Winter Weather Driving Tips

by: Karol Smith on

Below we have some very sound tips from our friends at DMV.org for winter driving in a commercial motor vehicle. 

Trucking requires full concentration on the road. Not only must commercial drivers contend with other motorists, dangerous weather conditions, and wandering wildlife, but they must do so while operating large rigs, often carrying heavy and sometimes dangerous cargo. One mistake carries possible huge repercussions.

To help stay out of harm’s way, consider the following safety tips when driving:

  • Do not tailgate. Be patient. Maintain proper space with the vehicle in front of you. According to studies, the most common vehicle trucks hit is the one in front of them,     due to tailgating. The bigger the rig the longer it takes to brake and stop.
  • Signal early when approaching an intersection, giving other motorists ample warning of your intended direction.
  • With so many blind spots on a truck, minimize lane changing. Check your side mirrors at least once every 10 seconds.
  • Use the truck’s flashers when driving below the posted speed limit for an extended period of time.
  • Give your truck ample time and space when slowing down for a complete stop. Use brake lights early. Most motorists don’t realize how long it takes for a rig to stop.
  • If you must idle the truck, keep windows cracked open to avoid prolonged exposure to fumes. Avoid idling while sleeping, loading, or unloading if possible. 
  • When pulled off to the side of a road, highway, or Interstate due to mechanical problems, always use flashers, reflective triangles, and even road flares to alert approaching drivers. Note: this is the first item that should be attended whenever pulled over on a public roadway.
  • Always have tire chains at the ready, especially when driving in mountainous regions.
  • Try to maintain a full fuel tank in winter driving to prevent water condensation from building in the fuel lines.
  • Maintain additional space with the vehicles in front of you when driving in rain or snow.
  • Operate below the posted speed limit when driving in wintry conditions.
  • Exercise caution when approaching bridges in wintertime. Bridges freeze faster than roads, creating difficult to detect black ice.
  • Slow down in work zones. Close to one-third of all fatal work zone crashes involve large rigs. Plus, you could lose your commercial drivers license if caught speeding in a posted work zone.
  • Take plenty of driving breaks, especially while driving cross-country, to help remain alert.
  • Don’t fight eye-fatigue. Pull off the road and take a nap. The consequences of falling asleep at the wheel, far outweigh those associated with arriving late. Make sure you have a good pair of sun glasses for sunny driving in snowy conditions. Driving on a sunny winter day will fatigue you faster than in any other season. 
  • Strictly adhere to commercial driver hour restrictions. By law you cannot exceed 11 continuous hours of driving. You could jeopardize your truck driving career if caught violating this law. 

For additional safety driving tips, consult your state's DCL Manual. You can grab one from any Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office, or download a copy from your DMV’s website.

Did we miss anything? Share your wisdom with our online community by leaving your comment below.

CVSA’s annual Road Check Inspection Blitz Scheduled for June 2-4

by: Karol Smith on

Road Check, the annual inspection blitz done by a joint effort of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and others, has been scheduled for June 2-4, CVSA announced this week. Roughly 10,000 inspectors from state, local and federal enforcement agencies will  perform nearly 70,000 inspections on trucks and buses over the 72-hour period. They will be stationed at 1,500 inspection points around North America.  This year’s special emphasis will be cargo securement, though it will still be primarily performing full 37-step Level I inspections — the most thorough inspection — throughout the week.  

Last year’s Road Check, which also took place in early June, resulted in a vehicle out-of-service rate of 18.7 percent and a driver out-of-service rate of 4.8 percent. Also in 2014, more than 72,000 drivers and vehicles were inspected

CVSA has on its site resources for drivers and fleets. Here’s a link to the nine top things inspectors will be looking for. And here’s CVSA’s checklist for drivers.


The Point of the North American Standard
​ 
Level I Inspection Procedure

​​BRAKES

Check for missing, non-functioning, loose, contaminated or cracked parts on the brake system; Check for “S” cam flip-over; Be alert for audible air leaks around brake components and lines; Check that the slack adjusters are the same length (from center of “S” cam to center of clevis pin), and that the air chambers on each axle are the same size. Check brake adjustment; Ensure the air system maintains air pressure between 90 and 100 psi; Measure pushrod travel; Inspect required brake system warning devices, such as ABS malfunction lamps and low air pressure warning devices; Inspect tractor protection system, including the bleedback system on the trailer.

COUPLING DEVICES

Safety Devices-Full Trailers/Converter Dolly(s): Check the safety devices (chains/wire rope) for sufficient number, missing components, improper repairs, and devices that are incapable of secure attachment. On the Lower Fifth Wheel check for unsecured mounting to the frame or any missing or damaged parts; or any visible space between the upper and lower fifth wheel plates. Verify that the locking jaws are around the shank and not the head of the kingpin and that the release lever is seated properly and that the safety latch is engaged. Check the Upper Fifth Wheel for any damage to the weight bearing plate (and its supports) such as cracks, loose or missing bolts on the trailer. On the Sliding Fifth Wheel check for proper engagement of locking mechanism (teeth fully engaged on rail); also check for worn or missing parts, ensure that the position does not allow the tractor frame rails to contact the landing gear during turns. Check for damaged or missing fore and aft stops.

FUEL & EXHAUST SYSTEMS

Check your fuel tanks for the following conditions: Loose mounting, leaks, or other conditions; loose or missing caps; and signs of leaking fuel below the tanks. For exhaust systems, check the following: Unsecured mounting; leaks beneath the cab; exhaust system components in contact with electrical wiring or brake lines and hoses; and excessive carbon deposits around seams and clamps.

FRAME, VAN & OPEN-TOP TRAILERS

Inspect for corrosion fatigue, cross member(s) cracked, loose or missing, cracks in frame, missing or defective body parts. Look at the condition of the hoses, check suspension of air hoses of vehicle with sliding tandems. On the frame and frame assembly check for cracks, bends, sagging, loose fasteners or any defect that may lead to the collapse of the frame; corrosion, fatigue, cross members cracked or missing, cracks in frame, missing or defective body parts. Inspect all axle(s). Inspect for non-manufactured holes (i.e. rust holes, holes created by rubbing or friction, etc.), for broken springs in the spring brake housing section of the parking brake. For vans and open-top trailer bodies, look at the upper rail and check roof bows and side posts for buckling, cracks, or ineffective fasteners. On the lower rail, check for breaks accompanied by sagging floor, rail, or cross members; or broken with loose or missing fasteners at side post adjacent to the crack.

LIGHTING

Inspect all required lamps for proper color, operation, mounting and visibility.


SECUREMENT OF CARGO

Make sure you are carrying a safe load. Check tail board security. Verify end gates are secured in stake pockets. Check both sides of the trailer to ensure cargo is protected from shifting or falling. Verify that rear doors are securely closed. Where load is visible, check for proper blocking and bracing. It may be necessary to examine inside of trailer to assure that large objects are properly secured. Check cargo securement devices for proper number, size and condition. Check tie down anchor points for deformation and cracking.

STEERING

Check the steering lash by first turning the steering wheel in one direction until the tires begin to pivot. Then, place a mark on the steering wheel at a fixed reference point and then turn the wheel in the opposite direction until the tires again start to move. Mark the steering wheel at the same fixed reference point and measure the distance between the two marks. The amount of allowable lash varies with the diameter of the steering wheel.

SUSPENSION

Inspect the suspension for: Indications of misaligned, shifted, cracked or missing springs; loosened shackles; missing bolts; unsecured spring hangars; and cracked or loose U-bolts. Also, check any unsecured axle positioning parts and for signs of axle misalignment. On the front axle, check for cracks, welds and obvious misalignment.

TIRES, WHEELS, RIMS & HUBS

Check tires for proper inflation, cuts and bulges, regrooved tires on steering axle, tread wear and major tread groove depth. Inspect sidewalls for defects, improper repairs, exposed fabric or cord, contact with any part of the vehicle, and tire markings excluding it from use on a steering axle. Inspect wheels and rims for cracks, unseated locking rings,and broken or missing lugs, studs or clamps. Also check for rims that are cracked or bent, have loose of damaged lug nuts and elongated stud holes, have cracks across spokes or in the web area, and have evidence of slippage in the clamp areas. Check the hubs for lubricant leaks, missing caps or plugs, misalignment and positioning, and damaged, worn or
missing parts 

Find us on Social Media!

by: Karol Smith on

It's done! We have entered the Social Media craze! 

You can now find BarOle Trucking on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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