As a new truck driver, you’ re probably eager to get on the road. But, before you do, take some time to set goals for your first year—safety goals in particular! Every new truck driver wants to get through their first year completely accident free, and with a few simple but effective safety tips for new truckers, you can meet your goal!

1. Stay healthy.

Maintaining good mental and physical health is essential for staying safe on the road. First of all, know that it’ s completely normal for things to feel chaotic during your first year, but with a positive state of mind and a healthy diet and exercise plan, you’ ll get more enjoyment out of the job. For example, you might exercise twice daily for 15 minutes and make your own food using a crock-pot.

2. Practice safe loading and unloading procedures.

Protect your cargo—and your back—by following proper loading/unloading procedures. Remember the 3-points of contact rule (maintaining three points of contact when entering or exiting the trailer, including one hand and both feet, or both hands and one foot). Ensure the freight is property secured when loading or unloading, apply tractor breaks and trailer parking breaks, and don’ t pull out of a loading dock until you know the loading/unloading is complete and the dock plate is removed.

3. Check weather and traffic reports.

Before departing on a trip, check weather and traffic conditions and prepare accordingly. It’ s also a good idea check reports as often as you can while on the road and be aware of changing temperatures and road conditions.

4. Leave A LOT of room in front of your rig.

Remember the seven second rule (as a minimum requirement)! Following at a safe distance is important for keeping you and others safe. It can be frustrating when following behind someone going well under the speed limit, but this buffer zone will give you time to correct and slow down when necessary.

5. Mind your speed.

Going a little too fast can be tempting, but one of the single most important safety tips for truckers is to slow down. Big trucks don’ t corner so well. Travel slowly and stay in control by maintaining speeds at or below 62 mph, and always adjust your speed for hazardous driving conditions.  

6. Stay alert and take breaks to check your rig.

It can be easy to zone out a little after being on the road for a while. Make sure to stay alert, paying attention to everything around you. Always look ahead and have an ‘ escape route’ in mind should you need to avoid collision. One of the most important things is to stay well rested and take stretch breaks often. While on break, take a few minutes to walk around the vehicle and trailer to check for soft tires, air leaks, and dripping coolant or oil.

7. Bring extra valve stem covers and lights.

You probably know the importance of doing a thorough “ pre-trip” inspection, checking the lights, tires, pins, fifth wheel, and lights. One tip seasoned truck drivers often suggest is carrying extra lights and valve stem covers with you, because you never know when you or a friend trucker might need them! Also, make sure to keep your headlights and clearance lights turned on and clean so you are always visible and able to see clearly!

Congratulations graduates of 160 Driving Academy! We hope that these trucking safety tips will keep your life on the road enjoyable and safe!