Seven Practical Steps to Safer Truck Driving

Written by Oil, Gas, and Mining on . Posted in Safety

Slick driving conditions due to snow, ice, and freezing rain is a common cause for overturned trucks.
Slick driving conditions due to snow, ice, and freezing rain is a common cause for overturned trucks.

Transporting oil and gas or mining and moving rock requires trucks and lots of them traveling long distances. Trucks also supply needed equipment, water, and any number of necessary supplies to make field operations run smoothly. Without skilled truckers, the oil, gas, and mining industries might as well pack up and go home. Skilled is emphasized because the vast majority of drivers powering the big rigs are about as far removed from the regular car driver as an air force pilot is from a kite flyer. But, there are also a few among the vast army of professionals who are not as well trained or should just plain know better. That is where the epic fail photographs come into play of trucks stuck in impossible angles either on or off the road.

Here are a few basic safety tips and there are several organizations and newsletters that provide more detailed guidance on safety, like the Truckers Report at www.truckersreport.com or the American Trucking Association Safety Management Council at www.trucking.org:

  1. Constantly monitor the space cushion around your truck to make sure there is adequate distance from other objects.
  2. Ramps and curves are not your friend. Ramp speeds are generally posted for cars but trucks need to go much slower so their wheels do not lose contact with the road and cause a roll-over.
  3. Stopping distance. Big trucks can’t stop on a dime, so allow more distance to slow a big loaded rig down.
  4. Bad weather complicates stopping distance. So, go even slower in rain, freezing rain, ice, and snow conditions, all of which reduce the traction of your tires against the road’s surface.
  5. Backing up. The regular civilian SUV driver hasn't a clue about how difficult backing up is for a big truck. Many backing accidents can be avoided by practicing G.O.A.L. or Get Out And Look.
  6. Be alert and well rested. Lots of accidents are caused by drowsiness. This is a tough condition to mitigate because many truckers work ridiculously long hours. But get as much sleep as possible (not while the truck is in motion), chew sunflower seeds, gum, slowly, or munch on apple, orange, or lemon slices to keep the taste buds active and the mouth moving. Perhaps singing along with the radio is fine as long as you’re not at a traffic light with the window rolled down.
  7. And finally, keep your vehicle cooler than normal and have the vents blow on your face as the cool wind will help keep you alert. A mini fan that fits on the dashboard or that can be clamped to a surface and angled toward you may also help.

Energy drinks, like coffee and Red Bull, could be noted as a numbered point, but it is unclear how much these should be encouraged, even though they are quite popular. Sure, they will work for a time, but can be rough on the body when overdone.

And above all else be safe out there....

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