It’s Better to Be Safe Than Sorry
Have you ever made a decision to break a safety rule? It only takes a moment to decide to break a safety rule, yet one moment could change your life forever.
Are you 100% committed to the safety of yourself, your coworkers, friends, and family? Think about a time when you’ve risked personal safety or someone else’s. If things hadn’t worked out would it really have been worth it?
It’s normal for one’s commitment to safety to fluctuate. Sometimes it’s strong, other times it’s weak. Unfortunately, it tends to be strong just after a close call, or you hear of an accident. You can keep your commitment to safety strong by remembering the commitment is for you and your loved ones. Do not allow distractions to determine the strength of your commitment to safety.
A personal commitment to safety and keeping it strong are more important than any safety program, procedure, or rule. Ask yourself where you are with your safety attitude and behavior - Are you 100% committed to safety, 100% of the time?
Promise yourself to work on it – and keep that promise.
Truck stops are safe havens for trucks but unfortunately they can be unsafe as many preventable accidents happen in one every day. This is due to many drivers pulling into the truck stop after being on the road for eleven hours. Road fatigue sets in and it’s easy for a driver to start to relax while pulling into the stop since they are wrapping up that portion of their journey.
The important thing to remember is you are still on duty and must drive defensively until the engine is turned off.
Turn on your four ways until you have parked so others will see you.
Plan ahead and choose a location to park that is easy to get into and easy to exit when it is time to leave.
When driving through the parking lot make sure other drivers and pedestrians make eye contact with you. If you don’t make eye contact then they have likely not seen you, making them prime candidates to pull/step out in front of you.
Be careful of pedestrians as drivers bring pets or children with them and may be running in the parking lot.
Get Out And Look (GOAL) while parking.
Keep the keys of your truck with you at all times.
If you take a 10 hour break do a proper Pre-Trip Inspection before leaving. If you took a short break still do a mid-trip walk around to insure the truck is safe, in good shape, and the seal is intact.
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related disorder. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given.
Symptoms of heat stroke include:
· Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
· Throbbing headache
· High body temperature
· Slurred speech
Take the following steps to treat a person with heat stroke:
· Call 911 and notify their supervisor.
· Move the sick person to a cool shaded area.
· Elevate their feet.
· Cool the person using methods such as:
o Soaking their clothes with water.
o Spraying, sponging, or showering them with water.
o Fanning their body.
1. Upon arriving at an intersection be sure to signal early and often to ensure that other motorists know which way your truck is turning.
2. Always make sure to slow down long before a complete stop is necessary. Other motorists do not realize how long it takes for a truck to come to a full stop, so seeing the brake lights early will help to avoid a collision.
3. Keep changing lanes to a minimum as trucking “no zones” or blind spots are large. Be sure to check mirrors every 5 to 7 seconds. When changing lanes use turn signals and double check and continue checking as you gradually change lanes.
4. When routinely checking your vehicle, always be sure to check the headlights, brake lights, and turn signal lights to avoid accidents.
5. When driving slower than the speed limit due to a heavy load or bad weather always use your flashers.
The Four R’s of Driver Wellness:
Refueling: learning better eating practices so bodies and minds perform at their best, providing extra energy and better alertness, especially while driving.
Rejuvenating: improving physical condition through regular exercise, maintaining physical rigor and movement activities to preserve health and to remain physically fit.
Relating: understanding the importance of, and how to enhance relationships with others, both personal and professional. Understanding, too, how those relationships impact personal stress levels, job performance, and health.
Relaxing: becoming calmer in a fast-paced world – both at home and at work – by learning to recognize, control and manage responses to the many stresses of life.
The gear to select for descending a grade should be no higher than the one required for ascending the same grade. Some vehicles may require lower gears going down than going up. Know your vehicle.
Know the speed limit or maximum safe speed and put the truck in the proper gear before starting downhill. When maximum speed is reached, apply the brakes just enough to feel the vehicle start to slow down. Once the vehicle has slowed down by 5MPH – this should take about 3 seconds – release the brakes. Repeat this braking as needed.
If the weather, traffic and road conditions are suitable, use the engine retarder (JAKE brake) to help maintain speed on the downgrade.
Don’t use hand lever to apply only trailer brakes. You could overheat trailer brakes and not have enough capacity in tractor brakes to control speed adequately.
Use the Rest areas or required stops at the top of a hill or mountain to stop and check brake function before descending long, steep grades.
Never try to downshift while descending grade. You may not be able to get into gear and may end up in neutral. You can lose control of the vehicle; followed by serious consequences.
Don't go backward if you can go forward
Don’t go backward if you can go forward is good advice about life—and about driving.
Operating a vehicle in reverse puts you at a disadvantage. It’s difficult to see all obstacles in your way. Because the driver’s seating and the controls are designed primarily for forward travel, it’s hard to respond quickly to changing traffic situations when backing. According to the National Safety Council, 1 in 4 motor vehicle accidents can be attributed to poor backing techniques.
Loading docks, signs, overhanging roofs, cargo and other vehicles are often damaged in backing accidents.
Don’t back unless you have to. Avoid backing up by parking so you can leave going forward. If you miss your destination, don’t back up. Instead, go around the block and try again.
If backing up is unavoidable, here are some ways you can reduce the risks of injury to property and bystanders:
>Before backing a vehicle, make a circle check by walking around the vehicle looking for possible obstructions.
>Use mirrors to see as you back, not an open door. Adjust mirrors before backing.
>Back slowly and cautiously from the time the vehicle is put in motion until it stops.
>Watch for and be prepared for any change in conditions during the movement.
>If you become unsure of where you are, stop immediately and check your surroundings.
>If you have a choice in the direction you will be backing, try to back in from the driver’s side - it will be easier to see where you are going.
>Use a qualified person (another CMV driver) as a spotter to help you back.
>Don’t forget 4-ways & tap of the horn.
Staying Safe When Walking
1. Use closed toe, comfortable shoes that will not slip.
2. Consider what you are wearing and choose clothes that drivers can easily see. Light or bright colors, reflective material and flashing lights are best.
3. If you have a choice about where you walk, choose a route with sidewalks or a shoulder to give yourself space away from traffic.
4. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
5. Important things to carry with you are water, a driver’s license or ID, and a cell phone.
6. Always look for cars before crossing a street or stepping off a curb.
7. Use crosswalks and follow traffic signals when crossing at street lights.
8. Be predictable.
9. Before stepping in front of a car make eye contact with the driver. Make sure they see you, plan on stopping and have time to stop.
10. Don’t put blind faith into traffic control devices. You might have the right-of-way, but walk like drivers do not know the rules.
11. Use all of your senses – including your ears. If you are wearing headphones, keep the volume low so you can hear the traffic and other things around you.
12. Stay alert. Don’t get so lost in conversation or deep thought you don’t notice any traffic hazards around you.
Tail Fin Maneuvering
Trailer skirts have been part of our fleet for a while now, and slowly we are seeing trailers with Tail Fins. The tail fins have proven to provide savings in fuel costs by increasing the average MPG of trucks pulling them over 6.5%.
The material does have some flexibility but drivers need to be wary of the rear clearance on trailers with Tail Fins installed.
When using the tails for trailers, you have to remember when backing up, and there is something behind you, you need to leave extra room for the the tails.
They extend a few feet behind the trailer, so you can’t back up as close to objects as you are used to.
Because of the extra length, especially when turning tight corners, make sure you are double checking your mirrors and are wary of the few extra feet behind your trailer.
Speed Thrills also Kills
Most of the fatal accidents occur due to speeding. It is a natural psyche of humans to excel. If given a chance man is sure to achieve infinity in speed. But when we are sharing the road with others we will always remain behind some other vehicle. Increase in speed multiplies the risk of an accident and severity of injury during accident.
The ability to judge forthcoming events also gets reduced while driving at faster speeds which causes errors in judgment and finally a crash.