Truck Driving Hazards And How To Avoid Them

blue truck on a road with bright sunbeam

Truck driving is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. Commercial trucks caused 97% of all deaths in crashes. This is why it was listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as the seventh most dangerous job in the United States.


Top 4 Truck Driving Hazards

Even though truck driving promises adventure and financial rewards, truck drivers should take great caution. It may help to be aware of the top 4 truck driving hazards and how to prevent them.

General Safety Hazards

Since truck driving involves commercial and heavy loads, there’s a higher risk of general safety hazards in the said industry. The doors of the trucks are elevated from the ground. Climbing and descending from the cabin puts the driver at risk from falling. Loading and unloading increase the chances of minor to serious injuries. Cargo handling may cause bruises, cuts, sprains, and strains. Falling cargo can result in crushing injuries, head trauma, or spinal cord damages. Although commonly, truck drivers aren’t required to unload their cargo, they are still at risk of being exposed in the area.

There are also times when truck driving involves transporting hazardous materials. Petroleum products are highly flammable. Black powder, compressed oxygen, propane, and rocket motors can cause an explosion. Chlorine, pesticides, caustic sodas are poisonous to humans. Calcium carbide can be combustible when mixed with water. There are a lot more hazardous elements that involve commercial truck driving. These are general safety hazards that cannot be avoided because of the nature of the hauling industry.

Prevention is better than cure. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration have laid down best loading and unloading practices. Adhering to these rules can lessen the risk of getting into an accident or injury. Truck drivers hauling hazardous material should also be aware of the safety procedures in handling these elements. The more they should be careful and disciplined in driving when carrying them.

Health Hazards

Next to road hazards, health hazards are the most potential dangers in truck driving. Prolonged driving increases the risk of arms, back, hands, legs, and muscle pains. They can also result in eye strains. Longer exposure to great engine noise greater than 80 DBA can cause hearing impairment and severe headaches.

Most truck drivers encounter depression being alone on the road for quite so long. Exposure to extreme heat and cold have a great influence in developing heat stroke, high blood pressure, and frostbite. When on the road, truck drivers don’t have control of their eating and sleeping schedule. This may result in obesity and sleep apnea. Depending on the type of materials being hauled, truck drivers are also at risk of allergy, infection, and chemical poisoning.

Eating right on the road and getting a regular health check can stave off these health hazards. It’s also best to take short stops every 2 to 4 hours of travel. A quick rest conditions the body to prevent fatigue and mental blackout. Just like Pomodoro for office works, the driver and the truck need to pause from time to time.

Road Hazards

Truck drivers must be aware of road conditions. This is one of the truck driving hazards that causes accidents.

Gravel and dirt roads commonly have soft edges. It will also take longer to stop. The road traction makes it hard to get a stable control on the wheel. 

On dirt roads, there’s poor visibility when you drive at night. The lack of natural light, road debris, and other obstacles heighten the difficulty to calculate the distance between your truck and the vehicle in front of you. 

As much as possible, avoid foggy roads. They are heaviest in the early mornings. Fogs reduce your sense of the road and its visibility. 

In the city, many hazards are being overlooked. Driving rules, road width, and speed limits suddenly change as you go along. Distracting signs and sounds are also very present. Truck driving on intersections increases the chance of collision. It’s hard to maneuver heavy equipment in such a curve.

On highways, a truck driver’s challenge is to cross lanes when exiting, merging, or turning on the freeway. The roads may also be slippery when it’s raining. Grease, grime, and oil that accumulate during the dry weather may aggravate the situation when it suddenly rains. 

The best precaution is to follow traffic rules to prevent road hazard accidents. Strictly follow speed limits. As much as possible, avoid swerving and tailgating. Never left your steering wheel unhandled. There’s also one thing every driver should remember (not just truck drivers). Nobody owns the road; so, it’s best to be courteous to other drivers.

Truck’s Wear and Tear Hazards

Truck drivers experience the challenge of truck cleanliness, maintenance, and repairs. Regular checks of brakes, hydraulics, steering, tires, etc. is a must. It’s not just to comply with rules and regulations. But it’s also for safety while traveling. Most modern trucks are flat-nosed. The engines are located below the driver’s cabin. This makes it difficult for truck drivers to check and clean the engine in a confined space. There’s a risk of being pinned on the truck door or falling in the ground.

Bursting tires are very dangerous when traveling. They’re much more dangerous to happen when the truck driver is checking them. It may cause burn or injury on his end. Attending minor electrical problems in a truck is also risky. There are chances of burns or electrical shocks. These dangers are the same as hot battery surfaces, exhausts, and radiators. Using hand and power tools also increase the chance of injury. Last, exposure to truck chemicals and fluids during cleaning, maintenance, and repairs is hazardous to health.

Using the appropriate protective gear can help prevent accidents and injury when performing truck maintenance and repairs. Be aware of the safe handling of hand tools, power tools, and truck chemicals. Most of all, take extra precautions when doing truck maintenance or repair. There’s no need to be in haste. What’s important is to keep at pace.

There you have it. Driving a truck may be among the most dangerous jobs in the world but if you’re a passionate truck owner, you know the adventures that come with it make it worth it. If you’re interested with other types of trucks, UsedVending has a wide selection of semi trucks, including used and fully refurbished day cab semis, sleeper cabs, dump trucks, semi trailers and food trucks

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