Showing posts from tagged with: trucking safety

Technical Highlight: How Differentials and Differential Locks Work on Commercial Trucks

Posted June 20, 2017 by Administrator

What does a differential do and how does the differential lock work on big trucks? A differential is a part of the rear axle. The differential is the axle that provides power to the unit and moves it forward whether it’s a passenger vehicle, a big truck or a bus. Most passenger vehicles today are front-wheel drive so they will not have a differential; semi-truck tractors are rear-wheel drive and therefore do have differentials.

The root word of “differential” is “difference.” Basically, a differential allows the vehicle to have different speeds for each wheel that is attached to the rear axle. The purpose of having different speeds is so that when you turn a corner the outside wheel needs to accelerate at a faster rate than the inside wheel. The inside wheel is functionally “fixed” and goes at a much slower rate than the outside wheel. The wheels need to be able to turn at different speeds; thus, you have a differential.

When you have a differential you will have gears that will allow one wheel to effectively have free play and the other one to accelerate faster. Sometimes a truck will get “stuck”;  when that happens the differential will direct power out to the wheel with the least resistance. Therefore, one wheel will spin if you get stuck (like in a large mud puddle) unless you have the differential lock (diff lock) engaged.

Big rigs have what’s known as a diff lock that helps with traction and driving at slow speeds. On the back of a big truck you will usually have two axles called a set of tandem axles. Both axles in the set of tandem axles have a differential unit on them. On most trucks you will have a single diff lock that will lock up the front axle in the set so all 8 tires in the set will turn in tandem. If you are driving in snowy conditions it is recommended that you put chains on the wheels in the front because that is where the differential (diff) lock is located. When you put a chain on each wheel it will drive the vehicle forward.

Some of the Western Star Trucks will have a diff lock for each axle with two switches on the dashboard of the cab, one for each axle. There will also be an inter-axle diff lock that will lock the axle across each set of tandem axles and will lock in between both sets so all four sets of tires on the back of the semi truck will rotate at the same rate. When the diff lock is on there will not be differential speeds.

It’s important that you do not leave the diff lock on while driving at highway speeds. If you do happen to forget and leave the diff lock on while driving you will possibly wear the tires out faster. One thing to keep in mind is that you should stop the truck or travel at a very slow speed in a straight line when you engage and disengage the diff lock. You do not want to lock the differential gears up while the truck is at speed or turning and the wheels are at different speeds or you are likely to cause damage to the gears.

Cline Wood represents top trucking insurance carriers across the country. We have access to all types of insurance programs. We treat your company as if it were our own. Contact us today to find out how we can help you manage your risk, which directly contributes to your bottom line.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Webinar: Keeping Your Focus on the Road Ahead

Posted April 11, 2017 by Administrator

Truck InsuranceJoin Cline Wood University and industry expert Mike Bohon from Great West Casualty Company as we discuss factors that contribute to rear end crashes. These include (but are not limited to) following distance, vehicle speed, driver distractions, and improper reaction by the driver. We’ll cover a variety of important strategies to combat these issues – improving safety and reducing risk. Topics include:

* Calculating stopping distance
* Gauging proper following distance
* Reducing/eliminating distractions
* Mentally practicing reactions to road hazards
* Preventing/mitigating rear-end crashes

Date & Time: Wed, Apr 19, 2017 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM CDT
To register for the complimentary webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8878248911594592771

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

TMPS for a Safer Fleet

Posted February 16, 2017 by Administrator

Maintaining proper tire pressure is a major component of vehicle maintenance for many commercial truck drivers. However, frigid winter temperatures can make some drivers prone to taking shortcuts while manually checking their tire pressure. For example, they may opt to check only the outer tire of a dual tire set up. It can be difficult to access the inner tire, and many drivers assume the pressure is about the same as the outer tire.

Having a tire pressure monitoring system (TMPS) can provide data for all tires, inner and outer, with much higher precision than a manual check. This will make life on the road easier for many truck drivers. TMPSs can also reduce safety risks related to inadequate tire pressure monitoring such as blowouts and longer stopping distances.

In addition to improving transportation safety, TMPSs provide the following benefits:

  • Reduced fuel consumption and emissions. Underinflated tires reduce fuel efficiency and increase emission output. Fuel costs are one of the greatest expenses of operating a fleet, which is why improving fuel efficiency is a common concern among fleet managers.
  • Improved lifespan of tires and tread. Underinflated tires have irregular wear patterns and can affect re-treading. Ensuring tires have the appropriate pressure can improve the duration of any given set of tires.
  • Reduced frequency of broken down trucks. About two-thirds of road calls relate to tires. The costs associated with these kinds of calls include servicing the vehicle, replacing the tire casings if necessary, and lost productivity/business.

Making use of TMPS can save fleets a considerable amount of money. However, ensuring driver safety is the paramount benefit. Reducing transportation risks is an excellent way to reduce insurance costs as well. As a national commercial property and casualty insurance agency that serves the commercial trucking industries, Cline Wood can help fleet owners manage their risk to improve their bottom line. Contact us today to learn more.

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

9 Extreme Winter Weather Driving Tips for Truck Drivers

Posted January 11, 2017 by Administrator

Winter snow and ice storms can be breathtakingly beautiful and dramatic because they deliver very cold rain that freezes on contact and coats everything with a layer of glimmering ice. But ice storms can be incredibly dangerous for anyone on the road because the roads become slippery like a skating rink. It is just as easy for someone to plow into your vehicle as it is for you to lose control.

Here are 9 tips you can use to increase your awareness of how to drive in inclement conditions. If an ice storm is in the forecast, it’s best to stay off the road, but if you’re already driving and rain starts turning into ice, follow these tips.

  1. Slow down

Slow down and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles to give everyone more time to react in slippery conditions.

  1. Accelerate slowly

Be sure to apply the gas slowly to avoid losing traction and skidding on the ice.

  1. Brake safely

Apply the brakes earlier than you normally would because it takes longer to slow down on icy roads.

  1. Look out for icy patches

Steer clear of glossy ice patches on the road. Be especially vigilant on bridges, entrance and exit ramps and roads near water because these areas will freeze up first.

  1. If you lose traction

If you feel your vehicle start to slide, remove your foot from the gas pedal. Don’t slam on the brakes because that can cause you to skid and lose control. Keep your steering wheel straight but if your vehicle starts to veer to one side, gently steer into that direction. Steer toward an area where you can regain traction. Do not apply the brakes until you’ve regained traction.

  1. Avoid cruise control

Even a light tap on the brake pedal to deactivate the cruise control can cause you to skid when driving on a slippery surface. Also, you have less control of your vehicle when it’s in cruise control mode.

  1. Watch for trees and power lines

Watch out for overhead trees and power lines. If you see a power line down, do not drive over it.

  1. Prepare ahead

Advanced preparation can help immensely when it comes to extreme weather driving.

  • Check your tire tread. Make sure your tires have adequate tread.
  • Inflate tires properly. Tire pressure drops significantly in cold weather. Check your tire pressure monthly and inflate your tires to the proper level.
  • Install tire chains. When there is a lot of snow or icy conditions and the road is completely covered, install tire chains to get better traction.
  • Keep fluid reservoirs full. It’s especially important to keep your windshield wiper fluid reservoirs full with the right freeze protection for the area in which you’ll be driving.
  • Examine your windshield wipers. Check your windshield wipers regularly. If the rubber is cracked, broken, or falling off, replace your wipers as soon as possible.
  • Check your coolant. Check your coolant or antifreeze with every fill up. Running low can potentially ruin your engine.
  • Take an emergency kit. Prepare a winter emergency kit for your vehicle. Include a jump starter that is fully charged. Also, bring a spare phone with a charger. Often, 911 calls will go through even if your phone does not have service.
  1. Monitor the forecast

Always stay on top of the weather forecast. If you can, limit driving time when there are winter storm advisories.

Cline Wood represents top trucking and agribusiness insurance carriers across the country. We have access to all types of insurance programs. We treat your company as if it were our own. Contact us today to find out how we can help you manage your risk, which directly contributes to your bottom line.

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

FMCSA Announces Safety Advisory for Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Devices

Posted October 25, 2016 by Administrator

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a safety advisory October 21, 2016 to provide notice to commercial motor vehicle owners, operators and passengers on the risks and regulations as they pertain to the recently recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone as well as other damaged, defective or recalled lithium cells or batteries used for portable electronic devices.

Individuals who own or possess a Galaxy Note 7 may not transport the device on their person or in bags in or on commercial motor carriers, to, from or within the United States. The emergency order also prohibits the shipment of the Samsung Galaxy Note smartphones as cargo.

The FMCSA advises drivers and passengers to take the following precautions:

  1. Turn off the phone.samsung-galaxy-note-7
  2. Disconnect the device from any charging equipment.
  3. Disable all applications that could activate the phone inadvertently (such as an alarm clock.)
  4. Protect the power switch to prevent its unintentional activation.

The transportation of electrical devices, such as batteries and battery-powered devices that are likely to produce sparks or generate a “dangerous evolution of heat” is forbidden unless packaged in a manner which precludes such an occurrence, according to a spokesperson for the Federal Hazardous Materials Relations. The recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones are subject to this regulatory prohibition and may only be transported by commercial motor vehicles as cargo under the conditions of a special permit or approval issued by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s associate administrator for hazardous materials safety.

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

FMCSA Awards Almost $1M in Grants for Veterans

Posted October 18, 2016 by Administrator

The beautiful red US Truck with chrome

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently amended their regulations to help integrate more veterans into the transportation industry. The amendment increases the window veterans have from exiting the service and applying for a skill waiver test to receive a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

The FMCSA has taken additional steps to display their commitment to recognizing and utilizing veteran’s skills. On October 18, 2016, the FMCSA announced almost $1 million in grants for seven institutions across the nation. These grants will help these institutions train and prepare veterans for jobs in the transportation industry. The FMCSA provides this funding through their Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training (CMV-OST) program. These grants will provide training for over 250 students.

The FMCSA’s grants do more than help veterans transition into civilian lives. They also help institutions train veterans to be the best drivers in the industry. This includes knowing and following best safety practices. Given their previous military experience in addition to continued training, the FMCSA believes veterans provide an excellent resource for quality and safe drivers.

The focus on safety is not without good reason. 2015 saw a drastic increase in road fatalities. Couple that with the fact that trucking has the highest on-the-job fatality rate in America, and it is easy to see why the FMCSA has safety concerns. Driver safety should always be a major concern for fleet managers. To stay up to date with the latest federal regulations to improve trucking safety, contact Cline Wood.

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Roadway Hazards Cause Thousands of Crashes Every Year

Posted August 17, 2016 by Administrator

Roadway hazards of all types cause motor vehicle accidents involving long-haul trucks every year. In a study released by the American Automobile Association the dangers of roadway debris was highlighted.

The study reviewed data from 2011 through 2014 and found that, during that 3 year span, road debris was responsible for causing 200,000 crashes. Road debris also accounted for 39,000 injuries and over 500 deaths during that time period.

Roadway debris includes substances, materials and objects that don’t belong on the road. Debris can come from passing vehicles, the environment and from natural disasters and weather. Wind, storms, tornadoes and hurricanes all can cause dangerous debris to be swept into the paths of vehicles on the road. Accidents have been caused by dust, dirt, sand, mud, asphalt, concrete, stones, pebbles, rocks, ice, snow, water, grease, engine oil, glass, nails, screws, auto parts, food, furniture, mattresses, garbage, luggage, animal corpses, construction supplies, leaves, twigs, seeds and more. Basically, anything that is foreign to the normal roadway surface can be a culprit.

Most crashes from road debris – about 66% of crashes – happen because an item fell off of a truck or vehicle. In one-third of the fatal accidents that can be attributed to road debris the driver swerved to avoid an object in the highway.

Sadly, most of the crashes that resulted in injury or death were avoidable. A lot of crashes are easily preventable if drivers take the necessary precautions to maintain their vehicles properly as well as secure their loads.”

All 50 states impose penalties on drivers found at fault for debris on the road. Other types of roadway hazards that can cause crashes include:

  • PotholesRoadWork
  • Sinkholes
  • Black ice
  • Water
  • Loose gravel or stones
  • Blind spots
  • Curves
  • Lack of guardrails
  • Animal carcases
  • Winding roads
  • Manhole covers that have been improperly placed
Share on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Distracted Walking Can Lead to More Crashes

Posted July 6, 2016 by Administrator

shutterstock_204934576 - CopyThe issues with distracted driving plagues the owners of commercial fleets. When their drivers and other motorists try to text and drive they can be the cause of multi-vehicle crashes, putting everyone on the road at risk. But what businesses may not be aware of is the risk caused by distracted walking.

Whether you manage a fleet of business vehicles or commercial trucks, you need to teach your drivers to be aware of the fact that pedestrians may not be paying attention to traffic and your employees need to be more vigilant.

4th of July Dangers

These dangers increase for holiday weekends. A record breaking 43 million Americans are expected to be traveling for 4th of July and 84% of them will be driving to their destination. More people on US highways leads to more problems as texting, surfing and other distracted driving habits increase the risk of a crash.

Increased Number of Pedestrians

When these motorists reach their destinations and get out of their vehicles they still present a hazard to drivers of your commercial fleet. Cities that are considered walkable, such as New York City, Washington DC, Chicago, and San Francisco will be inundated with additional pedestrians spending their vacation at popular destinations.

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) warns that distracted walking is as hazardous as distracted driving. Pedestrians transfixed by their mobile devices take longer to cross a street and may not be paying attention as they walk. If they are still trying to text while they are in the middle of an intersection they may not realize the light has changed and they are now a hazard to motorists.

An increase in distracted behavior, a record number of motorists and an increase it pedestrian tourists can make for hazardous conditions for your truckers and employees. Make sure your business is covered by contacting the experts at Cline Wood today.

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Will Speed Limiters Make Trucks Safer?

Posted June 20, 2016 by Administrator

shutterstock_20471446 - Copy (2)The FMCSA and the DOT have been searching for different ways to make commercial trucks and their drivers safer in order to reduce highway accidents and fatalities. One proposal that is currently in the Senate would make it necessary for heavy trucks to be equipped with speed limiters. There is some debate whether this regulation would increase highway safety or cause more problems.

HR 2557

HR 2577 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Agencies Appropriations Act 2016 is currently in the Senate. One of the items in this appropriations bill is a DOT final rule requiring that all heavy trucks have speed limiters installed within six months after approval. These speed limiters would prevent heavy trucks from traveling above 65 mph.

Do Speed Limiters Help?

Supporters of speed limiters say that prohibiting heavy trucks from traveling faster than 65 mph will improve highway safety and reduce crashes. They believe this because some crashes have occurred due to truck drivers driving too fast for conditions or speeding and then losing control of their vehicle, which has led to collisions and in some cases fatalities.

However, studies that have been conducted to date, including one done by the FMCSA, showed no significant reduction in highway crashes when speed limiters are installed.

Are Speed Limiters Safe?
Opponents of speed limiters state that not only do speed limiters not reduce highway crashes, but that they will make highways more dangerous due to issues with the car-truck speed differential.

If heavy trucks can’t go faster than 65 mph they may cause congestion on the highways. Impatient motorists may take risks to get around the slower vehicles, which may cause crashes.

Whether you are for or against the idea of speed limiters, it is important to make sure your commercial fleet is safe and you reduce your company’s liability. Contact the experts at Cline Wood to determine how you can improve the safety of your fleet and reduce your insurance costs.

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

2016 International Roadcheck Event June 7-9

Posted June 6, 2016 by Administrator

Over 10,000 inspectors in US, Canada and Mexico will be conducting inspections of commercial vehicles and their drivers during a three-day international road check. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance created these annual road checks across North America in order to help emphasize the importance of inspections in the effort to reduce crashes.

The 2016 Roadcheck event highlights safety. Local, territorial, provincial, state and federal law enforcement officers will conduct a 37-step Standard Level 1 inspection of commercial vehicles and drivers. The vehicle inspection will include:

  • The beautiful red US Truck with chromeBrake systems
  • Exhaust systems
  • Fuel systems
  • Lights
  • Frame
  • Coupling devices
  • Suspension
  • Tires
  • Drive lines
  • Steering
  • Safe loading
  • Windshield wipers
  • Wheels and rims

The 2015 Roadcheck feature red cargo secured and resulted in 21% of the inspected vehicles and 3% of drivers receiving out-of-service violations. They also issued 2,500 load securement violations. This was the fewest number of out-of-service violations recorded by CVSA since they started the program back in 1991.

The three most common out-of-service violations from last year’s Roadcheck were for brake systems, safe loading and brake adjustment. Out-of-service violations for drivers in 2015 were shipping papers, placards and hazardous materials.

To learn more about safety and how it affects your commercial fleet insurance, contact the experts at Cline Wood.

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Subscribe to Our Posts

Share Buttons

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook
Copyright © 2017 Cline Wood.