Accidents involving semi-trucks are, unfortunately, a common occurrence on the road, and sadly the majority of them result in at least one fatality. While we have focused on things a motorist can do to protect himself while driving near or alongside large trucks and other commercial vehicles, we haven’t yet offered some insight into what drivers of these vehicles can do to protect themselves and, more importantly, the occupants of other cars. While nothing can offer a 100% guarantee that your truck won’t cause injury or harm, by following the below tips you can avoid dangerous collisions and practice better driving habits when behind the wheel of your semi.
- Rest when you need it. Too many truck drivers are exhausted while behind the wheel, largely due to trying to make shipping deadlines and/or make more money by packing more trips into a specific time period. Driving while tired is dangerous for everyone on the road, including you, so take time to get rest, and do your best not to drive while tired. Many rest areas and truck stops are friendly toward drivers parking overnight, or for several hours at a time, to rest in their vehicles since many truck cabs are equipped with small sleeping quarters. Take advantage of this and makes stops for a few hours of sleep each night so you can start the day (or night, if you’re an over the road driver) refreshed.
- Watch what you eat/drink. Obviously, you are required to abstain from alcohol while behind the wheel, and using illegal drugs or even certain prescriptions is prohibited as well. However, there are other food and beverage choices that could be smart to avoid when you’re on long-distance commercial drives. While a cup of coffee to boost your energy is fine occasionally, limit caffeine, especially that found in energy drinks and “shots” of energy boost to add to other drink choices. Watching your sugar intake is smart as well. Things high in sugar will not only give you less energy in the long run, but can lead to a blood sugar crash which is not good when you’re behind the wheel since it can make you shaky, dizzy, and/or sleepy. Healthy choices make you a better driver when you spend much of your time behind the wheel for your career.
- Limit distractions. Yes, you’ll likely have to answer some calls and have contact while behind the wheel, but many drivers are equipped with hands-free devices to let them talk without taking their hands off the wheel or their eyes off the road. Never pick up your phone to do any texting or other activity on your phone or device if it requires you to take your attention away from the road in front of you. If you need to make a call, send a text, etc. pull off to do it, or wait until the next break in your trip. Additionally, limit using hands to adjust the radio or reach for things in other areas of the truck cab since this can also make you more susceptible to an accident.
As a commercial driver, it’s your responsibility to drive with the utmost care and to pay attention to others on the road around you. Many lives depend on your habits behind the wheel, and it’s something we don’t take lightly. If you or someone you love has been injured by a commercial vehicle due to the neglect or irresponsibility of a driver, give us a call about your case or contact us online. We are your trusted lawyer throughout the Tampa Bay area. When the unexpected happens on the road, or anywhere else, WE STAND FOR YOU!