Driving around in a large semi, like a Volvo truck, on Philippines roads and highways can be a difficult challenge for any professional, especially when you consider the mentality of a lot of motorists in the country.
As a professional trucker, you should realize that that truck you’re driving can easily turn into a weapon of mass destruction in the hands of a careless and irresponsible driver. And even though vehicular accidents do occur, regardless of whose fault it may be, you can certainly do your part to help minimize the chances of it ever happening to you.
What does it take to be a professional trucker?
Driving skills, knowledge, and experience are all important factors that truck drivers should posses. But being able to drive safely on Philippine roads and highways requires a different breed of driver. You’re going to have to learn to exercise patience, responsibility, and learn to anticipate the recklessness and poor judgment of some of the other motorists on the road.
Because no matter how careful you may be, there’s always that reckless driver who’s going to cause the next accident.
Volvo Truck Philippines: Truck Driving Safety Tips
- Always maintain focus while you are on the road.
When you’re driving, especially for long distances, it’s easy to lose concentration. When the highway is empty or there’s very little traffic, it’s very easy for your mind to start to wander. And if you lose focus, your reaction time is significantly diminished. And that’s the last thing you want to happen when you’re driving a large semi in an open highway.
- Always be mindful of your space cushion.
For regular vehicles, drivers have always been taught to keep a car-length space cushion when following other vehicles on roads and highways. That space cushion is then doubled, or even tripled, at high speeds. At least, that is the rule of thumb.
For truckers, however, the space cushion is 6-dimensional, referring to the six sides of the truck; the front, the rear, the passenger side, the driver side, as well as the top (height cushion) and the bottom (surface cushion) sides. Drivers of large rigs can’t always spot objects on all sides, especially at the rear. This is what is known as a blind side.
Although part of the responsibility falls on the driver of the trailing vehicle, you as a trucker should always be cautious and apply the appropriate space cushion when maneuvering your rig on the road, on bridges, ramps, and into tunnels.
- Carefully plan your trip ahead of time.
Professional truck drivers often travel long distances to deliver cargo. In order to arrive at your destination safely, you need to plan the route you will be taking. This includes knowing the terrain you will be navigating through, the traffic conditions, and even the weather forecast along the route you’ve chosen to take.
If the delivery is time sensitive, advanced planning can also help you manage the travel time more efficiently. When calculating travel time, you need to consider traffic congestions, road construction along your route, inclement weather, traffic lights and stop signs, terrain, as well as rest stops. By allowing yourself extra time, you won’t have to drive in a hurry just to stay within your time table.
- Get adequate rest before you embark on a long distance drive.
As stated, professional truck drivers often travel long distances. For that reason, it is crucial that the driver gets enough sleep and rest before hitting the road. A tired, sleep deprived driver is more likely to get into an accident than a well-rested, focused trucker.
Moreover, if you do feel tired or sleepy while on the road, find the nearest rest stop and get some sleep before you continue driving. Keep in mind that if you lose concentration or fall asleep at the wheel, it’s not just your life that’s at risk; you’re risking the lives of all the other motorists on the road.
- Conduct a routine inspection of your truck before hitting the road.
Checking up on your rig before every trip should be made routine. You need to remember that your safety and the safety of other motorists also depend on the integrity of your rig. No matter how careful you are as a driver, if something happens to your truck while on the road; a tire explodes, the braking system fails, etc., things can quickly turn for the worst.
So it is important that you always keep your rig in tiptop shape by implementing routine pre-departure inspections as well as scheduled preventive maintenance.