Slippery Conditions – Rainand Oil
When we are talking about rain we are talking about everything from a few sprinkles to a heavy downpour.
When should you anticipate problems if it is raining? In the first few minutes after it starts raining, in a heavy downpour, when the temperature is rising or dropping.
The first 10 minutes after light rain begins are the most dangerous. The rain mixes with oil from motor vehicles and oil from new asphalt. The result is a slippery roadway.
If it rains hard and long enough, the rain washes off the oil and the slippery conditions are reduced.
If it rains heavily, there can be moving water on the road way. This creates a situation where hydroplaning is possible. Hydroplaning can happen at speeds as low as 30 mph if there is a lot of water. When your truck hydroplanes, the tires lose contact with the road and have little or no traction. You may not be able to steer or to brake. In severe rain a driver should reduce his or her speed by half. A truck will seldom hydroplane because of its weight. One reason it will hydroplane is if it is going too fast. Slow down. Wet roads can double your stopping distance so reduce your speed by half. You must drive slower to be able to stop in the same distance as on a dry road.
Another reason a truck might hydroplane is low tire pressure. If tires are worn, report it to maintenance and your driver manager so the tires can be replaced.
Check that your windshield wipers are working properly. If not, replace them. Check that you have plenty of washer fluid. Check that window defrosters are working properly.
F.A.Q. about the 30 minute break provision:
Does a driver need a 30-minute break every 8 hours of driving?
The 8 hours are consecutive hours, so they include driving and all other time (including any breaks that are less than 30 minutes). The new rule says you have to stop driving a CMV once you reach 8 consecutive hours past the end of your last break of at least 30 consecutive minutes.
Might some drivers need more than one break each day?
Yes. Drivers who work long days or who take the 30-minute break too early may need two or more breaks in one day. For example, a driver who takes the break after the first hour of the day and who has another 9 hours of driving ahead will need a second break within 8 hours after the end of the first break. The longer the work day, the more likely a second break could be needed (especially if the first break is taken too early).
How do you log the 30-minute break?
To be counted as a valid break (for compliance with the 8-hour/30-minute rule), it must be logged "off duty" or "sleeper berth" for a minimum of 30 consecutive minutes.
Just after sunrise and before sunset the sun will shine directly into drivers’ eyes, leaving many motorists driving with a glare. Driving into the sun can make it much harder to see ahead and is an added risk to drivers.
So how can you protect yourself?
- Invest in polarized sunglasses – they can help reduce glare.
- Utilize your sun visor – it can help to block out the sun.
- Leave more following room – when the sun is in your eyes it can be hard to see what the car ahead is doing. This is one more time when it pays to leave more room between you and the next vehicle.
- Drive with your headlights on to increase your visibility to other drivers.
- Slow Down!
- Keep your windshield clean, inside and out
- Check your windshield for pitting and cracks
- Avoid storing papers or other items on the dashboard
- If having a difficult time seeing the road, use lane markings to help guide you.
Rarely will visibility be absolutely perfect while driving, but if motorists know this and make the proper adjustments, you can minimize any additional risks that come with less-than-optimal visual conditions.
No Headsets or Earbuds While Driving
Other than hearing aids, it is against company to be using “Bluetooth”, headphones, earbuds or other “hands free” or hand held devices while driving. This means while driving you are prohibited from using cell phones (phone calls, texts, IM’s, etc), you can not be adjusting a GPS unit, using a laptop, Qualcomm, or other electronic devices. Doing so is considered a violation of Super Service, LLC policy and many state laws and may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. Super Service, LLC will not be responsible for any fines/citations received by the driver for violating State or Federal laws.
Regardless of what the laws are wherever you may be driving, remember that the most important task while driving is just that – driving. 80% of all crashes and 65% of near-collisions occur within three seconds of a driver distraction, so your time behind the wheel is best spent focused on getting there safely.
Recognizing an Impaired or Distracted Driver
Impaired driving, speeding and distracted driving are the leading causes of traffic crashes. Driving requires the full attention of the person behind the wheel. Driving impaired or distracted slows reaction time and makes you less likely to be able to respond quickly and safely to developing driving situations. Motorists should slow down, pay attention and never drive impaired or allow themselves to become distracted.
You may be observing an impaired or distracted driver if they:
Drive unreasonably fast, slow, or inconsistently.
Weave in or out of their travel lane.
Make frequent lane changes.
Ignore traffic signals and signs.
Drive at night without lights.
Drive too close to curbs, shoulders, and the edge of the road or straddle the center line.
If you do observe someone driving impaired or distracted; give them room! Increase your following distance! If necessary get yourself to a safe place to park and call the authorities. Do not try to engage with the other driver.
Practice Good Housekeeping
Housekeeping is important to everyone’s safety so take time to keep your work area clean – to include your tractor. If you see a hazard, correct it.
Watch for rugs that are lifting up, boxes or other items left in walkways, cords hanging down or wet floors.
Make sure your dashboard is clear. Having items on your dashboard can restrict your vision and is an invitation to be pulled in for inspection.
Having loose items in any vehicle is a known hazard. In the event of an accident or a sudden stop, unrestricted items can be thrown, injuring the vehicle occupants.
If you can’t correct the hazard, report it!
Slow down in turns (including entrance and exit ramps on major roads).
Ramp speed limits are geared for cars, not heavy trucks.
When approaching a ramp, drivers of big trucks must adjust their speed.
When speed is properly reduced, the truck's tires maintain contact with the road at all times.
When speed is not properly reduced the truck's tires will lose contact with the road.
A rollover accident is inevitable!
So slow down!
When entering a curve in the road, you may need to slow down.
Rollover accidents can happen for numerous reasons including taking a curve too fast, overcompensating to get back on the road when your tires slip off the road, and high winds.
If water or slush collects on the road you are in danger of hydroplaning. It’s like water skiing – the tires lose their contact with the road have little or no traction. You may not be able to steer or brake. You can regain control by releasing the accelerator and pushing in the clutch. This will slow your vehicle and let the wheels turn freely.
If your vehicle is hydroplaning, do not use the brakes to slow down. If the drive wheels start to skid, push the clutch in to let them turn freely. It does not take a lot of water to cause hydroplaning. Hydroplaning can occur at speeds as low as 30 mph if there is a lot of water.
Hydroplaning is more likely if tire pressure is low, or the tread is worn (The grooves in a tire carry away the water; if they aren't deep, they don't work well). Road surfaces where water can collect can create conditions which cause a vehicle to hydroplane. Watch for clear reflections, tire splashes, and raindrops on the road. These are indications of standing water.
Always buckle up, no matter how short the trip - remember, buckling up is required by law.
Make wearing safety belts a family policy. This will protect your loved ones no matter whose car they are in.
Insist anyone riding in your vehicle buckle up. This will keep others safe when they're with you, and you might get them in the habit of wearing a safety belt.
Wear your safety belt correctly. This means the shoulder harness is worn over the shoulder, not under the arm. The lap belt should be positioned below the waist.
Even if your vehicle has airbags, wear your safety belt. Airbags are Supplemental Restraint Systems (SRS), just like it says on the steering wheel. This means they work with safety belts, not in place of them.
When riding in the sleeper berth strap in using the safety netting.
Spring into Safer Driving
- Spring showers bring May flowers—and wet driving conditions. Slow down on slick roads. Keep in mind that even a small amount of water can mix with oil and road dust to create slippery conditions.
- Be sure your vehicle is ready for rain by replacing your windshield wipersat least once a year. Don’t drive faster than your wipers can clear water from the windshield.
- Avoid driving through large puddles, which can impair your brakes, cloud your vision, or cause you to hydroplane and lose control of your vehicle. If you can’t avoid a puddle and find your vehicle hydroplaning, gently ease your foot off of the accelerator—do not brake.
- Share the road. Warm weather brings motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians out on the roads. Be extra cautious around intersections and in residential communities.
- Understand the impact of medications on driving. Over-the-counter allergy drugs can have side effects or interact with other medications to cause drowsiness or diminish your driving ability.
- If possible, go around potholes. Potholes—an after-effect of winter weather—can hurt your tires or throw your car’s front end out of alignment. If you can’t avoid a pothole, try to slow down, as the damage can be costly to fix.
- Keep your tires properly inflated. Doing so can reduce damage from potholes, uneven pavement, and other road hazards.