The Centers for Disease Control estimates 1 in 6 Americans get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die due to foodborne diseases annually. Don't spoil your trip and become part of these food safety statistics!
The golden rule: wash your hands whenever possible with soap and water, especially before you eat and after you use the bathroom. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water aren't available.
Packing Food for the Trip:
Keep cold food cold. Place cold food in coolers with frozen gel packs or ice. 40°F or below prevents bacterial growth.
Keep hot food hot. Take a pass on hot food unless you have a portable heating unit which can be safely used.
Rinse all fresh produce under running tap water before packing it in a cooler, including produce with peel away skins or rinds.
On the Road- Restaurants and Rest Stops:
Beware of buffets. Potentially food has not been held at proper temperatures or may become mishandled by people with unclean hands.
Steer clear of any food served at room temperature; the "danger zone" where bacteria thrive.
Water is regulated and tested throughout the U.S., but, when in doubt, don't drink the tap or well water — or anything made with it, such as ice or fountain drinks. Stick with sealed, bottled beverages.
Fish, shellfish, meat and eggs are unsafe to eat when raw.
Skip food from unknown street vendors. The safest strategy is to stick to tried-and-true dining establishments.
Prepare food properly so it doesn’t become a crime scene
Columbus Day marks the anniversary of the discovery of our great nation. Many have time off to take advantage of one last opportunity to get out before the colder weather sets in. This increases the risk of accidents. We all need to do our part to keep safe.
Safety never takes time off, we all need to work together to remain vigilant to prevent accidents on Columbus Day and all other days! According to the National Safety Council, more than 40,000 people are killed and more than 3 million people are injured in motor vehicle crashes. Crashes are the leading cause of injury and death for all people between the ages of 3 and 33.
As we near the end of the year, hours of daylight get shorter. You can reduce the likelihood of getting into an accident by driving defensively, not talking on cell phones while driving, keeping your vehicle in top running condition, not driving under the influence and following the posted speed limits.
Now is a good time to ensure your vehicle is winterized. A lot of accidents are due to the operators' failure to adjust their driving to the dangerous conditions during winter months or the occasional failure or malfunctioning of equipment. Don't wait until it freezes or snows to load your vehicle with the equipment necessary to combat the elements. During the winter months take a little extra time to prepare yourself and your vehicle for safe driving.
“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back, May the sun shine warm upon your face, And the rains fall soft upon your fields”.
We all have pet peeves when it comes to other drivers; the key is to make sure you're not on someone’s list to avoid confrontation while out on the road. Also just know you are not the only one which comes across these drivers.
Top 20 driving pet peeves from the Consumer Reports’ National Research Center:
- Texting while driving
- Able-bodied drivers parking in handicapped spaces
- Drivers who cut you off
- Speeding and swerving in and out of traffic
- Taking up two parking spaces
- Talking on a cell phone while driving
- Not letting you merge into a lane
- Not dimming high beams when approaching
- Not using turn signals (or leaving them on for miles)
- Slow drivers dawdling in the passing lane
- Jaywalkers stepping in front of your vehicle
- Excessive horn honking
- Slowing down to "rubberneck" at accidents
- Not turning on headlights when it's raining or at dusk
- Drivers who are indecisive about when to turn
- Slow drivers who won't pull over
- Not going when the light turns green (due to inattention)
- Bicyclists who don't let you by
- Cranking up the radio volume
Chocking the Wheels for Safety
Chocking the wheels of a truck, trailer, or tractor prevents the wheels from rolling, eliminating runaway equipment that can injure workers.
When exiting a vehicle after stopping, ensure the vehicle is at a complete stop, set the brakes, and ensure the vehicle will not roll forward or backward before you exit. If you are performing maintenance or in a dock for loading or unloading, chock the wheels. To properly chock a free-standing vehicle, place chocks on the left and right rear axle wheels. It is safest to chock both the front and back of each tire.
Ensure trailers are firmly placed against loading dock edges. Place chocks on the left and right outside front axle tires of your trailer when in the loading dock. This placement allows a forklift to push down on the trailer wheels and seat them more firmly against the chock. Be aware, if only a single chock is used in front of the tires, a forklift could push the trailer forward and loosen the chocks or cause the wheels to jump the chock. The truck driver, dock workers, and forklift drivers share responsibility to ensure the truck and trailer wheels are properly chocked.
Always dock and chock!
Under-Inflated Tires Costly in More Ways than One
Vehicles with under-inflated tires can exhibit handling problems and contribute to crashes resulting in fatalities and serious injuries. Under-inflated tires impact a driver’s ability to control a vehicle against skidding, blowouts, and other tire failures. While not a leading cause of highway accidents and fatalities, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study shows under-inflated tires contribute to approximately 250 fatalities and 23,500 injuries per year.
What’s more is, the fuel economy of vehicles driving on under-inflated tires is lower. The Department of Energy estimated waste of about 1.2 billion gallons of fuel per year as a result of driving on under-inflated tires.
A decrease in tire pressure can be caused by poor maintenance, driving habits, punctures, road conditions, and the quality of material used in tire construction. According to tire experts, under normal driving conditions, air-filled tires can lose from 1 to 2 psi per month as air permeates the tires.
Please check the air pressure in your tires with a quality tire gauge. Your Tractor and Trailer tires should be at 100 psi (except Super Singles which should be 110 psi).
Safe Driving in the Fog
As cooler weather begins, driving becomes more precarious as issues with fog become more prevalent. Keep the following in mind when driving in foggy weather to keep yourself and others safe:
-Drive with your lights on LOW beam. High beams will reflect off the fog, creating a “white wall” effect.
-Reduce your speed and watch your speedometer. Fog creates a visual illusion of slow motion when you may actually be speeding.
-Avoid crossing traffic lanes.
-Travel with the driver’s window partially open and listen for traffic.
-Use your four-ways to help insure others see you.
-If your vehicle is disabled, pull well onto the shoulder, put out your triangles and turn off lights. Move away from your vehicle.
-Consider postponing driving until the fog lifts.
When in Doubt Check It Out – GOAL
Of all driving safety tips, this is one of the most important and too often ignored by truckers. When delivering, especially to a new customer, find a place to park safely, leave your rig for 5 minutes and scope out the place. Shippers will too often say, 'Oh, we have trucks in here all the time, it's ok'.
Check for yourself. Many times a truck can get trapped in a place and unable to turn around or the docking facility isn't suitable for big rigs. This way, you'll see obstacles which may be in your way, such as fire hydrants, posts, ditches, overhangs, etc. Take a mental picture of the area. If you just drive in, you will NOT see the hazards.
A large percentage of big rig accidents happen when backing up. Accidents are costly for everyone, and can seriously impair your driving record. Before backing, always Get Out And Look; and if you start to doubt, stop and check it out by GOAL again!
Keys to Safe City Driving
1.Understand Traffic Waves – When you understand what traffic waves are, you can easily dissolve them.
2.Prevent Traffic Jams – By understanding what causes traffic jams, you can actually prevent them.
3.Stay Calm – It’s easy to stay calm during stressful traffic situations, when you understand what makes you stressful.
4.Do the Math –Only a few seconds can possibly be saved while driving in a city, so it is therefore pointless to try to hurry.
5.Plan Ahead – Plan out your route and verify directions before you start driving; don’t reply strictly on your GPS.
6.Be Predictable – Sudden movements cause accidents. Steady, predictable movements give others a chance to react.
7.Time Traffic Lights – Timing traffic lights so that you don’t have to stop, will reduce stress and equipment wear.
8.Expect the Expected – Getting cut-off is so commonplace now, you should really be expecting it.
9.Compensate for the Ignorant – Take pride in the fact you are one of the few who gets it. Then, you will feel sorry for ignorant drivers, instead of getting mad at them.
10.Maintain – Safe Speed, Safe Following Distance, Mirror Checks, Looking Ahead at least 15 seconds, Checking Intersections, and good use of turn signals will help maintain a circle of safety.
The HERO count to ZERO
Bad driving habits often develop slowly over time as good habits deteriorate. If you want to find out if you are as good a driver as you used to be try this; count how many times during a single day or week you follow too close, slam on the brakes, fail to signal or cut someone off at an entry/exit ramp. No matter what the total, the goal should be to become ZERO.
Are the tires on your vehicle in good condition, free of leaks and cracks and do they have the proper tread depth and tire size? Required DOT tread depth for tires is 4/32 minimum for steering axles and 2/32 minimum for rear axle and trailer tires.
Be sure that all tires are the same size on the vehicle. Tires must not have cuts, bulges or loose recaps and must be properly inflated with no audible leaks or any other defects that would affect the safe operation of the tires.
Any commercial vehicle with defective tires noted during an inspection should not be driven until all defects are addressed and eliminated. Tire defects and violations also carry a higher severity weight rating (8) and can adversely affect your and your employer’s DOT safety measurement system scores. Tire out-of-service violations? You can tack on a couple more points.