Truck drivers are trained to inspect and prepare their vehicles before every trip, regardless of how new or trustworthy their rigs are because of the significant stress they endure from constant use. To that end, drivers must adhere to a strict checklist to ensure the safety of themselves and other drivers on the road. However, there are overlooked areas that can lead to costly fines, accidents, and breakdowns if they aren’t managed. Knowing these oversights will help new truckers remain safe and help acclimate them to their vehicles.
What Safety Checks Should Truckers Make Before Every Drive?
1. The Cab
Due to deadlines, truck drivers don’t always have the time to clean their cabs. Eventually, the clutter becomes a distraction. Accidentally knocking items over can take the driver’s eyes from the road long enough for an accident to occur. Depending on the type of crash, loose objects can also strike a truck driver, injuring them, or damaging the windshield.
Cleanliness isn’t the only aspect of the cab that should be maintained. Truck drivers should also inspect:
- The Emergency Kit: Federal laws require all semis to have an emergency kit containing spare circuit breakers and fuses, hazard warning triangles, and a fire extinguisher. Keep the kit in a central, accessible location.
- The Mechanisms: Check the mechanical parts and gears in the cab for signs of damage or overuse.
- The Seatbelts: Seatbelts with frayed edges and limited retraction are worn down and should be replaced.
2. The Wheels
Before each trip, chock the wheels to prevent accidental movement. Then, check the tires for holes, stuck debris, and tread depth. According to The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), steer tire depth should be 4/32 of an inch on every significant groove—not including the shoulder decoupling grooves. The minimum tread depth for trailer and drive tires is 2/32 of an inch for every major groove.
Once you’ve finished with the tires, move on to the mechanical parts of each wheel, including the lug nuts. They should not be dislodged or have rust.
3. The Brakes
A semi’s brakes are going to wear out quicker than on any other vehicle from consistent use. Brakes that are less than perfect are open to roadside inspection violations and make handling the truck dangerous.
During the in-cab inspection, use the slack adjuster to establish proper brake alignment. Remember to also check the chambers, which should be secure but flexible, and not leaking or damaged.
Over time, checking easily overlooked safety aspects will become second nature. To make sure you have a complete pre-inspection list, reach out toHamrick School. For over 40 years, they’ve helped students begin exciting and lucrative careers as truck drivers. Their accredited CDL program provides the foundation they need to ensure the safety of themselves, their cargo, and others on the road. The school offers both classroom and on-the-road lessons to make this career transition seamless. For more information on their financial aid options, visit their website or call them at (330) 239-2229.
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