Essential safety tips for truck and bus drivers

Truck and bus drivers can keep themselves and other drivers safer on the road by following some key safety practices.

Truck and bus drivers in Texas must obtain commercial driver's licenses, as the safety risks for driving such large vehicles can be far greater than the risks of driving passenger cars. The stopping distance of vehicles increases with their weight, and the effective blind spot increases with vehicle length. In order to combat these additional dangers, truckers and bus drivers should practice effective mitigation strategies. Doing so can prevent accidental and potentially fatal injuries.

Proper vehicle maintenance

For truckers, regularly maintaining the vehicle is an important way to make sure that it meets safety requirements. Allowing brakes to collect dust and debris can shorten their lifespan and lessen their effectiveness. Always maintaining proper tire pressure can help to avoid sudden flats, which can be potentially catastrophic with all of the weight being carried by large semis. It is thus helpful for drivers to keep a toolbox handy with some useful tools. Every trucker's toolbox should have pliers, zip ties, brake cleaner, a screwdriver, a hammer, flashers or flares, a set of wrenches, a pocket knife, a flashlight with extra batteries and a tire pressure gauge.

Safe driving practices

Even if the vehicle is well-maintained and the driver has double-checked to make sure there won't be any mechanical failures, it is still important to be mindful that every vehicle is a deadly weapon, especially so with large vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that of all fatal crashes in work zones, 27% involved large trucks in 2016. By exercising increased caution and carefully following signs, truckers and bus drivers can reduce the likelihood that they will end up a part of this statistic in 2019.

When on any medications, truck and bus drivers should be particularly aware of any side effects like dizziness, drowsiness or anything else that could impair driving. When sick or tired, it may be a good idea to pull over at a truck stop or rest area for a while to get some sleep. If pulled over at night or at dawn or dusk, drivers should put down flares or flashers to notify incoming traffic of the potential hazard. Always signaling for turns and lane changes helps other drivers to stay out of blind spots. Another way to mind the blind spots is to check rearview mirrors every 10 seconds at the longest.

Anyone who has been injured as a result of a collision with a truck or bus may be entitled to financial compensation. An attorney in the local area who practices personal injury law may be able to assist in such matters.