3 Industry Best Practices for Truck Drivers

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Truckker not only helps workers find truck driver jobs and companies find qualified truck drivers for hire, but we also provide great insight into the trucking industry. 

There are many challenges on the road, but by implementing at least three industry best practices, your team can stay safe and continue to keep the country moving.

tractor dumping debris onto truck on construction site

#1: Take Defensive Driving Refresher Courses

Truck drivers travel in all kinds of weather and traffic conditions, from the open road to busy boulevards. They need to be ready to implement key defensive driving strategies and practices to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. 

Drivers need to be alert and anticipate potential hazards and dangerous situations, so they can make informed decisions and ensure their safety as well as the safety of others. Fewer accidents mean saving money on costly repairs, claim payouts, and increasing insurance premiums.

Here are a few tactics you will remember from your defensive driving courses:

Identify Blind Spots

Tractor-trailer drivers use an enormous truck that is high off the ground, making it tricky for drivers to see cars behind or beside their vehicle. Accidents often occur when changing lanes. 

For this reason, drivers can’t and shouldn’t always rely on their mirrors. They should also be doing shoulder checks and looking out their windows when changing lanes. Additionally, they should leave lots of space around their vehicle when merging.

Be Prepared

Drivers need to have supplies and know what to do in various types of emergencies, including bad weather and breakdowns. Keeping a stock of water, snacks, a first aid kit, a change of clothes, and blankets in the truck cab will help drivers when disaster strikes.

Keep an Even Temper

Road rage doesn’t solve anything, but it causes a lot of trouble. Truck drivers aren’t always treated well. Whether you are honked at or harassed by other drivers, do not add fuel to the fire. The right response is to de-escalate this type of situation, particularly by increasing the distance between yourself and the angry drivers.

close-up of truck dashboard

#2: Each Truck Driver Uses an Electronic Logging Device (ELD)

Both the Government of Canada and the American Government mandated the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) in commercial vehicles. 

ELDs improve real-time visibility of each driver’s hours, ensuring that truck drivers are compliant with hours of service regulations and that driver fatigue diminishes. It was implemented as a road safety measure and to increase productivity across the trucking industry. 

An ELD makes the process of logging time faster, improving administrative efficiency for individuals who need to track, manage, and share the data of on and off-road activities. 

How an ELD Works

The ELD connects to the vehicle’s engine and records the driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS), which contains data, including the date, vehicle number, total driving hours, and the total number of miles driven within 24 hours. Having a driver’s RODS on file complies with the Hours of Service (HOS) requirements.

man with mask unloading boxes

#3: Follow COVID-19 Protocols to Protect the Trucking Industry

It’s going to take some time before the COVID-19 virus is gone. In the meantime, trucking employees are essential workers who keep the economy going by transporting and delivering goods across the countries. Therefore, it is imperative that they follow COVID-19 protocols to keep themselves and others safe as they travel.

Some key practices include: 

  • Always wear a cloth mask in public areas, as well as during work and social distancing.
  • Daily cleaning and disinfection of high touchpoints
  • In the truck cab: The steering wheel, door handles, seat belts and buckles, arm and headrests, seat covers, dashboard, etc.
  • In the sleeper berth: Light switches, mattress tray, temperature controls, etc.
  • Interior areas frequented by third parties (mechanics, other drivers, inspectors, etc.) 
  • Avoid sharing personal protective equipment (PPE), tools, phones, radios, etc.
  • Use pre-qualified truck stops or hotels with appropriate COVID-19 protections (these stops may be specified by your employer)
  • Remain a minimum of 6 feet away from other individuals, including dock workers and store workers.
  • Plan appointments for unloading ahead of time by calling the facilities, as they restrict access to certain areas, such as restrooms. 
  • Speak with dockworkers and managers by phone or radio as much as possible.
  • Limit time spent on activities outside of the truck cab, such as fueling, loading, unloading, etc. 
  • Opt for paperless methods whenever possible.
  • Never shake hands with customers or other individuals.

Following COVID-19 protocols means staying ahead of the curve and keeping the trucking industry healthy.

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