Safety should be at the forefront of every hauliers mind. Truck driving is an undoubtedly hard job, and is frequently listed as one of the country’s most dangerous professions.
In 2019, there were 67 goods vehicle occupant fatalities – of which, 56 were drivers and 11 were passengers. These figures both reaffirm the paramount importance of an impeccable safety protocol, and remind drivers to be on top form when taking to the roads in a HGV!
1. Eat healthy and get your rest
Whether it means getting a full 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, or taking a moment to stretch your legs, grab a snack and even have a power nap; sufficient rest increases your road awareness. When on the road it’s easy to consume junk food – but drinking sugary drinks and consuming heavy meals can make you drowsy, so be sure to look for healthy alternatives when you can.
2. Road awareness
No matter how vigilant a driver is, the fact is trucks have major blind spots. Don’t change lanes too often and always signal. Most trucking collisions are caused when a truck hits the vehicle in front of it, so be sure to give other drivers plenty of space. Commercial trucks take a long time to brake and ensuring that a proper distance is maintained helps avoid potential collisions.
3. Consider the effects of road vibrations
Most truckers will tell you; after driving a rig down an uneven road, you feel the same bumps twice – once at the time, and again the following morning when you’re struggling to get out of bed. “Whole body vibration” is the term used by researchers that refers to the unmistakable reverberation that is transmitted up from the road through the seat, and finally – to the driver.
This can cause long term issues for truckers, and in some instances, limit or cut short a driver’s career. The best solution is to invest in new seats that have good anti-vibration characteristics.
Rick Goggins, an ergonomist with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, says that “tilting the seat back a little from vertical may reduce the amount of vibration and road shock that travels directly up the spine.” It is also important to maintain proper tyre pressure and monitor your suspension systems, as well as lower the back part of the seat so that the “sit bones” don’t bear all of your body weight.
4. Be careful when handling loads
Whenever possible, use mechanised equipment (e.g., pallets and fork trucks) when loading/unloading trailers. In instances where you’re forced to manually lift items, seek assistance if you feel that a load is too heavy to safely handle.
5. Regular vehicle checks
While driver error can be the cause of some accidents, sometimes a technical issue involving the vehicle can lead to disaster. From 2013 to 2018, figures show that malfunctioning brake parts were a contributing factor in 3,894 accidents – these statistics highlight the importance of regular brake checks.
By conducting a variety of pre-trip inspections, you can ensure that your truck is in safe operating order. A pre-trip inspection should take approximately 15 minutes and can save a driver time and money down the road.
Using TrackTrans, drivers can start their shifts with VOSA compliant vehicle checklist. The simple-to-use screens gather all the necessary information and storing the latest details on the handset – they are then sent back to the Transport Management System. Maintenance items can be scheduled and the full history is kept by vehicle/trailer.
Improve your business’s safety and organisational practice – try our free demo and get started with TrackTrans today!