Truck driving is a great career, but it’s also one with a lot of responsibilities. Many different parties are counting on you to make your deliveries safely and on time. Meanwhile, trucks and trailers are beasts of their own; they require careful concentration and frequent maintenance to avoid problems. This is a checklist for you to follow before all of your trips. While it’s more useful for newer drivers, it is recommended that all drivers check each item off before hitting the road.
Ensure everything in the truck is functioning as it’s supposed to, including:
- Parking and Air Brakes
- Lights and Reflectors (Including Turning Signals, Brake Lights & Fog Lights)
- Windshield Wipers and Defrosters
- Dashboard Instruments (speed gauge, fuel gauge, etc…)
- Ensure there are no warning lights (check engine, air pressure, or ABS for example)
In order to ensure your safety and that of others, make sure you follow these safety protocols:
- Fifth Wheel (if you have a trailer attached)
- Manually check tire air pressure
- Avoid recap tires – they can be brand new recaps and blow within miles
- Manually tighten wheel lug-nuts
- Wear a seatbelt!
- Avoid distractions – use headsets if you need to talk to somebody
In order to avoid problems with law enforcement, especially at state borders, make sure you have all your legal paperwork handy.
- Ensure you have your license and it’s not expired
- Truck registration
- DOT Number
- DOT Inspection
- Applicable insurances, depending where you’re at and your cargo
- Applicable permits
If you follow these guidelines – and try to do them every time you go on a long-distance trip – you are well on your way to ensuring that you have a safe trip. In addition, they will allow your truck to stay in tip-top shape, which will reduce downtime and reduce repair/maintenance costs.