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FAQ: Safe Driving Tips For New Truck Drivers

Last Updated: Oct 4, 2016

Safe Driving Tips For New Truck Drivers - Frequently Asked Questions

Is truck driving dangerous?

Technically, yes. In terms of deaths per 100,000 people, truck driving typically ranks in the Top 10. This could be due to so much time spent on the roads, increasing the chance for a wreck, and the fact that many times when tractor-trailers wreck, they wreck in a very big way.

Is heavy traffic or rush hour a problem for truck drivers?

It really shouldn't be, if you stay patient and aware, and your head on a swivel. It may take more time, attention, and finesse, but everybody has to deal with the same circumstances.

Is it dangerous driving in big cities?

Again, if you stay aware of your surroundings, exercise caution and patience, and plan ahead, it should hardly be an issue.

Will I have to drive the truck in New York City (NYC)?

It really depends on what company you work for, and their freight lanes. Many companies, obviously, pick-up and deliver in New York City, and many of those will not give drivers the option to decline those loads. Some others will either give the driver that option, or offer additional incentives, or both.

Can my company force me to drive in other big cities?

Your responsibilities will be your responsibilities, and typically you will have to take the loads which you are assigned. A few companies allow their drivers to refuse loads, but you'll find that refusing loads will get you less loads and miles in the future, as they will be given to the drivers who exhibit the willingness and capability to handle anything thrown at them.

Is mountain driving more dangerous?

Yes, it absolutely can be, especially for new drivers. There are specific mountain driving techniques that new drivers need to learn, and learn well, that will prevent you from hurtling uncontrolled down the back side of a mountain.

Do I need to have a lot of patience to be a truck driver?

You will need super-human amounts of patience. There will be a lot of driving, dealing with traffic, safety, and other drivers, and you will need to keep cool and handle your business. There could also be a lot of sitting and waiting at shippers/receivers, etc.. And waiting. And waiting.

Do truck drivers get enough sleep?

Yes and no. Driving a truck all day will be mentally and physically exhausting, and when it's time to sleep, you should have no problem falling and staying asleep. The uneven sleep patterns, however, will take some getting used to, especially for those used to typical 9-to-5 schedules.

How can I get more sleep as a truck driver?

Generally, sleep when you need to, nap when you're tired, eat right and exercise, and avoid sleep-inducing medication. Successful drivers will eventually learn to manage their time in ways that ensure that they get enough rest.

Will I be forced to drive when I'm tired?

The decision to drive or not to drive is up to the driver. However, it is also up to the driver to learn how to manage their schedule to make sure they are well-rested and available to drive.

Who decides whether the truck is safe to drive?

The driver always makes that determination. You should be doing a thorough pre- and post-trip inspection, and get repairs done as soon as possible, without driving the vehicle if you determine that it is unsafe.

Will my company force me to drive in bad weather?

No. The decision to drive is the driver's alone, and it is illegal for any company to force their driver into unsafe conditions. Safety is always first.

Do truck drivers have to drive in snow in the winter?

The decision on whether or not to drive in snowy conditions is the driver's. If the weather is too bad, or probably going to be, you cannot be forced into driving in conditions that you feel are unsafe. Generally, you won't need to drive in the snow very often.

Is it dangerous to drive in windy conditions?

Many times, yes, especially with lightly-loaded or empty trailers. Do your best to be aware of any extremely windy conditions.

How will I know if the weather is going to be safe to drive in?

Especially in the winter months, drivers should pay close attention to the weather ahead of where they are traveling. Most drivers will have a smart phone or some other means of Internet access, allowing them to check weather reports and forecasts for any place on Earth. Additionally, the CB radio is an excellent resource for on-road reports for the immediate areas.


The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated

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