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Four Important Semi-Truck Safety Tips

Semi-truck driving is a demanding job.  According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, it is also a dangerous one.  In fact, approximately 411,000 crashes involved large trucks in 2014.  Of these, 3,424 included a fatality, and 82,000 resulted in at least one injury.  

To reduce the number of semi-truck accidents, truckers should follow these four important semi-truck safety tips.

Monitor the "space cushion" around the rig to ensure that other vehicles and objects are not too close.  This means monitoring the space between the road and the bottom of the truck, the space between overpasses and the top of the truck, the space behind the truck, the space in front of the truck and the space on either side of the truck.  

Be aware of smaller vehicles that may hide in the truck's "blind spots," areas in which other vehicles are not visible to the truck driver.  These "blind spots" are so large that truckers refer to them as "No Man's Land" and are directly behind the truck, directly in front of the truck, to the right front of the truck and behind the side mirrors on either side of the truck.

Keep an eye on speed.  Posted speed limits apply more to passenger vehicles than to large rigs.  Semi-trucks that follow these posted limits might still be going too fast for the traffic and current conditions.  Always keep in mind that a large rig takes longer to stop than a car, and the faster the truck is traveling, the longer it takes to stop.  Be particularly prepared to slow down in inclement weather and when approaching ramps and curves.

Anticipate what other vehicles on the road are going to do.  Constantly survey the surrounding traffic landscape and be prepared to avoid automobiles and smaller trucks when they make unannounced turns, illegal lane changes and more.  The sheer weight and size of semi-trucks make it imperative that truckers do what they can to avoid collisions. 

Keep these safety tips in mind when driving a semi-truck down the nation's roadways.  It will help reduce accidents and make the roads safer for everyone.


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