Anytime you have an incident such as needing a tow, a fender bender, a crash, a DOT Roadside Inspection, a written warning, or a citation you must report it as soon as possible. Also any documentation should be copied and provided to the Safety Department within 24 hours. This can be handled by directly handing the documentation to a Safety Manager, emailing it, or faxing it.
It doesn’t matter how minor you think the incident is; it must be reported.
Picking a Safe Place to Park
The best time to think about leaving a location is when you arrive.
Look around when you pull into a parking lot and use that information to choose the safest (and easiest) legal place to park that will also be the safest and easiest place to exit.
Try to park under lights and away from other vehicles. Parking further away from the entrance of a facility is usually better than parking close where there is more traffic. Besides, the exercise will be an added benefit.
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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 oravoid 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.
Brakes: The Right Way, Every Day - part 2
Out of Cab: Look for dripping fluids on underside of engine and transmission. Inspect hoses for condition and leaks.
Check Slack Adjustersfor broken, loose, or missing parts. The angle between the push rod and adjuster arm should be a little over 90 degrees when the brakes are released and not less than 90 degrees when the brakes are applied. When pulled by hand, the push rod should not move more than one inch (with the brakes released).
Check thebrake chambers are not leaking, cracked, or dented and are mounted securely.
Look for cracked, worn, or leaking hoses/lines, and couplings.
Checkbrake drumsfor cracks, dents, or holes. Also, check for loose or missing bolts. Brake linings (where visible) should not be worn dangerously thin.
Listen for air leaks. Check that air hoses and electrical lines are not cut, chafed, spliced, or worn (steel braid should not show through). Make sure air and electrical lines are not tangled, pinched, or dragging against tractor parts. Make sure glad hands are locked in place, free of damage or air leaks. Make sure the trailer electrical plug is firmly seated and locked in place.
Open the release valves to empty water and debris on both tractor and trailer, and then close the valves.
Put a stick between seat and brake pedal to make sure pedal is depressed, walk toward rear of vehicle and listen for leaks. Once at rearvisibly check the brake lights are on.
Brakes: The Right Way, Every Day
In the Cab: Apply parking brake only (yellow valve), and make sure it will hold the vehicle by shifting into a lower gear and gently pull against the brakes. Do the same for the trailer (red valve).
Wait for normal air pressure, release the parking brake and trailer air supply button. Move the vehicle forward slowly (about 5 mph), and apply the brakes firmly using the brake pedal. Note if vehicle is “pulling” to one side, unusual feel, or delayed stopping action.
Confirm that the correct cut-out governor pressure for the air compressor is between 120 psi and 135 psi. Cut-in pressure is 20 psi to 25 psi below cut-out pressure.
Turn key to the on position; with parking brakeand trailer air supply valvepushed in, apply firm pressure to the service brake pedal. Watch the air supply gauge and listen for leaks. After the initial pressure drop, the loss rate should be no more than 4 psi in one minute.
Withthe key inthe on position rapidly apply and release the service brake pedal to reduce air tank pressure. The low air pressure warning signal must come on before the pressure drops to less than 60 psi in the air tank.
Continue to rapidly apply and release the service brake pedal to further reduce air tank pressure. The trailer air supply valveand parking brake valveshould pop out when the air pressure falls to the manufacturer’s specification (usually between 20 to 40 psi).
Startthe engine, the pressure should build from 85 to 100 psi within 4 minutesin dual air systems.
Tune in tomorrow for the Out of Cab part of the brake inspection.
Too much or too little air pressure(always use your heavy duty tire guage. Do not rely on “thumping.”)
Wear: You need at least 4/32 inch tread depth in each major groove on the front steer tires. You need 2/32 inch on all other tires.
No fabric should show through the tread or sidewall.
Cuts or other damage.
Dual tires that come in contact with each other or parts of the vehicle.
Cut or cracked valve stems.
Report any issues to breakdown.
Turn Signal Etiquette
The proper use of turn signals gives other drivers on the road – and in parking lots - time to react to your moves. Drivers need to use their turn signals before changing lanes, turning right or left, merging into traffic and parking. Get into the habit of signaling every time you change direction.
Signal even when you do not see anyone else around.
Signal as early as you can. The flasher should blink at about seven times before you make your move. Try to signal at least 100 feet before a turn if the speed limit is 45 mph or less. If the speed limit is faster than 45 mph, try to signal at least 300 feet before you turn.
Be careful you do not signal too early. If there are streets, driveways or entrances between you and where you want to turn, wait until you have passed them to signal.
If another vehicle is about to enter the street between you and where you plan to turn, wait until you have passed it to signal your turn. If you signal earlier, the other driver may think you plan to turn where that driver is and he or she might pull into your path.
After you have made a turn or lane change, make sure your turn signal is off. If you do not, other drivers might think you plan to turn again.
It’s important to make a habit of properly using your turn signals, even in parking lots. Don’t rely on the guesswork of other motorists. Make your intentions known as much as possible.
Cleared for Take Off
"Cleared for take off", those are the words from the tower to a pilot okaying him to leave the runway. Before the pilot hears that command he has performed a series of functions, among them, his pre-flight check. All of us have seen it in the movies, the pilot going over the instruments and controls while the co-pilot checks off a list. It doesn't matter if it's a twin engine freighter or a jumbo jet full of passengers, the pre-flight check gets done. So it should be with truckers.
All commercial truck drivers are required by law to perform a pre-trip inspection before hitting the road. Rarely do problems occur without warning. The flat tire started with a slow leak or low tread. Minor problems that were indicators of things to come should be identified and addressed.
Drivers owe it to themselves, their families and the driving public to make sure their rigs are safe and in good mechanical condition. So before you give yourself clearance to take off, make sure your truck has passed your pre-flight (trip) inspection.