Truck driving can be a very lucrative career, however, it is a career that comes with a lot of responsibility. We have all seen the large freight haulers that ply our highways everyday. If a fully laden freight truck loses control, the results could be catastrophic – there’s a lot of weight being pushed at speed and that takes a lot of stopping power. Large freight haulers can destroy a dozen or more cars, demolish a building, and even bring down bridges – and that can all happen in one incident.
There are three major causes behind truck accidents, and new drivers need to learn to combat them. The first is fairly easy – substance use/abuse. Alcohol, illicit drugs, and prescribed or over-the-counter drugs can and will effect a drivers ability. They can all affect perception and judgement while slowing reaction time. If you accept that a fully laden truck can take several hundred feet to come to a standstill, a delay of a couple seconds could make a big difference when it comes to avoiding an accident. The Department of Transport, and most employers, have a zero tolerance to any substance use that may affect a person’s ability to drive.
The second area that causes problems with truck driver safety is tiredness. If a driver fails to get adequate rest, the effects can be very similar to a blood alcohol content of .05. Once again, perception, judgement and reaction times can be affected and this can lead to accidents. Truck drivers must maintain a log detailing their daily activities. There are compulsory rest periods, and compulsory out-of-the-truck rest periods, and the Department of Transport can and will thoroughly examine log books to ensure drivers comply with these rest breaks. As a driver, you need to recognize when you are tired and need a break – if you’re going to crash, make sure it’s in a bed, not on the road.
One area where substance use and tiredness has a noticeable effect is in concentration, the third major cause of truck accidents. Substance use and tiredness are not the only cause – mobile technologies are now highly rated for causing accidents. There are many distractions for truck drivers, and it only takes one lapse in concentration to cause a major accident. One of the first skills that new drivers need to learn is to concentrate on their driving skills while remaining constantly alert to everything around them.
If can combat those three high risk areas, then you should consider a career as truck driver.