A Guide to Driving Safely for Novice Truckers

driving a truck

Driving a truck for a living requires more than just a lot of hard work and patience. On top of keeping yourself safe while on the road, you have to consider the cargo your truck is carrying. Additionally, you need to think about the people you might run into while your truck is on the go. To balance these interests, you should know how to drive this vehicle safely.

Driving truck trailers is different from working as a valet driver for fancy hotels in the city. To jumpstart a good career driving a truck, you need to be more knowledgeable about the specifics of truck driving, most of which go beyond driving a regular car.

Be active and alert

Driving trailer trucks usually take long hours. Sometimes, truck drivers even do an all-nighter. The danger here is that you may already feel a bit sleepy while on the road, so be careful. Stay on your guard at all times. Be well-rested before going on a long trip. Drink coffee to make sure you are active and alert while driving. Stay focused on the vehicles around you. Maintain space and proper distancing to veer away from possible road accidents.

Watch weather reports

​As a truck driver transporting goods from point A to point B, it is your responsibility to make sure your cargoes are in good condition. That means protecting them from the harsh weather. Remember, the temperature on the road may affect your cargoes. So depending on what type you are transporting, you may have to take certain precautions to protect them from changing weather conditions.

Stay away from traffic

This year, there were a total of more than 72,000 trailer trucks registered in the transport.gov.nz website. The drivers of these trucks can potentially get into road mishaps if they are not careful. That goes whether you are a truck driver or a typical motorist. In this regard, truck drivers are advised to stay away from traffic as much as possible.

As an alternative, you may look for another route. Ir, you can simply change the time of your departure if such is permitted by both the trucking company and the people expecting the cargoes.

Don’t rush

Nothing good comes out of rushing things and acting rashly, especially where truck driving is concerned. Truckers on the highway are often tempted to speed up, especially when they see the quick pace of the cars around them. Do not fall into this trap. As a trucker, you need to be mindful of the size and weight of your truck trailer. Insisting on moving at the same pace as the other divers whose vehicles are far smaller and lighter than yours will not only get you into an accident, it might also affect a lot of motorists on the road.

Stay on your lane

Repeatedly changing lanes is equally dangerous to truckers as speeding up. When you keep on changing lanes, you run more risks of hitting other cars and vehicles near you. If you need to change lanes, do it slowly and carefully. Be extra cautious of the cars around you to make sure everyone is safe.

Be more careful when driving at night

Driving at night can be quite hazardous for truckers, especially around the terrains in NZ. To stay safe, make sure to dim your dashboard lights. Maintain your windshield as well. Keeping your windshield clean also helps you maintain a clear view of what’s ahead of your trailer so you can make the necessary adjustments in navigation. If your vision is impaired, go for a checkup and get prescription glasses beforehand.

Get out of the truck after parking

truck driver on the road

Inspecting the driveway or the parking area after you have parked is one of the most overlooked best practices in driving a truck safely. A lot of truckers skip this recommendation because it seems unnecessary. But if you want to find a way to maneuver your vehicle out of the driveway safely, you need to see the space and the road conditions firsthand. Otherwise, it would be easy to make miscalculations and end up getting hurt.

Several things hinder truck drivers from transporting their cargo safely. Human error, rough and unpaved terrains, and impaired night vision are just some of them. While these dangers are always present, knowing the basic tenets of safe driving can help keep you and your cargoes safe from harm. Keep that in mind before you buckle up and hit the road. This way, you can lessen the possible risks you encounter along the way.

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