As a truck driver, you know you have a huge responsibility, not only to your company, but to your truck. Many truckers also take the responsibility of monitoring the open road ahead of them. In fact, truckers have been known to respond first to accidents or other problems they’ve seen on the road. You must give your full attention to do the job effectively and safely. Your attention is placed on many different things at once: what you’re doing, where you’re going, and what’s going on around you. But do you know what you should really be watching for when you’re in your rig? We’re here to tell you.
Always be looking ahead
Keep your eyes on the road as far ahead as possible. If you can spot any problems, it will be good to know before you get too close to them. The sooner you spot any issues, you can call them in and maintain everyone’s safety. While looking ahead, watch vehicles merging onto the highway from ramps, vehicles around you and their actions, and anything else that might seem unusual. Be prepared because whatever is ahead of you may be a potential problem you will have to deal with.
Check your mirrors often
Much like looking as far ahead as possible, you must also know what is going on all around your truck. Check your blind spots often and keep an eye on the surrounding traffic and your trailer.
Look for an escape route
Constantly check to your right and left and prepare for an escape route at any time to avoid potential trouble. For example, if a car turns sideways directly in front of you, you’ll be able to quickly escape from causing a bigger problem by switching lanes if you’re looking to both sides. Be aware of your surroundings and have an escape route planned should you need it.
Scan all of your gauges
Some truck drivers like to scan their gauges constantly and it’s a really good idea. These gauges indicate potential mechanical problems. As you are aware, sometimes even the simplest things cause the biggest problems. These indicate and monitor your truck functions and they double as your safety monitors.
- Check your fuel level.
- Ensure your electrical systems are charging.
- Check for overheating.
Check the weather
This is especially important during the winter. Pay close attention to the weather conditions outside and plan accordingly. Some truck drivers even have a temperature gauge mounted in their rig.
Maintain a safety circle
This remains one of the most important trucking safety guidelines and gives you the best visibility. Remember to leave plenty of space in front of your truck and all around it whenever you can. Keep yourself in the clear in a wide open space. We know this is not always possible if you run into heavy traffic, but if it is possible, this will save you from a lot of problems. Vehicles around you are unpredictable, so you need to have some space to react as necessary because it’s a lot more difficult for you to slow down and stop than smaller vehicles. Keep everyone safe with a safety circle.
Glance at the GPS often
By taking a glance at your GPS often, if you have one, you will become aware of important information regarding your route, such as scales, exits, and construction. There are special trucking GPS’ to give you information like what lane you should stay in and the distance to your exit. This will give you the opportunity to plan ahead. This is especially helpful when you are delivering somewhere for the first time. Remember, don’t depend on it, just use it as a helpful tool.
When you only have two eyes, watching out for all of these things can seem a little impossible, but it’s best to have a system where your eyes are glancing everywhere every few minutes or so. Keeping a close eye on your surroundings not only maintains your safety, but the safety of everyone around you.