August 2, 2019No Comments

Strategies to Help Ease Your Road Rage

Strategies to Help Ease Your Road Rage

It is almost inevitable that you’ll face aggressive drivers, as an over the road trucker. We have all been victims of slow drivers, and drivers who forget to use their turn signals. These are the two most common frustrations we can face on the road. As a trucker, managing the urge to go nuts behind the wheel of a 50,000-pound machine is important.

One mistake can turn tragic quickly and rather than falling into the road rage trap how about you develop methods to ease your road raging urges. We know that frustration can be seen as part of the job, but it doesn’t have to be. Road rage has ended in death far too many times, whether a confrontation went wrong or a loss of focus and calmness being thrown out the window. The strategies below are effective ways to take help you manage. Next time you feel your blood boiling when you’re behind the wheel of your freight turn to these strategies and feel a sense of peace rush over you.

Control Is Out The Window

This is probably the hardest thing to face for individuals who need to be in control, but it’s absolutely true. You have no control over other drivers. The only thing we can control is how we react. Whether we react to a stoplight on time, react to a driver cutting us off, or in some cases flipping us off it is up to us to react in a manner that’s appropriate. Remembering that you have no control over other drivers helps you reflect more on what you can do better. Maybe you left late, now you tell yourself you have to speed to be on time. Instead of getting upset with drivers going the speed limit strategize on how you can leave on time.

Relax And Release

No matter where you’re headed it’s important to not arrive flustered. Meditating either in silence or with a playlist or podcast will keep your mind on other things. Remaining calm is the key to staying safe while performing your job.

We’re All Humans

It is quite easy to find ourselves frustrated when we get cut off, but choosing to not take those things personal help us to manage our inner need to lash out. Humans make mistakes. Some of the things we learned when we were 14 taking drivers-ed to go out the window when kids are kicking our back seat or we just spilled hot coffee in our laps. Life happens and mistakes do too. The best thing we can do is be grateful we stopped in time rather than shouting at the top of our lungs.

July 26, 2019No Comments

Pre-trip Inspection Tips

Pre-trip Inspection Guide

The pre-trip inspection is a very important part of every trip you take.

Remember, it is meant to be a thorough check of the semi-truck, trailer, and load, to ensure that everything correctly, prior to the truck driver, departing on a trip. Also, any damage or issues needing attention, are to be addressed before departure. To avoid stress and make your job easier this is a crucial part.

PRE-TRIP INSPECTION STEPS

Tip the hood of the truck

  • Check fluid levels: oil and coolant levels.
  • For the pre-trip, look for oil, fuel, coolant, power steering fluid leaks… The leak is either a problem or a potential problem.
  • Make sure caps are tight for the rad, oil filler, power steering fluid and the dip stick is seated properly.
  • Observe at the engine block.  Check for leaks, fluid running down the side of the engine.  Look at the hoses. Check for wear, cracking or fraying. Inspect fan belts for proper tension and signs of wear.
  • Take a look at the engine fan. Make sure there are no pieces out of any of the blades.
  • Look for any exposed or bare wires or wires which appear out of place.
  • Check windshield wiper fluid level.
  •  Scan steering axle tires for uneven wear, nails, etc.
  • Take a look at the shock absorbers, ball joints, and kingpins for wear and proper lubrication.

Leave the truck hood up – continue with a pre-trip inspection

  • Observe all tires on your rig as well as the trailer.
  • Visually inspect the airlines and electrical cord, to ensure they are properly connected
  • Visually check the 5th wheel to make sure it’s coupled to the trailer
  • Ensure the landing gear is ok, legs are up and secure, and crank handle is secure
  • Trailer suspension – airbags are up or no broken springs
  • Brake pads. Look for good thickness.
  • Brake adjustment indicators. Look for proper positioning.
  • Look over the entire unit thoroughly for body damage.

Start the vehicle

  • Depress the clutch and start the engine. ( in neutral)
  • Observe gauges to be sure oil pressure is a good and electrical system in charging
  • Gently ease the clutch out slowly and carefully, just in case there’s a problem (if you do this too quickly, you could launch yourself across the parking lot).
  • Do not high idle the truck right away. Let it idle at 650 RPM
  • A glance at the gauges again to ensure all is ok and air pressure is building.
  • Turn on all lights and flashers and exit the vehicle.
  • Do a visual of the motor, looking for leaks
  • Observe belts for proper tension and that they are turning properly
  • Close the hood and lock it down.

This is a good way to test the foot brake is operating correctly.

  • Be certain all lights for proper function on truck and trailer.
  • In the truck, use a piece of wood or find a way to depress the brake pedal, so the operation of the exterior lights can be checked
  • Listen for air leaks as you walk around the unit.
  • Remove the block of wood from the pedal, turn off lights not needed.

Back up a few feet

(Be sure you’ve already checked behind the trailer!)

Pull forward about 6 feet.

Then, pull ahead 6 more feet and stop the truck with the foot brake.

Pull the trailer brake, to ensure it’s working properly and to make sure the fifth wheel is correctly coupled to the trailer.  This helps ensure that all trailer wheels are turning.

Then, and only then, complete required documentation on the logbooks, for pre-inspection report/circle check.
CDL training schools teach this process of the pre-trip inspection in detail, and most have their own version of the inspection.
Keep in mind, any problems encountered should be addressed before beginning the trip and indicated on the logbook pre-trip inspection report.
As the driver of the vehicle, you are responsible for this vehicle report. If you find the vehicle has issues, have them fixed before departing.
Be thorough with the inspection. Your life depends on it!

 

July 23, 2019No Comments

Pennsylvania Turnpike Tolls Cost to Rise Again

Pennsylvania Turnpike Tolls Cost Rise Again

That's correct! Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls cost are going up again! On July 16, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission approved a 6% toll increase for 2020 for both E-ZPass and cash users. This will make it the twelfth consecutive year that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has elected to increase tolls. The toll increase will go into effect in most locations at 12:01 a.m. on January 5, 2020, in all but 3 locations. At three “cashless” toll facilities, the toll will go into effect on October 27, 2019. The Turnpike Commission says that the most common Class-5 tractor-trailer toll will increase from $3.70 to $4.00 for E-ZPass and from $16.30 to $17.30 for cash.

 Since 2009, the commission has increased tolls annually to maintain its aging roads. As a result, the commission has delivered $6.6 billion in toll-backed funding to PennDOT in the last dozen years. 

July 12, 2019No Comments

Operation Safe Driver Week July 14th-20th

Operation Safe Driver Week

I was recently reminded of Operation Safe Driver week and wanted to share what I read. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual Operation Safe Driver Week is a few days away! July 14-20th are the dates to be exact. This year safe driver week will have a focus on speeding. Law enforcement officers will be looking for speeders during the week but also endorsing, promoting and supporting the message: “Late won’t kill you, speeding will.”

In addition to speeding, law enforcement will be looking for other dangerous driving behaviors. These include distracted driving, texting, failure to use a seatbelt, following too closely, improper lane change, reckless or aggressive driving, failure to obey traffic control devices, evidence of drunk or drugged driving and more.

Nearly 11,000 citations were issued to truck and bus drivers last year. Law enforcement pulled over or inspected more than 42,000 commercial vehicle drivers during 2018’s Operation Safe Driver Week. They issued 10,709 citations and 29,908 warnings for unsafe driving. The top five citations issued were for violations of state and local laws (6,008 citations), speeding (1,908), failing to use a seat belt (1,169), failure to obey a traffic control device (754) and using a handheld phone (262).

To word everything more simple here is what you should do:

  1. Wear your seatbelt!
  2. Pay attention to the road and stay off your cell phone or anything that can be considered a distraction.
  3. Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  4. Use the proper signals when changing lanes or making turns.
  5. Do NOT drink and drive or drive under the influence.

July 3, 2019No Comments

Summer Driving Safety Tips for Truck Drivers

Summer Driving Safety Tips for Truck Drivers

Summer has arrived ladies and gentlemen and it's off to a hot start! We have talked about winter safety tips and how important it is to keep up with routine maintenance during the winter, but it is as equally important to do so in the summer. Today, I want to share some quick tips about Summer driving safety and what you can do to make life on the road a bit smoother. No matter where you are headed these tips might be helpful to you or someone you know. Here are some quick Summer Driving safety tips for Truck Drivers. Read more

May 28, 2019No Comments

International Roadcheck 2019

2019 International Roadcheck is Coming!

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s International Road check 2019 will take place on June 4-6. During this time, over 10,000 U.S. federal, state, local and Canadian provincial officers will perform Level I inspections. Inspections will be around the clock for 72 hours. The inspections involve a comprehensive 37-step procedure. These inspections could result in violations and fines for unprepared fleets and their drivers.

This year’s Road check will focus on steering and suspension systems.

"Steering and suspension are safety critical systems for any commercial motor vehicle. Not only do they support the heavy loads carried by trucks and buses, but they also help maintain stability and control under acceleration and braking, keeping the vehicle safely on the road," said Jay Thompson CVSA president and chief with the Arkansas Highway Police. "Furthermore, they keep tires in alignment, reducing chances of uneven tire wear and possible tire failure, and they maximize the contact between the tires and the road to provide steering stability and good handling."

What to Expect

During International Roadcheck, CVSA-certified inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. Inspectors may opt to conduct the Level II Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection, Level III Driver/Credential/Administrative Inspection or Level V Vehicle-Only Inspection.

The vehicle inspection includes checking critical inspection items such as: brake systems; cargo securement; coupling devices; drive-line/driveshaft; driver's seat (missing); exhaust systems; frames; fuel systems; lighting devices (headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals and lamps/flags on projecting loads); steering mechanisms; suspensions; tires; van and open-top trailer bodies; wheels, rims and hubs; windshield wipers. Additional items on buses, motorcoaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles include emergency exits, electrical cables, and systems in the engine and battery compartments, and seating (temporary and aisle seats).

Requirements

Drivers will be required to provide their driver's license (operating credentials), Medical Examiner's Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation Certificate (if applicable), driver’s record of duty status and vehicle inspection report(s) (if applicable). Inspectors will also check drivers for seat belt usage, sickness, fatigue, and apparent alcohol and/or drug impairment.

If no critical item violations are found during a Level  I or V inspection a CVSA decal will be applied to the vehicle. This will indicate that the vehicle successfully passed a decal-eligible inspection conducted by a CVSA-certified inspector. However, when a rear impact guard is required and violations are present, a CVSA decal shall not be issued.

“Aside from the increased inspections, we are not doing anything different than any other day. The inspections performed during International Roadcheck are the same inspections that are conducted the day before International Roadcheck starts and the day after it concludes, as well as any other day of the year,” said Thompson. "It's important to remember that inspections are conducted 365 days a year. We publicly announce the dates of this three-day enforcement and awareness initiative in advance because we want all vehicles on our roadways to be safe and compliant."

May 7, 2019No Comments

Cargo Securement: Is your Cargo Secure?

CARGO SECUREMENT

As you may know, cargo being transported on the highway must remain
secured on or within the transporting vehicle. When most people think about cargo securement, their thoughts turn to flatbed trailers because they get the bulk of these types of violations. However, compliance with federal cargo securement regulations is very important and required on all commercial operating vehicles. Violations can have serious consequences! The regulations also apply to covered van loads. For too many drivers, this means, “out of sight, out of mind.”  Properly secured cargo prevents items from shifting, spilling, blowing or falling from the vehicle. That is critical. Appropriate load securement is also a necessity to avoid lost dollars in damaged goods. Preventing your Read more

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Blog.

Strategies to Help Ease Your Road Rage

Strategies to Help Ease Your Road Rage It is almost inevitable that you’ll face aggressive drivers, as an over the road trucker. We have...

→ Read More

Pre-trip Inspection Tips

Pre-trip Inspection Guide The pre-trip inspection is a very important part of every trip you take. Remember, it is meant to be a thorough...

→ Read More

Pennsylvania Turnpike Tolls Cost to Rise Again

Pennsylvania Turnpike Tolls Cost Rise Again That's correct! Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls cost are going up again! On July 16, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission approved...

→ Read More

Operation Safe Driver Week July 14th-20th

Operation Safe Driver Week I was recently reminded of Operation Safe Driver week and wanted to share what I read. The Commercial Vehicle Safety...

→ Read More

Summer Driving Safety Tips for Truck Drivers

Summer Driving Safety Tips for Truck Drivers Summer has arrived ladies and gentlemen and it's off to a hot start! We have talked about...

→ Read More

International Roadcheck 2019

2019 International Roadcheck is Coming! The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s International Road check 2019 will take place on June 4-6. During this time, over...

→ Read More

Cargo Securement: Is your Cargo Secure?

CARGO SECUREMENT As you may know, cargo being transported on the highway must remain secured on or within the transporting vehicle. When most people think...

→ Read More