BLT – Brakes, Lights, and Tires: These are the three items that the DOT will rigorously check every time you have an inspection. Learning how to check each of these systems is critical for your safety and success on the road.
Fact: Your tires are the only part of the truck that touches the road. They accelerate or stop your vehicle and take you where ever you need it to go. Your tires are the tool used to maintain control of your vehicle and they are the essential tool to safely keep you on the road. You only need to consider the effects of a tire blowout to realize how much is riding on them. It’s even more amazing when you realize that 595 square feet and 40 tons are supported and controlled by those 18 wheels.
Make sure those wheels are always up to the job.
Sharing the Road
Remember, as professional truck drivers we can’t expect that the motoring public will always follow these tips. Make sure you practice good space management and use the SMITH System Basics to help protect yourself and those around you.
Tip 1. Pass trucks with caution. While passing beside trucks, do so on the left side and with consistent speed to allow maximum visibility of passing vehicle.
Tip 2. Do not linger near trucks. Giving trucks plenty of space allows the driver of a smaller vehicle to maneuver appropriately. With enough distance away from trucks, drivers of smaller vehicles can avoid dangerous scenarios like tire shreds hitting their wind shields in case of tire blow-outs, trucks rolling over, and hitting the truck that abruptly stops.
Tip 3. When trucks “swing wide” or move away from a curb in order to make a turn at a corner, do not rush into the space between the truck and the curb. Keep in mind that the longer the truck, the greater turning radius it makes.
Tip 4. Avoid blind spots. Make sure that the truck driver in front sees the vehicle driving behind in his two side mirrors. The front, sides and rear of a truck are considered blind spots where around one-third of cars and truck accidents occur.
Tip 5. Signal sooner not later. Because of their size and weight, trucks require more distance and time to slow down. Before stopping, changing lanes or turning near trucks, signal the driver early.
A Shoe in for Safety
The foot is something that doesn’t get much attention unless there is a problem. Therefore, to avoid possible injury, it’s important to think about safeguarding the foot before undertaking any job.
Workers may be exposed to various hazardous conditions on the job, including slippery surfaces, climbing hazards, handling or working around heavy equipment and machinery.
When choosing safety footwear, you must select the legally approved shoe or boot required for the job activity, equipment, and situation.
Safety shoes or boots with impact protection should be worn when workers carry or handle materials such as heavy packages, objects, parts or tools and for other activities where objects may fall onto the foot.
Company Policy states: No open toed shoes. Flip Flops and sandals are not proper footwear around the truck, the yard, the customer or the terminal. You must wear the proper footwear when climbing in and out of the tractor or trailer, and while driving.
Driving involves the coordination of your vision and reflexes. Anything that distracts your eyes or mind from the road or takes your hands off the wheel is considered a driving distraction.
DISTRACTED DRIVER AWARENESS MONTH
The National Safety Counsel has declared April Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
Eighty percent of American drivers believe hands-free devices are safer than using a handheld phone. But that is just not the case. More than 30 studies show hands-free devices are no safer because the brain remains distracted by the conversation.
When talking on a cell phone, drivers can miss seeing up to half of what's around them, such as traffic lights, stop signs and pedestrians.There is no safe way to use a cell phone and drive – even with a hands-free device. Protect the ones you love – including yourself – and pledge to stop using your phone behind the wheel. Calls kill. No one should ever die from such a completely preventable cause.
I will not use my cell phone while driving in any way, including:
Having a phone conversation – handheld or hands-free
I dedicate my pledge to: _________________ (for example, to your children because you want to see them graduate).
Avoiding the Rear End Collision
Approximately 32% of vehicle crashes are caused by rear end collisions. Rear-end collisions can be avoided by staying alert and maintaining a proper following distance. This provides the driver time to identify a hazard and implement the necessary response. The appropriate Space Cushion should be maintained in all driving situations to allow time to respond to changing traffic situations.
A car needs a minimum 4 second following distance.
Buses and Semi-trucks need at least 7 seconds.
For a speed of travel over 40 mph, add 1 second to the above rules.
For adverse driving conditions, add 2-5 additional seconds.
When the vehicle ahead of you passes a fixed object (tree, sign, pole, etc.) on the side of the road start counting - one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, etc. If you pass the fixed object before you finish counting to the appropriate number, you are following too close and need to increase your following distance.
Get in the habit - follow at a proper distance!
One of the most important things you can do to prevent being injured in a tornado is to be ALERT to the onset of severe weather. Most deaths and injuries happen to people who are unaware and uninformed. Listen to the radio, check any warnings on TV, sign up for alerts to be sent to your phone and seek assistance if you hear an emergency warning siren in your area.Stay aware and you will stay alive!
If you are in a building seek the lowest level of the building and the smallest enclosed room of that level. A basement room with no windows is the best place. If no basement is available, bathrooms, interior closets, or interior hallways are the best places to be.
If you are at a customer, truck stop or other location away from home or work, follow instructions for shelter given by the employees.
If you are driving and there is a tornado watch, be alert to the possibility and pull over to a safe, legal place if needed. If there is a tornado warning in your area and it is safe to do so, pull over to safe, legal place until the threat is over. If you see a tornado, do not try to drive out of it. Pull off the road and get out of your vehicle into a low ditch. Take your cell phone with you to call for help.
The April 2015 edition of the Super Service Newletter is now available!
REGISTRATION CARDS IN EFFECT APRIL 1ST
After midnight tonight the old registration for your truck is invalid. For weeks we have sent messages regarding this. If you do not have your new tractor registration in your permit book, and cannot get to a terminal beforehand, contact your driver manager and provide them with a number so they can fax it to you.
Check all your permits, insurance card, IFTA registration, etc. There should be no expired items in your permit book. The Quick Reference cards for Hours of Service and Vehicle Inspection Reports must also be in there.
Your truck should have current plates and stickers, IFTA, Periodic Inspection, and NYHUT. Check trailer plates, periodic inspection stickers, and registrations as well.
A couple of more reminders: Your Emergency Response Guide must be within hands reach without having to unbuckle the seat belt (Door pocket is best place); you must have a blank log book on your truck at all times.
The Safe Way to Get-A-Grip
For years, driving instructors advised new drivers to grip the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions. But those are no longer the recommended hand positions.
The new recommendations are either the 9 and 3 o’clock position, or 8 and 4 o’clock. These positions reduce the possibility of turning the wheel too sharply and also reduce the risk of hand injury during a crash.
To help prevent forearm and hand injuries, your hands should be placed on the lower half of the steering wheel, with your knuckles on the outside of the wheel and your thumbs stretched along the rim of the steering wheel.
Pull-push steering is best for most turning maneuvers. Put your hands in the 8 and 4 o’clock positions. Pull down with one hand and push up with the other. This results in smooth steering and reduces the potential for over steering, which can lead to loss of control. Keep your hands and thumbs on the outside of the wheel.
Hand-over-hand steering works best when steering movements are critical, such as when:
- Performing sharp right turns
- Correcting a skid
Use quick movements on entry to the maneuver, and then use slow, smooth movements when straightening the wheel.