Overloaded Truck: Concern and Risk

On their own, tractor trailers can be difficult to handle. This becomes especially apparent if they go over their normal load limits. An overloaded truck can make tractor trailer driving even more dangerous. It’s important to be aware of the risks that come with overloading and improperly loading your truck…

Overloaded Truck: Understanding the Issue

Load limits

Federal law caps the weight limit for commercial vehicles at 80,000 pounds. However, that doesn’t mean that all trucks can carry that weight. That’s why it’s important to know how much your truck can handle to avoid having an overloaded truck. 

Your truck’s total capacity is determined by a number of things. These include it’s braking system, drive train, axles, and wheels just to name a few. However, each truck should have a sticker letting you know what its capacity is. Exceeding this capacity could cause your truck components to wear down and break.

Harder handling

Damaged components are not the only risk that comes with an overloaded truck. These vehicles also are much harder to handle than usual. The added weight makes your truck less responsive and more likely to have the heavier trailer swing out of control.

Rollovers and Jackknifing

Rollovers and jackknifing are also more common on overloaded trucks. So is losing control over your truck, especially when going downhill. These all can increase the risk of accidents to both you and other drivers. That’s why it’s much safer to drive with a properly loaded truck. 

Improperly loaded

Your truck doesn’t have to be over its weight limit to be overloaded. In fact, sometimes you can have an overloaded truck due to improper loading. Improper loading can cause one side of your truck to be heavier than another, causing issues for you when driving.

For example, a truck with too much weight on the left side will struggle to turn right. This unbalanced load will also increase the chance of rollovers during left turns. That’s why it’s important to make sure your cargo is loaded safely and balanced.

Overloaded trucks might seem like a way to move a bit more cargo each trip. However, the risks far outweigh the benefits. Everyone on the road is much safer when trucks carry loads within their weight limits.

Rush Hour Riding: Accident Prevention

Most riders try to avoid rush hour. The amount of cars on the road makes for an unsafe ride, but also for a unenjoyable one. Because of the heavy amount of traffic on the roads at this time, motorcycle riders have an extra responsibility to themselves to be extra cautious of others on the road. Sure, everyone should be paying attention to their surroundings, but as we know, that sometimes doesn’t happen. We have a collection of helpful tips for rush hour riding.

Rush Hour Riding: Tips for A Safe Trip

Be Ready to Brake

Braking quickly is an easy way to get into an accident, small or large. If you are ready to brake at any moment, you will be much more ready for whatever happens. It’s not uncommon for traffic to come to a screeching halt. Rush hour riding means preparing for anything to happen.

Watch for People Turning

When people coming the opposite direction on a two lane highway want to turn left (directly in front of you), they will probably do so last minute. This could mean they cut you off. Like previously mentioned, being prepared and alert is the only way to stay safe in these situations. Rush hour riding requires much more thought and preparation, since the road is wide open for you!

Keep an Eye Out

Watch out for others on the road. If you see someone driving dangerously, try to avoid being near that car if you can. Many times drivers assume rush hour is a lawless time where rules don’t apply. You can also spot drivers who have distractions most of the time! If you see the driver next to you is on their cellphone, try to safely pass. Rush hour riding can be dangerous if you are not aware of your surroundings.

To conclude, the main thing you can do for yourself when you are rush hour riding is just watch out for others on the road. While, yes, they should be watching out for you, too, often times they are not. Keep your brakes ready and your eyes open.

Motorcycle Passengers: Your Responsibility

Motorcycles are fun and enjoyable. They can double in fun and enjoyment with a passenger in tow. However, adding motorcycle passengers can be dangerous if the passenger does not properly handle the ride. Are you joining someone on a ride for the first time? Here are some tips to make a smooth ride for you and the rider.

Motorcycle Passengers: Useful Tips

Getting On and Off

For starters, motorcycle passengers are just that: passengers. Make sure the rider is on the bike first and ready for you to join. The rider should be stable with both feet on the ground. Use the footpegs to help. When getting off, make sure the rider knows your plans to do so! The change in weight can cause a rider to drop their bike.

Speaking of Footpegs

Use them! Using the footpegs will keep your weight distributed between the pegs and the seat. This will make for a smoother, more stable ride. Also, remember you should never put your feet on the ground during a ride.

Motorcycle passengers should use the footpegs during the duration of the ride to maintain their safety. Additionally, there are hot exhaust pipes near the passenger seats of motorcycles. Using the footpegs will help you avoid touching those.

Proper Outfit

Safety wise, wearing clothing that will cover and protect your skin is the best bet. Prepare yourself with proper safety equipment, such as a helmet, before going on a ride. But motorcycle passengers also have to watch out for their shoes. Untied shoelaces (and other loose pieces of clothing) can get caught on the chain or belt of the back of the bike. Ensure that nothing is hanging so nothing gets caught! 

Lean With It

Some advice for handling motorcycles is “lean into the turn”. Motorcycle passengers shouldn’t lean too much, however. Leaning too much or unexpectedly can make it difficult for the rider to control the bike. Some advice for this is: look over the rider’s shoulder in the direction you are turning.

Lastly, and most importantly, operating a motorcycle is fun, as is being a passenger. Remember that motorcycle passengers have a responsibility to themselves and the rider to help create a safe riding environment. Have a fun and safe ride!

Defensive Driving: Avoiding Accident

Driving, no matter how often we do it, is a dangerous act that requires skill, attention, and multitasking. While most of us take to the roadways every single day, there are plenty of drivers who fail to observe the basic rules of the road. Due to risky drivers, amongst other factors, it’s important that all of us take part in defensive driving. Defensive driving essentially means to drive with correct habits, and stay alert to present, and potential, dangers in the roadway.

While most of us do this to some degree, there are many others who don’t understand exactly how to go about it. So, we’re here to help. Below, you will find some basic tips for defensive driving and protecting yourself from potential accidents…

Defensive Driving: Tips for Staying Alert and Safe 

Focus on the Task at Hand

​One quick way to put yourself at risk, is to stop defensive driving and become distracted. Distractions keep you from being alert in terms of road conditions, and drivers around you. Distractions are everywhere, and we often indulge just a little bit. From answering a phone call, a text, and changing the song on the radio— taking your eyes, or mind, off of the road can be quite dangerous. Instead, focus on your surroundings. Answer the call or text later, make your playlist ahead of time, and keep your eyes on the road. 

When In Doubt, Yield

Many accidents come from uncertainty about who has the right of way. Should you go? Or is it their turn? An inability to make quick decisions, and slight hesitation, can lead to an accident in an instant. So, if you aren’t sure about oncoming cars, a stop sign, or a yield— wait for the space to clear, and then take your turn. However, there are plenty of defensive driving techniques and road rules as to how to handle these situations. If you find that you’re unsure, do a little research in your time off of the road.

One rule of thumb I always use for stop signs, is to ‘peel off layers’ of cars. The first person to make a full stop takes their turn, then another person, and continue this pattern from all sides of the stop. Take some time, learn standard protocol, and become a better driver. We can all do things to become better drivers. 

Watch for Blind Spots

Blind spots are one of the leading causes in accidents. Therefore, you have to know where yours are located in your vehicles. For most cars, the blind spots exist on either side towards the rear of the vehicles. Most blinds spots are worse on the right side, being that it is one opposite the driver. Therefore, you should always check over your shoulder before merging or switching lanes. In addition, defensive driving requires you to be aware of other’s blind spots as well. By staying out of their blind spots, you reduce your chances of being in an accident.

Defensive driving is all about anticipating the moves of other drivers. When you anticipate their moves, you can help prevent yourself from being in harms way. So, pay attention to the roadway, prepare for potential danger, and keep your eyes on the road. An accident can happen in any instant, do what you can to prevent them on your end. 

Flooded Roads: Evacuating Safely

It can already be quite hard to drive in rainy or stormy weather. However, this weather could also cause flooded roads, which make it much harder to get around. Floods can appear even when you wouldn’t expect them, like during summer rainstorms. That’s why it’s important to know how to handled a flood while in your car…

Flooded Roads: How To Handle Them

Eyeball the water levels

Flooded roads can be a bit deceiving. Depending on where the road is or how shallow the land is around it, the flood might not seem as bad. However, this kind of assumption can be dangerous. That’s why it’s a good idea to perform an eyeball test before going near a flooded road.

Just 6 inches of water can cause damage to your car and lead to you stalling out. A foot of water could even cause your car to start floating! If the water levels appear to be 6 inches or deeper, it’s best to avoid heading down that road. Instead, try to find a safer, alternate route.

Take it slow

When it rains, the roads become more slick. As a result, your car tires lose some traction. That’s why slower speeds are generally preferred during poor weather. Going too fast could lead to hydroplaning, which could then lead to a potential accident. Flooded roads further increase this kind of risk.

The higher the flood, the less traction your tires will have on the road. If you try and speed through the flood, you might end up loosing all your traction and stall out. It also increases the risk of you loosing control of your car. That’s why it’s preferable to take it slow and keep your focus on the flooded road. 

Watch for hazards

One of the main dangers from flooded roads it what they might be hiding underneath the water. It can be very difficult to see underneath the floodwaters, especially while driving. Combine this with the fact that the poor weather might have caused environmental damage, and their could be something in the water which could cause damage to your car.

That’s why you’ll want to scan the environment before you enter any flooded roads. Look for things like any fallen trees or whipped-up debris which might tip you off to a problem. Fallen power lines are especially dangerous, but also potentially easier to spot. If you think the road might not be safe underneath the water, look for another way around.

Road Trip Hacks: Avoiding Mishap

When it comes to visiting friends and family, for a lot of people that means it’s time for a road trip. Going to see family and friends can be a lot of fun, but getting there may take a while. A lot can happen while you’re on the road for many hours, so it’s important be ready. In that case, these road trip hacks can go a long way to getting you prepared...

Road Trip Hacks: Safe and Convenient Travels

Bring the Charger

Most important of all road trip preparation, is to bring the charger. At some point during the ride, a device will need a charge. If you’re traveling with others, they may use the same charger as you. So, try bringing a multi-port charger. That way everyone can use their own cord, at the same time. In addition, be sure not to leave the house without your phone charger. For most people, their phone serves as their main GPS. You want to make sure it doesn’t lose it’s charge. Furthermore, consider purchasing a solar, or battery, powered device for when all else fails. 

Bring a Map

Next on the list of road trip hacks, bring a map. No matter how reliable you feel your phone is, it’s best to have a physical copy of a map. While this might seem old school, you never know what could happen. You could break your phone, lose it at a rest stop, or just lose battery power. For this reason, you should have a back up in the form of a physical map. In an emergency, this could come in handy.

Leave the Suitcases

Instead of carrying a large suitcase, try bringing a duffle bag. These are soft and pliable, making them much easier to pack. In addition, they tend to be much lighter than a suitcase. Therefore, this will help reduce the weight in your car on your road trip. Plus, if you have to store bags inside the vehicle, this bag will be much more comfortable for passengers than sitting beside a big suitcase.

Bring an Emergency Kit

Last on the list of road trip hacks, you should bring an emergency kit. This should include basic tools such as a flash light and screw driver. Also, include some duct tape and super glue in case you need to patch something quickly. Not to mention, you may want to include an empty gas can in case you end up needing fuel. As a rule of thumb, you should also always include a spare tire and tools to change it in your emergency kit.

In short, road trip hacks are all about preparing for the unexpected. So much can happen while you’re on the road that you can’t prepare for everything. But you should do your best to be ready for an emergency.