truck-driving

Something that has been freaking me out is a few nights ago at around 1am I heard police sirens as I was falling asleep, I thought nothing of it. When I woke up, I found out that a couple teenagers rolled the truck they were driving at the end of my road. One died, and two others are in critical care. I slowly drove by so many people gathering around a white cross blanketed in flowers. It was haunting. If you have read my story, or if you haven’t , I just reblogged it, you might know on April 1st I rolled the truck I was driving just a minute from my road. Lately, I can’t stop thinking how that could’ve of been my friends and family on the side of the road for me if I hadn’t been so lucky. When you are driving, don’t speed, even if it was just 7mph over the limit like I did. It’s not worth it. If you are impaired, don’t drive. If you are texting, pull over. Don’t be selfish, there are people who care about you so much, you don’t even realize it.

This is really long but it’s actually really important

a long time ago, I made this post about the “no-zone” of tractor-trailers/semi-trucks.  instead of reblogging it, i wanted to remake it, to be a little clearer

generally, this is the kind of tractor-trailer you will come across:

the concern is that, as seen above, drivers of these trucks have a number of enormous blind spots.  they’re primary methods of viewing the road around them are the sideview mirrors (on each side of the cab).  if they cannot see anything in those mirrors, they believe that nothing is there.  they have no rearview mirrors.  this isn’t as necessary when driving on a highway as opposed to leaving a gas station, but it is very important to remember that if you can’t see your car in the truck’s side mirrors, the driver cannot see you and may assume that you are not there

another major issue with tractor-trailers is tailgating, when you are riding very close to the truck’s rear bumper.  for one thing, this is a no-zone that stretches back very far behind the truck.  the second, more dangerous, thing, is that if a truck driver must make a sudden stop, a driver will not be in a good position.  for example:

and

you know what usually goes in that space that is now part of the truck’s axles?  your head

the other problem with stopping a tractor-trailer is that it takes time.  my father drove these trucks for a number of years before he moved to Florida, and he told me that it would take about 10 feet (about 3 meters) before the truck would even start to stop.  plus, a fully loaded tanker (here:)

will most likely push itself forward another five feet after a complete stop as the load rushes to the front of the tank.

there are also large trucks that carry oversized loads.  i’m fairly sure it is required that oversized loads are marked as such:

sometimes, there will also be one or two other vehicles with these trucks:

riding behind and/or ahead of the truck.  i cannot remember who added this, but if you are on a highway, and get between an overloaded truck and the escort vehicle, it is both very stressful to the drivers and incredibly dangerous to your person

the last thing is that these trucks have an enormous turning radius.  a lot of trucks will have this sticker on the back:

when a truck is on a city highway, or in a residential area, or something where right turns would be necessary, they require significantly more space than cars do.  they will usually move into the next available lane so that they can make the full turn without disrupting traffic, tipping the truck, or causing harm to anything.  if a truck has their right turn signal on, give them plenty of space

that’s all i can think of at this time, but all of this is very important.  it is generally in one’s best interests to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and well, and these trucks are all over the place, so they sort of present increased danger

so stay safe, and stay out of the no-zone!

4

Samsung’s “see-through” trucks could save lives 

All drivers know how difficult and scary it can be to pass a truck on a single-lane street. This week, Samsung debuted a new vision for how to solve the problem: transparent trucks. A camera on the front feeds live video to four panels in the back. Seems great right? There’s just one obstacle in its way.

2

Dean sat on the opposing hospital bed, face sketched with worry as he looked at you.

Sam was filling him in; a car accident apparently, hit and run as you walked back to the bunker from a case you did solo, but Dean wasn’t really listening. He could only look at your bruised and broken body, the steady beeping of the heart monitor attached to you the only reminder that you were still alive. He should have been there. He was supposed to have been there.

“…surgery soon.” Sam was explaining. He looked over at Dean who had put his head in his hands. “Dean. Are you okay?” He asked.

“I should have been there.” He bit from behind his hands. “I should have been there.”

[x]

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‘Safety Truck’: Back screens on trucks may pave way for safer overtaking (VIDEO)

The Korean tech-giant Samsung has created a ‘Safety Truck’ which aims to reduce crashes when drivers attempt to overtake long vehicles on one-way roads. The solution is quite straight-forward using cameras, wireless video feeds, and huge display screens.

The technology was inspired by the high incidence of traffic accidents in Argentina, where almost one person dies in a traffic accident every hour. Almost 80% of fatalities happen on roads and the majority involve attempts to overtake on one-way roads, according to Samsung’s estimates.

The Safety Truck is a bit different from its fellow gigantic vehicles - instead of obscuring most of the view, it actually shows the driver what’s going on ahead of the wheeled leviathan.

Cameras installed in the front of the long haul vehicle capture real time video of the road ahead and transmit it in real time via wireless feeds to four big screens on the back. The cameras also have a night vision setting to make drivers aware of their immediate surroundings.

The technology was developed in partnership with advertising company Leo Burnett and Argentinian tech group Ingematica.

read more and watch the video here 

Stick Shift and the Truck Driving Student

It’s not unusual for students enrolling in truck driving school to be confused by the stick and shifting.  Many students worry because they have never driven stick before; they think they’re at a disadvantage.

The truth is, driving stick in a car is not the same as driving stick in a semi-truck and those that have experienced car driving may be the ones with the disadvantage.

Once you have learned to master a skill you also create habits, both good and bad, that go along with that skill.  Truck driving school students that have driven stick before will have to forget what they had learned and listen to their instructors.         

While attending truck driving school you will be taught the basics; shift patterns, shifting RPMs, what a splitter switch does and double clutching.

Experienced truck drivers will often avoid double clutching but double clutching prolongs the transmission life and makes smoother transitions between gears, therefore making a smoother ride. 

Double clutching is not difficult if you practice the right rhythm, it’s basically like dancing with the truck. 

  • Press the clutch
  • Release the throttle
  • Shift into neutral
  • Release the clutch
  • Wait for the RPMs to decrease
  • Press clutch again
  • Shift into next gear

All truck driving students should master double clutching, most will need it to pass  their skills test. 

Drive safe,

Tanya Bons

www.spiritcdl.com

They’re big. You can’t see around their wide loads and double doors. Acceleration isn’t really their modus operandi. Chances are you’ve been cut-off or nearly run over by many. They flagrantly linger in bike lanes and no-parking zones. They are, of course, semi-trucks—the universally despised, sluggish bullies of the interstate highway system.

But truckers get a bad rap; they really deserve our compassion for the crucial work they do for the American economy–and all of us. Keep reading …

Truck Drivers past and present: I need your help!

Hello everyone! As many of you know, I’m working on my Masters thesis in Anthropology. The topic I’ve chosen is about truck driving in general, but more specifically women truck drivers. I  have HSIRB approval, and would like to gather 20 interviews but I am having a difficult time locating this many. If you are, or know someone, who either is or was a professional truck driver I’d greatly appreciate it if you would see if they’d be interested in participating in an interview. You can message me for contact information and specifics. The interview only lasts at most about an hour, and I will need a signed informed consent form, which I can mail/email out. I’m looking for women drivers, but I would also like to interview some men to get their point of view. Thank you so much!

THE SLEEP APNEA WITCH-HUNT

12/11/11 Tanya Bons

Truckers that have a Body Mass Index of 35 or more are going to be hunted down in the name of the 2012 Sleep Apnea witch-hunt.  If you are a male trucker with a BMI of 35 or more, are over 45 years of age, snore, have high blood pressure and are Hispanic or African-American sleep with one eye open, they might already be at your bedroom door trying to get in.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the Medical Review Board have declared war on drivers with a BMI of 35 or more, even though they admit it might be a BMI of 30 or maybe even 40, that plays a role in sleep apnea.

There are no true statistics to provide this hunt with facts. The National Institutes of Health “estimates” that 18 million people, about 4 percent of men and 2 percent of women between the ages of 30 and 60, have sleep apnea.  If 18 million sounds high, consider that 30 million have insomnia. 

The FMCSA combined their data with the data from the UPenn sleep study to confirm that sleep apnea increased truck driving accidents.   The results, sleep apnea did not show a statistical increase in motor vehicle accidents, the data confirmed that younger, inexperienced commercial drivers are at an increased risk of causing commercial motor vehicle accidents.

The Stanford University Medical School also did a study.  They reviewed forty-two accidents by truck drivers and concluded that only seven of the accidents were “fatigue” related.  They also reported that more than half of the accidents had occurred while the truck driver was in a personal vehicle, not the commercial vehicle. 

The results, Stanford found that obese truck drivers cause more accidents than non-obese, AND obese drivers are more tired than non-obese drivers.   Maybe we should be watching the drivers’ donut consumption rather than their sleeping habits.

One of the strong backers of the Sleep Apnea witch-hunt is Mrs. Wanda Lindsay.  Mrs. Lindsay just received a $3.25 million dollar settlement for her husband’s untimely death, which occurred while they were stopped in traffic.  A truck driver, who states that he had turned his head to see a wreck on a service road, plowed into the back of the Lindsay car doing 65 mph or more killing John Lindsay.

The truck driver was possibly diagnosed with severe sleep apnea; there is some confusion as to when he was diagnosed and an interesting rumor that states he had been turned down by thirty trucking companies due to his sleep apnea. 

This accident obviously had horrific effects but the truck driver states that he was awake and had just glanced away for a moment, he hadn’t realized that the traffic came to an abrupt stop.  Though he was, without a doubt at fault, can we say that sleep apnea was at fault for his inability to stop?

The money associated with sleep apnea is at the very forefront of this witch-hunt; $200 for a consultation, $1,000 and more for a sleep study, $3,500 follow-up fees, $500 to $4,000 for CPAP devices, $2,500 to $3,000 for sleep apnea dental devices and up to $50,000 for surgery.  The CPAP market raked in $2.3 billion globally in 2010 and 60% of that was in U.S. dollars.

Yes I believe truck drivers do lack sleep, more than non-commercial drivers, but I don’t think that we should be discriminating against the “bigger boys” and pulling them off the road for weeks, (it can take up to two weeks to get results for sleep study tests), without something more substantial to back the hunt.  And with actual figures that say more accidents happen in non-commercial vehicles shouldn’t we focus on the four-wheeling public rather than truck drivers?

Symptoms / Causes of Concern

  • A Body Mass Index above 30, 35 or 40 (no exact BMI has been proven to be the magic number)
  • Loud snoring (snoring itself does not automatically qualify you)
  • Interruption of breathing while sleeping (five or more times during one sleeping cycle)
  • Feeling tired during the day
  • Consuming caffeine to keep alert
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure (although this could be more related to obesity than sleep apnea)
  • Diabetes (although this could be more related to obesity than sleep apnea)
  • Being male (although females can also have sleep apnea)
  • Being African-American or Hispanic
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Being between 40 and 60 years of age (although children can also be effected and those over 60 see a drop in sleep apnea cases)

Truckers need to be aware of the facts of sleep apnea to protect themselves and their job.  AND If they do have concerns that they might have it, they shouldn’t lose sleep over it, they should get tested. 

Drive safe,
Tanya Bons

http://www.spiritcdl.com