Memorial Day Weekend serves as the start for the busy summer driving season and AAA estimates more than 41.5 million motorists will travel this holiday weekend, which is the highest volume since 2005. Memorial Day Weekend is the first big vacation weekend of the summer. There are additional motorists (cars and motorcycles) on the highway, with many in unfamiliar areas. For the sake of safety, all drivers need to slow down, follow the rules of the road and be patient.
Tips to stay safe on your trip:
Perform a pre-trip inspection on any vehicle you will be driving.
Plan your trip – don’t just blindly follow your GPS. Know where you going and be prepared to exit. Indecisive driving is a major cause of traffic problems.
Slow Down – Chances of a crash nearly triples when driving faster than surrounding traffic.
Keep extra water in your vehicle – Just as you keep a winter driving kit in your vehicle, it is important to be prepared when driving during the summer months. Keep plenty of extra water, sunscreen and non-perishable snacks in your vehicle in case you are stranded.
Buckle Up – Safety belts save lives.
Abide by Traffic Rules – Follow traffic signs and signals – paying special attention to work zones.
Be Careful Backing Up – One in four preventable collisions involve backing up. Be sure to look before backing up; walk around your vehicle prior to departure.
Are you in a Blind Spot?
All vehicles traveling on the road have blind spots where other vehicles disappear from view. In tractor trailers and other large vehicles these blind spots can be surprisingly big. There are blind spots on all sides of a large truck where other vehicles can disappear from the view of the driver. If a professional truck driver has to make a sudden maneuver on the road, such as a quick lane change to avoid debris, crashes can occur if they don’t know you’re there.
Here’s what to do to avoid a truck’s blind spots:
Don’t linger alongside a truck. If you find yourself alongside a truck either move on past or back off so that the driver can see you. Look for the driver’s face in their mirror. That will tell you if you are visible to that driver or not.
If possible pass on the left where the blind spot is smaller. On the right the blind spot runs the length of the truck and extends out 3 lanes.
Drivers are responsible for making sure all their credentials, the truck’s credentials, and the trailer’s credentials are in order. Driver’s License current, med card current (has the self-certification with the licensed state been done?), permit book current, registration current, DOT Quick Reference cards in permit book, emergency response guidebook within arm’s reach of the driver’s seat, blank log book on hand.
Plate on the vehicle (does it match the registration, and does the registration match the VIN# for the vehicle?), all required stickers current and in place (IFTA, HUT, and Annual Inspection).
Roadcheck 2018 June 5th – June 7th
Why should you take Roadcheck 2018 seriously?
On average, about 17 trucks or buses will be inspected every minute, over 72 hours.
During Roadcheck 2017; 62,013 inspections were conducted.
Of the 62,013 total inspections, 40,944 (66%) were Level 1 Inspections.
Level I inspections include a 37-step procedure examiningboth the driver’s record of duty status and the safety of the vehicle. Drivers are required to provide items such as their license, endorsements, medical card and hours-of-service documentation, and are checked for seat belt usage and the use of alcohol and/or drugs. The vehicle inspection includes checking items such as the braking system, coupling devices, exhaust system, frame, fuel system, lights, safe loading, steering mechanism, suspension, tires, van trailer bodies, wheels and rims, windshield wipers, and emergency equipment.
Of all the Inspections, 4.4% of drivers and 19.4% of vehicles were placed out of service due to critical item violations.
The top three driver-related violations were for hours of service (32.3 percent of driver out-of-service violations), wrong class license (14.9 percent) and false log book (11.3 percent).There were 710 safety belt violations.
Of the vehicles placed out of service, brake adjustment and brake system violations combined to represent 41.4 percent (7,743) of all out-of-service vehicle violations.
Each year, International Roadcheck places special emphasis on a category of violations. This year’s focus is on hours-of-service compliance.
Watch what’s above you too!
Sometimes as drivers we miss a turn, or realize we must make a decision to turn around.
Finding a location to do so pulling a 53 ft trailer can be difficult at times.
One choice drivers make is a convenient store, or corner local gas station.
Remember, these are NOT TRUCK STOPS. Most of these canopies are not Semi-Trailer approved heights!
Do not go under residential canopy unless you know the height rating, or ask the manager if needed.
Think of it as a low bridge, or underpass.
You wouldn’t go under a low underpass without knowing the clearance would you?
Preferably, do not go under residential canopy at all. Just like backing, don’t do it, unless you have to, and you have the clearance!
Also, when backing, do not look at just the rear of the trailer, or near the bottom of the mirror.
Double check the top of the mirror too!
Always be aware of overhead or high obstacles as well; Canopies, wires, sides of roofs, and overhangs.
Driver’s Daily Checklist
√ Log Legal
√ Pre-Trip, Enroute, and Post Trip Inspect every day
√ Drive Safely
√ Tire Check & Walk Around every 150 miles or 3 hours (whichever comes first)
√ Assure you and the equipment are in good, working condition
√ Keep a safe following distance
√ Keep a safe speed
√ Obey all posted traffic signs
√ Never assume, always anticipate
√ Be a professional day in and day out