If you recently completed your training, testing and licensing as a truck driver, you should feel positive about your future. As of May 2018, demand for truck drivers in North America is expected to continue growing at a healthy pace. There is also the DRIVE-Safe Act, a legislative proposal that seeks to modernize this occupational field to make it more attractive to younger drivers. Now that you have your CDL, here are four tips to keep you safer on the road:
Pay Attention When Changing Lanes
Quite a few trucking accidents occur when drivers change lanes in busy highways or near intersections that create blind spots. Seasoned truckers will always tell you to choose a lane and stay on it as much as possible, particularly on interstates where you will be able to safely set your rig on cruise control.
Never Get Into a Mental Zone
You should approach your job as a jet fighter pilot would, which means always being alert and thinking about the situations that may come down the road. Getting into a mental zone of comfort and complacency is never recommended for truck drivers. When driving in heavy traffic conditions, think about all the vehicles sharing the road with you, and always keep in mind where your next exit to rest and safety will be.
Utilize the Best of Technology
There are tons of technological devises as well as mobile apps that can help truckers to stay safe. For example, there are apps that can actually allow you to review your route before you start driving towards your destination. Such apps can also allow you to get a visual of what the road conditions look like in almost real time. If you were to go into street view mode on Google Maps, for example, the latest images that you would be able to find would likely be very much outdated—as old as a few months ago to a year plus ago. With these types of apps, however, the images would have most likely been updated within the last few hours.
Practice Nutrition, Relaxation and Fitness
Being healthy and well-rested is essential to the success of your truck driving career. Many roadway accidents are caused by fatigue conditions exacerbated by drivers being in poor shape. Eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising even just a few hours per week can go a long way in terms of avoiding accidents. If you have a regular route, take time to learn where you can stop to enjoy healthy meals and snacks.
Retain the Right Professionals
New truckers choose to work on an independent contractor basis tend to forget that they are essentially becoming small business owners. If you become independent, you should put together a team of professionals to help you grow your business. At the very least, you should have the following as part of your smartphone contacts: accountant, automobile accident attorney, physician or physical therapist, and insurance agent. You may also want to add trustworthy Uber drivers for those times when you complete a run and do not feel like doing personal driving.
In the long run, the safest truck drivers end up making the most money because they are able to stay on the road longer. Keep this in mind as your career keeps on trucking.