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  1. Passing

    Aug 03

    Posted in Safety

    Passing

    Drivers should travel in the right most lane, unless directed otherwise by a sign or police. Overtaking and passing other vehicles should be attempted only when it is safe. Do not exceed the speed limit to pass.  

    Before attempting to pass, a driver should determine the following: Is it legal? Is it safe? Is it necessary? Do I have ample time? Will the passing disrupt the normal flow of traffic?  

    You should never attempt to pass on a 2 lane road where passing would require you to enter the oncoming traffic lane.  

    Always try to pass on the left!

  2. PRE-TRIP INSPECTIONS

    Aug 02

    Posted in Safety

    Pre-Trip Inspections

    A pre-trip inspection of your equipment is a requirement. This inspection must be performed prior to operating the unit. Pre-trip inspections are to be completed before you leave on a trip, anytime you have been off duty for 10 hours or more, and any time you drop one trailer and pick up another. The time required for the inspection (usually a minimum of 30 minutes) is to be logged on duty with the correct remark on your logs.

  3. SLACK ADJUSTERS

    Aug 01

    Posted in Safety

    Slack Adjusters

    Automatic slack adjusters normally don’t require manual readjustment.If you have a brake that is over-stroking and it has an automatic slack adjuster, you have a problem with either the brake or the adjuster. If you readjust it, you aren’t really fixing the problem. A manual readjustment may bring the brake back into compliance and improve the way the brake operates, but it will only be temporary (enough to get it to a Super Service terminal to fix, or replace necessary parts). Remember only a certified mechanic may adjust automatic slack adjusters!

     

    The primary cause of auto slacks stroking beyond their limit, is – believe it or not – good drivers. The driver who never makes an application harder than 15 or 20psi because he or she never has to. They’re the ones who manage speed well, keep a safe distance, and coast up to traffic lights. These drivers hardly ever put enough torque through the adjuster to cause the ratchet to roll over to the next peg. Consequently, as the brakes wear naturally, the auto slacks aren’t compensating.

    What these drivers need to do is make half a dozen full pressure applications (more than 30psi) once a day to get the adjuster to turn over, and then visually check the stroke before leaving the yard.

    Did you know?

    All Super Service Trailers and Drive axles on tractors have the common #30 brake chamber; the push rod stroke must be no more than 2”.

    All our 2011 or newer tractors have a #20 chamber; the maximum push rod stroke is 1 ¾”.  It is important to check, with the brakes released, the slack adjuster cannot be pulled beyond an inch otherwise, the push rod has to stroke beyond it’s legal, safe limit!

    When slack reaches 1” the brakes must be adjusted. This could be the most important inch of your life.

  4. Cargo Theft & Hijacking

    Jul 31

    Posted in Safety

    Cargo Theft & Hijacking

    The National Safety Council warns commercial vehicles (such as pick-up and delivery trucks, tractors and trailers, armored vehicles, mail and package delivery vehicles, etc.) may be especially vulnerable to cargo theft and hijacking attempts.

    Drivers are advised the following:

    ·         Carry a 24-hour emergency telephone number at all times.

    ·         Know or learn the route, especially if it is new to you.

    ·         Do not discuss your cargo with others over the CB or at truck stops.

    ·         Check the load as it is loaded to make sure what is in the trailer is what is supposed to be there.

    ·         Stick to the fuel route provided. If the route changes, inform someone.

    ·         Remember, there is safety in motion. Be cautious when moving, but know the most dangerous times for hijacking are when a vehicle is stopped.

    ·         Lock the vehicle every time you make a stop.

    ·         Keep the trailer unit locked securely from the moment it is loaded. Lock the cab and roll up the windows when parked or in slow moving traffic.

    ·         Stop in designated rest areas where there are other trucks parked.

    ·         Do not stop to help motorists in trouble; call for assistance.

    ·         Watch for suspicious persons/vehicles to make sure no one follows you.

    ·         Never pick up hitchhikers.

    ·         Keep the unit, plate, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on your person at all times for tractor and trailer.

    If a hijacking does occur, drivers should follow these precautions:

    ·         Do not resist. Do whatever the hijacker says.

    ·         Report the incident to the company and law enforcement authorities IMMEDIATELY.

  5. Don’t Let Driving in Fog Leave You in a Daze

    Fog can occur at any time. Fog on highways can be extremely dangerous. Fog is often unexpected, and visibility can deteriorate rapidly. You should watch for foggy conditions and be ready to reduce your speed. Do not assume that the fog will thin out after you enter it.

    The best advice for driving in fog is, don’t.  Preferably you should pull off the road into a rest area or truck stop until visibility is better. If you must drive, be sure to consider the following:

    ·         Obey all fog-related warning signs.

    ·         Slow down and increase your following distance before you enter fog. Make sure you can stop your vehicle within the distance you can see.

    ·         Use low-beam headlights and fog lights for best visibility even in daytime, and be alert for other drivers who may have forgotten to turn on their lights.

    ·         Do not use high beams as the light will actually reflect off the fog and reduce visibility.

    ·         Use your windshield wipers and defrosters to keep your windshield as clear as possible.

    ·         Turn on your 4-way flashers. This will give vehicles approaching you from behind a quicker opportunity to notice your vehicle.

    ·         Watch for vehicles on the side of the roadway. Seeing taillights or headlights in front of you may not be a true indication of where the road is ahead of you. The vehicle may not be on the road at all.

    ·         Use roadside highway reflectors as guides to determine how the road may curve ahead of you.

    ·         Listen for traffic you cannot see.

    ·         Avoid passing other vehicles.

    ·          Don't stop along the side of the road, unless absolutely necessary.

    Accidents like this nasty pile up are a driver’s worst nightmare.

  6. Avoid an HOS Violation

    by Knowing & Obeying the Rules

    Fines can really add up when serious Hours of Service or log falsification violations are discovered. Make sure you do not exceed your driving time.

    Drivers who reach the hours of service limits must stop driving a commercial motor vehicle. “Driving time” means all time spent at the driving controls of a CMV in operation. This includes time spent in slow traffic, or traffic at a standstill, or other delays on impassable highways. 

    The concept of a “safe haven” only applies to drivers operating vehicles containing explosive materials, and affects when those drivers are eligible to be off duty (see Section 397.5 of the FMC Safety Regulations book). For all other drivers, there is no exception which says they can exceed the hours of service limits to reach a safe haven! In fact, the hours of service rules make no mention of safe havens.  It is incumbent on drivers to look for parking well before they reach their final minutes of allowed driving, if they do exceed their hours they are in violation and must note on their log the reason for exceeding their hours. They must then take the proper break period to be compliant to drive again.

    Planning and good communication is essential. Don’t just accept a Pre-plan load assignment if you know you do not have the hours to legally run. Instead communicate with your DM and let them know what you can and cannot do. Pickup and delivery times may need to be adjusted or a repower of the load may be the best option. If you run into delays which will cause you to have to shut down before delivery can legally be made let your DM know as far in advance as possible so arrangements can be made to keep you driving legally.

  7. DID YOU KNOW?

    Jul 28

    Posted in Safety

    DID YOU KNOW?

    The FMCSA states the following:

    ·         Passengers:Drivers must have written authorization from the carrier before transporting any person on a CMV other than a bus. The authorization must include the name of the passenger, the beginning and ending points of transportation, the date the authorization expires, a signature from an authorized agent of the carrier.

    ·         Glasses & Hearing Aids:Drivers who need corrective lenses and/or hearing aids to meet physical requirements must wear them at all times while driving. Drivers with hearing aids must have a spare power source.

    ·         Radar Detectors:Drivers are prohibited from operating the vehicle if it is equipped with a radar detector.

    ·         Lamps/reflective material: Required lamps and reflective materials may not be obscured or covered by the load, dirt, vehicle equipment, etc.

    ·         Fueling: Drivers may not fuel a CMV with the engine running (unless it’s impossible otherwise). Drivers may not smoke or have a flame exposed near a CMV being fueled.

    ·         Emergency Equipment:Drivers are required to have and use emergency equipment when and as needed including fire extinguishers, warning triangles, and spare fuses.

  8. PARKING ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD IS PROHIBITED

    1.   You are not to stop alongside the road or interstate (including on and off ramps) unless it is an actual emergency or you are instructed to by an authorized official. An actual emergency is defined as a situation that affects the safety of you, the public, your equipment or load.

    2.   If you must stop alongside the road for a declared emergency, turn on your 4-ways and protect the scene by setting out your emergency reflective triangles. Proper placement of the triangles is found in the FMCSR pocketbook section 392.22(b). Do not hesitate in getting warning signals placed.

    3.   Stopping to read/send a Qualcomm message, use a cell phone, check a map, get something to eat/drink, etc. are not emergencies and you may not park alongside the road. Find a rest area, truck stop, or other legal safe location for these activities.

    4.   Do not ever drive or stop on a shoulder that slopes or that is not paved as it may give way and cause the equipment to overturn.                                                       

    PROPER TRIANGLE PLACEMENT
  9. Know Your Dimensions:

    Jul 26

    Posted in Safety

     

    Know Your Dimensions:

    Too often driver’s find themselves on a truck restricted route simply because they are unaware of the dimensions of their equipment. Save yourself a citation and CSA points by learning these standards(SHOULD BE IN YOUR PERMIT BOOK):

    Width of trailer 102” = 8’6”

    Height of trailer 13’6”

    Length of Tractor with Sleeper + 53’ trailer = 72’ to 75’. If your trailer has the rear aerodynamic tail wings add 3 more feet.

    A 53’ trailer the kingpin to tandem standard measurement is a minimum 37’ and maximum of 41’ to the midway point between the two rear axles of the trailer tandem. Different states have bridge laws that may allow different maximums. Example: MI the maximum allowed is 40’; CA maximum is also 40’ to the rear axle.

    Weight standards are 80,000 lbs gross- 12,000 lbs on the steers, 34,000 lbs on the drives, and 34,000 lbs on the trailer tandems.  You should always scale your load, and know your weights before going over a DOT Regulated Scale.

  10. Staying Healthy

    Jul 25

    Posted in Safety

     

    Staying Healthy

     

    The life of a truck driver is fun for many who pursue the open road; however, it is easy to be unhealthy in this profession. Driving a truck all day, sleeping in a cab, and eating at truck stops can lead a trucker down an unhealthy path. However, there are ways to stay healthy as a trucker if that is your goal. Here’s 10 suggestions:

    1.Identify that you need to become healthier as a trucker if you are not already.As with most bad habits, a person has to admit that there is a problem and want to change it.

    2.Plan your day and include times to stop for food, snack, and exercise.

    3.Eat healthier food.Change the places where you eat if they only offer unhealthy options.  Review the menu that is offered and learn which items are healthier.

    4.Carry healthy snacks in your truck.Eat healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, or protein bars, and cut down on your portion sizes when eating lunch and dinner.

    5.Always have water available in your truck, and drink it often.

    6.Quit smoking, if you haven't already.

    7.Make time to exercise every day.When you schedule your route for the day, fit in time for a 45 minute walk. Walking is a great way to exercise your body, get fresh air, relax your mind, get your heart rate up, and your blood pumping.

    8.Remember to wash your hands before eating so you reduce the risk of getting sick.

    9.Get plenty of rest to rejuvenate your mind and body.Make sure you use your 10hr break and minimum 8hr sleeper berth time to get your needed rest.

    10.Include a vitamin regimen in your daily routine.

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