What do you think when you hear the sound of the horn of a truck?
Maybe the driver feels particularly happy and puts the slogan ‘honking when you’re happy’ into practice? Perhaps the driver is angry with another road user swinging back and forth between lanes. Or you just think it is a driver who performs a safety check of his vehicle.
A short horn sound is part of the safety checks that are performed on trucks. Some fleet managers even state that the frequency of honking indicates whether or not drivers carry out their daily checks.
Sometimes these controls can be overlooked. In June of this year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance organized a 72-hour safety blitz in the US, Canada and Mexico. The three-day event, known as Roadcheck, uncovered a series of violations, ranging from insufficient air in tires and heavy trucks to confirmation violations.
With this in mind, here is a run-through of what a truck safety check should be
- Visibility: check that the windows and mirrors are clean and free and that reversing cameras work in good condition. The following on the list is to ensure that windshield wipers, windscreen washers and drip catchers work properly.
- Driving controls: this includes the seat, the horn and all your dashboard controls. Calibrate your tachograph with the correct hours and make sure the speed limiter plaque is displayed. Finally, check whether your warning devices are working correctly.
- Stability: It sounds a bit obvious, but you have to make sure the vehicle is upright and not leaning to one side. If not, who knows what could happen then. Then look at access points such as stairs and walkway to check if they are stable and if the drawbar is sturdy.
- Body and cargo elements: you want to make sure that nothing can crumble, bend or fall away from the body. Curtains, belts and tail lifts must all be intact and suitable for their purpose.
- Wheels, traction, steering and brakes: inspect wheels and tires (including the fifth wheel) and check that the landing legs and the handle are in the correct position. Steering, braking and air suspension must also be checked.
- Lights: lights and reflectors must be clean and clearly visible.
- Exhaust: Check for excessive noise and smoke that could indicate a problem.
Over time, drivers become increasingly capable of performing these checks efficiently. What else would you add to the checklist?