Before you hit the road you must ensure that your truck is in good running condition. Most trucks in the Philippines, like Foton and other brands, require preventive maintenance checks, never ignore them. It would not only be dangerous for the truck driver to drive a truck that does not meet safety standards, you will also put other drivers on the road at risk as well. If you aren’t sure about what you should check, here are the basics:
Tires: Tread and Tire Pressure
One of the most important thing to always inspect are your tires. When it comes to safety, your tires should be the first thing you should always pay attention to. This is the only thing that your car relies on to make contact with the ground. Worn tires can lead to a loss of traction, especially on wet driving conditions. Your truck’s stopping power not only relies on your brakes but also how well your tires stick to the ground.
The first thing you should take note of are the levels of wear on your tires. If you notice that the tread is shallow, then it’s time to replace your tires. If you’ve been using the same tires for over 5 years, you better replace them right away. Unbeknownst to many drivers, tires have an expiration date. Usually after 5 years, from then on, the quality of your tires compound will begin to drastically degrade. This could lead to tire blow outs and/or poor handling. Next, ensure that your tires always have the right tire pressures. Under-inflated tires will lead to poor fuel economy and increased wear while over inflated tires will compromise your truck’s handling and wear out the center of the tire rapidly.
Brakes: Fluid, Pads, and Rotors
If any of your brake components are compromised, it’s best to take a break from driving and take a trip to your mechanic. You must never drive your truck with broken or excessively worn brake parts. What are the components you should frequently check when looking into your brake system? Your brake fluid, brake pads, and brake rotors.
Before taking off, check if you still have enough brake fluid in your truck’s brake fluid reservoir. If you have acceptable levels of fluid, then you’re good to go. If you don’t then most likely, there is a leak in the system. If you notice a drop in brake fluid levels, never hesitate to have your truck checked by your mechanic. Your brakes won’t work if you don’t have enough fluid. This is very dangerous.
Check if your brake pads are still think or still have enough compound. Usually, your brake pedals have a wear indicator that you can check visually. These come in the form of a slot in the middle. The side of your brake pad that makes contact with your truck’s brake rotor should have a gap in the middle. If there is no gap and the pads look thin, it’s time that you replace your brake pads. Most brake pad manufacturers equip their products with a metal or semi-metal materials near the end of a brake pad’s life. If you hear any form of squealing whenever you hit the brakes, that means that your pads need to be replaced.
It’s vital to check your brake rotors as well. This is the metal disk that sits in the middle of your wheels. This part also wears out after some time or depending on use. Brake rotors come with a wear indicator in the form of a dimple. The deeper it is, the fresher your brake rotors are. Once this dimple’s surface evens out with the rest of your brake rotor that means that it’s time to have them replaced.
Another tip, it’s standard that most of the braking is done with the front brakes. Most likely, this side will be the one that needs more frequent replacing of parts.
Make sure that all of your lights are working properly. Not only does this help provide vision during night driving, but it also makes your truck more visible to other motorists on the road. Having all your lights working will more likely prevent accidents from occurring. It’s important to have visibility and be visible to others.
Wear your seat belt
Never drive without your seat belt on. In worst case scenarios, the seat belt will be your truck’s safety equipment that may save your life. It is also against the law to drive without your seat belt. This ensures optimal safety for every driver. You never know when an accident might occur. It’s always best to stay safe.
First of all, you should never be behind the wheel if you’re drunk, tired, fatigued, or sleepy. This reduces a person’s overall mental alertness. Get enough sleep or rest before you set off on a drive. Truck drivers are known to drive for long hours throughout the day. You’ll always need to be on your toes and aware of everything that is happening with the truck and on the road. When driving at night, you should be extra cautious. Be careful with your maneuvers and act as predictable as you can for the safety of other motorists. When it comes to switching lanes, keep them at a minimal. Think at least 12 seconds ahead. Choose a lane and stick to it. Shift only if you absolutely must.
Follow the Speed Limit
Speed limits are there for a reason. For new truck drivers, it may be tempting to take your new Foton in the Philippines for a speed test. Don’t give in to such urges. This will only put yourself and other drivers at risk. Follow the enforced speed limits on the road. Those are there to maintain order and disciple on the road.
Driving requires one to be disciplined and responsible, especially when you’re driving a truck. These are some of the safety precautions that you need to cement in your mind and heart as a truck driver. You play an important role in society. Never place yourself or any motorist on the road with you at risk. Be responsible.