As truck drivers spend more time traveling than most other occupations, truckers are exposed to many dangers. Furthermore, the mere size of a truck and trailer can be dangerous not including the immense weight from a load. These large trucks also have a higher center of gravity which can make them vulnerable to:
- tipping over during strong winds or rapid change in direction
- changing road conditions
- and more.
They also take much longer to slow down and stop, again due to the size and weight of the rig. Accidents can significantly impair a driving record, which can leave a trucker without a job. Which is why truckers have to go through strict training at dedicated driving schools and have specific working regulations. While there are many dangers involved in the trucking industry, there are precautions truck drivers can take to stay safe.
Top 5 Dangers of Being a Truck Driver
- Tired or Distracted: A truck driver should never drive while fatigued. It’s difficult for a drowsy or distracted driver to notice details, such as road conditions, and calmly make decisions. Parking in a safe location for a short nap, walk, or water break can have a significant effect to help clear your mind.
- Being Unprepared for Road Conditions: While truck deliveries have a deadline to meet, drivers need to fight against the urge to go as fast as they can. Traveling at slower, safer speeds provides truckers more time to evaluate potential hazards down the road and come up from behind. Even more so during bad weather situations that affect visibility and road conditions.Which is why every trucker needs to prepare for weather conditions and challenges before they hit the road.
- Unaware of Their Surroundings: Rest areas and truck stops aren’t what they used to be, especially so after dark. When truckers are driving to a new, unfamiliar area, call the receiving area to see if there’s spaces available for parking and sleeping. If not, then truckers will need to research for a safe resting area nearby.
- Failing to Take Proper Safety Precautions: Another step to do before heading out is to perform a circle check. Inspecting a truck and trailer for damage or maintenance issues is vital to protecting the truck driver. A trucker should never hesitate to have a potential problem fixed. Nor should a trucker ever go underneath a trailer alone without a partner ready to assist if needed.
- Another potential danger is opening the doors to unload a haul. Truckers should always open one door at a time. This is to prevent drivers from getting hurt by shifted loads.
- Other Vehicles and Drivers: In every area of the country, the highest number of accidents and fatalities occur within the summer months. With increasing populations and traffic on the roads, driving around others is dangerous as well. As we can’t control others' actions, truckers need to drive more defensively than ever. This will allow truckers to react calmly to the decisions of those around them. Furthermore, defensive driving works as a way to communicate a trucker's intentions to other drivers.
How Artificial Intelligence is Integrating with the Trucking Industry to Improve Safety
While a self-driving semi is still far in the future, some fleet management systems are discovering beneficial ways to use AI. Lytx, a company based in San Diego, is using an innovative approach to technology. They’re using technology and in-cabin alerts to communicate with the truck driver. From helping keep a trucker from being distracted to encouraging proper following distances, AI is helping to reduce risky driving behaviors.
Read more about how AI is recognizing and proactively helping reduce risky driving behavior, and therefore, accidents caused by truckers. Interestingly, the article points out that as commercial drivers are driving more safely, the public has been the increasing factor in accidents.
Is Truck Driving a Good Career?
After asking “Is truck driving dangerous?” many often wonder if truck driving is a good career. While we might be a little biased, we do believe that truck driving is a good career choice. As long as a driver takes the time to be safe and prepared, there are so many benefits to a career in trucking. Start driving with Williams Logistics! Check out our employment page or reach out to us to learn more about truck driving!