How is Your Hazmat Safety?
All drivers are required to carry the Emergency Response Guidebook within arms reach (the driver’s door cubby).
If you haul Hazmat make sure all placards are proper and secure. Make sure your paperwork is in order. Make sure the load is secure.
If you are not hauling Hazmat make sure all placards are removed completely (a paint scraper comes in handy).
The following are the most common hazmat-related violations in the CSA Scoring System:
- Placard damaged, deteriorated, or obscured.
- Package not secured in vehicle.
- Vehicle not placarded as required.
- Shipping paper accessibility.
- No shipping papers.
- Emergency response information missing.
- Emergency response information unavailable.
- No placards/markings when required.
- Placards not completely removed.
- Placard not reading horizontally.
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.
Also never use your Jake Brake in congested traffic, city driving, construction areas, or poor weather conditions.
** Cruise control should also never be used during these conditions.
The keys to successful night driving are:
1. Never “over-drive” your headlights. Make sure you can stop within the distance illuminated by your headlights.
2. Don’t look directly into the headlights of oncoming vehicles. If needed look slightly to the right and the edge of the road.
3. Use your high beams whenever possible (i.e. when there is no risk of you blinding oncoming traffic).
4. Use low beams when approaching other cars, in fog, or following behind another vehicle.
Posted in Safety
Proper Parking: Don’t Leave Your Vehicle Exposed to Collision
Make sure you are completely in the parking spot. Don’t back up further than the line and make sure your front bumper isn’t sticking out beyond the line. Make sure your tractor and trailer are straight and centered between lines.
Before backing always stop and GET OUT AND LOOK.
Whenever possible, avoid parking on the end spot of an exposed row. It is a high traffic area and a tired driver may misjudge going around your truck and trailer and cause damage.
Choose a spot you can either pull through or back into. Avoid parking which will require you to back out of the parking spot when leaving.
Avoid parking in a location where the trucks across from you will be required to back out of their spots.
If the truck next to you looks close, is over the line or parked odd (the cab is angled to the trailer), then try to find another spot. If you have to take the spot write down the name, truck #, and DOT # of the truck next to you.
Use your four-ways when pulling through the lot and backing up. The four ways activate peripheral vision and increase the chance of someone seeing you. Use your horn gently when backing and when needed to tell someone “Hey, I’m here”.
Added reminder: if your trailer has trailer tail fins, make sure they are retracted before parking.
Trailer Theft Deterrent Advice
Submitted by Driver: Edward Leonard
Don’t make it easy for crooks. Remember a trailer at rest is a target for theft.
If you do have to leave your truck or trailer unattended while going inside the truck stop for a meal or quick shower here are some suggestions.
Park in a well lit area.
Back up next to a fence, building, pole, etc to make access to the trailer doors difficult.
Make it appear someone is in the truck by leaving a bunk light on, radio or TV playing.
Make sure you put tension on the fifth wheel by pulling the trailer valve, pulling slightly forward and then popping the tractor valve.
You can also disconnect your air lines and lower your landing gear.
These things may not stop a crook, but it will certainly slow them down. Someone may see the suspicious activity and report it!
Avoid High Hooks
Submitted by Driver: Bonnie Fralick
To avoid high hooks, be sure to “GOAL” (it’s not just for backing)!
Stop your tractor in front of the trailer, then get out and look to check the clearance before you back the rest of the way.
Too much clearance can cause the kingpin to go past the fifth wheel. A High Hook can cause damage to the rear of your tractor, the front of your trailer, and the fifth wheel itself.
Avoiding having to fix the after affects of a high hook will save time and money.
Submitted By Driver: Duane Meintzer
You never know when something nice you did will sweeten the day for others.
Be the reason someone smiles, and don’t forget to pay good deeds forward.
All Clear To Pull Out From the Dock?
Submitted By Driver: Ruth Ann Smith
It is important to make sure you have clearance from the customer before pulling out of the dock.
Don’t just rely on a green light. Ask the customer to be sure.
A good practice is to also pound on the sides of the trailer and holler “pulling out!”
Pulling away from a dock without clearance can cause equipment damage, and serious injury or possibly death to a forklift operator.
What does driving distracted mean?
Not focusing on the road ahead and mirrors can lead to being caught unaware of changing conditions or situations in front of and around your vehicle. How many seconds or minutes a day have you driven blindly while distracted? Focusing on an object, person, task or event not related to driving affects the driver’s awareness, decision making and/or performance.
Patience and Attitude
Be patient; do not let the behavior of others change your attitude about driving safely and making safe driving choices.