Next month, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will hold their annual International Roadcheck.
The 72-hour inspection event — set to run this year from May 16-18 — can be a helpful reminder of the importance of regular safety check-ups. And while you’ve heard the tried-and-true suggestions a thousand times — keep a safe distance, know your blind spots, avoid distracted driving (all great advice, by the way) — there are plenty of other opportunities to protect yourself on the roads.
Here are four little-known things you can do to give yourself a safer ride:
1. Toss those noise-canceling headphones.
While they may be good for concentration, noise-canceling headphones also block out important cues like sirens, horns, other drivers and the sound of your own vehicle. It’s always a good idea to be “in tune” with your truck. Blowouts on a passenger vehicle, for example, are far more evident than on 18-wheelers, where it can take longer to “feel” a single failed tire. Listening closely can be vital.
2. Check your wheel seals for leaks at every refuel.
Your wheel seals are the most likely thing to fail on your wheels — for good reason. They were designed that way, so that seal failures occur before more catastrophic damage. But taking a second to put eyes on your wheel ends at every stop can help you prevent blowouts. Signs of a deteriorating wheel seal include visible damage, or lubricant on your brakes or the insides of wheel assemblies.
3. Observe all cargo loading.
When driving, it’s your job to make sure freight is loaded correctly, even if you didn’t load it yourself. Freight should be as low and as close to the center of the trailer as possible. Make sure loaders tie down all pallets with straps, and that they don’t put too much weight on one side, which can affect your trailer’s balance.
4. Contact your Congressional representative to ask for more truck parking.
Recent research has shown that there is only one parking spot for every 10 trucks on the road. This lack of parking forces drivers to park on the roadside or in unsafe restricted areas. Or, to avoid being ticketed, many drivers are forced to keep driving — even when they’re tired. And while fatigue is only cited as a factor in 1.6% of fatal truck crashes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) admits the number is likely as much as five times higher. Two bills to increase truck parking have been introduced in Congress in recent years, but neither has passed yet. You can make a difference by contacting your representative and explaining how the lack of parking affects your work and life.
At Cover Whale, we’re committed to making the roads a safer place for truckers. That’s why we’ve teamed up with The Trucker to learn more about truck drivers’ most pressing safety concerns. If you’re interested in helping us protect truckers, please take our 90-second truck safety survey here.
Courtesy of Cover Whale
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.