Four Steps for Planning a Safe Trip
1. Plan the route: Verify it by checking your Motor Carrier’s Road Atlas, your GPS, and phone calls to the customer to stay on track, avoid restricted routes and low bridges.
2. Plan for weather: Check the forecast before you leave and have the supplies you need if you become stranded or break down.
3. Rest: Make sure you have utilized your break time to get the sleep you need before heading out. Plan and allow time for breaks.
4. Check the condition of your vehicle: If it wouldn’t pass inspection, don’t drive until it is safe to do so.
“Wow, That was Close!”
Have you ever said this statement to yourself? Was your heart pounding in your chest? Did you nearly lose your breath?
Close calls should be a wakeup call to any driver to ask themselves “how did I get into this potentially deadly situation?”
Speeding: whether it was on the highway, in a construction zone, going down a hill or mountain, or going through town can always become a deadly situation.
Following too close: You have given up control of your vehicle to the driver in front of you. Who is doing the driving?
GPS: It will lead you down the wrong road. “I didn’t see the detour, restricted route or the low bridge sign.”
Cellphone: Distraction, even with Bluetooth. “Wow, I went through downtown already?”
Fatigue: It appears out of thin air. “Whew, I thought there was a deer in the road.”
Texting: It can wait. Wouldn’t it be horrible if the incomplete text you were typing is the last thing your loved ones recall about your last day?
Cargo: Seals, Safety & Security
A driver should never remove any kind of security or tamper-evident seal without authorized permission. Always check the seal after being parked to make sure it is intact.
When removing seals it is highly suggested you use a cutting tool (snips, pliers, wire cutter, bolt cutter, etc.). NEVER TRY TO USE YOUR BARE HANDS TO REMOVE A SEAL; several drivers have sustained injury and nearly lost a finger trying this method.
Cargo securement is of upmost importance. Never discuss the contents, route, or planned stops with any unauthorized personnel.
When parking your rig do you check to make sure of the engine is off, doors are locked and security measures are in place (seal intact, backed to wall so trailer doors can’t be opened, padlocked, etc.)? Keys in hand?
Wear gloves & use proper tools when removing tools.
USING AND CHANGING LANES
Lane use and lane changing accidents primarily result from following too closely or being inattentive to traffic conditions ahead. In either case, defensive driving is the most effective countermeasure. Lane use and lane changing accidents primarily involve sideswiping and rear-end collisions. The existence of blind spots around large vehicles is a major contributing factor. Maintain a proper following distance and take note of countermeasures involving right-of-way.
The most important rule in lane usage is to maintain a safe following distance. Ensure that if the driver in front of you slams on his brakes, you can avoid a collision, stay in your lane and not be hit by the vehicle following you all at the same time.
Try to scan ahead of what is at least 15 seconds in front of you.
If you see trouble ahead, flash your brake lights to alert drivers following you.
If you cannot see ahead of the vehicle you are following, increase your following distance. It might swerve into the next lane to avoid a slow or stopped vehicle and leave you exposed to a rear-end collision.
Blind spots to the right of large vehicles are well known. However, automobile drivers may not know you cannot see them as they pass you on the right. Scan to the right thoroughly before steering into the next lane. Give right-of-way, don't take it.
Clean mirrors and check adjustment frequently.
Using SMITH SYSTEM to Drive Safely
By utilizing the SMITH System drivers gain Space for the vehicle, Visibility for the driver, and Time for decision making. Thereby reducing the potential of collision, reduced fuel usage, reduced maintenance, lower insurance expense, and reduced anxiety and stress.
Do you know and utilize the 5 keys?
#1. Aim High in Steering: Look ahead a minimum of 15 seconds.
#2. Get the Big Picture: 7 second minimum following distance; scan your mirrors every 5-8 seconds.
#3. Keep Your Eyes Moving: Avoid focusing on any object for more than 2 seconds.
#4. Leave Yourself an Out: Surround yourself with space.
#5. Make Sure They See You: Seek eye contact.
To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs make water your beverage of choice. Coffee, tea and soda help little; they are liquids, but they should not make up the majority of your daily fluid intake.
If you are working outside for extended periods, extra water is needed.
SCHOOL BUS STOP ARM
Drivers who disobey school bus stop arms are a frequent danger to the safety of school-aged children. Nearly 26 million students ride school buses daily in the United States, getting on and off buses roughly 20 billion times throughout the year. An estimated 13 million drivers will illegally pass school buses while their stop arms are deployed this year, putting countless children in serious danger as they travel to and from school each day.
WHO HAS TO STOP FOR THE SCHOOL BUS?
On streets where traffic moves in both directions, then drivers moving in both directions must stop for the bus. This includes streets with a single lane in either direction or multi-lane streets with no median. If the street is six or eight lanes across, then the cars in all lanes have to stop for the bus.
On divided streets WITH a median, only the drivers moving in the same direction as the bus have to stop. Drivers on the other side of the median may continue on, unless they are intending to turn left in front of the bus. Those drivers have to wait for the bus to move on before turning.
Speeding is both costly and incredibly dangerous. In 2013, speeding killed an estimated 9,613 people across the country, which works out to an average of 26 people each day. In addition to the pain of lives lost, the United States lost $5.6 billion each month due to speeding-related fatality collisions.
Speeding also makes already dangerous collisions more deadly. A pedestrian struck by a car at 20 miles per hour has a 95 percent chance of survival, but the survival rate drops to 60 percent at 30 miles per hour and 20 percent at 40 miles per hour.
According to the American Transportation Research Institute:
- If a driver had a reckless driving violation the likelihood of he or she being involved in a crash over the next year is 325%
- If a driver had an improper turn violation the likelihood of he or she being involved in a crash over the next year is 105%
- If a driver had an improper or erratic lane change conviction violation the likelihood of he or she being involved in a crash over the next year is 100%
- If a driver had a failure to yield right-of-way violation the likelihood of he or she being involved in a crash over the next year is 97%
- If a driver had a past crash the likelihood of he or she being involved in another crash over the next year is 87%
- If a driver had a driving too fast for conditions violation the likelihood of he or she being involved in a crash over the next year is 62%
- If a driver had a no log book present or a false log violation the likelihood of he or she being involved in a crash over the next year is 56%
Avoid becoming a statistic by driving within the legal limits and being violation and incident free.
STOP & POP YOUR BRAKE VALVES!
Unfortunately a driver of another company forgot to do this on August 14th, 2015. The result was a fatality of a mother, age 31, and injuries to her husband and 2 children.
Whenever you park your vehicle or perform a drop and hook, make sure tractor and trailer brake valves are popped (engaged) before exiting.