All posts in On the Road

How To Be Safer When Driving At Night

night driving

Night time driving isn’t something that many people particularly enjoy, and if they had a choice, they would prefer to drive during daylight hours. However, sometimes there is no choice, and since it is estimated to be three times as dangerous to drive in the dark, it’s important to know how to drive safely at night.

Check Your Headlamps

Have you ever looked at your car with the headlamps on? It’s a good idea to do exactly that. Sometimes your headlamps will be pointed the wrong way, perhaps lower than that should be, and sometimes they can be shining in different directions. You might not notice this when you’re driving, but you’ll certainly notice the difference one you realign your lights. It will make the road ahead much clearer. Don’t just assume that because you have a new car, the headlamps will be perfect – they can be just as wrong as on an old car. You should always wipe them down with a soft cloth; they can get very mucky, and that can mean they shine more dimly than they should.

Dim The Dashboard

Most cars come with a switch that allows the lights on the dashboard to be dimmed, so you should use it when it comes to driving at night. Although it might seem to make sense that you would want your dashboard to be as bright as possible when it’s dark outside, it’s actually the opposite that’s true. Having a bright light almost in front of your face can be extremely distracting, and it can compromise how much you’re able to see in front of you. Dim the dashboard as much as you can – although you’ll still need to be able to see your instruments and dials so it may take some adjusting and experiment to get it right.

Make Yourself Seen

We’ve already discussed how important your headlamps are when you’re in a car, but what if you’re on a motorcycle? Of course, your headlamp is still essential, but you should also wear additional reflective clothing to ensure that you aren’t missed in the dark. Since a motorcycle is much smaller than a car or truck, it can easily get lost on the nighttime roads, which is why a reflective jacket, gloves, or even a glow in the dark helmet available from power sports and more can help to keep you safe. You can wear all black leathers during the daytime, but it would be crazy to do so at night, so dress appropriately, especially if you are driving on less well-lit roads.

Don’t Stare At Oncoming Lights

Sometimes people will have dazzling headlamps, and sometimes they will have their high beams on and forget to take them off again. Whatever the reason, don’t look at bright lights. You can look to the side, keeping them in your peripheral vision (don’t turn your head, of course, as this would be dangerous), but staring directly at them can leave your eyes unfocused and unable to see very well, which in turn can lead to an accident. If the car with bright lights is behind you, adjust your rear view mirror so that you angle the light away from you.

Be Prepared! How to Keep Your Car Safe During Severe Weather

severe weather driving

Severe weather can be incredibly damaging to vehicles. If you want to avoid insurance claims, you should do everything possible to keep your car safe when a storm is on the way. Here are some of the options that may be available to you:

Keep It in a Garage

The single best place to store your car during severe weather is in a secure building. For cars, this is usually a garage. However, other covered structures can suffice. A garage will not only protect your car from hail, a common weather-related source of vehicular damage, but they can also help protect your car from more severe storms, such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

Buy a Protective Cover

If you do not have a garage or other sturdy building in which to store your vehicle, get a protective cover. This can be put on before the storm. It can also simply be left on the car if the vehicle is not used often. If desperate, even items like blankets and old mattresses can lessen the damage, although they are not recommended and their usefulness is debatable. If you have antique or old cars you primarily keep outdoors, then keeping them covered at all times will lessen the likelihood of damage.

Move the Car Away From Hazards

If possible, you should always move the vehicle away from potential hazards if a storm is on the way. This can include trees, low areas that may flood, overhead wires and more. Overhead wires are particularly hazardous to you. They can cause severe injury or death if you attempt to access a car with fallen wires on or near it. For your car, trees are the most common cause of damage. Water damage from flooding can even total the vehicle.

Have Insurance

Having quality insurance is the final step to safeguarding your car. Sometimes, in spite of your best efforts, damage will happen anyway. If this happens, which is likely at some point over the course of the car’s lifetime, insurance can help pay for repairs. Make sure your insurance policy has comprehensive coverage to cover situations like these. Comprehensive coverage, unlike collision coverage, covers your car for damage unrelated to a collision with another driver.

With any luck, your preventative measures will pay off and your car won’t suffer any damage due to the weather. If your car does end up being damaged by hail or other inclement weather, though, don’t hesitate to seek out windshield repair services or auto body repair services that you may need.

How New Laws and Regulations Are Changing the Trucking Industry

trucking industry

With a new administration in Washington, it is to be expected that there would be new laws and regulations implemented in many industries. The trucking industry is no exception, with several changes impacting how fleets are operated, how drivers perform their duties, and how vehicles must be maintained. Some of these laws will have minimal impact while others could cause significant changes in the way trucking companies do business.

Electronic Logging Devices

In December 2017, mandated Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations went into effect. Because proposed rules could limit drivers to between 60 and 70 hours in seven or eight days, ELDs will easily be able to track a driver’s hours behind the wheel. Drivers have been concerned that the ELD will lead to over-monitoring by employers, although all the ELD does is keep accurate records. However, the ELD cannot transfer data as it must be uploaded by the driver.

If pulled for a roadside inspection, the inspector can request that the driver upload the ELD for the last eight days. The ELD is actually a benefit to drivers as it eliminates deadhead miles, eliminates paper logs and helps keep records accurate. Inspections are performed more quickly and the ELD can also store important data like speed, location and the engine date.

Carbon Emissions

Another regulation that will have an impact on the trucking industry is related to greenhouse gases. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued greenhouse gas stages in three stages in August 2012. In Phase 2, which begins this year, phases in initial standards for engines built for model year 2021 with increases in standards in 2024 and leveling off in 2027. This could mean additional costs passed to carriers from manufacturers as they work to meet the new standards.

However, the new standards should also reduce fuel consumption, which will allow carriers to possibly recoup those costs in two years. When the regulations were released, there were concerns that the new requirements could make vehicles unreliable, leading to additional truck repairs at shops like Florida Truck & Trailer CO.

Truck repair experts reported that, when the first phase of the regulations was implemented, 46 percent of owners experienced some type of engine problem in the first year, up from 42 percent in 2011. The most common problem was the electronic control module calibration with 23 percent of owners reporting those problems. The second was the exhaust gas recirculation valves with 20 percent and third was electronic engine sensors with 16 percent. All of these were critical to the new carbon emissions requirements.

Drug Testing Changes

In November 2017, the Department of Transportation published new regulations for drug testing of drivers which went into effect on January 1, 2018. Under the new regulations, four semi-synthetic opioids have been added to the screening process. These include:

  • hydrocodone
  • hydromorphone
  • oxycodone
  • oxymorphone

They also replaced MDEA with MDA. Employers are no longer required to submit blind specimens to laboratories. Collectors will discard samples provided if there is not enough for a test in order to modify the shy bladder procedure. The regulation also limits collection to urine samples.
These are just a few of the regulations that could have an impact on the trucking industry over the next year. In some cases, the ramifications could be felt for several years.

How to Survive Long Haul Journeys

long journey

If there is one skill that a person who drives for a living knows that many others do not, it is how to be patient and able to sit in a vehicle for hours on end. When you are just starting out, however, you might find it takes a while for your body to adjust. Driving is cramped, it is exhausting, and it can be taxing on the mind.

Even if you have a partner to split the driving times with, being inside a small spaced for long periods of time can be difficult. Knowing in advance how to prepare for long overhaul commutes is the best way to start your new career. Follow these simple steps to get you on the right track:

Never Fight Fatigue

Fatigue is one of the leading causes of all accidents. If drivers never drove when they were feeling tired, accidents could be reduced by upwards of 19%. Fatigue can be something as typical as fighting sleep, to having irregular hours, to fighting your natural sleep cycle, to driving on monotonous roads for hours on end.

Fatigue is especially prevalent among commercial drivers. Fatigue is a factor that is behind just over half of all commercial truck accidents and 30% of all fatal accidents.

So, when you are tired, don’t fight it. The best solution is to pull over and have a short nap (or ask your partner to change shifts with you). Caffeine is also a temporary solution; however, you need to be aware and prepared for the inevitable caffeine crash later.

Listen to Something Interesting

If you drive with someone else in the car, you are already better off than most long-distance commuters. Conversation is a great tool when it comes to staying awake and alert. If you drive alone you should frequently call your friends, family, or message other truckers. When you are driving a commercial transporters being awake and alert can mean the difference between the life and death of you and many others on both sides of the road.

You can also take this time to listen to audiobooks or podcasts. What a better way to multitask than to learn something new while you are driving? Keep your mind active to keep your senses and reflexes alert.

Have Snacks and Drinks on Hand

When driving long distances there is never a guarantee when the next rest stop will be. That is why you should always have enough water and snacks to keep you going. You don’t want to be dehydrated or hungry when driving. Do all you can to keep your mood elevated.

The transportation business is a great one. It means seeing your country, or maybe even your continent if you transport items across borders. Staying safe means taking your wellbeing while you are driving seriously. If you fall victim to fatigue, you could kill many people on the road with you. Use every trick in the book to stay on top of fatigue. Stay fed and hydrated, keep your mind busy, and when in doubt, pull over and take a nap. It is always better to be safe on the road.

Check Yourself! 4 Bad Driving Habits that Can Cause an Accident

Yes, some drivers may operate vehicles for years or decades without ever being in an accident. Yet, others are involved in accidents periodically over the years. Your actions behind the wheel can directly affect your likelihood of being involved in an accident. To reduce the chance oi being involved in a car accident, consider avoiding these bad driving habits.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a common cause of car accidents. It is most commonly associated with the use of a cell phone or mobile device. However, applying makeup, eating, and fiddling with the radio can be considered distracted driving behaviors. In fact, anything that pulls your hands off of the steering wheel could be a distraction. Such things should be avoided if you want to be as safe as possible.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving while drunk can result in serious accidents. However, there are other types of situations that are related to this. For example, prescription or over-the-counter medications could impair your ability to drive safely. This is because such things can make you drowsy or affect your vision and other senses. All influences that may impair your abilities should be avoided if you intend to drive.

Driving While Emotionally Distraught

There are many factors on the road that can irritate you. If a driver cuts you off, for example, or if you are caught in heavy traffic. When you begin a trip already feeling angry, sad or otherwise emotionally charged, then that’s not good. These and other types of driving events could push you over the edge. They may cause you to drive erratically or at high speeds. Thus, a car accident may be the end result.

Failing to Obey Posted Speed Limit Signs

Speed limit signs and other traffic signs are posted for your safety and for the safety of others. Speeding, failing to yield and other factors could potentially result in a traffic violation. Getting a ticket isn’t your only worry, though. The officer who stops you is doing so out of protection of everyone, especially yourself. He, and the rest of society, does not want your speeding to turn into a fatal situation. Always be aware of speed limit signs and all other traffic.

A car accident can be a stressful, costly and even painful event. You certainly want to avoid this type of event, if possible. Many car accidents could be avoided if drivers simply take proper precautions. Buckle up when you drive to help reduce the impact if an accident were to occur. Also, don’t hesitate to take legal action if necessary if you do end up in such a situation.