Our eyes are accustomed to functioning at walking speeds usually only looking 3-6 seconds ahead of ourselves to avoid tripping over something. While traveling on the roadways at much higher speeds we need to develop a habit to keep ahead of the various conditions presented to us on the road. Train yourself to look (eye lead time) 15 seconds, or more, ahead to acquire better information about what is in your path so you have more time to maneuver and avoid collisions.
When you Aim High you give yourself time to think and plan ahead for low overhangs, tree branches, bridges, road grades, traffic light changes, intersections, and potential hazards caused by other vehicles in front of you.
Giving yourself at least 7 seconds of following distance will insure the vehicle in front of you doesn’t block your 15 seconds of eye lead time.
Check for Leaks
Check for leaks under the truck, under the hood, all your wheels, all your tires, and every air line. A visual or audible leak is a sign of an avoidable breakdown, or accident in your future.
Just because we are kings of the road does not mean we make the rules.
You must follow the rules of the road are you will have someone reminding you about them.
Always check your tire pressures as part of your pre-trip inspection with the use of a good tire gauge. Also, a good time to do this is while you’re waiting at a dock to be loaded or unloaded.
Maintain a Healthy Heart
The American Heart Association encourages Americans to work toward four simple goals that can lead to a healthy heart: take advantage of preventive screenings to detect problems early; avoid tobacco, drugs, and excessive alcohol; develop good eating habits; and exercise daily. Many of the factors that lead to heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and obesity, can be controlled with commonsense steps and healthy lifestyles.
Being physically active will help protect you.
Children should have 60 minutes of at least moderate-intensity physical activity each day at a minimum. This level of physical activity reduces the risk of inappropriate weight gain.
Adults should have at least 30 minutes of moderate activity daily.
The longer one exercises the greater the benefits: two hours of exercise a week raises the good fats in the blood, thus protecting the heart.
Make Sure It’s Secure!
Whenever possible, examine your cargo, use load straps and load locks to minimize the movement. Take curves slowly, no sudden starts or stops. Don’t forget to secure the cargo inside your cab; TV’s, duffle bags, tools, etc and most importantly yourself!
USE YOUR SEATBELT!
The 8, 11, 14, and 70 hour rules are in place to help prevent fatigue driving. Driving Beyond the Legal Hours of Service is an Ingredient to an Unhealthy Recipe!
13% of Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers were considered to have been fatigued at the time of their crash.
TIP # 1: GET ENOUGH SLEEP BEFORE GETTING BEHIND THE WHEEL.
TIP # 2: MAINTAIN A HEALTHY DIET.
TIP # 3: TAKE A NAP. Did you know? Short naps are more effective at restoring energy levels than coffee.
TIP # 4: AVOID MEDICATION THAT MAY INDUCE DROWSINESS.
TIP # 5: RECOGNIZE THE SIGNALS AND DANGERS OF DROWSINESS: frequent yawning, heavy eyes, and blurred vision.
TIP # 6: DO NOT RELY ON “ALERTNESS TRICKS” TO KEEP YOU AWAKE. The only cure for fatigue is sleep!
Avoid Drawing Attention:
How we behave on road can draw attention to us. We must observe local laws, weight limits and equipment requirements. Take the time to do your Pre and Post Trip, and do a good en-route inspection before reentering your vehicle after every stop. Make sure you observe signs and their notices and scale your loads. These behaviors will help keep you safe and compliant.
Ice on your windshield or back of your mirror means ice on the road. When you see ice, slow down! The ice doesn’t have to be packed on the roadway to be dangerous – thin ice can quickly develop into a thick problem.
It is a CDL Driver’s obligation to ensure that their vehicle is in a safe operating condition. It’s easy to check your headlights, tail lights, and turn signals. But, without someone standing behind your vehicle, how do you check to make sure your brake lights are operating when you press the brake pedal?
The answer is: With the key in the ON Position, place a heavy object or a stick between the driver’s seat and the pedal (a tire thumper works well for this), then walk to the rear of the vehicle and look. Some driver’s will tell you that pulling the trolley trailer handle down will work too, but the fact is that is a different switch. If you have a trolley valve, you need to check that too.
Not having working brake lights is a serious safety violation. It is an invitation for DOT to pull you over for inspection, will add points to yours and the company’s CSA score, will earn you a citation up to $5000.00, and worse, can become the cause of a disastrous accident, medical fees, funeral fees, lawyer fees, and prison time!