3 Key Safety Features To Look For When Buying A Sleeper Cab Semi Truck
While you may not need a sleeper berth if you're a short distance driver that goes home every evening, most over the road drivers consider their bunks a home away from home. When considering the purchase of a used truck so you can become an owner operator, it's essential to give the sleeper berth a thorough investigation instead of just assuming it's in the same condition as the rest of the cab. Look for these three essential safety features that are a must have when you plan to sleep, even briefly, inside your truck's cab.
Working and Comfortable Restraints
Whether you're planning to start out solo or already have a driving partner to team up with to split the driving, you should look for a sleeper area that is already prepared for someone to use while the truck is traveling down the road. While it's safe to take a quick nap in the bunk without strapping in when the truck is securely parked in a lot, it's dangerous to catch a few winks in the same bed while the truck is moving. Wearing a set of safety restraints while asleep is the best way to prevent serious injury or death in case of an accident.
Since it's only necessary to use restraints during team or pair driving, many trucks are missing them altogether. It's better to pick a used truck already equipped with the sleeper restraints, even if you're not sure you'll ever need them, because installing aftermarket restraints is costly and the straps may not offer as much protection. Most people that skip safety restraints do so because of discomfort, so actually lay down and get a feel for the fit of the straps before assuming you'll be able to sleep while wrapped up.
Pollution Controls and Alarms
Aside from staying safe while sleeping on the road, you'll also need to watch out for exhaust fumes and other forms of air pollution while parked in a lot. Idling your truck to power your favorite devices can create long-term exposure to carbon dioxide and carcinogenic particles you if there's an internal cab leak, which most commonly occurs due to:
- Cracks in the drip tubing running under the cab
- Issues with flexible exhaust sections
- Loose or damaged manifold gaskets
Aside from internal leaks, you can also end up exposed to exhaust from nearby trucks when parked for hours on end thanks to the vents in the sleeper berth. The vents need to open in case you need to air out the area, but they should also close tightly to seal out exterior air pollution. Consider a truck with a separate generator and air conditioning system so you can shut the vents and enjoy a comfortable sleeping environment without running your own engine.
Support and Ergonomics
Finally, don't fail to consider the comfort factor of the sleeper berth since you'll be spending 8 hours at a time or more in it under the current time requirements for trucks. An uncomfortable bunk may not sound like a safety issue, but it becomes one if a lack of quality sleep or ongoing back pain issues distract you during driving and that leads to a collision. Federal standards for truck sleeping accommodations fail to fit about 40% of current drivers, so it's essential to stretch out and try a few different positions in the truck instead of just hoping it's big enough for your particular frame. It's worth spending a little more on a truck with a bigger sleeper berth if it allows you get more quality rest so your chances of a deadly mistake are greatly reduced.
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