Dangers of Distracted Driving
What Does Distracted Driving Look Like?
Distracted driving can look so different depending on the situation. There are times that drivers may not even realize they are putting themselves and other people on the road in danger. Distracted driving can be as little as looking at the temperature control. Other driving distractions include someone or something happening outside the vehicle, passengers, eating, drinking, smoking or a mobile device.
It is a known fact that truck drivers can spend countless hours in their trucks. With long days and nights on the road, there is no doubt being stuck in the truck can get boring. When boredom sets in it is easy to get distracted. Distracted driving is extremely dangerous and, in most cases, avoidable.
What is the Risk of Distracted Driving?
There are obvious risks when it comes to distracted driving. You are putting yourself and everyone else on the road in danger. This is especially apparent when you are one of the largest machines, if not the largest machine, on the road. This paired with heavy loads and busy roads can be fatal. The worse-case scenario of distracted driving can be fatal. If not fatal, distracted driving can cause damage to your truck, other vehicles, bodily harm or downtime and loss of income.
In the United States, according to the Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration, truck drivers who text and drive are 23 times more
likely to be involved in a serious incident while drivers who talk on a
handheld device are 6 times more likely to be involved in a serious incident.
How can Distracted Driving be Prevented?
Being prepared can go a long way in preventing distracted
driving while on the road. Before you hit the road think ahead. Get comfortable
in your seat, have something to eat and put your cell phone away. While you are
driving, keep your mind focused on the road so that if something comes up you
can react as quickly as possible. If you do need to make a call or send a
message, pull over in a safe area and use your mobile device.
Testing in a Safe Environment
If you had a chance to see how well you can handle
distracted driving would you? How well do you think you would do? Most truck
drivers believe they are able to handle being distracted while driving. Our
friends over at Bison Transport, put that to the test and ended up with an
interesting simulated video. The skilled truck drivers were surprised with the
results. Take a look at the video here.
12 Interesting Facts About Truck Driving
The trucking industry in Canada employs over 300,000 people, this includes both drivers for-hire and drivers who are involved in private trucking activity. The trucking industry can be an appealing industry for men and women who are goal-orientated and like to work independently. Here we are going to explore some facts about the trucking industry in Canada and the United States.
- Days in the truck can be long. Some drivers prefer to only drive in the daylight, so they are up early and stop for the day when the sun goes down. Some drivers prefer to drive through the night when there is less traffic. Depending on your delivery schedule you will likely be able to choose which you prefer, as long as you are still following company regulations.
- The Canadian Trucking Alliance reports that in Canada, the trucking industry is worth approximately $65 billion with more than 260,000 drivers and over 400,000 employees overall. In the United States, the trucking industry generates approximately $650 billion in revenue each year. This is about 5% of America’s Gross Domestic Product (GPD).
- In Canada, to avoid fatigue in drivers, there are laws in place which allow truck drivers to only drive 13 hours in a day with a required 8 hours off.
- Trucking is a key trade enabler between Canada and the United States. More than 80% of all US exports to Canada are moved by truck.
- Most long-haul truckers in Canada and the United States are paid by the mile. In some cases, short distance drivers, are paid hourly.
- Almost everyone in society relies on the trucking industry in some way. This could be anything from online purchases being delivered to their doorstep to critical goods being delivered to businesses across Canada and the United States.
- In the United States, most drivers cover about 125,000 miles a year. This equals about 500 miles a day.
- Being a long-haul truck driver in the United States or Canada can give you a unique perspective. While making a living you will have a chance to see all of the beautiful scenery that these countries have to offer.
- In some cases, truck drivers will have to be able to lift a minimum weight while loading/unloading the truck. This will vary depending on the job. This is something you will have to find out before you start the job and make sure you are physically able.
- On average, truck drivers with little experience will be paid about $35,000 a year. After a year or two of experience drivers can expect about $45,000 to $55,000 a year. Truck drivers who haul oversized loads or hazardous materials can expect more.
- The trucking industry continues to evolve and find strategies to improve the environmental effects gas emissions have. Diesel trucks today run much ‘cleaner’ than they did years ago. In fact, it would take 60 trucks today to equal the gas emissions from just one truck in 1988.
- The top three transported goods in the United States are clothing, food, furniture.
If you are a truck driver or a family member of a truck
driver reading this, tell us what else you want people to know about the trucking
industry. Comment below and let us know!
DRIVING FOR WINTER CONDITIONS
There is no doubt that winter is the most difficult
season to drive in. Driving in snowy and icy conditions is unavoidable as a
truck driver at times. Since winter is not going anywhere, we thought we would
provide some tips and tricks to help avoid any accidents or downtime in the
cold winter months.
Relax and slow down
When road conditions start to get wet, slippery and
snowy it is important to adjust your speed accordingly. If the road conditions
start to worsen as you are driving remember to relax and do not panic. Do not
follow other drivers to close be sure that you give yourself enough reaction
time to avoid accidents. If you get to the point that you feel like you cannot
drive anymore find a safe place to pull over and wait until conditions get
Winter Operation Training
As a responsible driver, it is important that you take the time to have proper safe winter operation training. Learning maneuvering and skid control skills are essential in having a safe and successful winter. Be sure that you understand where your tire pressure should be in different climates. A set of chains can always be helpful and in some states and provinces is actually mandated by law. Proper tire pressure can make a big difference on the road when there is snow or ice.
A complete and proper check is critical when weather conditions are less than perfect. Be sure that your defroster and heater are functioning at 100%. Be sure your wipers are working well and all of your fluids are topped up. It is also important that your mirrors and windows are clean before setting off for the day. Keep your lights cleans so you can be seen and take every opportunity to fill your fuel tank.
Know Before You Go – Be Prepared
Check the road conditions before you set off. Check with other drivers who may have just come off the roads that you are heading to. Be sure you check in with someone so they know where you are when possible. Keep your truck supplied with food, drinks, and proper winter clothing so that in the event you get stranded you will have your basic needs. Do not leave your truck if you become stranded or stuck.
Remember, there is no load that is worth risking your life or the life of others on the road. Even the most experienced drivers need to pull over in a safe location and wait for the road conditions to get better.
Fuel Efficiency for your Fleet
With fuel prices fluctuating these days, increasing your fleet’s fuel efficiency is one important strategy to increase your bottom line. Here we will explore steps you can take, to do just that, increase fuel efficiency for your truck.
Although it may feel more efficient to drive faster because you will get there faster, slowing down is a good option not only for fuel efficiency but also for your safety and the safety of others on the road. Studies show for drivers in the United States, every 1 MPH you drive faster than 55 MPH there will be a 0.01 decrease in your miles per gallon (MPG). In Canada, for every kilometer you drive over 88 KMH, you will decrease your kilometers per litre by 0.004. This may not seem like much but when you are driving thousands of kilometers or miles a week this can add up quickly.
Tires play an important role in fuel consumption. It is recommended to choose tires that have low rolling resistance and that they are always properly inflated. It takes approximately 35,000 to 50,000 miles for tires to be properly broken in and at their prime fuel efficiency. Broken in tires that are properly inflated can increase your fuel efficiency by 7%.
Reduce Air Conditioner Use
These small steps can make a large impact on the amount of fuel you are using and the amount of money that is being spent on your biggest expense, fuel.
Reduce Idle Time
In the trucking world, there are times that it is not possible to avoid idling but when you can you should. For each hour your motor is running and you are not moving it will decrease your fuel efficiency by 1%.