Plenty of factors combine to make truck driving a compelling career. What about taking in the views on a long-haul route? How about sampling local foods as you travel from town to town? We even bet you’d like a job that pays increasingly well and offers ever-improving benefits. All of these elements help make the job a fine choice, but trucking isn’t all profit and pretty scenery – we all acknowledge the dangers of the road, and ways to make them safer.
Whether you’re an experienced driver or an industry newbie, check out these five tips from Smith Transport to keeping yourself, your big rig, and your career out of the hot seat.
- Think Ahead – There’s more to driving than just the route. While you’ll undoubtedly know where you’re headed, you should just be sure to check the weather ahead too. A sudden storm can quickly turn the safest, quickest route into a harrowing misadventure – particularly during those icy, winter months.
- Conduct a Safety Check – Before you get rolling, make sure all tires are properly inflated, fluids are where they should be, and indicator lights are in good working order. Professional truck drivers know that a great many roadside issues can be avoided with a little pre-trip due diligence.
- Prep Your Papers – We’re going to include GPS, e-logs, and old school paper documents here, at that preparatory phase where we avoid needless shuffling about the cab. The last thing you want to do, especially on the move, is try to find registration documents or set your destination in your GPS. Eyes are best kept on the road, and ensuring your documents in order beforehand can prevent putting that focus elsewhere. And as always, keep phones away – that text can always wait. J
- Mind Your Bubble – Dangers exist in front, behind, and to all sides and angles. Think of your equipment beyond the windshield and create an imaginary bubble of separation between your truck and your surroundings. The bubble mentality is crucial – the sphere extends in all directions: upwards to wires, bridges, and tree limbs, downward to curbs, holes, and debris, and around you 360 degrees to avoid vehicles, buildings, and pedestrians. Mirrors are your friend and attention is your ally.
- Know Your Way Out – Especially at higher speeds, safety conditions can deteriorate very quickly. You should always have a plan for escaping possible dangers. What if that minivan suddenly realizes he passed his exit? How about that coupe that’s been coasting near your blind spot – where is it now? Where possible, avoid putting your truck in a situation where you are boxed in by other traffic. Maintain plenty of room, even if that means tweaking your responsible cruising to adjust to less-focused motorists.
There are plenty of ways to keep it safe out there. These are just some of the most common we’ve gathered through experience (both good and bad).
And if you’re interested in learning more about the trucking industry, or even pursuing a career with one of the nation’s best carriers, give one of Smith Transport’s recruiters a call at 866.265.3718 or take a moment to apply online. If you value safety as much as we do, we’d be happy to hear from you!