Transporting heavy cargo safely depends on more than what happens while a semi-truck is in motion. Most truck driver safety tips revolve around the preparation and planning that occurs before a haul ever begins. Sadly, many crashes could be prevented with proper maintenance and systematic inspections.
Before you start your truck’s engine and head out on the road, learn what items should be checked off on your pre-trip checklist. Here are 5 trucking safety tips to ensure everything on your truck and semi-trailer is primed for safe truck driving.
1. Inspect Your Tires
Tires are one of the most important components of a semi-trailer and play an equally prominent role in maintaining commercial truck driving safety. Before any semi-trailer is ready for travel, a basic tire inspection is necessary. During this inspection, you will check each tire for:
- Air pressure or leaks
- Tread wear and tear
If you notice any leaks, low or uneven tread, or tire wear, it’s important to take your semi-trailer in to get a full inspection. Uneven tread can indicate axle or alignment issues that need to be repaired immediately. By attending to tire needs promptly, you can prevent blown tires which are a leading cause of vehicle-related fatal accidents in commercial driving. Avoid delays and haul safely by only driving semi-trucks with uncompromised tires.
2. Check Fluid Levels
Various fluids enable a semi-truck’s engine to run smoothly and efficiently. Should any of these fluids be at an undesirable level, problems could easily arise. Before taking any trips, you’ll want to look under the hood and check fluid levels of the:
While checking fluid levels, pay attention to any visible fluid buildup as this is something that signals the need for repairs. It’s also important to look under the truck for any possible leaks. Once fluid levels are correct and no leaks are detected, you’ll turn on the engine and confirm that the air pressure, oil pressure, and temperature gauges are all operational. Following this simple trucking safety tip will help immensely with safe commercial driving.
3. Ensure Brake System Functions Properly
Semi-trucks haul tremendous weight and require a fully functioning brake system to ensure they stop safely. You’ll want to check specific brake system components to mitigate any risk of brake failure or malfunctioning. Before any trip, check:
- Air pressure system for leaks
- Cab dashboard for air pressure warnings
- Automatic parking brakes
If any brake issues are discovered when you check the brake system and its components, the semi-truck trailer must be pulled out of commission and repaired. Brakes are vital to safe commercial truck driving and it is never worth taking a risk if any part of the system isn’t functioning properly.
4. Test Electrical System and Wiring
Electrical systems are a key component to safe truck driving and as technology advances commercial truck driving will only become more dependent on these advanced systems. Before heading out on the road, check that all the following are operational:
- Brake lights
- Turn signals
- Clearance lights
- Warning lights
It is critical that all these lights and signals illuminate, and if there are issues with any of them it’s time to replace the bulbs.
You should also check electrical component wiring and evaluate the battery. If there is any question on battery life or age, test it to confirm it holds a charge.
5. Review Routine Service Records
Safe truck driving demands that all semi-trucks receive regular maintenance at routine intervals. One of the most straight-forward truck driver safety tips is to look at the truck’s service records to confirm all service needs are up to date and the truck is ready for its next trip. Review records of:
- Oil changes
- Tire rotations
- Transmission service
- Cooling system maintenance
If you find that any of these services have not been taken care of on schedule or are due for maintenance soon, schedule a service appointment and tend to service needs before starting your route.
Visit the Experts at Hale Trailer
At Hale Trailer Brake & Wheel, Inc., you’ll find fully maintained semi-trailers available for sale or rent. We also pride ourselves on having a trustworthy team of experienced maintenance professionals capable of helping you maintain your semi-trailer. We’ll make it easy for you to follow these truck driver safety tips so you can practice safe commercial truck driving. Whether you’re looking for service, repair, or a new or used semi-truck, Hale has it. Call for inquiries at 800-232-6535!