Driving a Semi-Truck: When is it Time to Pull Over?

pexels-photo-590839Driving a semi-truck is a huge responsibility that requires much more than driving a normal car. There is a very good reason that you have to obtain an additional license and that driving laws are much stricter for truck drivers than they are for ordinary drivers. These semi-trucks can cause a lot of destruction and disaster when things go wrong, so it is important for drivers to be aware at all times and take needed breaks. It may seem counter-intuitive to take a break since most truck drivers are on a tight schedule, but there are some circumstances that require you to pull over.

Exhaustion

Exhaustion is a huge problem for truck drivers. They are driving for long hours and over long distances, often by themselves. Although exhaustion is presumed by most as being the result of only physical fatigue, its onset can also be derived from the effects of mental fatigue. It’s important for your brain to have periodical stimulation, and without it, you can easily enter a hazy state of awareness that mimics exhaustion. This can have devastating effects. According to Page Law, driver error is the largest cause of semi accidents, and the number of mistakes drivers make goes up exponentially when they are tired.

To combat the exhaustion, try to schedule regular breaks to get out of your truck and walk around, even if it is just for a few minutes each time. You should make sure that you eat good meals and regular breaks to sleep. It doesn’t matter when you decide to sleep, as long as it happens regularly.

Mechanical Issues

For truck drivers, there are so many unexpected mechanical issues and malfunctions that can occur during the course of driving. Problems, such as blown headlights or defective brakes, can occur when you least expect it. These things are definitely a problem with a regular car, but with a semi, the problem just becomes that much larger. It may be tempting for drivers to keep driving with a check engine light on or to ignore something that seems a little off, but that is just asking for a disaster. Don’t ever do that. If something seems wrong, check it out immediately.

Getting Lost

Even though semi-truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road, it is still possible for them to get turned around and lost. When this occurs, instead of continuing to drive, drivers should pull over and figure out where they are and how to get back on track. Semis aren’t very maneuverable, so making sudden corrections to get back on route is more likely to cause an accident than it is to get you back on track. Additionally, you don’t want to be using your phone or GPS to figure out where you are when you are driving. All of the dangers of driving while on your phone apply to truck drivers, but the consequences are even more severe. Pull over, figure out where you are and how to get where you need to be, and then keep going.

There are a lot of other reasons that drivers may need to pull over for a little bit. It’s important to keep your deadlines, but it is more important to be safe. Drivers should follow all regulations and use their common sense. While this may not address every problem, it will prepare drivers for most situations.