Tips For Safely Driving A Forklift

13 October 2014
 Categories: , Blog


Whether you're hopping in the driver's seat for the first time for a new job or whether you just need a refresher course, here are some quick and easy tips to safely operating a forklift.

Getting Started With The Basics

  • First of all, wear the appropriate clothing. Wear a hard hat and a hi-visibility jacket. Do not wear any clothing that's very loose and that could get caught on the machinery.
  • Perform a quick inspection of the forklift to see if there are any fluids leaking. Next, test the warning lights to make sure they are working properly. If anything is not functioning as it should, do not operate the forklift. Notify the owner and make sure it doesn't get used until repairs are done.
  • If there is a seat belt, wear it. Make sure all parts of your body are inside the cabin of the forklift at all times, keeping your feet clear of any wheels or gears. 
  • Use the horn when you back up, turn blind corners, or going in and out of truck trailers. If you aren't sure about speed, try to drive slowly to err on the side of caution.
  • Do not lower or raise the forks while the forklift is in motion. 

Making Turns And Using Ramps

  • When going over ramps, make sure that the forks are raised and tilted back, angling the load upward. This allows the weight to be centered toward the lift, which keeps it balanced and prevents sliding of the cargo.
  • Forklifts have a high center of gravity, so remember to make turns carefully so that the forklift doesn't threaten to tip over. If you do find the forklift tipping over, don't leap out of the cabin structure. Stay inside, hold tightly onto the wheel, and brace your feet. The cabin structure will protect you from impact.
  • Always use the horn when turning corners or in doorways to alert any other people in the vicinity to your presence.

Driving Around

  • Keep and eye out on what surfaces you're driving on. Irregular surfaces could make a forklift tip over. This includes potholes, railroad tracks, and cracked and uneven roads. Adjust your driving speed and steer accordingly.


  • Park on flat and even ground.
  • Make sure the forks are on the ground, and not in any raised positions.
  • Don't forget to apply the parking brake.
  • Remember to remove the keys from the ignition when exiting the forklift and store in a secure location.

Follow these tips and you'll be confident in driving a forklift safely and like a pro in no time! For information about rentals talk to your local rental company such as Vantage Equipment.