Trucking is an indispensable service, accounting for 56.9% of Mexico's freight movement in 2020. While in the United States in 2019, it represented 72.9%. This makes a truck driver’s work fundamental for the supply chain, the market, the economy, and even the competitiveness of a country. All things considered, being a truck driver is an extremely demanding job, in addition to presenting great risks. 

There are many implications for the safe delivery of a shipment, being one of the most important ones pertaining to safety. We are not only talking about insecurity on the road, but also about the different factors that truck drivers must take into account to stay safe while driving.

Their safety has a direct impact on other drivers on the road. By improving the safety of truck drivers, you are not only ensuring their protection but also reducing accident-related costs and compensation, among other aspects.

So here are 10 tips to keep safe on the road:

Before the load

  • Truck maintenance: Your vehicle is the key to a safe delivery, that's why you should periodically inspect and service it, not only for better performance but also to ensure your safety. According to the FMCSA, maintenance problems are one of the main causes of trucking accidents. 
  • Plan your route: Getting familiar with the road you are going to travel will help you plan ahead and be prepared, especially with road conditions and authorized resting points in case of having to make emergency stops.

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On the road/delivery 

  • Defensive driving: Train your operators on braking distance, under the 7-second rule to avoid coalitions. You can measure this distance by observing a set point on the road and counting the time that passes from the moment a car in front of you crosses that point until you reach the same point. This will help reduce the risk of collisions.
  • Blind spots: Make sure you are very aware of their location, from the rear of the trailer, the passenger and driver's doors, to the front bumper, and the nose of the truck. According to FMCSA, checking your mirrors every 8-10 seconds will help you have a better spatial perception of your unit.
  • Rest: Shipment routes can be extremely long, so resting at authorized points is a priority for your well-being. Also, make sure to take short breaks not only to rest but also to eat, sleep and/or take care of your truck.
  • Drop-off point: Check the conditions of the drop-off area by foot to make sure that your truck will not be affected by uneven ground conditions. 
  • Parking: Whenever you park, take a minute to inspect your truck, check the condition it is in, and in case of needing mechanical support, make sure to provide it.

Weather

An aspect that cannot be controlled, but can be foreseen, is the weather. In any circumstance, such as rain, snow, black ice, or fog, it is of utmost importance to reduce speed considerably as to avoid losing control of the unit; as well as knowing when to stop when weather conditions are unfavorable. Also, consider carrying emergency supplies and a first aid kit.

Safety concerns

Especially in Mexico, this phenomenon has been on the rise, mainly due to more lax security measures on the road, and a lack of effective coordination between the different levels of government, as stated by José Refugio Muñoz, executive vice-president of the National Chamber of Freight Transportation (CANACAR). According to data from the 2022 report on the Incidence of Crime in the Common Sectors, only 12% of robberies on truckers are non-violent. Therefore, it is key to take appropriate actions when facing these situations.

  • Security plan: It is necessary to have a contingency plan, which will depend on each carrier, to safeguard its operators. The important thing is to train them on best practices on how to react. To do so, it is necessary to map out risk factors, identifying the areas, routes, products, and/or services that are most vulnerable or represent a greater safety risk. This should include the necessary measures needed to prevent transportation incidents, in addition to implementing emergency drills.
  • Anti-jammer: The jammer is an electronic device used by criminals to prevent the reception and transmission of GPS and mobile networks. Therefore, having a GPS anti-jammer can immediately detect these devices, which activates the immobilization of the engine and cuts the flow of electricity to the vehicle, making it more difficult to steal.

Here are 6 tips for truck drivers to prevent these incidents regardless of the time of year.

Although most factors are unpredictable, it is necessary to take proactive measures to keep truck drivers as safe as possible and ensure that cargo is delivered safely. Truck drivers are a fundamental part of our economy, keeping the world moving forward. By creating better working conditions and practices carriers can also contribute to operator retention.

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