Safety - from the driver’s seat
90 per cent of traffic accidents are caused by human error, and often the source of errors can be something small that is often overlooked.
Being uncomfortable while driving can be a distraction, as well as a source of soreness and back pain. Most truck seats include multiple settings that you can customise, including height, position, backrest angle and arm rests. Seats in Volvo Trucks’ cabs can also be specified with heating and ventilation. Given the amount of time you will spend sitting there, it is worth adjusting each setting and getting it right.
Adjust your steering wheel so that you have a comfortable position with relaxed arms and shoulders, but all the important gauges are still clearly visible. The adjustment options are wide and in the Volvo FH you can even tilt the steering wheel angle.
2. Belt up:
It might seem obvious for some, but still to this day many truck drivers do not use their seatbelts. This is despite the fact that research shows that the vast majority of truck occupant deaths were not wearing seatbelts, and that the majority of these victims would have survived if they had. Always use a seatbelt, even if you are only travelling a short distance. If you have a passenger, make sure they buckle up too.
Before taking off, make sure functions such as traction control and lane keeping support are selected according to your needs. If you are unfamiliar with the truck, then familiarise yourself with the main settings and functions, such as windscreen wipers, indicators and headlights, before your drive. It is far safer to be trying to find and operate these functions at a standstill than wait until you need them while driving.
4. Good visibility:
Blind spots represent one of the biggest risks for truck drivers and surrounding traffic. Check and adjust all your mirrors to ensure maximum visibility, including side, front view and kerb mirrors.
Keep all windows unobstructed. There is nothing wrong with decorating your cab with banners, scarves or ornaments, but they should not affect your visibility. Sun blinds, which are available on both the front and side windows in Volvo trucks, should be used when needed.
5. Internal hazards:
Any loose items in the cab can become safety hazards when braking heavily or act as projectiles in the event of an accident. If objects are left to roll around on the cab’s floor, they can get stuck under the pedals. So stow away any luggage and loose items in a secure place.
6. Minimal distractions:
Drivers who dial while driving are six times more likely to have an accident, while drivers who text are 23 times more likely. Always use a hands-free device, such as an earpiece or loud speakers, and never text while driving.
It is strongly recommended that you do not eat while driving. When you are hungry, stop and take a break. It is fine to have something to drink from a bottle or cup, but make sure you use the cup holders.