Thursday, February 27, 2014

Share the Road!


 Warmer weather (yes, it will get here...) attracts different types of roadway users, including motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians are vulnerable road users—they do not have the protection of a car or truck, and collisions almost always result in injury. 
 
If you expect to see motorcycles, you are more likely to detect them. Often, we filter out things we don't expect to see. Look for motorcycles, especially at intersections. 
 
Motorcycles are much lighter than other vehicles and can stop in much shorter distances. This means that when you are following a motorcycle, you should leave more distance. If the rider has to make an emergency stop, the bike will stop in a much shorter distance than your rig. 
 
When you see a motorcycle approaching, realize that it's easy to misjudge the speed because the size of the motorcycle and the fact that it is coming towards you makes it difficult to estimate speed. 
 
Pedestrians are just as vulnerable as motorcyclists and bicyclists. Things to remember as a professional driver:

  • You can encounter pedestrians anytime and anywhere – even in places where they are not supposed to be found. Pedestrians can be very hard to see, especially in bad weather or at night. You must keep a lookout and slow down if you can't see clearly. 
  • Stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk, even if it is not marked. When you stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, stop well back so that drivers in the other lanes can also see the pedestrian in time to stop.
  • Cars stopped in the street may be stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross. Do not pass if there is any doubt.
  • Don't assume that pedestrians see you or that they will act predictably. They may be physically or mentally impaired – or drunk.
  • When you are turning, you often will have to wait for a "gap" in traffic. Beware that while you are watching for that "gap,” pedestrians may have moved into your intended path.
  • Be especially attentive around schools and areas where children are active. Drive like you would want other people to drive in front of your own home.  
 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Unhitched trailers can become 'missiles on the highway'

Never assume that your trailer is fully attached and secured. 

Take time to inspect all attachments, securements while we cannot eliminate all equipment failures we can prevent human mistakes.

(Rossen Reports

Kristie Cox lost nearly everything because of a missing safety pin and chain.

An improperly hitched trailer broke free on the road, slamming into her husband's SUV, tearing through its windshield and crushing the vehicle's left side. Her husband, Jeremy, and her 3-year-old daughter, Izzy, were both killed instantly. Only her son, Liam, survived.

"I just fell to the ground," Cox said. "How can they be gone? They're my life. They're every part of my life."

According to federal officials, unhitched trailers have killed more than 300 people in recent years. In many cases, the trailers aren't latched properly, and can pop off — which is why most states require two safety chains as backups.
"They become a weapon," said Lt. Brian Orr of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. "They're a missile going down the highway."

It's such a big problem that Oklahoma's state police patrol for it every day. When TODAY tagged along with them, they quickly found trailers that could be dangerous, sharing the road with you.

One driver admitted he'd been out all day without chains, and promised to fix it. Within a minute, police spotted another trailer in violations and pulled the driver over.
"You only had one chain connected to your trailer," Orr told him. "You're required to have at least two."

The driver said the chain had broken and he didn't have time to get it fixed: A one-minute fix to a $10 part that could literally save lives.

"Two chains are pretty basic," Kristie Cox said. "That decision, which could have taken just moments, and [Jeremy and Izzy] would still be here today, and Liam would still have a daddy and a sister."

Police say unhitched trailer accidents are completely preventable. It only takes 30 to 60 seconds to secure trailers the right way.