The high rate of on-job fatality in trucking industry is what makes truck driving a dangerous job. While job risks are universal, certain sectors have a higher degree of vulnerability compared to other jobs.
Truck driving is one of such kind which can pose fatal threats. In contrast, a large number of population still enjoy being a truck driver.
Let’s see why truck driving is touted as a dangerous job.
1. Weather Conditions
Poor or extreme weather conditions are challenging for truck drivers. These not only lead to accidents but also impact the performance of vehicles.
Scorching sunny days, foggy mornings, freezing temperatures and rainy weather are not favorable for drivers and trucks. Such bad weather makes drive-ways vulnerable and driving dangerous.
Unexpected weather patterns always trouble drivers.
Rain: With heavy rain, road visibility reduces significantly. In addition to that, rain water forms a layer of water between tires of the vehicle and the road, resulting in hydroplaning.
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Moreover, slippery roads and hidden potholes make driving risky during rain.
Snow: During winter seasons, roads become more troublesome for truck drivers and trucks. Truck tires do not grip ice-covered roads well enough. It takes a lot of skill from drivers to combat such situations.
Wind: Trucks can wade off normal challenges posed by wind, but heavy wind would be hazardous. The massive structure of trailers cannot withstand whirlwinds and causes such vehicles to roll over.
Fog: Drivers cannot see through the road on foggy days. It hinders long-range visibility, increasing chances of bumping into other vehicles and at times even causing vehicles to drive off the road resulting in tragic accidents. In foggy days, it is better to avoid driving altogether.
- Park the truck somewhere safe and wait for a favorable climate
- Practice defensive driving on poor weather condition
- Limit the speed and use headlights for better visibility
- Never use jack brake and keep ample distance between vehicles
- Ensure proper tire pressure and fully functional wiring systems
2. Crowded Seasons
Local events such as carnivals, galas, protests, and rallies always happen by the roadways. People occupy roads to celebrate their regional or national events. Long hauling drivers may not aware about these local events.
Therefore, drivers have to pay attention to the social and political events over the route. During such occasions, people don’t care about vehicles on the road and can act vandalous.
They abruptly cross the road, are careless of the rules and won’t give enough attention to running vehicles. All these factors stand as possible challenges for truck drivers.
- Try to stay updated about news related to the route, including events
- Figure out the crowd-free and fastest route to the destination
- Slow down or pull off and wait while passing through a lively road
- Use sound-horn frequently and proper indications while passing
3. Driver Fatigue
The urge to finish the trips as fast as possible forces truck drivers to skip healthy life practices. They may bypass timely food, daily schedules and sleep. Continuous sleepless drives can exhaust even the fittest drivers and cause adverse results.
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Most fatal accidents are caused due to driver fatigue. Improper duty schedules and practices are the major cause for making this job risky.
- Take appropriate food, breaks and rest on time
- Prepare and follow a healthy daily schedule
- Share the duty with a colleague in a timely manner
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol
4. Break Down
The life-period of machine parts in vehicles is unpredictable. Heavy machine parts undergo wear and tear over time, and cease functioning.
Especially, parts such as bearing, tubes, nozzles, pipes and moving components cease to perform or burst out. This results in drivers losing control of their vehicles, causing loss of time, life and property.
- Carry out thorough, periodical inspection and demand-based vehicle service
- Carry a toolset for immediate repair requirements
- Ensure engine oil, coolant and lubrication are enough
- Check tire pressure and additional tire backup
5. Poor Training
Heavy vehicle driving requires good amount of training. Despite the theoretical classes provided for heavy-duty drivers, they require different set of practices. Drivers have to be trained to handle vehicles on different terrains and diverse climatic conditions.
Mostly, poor vehicle controlling capacity and lack of expert knowledge in taking quick decisions make them victims. Drivers with less experience in long hauling trips have to assist such trips before being assigned for the long trip.
The lack of drivers in trucking industry is also a reason for skipping measuring the experience level of drivers.
- Get proper heavy vehicle driving training
- Train until you can handle trucks in all terrains.
- Practice truck driving over all-weather condition.
- Gain adequate vehicle engineering knowledge
6. Distracted Driving
Almost every road accident is caused by the lack of attention while driving. Multi-tasking during driving is the root source of this menace. Drivers indulging in smartphones usage, drinking & eating, reading, watching video, talking, and cleaning while driving are all factors which contribute to distracted driving.
Unfortunately, most of the case ends up in fatal injuries and hefty loss. Other road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorists are the common victims.
- Never engage in any activities which can distract your attention
- Take extra caution while driving through crowded roads.
- Pull off the truck while doing any other activity.
Though a lot of perils are hiding in truck driving job, we can mitigate it significantly. Following the safety measures and exercising the appropriate driving practice can help making truck driving a safe job.