Truck Driver Tips to Move into the New Year
As we move into a new year, it’s a good time to reflect on the concerns and issues involved with driving a truck. This reflection led to 8 truck driving tips that can help you be a safer, more effective driver moving forward.
Driving a truck can be both rewarding and stressful. There are things you can do to reduce the stress of the job though. By observing simple yet often overlooked aspects of the truck driver’s life, you can make changes.
Top 8 Truck Driving Tips
The services truck drivers provide are essential, which means it’s essential to keep drivers safe, healthy, and continuing to move forward. For drivers looking to find the best jobs available, it’s important to maintain the best practices.
With the proper planning including health and safety observations, you can make your job easier, safer, and even more enjoyable. More importantly, you can make yourself a driver carriers want to work with. This can start with 8 truck driving tips that will put you ahead of the game.
1. Complete Pre-Trip Inspections
Pre-trip inspections are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and will help you avoid maintenance issues while on the road. This inspection is often overlooked or glossed over by drivers though. You want to take the time to make sure everything is in order.
Check for all required documentation and emergency equipment and inspect the truck for any issues. Check oil and other fluid levels and look for leaks. Check belts, airlines, brakes, transmission, battery, and steering. These inspections should happen before every trip.
2. Plan Your Trip
Before you head out, you want to plan for rest stops, fuel, and other aspects of your drive. Take time to look for the best places to stop on the way, including where to get the best fuel prices on your route. Take the time to check for construction or other issues that can slow your trip down.
Taking this time to plan will help you meet deadlines without violating hours of service or other regulations. This extra planning can also help you save money on fuel, fines, and even food.
3. Check the Weather
Any time you will drive long distances, you want to be aware of weather and other natural disaster possibilities. While weather can be unpredictable at times, this will give you an indication of what to expect.
Check for possible heavy rainfalls, snow, or other issues along your route before you head out. This will help you prepare for alternative routes if necessary or have any necessary equipment with you. This can even give an indication if it becomes necessary to reschedule a trip.
4. Keep Snacks on Hand
Truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road, which means without good planning when it comes to meals, you’ll consume a lot of unhealthy foods. Letting convenience road foods become a staple of your diet leads to health issues and can cause sluggishness, which can be a safety risk while driving.
Keep snacks on hand that will help you maintain energy. It can be hard to store food in your truck, but there are some easy options. Keep items such as fresh fruits and veggies, dried fruits, nuts, oatmeal, and even sandwich ingredients for quick meals that won’t drain you.
5. Take Breaks
Driving can drain you, so it’s important to take breaks every 3-4 hours so you can stay fresh. Take time to move around and stretch your muscles. Catch some sleep if you’re starting to feel tired.
These breaks are important for your health. This gives you an opportunity to move around after long stretches of sitting and allows you time to catch up on other things you can’t do while you’re driving.
6. Limit Caffeine Intake
Energy drinks and other caffeinated foods and drinks can be useful in a pinch but consuming too much can impair your judgment. These caffeinated substances can also disrupt necessary sleep patterns. Too much caffeine can also cause or increase health issues.
It’s important to limit your caffeine intake. If you are tired while driving, pull over and rest instead of relying on caffeine. Sometimes just getting out of your vehicle and walking around can refresh you.
7. Wear Your Seatbelt
While it’s known that wearing a seatbelt is the law, many people still fail to do so. In 2019, 47% of fatal crashes involved a person not wearing their seatbelt. When you break this down to truck drivers, 30% of fatally injured drivers were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.
Not only is it a possible violation issue to drive without your seatbelt, but it’s a major safety concern in the case of an accident. Wearing your seatbelt is probably the most important truck driver tip moving into 2022.
8. Observe Speed Limits
Speeding is one of the top CSA violations among truck drivers, especially in construction zones where speeding is more dangerous. Speeding not only leads to more accidents, including potential rollovers, but it also decreases your fuel efficiency.
Make sure you follow all posted speed limits while driving. On long stretches of road, it could help to use cruise control to maintain proper speeds and avoid potential accidents, fines, and other issues.
Always be Prepared
As a driver, you always need to be prepared for issues and surprises on the road. These 8 truck driving tips are a good start to help you be ready each time you head out.
You can also check out our free job posting list to find your next driving opportunity.