According to the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), truck crashes accounted for 57% of the fatal accidents reported in rural accidents in 2017, while those reported on interstate highways accounted for 27%. These staggering numbers are often linked to the large size of trucks, dangerous speeding, and the type of cargo involved in accidents. Fortunately, there exist several ways to prevent such collisions, as described below.
Drive at the Legal Speed
Every state has speed limits, which all drivers must abide by. While these limits will remain constant, you will be required to readjust your speed when driving in bad weather. These could be instances when the conditions are windy, rainy, and snowy. Speeding in such weather could put you in danger due to reduced visibility, which puts you and other motorists at risk.
Get Plenty of Sleep and Rest
Truck drivers often have to endure long hours of driving, accompanied by strict delivery deadlines. Due to this, you are likely to spend many hours behind the wheel, causing fatigue and increasing the risk of falling asleep while on the road. The FMCSA understand the dangers that this poses, which is why they state that drivers must not drive longer than 11 hours if they have been off duty for 10 consecutive hours. With this in mind, you should aim to get at least 7 hours of undisturbed sleep. Truck accident lawyer experts also suggest getting a quiet place such as a rest-stop or overnight motel to maximize the quality of sleep. In addition to this, avoid caffeine for hours, leading to your nap time and heavy meals that could compromise your sleep.
Learn Your Vehicle
Numerous causes of truck accidents can be attributed to maintenance issues, a problem that every driver should be able to avoid. Learning about the workings of your vehicle will be essential in preventing collisions. Understand how your truck works, how to spot any failure, and how to fix simple issues. Common issues to look out for include strange noises, fluid leaks, brake failure, and steering problems.
If any of these occur, make it a point to contact experienced technicians to help out with your problem. Local experts will be ideal as these will often be the closest to you depending on your area of operation, allowing you to benefit from quick services. If you encounter problems during your drive, consider taking breaks until help gets to you to avoid mishaps on the road.
Avoid Alcohol and Drug Consumption
While you may be tempted to drive under the influence of alcohol and stimulants to help you beat last-minute deadlines, the consequences have proven to cause significant harm, making this option an unsafe alternative. Using amphetamines and alcohol may help you stay awake longer for only a short duration, but they will often increase your chances of taking hazardous risks. This may include speeding, taking risky maneuvers such as overtaking in unsafe spots, and making unsafe lane changes. The stimulants also increase your chances of falling asleep behind the wheel when they wear off. With this in mind, avoid the use of alcohol and other drugs.
Understanding your route beforehand will also come in handy in avoiding problems that could have been easily avoided. Due to the large size of numerous trucks, the majority will not be able to use various roads, exits, and underpasses. Maps can help you avoid such disturbances, especially when making deliveries to new destinations. GPS can also act as a secondary reference source, allowing you to navigate your routes well before the start of your journey. Lastly, consider checking weather conditions well ahead of time to help you switch to safer roads for safer driving.
Preventing truck collisions is possible, with drivers required to get the recommended rest time and abide by state-issued speeding limits. Additionally, avoid using any stimulants, plan ahead and learn your vehicle.