Long-distance truck driving is an extremely important job. Without truck drivers, deliveries and goods wouldn't make it to destinations on time, which could cause a shortage of necessary supplies. Unfortunately, long-distance truck driving is also a dangerous job. In fact, one out of every 10 highway fatalities occur in an accident involving a large truck. Safety is extremely important for all truck drivers, but if you're new to driving a big rig, there are several safety tips that you need to know.
Be Aware of Your Blind Spots
Truck drivers, more than any other driver on the road, need to be aware of their blind spots. It's very easy to miss a small car when you're in a big truck. Changing lanes can be dangerous, and sometimes fatal, if you don't check your blind spots frequently. The most common blind spots on a semi are:
- To the left and right side of the truck, just in front of the cab.
- Directly behind the side mirrors.
- Directly behind the truck.
Look Before Backing Up
Remember, one of the most common blind spots is directly behind your truck, because the only tools you have to see back there are your side mirrors. So, before you back your truck up, get out of the cab to see what is behind you. It might take you a few more minutes to pull the truck into the dock safely, but it's better for you to take a few extra minutes than it is to damage your boss's truck or the customer's goods.
Take Care of Yourself
Long-distance truck drivers sometimes drive when they are tired, and they shouldn't. If you're tired, you need to pull over to sleep -- even if you just take a 15-minute nap. You need to be alert when you're behind the wheel. Your life and the lives of others are not as important as being on time for your delivery.
It's really easy to eat junk food and not exercise when you're a long-distance truck driver, but those bad habits will make you feel tired and worn down. So, skip the greasy diner food altogether. Instead, pack your own healthy meals that travel well in a cooler, such as:
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Granola bars
- Lunch meat
If you enjoy eating at diners, skip the heavy, greasy meals. Instead, choose a salad filled with fresh veggies. Also, try replacing the unhealthy snacks in the cab of your truck with healthy alternatives, such as almonds. Don't forget to make exercise a habit. Each day, stop your truck a couple of times to exercise. You'll be surprised at how refreshed you feel after a brisk, 15-minute walk.
It might take some time for you to get used to the truck-driver lifestyle, but that's okay. As long as you focus on your job and always put safety first, you'll get the hang of truck driving in no time.
To learn more, contact a service like Bobby Hoelscher Trucking Inc.