Heavy-haul vehicles are capable of incredible feats; for example, one covered by BBC News was tasked with moving 115-ton antennas up a mountainside.
However, because these vehicles are so large and powerful, they require advanced measures to operate safely and manage risk.
Measure 1: Proper Preparation
Preparation is essential to the operation of heavy haulers. In the US, that means obtaining proper permits, adhering to load limits, and using escort cars if required. Preparation also means carefully scouting the route: Heavy haulers and their loads are so large that they will not fit under every bridge, for example. Measures such as skid poles—which manipulate wires so trucks can pass under safely—are also necessary.
Measure 2: Driver Alertness
Drivers of heavy haulers need to be alert. Two particular dangers are drowsy driving and distracted driving. A long route can lead to fatigue for a heavy-hauler driver, and it can also lead to wandering attention spans. To fight those problems, companies that operate heavy haulers need strict, formal guidelines to keep their drivers well rested and focused on the road. Ongoing monitoring is a necessity as well: Drivers need to be kept in compliance for their own good and to protect everyone else on the road.
Measure 3: Advanced Driver Training
Drivers of heavy haulers face a unique challenge because of the sheer size of their vehicles. For example, reversing an extremely long vehicle is a tricky challenge. To help prepare drivers for the road, advanced driver training provides hands-on feedback from instructors. They are able to watch drivers on the road and correct their mistakes in a controlled environment. Classroom training is another component that helps drivers operate safely on the road.
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