Drivers who are generally more health conscious in their beliefs and behaviors, and who are more physically fit, are more likely to maintain continuously high levels of driving alertness and attention.
The top critical health risks to commercial vehicle drivers include: smoking and tobacco use; obesity (being overweight); hypertension (high blood pressure); poor eating habits, diet and nutrition; using alcohol, drugs and other chemical substances; lack of physical activity/physical fitness; and psychological stress and mental fitness.
Develop an exercise and fitness program to improve stamina and strength. If you are fit from exercising routinely, you will also reduce stress and improve your mental wellbeing.
Maintaining a healthy diet helps you to sustain the necessary energy and alertness needed to drive safely.
In addition to being more effective at work, improving and maintaining your health will improve your chances of living longer, spending more quality time with your family and enjoying your hobbies and other fun and important parts of life.
Day Light Savings Time
On Sunday it will be time to once again change the clocks as Daylight Saving Time takes place at 2 a.m. While "springing forward" means a loss hour of sleep that may cause some people to feel sluggish on Sunday and Monday, most will quickly adjust. However, for a significant number of Americans, losing just one hour of sleep and having to wake up when the timing of your biological clock has not yet adjusted can affect performance and safety.
To prepare for the time change go to sleep earlier on Saturday and Sunday night, and get exposure to bright outdoor or indoor light in the morning, which will help acclimate your body's clock to the new time.
The idea of daylight saving was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin during his sojourn as an American delegate in Paris in 1784, in an essay, "An Economical Project."
Check Yes or No before You Drive
As a driver you must be in good physical and mental condition to drive. Before you drive make sure you are comfortable with your physical and mental state, your vehicle, the weather, and the route in which you will be driving. If you have any doubts about any of them, don't drive.
Here are some points to remember:
Never drive when you are sick or injured.
Never drive when you are tired. You might fall asleep at the wheel.
Stress and fatigue can affect your driving ability. Your thinking slows down. You can miss seeing things; you may make the wrong decision or not make the right one fast enough.
Never drive when you are upset or angry. Strong emotions can reduce your ability to think and react quickly, or make you more aggressive with other road users.
Communicate with other road users to make sure they see you and know what you are doing. Catch the eye of pedestrians and drivers at intersections. If you want to get another person's attention, tap your horn.
Stay alert when driving at night, and whenever weather conditions reduce your visibility.
Slips, Trips & Falls
Slips, trips, and falls are the number one cause of injury on the job. The injuries caused by slips, trips, and falls are also the most severe and costly.
Injuries caused by cranking trailer dollies, pulling fifth wheel pins, and lifting freight can all be avoided.
Always use three limbs (also known as the three point stance) when getting into or out of your truck. Exit the cab with your body facing the vehicle. NEVER JUMP from the vehicle.
Keep both hands free by putting anything you’re carrying into the cab before you climb in.
Be especially careful in your footing around your vehicle and wherever you walk in bad weather or around a fuel island.
Wear proper footwear!
Look in the Mirror
Drivers are 10 times more likely to be the cause of their own accidents when compared to weather, road conditions and vehicle performance.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) cited speeding, fatigue, driver inattention, prescription medication, and over-the-counter drugs as contributing factors leading to driver error, and an increase in serious trucking accidents.
Make checking yourself for readiness a part of your Pre-Trip Inspection.
The March 2015 edition of the Super Service Newletter is now available!
Whenever you follow another vehicle, you need enough space to stop safely if the other vehicle brakes suddenly.
A safe following distance for trucks is at least 7 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you.
Follow the 7-second rule by picking a marker on the road ahead, such as a road sign or pole. When the rear of the vehicle ahead passes the marker, count "one thousand one, one thousand two, etc". When the front of your vehicle reaches the marker, stop counting. If you reach it before you count "one thousand seven," you are following too closely.
Leave more than a 7-second distance in bad weather and when following large vehicles that block your view of the road ahead.
Leave more space when your vehicle is heavily loaded.
Leave more space when following smaller, lighter vehicles, such as motorcycles, that can stop more quickly than you.
Think! If they stop, can you?
Stay Safe by Doing a Proper Pre-Trip
A proper Pre-Trip should be done rain or shine, but it becomes even more important in the winter.
Make sure all lights work because half of them will be covered in road grime after 50 miles in the snow.
Drain air from both the truck’s tanks and the trailer’s. Condensation in the air lines is the #1 cause of frozen air tanks.
Check your tires with an air gauge (during winter tires tend to lose air pressure faster than in warmer weather). Having a flat tire can be catastrophic when we pull off to the shoulder only to find that after we get the tire fixed we need to be winched out of the snow because the shoulder was really a mud hole covered by snow. A breakdown on the truck in sub-zero temperatures could quickly turns into a life threatening situation.
Checking tire pressures with a good gauge will head off citations for low inflation pressure as well as prevent many types of tire damage which could lead to a crash.
Take an honest look: Is it trashy or neat, cluttered or tidy, dirty or clean?
A driver's recent encounter with Georgia DOT says the officer stated “when inspecting trucks, a dirty windshield with trash on the dash is usually the first to be inspected and if a driver is running so hard as not to wash his or her windows, they are probably not current on their log books, or they have expired permits, registrations, and other violations."
In addition to what’s on the dash, make sure your windshield is clear of objects. The new PrePass Plus is supposed to be mounted 2” right of center and 2-3” above the dash (it should not be at the top of the windshield!). A GPS can be mounted within the top 6” center portion of your windshield, but a proactive approach is to have a cup holder mount. Phones should not be mounted (reading text messages or looking to see who is calling is an unnecessary distraction; let it ring and go to voice mail – call them back when you are safely parked).
How often do you check your permit book? Despite multiple messages regarding this, it seems each month 1 or more drivers will receive a violation in relation to their permit book or credentials.
All drivers are responsible for their Permit Books and the contents. Super Service Permit Books are 3 ring binders, and the contents should be in page protector sheets. It is extremely important that the contents are in a neat orderly fashion. As a driver you should check the contents at least once a month for expiration dates. Each terminal has copies of the current permits for you to update your permit books. You should NEVER have any expired permits, insurance cards or registrations in your permit book.
Check equipment for current plates, IFTA stickers, NYHUT, PM Inspection stickers, and registrations. Check your personal credentials and renew before they expire; CDL’s, and med cards (make sure your licensed state has the most recent copy w/self certification).
Is your Emergency Response Book within arms reach? Do you have a blank log book in case the Elog malfunctions and cannot be repaired until seen by a shop?
If in doubt have a member of the Safety Dept check your permit book.