The AAA predicts, “That more than one-third of Americans will travel this holiday season. The record-breaking 112.5 million travelers taking to the nation’s runways, roads and rails for the year-end holidays represent a 4.4 percent increase over last year.” This means possible delays, traffic congestion, and impaired or distracted drivers, all combined with the unpredictable winter weather. Here are a few ways for truck drivers to stay safe during these hectic holiday travels:
• Keep Your Fuel Tank Full
This is a very important safety measure for truck drivers transporting goods through rural areas. If your truck runs out of fuel while you are stuck in road traffic, you will be blocking the road which will affect other travelers.
However, if your fuel tank is full, your mind will be at peace that you won’t have to worry about the nearest fuel station amidst traffic congestion.
• Be Careful and Vigilant
Always maintain 100% concentration while driving to avoid accidents. One of the factors that are accounted for by road accidents is a distraction. According to Fatality Analysis Reporting System, Labor Day, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July are some of the riskiest times of the year to get into a fatal accident.
Therefore, you need to be extra careful during the holiday rush. From the statistics of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 40% of road accidents during holiday periods involve people who are under alcohol influence.
• Maintain Visibility
Maintaining visibility is important while driving. Before you start driving, you need to ensure that your headlights, mirror, and windshield wipers are inspected. There are many problems that may arise while driving. For instance, patches of thick fog may probably block your vision, preventing you from seeing the vehicles in front.
In such a case, you may need to put on your hazard lights as a signal so that there won’t be accidents. Most importantly, you have to wait till everything gets cleared before you continue with the journey. Remember that when there is thick fog, you may need to clear the following items to maintain visibility:
- Clear the windshield properly.
- Ice and snow may pile up on your truck mirrors. Get rid of the ice from the mirrors to maintain visibility.
- Clear your headlights or brake lights. This will help other travelers behind you to notice when you step on your brake or are about to stop.
- You may need to clear off the ice that builds up on your license plate too.
• Avoid Dangerous Overtaking
As a result of the holiday rush which may lead to increased road traffic, you may be tempted to overtake some vehicles or other large trucks. However, this may be too costly and it may eventually cause accidents. While on the road during the holiday period, you have to exercise some restraint. Don’t cut in front or overtake another truck in a very dangerous position.
• Full Compliance with Hours of Service
“Hours of service” refers to the maximum amount of time drivers are permitted to be on duty including driving time, and specifies number and length of rest periods, to help ensure that drivers stay awake and alert. In general, all carriers and drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must comply with HOS regulations.
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