Too Fast for Conditions
The FMCSA states, "Driving too fast for conditions is defined as traveling at a speed that is greater than a reasonable standard for safe driving. Examples of conditions where drivers may find themselves driving too fast include: wet roadways (rain, snow, or ice), reduced visibility (fog), uneven roads, construction zones, curves, intersections, gravel roads, and heavy traffic."
Driving too fast for conditions robs the operator of time needed to react, steer, brake and avoid problems. Speed increases stopping distance, and the raw energy stored in the vehicle -- possibly translating what might have been a fender bender into a crash with ambulance and tow truck.
Defensive Driving is a form of training that goes beyond the mastery of the rules of the road and the basic mechanics of driving.
The goal is to reduce the risk of driving by anticipating dangerous situations, despite adverse conditions or the mistakes of others. This can be achieved through adherence to a variety of general rules, as well as the practice of certain driving techniques.
The driver must operate in such a way that he/she:
- Commits no errors himself.
- Controls his vehicle to make due allowance for the condition(s) of the road, the weather, or traffic. Slow down and leave extra space!
- Controls his vehicle to make due allowance to avoid the mistakes made by others. Get the Big Picture, keep your eyes moving!
If a driver is only paying attention to his/her own skills, he/she is driving Offensively, not Defensively. An Offensive Driver is not a Safe Driver.
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Posted in Safety
So how should you respond when stopped for a traffic violation?
Think like a cop and follow these helpful tips.
Stay calm: Don't freak out, jam on the brakes and stop in the lane. Get over to the far right side of the road as safely and quickly as you can. Then turn off the engine.
Be polite: Your mother was right. Good manners could mean the difference between a (free) warning and a fine-laden ticket.
Don't argue: Save your rebuttal for your court date. Refusing to provide your driver's license or becoming belligerent could be considered obstructing justice—and could land you in jail.
No sleight of hand: Roll down all the windows so it's easy for the officer to see inside the vehicle. At night, turn on the dome light. Then keep your hands on the steering wheel. Wait for the officer to ask you for the required documentation.
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- Drive with extra care and attention around snowplows
- Don’t crowd the plow—give them room to work. The plows are wide and can cross the centerline or shoulder.
- Don’t tailgate and try not to pass. If you must pass, take extreme caution and beware of the snow cloud.
- Snowplows travel below the posted speed limit—be patient.
A snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them but they may not see you. Keep your distance and watch for sudden stops or turns.
Drain Your Air Tanks
As the weather turns colder any moisture built up in your air tanks may freeze and hinder your brakes.
Always release any water build up manually as part of your pre-trip inspection to insure safe operation of your air brakes.
Further, make emptying your air tanks part of your post trip during the winter months. That way you will release any water build up before your truck has had a chance to cool for 10 hours or more.
THREE POINTS OF CONTACT
It’s that time of the year again – The steps of your truck will be slippery with ice from cold temperatures. Whenever you climb into or out of your truck use Three Points of Contact to insure you do not slip. The three point rule is when three of your four limbs are always in contact with the truck, either two feet and one hand or two hands while you lift your foot to step into the truck. If you are carrying something put it into the vehicle before climbing in so both hands will be free to use three points of contact. Finally, take your time. When you rush is when you slip or miss obstacles on the ground.
Winter: Jake Brake
With the weather changes it is important to remember that your Jake brake (Engine Brake) should be turned off when the roads become slippery from snow, ice, sleet, or rain. Your Jake brake only slows your tractor, not your trailer. When on a slippery road the Jake brake will cause your trailer to push forward and slide out from behind you – Resulting in a jack knifed truck. Avoid the jack knife and turn the Jake brake off when the weather turns bad.