It’s part of the CDL exam — pre-trip inspections. Understanding the importance of completing every step might seem intuitive or maybe even unnecessary, but let’s take a look at why it’s such a key part of driving for a career.
We all want to be safe. A thorough pre-trip inspection before every drive is one key component to making sure both you as the driver and others on the road get from point A to point B on time and safely. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of a pre-trip inspection for this reason alone, but getting caught without one and proper documentation that it’s been done is another reason why it needs to be completed before every drive. Going through each step carefully and thoroughly will ensure confidence that you will pass a roadside inspection, should one occur.
Secure. Not cracked, bent, or broken. No leaks. Not too thin. Good wear and clean.
Sound familiar? Why is this so important?
As the operator of a vehicle weighing in at upwards of 80,000 pounds, the responsibility and liability of making sure it is safe and fit to drive lies on you. If you are looking into becoming a driver, this thought might seem a bit daunting. To the seasoned driver, it’s a good reminder to keep on doing the checks, every single drive.
When it comes to wear parts keep this in mind — if it can break, it needs to be inspected. It is within the realm of possibility that an NTB Trucking driver may put 2400+ miles on their rig every week. Road debris and conditions less than ideal can make a part that was supposed to give you 150,000 miles of wear break down faster. Knowing that each part is secure, not cracked, bent, or broken can give you that peace of mind that will help you confidently get to your destination.
Inside and Outside the Truck - Safety First
A good pre-trip inspection doesn’t stop at parts outside of the cab. Knowing you are well equipped inside will help keep you safe and free of fees or fines while on the road.
Make sure your fire extinguisher is fully charged and securely located. Even when you’ve done a good inspection of the engine, a fire is always a possibility. Being prepared to put it out, should it happen, will keep damage to a minimum.
Knowing that your first aid kit, triangle, flares, and emergency lights are ready for use is also an important part of preparedness. Hopefully you won’t ever need them, but that is even more reason to make sure everything is stored properly and in good working order. The longer some items sit, the more likely they are to have lost their charge.
Be certain that your wipers have enough wear. Driving into a cloud of mayflies once will have you convinced that you never want to run out of wiper fluid or have wipers that just won’t cut through the sludge.
Walk Around - What to Watch For
In addition to what you needed to know for your CDL test, keep in mind that things outside of your control can change in the blink of an eye. It is imperative to check for animals and people where you would least expect them.
Didn’t see that tiny car pull up behind you at the truck stop? Your trip around your truck before departure can keep an accident from happening.
We know it can be time consuming, but at NTB Trucking safety is paramount both to keep our drivers well and happy and to keep the public free from harm.
How did you memorize the pre-trip inspection for your CDL exam? Comment below with tips for new drivers.
Want to show us all you know? Apply to drive with NTB.