Truck accidents are the most deadly form of motor vehicle accidents in the US today, with more than 4,000 people killed and tens of thousands injured annually. They are also the most expensive form of motor vehicle accident due to the large size and weight of the vehicles involved.
Despite the inherent dangers, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself and your truck when traveling on the highways or even in urban areas.
1. Regularly Inspect Your Truck
You should inspect your truck regularly to ensure that all parts are in proper working order and there are no signs of wear or damage. This includes checking the brakes, tires, steering components, fluid levels, and other safety-related equipment.
In addition, check the outside of your truck for any signs of rust or other damage that could compromise its integrity. Tire pressure should also be checked regularly, as this can affect your truck’s performance.
2. Drive Carefully
It should go without saying that you should be a defensive driver while behind the wheel of your truck. Defensive driving means being aware of your surroundings, obeying all traffic laws, and avoiding distractions such as cell phone use while driving.
Installing a traffic monitoring system, such as a dash camera, can help you stay alert and be aware of any hazards ahead. Always maintain a safe distance between your truck and other vehicles on the road, and keep an eye out for potential hazards such as potholes or debris.
Since trucks can take longer to stop than cars, you should also know your speed and road conditions.
3. Wear a Seatbelt
You can never underestimate the importance of wearing a seat belt while driving. Seat belts are designed to keep you in the vehicle and reduce the risk of serious injury if you are involved in a truck accident.
In addition, many states require that all drivers and passengers wear seat belts when traveling in a truck. They are your best defense in an accident, so make sure you and your passengers always buckle up.
4. Get Enough Rest Before a Long Trip
Fatigue is one of the most common causes of truck accidents in the US. Truck drivers often have to drive long distances, and if they are not well-rested before starting, they may suffer from drowsiness while on the road.
Make sure to get enough rest before any long-distance trip and take regular breaks during your journey, such as pulling over at a rest stop for a few minutes of shut-eye.
5. Follow Traffic Rules
When driving a truck, it is important to adhere to all traffic laws. This includes obeying speed limits and yielding the right-of-way when necessary.
In addition, many states have special regulations in place for trucks, such as lower speed limits on certain roads or restrictions on passing lanes. Make sure you know of such regulations in the areas you are traveling through.
Truck accidents can be devastating, both to the driver and their truck. By following the steps outlined above, you can protect yourself and your truck while on the road. Regular maintenance of your vehicle, driving defensively, wearing a seat belt at all times, getting enough rest before a long trip, and following traffic rules are all key components of safe trucking.