An articulated dump truck is similar to any other kind of vehicle you would drive — it has a steering wheel, a brake pedal and an accelerator, and many trucks even have automatic transmissions. However, in practice, operating this type of equipment safely and efficiently takes experience and specialized knowledge.

Whether you work in mining, construction or another industry, learning how to drive an articulated truck prepares you to move large loads across challenging terrain and enables your team to finish projects faster. Below, we’ll cover four tips drivers should keep in mind when learning how to operate an articulated dump truck.

1. Know When to Drive and When to Park

Articulated dump trucks feature parking brakes, just like other types of equipment. To ensure maximum safety and productivity, you need to know when to apply the parking brake. For example, you should come to a complete stop and put the truck in park when both loading and unloading.

When the bed of the truck is fully raised, you may release the parking brake and pull forward slightly to finish emptying the trailer. You should then stop, put the truck in park and lower the bed before driving away. To prevent tipping, never attempt to turn or maneuver with the bed raised.

2. Don’t Overuse the Service Brakes

In addition to regular service brakes, articulated dump trucks have retarders, which use hydraulics to slow down the machine. To avoid overheating and wearing out the service brakes, you should use the retarders to reduce speed when going downhill. Once you’ve slowed down, you can use the service brakes to come to a complete stop.

3. Anticipate Conditions and Adjust Accordingly

When ground conditions are poor, driving on too steep a grade can become dangerous and make maneuvering more difficult. Always remain aware of your surroundings, and try to shift gears early. You should also carefully monitor ground conditions and speed when driving an empty truck, as the higher center of gravity makes tipping more of a risk.

4. Think Before Unloading

Finally, take a moment to think before you unload. Check to make sure the truck is positioned on stable, level ground and ensure the area is clear of bystanders. You should avoid raising the bed while at an angle, as this jeopardizes stability.

Contact Prime Source to Learn More

Once you’ve learned how to operate an articulated dump truck safely, you can start thinking about how to improve your productivity. At Prime Source, we offer a selection of articulated truck tailgates to help you reduce spillage and increase hauling efficiency. To learn more, reach out to us today.