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Safety Tips for Tractor-Trailer Drivers

Every commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver could stand to brush up on some driving safety tips. Toward that end, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has developed a website where CMV drivers can access training videos and safety tests to teach them to avoid dangerous situations and become safer drivers (https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/driver-safety/cmv-driving-tips-overview).

It is essential for all tractor-trailer drivers to take advantage of this valuable tool to improve their performance and therefore the safety of our nation’s roads. Because tractor-trailers are so susceptible to rolling over in the event of an accident, the following safety tips are particularly important for preventing catastrophic injuries to American drivers.

Secure your load – Unsecured loads can shift a large truck’s center of gravity during sharp turns or sudden stops, causing a rollover accident. Help prevent cargo shifts by evenly distributing and securing your load in compliance with FMCSA regulations.

Perform inspections – According to FMCSA accident data, more than half of the tractor-trailers involved in rollover accidents each year have defective brakes. As required by the Department of Transportation (DOT), inspect your vehicle before every trip.

Prevent skids – Many rollovers occur because a tractor-trailer skids out of control. Properly load and secure your cargo, adjust your speed to the surface condition and curvature of the road, and maintain sufficient following distance to reduce the likelihood of a skid.

Maintain adequate stopping distance – Always maintain enough distance that you could safely slow down in the event the vehicle in front of you suddenly stops. A minimum of one second for every 10 feet of vehicle length is recommended, adjusted for adverse conditions, including bad weather, wet roads, or limited visibility.

Manage lane changes – A significant number of tractor-trailer accidents occur during lane changes, due to the limited visibility afforded the driver of such a large vehicle. Limit your passing to necessary situations and give adequate warning of lane changes to the vehicles around you.

Stay alert – According to an FMCSA study, driver error causes more than 75% of all tractor-trailer rollovers. Make sure you comply with DOT Hours of Service Regulations and never use hand-held devices when behind the wheel.

Hopefully, these safety tips for tractor-trailer drivers will help prevent future tragedies, but in the event, you are involved in a tractor-trailer accident, please contact Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney. We only receive a fee in the event of a successful resolution of your case.