Truck drivers ply their trade in a public way – on the open highway. There they must confront a whole range of potential dangers, some externally and many internally. A good truck driver will drive in such a way that each of these potential dangers is taken into account and that every possible precaution is taken to prevent any accidents from occurring.
A lot is said about the external dangers to a truck driver. These include weather, the state of the roads, and other drivers. I’ll address them shortly, however, in the first instance, it’s a truck driver’s responsibility to ensure that internal factors don’t offer the potential for danger. Internal dangers include truck maintenance, load security, and driver readiness.
Trucks must undergo an inspection each year to ensure they are safe to drive on our roads. Between inspections, it’s a truck driver’s responsibility to regularly check their vehicle for signs of wear and tear. This includes hydraulic lines and connections, tires and tire tread, truck lights, including brake and indicator lights, and the cleanliness of windows for vision. Before setting out on a trip, it is also the truck driver’s job to ensure that the load being transported is secure and that there’s no risk of load movement. Shifting cargo has the potential to cause serious accidents, including truck rollovers.
When it comes to driver readiness, that’s easy to assess. Adequate sleep, avoidance of substances that affect driving (including alcohol and drugs of any kind), knowledge of the truck and road rules, and physical fitness are just some of the areas to look at. A truck driver should know if they are ready to drive. If they have any doubts, they should not be on the road.
External issues are out of the control of drivers. You can’t change or stop the weather – you just drive to the conditions. With other vehicles on the road, being alert and driving defensively will put you in a position to either avoid or reduce the impact of any accident. This is where truck driver training can help to prepare you.