Truck driving can be an extremely rewarding career, and it comes with a lot of perks. One of the most often mentioned benefits of the job is the freedom of the open road. You get to enjoy beautiful sights while cruising to your next destination. And rarely does the road look as beautiful and serene as it does during the fall months. However, we would like to point out 6 fall safety tips for truck drivers, since it never hurts to be extra safe.
1. Take frequent breaks
Driving a truck can be physically taxing and it also requires a lot of concentration. It’s crucial to maintain your awareness by stopping and resting every so often. If you’re just starting a career as a truck driver, you might be tempted to push yourself above and beyond. Truthfully, your main priority needs to be remaining healthy and safe. Autumn weather can leave a lot of people feeling groggy, especially in the early morning hours. An important fall safety tip for truck drivers is to stop if you feel tired.
When you stop to take a break, you can also do a few exercises and stretches. Breathe some fresh air and get your blood pumping before stepping back into the truck. This will do wonders in the long run. Time can quickly pass while you are driving, so remember to stay hydrated and eat enough food.
2. Plan your route and your longer stops
Although there have been improvements in regulations regarding driver safety, truck drivers still have a lot of freedom in how they plan their trips. Longer routes will require you to go into detailed planning. Besides factoring in which roads you’ll take, you should take a minute to consider where you’d like to stop. Realistically, sometimes a short break just won’t cut it, be it for a meal or for a longer rest.
Snacking while driving is okay, but you should stop and treat yourself to a proper meal. Look up restaurants that are on the way. Some might offer discounts for truck drivers, and you can ask your coworkers for their recommendations. If you need to stop for the night, you can research motels that have a good rating. Nothing will beat a good night’s sleep, and it will leave you refreshed and ready to continue your journey. Make sure you are well rested before every departure.
3. Take all the necessary precautions
Do everything by the book and you will be fine. However, you shouldn’t discount the basics, like always wearing your seatbelt. Minimize risk by following safety tips and employing defensive driving, which is especially important during the fall months. Even airplane pilots stick to a checklist just to make sure they have double-checked everything. Don’t think it’s beneath you to make a safety checklist. If you turn safety precautions into a daily routine, they will quickly become second nature, and you won’t need to think about them anymore.
4. Keep the weather in mind
Everyone knows that the fall weather can be highly unpredictable. Checking the weather forecast every time before you head out is a good idea that will save you from nasty surprises. Although the weather during the fall is beautiful for the most part, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
Fog and rain are frequent occurrences, and in the colder months, even ice and snow can be found in some areas. During fall, the sun sets earlier in the day, which means you should adjust your driving hours and plan to start earlier. On especially cold mornings, you might be greeted by frost on your windshield. One of the most important fall safety tips for truck drivers is to be prepared and always leave some extra time to meet deadlines. Let the truck warm up while you clear the frost and ice buildup. Always avoid dangerous driving conditions if you can help it.
5. Equip your truck
Keep in mind that winter is just around the corner. While we are still a few months off, the cold weather doesn’t necessarily need to wait for the official calendar season to start. Make sure your truck is properly equipped for anything you might encounter. Check your bad weather gear and have an extra jacket and a pair of dry boots always on hand. Warm boots and a fresh pair of socks are the best things to have around on a cold rainy day.
Depending on the type of truck you are driving you may want to have some extra gear at your disposal. For example, moving trucks will require specialized equipment, so you should make sure you have everything you need. Simple tools like stair climbers or dollies can make your life a whole lot easier.
6. Beware of bright sunlight
Once summer is over and hot days are a thing of the past, people tend to forget that the sun still exists. You might be surprised, but fall brings a lot more bright sunlight than you would think. When preparing to hit the road this fall, you should remember to factor in daylight saving time.
Due to the change in the clock for daylight savings, there is going to be more sunlight in the early hours of the day. This can affect your visibility, so it is handy to keep a pair of sunglasses with you at all times. As the months change closer to winter, the sun will also shift a bit to the south. The sun might rise in the middle of the road or give you glare from angles you aren’t used to. Autumn sunsets also cause a lot of glare, so make sure you don’t get blinded in the early afternoon hours.
As you can see from our list of 6 fall safety tips for truck drivers – you shouldn’t expect any serious issues, but it never hurts to stay safe. Prevention is better than the cure, so remember to take care of yourself while you are driving, and you are set to enjoy a career with a great future ahead of you.
Michael Pearce worked as a logistics manager for several companies over the last 14 years. Now he has chosen to spread his knowledge of transportation and supply chains by writing articles such as this one. Michael strongly believes that being prepared is the key ingredient to making any plan reach fruition, regardless of what business you are in.