Truck driving has long been a profession that the blue-collar population segment has embraced. Why wouldn’t they? You can make as much as $80K or more each year driving the big rigs, and you don’t even need a college education.
While there is much that recommends this career path, there are some inherent dangers that go along with it. After all, you’re getting behind an enormous vehicle’s wheel. One mistake, and you can run a car off the road, causing damage, injuries, or even deaths.
As long as you have yourself firmly in control, you should be fine as a truck driver. However, you should know the most common ways truck accidents occur. You can keep these in mind as you begin your career so that none of them happen to you.
You should know that commercial truck driving accidents claim many lives every year across the country. For instance, in New York state alone over a two-year period, a study counted 137 trucking deaths. Truck driver fatigue was one of the most common reasons for these incidents.
What you should know about truck driver fatigue is that:
- Closing your eyes at the wheel for one moment can cause disaster
- There is a legal limit to long of a shift you can take
You need to check in your state to see how long you can legally operate a truck before you must take a break. Maybe you feel like you can keep going if you push yourself and load up on hot coffee and energy drinks.
Still, the human body has limits. If’s you’re not fully rested, then after a long stretch of hours, it’s like being drunk. Your reflexes suffer, and you can even hallucinate if you’re pushing yourself hard over days or weeks.
Speaking of being drunk, another reason many commercial truck accidents happen is that the driver decided to indulge in a little nip from a flask or bottle. You might think there’s no harm in it just to take the edge off.
Perhaps you consider yourself an excellent driver, even with a little alcohol in your system. However:
- Even if you drive safely, if the cops pull you over due to another driver’s actions, they can still give you a breathalyzer
- It’s easy to grow complacent in your drunk driving skills if you’ve been doing it for long enough
If you’re going to get behind the wheel of a multiple-ton eighteen-wheeler, you shouldn’t be drinking, period. Once you finish with your run, you can indulge in a few adult beverages if you like, but never before.
In this same area, you can’t use illegal drugs if you drive a truck. It’s your business if you want to indulge in something like weed, coke, MDMA, etc. once you finish work for the day. That’s entirely your prerogative.
Many truckers used to rely on uppers, pep pills of various kinds, to get them through eighteen and twenty-hour drives. They don’t do this sort of thing as much anymore, but it does still happen.
If this is your habit, find a way to kick it. Much like with alcohol, you might feel invincible when you’re behind the wheel of that big rig. One mistake can change or end someone’s life, though, or your own.
If you want to be a commercial truck driver, you need to operate on an even keel. If a driver near you acts unsafely, it might annoy you. Still, you can’t let road rage dictate your actions.
As a truck driver, you’re in a bigger vehicle than just about anyone else on the road. If some thoughtless driver decides to flip you the bird, you might want to give them a little nudge and send them into the nearest embankment.
The one time you decide to do that, though, you’re looking at serious criminal charges. You might lose your license or have to pay a huge fine. You could even face some jail time if you accidentally hurt that other driver or killed them.
There are many viable reasons to pick truck driver as your profession, particularly if you’re single and don’t mind hitting the road for days on end. If you have a family, it might not work out as well.
Self-driving trucks are on the way, which should shake up the industry. For now, though, if you want a high-paying job and the open road’s freedom, this might be the way to go.