The month of April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so Coyote wants to help the carriers in our marketplace stay safe – not just this month, but year-round. From visual to manual and cognitive distractions, there are a multitude of ways in which drivers can get distracted on the road. To help promote driver safety everywhere, we’ve compiled five quick tips to help truck drivers avoid distractions and stay safe behind the wheel every day.
1. Pay Attention to (Only) the Road
This one should be a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many accidents are caused by drivers not paying attention. Taking your eyes off the road—or hands off the wheel—for even a few seconds puts yourself and others on the road at risk. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, 80% of crashes involved drivers not paying attention to the road around them.*
Unfortunately, you still see drivers of all vehicle types texting behind the wheel almost anywhere you go. Drivers who become distracted while texting end up having to break instantly—or don't have time to brake at all—which can increase their risk of an accident. In fact, if your truck is traveling at 55 mph and you look at your phone for 5 seconds, you will have traveled the full length of a football field.* By eliminating distractions, such as talking on the phone or texting while driving, you’re ensuring your main focus while driving is on the road at large.
2. Opt-in to (Hands-Free) Tech Tracking
Real-time tracking and full end-to-end visibility have become industry standards for shippers, carriers and 3PLs. However, there's not a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to options for real-time tech tracking. At Coyote, we want carriers in our network to pick the connection that works best for their fleet. With that said, it's important to remember that all the different kinds of tracking technology can pose a risk for distracted driving. Switching from manual tracking – calls and text – to more automated forms, like connecting with CoyoteGO® for GPS tracking, can help to reduce your distractions while driving. Plus, automated tracking can allow Coyote to know where you are in the case of an emergency.
3. Get Enough Sleep
It’s hard to concentrate in nearly every situation when you haven’t had enough sleep, and driving a truck is no different. According to the CDC*, one in 25 drivers have reported falling asleep while driving in the past 30 days. This is even more of a problem for truck drivers who spend long periods behind the wheel without rest. Your best defense against drowsy driving is getting enough sleep.
4. Make Sure You’re Really Awake Before Driving
Truck drivers often spend so much time on the road that they opt to sleep in their trucks. That’s a huge convenience, but it also presents a risk for drivers. Consider how awake you really feel in the first half hour after getting up. Do you have enough concentration to control a massive truck? You may not, at least right away. The FMCSA conducted a study of 103 drivers where they measured alertness and crash frequency by driving hour. Their study found that there was a significant spike in critical accidents within the first hour on the road.* If you’re on the road for long hours, make sure you’re fully awake before getting behind the wheel.
5. Stick to Hours of Service Restrictions
These regulations exist for a reason—to prevent accidents that cause serious damage to truckers and other drivers alike. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to pull over and take a break every few hours, and another alarm for when you hit your hours of service limit for the day. No delivery is worth risking the safety of yourself or anyone else on the road.
The safety of our contracted carriers and drivers is of the utmost importance. By following these tips—and sharing them with your fellow drivers, you can help avoid distractions and stay safe while on the road.
Looking for additional ways to stay safe on the road? Read our 15 Tips for Protecting Yourself and Your Freight in Freezing Temperatures.