The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 4,000 fatalities and over 400,000 police-reported crashes involving heavy vehicles (trucks and buses with a Gross Vehicle Weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more) occur each year. The following is a list of the leading causes of big rig accidents and what you can do to prevent them.
It can be tempting to push yourself beyond your limits in order to get more loads in. However, doing so can — and does — lead to costly and devastating accidents. The great thing about owner-operator trucking jobs is you take control of your schedule and work only when you are able to. This allows for regular home time as well as time to recover when the inevitable cold or flu strikes. Bottom line: don’t go out on the roads if you’re too tired to do so safely.
Your rig is your number-one investment. Without it, you’re not making money. As with pushing yourself too far, it’s also a big temptation to push your truck too far. But just as your body will break down when you don’t take proper care of it, so will your rig. The biggest safety issues when it comes to maintenance are brakes and tires. While big rig maintenance is a major expense, the cost of not properly maintaining your rig is even higher.
Long hours on the road can get dull and in a quest to stave off boredom, drivers are tempted to break up the monotony by fiddling with their iPods, smartphones, or other devices. Unfortunately, the consequences of distracted driving are even more catastrophic when you’re driving a 10,000-pound plus truck.
Do your part to help reduce accidents and increase safety by staying rested, maintaining your rig, and avoiding distractions.