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Truck Tips


 

 

Truck Driver Tips

Over the years I've heard stories about motorists and truck drivers that have engaged in behavior that resulted in death. I'm sure when people hit the highways the last thing on their mind that day is to do something that will get them or their fellow passengers killed. After all, haven't most of us taken driver education classes before we hit the roads? Don't we all know what we're supposed to do? According to the Department of Transportation, Thusands of people get killed in trucking accidents. There are thusands of people and truck drivers injured dayly due to large truck crashes around the world.

 

The problems that cause accidents vary, but many can be avoided by following some simple rules:
Don't tailgate. This one should be obvious, but some people think that if they follow a truck closely it will eliminate the drag caused by air thus increasing their gas mileage. While this may be true to some extent, you can't predict what the truck driver is going to do if you're following too closely. If they suddenly put on the brakes, guess what happens to you? You'll end up under the truck, and this usually results in death for anyone in the car who is tall enough to have their head above the dashboard.

 

Don't cut trucks off. This happens so frequently, it is amazing that more motorists haven't died doing it, not to mention the truck driver. If a truck is going 65 and you pull in right in front of a truck, then quickly reduce your speed to less than 65, guess what? Someone is going to have to put on the brakes; a truck driver risks jackknifing the truck.

That alone can cause chain reaction accidents for everyone around the truck. In addition, the motorist in front of the truck risks being literally run over by the truck. Imagine if you were driving a semi-truck full of milk. The milk is heavy, but it also moves around in the truck because it is a liquid, changing the way the driver has to react. If the truck driver has to suddenly stop, the liquid is still moving at 65 miles an hour. Not only will the thousands of gallons of milk abruptly slosh forward, it will also equally slosh abruptly backwards. The end result can be a horrific accident that could have been avoided by simply not cutting off a truck.


  Don't hang out in the blind spot. Motorists know (or should know) that every vehicle has a blind spot. It is no different for truck drivers, who have an even larger blind spot. If a trucker needs to move into the left lane to pass another vehicle, they may not see you hanging around back there. If you need to pass, do so quickly.
If you see a semi-truck making a turn in the city, give them plenty of room. You may have noticed truckers taking up two lanes before they make the turn. Their turn signal is your first clue that they are indeed making a turn. Don't try to pull into the lane next to the truck so that you can "zip around them" when they start making their turn. You risk getting your car destroyed when they make the turn and the trailer they're pulling cuts across the second lane (and your car if it is in the way). Give them plenty of room; try to be patient and everyone will be safer for it.
Stay out of the way of trucks going down steep hills. If you've ever driven in mountain regions, you'll notice "runaway truck" emergency pull offs. They are there for a reason- semi-trucks and other types of large trucks may burn out their brakes if they frequently drive in mountain areas. There is also a danger of slippage on icy, hilly roads. When possible, give a trucker plenty of room, and if you see one barreling down on you, switch to the other lane. The trucker may not be able to slow down his truck, and there is no way for them to tell you if they are experiencing trouble with their truck. If they're in trouble they're going to be holding on to the steering wheel for dear life, not waving at you to get out of the way.
 

Final Note
Most drivers don't deliberately try to engage in bad behavior on the roads, but there is a segment of the population who engages in road rage or want to "teach truckers a lesson." This is a no-win situation, and it may cost you, a trucker, and innocent drivers their lives.
If you find that you are very upset or agitated while driving, why not just pull off at a rest stop or nearby exit to a town to calm down? No one is immune to getting upset while driving, both truckers and motorists. It is important to remember that your actions can have unintended consequences - causing death or injury to innocent parties. Ending up in jail for vehicular homicide or getting yourself killed to "get even" is bad for everyone involved.

 

Since we all have to share the road, let's all try to be more aware of safety around large trucks. No trucker wants to end their day or lose their license by hurting other motorists. They just want to get their loads delivered and get home to their friends and family, just like you.


  The Top 10 Winter Truck Driving Tips 
  Winter can be a dangerous time to be on the roadways, even for the most experienced drivers out there. However, if you take action before winter weather hits, you’re more likely to sail through the season with no problem. To help you prepare to stay safe this winter, we have consulted experienced truck drivers and fleet managers for their top winter driving tips for heavy duty trucks and commercial vehicles:
1.
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good condition before each trip.
    Taking a little time before trips and during stops to check your vehicle’s condition can make a big difference:
    • Do a visual, hands-on inspection of tires, wiper blades and fluid, and lights.
    • Maintain at least a half tank of gas at all times during the winter season.
    • Clean all snow and ice from your vehicle, especially the hood, roof, trunk, lights and windows. Snow in any of these areas increases the chance that your visibility can be affected while you’re driving

2. 

Carry a Winter Driving Kit. Keep your Winter Driving Kit close by and stock it with:

Proper clothing (loose layers, extra gloves, rain gear)
 

  • A flashlight and batteries
  • A blanket
  • Non-perishable food and water
  • A First Aid kit and any required prescription medication
  • A bag of sand or salt
  • Extra washer fluid
  • A windshield scraper and brush for snow removal
  • Jumper cables
  • Tire chains or traction mats
  • Cell phone and charger
3.
Start a little slower, drive a little slower.
Compensate for poor traction by increasing following distance, driving slower, and making all changes gently. A slower speed gives you more time to react if something occurs in the roadway ahead. Extra patience and awareness of other drivers can go a long way this time of year.
4.
Brake and accelerate slowly.
Avoid sudden stops and starts in icy or rainy weather. If you need to slow down quickly in slippery conditions, try lightly pumping your brakes using just the ball of your foot, keeping your heel on the floor. This reduces your chance of locking your tires and losing control of your vehicle.

5.
Give yourself extra space in front and behind.
To give yourself enough room to move out of harm’s way in a sudden emergency, increase the distance between you and other vehicles and avoid driving in packs. The stopping distance required on ice at 0°F is twice the amount required at 32°F. Normal following distances should be increased to 8-10 seconds when driving on icy, slippery surfaces.
6.
Take evasive action to avoid road hazards and collisions.
You may need to take evasive action to avoid a collision. At speeds above 25 mph, gentle deceleration and steering around obstacles is better than braking alone because less distance is required to steer around an object than to brake to a stop. In slick conditions, sudden braking can lead to loss of control. The additional distance you have been keeping between other vehicles should give you more time to see and maneuver around obstacles and road hazards
7.
Hold your steering wheel with confidence and control.
Sudden, sharp movements can quickly cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Grip your stearing wheel steadily and with a strong arm through ruts in the road, heavy wind, and on ice. Snowy or icy surfaces make steering difficult and require smooth, careful, precise movements of the steering wheel. Sudden movements of the steering wheel and excessive acceleration over ruts can cause your vehicle to go into a skid. Watch out for your trailer pushing you on curves and turns.

8.

Watch carefully for black ice.

Black ice is a thin layer of transparent ice that forms when the temperature is close to freezing. Black ice often makes the road surface look slightly wet like a water puddle, making it dangerously deceptive. Shaded spots, bridges, overpasses and intersections are areas where ice is likely to form first or be the most slippery.
Hazardous icy road conditions can sneak up on you, so when the temperature gets close to freezing (below 40°F) watch out for these clues:

Ice builds up on your outside mirror arms or backs, antenna, or the top corners of your windshield.
 

  • Water spray from tires of vehicles in front of you suddenly stops, indicating an ice patch.
  • Roadside trees and signs have a frosting of ice even though the road surface only looks wet.
9.
Be extra precautious when driving in mountains.
Mountain weather in winter can be severe and can change rapidly. Be ready for wind gusts in exposed positions and be aware of emergency vehicles and snowplows. Watch for melting or hard-packed snow and strong side winds as these can also cause a loss of control. If at all possible, do not stop in avalanche zones and always obey posted rules. Tire chains or snow tires may be required for certain routes. Local signage should indicate this and most states have a transportation radio station you can monitor with traffic and road condition updates in your trip area.
10.

If you do find yourself in a skid:
Depress the clutch fast;
 

  • Look at the left mirror only;
  • Steer and counter-steer as fast as you can to get back in front of the trailer; keep fighting it until you regain control.
Remember: Don’t ask your truck to do more than it can. If you don’t feel comfortable driving for any reason, DON’T DRIVE!

Advice to New Drivers 
No matter if you just started driving a truck you should never work for under .28 cents per mile. If you are, you are getting ripped off. It does not matter if they helped you get schooling to drive. They are exploiting you if you make under .28 cents per mile.

 Note: I have had many comments about the above statement recently. I realize that in some cases depending on your age, location, etc. it may be difficult to start at .28/mile or more. I am merely suggesting that you should NOT even have to. It is absurd to think that it has been almost 10 years since I first started and I started out then fresh out of school at the great age of 21 at .27/mile. Isn’t that ridiculous? I remember that even at that time CR England was starting drivers out at .19/mile.

For lack of a better term, that is horse-pucky! Let me ask you all, wouldn’t you start a new driver out at whatever they will accept? I mean the lowest possible? Why even TRY to keep drivers on if they can replace the older drivers with those working for .10 cents less than the other? See, here is the problem, when you do get experience guess where you’ll be as well? It HAS to stop!! -Sep 26, 2003

Avoid getting ripped off

Don’t believe everything these recruiters say

The recruiters these companies hire are very savvy. They will promise you the world, you’ll be home all the time, you’ll have the best insurance, etc. They spend millions of dollars every year trying to get you in the door instead of spending the money to keep the drivers they already have. That, in and of itself, should kick off an alarm in your head. Trust me when I say there are lying. This is your life you’re talking about, don’t let them take it from you.

Don’t be too hasty or you’ll regret it ,Realizing that you have a family to feed and the lure of good money may force you to be in a bit of a hurry to get in a truck fast. Better watch what you’re doing and don’t get tunnel vision. These recruiters can smell when you are desperate. They will eat you alive if you insist on being in a hurry. If you have any concerns feel free to ask me or we’ll find someone who knows! Look at my polls on trucking companies or Trucking Company Reports to see what the actual drivers say about them.

Don’t let these companies run all over you and make you run tired

You are responsible for who you kill if you let these companies run you tired. If you did kill someone while they are running you tired they would just shake their heads and say too bad, oh well. Remember, they do not make any money while you sit a a dock for 8 hours either so they will try and force you to make it up for them. Being subtle about it, of course. BE CAREFUL.

 Watch out for automotive loads

Automotive loads pay pretty good so trucking companies will sit you and hold you so you can pick it up and they’ll have someone there for sure. THEY get paid for holding a truck for them. YOU get NO extra pay and sit up all day waiting for it and have to drive all night. You may have to become belligerent about it, but tell them NO. They also do the same thing for UPS, FedEx, Airborne, etc. [ air freight ]

 Do NOT flash with your bright lights

A lot of drivers will flash another driver after he/she safely passes. For some reason it has become an issue with drivers using their brights to flash instead of turning off their lights. Don’t do it. It’s better not to flash at all instead of using brights. If that driver gets blinded and runs off the road because of your brights, it’s your fault.

 Get over when passing

While it’s not done much anymore, the courteous thing to do when passing another driver is to get over on your line and he should move to his line. This helps stop some of the turbulence. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen drivers’ trucks sucked together and many of them have died as a result. Even if the other driver doesn’t you should because it’s your life on the line as well. Don’t let pride get you killed because of another stupid driver.

 Advice on backing an eighteen wheeler

When one first becomes a truck driver the backing in part can be a daunting task. It is without a doubt the hardest part of learning how to sling an eighteen wheeler around. One of the main things to learn is to G.O.A.L. [get out and look]. Never take for granted your spacing. Calm down and take your time, don’t worry about other drivers getting frustrated at you for taking your time to back in. Will they pay for that $100,000 truck you hit? I think not. We all had to learn so don’t be afraid.

One of the main things I learned about backing in a truck is to not only look at your box but FOLLOW THE TRACK OF YOUR TRAILER TIRES. If there are lines on the pavement that is the single most important thing to watch to help judge your angle. There will be times when your leg will ache from holding onto the clutch so long backing in and you will be drenched in sweat from a real tight spot but don’t worry you WILL get over it, we all do !! I believe any idiot can basically take a truck down the road but when they learn to back an 80′ long truck in a very tight spot with ease, they are then a REAL truck driver.

 What should truckers take on the truck at the very least?

There are a few things a new driver should consider taking on the truck with him/her at the very least. The first thing they should consider is a trucker’s map specifically for truckers. You can find the best trucker’s road map here. You should also consider purchasing a truck stop guide to know where all the truck stops are here. You should have at least one week’s worth of clothes in your truck. A cb radio is very handy as well. I prefer the Uniden PC68 cb myself. You can find these at a Wal-Mart. Any truck driver should have a roll of duct tape on board as well as this will come in very handy. A log book ruler, scissors, tape, calculator, jumper cables, wrenches (9/16, 7/16, 1/2), a flat head and Phillips head screwdriver.


 

Training Tips and Helpful Information

1. What is the required education level to qualify for a truck driver training program

Response - It is always ideal that candidates have completed their secondary or high school education levels. However, there is no requirement to have completed such levels to qualify for a truck driver training program.

2. Do students who complete truck driver training course get employment quickly

Response - Manitoba is facing a severe crunch of qualified truck drivers. Hence your chances of getting employment as a truck driver is very high. Additionally, Manitoba Public Insurance is offering on-the-job training through their Entry Level Professional Truck Driver training program. We can also guide you to companies that are actively looking for professional qualified truck drivers.

 

3. Does G & T provide any funding support

Response - We do not directly provide any funding support but we can guide you to available options and alternatives. Some programs are funded by the Manitoba Public Insurance. Contact us to receive more details.

4. How much does it cost to learn truck driving

Response - Courses vary in price depending upon which one you select. Contact us today for this information. Some courses are funded by the Manitoba Public Insurance and hence you will be able to receive funding support.

5. How long is the duration of each course

Response - Courses vary in length from 1 week to 12 weeks. The length of the courses is also dependent on the ability to drive and how qualified you want to be. For example, you may be good at double clutching and shifting gears but may have difficulty in backing up.

6. What is the best age

Reponse - Age is not a very important factor for adults interested to learn truck driving. You must be 21 years or older and must meet medical requirements if driving in the U.S

 

7. Who will teach the courses

Response - We have certified and highly qualified instructors that have worked in the industry for more than 20 years and hence have a great amount of experience. Be assured that you will learn from the best.

8. Where will I receive practical training

Response - We have a large facility to provide practical training with more than 20 acres of space. We also provide on the road training and will provide you with a comprehensive practical training that provides a high level of confidence in driving.

9. Why should you select G & T Class 1 Training Ltd.

Response - G & T Class 1 Training offers various training program options and we are also an MPI approved training school. Our students have consistently learned and scored well in their training programs. To receive a high level of confidence in learning truck driving, select G & T as your training provider.

10. Do you have a lab facility to learn about brakes etc

Response - We have a fully equipped lab and offer training about air brakes, vehicle maintenance, engines, fuel system etc


FasterTruck.com
Following this ONE simple rule will keep you out of trouble most of the time and you will experience less stress in your driving life because you will have time to respond to most emergencies in a professional, relaxed manner with plenty of time to make course corrections or adjust your speed.
Driver Solutions
Well, you are not alone.  It's perfectly normal to be a little nervous about starting something new - especially when it means operating a semi tractor trailer with a big diesel engine and 10 speed transmission attached to a 53’ long trailer!
   
   







 

 








 
 

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