Preventing distracted driving as a truck driver

April 11, 2023 Christina DeBusk

Truck driver using mobile phone while driving truck

Distracted driving claims roughly 3,142 lives per year. Break it down and this is almost nine people per day who lose their lives because a driver took their eyes (or mind) off the road, if even for a moment.

Another 400,000 people are injured annually after being involved in an accident where a driver was distracted. Some of those injured weren’t even on the roadway but were, instead, just walking or riding their bikes.

As a driver, there are quite a few things you can do to help lower these numbers and reduce your distractions while on the road for work. Here are a few distracted driving tips for truck drivers to consider.

Turn your phone on ‘do not disturb’

If you have a hard time not looking at your cellphone every time it rings or alerts you that you have a text message, avoid this temptation by turning on its ‘do not disturb’ functionality. This way, you can still see who attempted to contact you once you stop and are safely in park, but you won’t feel the need to take your eyes off the road the moment your phone goes off.

Download a distracted driving app

Some phones don’t have a ‘do not disturb’ option. If this describes yours, you can always download an app designed to increase your safety while traveling down the road. For example, the app will read all of your incoming text messages out loud when they arrive and send an automatic response without you having to handle your phone at all.    

Use Bluetooth if you can

The great thing about Bluetooth technology is that it enables you to have a phone conversation without taking your hands off the wheel. Other than clicking a button on your steering wheel or dashboard to answer and end the call, your eyes don’t have to look away from the road either. If your truck is equipped with Bluetooth, sync your phone before you even take off so it is ready to go.

Pull over to handle a call or text

Sometimes you can’t fall out of touch with the rest of the world just because you’re driving, or your truck isn’t equipped with Bluetooth technology. Yet, maybe you’re waiting for an important call or need to be available to other drivers or someone at the office. In cases such as this, leave your phone on but pull your truck over if you need to answer a call or text. This enables you to respond without putting your life or anyone else’s life at risk.

Install a phone holder on your dash

Even the best-intentioned driver may look at their cellphone when it rings or dings just to see who is calling or texting. It might only take a couple of seconds to pick up your phone and look, but this is more than enough time to leave the roadway, not see a pedestrian on the side or fail to notice the car that is about to run the stoplight in front of you. Installing a phone holder on the dash of your truck enables you to see who is trying to reach you quickly. If it’s someone you need to deal with right that moment, you can then decide the safest way to handle that communication without anyone getting hurt.

Stop when it’s time to eat

It isn’t just phone calls and texts that can distract drivers. Even everyday activities such as eating a meal or snack can be enough to remove your attention from the road. When it’s lunchtime, take a few minutes to eat inside or stop in the parking lot instead of trying to juggle your food and drink while going to your next destination. It won’t add a lot of time to your day and if it prevents just one injury or death, it is time that is well spent.

Want more driver safety tips and tricks? Check out our safety content library. 

About the Author

Christina M. DeBusk creates small business content for a variety of publications, some of which include Businessing Magazine, Compendent, Chiropractic Economics, and more. She is also the author behind the column, "The Successful Solopreneur.

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