The open road isn’t always as open as it seems. Sharing the road with fellow drivers, animals, and sometimes hostile weather conditions means truck drivers need to be ever mindful of their surroundings in order to safely reach their destinations on time. Take note of these common road hazards for truck drivers to avoid and how to avoid them.
As your routes take you off the expressways and down to the backroads, it’s not uncommon to get stuck behind farm equipment, or even find yourself waiting for a herd of cattle to cross the road. Anticipate sharing the road with tractors and defer to them. Keep your speed low and give them space.
From skunks and raccoons to deer and moose, animals don’t always observe the rules of the road. Brake rather than swerve to avoid dangerous collisions with larger animals so as not to run yourself off the road. Flip your highbeams on to better spot an animal’s eyes and perhaps even scare them off.
Most truckers get an early start to their day. That’s when they’re not driving straight through the night. But daybreak is when heavy fog can roll in, and that means trouble. Reduced visibility is one of the most challenging hazards any driver can encounter. If you can’t avoid the fog, switch to your lowbeams and fog lights to get through a patch without inadvertently throwing too much light on the fog and making matters worse.
One of the most dangerous hazards you’ll encounter on the road is, in fact, other drivers. Because they’re in constant motion and highly unpredictable, they can be the most difficult for you to deal with, whether they’re civilians or other truckers. But unlike other hazards that you can wait out, you need to deal directly with aggressive drivers by keeping your composure and driving defensively.
As the hours and miles add up, one of the most dangerous hazards to you and your truck can be you yourself. Fatigue is real. After a day spent behind the wheel, drivers have the same level of impairment as someone whose blood alcohol level is at the legal limit—and that’s without taking a single sip. A dulled reaction time and sense of complacency can cause you to miss things you wouldn’t normally miss or make mistakes you normally wouldn’t make. Fight off fatigue not by popping pills but by taking breaks, resting your eyes and your brain, and not being afraid to sacrifice some miles in the name of safety. Stay as close to 100 percent as you can so that you can navigate through the many other common road hazards for truck drivers to avoid.