Jake Brake and Cruise Control
With the weather turning it is important to remember your Engine Retarder (Jake Brake) and Cruise Control should be turned off when the roads become slippery from snow and ice.
Your Jake brake only slows your tractor, not your trailer. When on a slick surface 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 turnsbad.
Using cruise control gives you a false sense of safe driving in bad weather. You should drive more slowly than usual in bad weather. This decreases the chance of skids and accidents. Your cruise control does not know the difference in road surface types, this makes having it activated dangerous, because it will not allow you to slow down during a skid and you will continually accelerate. This does not allow you, the driver, to regain control of the vehicle.
So, if the roadway is wet, snowy, or icy, leave extra space between you and the cars ahead, slow down and turn off your Jake Brake and Cruise Control, otherwise you're putting your own and others' lives in danger.
Drivers can prevent accidents by giving "right-of-way" until it is apparent that right-of-way is being given by the other driver.
Generally the driver who arrives last gives right-of-way to those who were already there. You give right-of-way when entering traffic. You give right-of-way when turning left in front of approaching traffic. You give right-of-way when changing lanes. You move into your intended path or direction only after you are assured you will not conflict with other traffic.
Do not force other drivers to brake or steer because of your obstructive maneuver into their path.
Assume other drivers will not see you, or avoid you, when you maneuver into their path.
Move into your intended path or direction only after you are assured you will not conflict with other traffic.
Remember: It is much better to give up the right of way than to risk a crash.
BLACK ICE: A hazard for drivers
During the winter, one hazard to be mindful of when behind the wheel is black ice. Black ice,which can be almost invisible,forms when the air temperature is warmer than pavement, which causes moisture to rapidly freeze and create a thin, transparent layer of ice on the roadway.
To help avoid an incident it is recommended that you observe the following tips:
1) Be especially careful when driving on bridges, overpasses and tunnels, and in the early morning when the air temperature rises faster than the pavement temperature.
2) Avoid brake usewhile driving on ice. Applying hardpressure to your brakes while on ice will cause a vehicle to skid. Brake only during your approach and adjust your speed!
3) Keep your following distance. The distance needed to stop on ice is at least twice as long as for normal driving circumstances. Keep at least 14 seconds of distance behind the vehicle in front of your truck.
4) Salting and sanding can neutralize black ice. However, drivers should be aware that salt loses its effectiveness at about 15 degrees F or colder.
Staying Safe Around Snowplows
In the winter, snowplow drivers are out on the roads to keep them clear of snow and ice and keep you safe. Here’s what you need to know about driving around snowplows:
Distance: Give snowplows room to work. The plows are wide and can cross the centerline or shoulder. Don’t tailgate and try not to pass. If you must pass, take extreme caution and beware of the snow cloud.
Speed: Snowplows travel below the posted speed limit. Be patient. Allow plenty of time to slow down. Remember, Ice and Snow, Take it Slow.
Vision: A snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they don’t always see you. Keep your distance and watch for sudden stops or turns.
Do not stop in the path of a snowplow trying to clean a parking area.
An estimated 43 million people will be traveling this holiday weekend. 90% of those will be driving. We are thankful for all you do to keep the roads safe.
Be safe and have a great Thanksgiving.
How to Go on Ice and Snow:
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Slowly accelerating is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
- Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, and turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly (cut speed by at least 1/3 to 1/2 of the posted speed limit).
- The normal dry pavement following distance of 7 seconds should be increased to 12 or more seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed to see further up the road and increased reaction time if you have to stop.
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
- Don’t power up hills. Applying too much acceleration on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill to carry you to the top. Don’t stop while going up the hill. As you reach the crest, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
- Eliminate or minimize passing. It’s not a race; Slow and steady still wins.
Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.
As if the holiday season isn't already stressful enough… an eight-hour drive to my parents' house with my 3 kids, my niece and nephew, the dog, and all the holiday gifts. The kids can’t behave for more than an hour. The dog is barking at everything we pass. I always end up yelling, threatening to leave one of them at the rest stop, or crying (for sympathy).
Whatever gifts haven’t been bought, will be addressed during the dreaded Black Friday!
Got any tips on how we can keep our cool and not completely lose the holiday spirit before we even get there?
You don't need to answer this question; you need to remember this is the family driving next to you this holiday season. So don't get frustrated when driving gets worse this holiday season. Start early, drive slower, give the four wheeler more space and be thankful you are not one of the kids in this van! Have a safe holiday.
While you may know what your “No-Zone”is other drivers on the road with you,may not. Watch out for vehicles in your No-Zone. It’s a dangerous area which includes your blind spots and represents one-third of all crashes between large trucks and cars.
Posted in Safety
There’s a Reason it’s Called a Speed "Limit" and Not a Suggestion!
Limited visibility comes in the form of poorly cleaned cab windows, mirrors, lights, and reflectors. Blowing snow and ice, and passing vehicles kicking up snow and ice in front of your truck add to the problem of visibility.
Some tips to address limited visibility include:
Clean your windshield, side windows, lights, reflectors, and mirror before you leave and at every stop. If you can't see, or can’t be seen, you are not driving safely.
Pre-trip theequipment- Be certain all hoses and belts, brakes, lights, and tires are in good condition to not break down and leave you on the side of the road in the cold.
Carry extra fluids, especially wiper fluid, and an extra set of wiper blades.
For personal safety, when getting out of your vehicle, wear light colored clothing and a reflective vest to promote being seen by others.