Commercial Truck Safety - Safeguard Your Trucking Business

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In the commercial trucking industry, commercial truck safety is a major concern, and having the right commercial trucking safety tools on hand is crucial. Numerous truck accidents and injuries can be avoided if certain trucking safety tips for truckers are followed, and truck vehicle safety program measures are in place.

From having the proper truck driving safety equipment in each rig to keeping up to date with your truck driving safety inspection and other post-trip checking protocols, there are several easy things you can do every day to safeguard your commercial trucking business.

Below, we will take a look at how commercial truckers can stay safe while on the road with safety tips and common sense, and how Strong Tie Insurance can help ensure you have the right commercial truck insurance policy in place in the event an accident occurs.

How Can Truck Drivers Avoid Accidents?

A commercial rig driving job is a difficult business to work in, and truck driving safety is constantly a concern. While it may be easier said than done, adhering to a set of truck driving safety guidelines and rules will not only help you avoid accidents while helping you avoid a commercial truck insurance claim.

Although every truck driver is familiar with the fundamentals of commercial truck driver safety, a quick review can help commercial drivers avoid unforeseen incidents due to things like weather conditions, road conditions, and even other motor carriers. Take a look at these truck driving safety tips truck drivers should consider.

Scan Intersections

It is possible that a driver will run a red light because they are preoccupied. Although most truckers want to begin driving as soon as the light turns green, taking an extra moment to scan the intersection, check mirrors, and the surrounding environment with a sharp eye is a simple approach to avoid accidents.

Always Signal

In the business of commercial truck leads, it can be tempting for truckers who work on longer sections of the road or when heavy traffic issues or sudden stops are not an issue to make lane shifts or lane changes, and exit highways without signaling. This comes especially if they take part in distracted driving when they feel tired—which can happen to beginner and experienced truck drivers alike.

Failure to use signals that help car and truck drivers anticipate your movements can increase the chance of an accident. When changing lanes, especially on a highway, always use signals to inform other drivers of your intentions.

Stay Alert at All Times

When you’re truck driving for long hours on the highway, it’s easy for your mind to wander, especially if the journey becomes tedious.

To stay focused, try experimenting with different ways to keep your eyes moving and your mind engaged on the road ahead of you. Avoiding distractions is truly key for safe truck operation.

Maintain a Safe Driving Distance

Another important piece of truck driving advice is to maintain a safe and appropriate driving space between you and the car ahead of you.

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), truckers should maintain a space of at least five seconds or more between themselves and the car in front of them when moving over 40 miles per hour. This leaves room for stopping distance should the car in front of you suddenly hit the brakes. 

What are Some Driving Safety Tips?

Although every truck driver is familiar with the fundamentals of truck driver safety, a quick review can help other drivers avoid unforeseen incidents.

Take a look at these safety tips for truck drivers to ensure their safety.

Practice Defensive Driving

Defensive driving for commercial vehicles is a kind of driving that allows truckers to be aware of potential changes in weather and road conditions at all times.

Tell your rig drivers to drive defensively and anticipate potentially hazardous conditions to ensure they will be able to make safe and well-informed decisions behind the wheel, reducing the likelihood of accidents and injuries.

Watch for Blind Spots

One of the most important defensive driving methods for rig drivers, similar to the previously given guidelines, is to keep your eyes moving at all times, especially for a blind spot.

Driving risks can appear out of nowhere at any time, regardless of the speed limit—therefore, no matter how quickly or slow you drive according to the speed limit, your eyes should constantly be scanning the surrounding urban areas to ensure that all threats are considered.

Develop Preventative Maintenance Schedules

Your drivers’ safety always begins with safety tips for rig employees. Big rigs are more likely to break down on the road if they are not up-to-date with routine maintenance.

Take an extra few minutes to create a detailed preventive maintenance program for each rig in your fleet based on mileage, days, and previous repair history to guarantee that your trucks are in top shape when they return to service.

Be Prepared for Emergencies

Driving conditions can change quickly when you’re behind the wheel, especially over a long distance. Encourage other drivers to be ready for a variety of situations, such as bad weather conditions, unpredictable weather changes, dangerous driving conditions on the road, or rig problems.

In preparation for unexpected conditions that may need them to pull off the highway for longer lengths of time, drivers should consider equipping their trucks with water, heavy meals for a healthier diet—no junk foods or sugary drinks, a first aid kit, a change of clothing, and blankets.

Additionally, encourage all of your workers to wear their safety belts while on the road.

What Safety Equipment is Required in a CMV?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the US Department of Transportation (DOT) regulate the safety of commercial motor vehicles used on roadways to convey passengers or property.

Here is a list of safety equipment that is required by the commercial motor vehicle (CMV):

For FMCSA compliance, all buses, trucks, and tractors must have portable fire extinguishers. Vehicles carrying potential hazards or hazardous material trucks require a 10-B:C unit, while all other vehicles require a 5-B:C unit.

Each unit must be anchored in a way that precludes sliding, rolling, or vertical movement, and an extinguishing chemical that does not freeze is necessary. In most cases, an extinguisher is mounted in a vehicle bracket.

Stopped vehicles must have warning devices, according to the FMCSA. Although road flares are permissible, a minimum of three bidirectional emergency reflective triangles are required.

Commercial motor trucks frequently carry wheel chocks (P/N HDLWC) to prevent inadvertent movement when parked during loading and unloading.

In the direction of the grade, shocks are utilized against the back tires. Chock blocks are positioned on both sides of tires on equal surfaces and should be used in pairs at all times.

Every commercial rig should be equipped with the necessary safety equipment. Although the FMCSA does not require first aid kits, many states do.

Brooks first aid kits are often fitted to match the maximum number of car occupants, even if they are not required, this includes the passengers plus the truck driver.

What is a DOT for Truck Drivers?

There are various DOT definitions in the trucking sector. The Department of Transportation is what DOT stands for. This is a federal government agency in charge of maintaining and developing the transportation system in the United States.

DOT creates, administers, and enforces federal regulations and rules governing the use of America’s roads and highways.

There are a few other DOT definitions to be aware of, some of them include:

Rig drivers must adhere to federal standards and rules set forth by the DOT in order to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

To ensure that no safety regulations are broken, all truck drivers are continuously supervised. This assures the driver’s safety as well as the safety of other drivers.

The FMSCA verifies that you have the skills and knowledge to properly operate a commercial vehicle by obtaining your DOT certification. You must complete a series of written and driving tests to acquire this.

A DOT physical will also be required of you. This verifies that you are in good health and can safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Keep Your Commercial Truck Drivers Safe with Strong Tie Insurance Today

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To talk with our customer service representative and get a free quote on any of the commercial truck insurance and liability coverage options we provide, contact us at Strong Tie Insurance Today.

Commercial Trucking Safety FAQs

Truck driving is among the top 25 most dangerous jobs in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It ranks seventh on the most number of fatalities every year. But all jobs come with a risk. That’s why safety guidelines for each industry are in place—to minimize hazards in the workplace.

Having a proper insurance cover also offers added protection in case of an accident or a claim. Strong Tie Insurance’s commercial truck coverages come in varying plans and rates. Partner with us to safeguard your business!

Driving heavy vehicles poses the risk of accidents, so operators follow standard guidelines and unwritten truck safety rules. Here are some of them:

Scanning Intersections

It is part of a driver’s instinct to drive once the light turns green, but truckers take a moment to scan the intersection. They check all mirrors and the area to prevent accidents.

Always Using Signal Lights

For vehicles with heavy loads, like semi-trucks, signal lights are crucial on the road. They occupy a wide portion of the road and need extra care in maneuvering when turning or changing lanes. Truck drivers indicate using their signal lights before making a move.

Staying Alert at All Times

As with other people who take the wheel, they can get distracted eating a sandwich, lighting a cigarette, texting, or talking on the phone. Truck drivers try their best to avoid such types of distractions. 

Knowing the Blind Spots

Visibility is vital for truck driving safety as huge vehicles with trailers tend to have more blind spots than a standard vehicle. Truck drivers familiarize themselves with all of the potential blind spots of their vehicles.

Following the Hours of Service Rules

Truck drivers are highly encouraged to follow the Hours of Service (HOS) rules created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to help minimize fatigue on the road. Some of the rules include:

  • Taking a 30-minute break after an accumulated eight hours of driving time
  • Having at least 10 hours of off-duty before the next haul

Harold L. Smith, a World War II veteran who served in the U.S. Navy, established the Smith System Driving School in 1952. It prioritizes safe truck driving over the mechanical operation of heavy vehicles.

It has five steps that can be summarized by memorizing the mnemonic, All good kids like milk.

  • Aim high in steering
  • Get the big picture
  • Keep your eyes moving
  • Leave yourself an out
  • Make sure they see you
Aim High in Steering

This means scanning the road ahead. Truck drivers should maintain eye lead time for at least 15 seconds. This may mean one city block if it is running at 25 mph. It could be one-quarter of a mile if the speed is about 60 mph.

Get the Big Picture

This involves scanning the mirrors every 5 seconds to 8 seconds and keeping a 7-second minimum following distance. The latter is accomplished by choosing a fixed object ahead and counting 1,001; 1,002; etc. until a driver reaches the landmark.

Keep Your Eyes Moving

Truck drivers should not focus on a single object for more than 2 seconds. Daydreaming and spacing out, of course, should be avoided at all times.

Leave Yourself an Out

Truck drivers should anticipate potential dangers and make sure there is a way out. They steer into a better position before getting stuck in a tricky spot.

Make Sure They See You

Truck safety can be maintained by using flashers, headlights, and horns. Making eye contact with other drivers also aids in signaling your next move.

Trucking safety involves guidelines created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the Department of Transportation (DOT) to increase public awareness on proper road sharing. These are:

  • Being familiar with the common trucker illnesses and injuries
  • Knowing general trucking safety measures like having the proper permits, licenses, and insurance covers
  • Having access to emergency and disaster response lines
  • Attending occupational seminars and reading OSHA publications to refresh knowledge on road safety