Truckers on Montana highways have a weighty responsibility. They are not just carrying our food supply and commercial products across the state. They are also shouldering the duty to do so safely, taking care to watch out for the motorists in much smaller vehicles traveling the roads beside them.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has some suggestions for commercial drivers, and at the top of the list is awareness. Not unlike any other driver on the highway, truckers should maintain a strong awareness at all times. Paying attention to what is ahead, noticing construction zones and speed limit changes along the way.
The FMCSA adds a note reminding truckers to check their mirrors often. Smaller cars and trucks can easily move into their blind spots, and one of the best safety measures to prevent a crash is routine mirror checks.
In addition, the FMCSA says commercial drivers should take care of their vehicles. Consistent maintenance checks can catch problems early so they do not become bigger and more dangerous. Besides inspecting the tires, brakes and other mechanics, drivers should also be sure they have balanced the loads they are carrying.
Wearing seat belts, planning ahead and driving only when well rested are other suggestions the FMCSA recommends.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention point out how drivers can know they are not rested enough to continue driving:
- Making mistakes like missing an exit or drifting into another lane
- Not being aware of landmarks they have just passed
- Hitting those noisy rumble strips at the edge of the lane
The CDC suggests that drivers pull over if they are experiencing any of the above.