Choosing trucking as a career means that you like the travel, flexibility, and pay, but planning is essential to success while out on the road. Having a successful run means that not only was it financially what you wanted, but also safe and smooth. By having the right tools, performing the correct safety measures, and maintaining the maintenance your truck needs, you will have more successful loads and less stress while out on the road. Whether you are just starting as a trucker or have a few thousand miles under your belt, there are always tips for truck drivers that you will find helpful.
Basic Safety in Defensive Driving
Being safe on the road isn't just about your safety. It's about the safety of everyone else on the road as well. The Department of Labor singles out trucking as one of the more dangerous jobs in the US, and there are so many necessary measures you can take to make the road safer for everyone. Defensive driving is the form of driving that encourages truckers always to be prepared and aware of not only potential hazards but changing road conditions. Defensive driving techniques reduce accidents and keep everyone safe on the road. Understanding your truck's blind spots, and respecting them, will lower the chances of accidents whether other vehicles are behind or in the lane next to you. Always be wary when changing lanes and maintaining a significant distance from the car in front of you, not only in good driving conditions but extending that distance during rain or icy conditions. When in doubt, slow down. When driving, your default should be to always slow down in response to changing conditions while on the road. Slowing down offers extra time to take corrective action, prevent accidents, or at the very least, decrease the severity of the accident that is going to occur.
Maintaining preventative maintenance on your truck cannot be overstated. Safety while on the road starts with the vehicle you're in, and if your truck is not taken care of, you aren't taking care of yourself or your safety seriously. Regularly scheduled maintenance also lowers your need for repairs and keeps your truck on the road, which keeps you earning money. Starting with a pre-trip inspection, before you even get on the road, you should walk your entire vehicle and trailer, inspecting it for not only perfect working conditions but on the lookout for anything that stands out. The DOT requires these pre-trip inspections; every trucking company is different in any additional inspection requirements for their records. After the pre-trip and post-trip inspections for every load, there is also another maintenance that your vehicle needs. Seasonal maintenance is necessary not only throughout the different times of the year if you are driving locally but also as you are driving through other parts of the country and your vehicle is experiencing conditions of rapid weather change. Pulling in to reputable companies for full-service trailer repairs will keep you where you want to be, out on the road. In the warmer months, you want to monitor your electrical and cooling systems to ensure you always have working A/C. You also want to check your tire pressure continuously to ensure that the warmer air isn't raising the pressure too high. In colder climates, you want to closely monitor your safety equipment, including wipers, brakes, tire tread, and even the power steering. Knowing any service areas near you will help you stay on top of these as you travel. Take advantage of your yearly inspection. DOT & federal inspections are no joke and critical to any vehicle maintenance program. An annual commercial vehicle inspection means that a licensed mechanic will review all of your truck's major interior and exterior components. These are different from the inspections you will have at roadside inspections or even weigh stations, but if everything is maintained correctly, you will collect your sticker and be on your way. They are crucial to maintaining road safety, and you don't need to be one of the many who get a citation for operating without one.
Staying on top of your scheduled services is essential to keeping your vehicle safe, and not waiting for extended periods to make any needed repairs will also extend the life of your truck, which is crucial to your income. Every 30,000 miles, a semi should have a thorough inspection and service; this should mainly include changes to the oil, air filters, and fuel filters. Every 150,000 miles, you should have a more extensive service scheduled. This should include changes to the air dryer filter, power steering fluid, DEF system services, and axle alignment. Especially if you drive with huge loads, working with a professional team who can provide the extensive range of services your even larger vehicle needs is crucial to staying out on the road. With the latest digital computerized axle alignment technology, facilities like J&R Truck Services in Texas can inspect your suspension and perform an automated alignment that will have you back on the road in no time. Routine maintenance is a predictable cost and is far cheaper than any roadside or other emergency repairs you may need. A scheduled and regular maintenance plan will lower downtime, costs, and the chance of an accident.
Success on the Road
As a trucker, you play an essential role in keeping our economy moving, and any trouble you experience while on the road plays a role. So keeping your truck and yourself healthy and safe while on the road is vital to everyone. J&R Truck Services specializes in heavy-duty truck maintenance and repairs using the latest technologies and highly trained technicians. We can help with any emergency or maintenance you may need through the greater Dallas, Texas, area. Our job is to fix your truck quickly and efficiently, so you can get back on the road to make your hard-earned paycheck.