Road Safety for Long Haul Drives
Career Path : Automotive
There are certain jobs out there that are performance-based, meaning; the quality of your job performance has a direct relationship to how fast you can complete your job. Examples of this can be anything from manual labor (construction, domestic cleaning services, etc.), to office work (filling out documents, filing, etc.). Other kinds of jobs have less of a connection between performance and duration, like stationary jobs (teachers, security guards, etc.) These types of jobs do indeed involve time frames and agendas, but their progress is more focused on overall outcome rather than timely delivery.
So what about trucking? Certainly, there are several factors dependent on the driver and dispatcherâs performance that can result in a delivery being made faster, like determining the best routes, anticipating traffic, construction detours, prudent driving to avoid accidents, and of course, speed. It is this final factor that gets tricky. A driver certainly wants to maintain a certain speed to make timely deliveries, but there are legal limits to this, and more importantly, there are safety concerns if a driver feels pressured to drive as fast as possible.
But maintaining safe and steady speeds can also come with its own hazards, mainly, boredom, fatigue and highway hypnosis. So how does a trucker navigate between the need for speed and the slow monotony of a long haul delivery? These issues are taken up in transport training schools with several approaches.
– Local speed limits should always be followed. No exceptions.
– Keep in constant contact with the dispatcher in case of any route changes based on traffic, accidents or construction. Use local radio for this as well.
– Change lanes to pass other vehicles or let other vehicles pass you on a regular basis so as not to allow yourself go in a straight line and imperceptibly increase your speed.
– If you intend on using cruise control, do so only when on an open road and not for too much of an extended period of time.
– Stay well-hydrated. Drink of lots of cold or room temperature water. This is better in the long run than caffeine.
– Coffee is not bad, but should be taken in moderation, and always accompanied by water and food.
– Divert your eyes from the quick passing highway lines every few moments to avoid tunnel vision or highway hypnosis.
– Do no use the internal air recycling for long periods of time as it can cause drowsiness. Open the window from time to time.
The demands of long-haul trucking are numerous, both physically and mentally. Just because one enjoys driving does not mean one is cut out to be a trucker. To get a feel for a career on the road, consider enrolling in transportation courses, where trucking, as well as other transportation-related jobs can be experienced first-hand.
Visit the Canadian Automotive & Tucking Institute for information on transportation training.