Professional truckers aren’t the only people on the road every day. Across Canada, the lanes, regional roads, provincial highways and Trans Canada routes host commuters, vacationers, soccer moms, tourists, teens, and Sunday drivers. In Ontario, deaths by collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since the year 2000. In fact, every half hour one person is injured from a distracted driving collision. In a recent year, 141 fatalities were recorded involving large trucks. Every day, the risks continue to grow for people earning their living flatbed trucking.
What can be done about it? Flatbed trucking services can sponsor education programs to help increase awareness of the challenges flatbed trucking companies in Ontario face every day, but that’s just window dressing. The solution has to come from within the industry, and it rests directly on the shoulders of drivers and flatbed shipping companies who are coordinating the shipment of heavy loads. Hauling large loads would be difficult even if the roads were clear of all other vehicles; doing it without a commitment to safety, compliance, and the best protocols is a recipe for disaster. The fact is, large truck crashes that include a heavy payload are never going to end well. Doing everything possible to avoid accidents is what these safety tips are all about.
- Take A Zen Approach To Driving And Keep Calm
Yes, that’s a rather frank comment to make. However, aggressive driving by truck drivers increases the risk for everyone on the road. Zig-zagging across lanes, tailgating, speeding, and texting while driving are some of the worst behaviours of flatbed trucking employees. These automatically elevate the risk of causing an accident. Even if a trucker isn’t involved in an accident, they can still be directly responsible for them. Driving defensively is the key. Slowing down allows drivers to anticipate dangerous situations on the road; flatbed trucking companies in Ontario can also attest to the fact that a calmer driving style reduces wear and tear on vehicles. When hauling large industrial equipment or machinery, there is zero excuse for not following all safety measures; a good escort can certainly help set the pace for a driver who might be a little too hyper behind the wheel.
- Practice Social Distancing On The Road
Six feet is definitely not the distance you want to stick to when hauling 20 to 30,000 pounds of steel coil or a giant mining truck. Even the three second rule is inadequate when it comes to stopping a truck; imagine a 747 travelling 125mph upon landing trying to stop in 30 metres; it’s just not going to happens. Minimize accidents by maximizing the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. That distance should be increased to a greater number when wind, rain, snow, sleet, and ice are present. A safe track record of transporting heavy loads is a badge of honour for flatbed trucking services. It takes conscious effort and ongoing vigilance to maneuver these big rigs safely through public roads.
- Eliminate The Risk Of Blind Spots By Being Aware
Hauling a 23 meter trailer with a load of windmill arms presents some unique challenges for drivers. Doing it at night, which could be safer given the reduced volume of traffic, is also a risk. Blind spots are simply a reality in the profession; there are many areas the driver can’t see and, as a result, that driver has to adjust the way he or she drives. Imaging changing lanes on the 401 at the 404 at full speed on a busy holiday weekend. The skills demonstrated by drivers who successfully complete such tasks are immeasurable. Overcoming blind spots to reduce the potential risk of accidents is critical for the driver. Utilizing a co-driver is also a good idea; the more sets of eyes that are on the payload the better.
- Develop Proactive Protocols To Deal With Emergencies
Flatbed shipping companies rely on professional drivers to deliver client services across North America. To become professional, they have to be trained and asked to adhere to a high standard of safety at all times. Every driver must be equipped with emergency tools should an accident occur or a breakdown happen en route. Setting realistic travel times for shipping freight is also important. There’s no “Smokey and The Bandit” mentality in the year 2022. Truckers are essential, and it’s essential they also realize the importance of staying safe.
NATS Canada is a well-respected 3PL provider that understands the value of safety. We have a sterling reputation for helping move large loads through our network of flatbed shipping companies across North America. Our goal is always to get your load delivered safely, and that involves careful planning, effective routing, and professional teams to help ensure every aspect is covered in a safe manner. Trucking on Ontario highways requires skills, and NATS Canada always ensure we’ve got the best carrier for the job.