Preventing Truck-Related Accidents

A truck in a rollover accidentTrucks are the modern day workhorses of American commerce. These automotive behemoths carry goods from point A to point B, keeping our store shelves stocked with everything we need all year long. However, when a truck is involved in an accident, it’s never a pretty sight. Due to their sheer sizes, trucks can cause profound harm to the people and property they happen to hit.

In that regard, truckers and shipping company administrators carry an inherent responsibility to exercise extreme caution in every aspect of their operations. The slightest misstep can lead to tragedy, which leaves no room for recklessness. Below are some tips that public safety institutions usually give to make sure risks are kept down to their lowest levels:

  • Check the Driver Applicant’s Background and Qualifications – Employers have the distinct responsibility of performing background checks on the people that they hire. In the case of trucking companies, psychological, behavioral and substance abuse tests are important when evaluating a pool of applicants for trucker positions.

Checking the applicant’s history with traffic law violations is also encouraged. Obviously, a speeding ticket from two years ago shouldn’t significantly impact a person’s chances at getting hired. However, repeated offenses should speak volumes about a person’s driving habits and that should weigh a lot in whether or not the applicant gets the job.

  • Check the Tire Pressure Levels before Each Trip – Traveling thousands of miles per month while carrying tons of cargo can wear down even the most heavy duty tires on big rigs. Getting your truckers perform routine tire checks in between trips makes a big difference in accident prevention.

Checking tire pressures is easy. Most tires have built in gauges to give you a reading. Inform your truckers about the specific pressure value ranges that can be considered normal and let them know what they need to do in case the pressure is low.

  • Double-Check Cargo Placement Before Starting the Engine – Trucks don’t have to hit anything to do damage. When their cargo dislodges and falls, you can have a potentially dangerous situation.

Debris from truck cargo can damage other vehicles in the highway. If the debris obstructs another driver’s vision or sends another vehicle off course, collisions become a very distinct possibility. To prevent this from happening, truck drivers and support personnel will have to make sure everything is fastened securely before they leave warehouses. Doing double-checks during stops also makes sense to make sure the upcoming trip is safe.

  • Properly Synchronize Driving Hours and Driver Sleep Times – Drivers who fall asleep behind the wheel are the most dangerous people on the road. Avoid tragic situations by making sure drivers have enough time to rest in between trips. If a truck needs to roll non-stop throughout long hours, make sure that your driver has a capable replacement who can take over while he rests.
  • Make Driver Substance Abuse Testing Routine – It’s not enough to check driver applicants for substance abuse histories. You have to keep everyone honest by performing routine and random checks at least once a year. Drivers who are clean and who stay clean are proven to make much better judgments on the road than their counterparts who habitually drive under the influence of prohibited or regulated substances.
  • Make Truck Maintenance a Top Priority – Safety on the road is not just about a driver’s capabilities. The truck has to be roadworthy at all times to complement the driver’s skills. The operator has the responsibility of performing regular preventive maintenance on each rig to spot potential mechanical issues before they become full-blown problems. This pre-empts engine failures in the middle of trips, sparing drivers from a lot of trouble while avoiding costly repairs in the part of the operators.
  • Make Weather Updates Readily Available to Drivers – A lot of trucks travel great distances from state to state where weather conditions can vary dramatically. Make sure that drivers have the necessary communications equipment to check for weather updates in real time. Knowing that they have to face snow, rain or even hail can help drivers prepare themselves and their vehicles for things they’ll encounter along the way.

Maintaining safety with trucks is a matter of keeping the vehicle roadworthy and making sure you have the right people behind the wheel. Follow all safety standards and precaitions en route to safer travels across America’s highways.