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  1. Don’t Let Driving in Fog Leave You in a Daze

    Fog can occur at any time. Fog on highways can be extremely dangerous. Fog is often unexpected, and visibility can deteriorate rapidly. You should watch for foggy conditions and be ready to reduce your speed. Do not assume that the fog will thin out after you enter it.

    The best advice for driving in fog is, don’t.  Preferably you should pull off the road into a rest area or truck stop until visibility is better. If you must drive, be sure to consider the following:

    ·         Obey all fog-related warning signs.

    ·         Slow down and increase your following distance before you enter fog. Make sure you can stop your vehicle within the distance you can see.

    ·         Use low-beam headlights and fog lights for best visibility even in daytime, and be alert for other drivers who may have forgotten to turn on their lights.

    ·         Do not use high beams as the light will actually reflect off the fog and reduce visibility.

    ·         Use your windshield wipers and defrosters to keep your windshield as clear as possible.

    ·         Turn on your 4-way flashers. This will give vehicles approaching you from behind a quicker opportunity to notice your vehicle.

    ·         Watch for vehicles on the side of the roadway. Seeing taillights or headlights in front of you may not be a true indication of where the road is ahead of you. The vehicle may not be on the road at all.

    ·         Use roadside highway reflectors as guides to determine how the road may curve ahead of you.

    ·         Listen for traffic you cannot see.

    ·         Avoid passing other vehicles.

    ·          Don't stop along the side of the road, unless absolutely necessary.

    Accidents like this nasty pile up are a driver’s worst nightmare.

  2. Avoid an HOS Violation

    by Knowing & Obeying the Rules

    Fines can really add up when serious Hours of Service or log falsification violations are discovered. Make sure you do not exceed your driving time.

    Drivers who reach the hours of service limits must stop driving a commercial motor vehicle. “Driving time” means all time spent at the driving controls of a CMV in operation. This includes time spent in slow traffic, or traffic at a standstill, or other delays on impassable highways. 

    The concept of a “safe haven” only applies to drivers operating vehicles containing explosive materials, and affects when those drivers are eligible to be off duty (see Section 397.5 of the FMC Safety Regulations book). For all other drivers, there is no exception which says they can exceed the hours of service limits to reach a safe haven! In fact, the hours of service rules make no mention of safe havens.  It is incumbent on drivers to look for parking well before they reach their final minutes of allowed driving, if they do exceed their hours they are in violation and must note on their log the reason for exceeding their hours. They must then take the proper break period to be compliant to drive again.

    Planning and good communication is essential. Don’t just accept a Pre-plan load assignment if you know you do not have the hours to legally run. Instead communicate with your DM and let them know what you can and cannot do. Pickup and delivery times may need to be adjusted or a repower of the load may be the best option. If you run into delays which will cause you to have to shut down before delivery can legally be made let your DM know as far in advance as possible so arrangements can be made to keep you driving legally.

  3. DID YOU KNOW?

    Jul 28

    Posted in Safety

    DID YOU KNOW?

    The FMCSA states the following:

    ·         Passengers:Drivers must have written authorization from the carrier before transporting any person on a CMV other than a bus. The authorization must include the name of the passenger, the beginning and ending points of transportation, the date the authorization expires, a signature from an authorized agent of the carrier.

    ·         Glasses & Hearing Aids:Drivers who need corrective lenses and/or hearing aids to meet physical requirements must wear them at all times while driving. Drivers with hearing aids must have a spare power source.

    ·         Radar Detectors:Drivers are prohibited from operating the vehicle if it is equipped with a radar detector.

    ·         Lamps/reflective material: Required lamps and reflective materials may not be obscured or covered by the load, dirt, vehicle equipment, etc.

    ·         Fueling: Drivers may not fuel a CMV with the engine running (unless it’s impossible otherwise). Drivers may not smoke or have a flame exposed near a CMV being fueled.

    ·         Emergency Equipment:Drivers are required to have and use emergency equipment when and as needed including fire extinguishers, warning triangles, and spare fuses.

  4. PARKING ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD IS PROHIBITED

    1.   You are not to stop alongside the road or interstate (including on and off ramps) unless it is an actual emergency or you are instructed to by an authorized official. An actual emergency is defined as a situation that affects the safety of you, the public, your equipment or load.

    2.   If you must stop alongside the road for a declared emergency, turn on your 4-ways and protect the scene by setting out your emergency reflective triangles. Proper placement of the triangles is found in the FMCSR pocketbook section 392.22(b). Do not hesitate in getting warning signals placed.

    3.   Stopping to read/send a Qualcomm message, use a cell phone, check a map, get something to eat/drink, etc. are not emergencies and you may not park alongside the road. Find a rest area, truck stop, or other legal safe location for these activities.

    4.   Do not ever drive or stop on a shoulder that slopes or that is not paved as it may give way and cause the equipment to overturn.                                                       

    PROPER TRIANGLE PLACEMENT
  5. Know Your Dimensions:

    Jul 26

    Posted in Safety

     

    Know Your Dimensions:

    Too often driver’s find themselves on a truck restricted route simply because they are unaware of the dimensions of their equipment. Save yourself a citation and CSA points by learning these standards(SHOULD BE IN YOUR PERMIT BOOK):

    Width of trailer 102” = 8’6”

    Height of trailer 13’6”

    Length of Tractor with Sleeper + 53’ trailer = 72’ to 75’. If your trailer has the rear aerodynamic tail wings add 3 more feet.

    A 53’ trailer the kingpin to tandem standard measurement is a minimum 37’ and maximum of 41’ to the midway point between the two rear axles of the trailer tandem. Different states have bridge laws that may allow different maximums. Example: MI the maximum allowed is 40’; CA maximum is also 40’ to the rear axle.

    Weight standards are 80,000 lbs gross- 12,000 lbs on the steers, 34,000 lbs on the drives, and 34,000 lbs on the trailer tandems.  You should always scale your load, and know your weights before going over a DOT Regulated Scale.

  6. Staying Healthy

    Jul 25

    Posted in Safety

     

    Staying Healthy

     

    The life of a truck driver is fun for many who pursue the open road; however, it is easy to be unhealthy in this profession. Driving a truck all day, sleeping in a cab, and eating at truck stops can lead a trucker down an unhealthy path. However, there are ways to stay healthy as a trucker if that is your goal. Here’s 10 suggestions:

    1.Identify that you need to become healthier as a trucker if you are not already.As with most bad habits, a person has to admit that there is a problem and want to change it.

    2.Plan your day and include times to stop for food, snack, and exercise.

    3.Eat healthier food.Change the places where you eat if they only offer unhealthy options.  Review the menu that is offered and learn which items are healthier.

    4.Carry healthy snacks in your truck.Eat healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, or protein bars, and cut down on your portion sizes when eating lunch and dinner.

    5.Always have water available in your truck, and drink it often.

    6.Quit smoking, if you haven't already.

    7.Make time to exercise every day.When you schedule your route for the day, fit in time for a 45 minute walk. Walking is a great way to exercise your body, get fresh air, relax your mind, get your heart rate up, and your blood pumping.

    8.Remember to wash your hands before eating so you reduce the risk of getting sick.

    9.Get plenty of rest to rejuvenate your mind and body.Make sure you use your 10hr break and minimum 8hr sleeper berth time to get your needed rest.

    10.Include a vitamin regimen in your daily routine.

  7. Who’s the Captain?

    Jul 24

    Posted in Safety

    Who’s the Captain?

    The driver who speeds to get to his destination because his dispatcher told him; he had to be on time no matter what. Who pays the speeding ticket? Who’s the captain of his ship?
    The driver tailgating and following the leader blindly in a fog right off the road into a ditch. Who was the captain of his ship?
    The driver who always cheats on his logs and regularly accepts runs he knew he couldn’t legally complete, not because he needs the money, but because he wanted to appear dependable to his company. When the company was audited by the DOT, they not only fined the company, they fined the driver as well. He was mad because the company wouldn’t pay his fine too. Who was the captain of his ship?
    How about the driver who always takes overweight loads? He gets a ticket, the company doesn’t pay it, he feels stupid. Who is the captain of his ship?
    Have you heard the one about the driver who fell asleep and wound up in a ditch while hauling a hot load? This delivery really had to be there, first thing in the morning. The driver had the hours to do it legally, but he really hadn’t slept at all. His company knew he had the hours and thus instructed him about how important the load was. They even got his commitment to deliver on time, before they let him have the dispatch. Now he’s dead. Who was the captain of his ship?
    We all bend the rules from time to time; we all push the envelope as we struggle with the fine line between a safe and legal (and profitable) business. But we should never forget who gets in trouble when it comes down to it…The driver.
    Have rules and a line drawn, that you simply won’t cross. Speak up, they’ll understand. You are the captain, responsible for the ship and its contents.

    I'm pretty sure I'm the captain?

  8. Eye Contact

    Jul 23

    Posted in Safety

    Eye Contact

    The number one reason drivers pull out in front of you, or even a pedestrian steps out in front of you, is they simply don’t know you are there.  The art of defensive driving is watching others and being prepared if they rush out in front of you.  The art can be made easier through the practice of eye contact. 
    What is eye contact?  Simply put – Look at other drivers and pedestrians within your field of vision to try and make eye contact with them.  If you don’t make eye contact then the safe bet is on the fact they don’t know you are there and may act on that misinformation.  Be prepared if you can’t make eye contact. 
    Defensive driving is always critical to safely driving on the road but looking ahead and making eye contact with others can be that extra warning you need to stay safe. 

  9. Avoid Being Boxed In

    Jul 22

    Posted in Safety

    Avoid Being Boxed In

    Guard your safety by actively creating space around your vehicle, never allowing yourself to get "boxed in." Adequate space creates time to make decisions and helps you avoid collisions. Maintain at LEAST seven seconds of following distance, more if you can. You should be able to see a minimum of 15 seconds ahead of your vehicle. Check your mirrors every 5-8 seconds to maintain 360 degrees of awareness.

    Adjust your position in traffic as necessary to avoid driving in others' blind areas.

    Don't allow yourself to be tailgated—change lanes or adjust your speed to encourage tailgaters to pass you.

  10. What costs society $44,193 a minute?

    (answer)...check your $peedometer!

    Exceeding the posted limit or driving too fast for conditions is the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes. Speed is a factor in nearly 1/3 of all fatal crashes. Speed related crashes cost society more than $23 billion a year.

    Too few drivers view speeding as an immediate risk to their personal safety or the safety of others. Yet, speeding reduces a driver's ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the roadway, and it extends the distance required to stop a vehicle in emergency situations.

    Crash severity increases with the speed of the vehicle at impact. The effectiveness of restraint devices like air bags and safety belts, and vehicular construction features such as crumple zones and side member beams decline as impact speed increases. The probability of death, disfigurement, or debilitating injury grows with higher speed at impact. Such consequences double for every 10mph over 50mph.

    Many drivers think a few miles an hour over the posted speed limit is an acceptable risk. Their excuse--other drivers do it. They believe at worst they’ll receive a speeding ticket. Drivers like this are wrong. Maybe even dead wrong.

    The fact is, THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR SPEEDING

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