Tips for Avoiding Wrecks with 18-Wheelers in Dallas

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Commercial motor vehicles and big rigs are a part of our everyday lives. We may see them on our daily work commute or on family trips. These vehicles provide a valuable service to us all, transporting goods and driving our local economy. We all know, however, that these vehicles can also be dangerous. Fortunately, there are a few simple ways you can reduce your risk of being in an accident with an 18-wheeler.

Simple Ways to Prevent Big Rig Accidents

You can’t always predict the actions of another driver, but you can control your own. Use these tips the next time you get on your local highway or truck route:

  • Don’t hit the brakes quickly unless necessary. Rapid deceleration is dangerous when you’re ahead of a big rig, as even empty ones take a long time to stop. A fully loaded semi can require 300 yards to come to a complete stop. Keep an eye on the road ahead of you and allow plenty of time to react to possible hazards.
  • If a truck is following you too closely, give them time and space to pass. Move out of the way safely and continue your way.
  • Know their blind spots. Commercial motor vehicles have pretty impressive mirrors, but they still have blind spots – in fact, their blinds spot are much larger than typical vehicles. A good rule of thumb to follow is if you cannot see their mirrors, they cannot see you. It’s always a good idea to assure a safe following distance, especially behind a semi.
  • Don’t tailgate. Tailgating is dangerous for the reasons listed above, but also because it prevents you from seeing road signs, traffic lights, and other things necessary for safe driving. Always allow ample room between you and a large vehicle.
  • Exercise patience. Semi-trucks can travel slowly, but this is a good thing. It’s much safer for them to travel at slower speeds than it is to keep pace with smaller vehicle traffic. On the highway, travel in the faster lanes, as semis tend to keep to the slow lane. If you need to pass, wait until it’s safe to do so – a little patience could save your life.
  • Drive defensively. A trucker owes you a duty of care, but you also have a duty to drive safely on the road. Minimize distractions and concentrate on the road always, especially when you’re sharing it with a semi.
  • Use your blinker. Before making lane changes or engaging in any other activity with a driver, be as predictable as possible. This means using a blinker and waiting a moment before switching lanes. Remember, large vehicles take longer to maneuver and require more reaction time.

Sharing the road with semi-trucks may seem like second nature, but’s it’s important to keep your guard up. By driving defensively, remaining visible, and allowing them plenty of time to react on the road, you can make your commute safer. Do your part to prevent trucking wrecks in Dallas by observing these tips.

Posted by admin at 10:00 pm

Does Increased Competition in the Trucking Industry Affect Safety?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The trucking industry is becoming an increasingly competitive place to work. The North American Free Trade Agreement has created more opportunities for truckers throughout North America, and deregulation in interstate trucking has created competition in pricing and deadlines.

On some level, competition is essential in a market economy. As it relates to the trucking industry, however, competition can lead to dangers for travelers and truckers. In recent years, experts have raised concerns about safety and compliance in the industry.

Efficiency and Pressure from Competition

One of the largest areas in which competition has become a safety concern is in the efficient delivery of goods. When it comes to transportation of goods, efficiency is synonymous with speed. The need to deliver goods quickly has become a safety issue, as big rig operators are more likely to drive above the posted speed limit or faster than they should in inclement weather. Speeding plays a large role in commercial vehicle accidents, and truckers shouldn’t feel pressure from deadlines that are too tight.

A Lack of Qualified Drivers

To make matters worse, the trucking industry now faces a shortage of qualified drivers. Employers are offering sign-up bonuses and better pay to those looking for a long-haul job. The shortage especially applies to interstate trucking, as these long trips don’t suit a family lifestyle. Even though companies offer powerful incentives to hire more commercial vehicle operators, the turnover rate for these jobs is high. If a long-haul driver on the road lacks experience and proper training it can create a dangerous scenario.

Competition Leads to Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue plays a large role in accidents involving commercial motor vehicles. Trucking companies can theoretically gain an advantage by keeping drivers on the road longer. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets strict guidelines for driver hours, which they must keep recorded in log books.

Currently, a driver must take breaks throughout a shift and cannot drive for more than 14 hours in a shift. It’s easy to see how breaking these regulations could lead to accidents for the sake of meeting a deadline.

Drivers also combat fatigue by turning to illicit or over-the-counter substances. These substances, like caffeine pills, energy drinks, and even cocaine and methamphetamine, lead to energy crashes that compound fatigue. They also have disastrous consequences when it comes to roadway safety.

Competition Leads to Recklessness

In sum, the deregulation of the trucking industry has had unintended consequences – namely, an increasingly competitive landscape causing trucking companies to value profit over safety. Under pressure from their employers, truckers might drive too fast for prevailing conditions or even neglect their log books to gain a competitive edge. A trucker shortage compounds the problem, as companies struggle to retain and hire experienced drivers. Interstate commercial vehicle operators may lack the skill set or training to assure safety on our roadways.

Drivers must use caution when driving, but especially when sharing the road with commercial motor vehicles. Increased competition has had a negative effect on public safety.

Posted by admin at 10:01 pm

How Can Commercial Truck Drivers Limit Distracted Driving?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Distracted driving plays a major role in car accidents, which is why most states have a ban on texting while driving. Some states go further than others – in fact, in some states even talking on the phone is prohibited. Minimizing distractions is essential to maintaining our safety, as thousands incur injury from distracted driving each year. This especially applies to commercial truck drivers, as accidents involving commercial vehicles often lead to serious, permanently disabling injury or fatality. Fortunately, there are several techniques commercial truck drivers can employ to reduce their risk of causing an accident.

Put Your Phone Away

In the era of smartphones, keeping in touch with our mobile devices is second nature. We may always keep our devices close so we can check on texts, engage on social media, or navigate with GPS. When you’re operating a commercial motor vehicle, however, using a smartphone can prove disastrous. Texting and driving, for example, will make you 23 times more likely to be involved in what the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration calls a “safety-critical” event, which includes lane deviations, near-accidents, or accidents.

Sending a text takes an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, this means a driver may travel the length of a football field without looking at the road. In fact, using a phone on the road is so dangerous that the FMCSA also has rules restricting how truckers can dial a phone while operating a commercial motor vehicle.

When driving, err on the safe side and avoid temptation; keep your phone out of reach. Pull over if you need to send a text or answer a phone call.

Maintain Your Focus

People often fail to realize that distracted driving is anything that takes your attention off the road. This may include personal grooming, talking on the phone, fiddling with the radio, or even talking to a passenger. Take steps to minimize any distractions:

  • Take care of all personal grooming needs before leaving each day.
  • Plug your route into GPS before hitting the highway.
  • Finish all personal calls before beginning a shift.

When on the road, maintain your focus by actively scanning and using your truck’s mirrors. Drive defensively and resist the temptation to multitask.

Prepare Smart Snacks

Driver fatigue can play a large role in distracted driving. Taking frequent breaks and eating smart snacks can help keep your energy level up and combat fatigue. The FMCSA sets rules for breaks and sleep for a reason. When taking a break or refueling, choose snacks that are high in protein and complex carbohydrates, not sugar. Sugar may make you feel better for a while, but an inevitable drop in blood sugar follows, which can make your fatigue worse.

Over a third of truck drivers have reported falling asleep or nodding off behind the wheel – get plenty of rest and take breaks when you need them, as concentration helps prevent accidents.

Distracted driving can lead to devastating accidents, but commercial vehicle operators can help mitigate their risk. Follow these tips to reduce accidents and enjoy a safe trip.

Posted by admin at 10:02 pm