As a truck driver, you’ll have to be prepared for when things potentially go wrong. Perhaps the most apparent case of truck driving gone awry is when you experience a truck breakdown. If you find yourself in an emergency situation such as this, there’s a few things you’ll want to try…
Truck Breakdown: What You Should Do?
Take preventive measures
One of the best ways to handle a truck breakdown is to try and prevent them in the first place. Many causes of breakdowns are thing which most drivers could have avoided if they had taken some preventative measures. Therefore, make use of things like weight stations, and pre-/post-trip inspections to check if your truck’s still in good shape.
Still, sometimes things just go wrong. In these cases, you want to make sure you’re properly prepared ahead of time. Try to prepare yourself a well-equipped emergency kit with supplies both for short-term, as well as long-term waiting periods.
Pull off the road
When you start to experience a truck breakdown, your first priority should be to pull off the road. You’ll want to put your hazard lights on so other drivers around you know that something is wrong. Then, put your turn signal on, and get yourself off of the road and well away from any traffic.
Be sure that you’re not pulling off on a hill or slope which could cause your truck to roll or slide over. Once you’ve stopped, keep the hazards on, and secure your tires with some wheel chocks. Also, it helps to try and place some traffic cones or emergency triangles around the truck to let others know to watch their distance.
Assess the situation
After you’ve got your truck off the road, the next part of handling a truck breakdown is to asses the situation at hand. Be careful about poking around in the engine, especially if there’s smoke. Instead, alert your dispatcher about what’s happened, so they can call in a tow truck and let the client know.
It’s also good to do a quick check of your trailer and cargo too. Plus, if you’re carrying temperature-controlled or potentially dangerous materials, you want to ensure that they’re still in good shape. Give your trailer a quick look-over, and check for any dents or damage on the cargo itself.
Most people know about the dangers of texting and driving distracted. However, truckers also have to be aware of some unique trucking distractions they can face. Knowing how to identify and handle these distractions can help you stay safe on the road…
Trucking Distractions: What To Watch For
The first set of trucking distractions to watch for are external. External distractions are things around you which catch your attention. These distractions can take your eyes off the road for too long and can cause accidents to occur.
For example, “rubbernecking” is a form of an external distraction which can lead to further accidents. Furthermore, billboards, phones, music, and even the natural scenery can be external distractions. You might not think you’re being distracted, but you’re putting yourself at danger by not completely focusing on the road.
The second set of trucking distractions are internal ones. Internal distractions are thoughts which take your focus on the road. These thoughts can be harder to identify, but it’s important to recognize them before they become too distracting.
Internal distractions tend to happen after something else. Say you have a fight with your spouse before you drive. Odds are, your mind is going to be thinking about that fight, taking your focus off of driving. Overthinking can lead to a decrease in reaction times, and lead to accidents which could have been prevented.
While these trucking distractions can seem overwhelming, you can take steps to help keep yourself focused. For external distractions, it’s all about limiting your exposure to them. Keep your phone up, pick your music before you leave, and keep your eyes on the road ahead.
Internal distractions can be a bit more tricky to handle. It helps to take some time to clear your head and relax as best you can before driving. If you notice you’re getting distracted by your thoughts, try to take a break for a moment to regain your focus.
Trucking distractions are just another risk that truck drivers have to be aware about. However, once you’re aware of these distractions, then you can start to work to limit them. Limiting these distractions will help make your driving experience all the more safer.
Depending on what kind of job you work, you might encounter some unhealthy materials. One of the more-dangerous of these materials is asbestos. While not as common as it was, it’s still important to make sure you know how to handle it safely…
Asbestos: Work With It Safely
What is it?
Asbestos is the name of a few naturally occurring minerals. However, it looks more similar to fibers than anything else. These minerals are incredibly heat- and fire-resistant, which is what lead to manufactures using in a wide variety of areas. For instance, some common areas included home fireproofing and insulation for car brakes.
However, in the 1970’s, researchers discovered that the material was linked to cancers. This lead to many nations cracking down on their usage. For example, the EPA banned spray-on versions in 1973. Now, it remains very limited and regulated in usage, with only a few select fields making use of it.
Asbestos is very dangerous to one’s health. The main risks come in the way of the microfibers the material gives off from. These fibers are very sharp and very small, and can cause harm when they touch the skin or eyes. They’re especially dangerous when someone breaths them in, or ingests them accidentally.
Breathing in asbestos particles causes a lot of micro-cuts in the lungs over time. This leads to a build-up of scar tissue, and makes it harder to breathe. Plus, the fibers themselves can also lead to lung cancer. Other lung diseases, like mesothelioma, have also been linked to these particles.
Staying safe when working with asbestos is very straightforward. Mainly, it comes down to protecting your body from those loose fibers. Therefore, it’s a good idea to wear breathing masks and goggles when handling the material. You’ll also want to wear clothes which fully cover the body, and don’t forget to bring a different pair for when you’re done!
However, you might accidentally run into asbestos when you don’t expect it. This is common in fields like construction, where many old houses might still have some in them. In these cases, it’s important to clear out of the area quickly. Then, report it to your boss or supervisor, and don’t return to the area until you’re protected. Furthermore, follow the necessary protocols in disposing of it depending on your state.
Practicing seat belt safety is the smartest, easiest way to protect yourself in a car. If you had the choice, you would likely always choose to survive in the event of a car crash. However, putting your seat belt on is comparable to making that choice every day. Seat belts help protect against driving with distraction, aggression, or impairments. So, what are some other facts about seat belts? Let’s discuss…
Seat Belt Safety: What You Should Know
What is a Standard Seat Belt Law?
A standard (primary) seat belt law means that officers can pull drivers over for not wearing their seat belt. On the other hand, secondary seat belt laws means that the officer must pull the driver over for another infraction first. Then, they can add on the citation for not wearing a seat belt. Seat belt safety laws lead to an increase in wear by about 10%. In turn, we see a dramatic decrease in the number of injuries and fatalities.
Who has the laws?
Every state beside New Hampshire has either primary or secondary seat belt laws. While only 15 states have secondary laws, it is still in the best interest of the driver and their passengers to wear their seat belts.
The states that have primary seat belt safety laws are: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Why should you wear one?
You should practice seat belt safety for yourself, mainly. If that’s not enough, keep in mind that your entire community can suffer the affects of an accident where safety belts were not worn. Those who are in the hospital after being in a crash and not wearing their seat belt have financial charges 55% greater than those who were wearing their belts. This can be the literal difference of life and death.
In conclusion, you should always follow the laws and safety guidelines when it comes to seatbelts. Not wearing a seat belt can make even minor accidents into major ones. In short, for the safety of yourself and others, wear a seat belt.
Slow driving seems like a much preferable alternative to speeding drivers. After all, there’s some situations where it’s much more safer to be going slow instead of fast. However, driving too slowly can end up being just as dangerous. There’s a few reasons in particular as to why this kind of driving should be avoided…
Slow Driving: Dangers of Not Minding the Speed Limit
Slow driving can be dangerous for a couple of reasons. For starters, it disrupts the natural flow of traffic. Slow drivers can cause pretty severe backups in their lanes, which increases the chance of someone getting into an accident. This is especially true if they linger in the left lanes, which can cause driver to have to pass on the right, which is more dangerous.
Plus, it has dangers in more residential areas as well. If a driver turns a corner and immediately encounters a slow driver, they’ll have to slam on the brakes to avoid them. This can cause a chain reaction behind them, which can also lead to accidents or very angry other drivers.
Types of slow drivers
While slow driving is something anyone can do, certain types of drivers do it more often than others. For example, newly licensed drivers might be apprehensive to go fast, and drive a bit too slowly as a result. The same goes for drivers who are lost. Their unfamiliarity with the area will make them more cautious.
Older drivers often tend to drive slowly as well. This usually is due to the effects of age, as it becomes harder to apply more pressure to the gas and be aware of the speed limits. Distracted drivers are some of the more dangerous slow drivers. Usually, these drivers are more focused on things like their phones than the road, causing the slow down.
What to do
If you find yourself stuck behind someone practicing slow driving, there’s a few things you can try to do. First, be patient and see if the driver notices you and lets you pass. If that doesn’t work, then try to get their attention by flashing your lights at them. As a last resort, you can use your horn, but try to save this for when you have no choice or the situation is getting risky.
You might not think that tired driving is all that bad at first glance. After all, when compared to drunk or angry drivers, they can’t be that bad, right? As it turns out, tired drivers can be just as dangerous as other kinds of risky drivers. That’s why it’s important to know why driving while tired should be avoided when possible…
Tired Driving: Why It’s Dangerous
Understanding the risks
Driving is something which requires your full attention. Even a minor or quick distraction can be very dangerous and increase the chance of an accident. This is why things like drunk driving are so dangerous. Not having full awareness behind the wheel can be a recipe for disaster.
Tired driving can be so dangerous because of this similar lack of awareness. Your reaction speed, decision making, and vision all suffer. These symptoms can quickly lead to an increased risk of an accident. As a result, driving tired can be just as dangerous as other impaired driving types.
Who’s at risk
Tired driving is so dangerous because it can happen to anyone. After all, no one is immune to the effects of drowsiness. However, there are some specific people who might be at more of a risk than others. These tend to be people who have get little sleep, work long hours, or have some kind of sleep disorder.
Still, certain situations can put people at a higher risk than usual. For example, having to drive late at night when you usually don’t could result in tired driving. So could having to drive for a long period of time. Eventually, exhaustion can set in and lead to feelings of tiredness.
Spotting the signs
It’s not always easy to tell when sleepiness will hit you, but there are some warning signs. Noticing these signs can help you notice your tired driving and make efforts to get off the road. That way, you don’t run the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel.
Some warning signs include turning up your music to keep you awake, as well as drinking caffeinated drinks to try and stay alert. Other signs include realizing you’re beginning to daydream or drifting between lanes while driving. Even the obvious signs, like yawning or droopy eyes, shouldn’t be ignored.