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Long Haul Trucking Safety: 5 Essential Tips

Long haul trucking is a vital component of our nation’s economic success and our communities’ ability to access essential products. That’s why long haul trucking safety is essential to ensuring the continued success of our country. Without effective safety protocols in place, deliveries could be damaged, truckers could be injured, and important schedules could be delayed.

After reading this post, you’ll gain a better understanding of the safety-related challenges the trucking industry faces. You’ll also learn crucial long haul trucking safety tips to keep your team, deliveries, and equipment safe.

At BDS, safety is our top priority. We invest heavily in ensuring our personnel and truckers are fully trained. We also keep all of our certifications updated and active. To learn more about our safety commitment, click here.

Common Pitfalls In Long Haul Trucking Safety

There are over 300,000 truck drivers in Canada, and a significant portion of them report challenges such as loneliness, fatigue, sleep complications, sore muscles, and other occupational risks. In fact, 35% of trucks have been involved in a minimum of one accident during their career, while many more report witnessing serious crashes. 

All of these factors can put a major strain on truck drivers’ mental, physical, and emotional health. And if an accident does occur, it can not only lead to fines, penalties, and negative customer experiences, but it can also lead to staffing challenges, especially if safety regulations are not being followed.

By following the long haul trucking safety tips below, you can ensure your delivery runs smoothly, while promoting the safety and well-being of your staff. 

BDS fleet practicing long haul trucking safety

Long Haul Safety Tip #1: Regularly Inspect and Maintain Your Equipment

A driver relies on the proper functioning of their truck to not only keep their delivery on time, but to also ensure the safety of themselves and their load. In addition, both provincial and federal regulations must be followed while transporting long haul deliveries. 

Regular inspections and maintenance should include: 

  • Daily trip inspections
  • Repairs
  • Scheduled & routine maintenance
  • Lubricant intervals
  • CVIP inspections (annual)
  • Access to warning devices, like warning lights and fire extinguishers

It’s also important to note that under Alberta regulations, drivers are required to report any defect. Operating a commercial vehicle on the highway if it possesses a defect is illegal. By ensuring that you regularly inspect your truck and equipment, you can avoid fines and penalties, while also protecting the truck driver and company assets.

At BDS, we ensure all COR Certifications, ISN, and Comply Works are in order. We also complete and file Field Level Hazard Assessments every day for every job. We never push safety to the wayside.

Long Haul Safety Tip #2: Ensure Your Driver is Taking Necessary Breaks

Long Haul truck drivers work long hours—in some cases, up to 60 hours a week. Coupled with the stress of meeting deadlines and the physical demands of sitting for long hours, truck drivers need regular breaks to ensure they stay alert on the road.

This study conducted on the delivery routes in Saskatchewan indicate the importance of rest stops and breaks. There’s been an average of 20 fatigue-related crashes every year over a 10 year period. In other words, that’s 20 accidents that could’ve been prevented if more fatigue-related training and regulations were being met. 

In addition, another study from NIOSH indicates that 24% of drivers often continue their route despite signs of fatigue, while 47% admit to driving under these conditions sometimes.

These studies showcase that taking regular breaks and being aware of fatigue symptoms is vital when practicing long haul trucking safety. By ensuring truck drivers take breaks, you can reduce the risk of accidents while also promoting their mental and physical health.

At BDS, all of our employees undergo extensive safety training. We ensure our team members are safe no matter what job they’re doing, because at the end of the day, our job is to ensure all team members make it home. Our drivers are also trained in recognizing signs of fatigue and stress, ensuring they remain alert and capable on the road.

BDS truck unloading cargo while practicing long haul trucking safety

Long Haul Safety Tip #3: Keep all Certifications and Training Up to Date

Record-keeping is an essential component of long haul trucking safety. Not only do you have to keep inspection and maintenance records, but you also have to ensure all certifications are in order. 

In Alberta, this includes COR Certifications, ISN, and ComplyWorks. This should also include training documentation and maintaining a thorough hiring process. 

Another important aspect of training is to conduct regular driver assessments, which should include knowledge of controls, proficiency with parking and backing, lane driving, intersections, and more. For the full list of provincial recommendations, visit this link.  

When you choose BDS to deliver your product, you can trust that all of our employees are trained to the highest standards. We conduct regular inspections and have a thorough and extensive training program to ensure all of our team members have the expertise needed to safely operate their equipment.

Long Haul Safety Tip #4: Keep Delivery Schedules Realistic

A grand total of 73% of truck drivers admit their delivery schedules are unrealistic. Commercial drivers are required by law to practice safe driving. But when faced with unrealistic expectations and schedules, they are more likely to speed and drive while fatigued. Not only does this create a stressful work environment, it also causes truck drivers to take unnecessary risks and increases the likelihood of accidents.

By ensuring the right logistical measures are taken and that timelines are realistic, you reduce the risk of late deliveries or damaged products.

At BDS, we plan ahead. And we keep all communication lines open and honest. We’ll make sure your product is delivered on the agreed upon time without jeopardizing the safety of our team or your load.

BDS truck delivering load to oil sands

Long Haul Safety Tip #5: Prepare for Bad Weather

Alberta winters are known for three things: snow, ice, and bad roads. Inclement weather is a risk for any driver, including long haul truckers. The risk for accidents increases as the road conditions worsen.

However, a significant number of truckers report driving in inclement weather in order to make their delivery timeline. 

By ensuring the right training, safety measures, and equipment outfitting is followed, you can properly prepare for bad weather. Also, by keeping an open communication line with all employees, you can ensure they know which steps to take when faced with poor road conditions. 

When it comes to conditions like freezing rain, it’s best for truck drivers to take preventative measures and get off the road until conditions improve. In the event of a snow storm, it’s important that drivers all have access to warm clothing and a temporary food supply.

Prioritizing Long Haul Trucking Safety

Safety should always be a priority for any transportation company and commercial driver. If you’d like to learn more about BDS’s safety mandates, visit this link. For more information about our long haul services, click here.
We offer 24/7 dispatch and have a large fleet to serve your transportation needs. Contact us to get your product delivered safely!