As a truck driver, you carry a great deal of responsibility for your own personal safety, as well as the safety of those around you. Trucking accidents are on the rise – the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported an increase of 20 percent over the past 20 years, so it’s more important than ever to keep safety as your highest priority when you’re on the road. Before you hit the road, check out these nine safety tips that could save your life:

  1. Prioritize the Basics

Treat traffic rules with respect. Whether it’s wearing your seatbelt or following speed limits, making it a point to follow traffic rules could significantly cut down on accidents.

  1. Take Care of Your Truck

Even if you’re taking the proper precautions while driving, mechanical failure could contribute to an accident. Create a routine for checking your truck’s mechanics, so you can fix issues before they become a hazard.

  1. Limit Lane Changes

Large trucks sharing the road with significantly smaller vehicles means in an instant, other drivers could escape your view. Change lanes only when necessary to prevent the risk of not seeing cars in your blind spot.

  1. Make Yourself Visible

Provide advance notice of any actions you’re about to take, such as lane changes or turns, or gradually slow down prior to stops – whatever is applicable to reduce the effects of other drivers’ lack of attention.

  1. Pay Attention to Work Zones

CDL drivers cause about one-third of all fatalities in work zones. Be aware of your surroundings and look for signs for upcoming work zones so you can slow down in time.

  1. Give Yourself a Buffer

Truck drivers don’t have the luxury of being able to slam on the brakes and narrowly avoid collisions because it takes large trucks with heavy cargo longer to stop.  Account for this by leaving extra space between yours and other automobiles.

  1. Prevent Fatigue

Make it a personal rule that productivity is never prioritized over safety. If you’re feeling drowsy, do not attempt to push through, and never exceed FMCSA’s driving window limits.

  1. Take Medications with Caution

Carefully review the labels of any medications you take. There are numerous over-the-counter and prescription medications that can cause drowsiness or otherwise affect your ability to safely operate your truck.

  1. Follow Guidelines

Even if FMCSA or company regulations and guidelines seem excessive, they are put in place for a reason. Ignoring them could not only result in accidents, but could cost you your job or even your license.

Whether you’re looking for a short-term job or a steady position for the long haul, Contracted Driver Services can help. We’re a transportation specialized staffing firm that has worked with over 500 clients across the nation. Our extended network of clients ensures that we can work with you to find the truck driving opportunity that matches your career and personal needs.  Search our listing of available jobs to get started with CDS.