A CDL endorsement provides truck drivers with a specific license that allows them to drive a semi-truck. Furthermore, it ensures that they’re up to the task. While driving through the mountains remains a breeze for some people, accidents are still likely to happen on occasion. Due to the fact that semi-truck accidents offer more consequences than a two car accident might, there are runaway ramps alongside mountain ranges.
Runaway Ramps: A Life-Saving Tool
No doubt, just like all vehicles, semi-trucks can lose control. However, when this happens, it causes a bit more chaos than your average incident. We all want to keep ourselves and others from injury on the roadway. However, we know that accidents happen.
Anyone who has driven a tractor trailer knowsthat a runaway ramp is there for emergencies only. In fact, the danger of runaway ramps can often lead endangered drivers to avoid them at all costs. Most runaway ramps look quite similar. A steep incline of dirt, speed bumps, and caution signs to alert drivers of it’s purpose.
What happens when 18 wheelers lose control?
When a semi-truck cannot stop in time, everyone on the road is in danger. Because semi-trucks are quite large, an accident can cause issue on both sides of the road. Brakes fail, a truck is moving at full speed, and next thing you know— you’re part of a massive collision. This is where those runaway ramps come in.
As any truck driver knows, runaway ramps are notsomething to use lightly. In fact, they will ruin a vehicle, potentially cause injury to the driver, and lead to one stranded, injured driver. Runaway ramps are a safety feature that should only be used in dire circumstances. However, when needed, they can be a life-saving tool.
A Life-Saving Tool
While we warn against the potential impact of runaway ramps, please understand that they could be the thing that saves your life as a truck driver. When your vehicle’s brakes go out— you have to figure out a means of saving yourself, and also those around you. In this case, a runaway ramp might be your only option. And in that scenario, you’re saving yourself and countless others from danger.
There are plenty of different fields you can enter within the workforce. Form physical labor, to desk jobs, and even hitting the road. The thing to remember with any job, is that they come with their own set of risks. Even desk jobs come with a heightened risk of back and neck injuries. Another field that often leads to back injuries, is truck driving. Truck driving-related work injuries are extremely common due to the nature of the job. While many injuries are obvious in nature, there are also a few which you might not have considered…
Truck Driving-Related Work Injuries
Back and Neck
Quite obviously, when it comes to truck driving-related work injuries, your back is at a high risk of facing issue. If you consider what a truck driver is doing— driving long hours, sleeping in close quarters, and also occasionally lifting and unloading heavy materials… It’s easy to see how these injuries would occur. Therefore, it’s important to practice good posture in driving and lifting.
Consider purchasing additional support for your driver’s seat, and also pulling over for a stretch every now and then. While stiffness is pesky, it’s also not low-impact. You want to stretch your muscles, maybe take a short walk, and engage your back before sitting back down in that seat to avoid truck driving-related work injuries.
Slips and Falls
While you might not think that there’s much action which can lead to injury— there are actually a few different ways to face slip and fall truck driving-related work injuries. From getting in and out of the truck, to lifting the back door, lowering the lift gate… Even these seemingly small actions put you at risk for taking a tumble and hurting yourself.
Repetitive Stress Injuries, and Ignored Issues
You’re sitting in the truck for long periods of time. Your back might hurt a little bit, but you’re not too concerned. However, ignoring those little pains can lead to a bigger issue, and serious truck driving-related work injuries. In fact, ignoring that injury can lead to further injury down the line. Due to the fact that your back is under stress, and ignored— the issue can amplify.
There isn’t the same opportunity to heal while continuing your job when you’re a truck driver. Instead, you’re sitting down. Therefore, it’s important to take a day or tow when you need it. That way, you can avoid a prolong time spent off the road to trying to recover from truck driving-related work injuries.
Driving a commercial truck is hard work. Furthermore, driving around commercial trucks can be intimidating to many. We know that you have to be a superior driver to get behind the wheel of a big rig, but accidents will happen. While we can take steps to prevent an ‘oops’, we aren’t always so lucky. One potentially deadly hazard for truckers and drivers, is a tire blowout. We expect the standard wear and tear, especially on a vehicle that is so large, and traveling so much. But, as tires age, or if you’re skipping maintenance, a tire blowout can become serious for all drivers.
Tire Blowout: A Dangerous Accident
One of the most dangerous things about a tire blowout, is that they can occur out of nowhere. Maybe the tire has become a bit deflated, or worn down. Next thing you know, rubber hits the roadway and cars start to scramble. One of the largest saving graces for big rigs, is that they typically have a lot more tires than a passenger car does. Therefore, they usually have enough time to get off of the roadway, and repair the issue without too much skin off their back. However, it’s not so simple for other drivers.
Nearby vehicles will likely hear a loud ‘pop’ or ‘bang’ sound, and shreds of black rubber will scatter across the roadway and into the path that vehicles are traveling at high speed. These shreds of rubber serve as a distraction, a hazard to drivers, and can cause damage to other vehicles.
What causes this issue?
Ultimately, wear and tear is the root of this issue most of the time. For passenger car vehicles, we typically aren’t driving cross country on a daily basis. Therefore, while we need to replace our tires on occasion, a truck driver will need to replace a bit more frequently. Their tires are built to last longer than our vehicles. But, they’ll often reach that ‘time to change’ marker a bit quicker than we will. Ultimately, performing routine maintenance and quality checks on your tractor trailer can be pretty telling. If you notice wear on your treads, or repetitive flat tires, it might be time to go ahead and update those wheels.
Accidents will always happen, and sometimes they cannot be easily explained. However, by performing routine maintenance, we can prevent at least a few of them. Furthermore, as a passenger car driver, make plans for the ‘what if’. You might never have to use those plans. But, knowing your plan of action if you see a tire blowout can make a huge difference in your reaction time. Not to mention, it can go a long way to prevent potential damage to yourself or the vehicle.
Truck driving is a difficult job for a number of reasons. From the long driving hours, to back pain, truck stop food, and making sure you hit your marks— it’s not a job for the faint of heart. Because of these factors, and many others, there’s a large need for drivers within the field. Furthermore, because there’s a large need for truck drivers and not too many applicants, many companies are looking for other solutions. That’s where self-driving trucks come in. The idea would be to automate certain parts of the long-haul, and there are many practical uses for this new technology…
Self-driving Trucks: Practical Uses for the Technology
The first concern that current truckers might have about this technology is what becomes of my job? Well, the idea would be for these automated systems to work alongside truckers, rather than eliminate them altogether. While, to most, this may feel skeptical, this idea has been central to development from the start…
Taking Over the highways
One of the most practical uses for this technology, is to allow them to take over on the highways. In the case of a self-driving vehicle, highways present the ideal condition. Think about it: No stoplights, street crossings, practically a straight shot, and a mostly steady flow of traffic. In short, besides traffic patterns, driving on the highway doesn’t present too many obstacles. Not to mention, these are some of the most dangerous stretches for a driver to drive on. It’s long, unchanging, and can become hypnotic— especially to a tired driver. Therefore, by taking this bit out of their route, it gives drivers a chance to rest up. Which, in turn, can reduce the number of driver fatigue accidents.
Being that drivers would now have a chance to better maintain their rest, trucking safety and awareness should increase quite a bit. Furthermore, these self-driving trucks recognize a 360 degree view of the traffic around them. Therefore, it’s less of a guessing game when it comes to switching lanes, and interacting with the vehicles around them.
Gain great fuel efficiency
According to several studies, self-driving trucks should reduce fuel cost by roughly 10%. One way companies intend to do this is by driving their trucks in a tight line. By sticking to this formation, trucks should experience less wind resistance and get better gas mileage. Because the vehicle is self-driving, it would be able to better accomplish this than, say, a driver could.
The practical uses for self-driving trucks are more of what is the industry is focusing on. At some point, the trucks may be able to operate fully without drivers. But for now, makers are concerned with improving the quality and production of the driver, not ousting them completely.
It used to be fun as a kid— you were riding the school bus and a big truck goes by. All the kids pump their arms in hopes that the truck driver will humor you and honk. We’ve all seen it, and likely done it at some point in our lives. However, as we get older and driving on the roadway becomes more serious, those distractions can become dangerous. Distracting truckers by asking them to honk, or being caught off guard by a loud airhorn, can be dangerous for all drivers.
Distracting Truckers: Save the Horn for Safety
Eyes off the road
One major issue with getting a trucker’s attention to do something silly, is that their eyes leave the roadway. Even if just for a second, distracting truckers can cause a major issue. Most of them will be able to multitask and do this if asked. After all, it’s for the kids. But, in that off-chance that they take their eyes off the road, just as someone merges right into their front bumper… big trouble. So, all in all, let those truckers keep their eyes on the road. They have enough distractions already without trying to entertain your children.
However, you cannot control the actions of others
While you might not have considered this before, and now definitely aim to stop playing this game— others might not. Therefore, you might be following the rules and being courteous, but others might not. So, you have to account for that. Keep your distance from large trucks, and don’t drive in their blind spots. Most of them are model drivers, but that is not always the case. Whether they lose focus, control, or it’s at the hands of someone else— there is the potential for accident at all times. The best thing you can do is drive, and set your following distance, accordingly.
Only the truck driver can control whether or not he or she becomes distracted. But, the added distractions don’t make it any easier. At the end of the day, that truck driver will decide whether to honor your request or not. So, drive safe, be on guard, and expect that something like this may occur. By doing so, you’ll be more prepared for an unexpected occurrence.
When driving a semi-truck, one of the most difficult things to do is be specially aware. Furthermore, backing semi-truck’s safely can be a pretty big task; much bigger than on a passenger vehicle. You have a big box blocking your vision, a lot less room for movement, and in turn, a simple task becomes much more difficult. In fact, backing up in a semi-truck remains a leading cause in trucking accidents. But for the most part, these accidents are nearly always avoidable by taking the right steps when reversing. So, we’ve put together a few backing up tips to help you reverse successfully, and safely.
Backing Semi-Truck’s Safely: Tips for Successful Driving
Avoid Blind Side Backing
One of the biggest mistakes a trucker can make in backing up semi-truck’s safely, is to try blind side back. In short, blind side backing refers to backing to the right side of the truck. Since drivers have significantly less vision on the right side, it can be dangerous to back that way. In those cases when you have no other option, it’s best to get out of your truck and check with your own eyes. By seeing for yourself, you have a better understanding of the space you’re working with. In addition, you can spot any potential vehicles or obstructions that can result in accident.
Avoid Using A Spotter
During these times when you are struggling to back up, a lot of people may offer to help. But for the most part, you probably should avoid using an outsider’s help in this case. While they have good intentions, they may not be capable of helping. If your spotter is not a truck driver themselves, they will not be able to judge the way in which your truck will fit into the intended spot. So, unless you have a fellow truck driver with you, it’s best not to trust anyone’s judgement on where you’re at. If you need assistance in finding the right space, we suggest getting out and checking your space on your own.
When driving a large vehicle, you have to trust your own judgement. While someone can be a good passenger vehicle driver, they do not understand what it takes to drive a semi-truck unless you’ve been there yourself. So, trust your own judgement, spot for yourself, and make sure you’re comfortable before backing up.