Truck drivers are responsible for driving long hours and carrying heavy loads while on the road. You may have already familiarized yourself with the basic rules and regulations on the road and can’t wait to get behind the wheel. However, since you are new to truck driving, there are some nitty-gritties you might not be aware of until you actually start the job. It would help if you familiarize yourself with the unspoken rules of newbie truck driving early on to save you from making costly mistakes. Even though learning is a continuous process that never ends, let’s tell you some of the common mistakes you should try to avoid as a truck driver.
Neglecting the road signs
Road signs and navigation systems are there to notify you of speed limits and sudden changes in the road ahead. However, navigation systems might not be as reliable as road signs. The worst road sign you can ignore is a clearance marker, which indicates whether or not your truck will fit. You wouldn’t want to try your luck and end up stuck on the road. Therefore, we advise you to pay attention to what the road tells you to avoid run-ins with the law.
Forgetting about the size of your trailer
It is not uncommon for new truck drivers to forget about the extended trailer dragging behind their vehicles as they drive. The problem arises when the driver misjudges the turning distance on a tight corner and leaves their trailer on the pedestrian sidewalk. An excellent idea would be to constantly check your blind spots and wait until you have enough room before you turn. You would rather annoy other drivers with your slow driving than cause an accident.
According to the US driving regulations, a single axle on a truck could carry a maximum of 20,000lbs, while a tandem axle can carry a maximum of 34,000lbs. Imagine driving around with this weight at high speed. If you lost control due to overspeeding, the truck could quickly lose control and veer off the side of the road. The truck could also overturn with you in it and put you and other drivers and pedestrians in grave danger. It would be best to avoid the rookie mistake of overspeeding when driving a heavy truck and maintain a steady speed.
Changing lanes too late
Since the truck is heavy and you are dragging a long trailer behind you, it would be best to change lanes early enough and when you have lots of space. Otherwise, you would rather stick to your lane even though you are driving behind an extremely slow driver. If you must change lanes, ensure you do it as a last resort.
Not knowing your rights
Truck driving is a dangerous occupation that might leave you with severe injuries in case of an accident. According to the laws, you are entitled to compensation should you sustain any injuries in the line of duty. That said, getting compensated isn’t always straightforward meaning you might want to seek legal help. If you have been involved in such a scenario and you are struggling to get compensated, you should seek truck accident lawyer services to help file a claim. The bottom line is that you should know your rights as a truck driver.
Fueling your tanks before weigh-in
Each gallon of fuel weighs about six pounds. If you have two fuel tanks that require 150 gallons each, you can do the math and see how much heavier the fuel will make your vehicle. The extra weight from the fuel can affect your weigh-in, trip time, and mileage. A rookie mistake would be to fill both tanks before a weigh-in or at the start of your trip. As you become more experienced, you will learn the art of how much and when to fuel. For instance, you will soon find out that you should ride at half the capacity of your tank if you are carrying a full load.
Not maintaining a good relationship with your superiors
As a new driver, many people directly or indirectly control your workload. These people include your dispatcher, the receivers of the goods you transport, and your driver manager. Ensure you treat your superiors with respect and aim to build a good relationship with them if you intend to keep your job.
It takes time and practice to master any skill until you become proficient. Truck driving is no different, and you will soon become the best at what you do. It would help if you kept in touch with other experienced drivers who can teach you the unspoken rules of truck driving so that you can avoid common rookie mistakes.