53502637 - truck with oil tank driving on asphaltThe National Safety Council says cellphone use while driving causes approximately 1.6 million automobile accidents a year. What’s more, nearly 390,000 injuries happen each year as a result of texting and driving. Those statistics are both shocking and easily preventable. If you’re a professional truck driver, it’s your duty to drive only when your mind is on the road.

One minor distraction or delayed reaction can lead to a serious accident and deadly consequences. When behind the wheel of a semi, always adhere to these important rules.

Put your phone away. As mentioned above, cellphone use while driving is dangerous. That goes for texting, making phone calls, surfing the web, and more. When you’re driving, keep your hands off your cellphone. If that means you have to physically turn the power off and put it in the center console, so be it. Better safe than sorry.

Never wear headphones. Never wear headphones while driving. If you’re listening to your music or a podcast too loudly, you might not hear emergency sirens or other important cues, like the honking horn of a fellow motorist. Listen to your music at a reasonable level, and play it on your truck’s radio. Headphones are fine as long as you aren’t behind the wheel.

Keep an eye on your mirrors; all of them. It’s recommended you check your rearview and side view mirrors once every five seconds. Constantly scanning your surroundings gives you plenty of time to react in case of an emergency. Plus, it can alert you to passenger vehicles who are tailgating, speeding, or making unsafe lane changes.

When you’re behind the wheel, always drive defensively. Although there’s no way to prevent accidents entirely, following the rules and being smart can go a long way.