Spring trips are some of the most anticipated for truck drivers. With warmer weather, blooming landscape, and longer days, it’s a great time of year to relax and enjoy the drive.
But with a few changes happening in the environment, it’s important to take extra precautions so you can stay safe and keep your cargo safe. With unpredictable torrential rains and waves of spring breakers, the season gathers road risks too.
The numbers don’t lie:
- In April 2020 alone, 5.3% of fatal collisions happened in Alberta
- In April 2022, 55,000 speeding tickets were handed out to misbehaving drivers.
Because of the seasonal change and an uncertain amount of traffic on the roads, truck drivers must be extra vigilant and cautious to stay safe during this season.
Truckers rely on their experience and truck driving skills to get them through the rougher days of spring, but a few tips and tricks can help them out even more.
Prepare For The Long Haul
Spring roads can be unforgiving to the unprepared trucker! Before hitting the roads, be sure to:
- Check your brakes and tires. Ensure that your brakes are in good working order, your tires are correctly inflated, and you have plenty of treads.
- Get your vehicle serviced and inspected. Ensure that all systems and components function correctly and that your truck is in good condition.
- Make sure you have enough fuel. Fuel gauges can be unreliable, so check the fuel level manually before leaving.
- Pack appropriately. Bring items that can help make your journey more comfortable such as snacks, drinks, maps, and warm blankets.
- Rest well. Remember that a happy truck driver is a safe truck driver. Get rest before a long drive, take frequent breaks, and use your discretion about when to pull off for the night.
Yield To Pedestrians
Spring will draw lots of people out of their homes! With all the throngs of pedestrians out and about, you’ll need to be extra aware and watchful of your surroundings.
- Stay alert. Be on the lookout for children playing, students walking to and from school, and parents pushing prams or strollers.
- Check your speed. Always keep your speed in check, and yield to pedestrians when they have the right of way.
- Avoid distractions while behind the wheel. Eating, drinking, and texting should all be put on the back burner or avoided altogether. Even a split-second distraction could lead to something catastrophic.
- Follow traffic laws. Spring is known for a sharp uptick in traffic, and that means more impatient drivers. Don’t give in to the pressure and make sure you obey all traffic laws, including speed limits and lane usage.
Give Way To Other Riders Too
In spring, there will be an influx of hobby cyclists and construction delivery vans! They can create hazardous situations on the road, but with some simple steps, you can ensure everyone’s safety!
- Make sure you leave enough space. Always allow room for a cyclist when passing and avoid riding too close to them.
- Look before turning. Check your blind spots when turning so you don’t get in the way of any cyclists.
- Learn the proper hand signals. Use your hands and turn alerts when changing lanes and turning. This will help cyclists stay aware of their intentions.
- Be aware of construction zones. Slow down and be extra cautious when passing construction vehicles and crews.
- And for everyone’s health, be mindful of the environment! With the increase of vehicles on the road, there will be increased emissions. Be sure to stay informed about emissions guidelines and fuel efficiency to help reduce the effect on the environment.
Watch Out For Animals
The warmer temperatures of spring also bring out wildlife. Just like pedestrians, you’ll need to stay alert and be extra careful when it comes to animals on the road. Here are some tips for driving safely around animals:
- Pay attention. Keep a watchful eye out for animals, and scan the sides of the road as you go.
- Slow down. If you see an animal, slow down or stop to avoid hitting it.
- Honk your horn if you see a potential hazard. By honking your horn or flashing your lights, you can alert animals in the area to stay away from your vehicle. Be sure to use your horn cautiously, as it can startle an animal and cause it to run out into the path of your car.
- Follow the speed limit. Animals can appear suddenly in your way, so it pays to slow down and be aware of your speed.
- Be extra cautious at night. Animals are more active at night, and visibility is limited. Be extra careful when driving at night, and always keep your headlights on.
Avoid Flooded Areas
With the arrival of spring comes the threat of flooding! Even small amounts of water can cause considerable damage to people, property, and vehicles. It is essential to take the necessary steps to prepare for the potential of spring floods. Here are some tips to help you navigate around flooded areas:
- Check the weather report. Monitor daily weather reports and be aware of potential flooding in your area.
- If you see water, turn around. It doesn’t matter if you have fantastic truck driving skills. Never attempt to drive through flooded areas or around barricades. Even a few inches of moving water can cause your vehicle to float away.
- When in doubt, stay put. Avoid turning around in the middle if you come across a flooded area. Find a safe, dry place to turn your vehicle around and wait until the water recedes.
- Prepare for the worst. Ensure your vehicle has the necessary supplies to help you in a disaster. Have a plan ready in the event of a flood, including how and where you will evacuate your vehicle if necessary.
- Be prepared to help others. If you encounter stranded motorists in a flooded area, offer assistance and call 911 if needed.
Rev Up for Spring And Stay Safe!
Taking the necessary steps to prepare for spring floods and other potential hazards is always essential.
As a driver, you must follow the rules of the road and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
By being aware of your environment and having a plan in place, you can help to ensure the safety of yourself, your passengers, and those around you.
Taking time to stay informed and prepared can mean the difference between a safe and hazardous journey!
Gennaro Transport Training provides truck driving training to help prepare drivers for a safe and successful road career. With courses taught by seasoned industry professionals, Gennaro Transport Training enables drivers to acquire the essential skills to stay safe on the roads.