Thursday, September 26, 2013

Weighing Your Load and Overweight Loads

Overweight loads cause many problems:
  • They are hard on equipment.
  • They cost money in the form of fines and extra maintenance.
  • They cost time that it takes to get the problems they cause straightened out.
Bill of Lading weights cannot be depended on to give you the actual shipping weight of the load. Your company cannot afford overweight tickets and fines, and neither can you. The solution is simple: Weigh your load!
 Follow these steps to insure that you won’t have to pay overweight fines:
1. Scale your load. You are responsible for making sure that any load you pull is legal weight and size. As soon as you have loaded or picked up a pre-loaded trailer, weigh the load.
2. If there isn’t a scale where you pick up the load, call or send a Qualcomm message to your Driver Manager before you move the load. Your Driver Manager will direct you to the nearest scale, and will take responsibility for any overweight fines incurred from your pick-up location to the scale. NOTE: If you are going to arrive at your pick-up location after office hours, ask your Driver Manager for weighing instructions when you are dispatched, so you will know what to do when you get the load.
3. If you scale your load at the shipper or pick-up location, and you are overweight, call or send a Qualcomm message to your Driver Manager immediately for instructions on what to do. DO NOT GET INTO AN ARGUMENT WITH SHIPPER PERSONNEL ABOUT WHAT TO DO TO TAKE CARE OF THE SITUATION. They may not be authorized to do anything to solve the problem. Your Driver Manager will help you get the problem resolved.
4. If your load is overweight when you scale, call or send a Qualcomm message to your Driver Manager for further instructions. IF YOU ARE OVERWEIGHT, DO NOT LEAVE THE SHIPPER OR SCALE LOCATION UNTIL YOU HAVE GOTTEN INSTRUCTIONS FROM YOUR DRIVER MANAGER.
5. If you leave the shipper without weighing or getting authorization from your Driver Manager to go to another location to weigh, you will be held responsible for any fines for being overweight on gross or axle weights. It doesn’t matter whether you drive 10 miles or 10 feet, if you don’t weigh or get authorization to go to a scale location, you will pay any fines that result.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Emergency Maneuvers - Evasive Steering

Most driving emergencies are caused by driver error. 

Emergencies happen when one or more drivers fail to observe safe operating practices.  Professional drivers reduce the likelihood of emergencies by using all of their knowledge and skill, while remembering that all road users need to be treated as equals.  It’s also fair to note that common courtesy can prevent the majority of emergency situations.
A tractor-trailer can generally be turned more quickly than it can be stopped.  If an escape path is available, evasive steering provides a better chance of avoiding a collision than attempting to stop. Head-on and rear-end crashes are often fatal.  Evasive steering can often reduce damages to a sideswipe accident.  Constantly scanning the roadway in front of you provides you with the information to make a quick decision.

The two most common escape routes are another lane of traffic and the shoulder of the road.  If your lane is entered by another motor vehicle, a quick lane-change may be your best escape route.  If a lane-change is impossible or dangerous, the shoulder of the road provides an alternate escape route.

Evasive steering, when handled properly, is generally safe.  Quick, evasive maneuvers usually won’t cause a rollover for the experienced driver.  The safest conditions for evasive steering are when you have stable cargo with a low center of gravity and a firm footing, such as an adjacent lane of highway or a paved shoulder of the road.

A few general procedures to consider if evasive steering should become necessary include:
  1. Minimize the amount of turning necessary by starting evasive steering as early as possible.
  2. Turn only as much as is needed to avoid a collision. The larger the turn, the greater the chance of a jackknife or rollover.
  3. Turn as quickly as possible using hand-over-hand steering.
  4. Avoid braking while making the evasive maneuver turn. Braking could cause the tractor and trailer wheels to lock-up. Locked wheels during turning could easily result in a loss of control.
  5. Brake before turning. If distance permits, apply the brakes hard before beginning a turn.
  6. Be prepared to counter-steer quickly. Counter-steering is the act of turning back toward your original path of travel. Quick counter-steering is required to keep your vehicle from traveling outside of its escape path and off the shoulder or into traffic.
When it becomes necessary for a driver to utilize emergency evasive steering, the importance of wearing your seatbelt becomes critical. It’s difficult to turn the steering wheel quickly unless you’re firmly rooted in your seat.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Foggy Roads Ahead!

There are many types of dangerous driving situations, including operating a tractor-trailer in the fog. There are varying degrees of fog. If conditions are mild, the fog will create little cause for concern.
On the other hand, if trying to maneuver through dense fog, consider the following tips:
  • When traveling through foggy conditions, slow down. Fog creates low visibility. Thus, accidents can occur regardless of experience. In fact, most fog-related fatalities are the result of a careless driver speeding on the highway.
  • Although some foggy conditions will not interfere with visibility, it is important to keep fog lights on at all times. If traveling through thick fog, turn on regular lights. It may be tempting to drive with high beams glaring. However, this could interfere with other drivers’ ability to see, which could result in a collision.
  • If foggy conditions become intense, pull over and stop driving. Of course, make sure the pull-off spot is in a safe location. Whenever possible, avoid the highway’s shoulder. If the fog is extremely thick, other drivers on the road may have difficulty staying within the lines, and may veer off onto the shoulder.
  • Fog is common in cold or rainy conditions. Hence, the windshield may become foggy. To ensure safety, make sure that your defroster is properly working at all times. While driving through fog, keep the defroster on until conditions improve.
  • It's tempting to tailgate while driving in fog. When visibility is limited, we tend to rely on other drivers to guide us. However, keep in mind that their visibility is also limited. For this matter, do not follow other vehicles too closely. If a vehicle were to stop suddenly or needed to make an emergency maneuver, you would run the risk of crashing into them or something else.
  • Rather than relying on other vehicles to guide you through fog, drive in the right lane, and keep a close eye on the white lines in the road. This way, you are able to remain in your lane.

Remember...take the extra time to avoid an accident!