You’re a truck driver. You’re busy with hauls, meeting deadlines, delivering products, managing hours, and actually driving what feels like years on the road. There are so many things you have to remember before you leave for a trip, it can be beneficial to utilize a traveling checklist. Trust me, this will greatly ease your mind while your driving and think “Oh shoot, did I grab that thing?” or “I hope I checked the lock on the door.” Your usual truck check before you travel may be a little haphazard and unreliable. A traveling checklist will help you keep things in order and what’s great is you can use the same one every time!
Maybe you check the doors one day but forget the next. Or maybe your supervisor has to remind you to check something specific before you leave every day. A traveling checklist will help you keep things in order and what’s great is you can use the same one every time!
6 Truck Checks for your Traveling Checklist
Here’s the great thing about traveling checklists. You can make up one, print a bunch out, and use it forever! You might only have to change a few things every now and then, but realistically, there are 6 things that every trucker should have on their traveling checklist.
1. Check Your Wheels
Checking your truck’s wheels is going to be the first thing you put on your traveling checklist. This includes checking your lug nuts and your tires as well. Before you leave or during inspections, always make sure there are no tears or objects stuck in your tires. This leads to worn down, unsafe rubber that will deteriorate much faster. You’ll want to make sure the lug nuts on your wheel are also tight and in good shape. No one wants a massive wheel falling off and hurtling down the highway. Check for any rust or strange paint patterns. This can sometimes be indicative of a previous truck owner trying to cover up rust or a widening lug nut hole.
2. Clean Your Cab
No one wants to sit in a dirty cab all day long. It gets cramped, smelly, and potentially unsafe. You wouldn’t want a water bottle rolling around getting stuck under a pedal or fast food wrapper flying out the window. If you’re a team driver, you’ll be sharing your rig with another driver. You wouldn’t want them thinking the person they share their truck with is a slob. There are many car cleaning tips that will translate over to a truck cabin. And an added bonus? With less trash and other objects crowding your cabin, your cab will be less susceptible to cargo or cabin theft.
3. Check the Breaks
Just as important as checking your wheels, you definitely need to check your breaks. Big rigs have an increased difficulty in slowing down or stopping compared to regular vehicles because of their size. And, in inclement weather like rain or snow, you’re more likely to put a lot of stress on your breaks. Depending on how old or used your truck is, you’ll want to check your breaks more often than not. Not only will you want to check your breaks from inside the cabin, but you’ll need to check them from outside the cabin and around the wheels as well. Check airlines and brake alignments to ensure proper safety codes are being met.
4. Fix Lights
Your traveling checklist should also include checking your lights and any reflectors on the trailer. Without your lights, other drivers will not be able to see you as well or know when you are changing lanes or merging. Check loose screws holding in light covers or cracks in the plastic. Replace any that are close to broken or completely broken before an inspection. If you notice reflectors around the trailer, pull off the existing broken panel or repair with stronger screws. If a driver can see you break or headlights but not your reflectors on the trailer, they may not realize just how big of a haul you are carrying.
5. First Aid/Emergency Kit
Accidents happen, so be sure to keep a first aid kit for personal use in your cabin. This can be a simple as a band-aid to as extreme as gauze and medical tape. You are dealing with a very large, dangerous machine. Sometimes during checks or unloads, it’s easy to hurt yourself. You wouldn’t want to spend hours driving home with a cut or painful bruise. You should also keep an emergency kit with you as well. This is especially true if you carry a lot of chemicals, gasoline, or other hazardous materials. Your emergency kit should include things like triangle hazard signs, road flairs, spare circuit breakers and spark plugs, and jumper cables. If you share your truck with another driver, make sure all emergency materials are present and in good shape before driving or going through an inspection.
6. Always Check Paperwork
Always, always, always, make sure you have all of your client, agency, driving, and load paperwork. You would never want to show up to a delivery section without the processing or logging paperwork. Many companies still use paper logging sheets to log work and driving hours. You wouldn’t want to forget that paperwork and not be able to log your work hours. Try keeping a binder with clearly labeled sections to separate important documents.