Whether you are an experienced driver or have recently earned your CDL, you know the importance of remaining safe while driving. It's easy to get caught up in trying to make good time and hoping to get back home at the end of a trip, but these things shouldn't keep you from understanding and following basic safety guidelines. Here are some safe driving tips that can help you protect yourself, and others, while on the road.
Monitor the Weather
The science is clear: Going without sleep is unhealthy. It's also dangerous, as there is strong evidence that sleepiness is an impairment on par with intoxication. You wouldn't get on the road after enjoying a few rounds at a bar, so why would you get behind the wheel when you've only had a few hours of sleep?
Monitor the Weather
Mobile apps make it incredibly easy to monitor the weather, so be sure to take advantage of this new technology. Doing so helps you plan your route so that you can set reasonable deadlines and avoid skipping sleep or meals to avoid being late. It also allows you to avoid areas that are expecting or experiencing dangerous weather conditions.
Stay Hydrated & Don't Be Afraid of Stops
Many drivers try to avoid making stops by limiting water intake, which is a bad idea for several reasons. First, dehydration leads to headaches and dizziness, both of which put you at risk of getting into an accident. Second, stops help you stay alert by giving you time to stretch your limbs, take a short walk, and get some fresh air. Stretching and moving around can also help prevent muscle strain that can lead to chronic pain conditions.
Inspect Your Vehicle Frequently
Take a few minutes to inspect your truck each time you get on the road. Doing so can help you or your employer avoid costly repairs and help prevent accidents caused by mechanical failure.
Learn to Read Hazmat Signs
Even if you choose not to haul hazardous materials, there are plenty of drivers who do. Give a wide berth to trucks with hazmat signs, and call for help, rather than attempting to assist in case of an accident involving one of these vehicles. Hazardous material leaks can be deadly to those who aren't wearing appropriate protective gear.
Develop a Trip Plan
Taking the time to plan your trip before heading out serves multiple purposes. You'll be able to develop a realistic timeline, giving you, and your employer, reasonable expectations about your arrival, reducing pressure to speed up your trip to the point that you are missing sleep. You'll also be better able to schedule stops for meals and sleep, avoiding the risk of not being able to find places for either if you end up in an area with few or no facilities for drivers or travelers.
Use Podcasts or Audiobooks to Stay Alert
Many long-haul drivers swear by podcasts and audiobooks for staying alert. While music can sometimes lull you into a state of inattention, actively trying to follow a podcast host or audiobook narrator can help keep your mind alert. There are also the dual benefits of learning new things and enjoying some good entertainment while on the job.
These are just a few ideas for avoiding accidents while driving. Explore our blog for more travel tips, including road safety tips and ideas for making your travels more enjoyable.