3 Real Risks Truck Drivers Face That I Bet You’ve Never Thought About!

When the public thinks about the risks commercial truck drivers face, dramatic images of jackknifing trailers on slippery, ice-covered roads usually spring to mind. These are, of course, nightmarish realities for some drivers. But the most common “accident sites” for commercial drivers are actually much more innocuous.

Truck driving is hard on the body. People forget that, only thinking of the hours truck drivers spend behind the wheel. But there’s a lot of lifting, loading and climbing involved, too. Some common dangers include:

1. Jumping Out Of The Cab

Stepping out of a car isn’t usually too hard on the hips or knees. Jumping out of the cab of one of our 70-foot trucks, however, is a bit riskier. Drivers can roll their ankles, hurt their feet, or damage their knees and lower back if they do not exit the truck properly. The average ankle sprain will keep a driver off the road for up to 11 days.* To prevent this, we encourage drivers to make sure they have three points of contact with the vehicle when they enter or exit the cab, whether it’s two hands and a foot on the truck, or two feet and a hand.

2. Improper Lifting

Lifting is often part of the job, and drivers must make sure they lift with their legs, not their backs. There are a number of lifting and handling devices on the market that can shift the weight and the strain from the driver, but sometimes it’s got to be done the old-fashioned way. And if the driver doesn’t do it right, a painful back injury can result that could keep a driver off the road for days, if not weeks.

3. Fatigue

Drivers often hit the road before most people even think about waking up in the morning, or even as they’re thinking about heading to bed at night. Long hours, especially those out of sync with the driver’s natural circadian rhythm, make fatigue a big threat. Wadhams uses an electronic logging system called PeopleNet to monitor driver hours and ensure compliance with federal regulations. Are drivers getting the proper amount of rest? Are they taking mandatory breaks? Are they still within their allowed service hours? Being able to track this data helps keep our drivers and the motoring public safe.

There is no way to completely eliminate the risks involved with being a truck driver, but there are a lot of ways to prevent common threats, such as injury and fatigue. We work diligently to mitigate risks to our drivers and the public with proper training and vigilance.

Don Guay

Don Guay

A 23-year veteran of the New York State Troopers, Don Guay spent six years with the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit doing roadside inspections. Today, he uses his experience and training to ensure RIST drivers and equipment adhere to the highest standards. As safety manager, Don is responsible for overseeing inspection reports, safety department checks, investigations, and training. He jokes that he left the “dark side” and came to the good side, representing and protecting RIST drivers, our customers and their freight, and the general motoring public. Safety is more than a checklist; it is our top priority.