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Big5er

Just a friendly reminder

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I know we all think we are pretty drivers, but not many of us here are/were/plan to be professional truck drivers. We all tend to drive our HDT's the same way we drive our cars at times. Maybe not quite as fast but we all get a little too close to the guy ahead. We tend to look around and enjoy the new scenery at times and have other minor distractions. Our HDT's don't handle or stop like our cars. 

I would also like to think that we all know if we lose brake air in the middle of the road to power through it and get out of the road if at all possible. A sudden air loss to your drive axles is gonna slow you radically.....and with no brake lights.

This occurred Wednesday, 5 lane Interstate, on a bright sunshiny day at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I "was" at home on a sick day. Sarge called and said "how sick are you?". I was already in uniform since I could see it from my house. 

One tractor lost the air to axle 2/3 and dropped a ton of speed almost immediately. The driver heard the alarm and, like most of us would do out of simple reflex, he took his foot off the throttle to see what the alarm was.

2335707_630x354.jpg

This is, well it was, 3 tractors and three trailers. No cars involved at all. All three drivers survived. The deceased passenger was in the tractor hauling that box trailer.  That nice shiny silver trailer, that is sitting on top of the other flat bed, is not cargo. Tractor and trailer ran up on top of the trailer that lost his air with a little help from a poke in the rear from the 3rd tractor. That "was" a brand new 2018 Reitnouer 53' aluminum trailer. He was heading back to the terminal to pick up the permanent license plates. There was also a 2017 Freight in the mix. Both flatbeds had extremely light loads, the box truck was loaded with bottles of household cleanser.

A lot of loss, in a lot of ways and to a lot of people, in probably less than 10 seconds.

Y'all drive safe, ok? 

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I know I'm preaching to the choir, but leaving a safe distance is just so hard to do.  It seems every time I leave a gap, two others fill it.

It's amazing that only one died in that mess.  Hopefully. the others weren't hurt too badly.

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47 minutes ago, rickeieio said:

I know I'm preaching to the choir, but leaving a safe distance is just so hard to do.  It seems every time I leave a gap, two others fill it.

It's amazing that only one died in that mess.  Hopefully. the others weren't hurt too badly.

That happens way too much. The first time I towed our first rv, this happened. Every time I backed up to get safe distance one would fill gap. 

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When I drove commercial trucks I mostly hauled gasoline and diesel fuel, or gas condensate.  You lose the habits of tailgating, speeding, farting around with gadgets on the dash, eating, drinking coffee, and general aggressive driving when a mishap can result in cremation...

Edited by noteven

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I was doing windshields at a local trucking company the other day and one of the drivers was showing his dash cam footage of a wreck (which he said happened somewhere in Texas).

It was another semi truck traveling in the far right lane where traffic was backing up on the off ramps, he managed to plow into 9 stopped vehicles (while texting).  Several fatalities and many serious injuries.

There's lots of bad drivers out there...

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The density of combination(tractor trailers) on todays highway is well beyond safe capacity. The number of tractor trailers has increased by 350% since 1960, while lane miles, including all the interstate highways constructed since then has increased by 9%. And of course the other distracted vehicles has increased an equivalent amount. 

It is not your imagination. There really are a lot more vehicles on the road than when you or I took our driving test ( me in 1970).

It is a full time job to drive any vehicle, but particularly a large one. There is simply no room for error. 

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North Dakota signed into law a new Distracted Driving law.  If they see the head nodding up and down, vehicle drifting but staying within the lane, etc they can now stop you and ticket you.  Yes, the provision to look at your phone for the last call, text or music download without a warrant was included.  But if you don't comply, then a warrant will be produced.

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Thank you Big5er

     I hope people take notice of this post. I say that 5 to 7 seconds is a safe following distance. The CDL book says one second for every ten feet of vehicle length, plus one second over 45 MPH. About the same.

     If there is so much traffic that you can not maintain at least half of that distance, Why are you there? There is other, less traveled roads going to the same place.

    Their is laws about tailgating. Unenforced laws do not help. We need to be self policing.

    By driving at 60 to 63 MPH most traffic passes me and goes away. No need to tailgate.

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That 3 seconds can cost you everything. And I will do a pre-trip same as if I'm still commercial. Way to many people, talk about how this or that happened. And most times, it would have been caught with a pre-trip.

Seen a rv on the side of the road yesterday. It was being pulled by a small Freightliner. he has lost air pressure on the truck. He has a air tank strap rust into. And if he had taken time to look over the truck. Would have seen it way before it became an issue. Also that air tank had almost been eaten up by dragging on the hwy for a while.

Pete

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3 hours ago, dlcarsonak said:

Thank you Big5er

     I hope people take notice of this post. I say that 5 to 7 seconds is a safe following distance. The CDL book says one second for every ten feet of vehicle length, plus one second over 45 MPH. About the same.

     If there is so much traffic that you can not maintain at least half of that distance, Why are you there? There is other, less traveled roads going to the same place.

    Their is laws about tailgating. Unenforced laws do not help. We need to be self policing.

    By driving at 60 to 63 MPH most traffic passes me and goes away. No need to tailgate.

Definitely agree .

We travel at 55 - 60 MPH . Even old people give looks of 'concern' when passing . ;)

 

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We do 6 seconds gap. It it fills we simply slow down. Darting cars often fill the gap....and we slow down. I'm not saying we are perfect at it, but we actively work it. I try to stay off of "busy" roads/times, but sometimes you just have to do it.

The pre-trip inspection is incredibly important. It must be done. Plus we do a walkaround at EVERY stop. And we tend to stop every two hours....Personally, I don't want to be in an accident so we actively try to avoid that....and I don't want to be broken down on the road, so we do pretrips, walkarounds, and preemptive maintenance. In 13 years fulltiming with a tractor, zero roadside breakdowns..... :)

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5 hours ago, Jack Mayer said:

We do 6 seconds gap. It it fills we simply slow down. Darting cars often fill the gap....and we slow down. I'm not saying we are perfect at it, but we actively work it. I try to stay off of "busy" roads/times, but sometimes you just have to do it.

The pre-trip inspection is incredibly important. It must be done. Plus we do a walkaround at EVERY stop. And we tend to stop every two hours....Personally, I don't want to be in an accident so we actively try to avoid that....and I don't want to be broken down on the road, so we do pretrips, walkarounds, and preemptive maintenance. In 13 years fulltiming with a tractor, zero roadside breakdowns..... :)

Its unreal what a person can spot. Just looking at the truck while walking back to it. But most are talking, never think about looking over the truck and trailer. And go jump in the seat, taking off down the road. This is Commercial drivers and RV's. I for one care about the lifes of people around me. And don't know how I could live my with my self. If something happened. And I did not check the truck before hand. Be bad enough for something to happen after checking it out.

And agree with you. When time allows, we will get up early and get through city's. Then lay back down, or take a nap. When we start traveling soon. Our driving times will work around traffic. Were in no rush to get there or back home. So sure not going to hit Dallas at 7 am or 4 pm.

Pete

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I try for 7 seconds Jack as we are usually so heavy and I so don't want to be doused in liquid Nitrogen.

Back in Canada on the 9th. Job hunting then. Jumped back here today to see how folks were coping with Harvey.

All the best,

Geo

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We logged over 3,500 miles in August.  The most obliviously careful drivers of both 4 wheelers and trucks were in Canada on the 401 and 402.  Something to be said for stiff penalties and a 100 Km speed limit (62 mph).  Worst and most careless drivers were on I-95 heading to NY.  70 mph speed limit bumper to bumper with drivers weaving in and out with speeds way over 70 - truckers too, which surprises me knowing that they could loose their DL and income not to mention their property, life or another life.

Something to discuss in another thread - some type of legal braking signal when slowing down with the engine and exhaust brakes.

Thanks for the safety reminder, Phil.  I wish we could better educate the 4 wheelers about our type of vehicles.  Most just see us as a nuisance and will do anything to get in front of us.

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20 minutes ago, RandyA said:

Something to discuss in another thread - some type of legal braking signal when slowing down with the engine and exhaust brakes.

My wife mentioned this, after following me one day.  She saw drivers suddenly slam on their brakes when I'd backed off the throttle a bit.

I bet an old electron whiz could figure out how to activate the brake lights with the jake signal...................

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My motor home does activate the brake lights when the engine brake is in use.   My understanding is that it is a ECM option on some of the newer HDTs. 

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12 hours ago, RickW said:

My motor home does activate the brake lights when the engine brake is in use.   My understanding is that it is a ECM option on some of the newer HDTs. 

But some of us don't have all that new fangled fancy gizmo stuff.... I still have to check the vacuum tubes to make the windshield wipers work.....:D

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On 8/30/2017 at 4:23 AM, G&K said:

I try for 7 seconds Jack as we are usually so heavy and I so don't want to be doused in liquid Nitrogen.

Back in Canada on the 9th. Job hunting then. Jumped back here today to see how folks were coping with Harvey.

All the best,

Geo

Geo,

Great to see you on the forum again. Sure did miss you and your great posts. Hope all is well with you.

Blessings

Jesse

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I just did a 700 mile drive bobtail and, I had a long conversation with Phil about this crash just before Texas went under water.

 

Here is my 2 cents, there are times when you can't avoid driving in traffic.    Make your own space when ever you can, I don't drive as fast as the fast traffic but, faster than the slow traffic.    Usually with this speed you can build a little bubble around you, changing lanes to merge traffic as needed.     In some places where lane control is in place this is harder but, none the less it works.    

 

Avoid driving in packs, that is where more stuff happens in less time.    Also, you should be looking at traffic a half mile to a mile ahead of you.     I look at trends in closure, so many people, CDL drivers and average motorist only focus on what is nearly ahead of them.     

 

Steve 

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