General Safety Tips for Small Truck Drivers
In a perfect world, there would never be trouble with any sort of vehicle; however, since that is not the case, get a few safety tips to make life easier. In this article, we would like to inform you of the possible dangers that could be encountered and the most informational tips that can be provided to you.
Before using your truck, there are necessary procedures to follow to avoid possible minor to major problems on the road. A few things that should become a daily habit before getting on the road are:
- Brakes (including trailer brake connections and parking brake)
- Steering mechanism
- Lights and reflectors
- Tires, wheels, and rims
- Windshield wipers
- Coupling devices
- Emergency equipment
Once these things have been checked, work can be proceeded to. When on the road, it is never known what could be encountered, such as bad weather, malfunctioning equipment, or bad road conditions. In order to avoid minor problems that could escalate to bigger issues you should perform a daily check on the vehicle. However the federal law mandates that should it be believed that the vehicle is unfit to drive, it should not be driven. If for any reason you think there is a fault in the truck, it is best to not drive it, set it aside and have it checked by a technician.
The FMCSA, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, has stood by the quote, “the driver is ultimately responsible to make sure that the vehicle being driven is in a safe operating condition.” In other words, FMCSA believes that the driver operating the vehicle should be fully responsible if anything were to happen on the road.
When one acts because of something that just occurred to the vehicle and it is taken to get fixed, then this is called reactionary maintenance, which can be a problem. For instance, rather than preventing the problem or accident from occurring, which is called preventive maintenance, actions were only taken after the problem/accident occurred.
Preventive maintenance is a commitment. It means to always to be on the lookout for things that could go wrong. With this type of attitude, one should be getting the best, cost-effective equipment and taking care of it. By conducting yourself with this type of perspective, the possibility of running into errors is lessened greatly.
The European Truck Accident Causation (ETAC) preformed a study that determined what just caused most accidents on the road. As see below, human factors are what caused the most accidents. What this means is that people caused accidents by not following road laws, failing to observe intersections rules, non-adapted speeds, or improper maneuvers when changing lanes. Following human error, though low in numbers, the second highest observation was technical failures.
To further protect your commercial vehicle from damage is to check the following things ever 100,000 miles, or every other year:
- Replace the belts, hoses, fan clutch, thermostat, and water pump every five years or 150,000 miles
- After 6,000 miles, allow your dealership to perform the necessary inspection and recommended preventative maintenance repairs
- Saving a little money paying for an inexpensive oil change will only lead to unexpected repairs
- Adjust the engine valve clearance every 30,000 miles
- Regularly check and replace the air filter as needed
- Replace the fuel filter every 12,000 miles or every other service
Having a good preventive maintenance program can provide the best protection against the driver, and any other drivers on the road. If these precautions are taken when caring for the vehicle, the truck should last much longer.
If you would like one of our trained technicians to inspect your vehicle or to find out more about the services we can provide to you. Contact us at 405.918.5800
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