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  1. Do you have a Trash Heap in your truck?

    Garbage in your truck can draw attention to the vehicle and can create an appearance that is less than wholesome.

    DOT officers will often choose to conduct a inspection based on the amount of trash they see in the cab or through thewindow of a truck.

    Garbage in the truck poses a hazard while driving as it creates a distraction. Trash can roll under the pedals which can cause an accident if a driver is unable to operate the pedals.  If you ride with the windows down, trash can fly out of window posing a hazard for all drivers on the road. In some states, this can lead to a fine for littering.

    Keeping the tractor clean is important for a driver’s general health and well-being. Too much trash or trash left for extended periods of time leads to an unsanitary environment, illnesses and other health issues.

    In some states, such as South Carolina, it’s unlawful to store trash in your vehicle, specifically to “place, leave, dump or permit to accumulate any garbage, rubbish or trash in any building, vehicle and their surrounding areas …” Though it is a traffic ordinance, the violation is more a health code violation. You can get fined and jail time for the offense.

    Trash in your vehicle can attract pests (bugs, rats, other animals) posing additional hazards.

    Every time you fuel up, clean up. 

  2. Work Zones are Blooming

    Mar 27

    Posted in Safety

    Work Zones are Blooming

    In the spring time it isn’t just flowers which bloom; be aware of the increase in work zones! If you’re not careful the flowers may end up on a funeral wreath.

    Keep a look out for workers or vehicles that are close to the lane of traffic and may accidentally stray into your path. Warning signs and barriers are meant to direct the lane of travel. Cones and barrels ultimately provide little protection for workers.

    It may seem obvious, but before entering the work zone, follow the directions on the signs and slow down when the signs say to. When approaching a lane closed ahead sign, drivers should merge as space is available, communicating with other drivers before making a lane change.

    Warning signs vary, but most commonly include the following:

    Diamond-shaped orange warning signs, which are posted in advance of road construction projects

    A “flagger ahead” warning sign, which is posted within the work zone

    Flashing arrow panels or “lane closed ahead” signs

    “Truck Restricted” lane signs 

    It is doubly important to drive defensively while in a work zone. Be on the lookout for more aggressive drivers who may not signal before changing lanes. Be courteous. Allow space for someone to merge in front of you – it may prevent a collision. The most common crashes in highway work zone are side swipes or rear-end collision. Always reduce your speed and increase your following distance.

    In 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, there were 579 fatalities in work zones, a small decrease from 617 fatalities the previous year.

    Two out of three victims in work zone crashes in 2013 were drivers and passengers of vehicles.  

    In 2013, large trucks and buses were involved in 186 work zone crashes that resulted in fatalities.

  3. MIRRORS - KNOWING WHAT SURROUNDS YOU

    Ensuring that your mirrors are properly maintained, cleaned and adjusted can help you avoid accidents and injuries while traveling over the open road.

    Check before you drive: No matter how many times you’ve checked your mirrors before heading out, one more time isn’t going to hurt. Before you start the engine, make sure your mirrors are adjusted properly. Right mirror should show mostly roadway and the side of the trailer in the reflection. Your left mirror should allow you to see the road next to and behind your trailer. The right and left convex mirrors should be adjusted so that you can see the ground alongside the trailer just at the bottom of the mirror. The fender mirrors should be adjusted to see the sides of your tractor and the ground next to it.

    Check while driving: Mirrors should be checked at least every 5 to 8 seconds by moving your eyes and turning your head slightly. Especially before changing lanes or turning you should check the mirrors using a “lean and look” method by moving your body slightly forward and back and side to side in order to maximize your view.

  4. Blank Log Book

    Mar 25

    Posted in Safety

    Blank Log Book

    Federal Regulation 395.15 (g) – On-Board Recording Device Information not Available.

    Several drivers have had this violation in the past few weeks.  Please make sure you always have a blank log book on your truck as a back-up should your Qualcomm/Elogs malfunction.

    Also make sure you have the 2 DOT quick reference cards (1.Hours of Service and 2.Vehicle Inspection Report) in your permit book.

    If you are stopped by an official you must log the time as On Duty.  Turn all documentation from an Inspection via TransFlo or fax to 404-795-0887 within 24hrs.

  5. Spring into Safer Driving

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. Share the road. Warm weather brings motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians out on the roads. Be extra cautious around intersections and in residential communities.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. Keep your tires properly inflated. Doing so can reduce damage from potholes, uneven pavement, and other road hazards.

  6. Safe Coupling Procedures

    Mar 23

    Posted in Safety

    Safe Coupling Procedures

    Some drivers may laugh at you if you drop the nose of a trailer in a yard after failing to hook up properly. But drop one on a busy highway, and it can be tragic.

    On 3/17/15, another company had this scenario happen on a foggy morning in South Florida. The trailer became unhitched on the highway resulting in a crash involving 2 tractor trailers and a car. The woman and her 3 children in the car were killed.

    PROPER HOOK UP PROCEDURE: Back the tractor’s fifth wheel against the trailer’s nose; get out and check that the nose is high enough to meet the fifth wheel; connect the air lines so trailer brakes can be applied; then back the fifth wheel under the trailer’s nose until it hits the kingpin with a comforting click. Then, before cranking up the landing gear, look under the trailer and peer closely at the fifth wheel’s jaws, making sure they’ve fully grasped the trailer’s kingpin. Make sure there is no space between the apron and fifth wheel. Make sure the fifth wheel release handle is locked in place.

    If not, unlock the jaws, get back in the tractor and try coupling once more. Again, look at the jaws. Then, with landing gear up and trailer brakes still applied; gently ease the tractor forward to see if the trailer tugs against the tractor. If so, and with the rest of the pre-trip inspection done, move out.  

    Maybe the driver in the incident did everything right and something went wrong mechanically. Fifth wheels and kingpins are extremely strong and not likely to fail.  Make sure you check your fifth wheel and kingpin assemblies and do not hook up if there are any defects.

    Hook up and charge the air hoses; then set the trailer’s brakes before backing under the trailer.

  7. Tire Defects

    Mar 22

    Posted in Safety

    Tire Defects

    Check for:

    1.  Too much or too little air pressure (changing temperatures can have a huge effect on tire pressure) with a heavy duty tire guage. Do not rely on“thumping.”

    2.  A minimum 4/32 inch of tread depth in each major groove on front tires and 2/32 inch on other tires.

    3.  No fabric showing through the tread or sidewall.

    4.  No cuts, bulges or missing tread.

    5.  No tread separation.

    6.  Dual tires do not come in contact with each other or parts of the vehicle.

    7.  Tire sizes are the same on each axle.

    8.  No cut or cracked valve stems.

    *Report any issues to Breakdown*

  8. Accelerating From A Stopped Position: Avoid the Roll Back

    Don't roll back when you start; you may hit someone behind you. Partly engage the clutch before you take your right foot off the brake. Release the brake only when you have enough engine power to keep from rolling back. 

    Speed up smoothly and gradually so the vehicle does not jerk. Rough acceleration can cause mechanical damage. When pulling a trailer, rough acceleration can damage the coupling.

    Speed up very gradually when traction is poor, as in rain or snow. If you use too much power, the drive wheels may spin. You could lose control. If the drive wheels begin to spin, take your foot off the accelerator.

     

     

    On the flipside of the coin, when stopped behind a tractor trailer leave extra room to avoid being struck should it roll back.

  9. Suspension System Defects

    The suspension system holds up the vehicle and its load. It keeps the axles in place. Therefore, broken suspension parts can be extremely dangerous. Always check the suspension system during your pre-trip and report any defects to breakdown.

    Look for:

    Spring hangers which allow movement of axle from proper position.

    Cracked or broken spring hangers.

    Missing or broken leaves in any leaf spring. If one-fourth or more are missing, it will put the vehicle "out of service", but any defect could be dangerous.

    Broken leaves in a multi-leaf spring or shifted leaves which might hit a tire or other part.

    Leaking shock absorbers.

    Torque rod or arm, u-bolts, spring hangers, or other axle positioning parts which are cracked, damaged, or missing.

    Audible air leaks; cracked, cut or worn airlines.

    Airbags fully inflated; cracked or leaking.

    Any loose, cracked, broken, or missing frame members. 

     

  10. PARKING LOTS & PEDESTRIANS

    Submitted by driver: Jerry Mahurin

    Pedestrians Safety

    *Be cautious and aware of your surroundings when walking in a parking lot.

    *Do not assume that drivers can see you when you can see them. In many cases, the pedestrian sees and hears a vehicle before a driver can see the pedestrian due to blind spots in vehicles.

    *Treat the parking lot like a street. Look both ways before crossing, use crosswalks, and always use sidewalks whenever possible.

    *Walk down the parking lots aisles and not in-between vehicles when walking to and from your vehicle.

    *Avoid areas where it is hard for a driver to see you, for instance in loading dock areas.

    *Wear bright clothing or a safety vest.

    *Wear proper footwear to provide adequate traction to avoid slips and falls.

    Driver Safety                                                                              

    *Try to park away from the heavier pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

    *Try to avoid being in reverse. More incidents happen in reverse due to not knowing your surroundings. Pull all the way through the parking space to avoid having to reverse when leaving. Or stop, GOAL, and then back into a space using 4 ways and a tap of the horn.

    *Slow Down! The limit is 10 mph. Faster may result in a fatal injury to a pedestrian.

    *Reduce speeds in bad weather; vehicles have a higher chance of skidding.

     

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