Being a flatbed truck driver can be risky since the cargo is exposed and typically oversized. Each load is different, but all truckers share a common goal: to get the shipment to its desired location safely. To help you achieve your task in a timely and safe manner, we’ve shortlisted five helpful flatbed truck safety tips.
Flatbed Truck Safety
Driving a large heavy-duty truck on a busy road requires vigilance and alertness. Here are some flatbed safety precautions to remember during your trip.
Tackling Blind Spots
Blind spots are areas out of a driver’s peripheral vision. All commercial vehicles have large blind spots that aren’t visible through the side and rearview mirrors.
For this reason, truckers must take extra caution when changing lanes and making turns.
Loading and Unloading Safely
When loading and unloading large cargo, drivers should inspect the surrounding area before doing so.
You’ll want to choose an area that’s level and smooth, steer clear of debris and machinery, and identify potential hazards before loading or unloading cargo.
Moreover, remember to use the appropriate number of straps/chains to secure the weight of the load. The requirements for attaching a shipment to your flatbed trailer varies from state to state. You can check these guidelines on the FMCSA’s website.
Leaving Enough Space between You and the Vehicle in Front of You
It’s no surprise that you should keep a safe distance between your flatbed and the vehicle in front of you. Commercial vehicles are heavy-duty and require more time to stop.
Therefore, take into account the length of your flatbed and how fast you’re going. A good rule of thumb is for every 10 mph, leave the length of 1 vehicle in between.
Avoiding Slips, Trips, and Falls
Securing a load or unloading a shipment can be a repetitive and exhausting task. These tasks require extensive attentiveness to reduce the risks of an accident or injury.
You can avoid potential slips, falls, and trips by following these steps:
- Invest in non-slip footwear- Truckers need to invest in closed-toed shoes with good soles on them. Wearing non-slip footwear eliminates the risks of slipping and falling from flatbed trailers.
- Don’t skip a step- Reduce your chances of slipping by not skipping steps. Since truckers spend some of their time outside securing cargo or unloading, the steps can be slick due to the weather or spills.
- Avoid jumping from flatbed trailers- An easy way to break a bone or sprain an ankle is by jumping off the flatbed trailer. You should always use some steps to climb up and down from your trailer.
- Don’t step on narrow ledges- Avoid stepping on the edge of your flatbed trailer to avoid losing your balancing and falling.
Obeying Traffic Laws
All drivers, including flatbed truck drivers, must obey traffic laws and the posted speed limit. Truckers, in particular, need to be aware of national driving regulations and state-specific laws.
If you fail to adhere to them then you’ll end up with hefty fines and penalties.
The Bottom Line
Flatbed truck drivers put comparatively more miles on their vehicles than regular drivers. Therefore, more miles translates to more risks, accidents, fatigue, and stress.
Remember the safety tips discussed above to keep yourself, your flatbed, and those around you safe.