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 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 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 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

April 29, 2019No Comments

How to Properly Open and Close Trailer Doors

How to Properly Close Trailer Doors

I came across a video online about trailer doors that sparked my interest to write this article.

At first, the video seemed like it could be funny. However, the person was hit pretty hard and raised some concern in my head. I want to explain how to properly open trailer doors. I know it seems kind of silly as many of you might have learned this during the course of your CDL class but it is crucial to your safety. Did you know? Opening and closing trailer doors are two of the leading causes of work-related injuries for truck drivers. Read the information below, and ask yourself if there are actions you can take to protect yourself from harm. Let's look at some factors that can affect the ability of how to properly open and close trailer doors. Read more

January 25, 2019No Comments

Diesel Anti Gel: Why you should use it!

Diesel Anti Gel

There’s a lot of upsides to diesel fuel. More vehicular power, greater fuel economy, but Read more

December 8, 2018No Comments

Winter Driving Tips for Truck Drivers

A calm sea does not make good sailors, and driving in Florida only does not make good truck drivers eater. For the best winter driving advice, you should ask a driver from all the states North of I70. However, if that is not possible, you can read our blog. We will outline the most common issues our company had in the winter and how we have solved them.

Do not freeze up the fuel Filters

With the low winter temperatures, it is very important to put anti-gel in the fuel tanks of the truck. Unlike gasoline which does not gel up unless it is -120 F, the diesel fuel gels up at around 10-15 F. The fuel does not run through the fuel filters which kills the engine. The popular belief that, if you idle the engine, the fuel won't freeze is not true. Yes, the water separator has heaters, but the fuel gels up the primary filters. The solution for the situation is to change them and prime the engine.

 

Do not forget your chains

Different states have different chain laws. Colorado chain law requires every passing truck to have chains between September 1st and May 31st. Not all states require you to have chains in the truck, but they may give you a fine when you are stuck in the snow.

 

Do not leave your fuel tanks empty

When you go home in Minneapolis or stop for 10-hour break in Laramie, WY make sure that your fuel tanks are full.  Because warm diesel circulates between the tanks while the truck is moving, water condenses on the inside of the empty fuel tanks. Winter driving with extra water in the fuel tanks can make fuel filters freeze faster.

 

Do not forget the airlines

New trucks have sophisticated aid dryers. As the name suggests they make the air in the air system dry. That is important because moisture can build a lot of ice inside the lines which will malfunction the air brakes.

 

Do not try to be a hero

All loads can wait. If the weather is dangerous, just pull over. If your dispatcher or customer complain about it, you work for the wrong company. Your paycheck maybe shorter this week, but you will live longer.

 

Do not think of Winter Driving as a joke

Ice on the road makes trucks unstable. Cold weather will weaken the metal and the truck will feel different.

November 19, 2018No Comments

Hours of Service Update Regarding Personal Conveyance

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released new guidance earlier this month

regarding the use of Personal Conveyance time associated with hours of service regulations. The introduction of PC time back in May afforded drivers the much-needed flexibility to perform their duties. We covered the use of personal conveyance in a previous blog post, but after the recent clarification issued by the FMCSA, we feel it is important to revisit the subject.

The updated hours of service interpretation released on the FMCSA website now states that

Drivers can log Personal Conveyance even when under a load as long as the driver is off work.

The exact text, which can be found here, is as follows:

Personal conveyance is the movement of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal use while off-duty. A driver may record personal conveyance as off-duty only when the driver is relieved from work. The CMV may be used for personal conveyance even if it is laden since the load is not being transported for the commercial benefit of the motor carrier.

To help avoid confusion, the FMCSA offers a number of examples as follows:

Proper use of PC time

  1. Time spent traveling from a driver’s en route lodgings such as a motel or truck stop.
  2. Commuting between the driver’s terminal and his or her residence, between trailer-drop lots and the driver’s residence, and between work sites and his or her residence. In these scenarios, the commuting from work and start to work times must allow the driver enough time to obtain the required restorative rest as to ensure the driver is not fatigued.
  3. Time spent traveling to a nearby, reasonable, safe location to obtain required rest after loading or unloading. The time driving under personal conveyance must allow the driver adequate time to obtain the required rest in accordance with minimum off-duty periods under 49 CFR 395.3(a)(1) (property-carrying vehicles) or 395.5(a) (passenger-carrying vehicles) before returning to on-duty driving, and the resting location must be the first such location reasonably available.
  4. Moving a CMV at the request of a safety officer during the driver’s off-duty time
  5. Time spent transporting personal property while off-duty.

Not qualified for PC time

  1. The movement of a CMV in order to enhance the operational readiness of a motor carrier. For example, bypassing available resting locations in order to get closer to the next loading.
  2. Continuation of a CMV trip in interstate commerce for a business purpose, including bobtailing or operating with an empty trailer in order to retrieve another load.
  3. Time spent transporting a CMV to a facility to have vehicle maintenance performed.
  4. After being placed out of service for exceeding the maximum periods permitted under part 395, time spent driving to a location to obtain the required rest, unless so directed by an enforcement officer at the scene.
  5. Time spent traveling to a motor carrier’s terminal after loading or unloading from a shipper or a receiver.

Most of these examples are common sense but some have been issues of heated debate between logistics professionals. Pay special attention to item number 3 above. It is a common misconception, especially among owner-operators, that taking their equipment in for service or repairs affords them the ability to log this time as off duty. This is not the case. According to hours of service regulations, a driver should log the transit time to a repair facility as on duty.

© 2018 Logiflex Inc

Blog / Safety

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

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

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

How to Properly Open and Close Trailer Doors

How to Properly Close Trailer Doors I came across a video online about trailer doors that sparked my interest to write this article. At...

→ Read More

Diesel Anti Gel: Why you should use it!

Diesel Anti Gel There’s a lot of upsides to diesel fuel. More vehicular power, greater fuel economy, but

→ Read More

Winter Driving Tips for Truck Drivers

A calm sea does not make good sailors, and driving in Florida only does not make good truck drivers eater. For the best winter...

→ Read More

Hours of Service Update Regarding Personal Conveyance

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released new guidance earlier this month regarding the use of Personal Conveyance time associated with hours of service...

→ Read More