When it comes to the trucking industry, the timing and delivery of goods matters. You need to follow strict schedules while making sure that products are kept safe during road transit. But accidents do happen and no one can predict the severity nor the timing of these unexpected situations. Especially on the road, it is a path full of mishaps waiting to be unveiled at any given moment.
One single mistake can cause financial damage to the driver, to the company, and to other road users. Bad weather conditions, poor highway construction, mechanical failure, and human error: all of these are inevitable. But there’s one thing we can do to avoid road accidents – follow safety tips for truck drivers and make sure they are adhered to religiously. Making the road a better and safer place benefits not just your business but for everyone on the road. As an owner of a trucking business, here are tips to help make the road safer.
Conduct regular safety training
It sounds cliché but the term “prevention is better than cure” is without a doubt applicable to the trucking industry. Many industries require ongoing education to keep practitioners up to date and to be sure people in the industry continue to learn. The same concept can be applied to truck safety training. Making safety training a requirement – even for experienced truck drivers and technicians – is often welcomed by staff and shows your commitment to the well-being of your drivers.
There are many ways to implement safety training in your business. You can create an accident prevention plan, give safe driving tips, conduct monthly meetings, and investigate past or recent incidents. Keep in mind though that safety training are useless without having developed a good program. Here are some key things to consider:
- Write a comprehensive manual with a safety plan outline that should be given to all drivers.
- Provide driver training regardless of experience, verify and assess their skills regularly.
- Always perform equipment checks and recognize fatigue control especially in commercial drivers.
Invest in equipment to make the job safer
Having the right knowledge is not enough to keep your drivers safe from road accidents. Along with expertise and awareness, they need tools and safety equipment should the unlikely happen. There are many forms of safety tools and equipment. Some are made to protect the driver against road accidents by increasing visibility, while others provide the support they need in case of an emergency or highway calamity.
Hard hats, high visibility workwear, hand protection gear, traction devices, and warmers are necessary for truck driving in different road conditions. Fire extinguishers and a first aid kit, on the other hand, should always be kept visible to everyone. You also need to have essential equipment to maintain road safety such as roadside signs, traffic cones, wheel chocks, paddle signals, collision system, safety cone holders, placards, and much more.
- Make sure that all drivers have the necessary safety equipment.
- Always invest in high-quality materials, choose providers who follow laws and regulations.
- Opt for tools that will work even in remote locations and poor weather conditions.
- Tools are significant not just to protect and prevent road accidents, but to survive them as well.
- Ensure you have the right insurance coverage like Commercial Auto.
Make safety inspections a must
Next on these safety tips for truck drivers is the importance of following safety inspections. Large trucks, commercial vehicles, and all other transport rely on mechanical engineering to work properly. This doesn’t mean that they’re free from failure or malfunction, even the most advanced vehicle needs to be checked periodically for any faults that could cause a catastrophic event.
Safety inspections can be time-consuming but sacrificing a few minutes is nothing compared to the benefits it could bring to your trucking business. Safety inspections should be carried out daily before and after using the vehicle. Detailed inspections should be scheduled monthly, quarterly, and annually. To make things easier, it is recommended to create a safety checklist containing all areas that need to be covered and a section for comments and suggestions.
- Dedicate a section for equipment provided by the carrier like brakes, tires, horn etc.
- Make sure to include lighting devices, wheels, bolster, support frame, and locks.
- Plan inspections properly to avoid conflicting schedules with trip planning.
Invest in truck fleet maintenance
The next safety tip is to invest in quality truck fleet maintenance. If your truck isn’t working, it definitely isn’t contributing to the success of your business. A truck that is running smoothly brings money to the bank account, but a truck that is failing brings risks and liabilities to your business. Fleet maintenance is important to keep your autos safe and reliable for long-term road use. It also helps to avoid costly repairs and unwanted downtimes since you’re keeping an eye on the health of your vehicle
A steering wheel that has been worn down by time, blind spots due to foggy mirrors, unresponsive brakes, and worn out tires – all of these can cause major road accidents. Knowing when to replace them through proper fleet maintenance is far more affordable over time than waiting for things to break down. Aside from keeping things safe, fleet maintenance aids in improving business operations since costs are anticipated rather than unexpected.
- Listen to experts and don’t cancel procedures, especially repairs and replacements.
- Follow the golden rule in trucking: “Fix if it’s broken and replace if it’s beyond repair”.
- Choose providers with the latest tools such as diagnostic equipment and testing devices.
Hire or assign a safety manager
Last on these truck driver safety tips, lean towards team effort and collaboration. Road safety isn’t just about the driver, the technician, or owner. It takes the collective effort of everyone. Without a leader who organizes all your plans to maintain safety, things would be chaotic and frenzied. If your budget permits, hire a qualified safety manager to oversee your safety operations. If you have limited resources, assign the task to a trusted employee or split it between two well-trained personnel.
The main role of a safety manager is to make sure that drivers follow all mandated laws and regulations with truck transportation. They should recommend tips for truck drivers as well as document reports pertaining to road safety. Likewise, the safety manager should check your existing insurance policy to see if there are potential gaps that might lead to costly lawsuits. They will normally coordinate with insurance carriers and discuss policies that apply to your business such as Workers Compensation and General Liability Insurance.
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations is the main body that regulates trucking in the USA.
- Having a bachelor’s degree in safety management or administration is needed for this position.
- Hire someone with outstanding interpersonal, communication, and organizational skills.