For any company, it is important to care about drivers, for this reason some safety tips for driving heavy trucks are presented. Practicing these basic driving habits will help you prevent accidents and avoid fines. In addition, these tips will extend the life of the truck.
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Basic rules to drive a truck with heavy loads
- Pay attention to signs for heavy trucks: maximum weight allowed, restriction signs, available lane and other traffic or clearance warnings.
- Respect traffic signals and traffic lights. Use the dipped beam.
- Drive the truck slower than you would drive the car.
- Be very careful when passing through bridges, tunnels and uneven areas.
- Use the mirrors of the truck.
- Keep the tank full.
- Avoid making unexpected stops and abrupt changes between lanes.
- Keep the distance, the trucks should be approximately one car away from the other vehicles.
- Drive in turns and avoid fatigue. Rest for 15 minutes every 3 hours.
- Always use a seatbelt.
- Look out for the weather reports so you can plan your trip. When driving, listen to local radio stations so you are up to date with the weather forecast.
- If the temperature is below 0 degrees, repeat the process of “warming up the engine” three or four times before turning on the truck completely.
- Use and turn off the lights correctly so that the truck’s battery stays charged.
- Vision can be hampered when driving on a sunny, bright day. Use sunglasses to reduce glare and improve vision.
- Periodically check the condition of the truck: water, oil, belts, coolant, watch for leaks, etc.
- Check the air pressure in the tires every week.
- Perform the alignment of the truck.
- Equip the truck with everything you need: sunglasses, flashlights, water, food, the first aid kit, etc.
- The night before starting a long trip, sleep the 8 hours recommended by experts in the health area.
Rules of driving with heavy loads
- Never attempt to surpass a vehicle that is going faster than 40 mph.
- Never attempt to surpass a vehicle on hills or curves.
- Never change lanes on the highway.
Rules for parking a truck with a heavy load
- Remember that heavy trucks require more time and space to stop.
- Use the parking brake every time you park.
- Turn the wheels away from the sidewalks.
- Lock all the doors and place the safety chain on the towing device.
- At bus stops or restaurants, park the truck where you can see it.
Tips for better fuel efficiency
- Drive carefully and respect the speed limits.
- Always accelerate until the truck reaches the desired speed gradually.
- Release the accelerator little by little when you are going to stop.
- Avoid driving at the maximum speed that the truck allows.
- Park in safe places to avoid thieves.
If the heavy-duty truck is contracted for veterinary use, make sure that:
- The animals are identified.
- Have all the health permits required to be transferred.
- Consultation with those who hired the transport service, if a mild sedative is recommended for the animals and thus avoid stress during the trip.
- Make sure the animals have enough food and water during the trip.
Driving your truck efficiently
The road transport sector is essential to ensure the proper social and economic development of any country. However, transport is the sector with the highest energy consumption and the highest CO2 emissions it generates. That is why it is vital to take precautions to reduce their energy consumption, in order to improve their competitiveness and sustainability.
Efficient driving consists of a series of techniques that, together with an appropriate attitude of the driver, generate a driving style that achieves significant fuel savings and reduced emissions to the environment, as well as an improvement in safety.
These techniques also help the driver to be calmer, achieving a more comfortable and less stressful driving; they minimise the risk and severity of accidents and reduce the maintenance costs of the truck.
10 tips for more efficient driving
- Know all the characteristics of the vehicle that we drive, its behaviour, maximum power, the correct handling of all its systems, etc.
- Start the engine without pressing the accelerator and let it idle until approximately one minute has passed. If there is enough pressure, the march starts.
- Accelerate very smoothly when the engine is still cold, until it reaches an optimum temperature (about 25 minutes at idle or 5 minutes running).
- Carry out gear changes in the area of maximum torque (green zone). After this operation, the engine speed must be maintained in this area.
- Avoid unnecessary acceleration and braking and maintain stable speed.
- Make the most of the inertia of the vehicle. When we do not step on the accelerator there is no fuel consumption, so it is advisable to help us with the inertia (slopes on the road) for the truck to advance.
- Avoid stopping violently. When it is necessary to decelerate, we will lift our foot of the accelerator and take advantage of the inertia of the vehicle as much as possible.
- Turn off the engine at stops exceeding two minutes. Although it is advisable to leave the engine idling for a few seconds before stopping the engine to extend the life of the turbocharger (no more than a few seconds).
- Study the route to follow in advance to anticipate traffic conditions and anticipate traffic interruptions.
- Avoid the hours of maximum traffic inflow.
With these measures we will achieve between 5% and 8% of consumption savings, in addition to increasing the useful life of the engine and the reduction of maintenance costs.
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