Life behind the wheel of a big rig is one where truck drivers take risks. Even when you get your insurance for commercial truck drivers from SoCal Truck Insurance, you can’t guarantee a truck accident won’t happen.
Of course, you can get an even lower quote on your insurance for truck drivers when you have a cleaner driving record. By focusing on avoiding truck driving errors, you don’t just keep your truck drivers, cargo, and equipment safe, but you can also save even more on your federal motor carrier insurance plans.
A truck accident caused by someone in your trucking company runs the risk of increasing your monthly owner-operator costs.
Here are some tips you must use to make sure you and your truck drivers are safe and they can avoid driving errors and a truck accident on the road.
Stay Well Rested
In truck driving jobs, fatigued driving is extremely dangerous. A study made by the National Safety Council shows that there were an estimated 5,000 deaths in 2015 from truck accidents that are related to sleep or drowsy driving.
When you’re drowsy, tired, or experiencing fatigue, your reaction times are much slower than when you’re well-rested, and this can lead to truck accidents. That means the amount of time it takes you to make split-second decisions is diminished and you’ll have difficulty checking your blind spots.
Moreover, tired truck drivers are more likely to sleep behind the wheel. Truck drivers often think they can just push through the fatigue to get in those extra hours and miles, but this kind of thinking may turn into a major truck accident leading to personal injury.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has rules in place to limit the number of hours a truck driver can operate a tractor-trailer in a day to help reduce and avoid sleep while driving, keeping the roads safe.
These federal regulations indicated that trucking companies or owner operator can only have truck drivers work for 14 hours per day. Only 11 of those hours can be actually on the road. On top of that, truck drivers are not supposed to drive more than 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight consecutive days.
Truck drivers are also supposed to be off work for at least ten consecutive hours before starting the work shift.
Even though there are federal safety administration regulations in place to reduce excess hours on the road, many truckers, both new truck drivers and more experienced drivers routinely violate these rules. Their trucking company should not allow this to prevent a truck accident from happening on the road.
While driving through fatigue might seem like a way to keep ahead of schedule, it is one of the biggest driver errors on the road.
Instead, make sure that you get plenty of rest first before truck driving and heading out on the road. If you start to feel tired, stop, and get some rest because these are crucial to prevent a truck accident from happening.
You may just need to stretch your legs, drink some water, and move around to get your energy back. You may also need to get a nap or call it a day and get some sleep to avoid a truck accident.
Avoid Alcohol and Drugs
While it should go without saying, drug use and alcohol are huge safety concerns for truck drivers. That’s not to say that it’s a truck driver error to enjoy a cold one after a long day on the road and before getting a good night’s sleep. Instead, it means that truck drivers should absolutely avoid using drugs and alcohol on the job or during hours of service.
Federal regulations and safety administration actually dictated that trucking companies test new truck drivers for drug and alcohol use before starting the hiring process to avoid truck accidents while at work.
These regulations also suggest that trucking companies conduct randomized drugs and alcohol testing while on duty and often mandate tests after a truck accident with another motor vehicle or passenger vehicle.
The effects of using drugs or alcohol can impair your ability to react to hazards on the road. Any kind of drug intoxication may cause critical car accidents, property or personal injury, or even death.
Safe truck driving means you must be sober at all times, free from using drugs or alcohol while behind the wheel.
Watch Those Blind Spots
Blind spots, often called “no-zones” are areas where you don’t have a clear view. When another motor vehicle or a truck enters this space, they essentially disappear from the view of the truck driver.
An owner-operator, safety administration, trucking companies, motor vehicle drivers who don’t take a blind spot into consideration, or are not vigilant about their blind spots leave themselves open to causing a large truck accident.
The trucking industry and trucking companies alike are full of stories of new drivers who don’t pay as much attention to their blind spots as they should often lead to a trucking accident.
Even experienced drivers must keep their training in mind to ensure they know what’s around them. Luckily, some new technology helps alert drivers when people enter their hard-to-see spots, but not all trucks are equipped with a system like these just yet.
Don’t Get Distracted
Distracted driving is one of the largest driver errors in modern times, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT). Even taking a quick look at your cell phone can lead a driver to accidents and get a personal injury or make a fatal error. This is one of the most common distractions to avoid.
Many states, like New York and New Jersey, have made using a cell phone while driving a ticketable offense. Even looking up to get quick information from your phone about your route, a local transportation center, or the distance home can trigger flashing lights.
While most people consider distracted driving to only involve using a cell phone, things like eating, drinking, and adjusting the GPS all take your eyes off the road which can be dangerous.
Anything that takes the focus of a truck driver off of the road is a dangerous driver error that should be stopped and avoided.
Consider the Weather
Truckers should always consider the weather conditions while driving and stop if there’s an imminent storm. It’s often necessary to reduce your speed to remain safe.
Slippery weather conditions like rain, snow, or ice reduce the amount of contact your tires make with the road which can be dangerous. That means you’ll find it takes longer to slow down and stop, not to mention slipping across the road,
Update Your Training
Truck driving jobs and their company continue to evolve as technology, laws, and safety information changes. Whether you are a new driver or someone who’s had a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) for years, there is always a benefit from taking the time to update your trucking training.
It is essential for a trucker with CDL to learn new information to guide him on the road.
Just a little bit of study can help you learn the information you need to navigate the modern road. Some commercial insurance companies even offer a discount for federal motor carrier insurance or provide a guide to encourage additional safety training.
All you need to do is contact them through a phone call.
The Biggest Truck Driver Error
One of the biggest errors you can make with your trucker business or company is not having the right commercial trucking insurance or federal motor carrier insurance.
While federal, state, and local regulations require truckers to have the appropriate federal motor carrier insurance, it doesn’t mean all insurance companies are the same.
Whether you just got your CDL and is starting a career in the trucking industry, you’re shopping around for better rates for your vehicle, or you’ve recently updated your safety policies, you should take the time to explore your options and to find the right insurance companies to ensure your rights reserved.
We offer a free consultation where you can learn about how safety driving impacts your insurance prices. You’ll also get help understanding your options for the best coverage at fantastic prices around.
Once you learn about how we help you save, you’ll never look at a trucking company’s insurance the same way again.
If you need tips on how to prevent accidents while on the road, visit our comprehensive guide about the best practices for reducing risks on the road.
To learn more information about trucker safety, contact us at SoCal Truck Insurance today.