We’ve all seen news reports about trucks – tractor-trailers, especially – rolling over and causing car accidents, injuries, and even fatalities. Rollovers can happen all-too-easily, and it’s important to be aware of how you can prevent them and what raises your risk of having a rollover. By doing so, you keep yourself safer when you’re behind the wheel and lower your chances of having a crash that could injure you and other people. Avoiding crashes can also help you lower your truck insurance rates, whether it’s tow truck insurance, car hauler insurance, hot shot insurance, or flatbed truck insurance. We’ll go over some potential causes of rollovers and give you some tips for preventing them.
Why rollovers happen.
Rollovers happen for a variety of reasons. The following are some potential causes of rollovers.
- Poor driving conditions such as rain, wet roads, fog, or darkness.
- Speeding, especially going too fast around a turn or curve.
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted driving
Keep in mind, though, that rollovers don’t just happen under the circumstances listed above. Rollovers can just as easily happen in the middle of a clear, sunny day, which is why it’s important to be a safe, defensive driver. Rollovers can happen to anyone, no matter how experienced a truck driver you are.
How to prevent truck rollovers
1. Don’t speed.
While speeding is not the only reason truck rollovers happen, it can definitely cause them. It’s important to slow down around curves and turns. Your truck’s high center of gravity makes it susceptible to tipping over on a turn because of the forces and physics at work. Your momentum will do its best to keep you headed down your original path – not around the curve – and that could slingshot you straight off the road if you’re going too fast.
Keep in mind that speed limits are intended for light passenger cars, not trucks. That means that the speed limit is a safe speed for a car to take a curve. Not your truck. You may have to slow down more than the posted speed limit in order to take the turn safely.
Another reason not to speed: speeding can make your insurance premium go up. Don’t underestimate the effect of speeding on your truck insurance rates.
2. Stay focused and don’t drive distracted.
When you’re driving a truck, you’re operating a very powerful piece of machinery. You’re not just driving. You need to have your full attention on the road, and that means you can’t have any distractions. No talking on the phone, no texting and driving, no eating. Multitasking and trucks (or driving in general) do not mix.
3. Don’t drive drowsy.
Putting your full attention on the road also means that you have to be alert. That means avoiding driver fatigue. Be sure to get plenty of rest, take brief naps when you need to, and take the time to stretch your legs and get fresh air. You don’t want to fall asleep at the wheel. Driving fatigued also lowers your reaction time, so even if you aren’t technically “asleep” you could still cause an accident because of a delayed response to a hazard.
4. Make sure to do preventive maintenance.
Preventive maintenance is basically like getting a check-up at the doctor, except for your truck. It means getting your truck checked over regularly by a mechanic to see if there are any problems with the vehicle before those problems become dangerous. You need to make sure that, mechanically speaking, your truck is sound.
To make sure that your truck is in tip-top shape and that it’s safe to drive, you can set up a preventive maintenance program to get your trucks on a regular maintenance schedule. Remember, the goal is to catch problems and get them fixed before they make the truck unsafe, which means taking your truck to the mechanic on a regular basis.
5. Don’t skip the pre-trip vehicle inspection.
A pre-trip vehicle inspection is when you go through a list of things to check on your truck to make sure that everything is operating as it should be. If you discover a problem, you can get the problem fixed before you head out on a job. Just like with preventive maintenance, the goal is to correct the issue before it becomes a safety hazard.
6. Make sure your load is properly secured.
If your load is not secure, it can shift during flight – err, driving. And if the load shifts, it can upset the balance of your truck. Unbalanced trucks have a higher chance of tipping and rolling over, and a load that moves suddenly could cause a rollover.
7. Know your truck.
It’s important that you understand how your truck is designed and how it will handle. Make sure that you’re comfortable operating the type of vehicle you’re driving and know how it runs.
Rollovers are frightening. As a truck driver, it’s important that you understand how you can avoid them and stay safe on the road. The above tips can help you keep all wheels on the road where they belong.
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