Biggest Dangers of Truck Driving (and How to Avoid Them)

All jobs come with certain risks, and truck driving is no different. In fact, truck driving is considered one of the more dangerous jobs in the US. When you’re operating a rig that weights tens of thousands of pounds, you can also pose as a risk not just to yourself, but to those around you. 

That’s not to say you should avoid becoming a truck driver. It’s just important that you take it seriously. Safety is the top priority when it comes to being a truck driver. Meeting deadlines is certainly important, but it comes in a distant second to taking care of yourself and those around you. 

Here are some of the biggest risks you’ll face as a truck driver and what you can do about them.  

Freezing Rain and Ice 

Bad weather makes conditions more dangerous for all drivers on the road. While snow and heavy rain can certainly be hazardous and distracting, the biggest weather danger goes to ice. As a truck driver, the right tires and heavy load can make a significant difference in snow and rain, but nothing drives particularly well on ice. In the case of black ice, you might not know it’s present until it’s too late. 

When you’re driving, you always need to keep an eye on the temperature. Even if it’s technically above freezing, temps below 40 can still leave ice patches. 

In any type of bad weather, you should always increase your following distance while lowering your speed.  

If there’s ice (or you think there might be), the best thing to do is to get off the road, especially if it’s at night. Otherwise, you may end up sliding off the road or jackknifing, which poses a serious risk to the drivers around you.  

Speaking of… 


Jackknifing, of course, is when your trailer becomes misaligned with your cab and continues to push forward, spinning the cab to the side. This can be caused by a number of conditions, including ice, wind, excessive braking, turning too fast, and more. 

Though modern trucking equipment has systems in place to help combat jackknifing, it can still happen. 

The best way to stop jackknifing is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. However, should you find yourself in the situation, the most important thing to do is to stay calm and not overreact. Your first priority is to straighten yourself with your trailer. 

Steer in the direction of the skid. Do this gradually. Don’t overcorrect. 

Initially, you’ll want to take your feet off the peddles. As you begin to regain control, you can start to feather the peddle. Some may advise alternative techniques, and it’s a good idea to ask experienced truckers what they’ve done in their own situations.  

Speed and Failure to Follow Rules of the Road 

The faster you’re going, the more dangerous an accident becomes. Especially for trucks. Semis can’t slow down like cars, especially when you’re hauling a full load. Always maintain a safe speed. It’s not worth the few minutes you’ll save getting to your destination. 

Additionally, always keep a good distance between you and other vehicles. Make sure you single your turns and lane changes. Truck drivers should be the most responsible drivers on the road. Don’t ever give into road rage. 

Mechanical Failure 

When something goes wrong in a car, you usually just pull over to the side of the road and wait for assistance. When something goes wrong on a semitruck, it can result in a serious accident. For example, tractor trailers have complex braking systems that need to be inspected and maintained to perform correctly. 

If something goes wrong with it, bad things can happen. Trucks put on a lot of miles in a short amount of time. They need to be given extra care and attention to compensate.  

Personal Health 

Trucking can pose a risk to your personal health. You spend most of your time sitting. Your food primarily comes from gas stations and truck stops. If you’re not careful, this can start to take a toll. You need to be proactive. Eat better. Get out and walk (or run) around. Do some exercise, not just when you’re home, but when you’re on the go as well. 

And make sure you’re checking in with a doctor. 

For more tips on staying healthy as a truck driver, make sure to check out our previous post here

Falling Asleep 

The importance of sleep cannot be understated. Nothing can replace a good night’s sleep before a long drive. Don’t rely on “tricks” such as opening the window or blasting the radio. That said, there are things you can do to make sure you remain alert. 

Keeping a light on in the cab can help during night drives. Blue light specifically can combat sleepiness. 

Also, watch what you eat. Unhealthy food tends to make people feel tired, and excess sugar and caffeine can lead to energy crashes. 

If you feel you’re close to drifting off, pull over.  

It’s a Great Time to Be a Truck Driver 

Don’t let these items above scare you away from a great career in truck driving. As we said before, every job is going to have certain risks. Stepping out of your house is riskier than staying at home, but that doesn’t mean you should just stay inside all day. 

With a serious need for more drivers, now is the perfect time to break into the trucking industry. If you’re looking for truck driving jobs in Charlotte, contact Woodruff Enterprises today! 

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