How Do Monster Truck Drivers Drive?

Image editorial credit: Piotr Zajac / Shutterstock.com

While driving a monster truck sounds like a fun-filled idea, it can be very dangerous if it is not done properly or carefully. Many accidents have occurred where drivers did not heed the rules or took proper precautions. When driving a monster truck, you will want to be in the safest position possible because if you’re not as safe as possible, it might cost you your life. So, how do monster truck drivers drive? Do they sit, or do they stand?

While driving a monster truck, it is imperative that you remain seated with your seatbelt firmly secured and in place. There are international rules that regulate monster truck driving events; these rules require that you remain seated with your seatbelt secured. Otherwise, it can cost you your life.

So what exactly does it take to drive a truck, are you only supposed to be seated, and then you are good to go? What exactly is involved in driving a monster truck, and what are other safety tips you can use to make sure you come out of the experience in one piece? All of this we explore!


Basics On How To Drive A Monster Truck

There are many things that you must consider while driving one of these bouncy, oversized pickup trucks, so let us start with some basics.

First off, you have to get into the monster truck. This in itself is a mission because monster trucks do not have doors as an ordinary vehicle does. You have to climb into the truck from the bottom, through its steel frame, until you have wormed and wiggled yourself into the driver’s seat. You are now seated more than 8 feet high in the air.

Once you are in the driver’s seat, you can start acquainting yourself with the inside of the monster truck. There is usually only one seat in the truck and is located in the center. The gas pedal is not like an ordinary vehicle’s gas pedal; there is a hook that is supposed to go over your toes.

It is there so that you can pull the pedal back with your foot in case it does not come back automatically. This is usually the case if the throttle jams.

You can put on your driver’s seatbelt once you are ready to test out your monster truck, but the seatbelt is also not like a normal vehicle’s seatbelt. The seatbelt consists of six parts and is equipped with devices that tighten it extra to make sure that the driver cannot fling around in the seat. This can be so tight that you might struggle a bit to breathe.

The steering wheel you use is more complicated than a normal vehicle’s: it is a four-wheel steering system that enables you to do ‘monster truck stuff.’ The controls of the monster truck are such you control the rear and front steering separately.

When participating in events, an extra safety precaution is taken: they always try and ensure that there are assistants that carry remote kill switches with them located at the tracks.

This is the last safety precaution the event takes and is considered to be the last resort because this remote kill switch can shut your monster truck off in the scenario where you are knocked unconscious in the middle of your activities. The remote kill switch is, unfortunately, not 100% effective.


Do Monster Truck Drivers Sit Or Stand?

There is a safety manual that the Monster Truck Racing Association made that contains all the rules of using monster trucks while participating in competitions.

  • The Monster Truck Racing Association states in rule 7 of the International Safety Rules Version 22.1 that while the engine of the monster truck is running, the pilot must be seated in the driver’s seat and must be in control of the vehicle.
  • Rule 12 of the International Safety Rules Version 22.1 states that, at the very least, the driver must always have their seatbelt on whilst a vehicle with 66” inch tires is moving.
  • Rule 46 of the International Safety Rules Version 22.1 states that all seats inside the monster truck must be mounted to the frame of the monster truck, and it recommends that the seat must be in the middle of the vehicle.
  • Rule 11.B of the International Safety Rules Version 22.1 states that while the engine of the vehicle is running, the driver is required to be in his seat – otherwise, only when the engine is switched off may the driver vacate his seat.
  • Rule 29.B of the International Safety Rules Version 22.1 states that the seatbelts in the vehicle must first be mounted to the frame and approved before the vehicle is competition-worthy.

Now that all the relevant rules have been pointed out, we can clearly determine whether or not monster truck drivers sit or stand. When it comes to competitions, it is very clear that you must sit whilst you drive. This is clear when the rules state you must be SEATED, and not that you must merely be POSITIONED in the correct place.

The fact that you must always have your seatbelt on gives us another indication that you must sit because there are no ‘standing restraint belts’ that hold you in place while you are driving your monster truck.

You are required to have a seat as well as seatbelts, both of which have to be mounted to the frame of the truck or a frame outrigger. Thus, the rules force you to sit in a seat and be strapped into that seat till your ride is over for safety purposes.

Editorial credit: BW Press / Shutterstock.com

Other Safety Tips While You Drive A Monster Truck

  • Make sure you take enough time to spend outside of the monster truck while you rest. Walk around, stretch, and make sure you take large breaths of fresh air.
  • Make sure the clothes you wear as comfortable. You will want to wear looser clothing and shoes because it helps with better blood circulation and helps you avoid a lot of physical discomforts.
  • Take note of the interior design of your truck. Start with positioning your seat in the right place, corresponding with your weight and height. Thereafter, do the same with your steering wheel and backrest. All of these things must be positioned such that you are not constrained in your movements as a driver, nor must you experience any discomfort whilst operating these things.
  • Never jump out of the truck onto the ground. While you are busy operating this large piece of machinery, your senses become ‘deadened,’ and you might have a lot of adrenaline pumping in your veins. You might be very eager to get out of the truck, but your body will not be ready for the impact of just jumping out of the truck onto the ground. Rather, climb out slowly.
  • Bear in mind the effect that vibrations can have. Some suggest tilting your seat back just slightly in order to reduce the shock and vibration your spine absorbs. When the seat is not perpendicular to the ground, vibrations and shock will have less detrimental effects on your spine. Additionally, make sure your tires are always at the appropriate pressure.
  • Know your limits. Driving a monster truck can fatigue you, especially if you do it nonstop for hours. Many accidents have occurred because of drivers that were not in their best state and were fatigued to the extent where they lost focus and caused accidents – do not let that person be you!

Conclusion

In conclusion, you do not want to be that person that bounces around like a tennis ball in your monster truck after doing a couple of stunts. This is the danger you face if you are not properly seated and secured in place with your seatbelt.

Monster trucks are not meant driven while standing up. There are no standing ‘seats’ that hold the driver in place while he is driving. Until such time they make seats in which you can stand upright that secures you as safely as is required by the rules, you will remain seated in your chair for your own safety as well as others’.


References

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/culture/commuting/how-to-drive-a-250000-monster-truck/article1315456/

https://www.autoblog.com/2014/10/21/how-to-drive-a-monster-jam-truck-video/

https://monstertruck.fandom.com/wiki/Common_misconceptions_in_the_monster_truck_industry#:~:text=In%20modern%20rear%2Dengined%20competition,seated%20directly%20in%20the%20center.&text=The%20only%20trucks%20that%20still,front%20engined%20Willman%2Dstyle%20chassis.

http://mtra.us/documents/MTRA_Safety%20Rules_22_1.pdf

https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/trucking-safety-tips

https://blog.xcaret.com/en/monster-truck-tips/

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