How many of us really think how to safely enter and exit our trucks? I’m assuming that most drivers, including myself don’t give this issue much thought.

My wife just read an article recently regarding the importance of getting into and out of a truck cab safely. The story was about a man who drove trucks for years and had just celebrated his 40th birthday. The next day, he jumped out of his truck and as he hit the ground, he tore a ligament in his leg. This unfortunate event landed him in the emergency room and was followed by three
weeks of recovery and therapy. When my wife read this, she called me to remind me that I’m getting older (imagine that) and she insisted that I stop jumping out of the truck and trailer. She has witnessed me doing this on many occasions and felt it necessary to share this man’s story.

After our discussion, I began to reflect on an incident that happened to me many years ago. I was a young man driving a Freightliner cab-over for a food service company. My schedule was grueling as a day’s work included making 28 delivery stops. Being in a hurry, I formed the bad habit of jumping out of the truck to hit the ground running. One winter day, it was cold and therefore I wearing my long coat and hat. I arrived at a customer for delivery and as usual jumped out of the truck. Instead of hitting the ground, the “seat height control lever” caught on my long coat and snatched me back against the side of the cab. Hanging like a rag doll, I unsuccessfully tried to free myself. My feet could not reach the steps, I couldn’t move my arms, the seat lever was stabbing me in the back and my coat was almost entirely up over my head. To my embarrassment, my customer came over and helped to release me off the truck. He thought I had injured myself and when we both realized I was fine… we had a good laugh. I should have learned back then to slow down and take caution when entering and exiting. Over the years, you tend to get busy and not pay attention to the small things. I think we all need a good reminder now and then.

Below, in doing some research, I found some important safety tips to help avoid serious injury.
Serious injury can occur while trying to get into or out of a truck cab. Mounting or dismounting truck bodies or trailers can also cause injuries. Many knee, ankle and back injuries result in jumping from equipment onto uneven pavement or objects.

Injuries can be avoided by following the “Three Point Rule”. This rule requires three of four points of contact to be maintained with the vehicle at all times. Two hands and one foot, or both feet and one hand. This system allows maximum stability and support, reducing the likelihood of slipping or falling.

Keep steps free of snow, mud and debris.

Don’t use tires or wheel hubs as a step surface.

Don’t use the doorframe or door edge as a handhold.

Wear slip resistant footwear with good support.

After working a long shift, descend slowly to avoid straining a muscle
Don’t exit your truck with objects in hand. Leave items on the vehicle floor until you’ve safely reached the ground and then retrieve the items.

Use extra caution during inclement weather.

Exit and enter facing the cab.

Get a firm grip on rails or handles.



Comments (7)

Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/T™, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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The Cascadia I drive has an aftermarket, in-house added drivers step with a very aggressive tread surface. It helped out this past winter, and bravo to my company for putting the thought into touches like this. I think they come from "Safeguard Technologies"

April 29, 2013 9:12:30 AM

And even when you are using the "Three Points Of Contact", make fully sure you are aware of where you're stepping; a friend of mine was climbing down out of his truck, luckily in his driveway. His foot missed the bottom step, he kept going and ended up herniating three discs in his back, and his back hasn't been the same since.

April 29, 2013 9:08:25 AM

Manufacturers provide steps and handles for a very good reason, and it isn't for looks or to add weight. Safety is always the number one priority!
The mental picture I had while reading this did provide a good chuckle, thank you Henry.

April 27, 2013 21:58:14 PM

Thanks Henry. I still drive a cab over and yes, it's a long way down from up there. I literally LOL'd when I read the part about you getting hung up.

April 26, 2013 9:30:12 AM

Thanks Henry. I still drive a cab over and yes, it's a long way down from up there. I literally LOL'd when I read the part about you getting hung up.

April 26, 2013 9:29:36 AM

WOW! Could you get a picture of you hanging by your coat? Yes, I was a jumper in my younger days too. I am way more careful these days.

April 26, 2013 8:40:04 AM

A person can never become complacent, too familiar around equipment.

April 26, 2013 8:12:49 AM