When it comes to operating heavy machinery, few things are as crucial to know as the right way to drive a forklift. After all, think about it. When you’re using a forklift, you’re probably doing so in a warehouse.

This warehouse is filled with thousands and thousands of products, which in total could constitute millions of dollars. One wrong move in this warehouse and an improperly trained forklift driver could cost the warehouse a fortune in broken products.

Thankfully, we’re here to help you avoid that unfortunate situation. In this article, we’ll teach you how to drive a forklift with a few simple tips.

1. Dress for the Job

The first tip to successful forklift operation is implemented even before you get to the warehouse. It’s critical that you dress for the job when you’re driving a forklift. This simple safety tip could save you from injury.

For one, wear steel toe boots. This will protect your feet if product ever falls on them. Next, wear jeans and a full-sleeved shirt or jacket to protect your legs. Leave the shorts at home. Last but not least, try to wear a high-visibility jacket every time you get on the forklift so that folks can see you.

2. Move Obstacles Out of the Way Beforehand

Before you get on the forklift, you should already know where you’re headed. And you should know what route you’re going to take through the warehouse to get there. And if you know the route, you’ll know whether you need to move any obstacles out of the way.

Trying to move obstacles out of the way as you go is a surefire recipe for accidentally driving your forklift into one.

3. Always Do a Pre-Operation Check

Now before you start moving on the forklift, you should do a quick pre-operation check to ensure that everything on the machine is in order. The specific checklist you run through will depend on the forklift manufacturer, but you’ll generally want to check the oil and fuel levels, brake lines, tires, and fork condition at a minimum.

4. Slow and Steady Saves the Product

Operating a forklift is never a race. Instead, remember this quote: slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. If you want to get the job done quickly, then start by moving slowly through the motions. That way, you won’t make any mistakes that will take lots of time and money to fix.

5. Be Vigilant

Last but not least, as you’re operating the forklift always stay vigilant as to what’s happening around you. Don’t text or daydream as you’re driving, or you might find yourself clipping a shelf.

How to Drive a Forklift, Made Simple

There you have it. With these easy tips under your belt, you should now be far better equipped to know how to drive a forklift safely and efficiently. 

If you want to take your employees’ forklift driving abilities to the next level, then it’s time for you to consider checking out our comprehensive forklift training programs today!