Over the past decade the number of fatal road accidents involving heavy vehicles on Australian roads have decreased by almost 25%, while the number of heavy (and other) vehicles using our roads has increased significantly.
While it is up to Government and business to manage the OH&S initiatives that provide the foundations for a safer trucking industry, only a greater emphasis on safety from drivers themselves can keep our roads safe.
We’ve compiled a list of ten simple safety tips that may very well help to save a life, be it yours or that of somebody else.
TIP #1 Know what to do in an accident situation
A thorough understanding of Truck Emergency Breakdown and Roadside Safety guidelines can mean the difference between life and death in the case of road accidents. Drivers should be aware of their responsibilities and the safest way to deal with a situation to prevent further injury.
TIP #2 Undertake regular vehicle maintenance
Critical to staying safe is helping to keep your vehicle in perfect working order. Failures in braking systems, steering systems, transmission or wheel bearings can cause catastrophic accidents, so it is important that drivers take an active role in ensuring the entire vehicle is well maintained.
TIP #3 Learn to read the road and predict potential dangers ahead
Being a “far sighted” driver involves developing a ‘sixth sense’ for judging the angles and gradients of curves, corners and other features of the road. This is something that comes with experience. Less experienced drivers must be aware of this and ensure they are nowhere near fatigued whilst on the road.
TIP #4 Get a weather report before each trip
Weather conditions affect driver safety more than any other external factor. A few minutes spent checking out your weather app or a newspaper forecast prior to the trip will mentally prepare drivers for poor weather conditions and could pay dividends down the road – literally.
TIP #5 Conduct pre-trip inspections
Just as a pilot checks his plane, a truck driver should run a pre-trip inspection on his rig to make sure there are no fuel, water or oil leaks, and that the lights, steering and brakes are working properly.
TIP #6 Say no way to drugs and alcohol
It goes without saying that there is no place on the road for intoxicated drivers. Whilst the vast majority of professional drivers would never dream of coming to work under the influence, even isolated, occasional or one-off indiscretions can have catastrophic consequences.
TIP #7: Stay alert and stay aware of the dangers associated with fatigue
Fatigue is often overlooked as a major contributor to road fatalities, which makes it all the more dangerous. While log books and mandatory rest times prevent drivers from pushing their limits, few would disagree that long haul trucking remains a difficult and physically taxing profession.
Remember, the only cure for fatigue is sleep, with most Australians requiring at least 7 – 8 hours of good quality sleep per night. For a list of healthy sleeping habits and tips on how to ensure you’re getting a good night’s sleep click here.
TIP #8. Set yourself strict rules around mobile phone usage and stick to them
Set yourself rules around mobile usage when on the road, such as pulling over safely if you stop to make a call, always using hands free and abstaining from speaking on the phone in heavy traffic, poor road conditions or bad weather. A more extensive list of suggested personal mobile usage rules is available here.
TIP #9. Stay up to date on your company’s written policies and safety training
Occupational Health and Safety is an ongoing commitment for both employers and drivers alike. So it’s important to keep pace with ever-evolving policies to help ensure your workplace safety procedures are in line with industry standards and are thoroughly understood at every level of the business.
TIP #10. Understand that your personal safety and that of others takes priority over everything else
Remember, at the end of the day no cargo or deadline is more important than your life or the life of another.
To learn more about Logical Staffing Solutions’ commitment to Occupational Health and Safety and how we can help you ensure the highest quality safety standards are upheld within your business click here.