier expect to gain out of an effective truck driver coaching program?

Evaluating the Time Required

To provide truly effective coaching as part of a comprehensive truck driver safety program, some time needs to be put into the process. You simply can’t sit two people together for a half-hour on a one-time basis and expect them to achieve a true level of training or behavior modification.

Of course, the amount of time spent on individual coaching sessions depends a lot on the fleet. How many vehicles is the fleet running? Where is the fleet located? How many new truck drivers are on the payroll? By addressing these questions, a fleet can properly determine how much time (and of course, the cost) required to get the necessary result.

Technology also plays a role, as we discussed in last week’s post. If a fleet is utilizing video elements to their coaching program, they must consider how long it will take to compile the video, watch the video, and coach to the outcomes. Ensuring a coaching solution includes a portal accessible through the web or mobile device can help fleet managers and coaches stay on top of coaching tasks and truck driver development.

Measuring Success

An effective coaching program does more than just sit two people together and hope for a positive outcome. Safety managers must come up with a scorecard by which both truck driver, and even their coaches, can be evaluated by. It is critical to measure what works, who is an effective coach, and whether the truck drivers being coached are absorbing the information being provided.

Did you know that nearly 80% of a fleet’s risk level comes from less than 20% of their driving force? Without a measurable coaching program that is tracked and evaluated, it is nearly impossible for a fleet to determine who those 20% are, outside of waiting for a collision to occur.

Coaches must be assigned a specific workflow. An effective program will help a fleet go from managing claims to preventing claims. Key performance indicators, surveys, benchmarks, and recognition for a job well done all go a long way to getting coaching buy-in and achieving real results.

Many fleets use a 4-step process to manage coaching:

  1. Watch the event twice using video. An understanding must be made regarding the particular behavior being witnessed on the video.
  2. Watch the event at least once with the truck driver so that they can walk you through what was going on in their mind when a particular event happens.
  3. Properly explain the risk associated with the particular behavior. Ensure the truck driver understands the risk and what could happen if the behavior continues.
  4. Properly document the coaching session, take notes, and log any metrics or performance indicators used in the coaching session.

Coaching is about making a lasting behavioral change. Fleets should be building their coaching program around effective coaching, but also effective follow-up. Coaching should never be a one-off situation, but rather an ongoing education session. Only by practicing these principles can motor carriers ensure their truck drivers are staying safe on the road and avoiding risky behaviors.

The Keys To Proper Coaching: Part I

When it comes to increasing a fleet’s level of overall safety, coaching is key. Yet, far too few transportation companies handle coaching properly. Fleet managers must understand that to maintain a top-notch level of truck driver safety, they must take a comprehensive and proactive approach to safety coaching.

Essentially, transportation companies must combine all the cutting-edge tools at their disposal with an effective “human element” to ensure their truck drivers are getting the message. Programs exist that provide fleet managers and supervisors with the data they need to improve coaching opportunities and truck driver performance.

By investing in coaching, motor carriers can better manage driver risk by predicting which truck drivers and behaviors are most likely to result in a collision. This allows a fleet manager to focus his or her coaching efforts on those who need the most help.

There are three critical factors associated with effective coaching:

  • Reduction of truck driver turnover;
  • Cost cutting, and;
  • Morale boosting;

In addition to this, there are more than a few ways in which a fleet can measure the success of their coaching efforts:

  • How much time it takes to coach;
  • The overall cost of coaching;
  • Measuring behavioral change, and;
  • Seeing improved safety scores across the fleet.

Let’s look at one of the most important parts of any coaching program: The truck driver.

From an Employment Perspective

It is no great secret that employees thrive when they are recognized for a job well done and improved performance. They also appreciate it when their fleet actively spends time, money, and effort in ensuring they can safely operate their vehicles and can succeed.

While some employees may initially balk at measures taken to improve coaching, such as in-cab video, telematics, or other methods, once they realize that these systems can help exonerate them from false claims and help them become better truck drivers, it isn’t long before they buy into the concept.

When truck drivers know that their fleet is actively investing in making them better, it increases overall morale. As morale increases, truck drivers are less likely to jump ship to another fleet. Research shows that coaching has a net positive effect on how employees view their job.

From a Cost Perspective

Effective coaching also goes a long way in improving your company’s bottom line. When truck drivers are better at what they do, it helps to realize greater cost savings through fewer accidents and claims. Fleets also realize less vehicle wear-and-tear and increased fuel efficiency.

Furthermore, when truck drivers are less likely to quit and go elsewhere, this decreases the costs associated with turnover, recruiting, and retaining truck drivers. When the coaching is effective, the bottom line sees better days.

Using Technology to Coach

The fact is this: Watching video footage is an extremely effective way to train new or inexperienced truck drivers. It also allows a coach to get a clear look at how well a truck driver is doing and what their learning curve is. How quickly does the truck driver respond upon seeing the footage?

Telematics allow coaches to dig into the raw data associated with how the truck driver is driving. From sensing speed to braking and more, sensors and other advanced telematics solutions provide hard data that coaches, and truck drivers, can swiftly act upon.

The fact is, no cost is too high when it comes to ensuring safe operation of fleet equipment. Trucking companies should ensure they are investing wisely into coaching efforts. With so many new truck drivers entering the work force, a guiding hand could be the only thing preventing a disaster out on the road.

Proper Air Brake Inspections Are Critical To Safe Operation

Did you know that almost 1,600 commercial motor vehicles were put out of service during Brake Safety Day this past April? Out of the over 11,000 inspections completed in North America, over 13 percent of inspected vehicles got an out-of-service violation because of substandard brake maintenance. It is critical that trucking companies pay close attention to the condition of their air brakes, and not just because they are worried about a violation. Brakes play a critical role in the overall safe operation of commercial motor vehicles.

Chamber Size

That’s why we wanted to devote this week’s blog post to ensuring your air brakes are in proper order. Are you aware of all the steps required to ensure the functionality of your braking system?

First, make sure that brake adjustments and checks are completed before the brakes are in use. When the brakes are heated up, stroke measurements can be far longer. Why? Because the brake drum itself expands when in use. Cold brake check measurements are key to getting a proper reading.

The brake chamber size must be determined while in this state. First, technicians will want to locate the size markings on both the clamp and chamber body. Are those markings easily readable? If not, special calipers can help technicians ascertain the proper chamber measurement size.

Ranges for brake chambers generally fall between 6 and 36. Steer axle brakes will be smaller due to the nature of the steer axle. Expect those measurements to fall somewhere between 12 and 20. Heavier axles, by their nature, rely on larger chamber sizes.

Pushrod Stroke

What method will you use to determine a brake’s applied pushrod stroke? There are a couple to choose from. First, you can mark the pushrod with a reference point. This will allow you to operate the brake then go back and see where the measure met up with actual performance.

Second, you can measure the released position of the pushrod. Make sure to take account of the distance from a single point on the pushrod body to a fixed point near the brake chamber. If that measurement is off at all, you may of a problem.

Wherever your measurement comes out at, you will want to lower the vehicle’s air pressure through either running the engine or pumping the brake pedal. It will be important to ensure you have reached between 90 and 100 psi on both the primary and secondary tanks. With the correct air pressure indicated, make sure you apply and hold pressure to the brake pedal to get a true reading.

Fortunately, many brake OEMs already make their products with marked pushrods. This allows technicians to quickly determine whether a brake is out of adjustment or not without having to go through the manual checkmark process. Brakes that are within alignment will show the marking as being inside the body of the brake chamber. Conversely, if any part of the indicator is visible, the brakes either need to be flushed or are out of alignment.

Checking Adjustments

To get a good idea of whether brakes are adjusted properly or not without a fully-fledged inspection is another option. Ensure the vehicle is properly secured, then grab a prybar and pull back the push bar from the brake chamber. What is the push bar’s range of motion? If you are nearly an inch within stroke-free distance, your brake may be out of adjustment.

Without brakes, there is no safe operation of any vehicle, commercial or otherwise. Always ensure your technicians are up-to-date on how to check a rig’s air brakes and you can rest assured that your fleet is operating safely, day-in and day-out!

Is Your Fleet Drowning In Safety Technology?

There is one constant in the trucking industry today: Advanced safety technologies are dramatically reducing serious crashes, injuries, and fatalities on our nation’s roads and highways. Yet, far too many trucking companies have their eyes set firmly on their insurance costs. Is there a disconnect between road safety and insurance costs? There is, but the reason isn’t as obvious as it may at first seem.

The fact is, fleets have access to a wealth of safety technologies and data related to efficient truck driving, yet they are not utilizing these technologies to their fullest advantage. Motor carriers need to figure out how to implement the technologies and utilize the data provided by their use to increase overall safety measures.

Drowning in Safety

There is a phenomenon in trucking called “tech fatigue.” With the ELD mandate and advanced fleet management and safety systems coming at fleet managers from all angles, it can become easy to get overwhelmed and find yourself “drowning in safety.” While many motor carriers have plans in place to mitigate these problems, there are often disconnects between management and the truck drivers themselves.

Are truck drivers aware of specific alerts, beeps, and communications delivered by advanced safety systems? Furthermore, do fleet managers know when to act on said alerts or communications? There may be a solid plan in place to deal with such things, but without firm communication and a plan in place to manage these systems and train truck drivers and others within the organization on how to use them, the message can get lost in the noise.

It is critical that fleet managers ensure their truck drivers are not only trained on newly installed safety systems, but have buy-in that their truck drivers know how to and, even more, want to use them. The equipment being installed should be properly vetted and key decision-makers within the organization should understand how they will have an impact on the organization as a whole.

There are also problems with fleet managers focusing only on poor truck drivers. Even if an operator has a safe million-mile record, mistakes happen. Professional, experienced truck drivers should not be ignored for the sake of focusing on newer, less-experienced truck drivers with a minimal driving record.

When an adverse event occurs, do you have a corrective action plan in place to address the problem? How are you using the available data to influence the decision you make in regards to your truck drivers? Only through proper training and follow through can these questions be answered.

Technology is not a Curse

The problem is that as motor carriers add more and more technologies to their vehicles, it can become difficult to not only keep everyone on board, but figure out the most optimal ways to utilize these technologies. Advanced safety and fleet management systems do not just suddenly make themselves known to operators.

It is important to never assume that those operating your commercial motor vehicles will know exactly how a piece of technology works, especially if the only experience they previously had was with putting a pen to paper.

Fleets must invest real time and effort into ensuring those who are utilizing an advanced technological solution are aware that it is going to be installed, how to use it, and how to utilize the data it provides. Many of these software and hardware systems are not inexpensive. Why should a motor carrier sink a ton of their well-earned money into implementing a system without the follow-through required to ensure they are getting the most out of it?

 

Safety Initiatives Taking Hold

No matter where you are around the globe, trucking safety initiatives are changing the industry. Trucking advocacy groups and fleets alike are doing everything they can to improve their safety profiles and raise awareness for trucking safety and overall advancement, no matter where they are around the globe.

In one heartwarming trucking story, the Australian Trucking Association has supported a campaign advocated by students from Swinburne University called “Don’t Truck Around.” The university’s Communication Design department completes an annual campaign focused on safe driving measures, from using a cell phone while driving to drinking and driving.

The campaign also aims to teach youth how to interact with large commercial motor vehicles once they finally start driving. Knowing how to react around a large truck is an important part of safely operating a passenger vehicle on any road anywhere in the world.

The numbers of commercial motor vehicles operating on Australian roads is only set to continue increasing over time, leaving that country with an essential choice. The Australian Trucking Association partnered with the school to pick top finalists to pitch their campaign.

In good news for trucking in general, no matter who won the competition, our compatriots down under stated they would use the feedback garnered from everyone who pitched, as well as information gleaned from their annual conference. They expressed interest in integrating it within the future decisions made regarding trucking in Australia.

Large U.S. Outfits Integrate Safety Systems

One of the largest players in trucking, Penske Logistics, has made a decision that will likely push safety technologies in a way that could see greater adoption across the trucking spectrum.

With a fleet of 2,800 heavy-duty commercial motor vehicles, the company has pledged to add video-based safety technologies to the mix. The technologies they have committed to outfitting on their fleet will include event-triggered on-board cameras that face both inside and outside the cab.

They hope to use the inward-facing camera information for truck driver coaching initiatives and bettering of fleet safety initiatives. Their commitment to outfitting these technologies also extends to older fleet vehicles.

Penske had previously run a pilot program within the company using the methodology from the larger idea. Internal company reports pointed to good results from the internal tests. The company reported a reduction in road safety incidents and higher overall safety scores for their truck drivers.

This technology will add to other technologies in use by the company, from backup alarms to collision-avoidance systems and more.

Using the Smith System

The company relies on the Smith System to train its truck drivers on the best way to operate a big rig. The Smith System relies on five key factors designed to reduce collisions, prevent injuries and save lives.

The five common principles of the Smith System of truck driving include aiming high on your steering, always being on the keen lookout for hazards, never get lost in a glare and stare. Always keep your eyes open and leave yourself a way to get out of a hazardous situation.

Always keep aware of the area of space around your tractor-trailer and make sure passenger cars and others on the road can always see you, whether through the use of your signals, lights, horn or other implement.  The Smith System uses a rating system to determine the safety efficacy of the truck drivers under the system’s tutelage.

With so many decisions within the trucking industry focused on safety, expect constant evolution in the sector. No matter the system used, trucking will continue to improve its safety profile the world over for a very long time; a good thing for everyone involved.

Staying Safe On The Job: Essential Tips For Every Professional Truck Driver

If you are a professional truck driver, you know how important it is to take special care on the job. Being a truck driver does not come without on-the-job risks, but if you take special care, you can ensure your health and safety from your first day on the job all the way through to your retirement.

The good news is that safety training and technologies have made it easier than ever for truck drivers to avoid nasty injuries on the job. And as a professional truck driver yourself, you can contribute to this ongoing trend. That’s why we wanted to cover often-overlooked on-the-job safety tips every truck driver should keep in mind.

Move Around

Being a truck driver is a sedentary job, much like many jobs nowadays. This is why it is important to take time to get out of the vehicle and move around. Minimizing your time spent in the cab’s seat helps keep your body healthy and limber. Don’t just sit in the driver’s seat while at rest stops. If your cab is equipped with a bed, you may even want to lie down and stretch, as opposed to sitting in your seat.

Clothing Matters

There is nothing worse than wearing tight or chafing clothing during long hours in the your vehicle. You want to wear loose, comfortable clothing and footwear. A big part of this is blood circulation. Not only does a lack of circulation lead to major health problems down the road, it is also incredibly uncomfortable.

Avoid Long Jumps

One of the most dangerous things a truck driver can do is jump from the cab down to the ground. You want to make sure you step carefully out of your vehicle and take great care in getting to the ground. One foot or hand should always be on a support piece, whether on ascent or descent to and from the vehicle. If you lose your grip or otherwise find yourself in an awkward position, it can lead to injury or worse.

Don’t Be A Hero

Never try to be the toughest guy on the block when handling loads. If possible, use mechanized equipment to handle loads. If you do not have equipment to help you, don’t attempt to lift a load you think may be too heavy for you. Also avoid lifting from your back if you do have to lift a box. If a load is too heavy for you, seek assistance.

Consider Road Vibrations

Whether you are truck driver or fleet manager, consider the effect road vibrations have on the occupant of a vehicle. If the vehicle is an older model, vibrations can have a negative impact on the entire body. When vibrations occur over a long period of time, critical bones and organs can be subject to injury, from the spine to other internal body structures.

Consider The Cab

Relating to road vibrations, it is important to consider a truck’s interior design. From the instrument panel’s layout to insulation and reduction of interior noise, all of these are important factors. Trucking companies and owner operators must pay careful attention to the layout of the cab to ensure both maximum comfort and safety at all times.

Watch For Fatigue

It is critically important for truck drivers to watch for fatigue. If you have been driving for many hours, non-stop, fatigue can be a major problem. If you become inattentive while driving your commercial motor vehicle, it can result in a major accident or worse. You should always practice safety and realize that when fatigue steps in, getting your load there in time should take a back seat.