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The Hidden Dangers of Truck Driving
Over the years, truck driving has earned a reputation as a job that, although occasionally hazardous, pays quite well. When you stop and look closely it becomes obvious that truck driving is not only dangerous in terms of fatalities, but many non-fatal injuries and dangers present themselves as well. If you have the right personality you can enjoy the benefits, but it is also important to first look at the hidden dangers of truck driving.
One of the most commonly discussed dangers for truck drivers is road fatalities. In terms of workplace fatalities, truck driving is often a competitor for first place. While sharing the road with other drivers, trucks are put into dangerous situations due to human error every day. People may miss a truck’s blinker as it changes lanes, resulting in an accident. The same outcome can be projected for various road scenarios involving other drivers, and the frequency of these occurrences results in a high fatality rate for truck drivers.
Non-fatal accidents have unfortunately become a problem for truck drivers as well. Hazardous road conditions, especially when coupled with oversized loads, can result in roll-overs. While not always fatal, roll-overs are certainly a concern for drivers who spend almost their entire day on the road.
Another non-fatal issue for truck drivers that frequently gets overlooked is injuries resulting from job functions other than driving. Truck drivers who help unload their haul frequently suffer from back injuries. This could be due to heavy lifting after long periods of sitting still while transporting goods.
Truck drivers in an unfamiliar place are also at risk for getting injuring doing even simple things like crossing the street. After a full day of driving, unloading your truck, and finding a place to park for your rest period, drivers are less alert and run a high risk of injury as a pedestrian.
Fatigue can increase the risk of injury for drivers. As drivers are not paid while not driving, it is unfortunately all too common to hear of drivers who push the limits of their drive/rest schedule in order to make more money. Driving longer than recommended can result in less alert drivers who either make mistakes on the road or cannot react quickly enough to changing road conditions.
Even if truck drivers make every effort to stick to their schedules and rest at the appropriate times, fatigue can still be a problem. This is due in part to the nature of truck driving as it results in frequent changes to your sleep schedule. Attempting to rest in public places can also be rather difficult as distractions are common.
Rest stops and truck stops are supposed to be safe havens for truck drivers. A place to get a hot meal, take a shower, fill up the truck, and rest for a few hours before going on about your way. Originally a port in the storm, these stops now also pose their own set of dangers. Crime rates at rest and truck stops are often very high. Drivers have reported theft, drug use, and other types of illicit activity.
Truck stops are also not as common as they ought to be, so driver oftentimes find themselves trying to rest at rest stops. These rest stops are primarily for cars, and though they do have some parking spots for trucks, security at the stops will typically only allow truck drivers to stop for a few hours. Then they are woken up and forced to move on.
Ideally, states would take steps to fix many of these issues. Building more truck stops, and creating more parking spots and more forgiving policies for truck drivers at existing rest stops to help fill the gaps. Tweaking existing work/rest schedules may help alleviate concerns surrounding fatigue, and including truck-specific instruction during driver education programs could help make roads safer for truck drivers. Until these changes are made, truck driving has many hidden risks that should be considered carefully before being embraced as a career field. If this sounds like the career for you, visit Drive Armellini.