Commentary: You are finally off the traffic-congested roadway and safe at a truck stop or parking lot. Maybe or maybe not. A large percentage of truck-trailer accidents occur at truck stops. Drivers can never let their guard down when behind the wheel. Note the tips below for preventing accidents/incidents at truck stops. You can probably add a tip or two to this list that has worked for you over the years. Be Safe Out There! Dennis, Safety
General: Avoiding accidents should be the most important thing for a truck and for good reason. Trucking is a demanding profession that requires a driver to be on his “A” game when operating his/her vehicle. A large number of trucking accidents/incidents occur at truck stops which should be the safest place to park. Below are a few tips to help reduce a trucking accident/incident at a truck stop.
1. Pre-plan your route so you know you will be stopping at a location with plenty of room and one that is well lit. Choose your stops, don’t let them choose you.
2. Plan to take care of everything you need done at a truck stop when you are there the first time. Stopping to fuel, to refill your coffee, drop or scan your Trip-Pak envelope, and eat is better than stopping five times. It wastes your time (you only get paid when the wheels keeping turning) and each stop increases your risk. The old adage “Keep the right door closed as much as possible” still rings true today.
3. Never underestimate the usefulness of a rest area. Not only are they quicker with easy access but they are set up to allow trucks to pull through a parking spot versus the higher risk of backing into a spot. Statistics don’t lie….more accidents happen in truck stops than rest areas.
4. Avoid parking on the end of a row. Not only is there traffic crossing next to you but most people park on the end because they are tired and after a long day the end is the closest spot. Avoiding the end of a parking lot helps you avoid drivers who are parking when they are tired. Removing yourself from high traffic areas can only help.
5. Avoid a spot that will make you back out of it when you go to leave. Choose a spot you can either pull through (the best option) or back into (second best option).
6. Avoiding parking in a location where the trucks across from you will be required to back out of their spots. Being behind a vehicle that will be blindly backing toward you is a recipe for disaster.
7. If the truck next to you looks close, is over the line, or parked odd (for example the cab is angled to the trailer for some reason) then move on to a new spot. If you have to take that spot don’t be afraid to write down the name and DOT number on the truck. You may be glad you did when you wake up in the morning.
8. Park with your tractor and trailer straight. It reduces the area others have to hit while backing.
9. Park where there is space around you. The back of the lot will usually have more room than the front so let other drivers take the risk of all that traffic coming and going. No need to be a super Trucker when a safe and easy place is available. Think safe, not convenience.
10. Use your four-ways when pulling through the lot and backing up. People in truck stops, or even other parking lots, are usually tired or distracted. Four-ways activate peripheral vision and increase the chance of someone seeing our. And if required use your horn gently when needed to tell someone “Hey, I’m here”.
Summary: Trucking accidents are expensive to both the employer and to the driver. Always be alert and be on the watch for unsafe conditions when entering and exiting at a truck stop.
At any given daylight moment across the USA, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving. The number of people killed in distraction-related crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. This is good news, however, one fatality is one too many. For CDL drivers the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations prevents drivers from talking on their hand held cell phone while driving their commercial motor vehicle. Drivers should begin their day well prepared for the activities in which they must engaged and only talk on their cell phones when they have stopped their vehicle and are safety off the road.
Dennis Hilton, Safety
General: Truck drivers are subject to a multitude of distractions while driving. In many ways, technology has improved truck safety and efficiency. Systems such as electronic logs, GPS and dispatch can be just as distracting as talking or texting if used while operating one’s vehicle. Distracted drivers who fail to pay attention to 50% of the driving environment this behavior can lead to a serious crash.
1. Did you know:
- Dialing a number is more dangerous than talking on a cell phone, but talking last longer, so both activities are to blame for about the same number of crashes.
- A driver engaged in a phone conversation will remove their eyes from the road for more than half the duration of the call.
- Distracted driving is a key factor in at least 25% of all crashes.
- Glancing away from the roadway for only 2 seconds doubles the risk of a crash.
- Drivers using dispatch devices while driving are nearly 9 times more likely to cause an accident.
2. The following tips should be considered to avoid driving while distracted:
- Finish your calls before beginning to drive.
- Check e-mail and voicemail before starting a trip.
- Obtain directions and review likely routes prior to departure.
- Adjust vehicle controls before driving.
- Avoid eating and drinking while driving.
- Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.
3. Summary: As a professional driver, you are concerned about keeping your CSA score at 0 but did you know that texting and cell phone usage hold a 10 point severity weight. This means from the violation date and for the next 6 months that this violation is worth 30 points. Finally a CDL holder could face a fine of up to $2,750.00 and your company could be fined up to $11,000.00 for talking on a hand held cell phone when behind the wheel of a commercial motor vehicle. Start your driving day by being distraction free and focus your entire attention to driving and not become an accident statistic.
General: According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) between 2001 and 2009, 1,386 people died in school transportation-related crashes. This is an average of 139 deaths per year. What is the solution to how these deaths can be reduced or eliminated. Read on for some ways to make it safer for our children and grandchildren while waiting or riding a school bus.
1. Drivers can prevent a fatal crash by being alert and drive defensively when in a school zone or approaching a bus stop. Specifics things that can be done are.
- Continually scan the road.
- Pay extra attention in school zones.
- Reduce speed as necessary
- Watch for children gathering near bus stops
- Watch for children walking in the road or on the road shoulder.
- Learn and obey school bus laws.
- EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.
2. School bus flashing light system
- School bus yellow light:
-- Bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children.
-- Drivers must slow down and prepare to stop.
- School bus red light:
-- Indicates the bus has stopped and that children are getting of or on the
-- Drivers must stop and wait till:
--- The red light stops flashing.
--- The bus stop arm is withdrawn.
--- The bus begins to move again.
3. State laws pertaining to school bus safety:
- All states have laws in place to protect children who are boarding and
exiting school buses. Though specific laws vary from state to state,
there are standard rules that all drivers must follow:
-- Never pass a school bus when its lights are flashing and its stop arm is
extended. This means children are boarding or exiting the bus.
-- Never pass a stopped school bus on the right side, where children enter and
-- In many states a school bus driver can report to law enforcement illegally
4. Quick review:
- YELLOW FLASHING LIGHTS
-- The bus is about to stop.
-- Slow down.
-- Be ready to stop.
- RED FLASHING LIGHTS AND EXTENDED STOP ARM
-- The bus is stopped.
-- Children are entering and/or exiting the bus.
-- Stop and wait for:
--- The red lights to stop flashing.
--- The stop sign to be withdrawn.
--- The bus to start moving.
- DEFENSIVE DRIVING SKILLS
-- Continually scan the road.
-- Expect the unexpected.
-- Pay attention in school zones and at bus stops.
-- Be aware of children approaching/leaving the bus.
-- Slow down.
-- Watch for children in/near the road.
5. Summary: About 480,000 yellow school buses provide transportation service daily nationwide. There are about 26 million elementary and secondary school children that ride school buses daily within the USA. School has started in many parts of the country and/or will be starting in the next week or so. Be prepared by starting each day thinking that when I see the yellow school bus, I must go through my immediate drill action plan in the event of the unexpected.