Illinois is one of the busiest states in the country, and its roadways are no different. With this in mind, professional truck drivers in Illinois have to stay vigilant to keep themselves, and everyone else, on the road safe. For pros that are getting ready to head out for work, here are six must-know driving safety tips for Illinois truck drivers:
Stay Legally Protected
As a truck driver, you’re forced to follow strict rules and regulations while on the job. Due to this, you could be put into huge legal trouble if you’re blamed for an accident that is not your fault. While the other tips on this list will prepare you to avoid accidents, you cannot always avoid accidents caused by others. If you’re in an accident as a truck driver, you need to lawyer up immediately. Finding the right Illinois truck driver attorney will help you stay legally protected, and help you gain any payouts that you’re entitled to post-accident.
Plan Your Route Ahead of Time
The more pre-planning you do before your driving shift, the better. Being thorough is crucial in any profession, but it’s especially vital for truck drivers because it allows you to save time and money and reach your customer safely. If your next journey is unfamiliar to you, you should conduct some study before you start driving. Verify the roads you are permitted to travel on, and the exits you should take, and ask your customer for information on the quickest route to the delivery location. Before you start driving, compare and check your GPS’s accuracy, and have a road map ready as a backup. To feel and stay safe while driving, it is usually a good idea to prepare in advance.
Understand Your Truck
Having a solid understanding of the vehicle you’re operating, and knowing its current maintenance status is crucial to your safety on Illinois roadways. Knowing your truck is crucial to preventing accidents because the majority of your employment involves long hours spent driving alone in your truck on the open road. Knowing what is creating a strange sound or rattle you hear while driving and if it requires your attention can make a significant difference in your ability to stay safe. Maintenance problems are a frequent reason for accidents, just like they are while you are driving your car daily. To keep safe and prevent accidents, it’s crucial to frequently inspect your truck and make sure the brakes, steering, tires, and cargo restraints are all in good working order.
Stay Familiar with Your Cargo
Knowing what you are delivering and knowing what to do in an emergency is essential, especially if you are driving a truck carrying hazardous materials. You must be prepared to respond even if you are in a minor accident if your cargo poses a risk to the environment, you, or other drivers. You should check with your dispatcher, your employer if you work for a carrier, or state agencies if you are an independent trucker before planning your route if you are delivering hazardous items or waste. After all, certain cargo will call for you to follow specific regulations and procedures.
Remain Concentrated at All Times
When starting your day of hard work, you need to always be alert to your surroundings and other drivers on the road with you. You should also feel refreshed. Avoid being distracted while driving by avoiding all other activities, including using your phone to text or make calls, and concentrating solely on the road. Before you start driving, prepare your GPS route, your music, and anything else you might need. This rule applies to everyone operating any kind of vehicle, but bear in mind that your truck is powerful and enormous, and it is easily capable of wreaking havoc.
Never Drive Under the Influence
No matter how hard life may get, it’s never worth it to drive under the influence, as you are putting both yourself and everyone else on the road, into serious danger. Some truck drivers may be tempted to use alcohol or drugs to combat their exhaustion, but this is never a good idea. Taking medications to keep awake will cause you to take risks that you ordinarily might not take, such as speeding, hazardous lane changes, and sudden steering, as well as overall make poor decisions when you should be focusing and considering the task at hand. Also, using drugs or alcohol impairs your reflexes and decreases your focus, making you a danger on the road and increasing the likelihood that you will cause an accident.