Trucking Tips

ice road trucking

A Guide To Ice Road Driving For Semi Trucks

ice road trucking

Ice road driving is one of the most specialized areas of trucking. It’s dangerous and requires plenty of knowledge and experience driving in harsh conditions.

If you’ve ever been ice fishing, then you understand just how different it is to drive over frozen bodies of water. Even a small lake can pose a major challenge for a heavily loaded truck.

While ice driving is scary, ice road truckers can also be some of the highest-paid semi-truck drivers. Let’s explore exactly what ice road trucking is and how semi-truck drivers can safely navigate ice roads.

What is Ice Road Driving for Semi Trucks?

Ice road driving is when semi trucks drive on frozen bodies of water, like frozen lakes or rivers, that have turned into solid ice during the winter. These frozen roads are like temporary highways, connecting isolated communities in cold regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

While driving over black ice is challenging enough, true ice road truckers take this even further by covering long distances over entire frozen bodies of water.

Importance of Ice Roads in Certain Regions

Ice roads are crucial in certain regions because they provide the only means for transporting goods and supplies to isolated communities during the winter months.

These frozen highways, built on thick ice over lakes and rivers, connect remote areas that are otherwise cut off from the rest of the world.

measuring ice

Ice Thickness Requirements

The most important requirement for ice driving is having the right ice thickness for semi trucks.

The minimum ice thickness required to support heavy vehicles is typically around 30 inches. This is for a 70-ton vehicle. You only need 3 inches of ice to support a single person, and a very light truck could navigate 8-inch ice. Of course, thicker ice is best if you’re driving a large or medium truck.

However, this can vary based on factors like air temperature, pressure, and other variables that influence the strength of the ice. Colder temperatures and higher pressures make the ice stronger.

To determine how thick the ice is, you’ll need to use methods like drilling, using an ice auger, or even using ice radar and sonar.

The Dangers of Ice Road Driving

Driving over lake ice in a semi-truck, or even a small truck, comes with plenty of dangers. Here’s what you need to be aware of.

Slippery Surfaces

Driving on ice is a challenge due to the slippery surface. Even with studded tires and chains, traction is limited.

Trucks can easily lose control, so drivers need to be extra cautious, maintaining slow and steady speeds to reduce the risk of skidding or sliding.

Limited Visibility

Snow and ice can severely reduce visibility on ice roads. Blowing snow, fog, and blizzards makes it hard for drivers to see the road ahead.

Unpredictable Conditions

Weather and road conditions on ice roads can change suddenly and without warning. Sudden blizzards, strong winds, and shifting ice can make driving extremely dangerous.

This is why it’s vital to constantly monitor weather forecasts and road reports, and consult local authorities on the weather to avoid getting caught in dangerous situations.

Increased Braking Distance

Braking on ice roads is much more difficult due to decreased friction. Ice increases the braking distance significantly, making it harder for trucks to stop quickly.

driver isolation

Driver Isolation – Slow Speeds, Long Trips

Ice road driving is all about slow speeds and long trips, which leads to driver isolation. The remote locations and the long, monotonous stretches of road can be mentally challenging.

Drivers must be prepared for the isolation, ensuring they have enough supplies, including food, water, and emergency equipment, to stay safe during the journey.

Why Ice Roads are Necessary

Ice road trucking might seem crazy, but it’s an important job in many isolated regions. Here’s why.

Remote Access to Far Off Places

Ice roads provide vital transportation links to isolated communities.

In remote regions, where regular roads are impractical or impossible to build, ice roads offer a lifeline. They ensure that isolated communities have access to necessary resources during the winter months.

Economic Benefits

Ice roads allow for resources to be moved and economic development to continue throughout winter in remote regions.

Environmental Considerations

Compared to alternative transport routes, ice road driving has a much smaller environmental impact.

Constructing permanent roads can be seriously environmentally damaging. Ice roads, however, are temporary. They require no land clearing or construction.

Safety Precautions for Ice Road Driving

Moving water, cracks, and melting ice are some of the biggest safety concerns for ice road truck driving. Here are some essential tactics to help you stay safe.

Check the Ice Thickness

Before driving on an ice road, always check the ice conditions and thickness. Ensure it meets safety standards and is thick enough to support the weight of your vehicle.

Reduce Your Speed

Maintain slow and steady speeds to reduce the risk of skidding on ice or sliding through snow cover.

Even with studded tires and chains, traction is limited. Applying defensive driving techniques is always good practice.

tire chains

Know the Route

Familiarize yourself with the ice road route before starting your journey. Be aware of any potential hazards, such as areas with thin ice, and carefully plan your journey.

Safety Equipment

Make sure your truck is equipped with all the right gear. This includes things like strong fog lights, reflective markers, tire chains, and suitable ice-driving tires. You’ll also need an ice pick or ice chisel, an auger, and a tape measure to check ice thickness.

Equip your truck with safety essentials like emergency flares, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, a life jacket, and a survival kit in case of an emergency. Of course, a proper semi-truck tool kit is also a necessity.

Regular Maintenance

Keep your vehicle well-maintained, including checking tire pressure, ensuring all lights are working, and the brakes are in good condition.

Final Thoughts

Even on thick ice, navigating these routes with the weight of a semi-truck is an enormous challenge. This is why it’s crucial for ice road drivers to be properly prepared and experienced in navigating icy routes.

Of course, ice road driving can only be done with the right, reliable vehicle. Get in touch with us at Mission Financial Services if you’re looking for the best solution for financing a new semi-truck.

Fuel Efficiency Strategies In Semi-Trucks

 

Are you concerned about the rise in diesel fuel prices and looking for fuel-efficiency strategies to cut costs? You’re not alone. 

The new truck emissions regulations plus rising fuel costs have many fleet operators and independent truckers looking to increase their semi-truck’s fuel efficiency. Increased fuel efficiency helps you reduce emissions to the environment and save fuel. It can make a big difference in your business operations and profit margins.

Below, you’ll find 17 simple fuel efficiency strategies you can implement to improve your semi-truck fuel economy and reduce your fuel costs.

The Importance of Semi-Truck Fuel Efficiency

Semi-truck fuel efficiency is crucial for three primary reasons:

  1. Environmental Impact

The transport sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. It generates about 29% of the total greenhouse gas emissions, and the trucking industry accounts for nearly 23% of the 29%. By increasing your semi-truck fuel efficiency, you use less fuel for longer. 

  1. Compliance With Environmental Regulations   

Increasing your semi-truck fuel efficiency helps you comply with all federal and state regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. You also stay aligned with the latest zero-emission goals for the trucking industry. 

  1. Higher Profit Margins  

Improving fuel efficiency reduces your semi-truck’s fuel consumption. You’ll spend less on fuel and save money. These savings add up and can increase your profit margins in the long run.

Average Semi Truck Miles Per Gallon

An average semi-truck gets approximately 6 – 8 miles per gallon (mpg). The low fuel economy of most heavy-duty vehicles is because of their weight. The heavier your semi-truck is, the less fuel-efficient it will be unless you actively take action to increase fuel efficiency. 

Semi-truck fuel efficiency isn’t constant. It may vary depending on many factors, such as:

  1. The model of the truck. Newer semi-truck models have advanced technologies, like low-rolling resistance tires and an aerodynamic design, to optimize engine performance and improve fuel economy.
  2. How you drive: Aggressive driving habits like speeding and hard braking burn more fuel and decrease fuel efficiency compared to safe driving habits, like moving at a safe speed.
  3. The weight of cargo: Semi-trucks hauling heavy cargo have a lower fuel economy than trucks hauling lighter goods.

How to Manage Semi-Truck Fuel Efficiency 

Fuel efficiency strategies that work focus on controlling truck drivers’ actions and vehicle maintenance. Some include:

Inspect Vehicle Before Trips 

Inspect your vehicle and fix any damage before your trip. Damages to your truck’s body, such as a bent front bumper, low body skirting, and missing or loose parts on your truck’s exterior, can all affect the vehicle’s aerodynamic design. The less aerodynamic your semi-truck is, the higher your fuel consumption and the lower your fuel economy.

Plan your trip

Trip planning helps you optimize your routes, identifying the most effective way to deliver cargo in the shortest time possible. You’ll know where to fuel up, stop for breaks, or park for the night. You can also tell where road constructions are in advance and find the best way to navigate such situations without increasing fuel usage.

When planning your trips, avoid mountainous terrain because steep grades often decrease semi-truck fuel efficiency.

Avoid Overfilling Tank

Getting a full tank right up to capacity leads to fuel wastage. Fuel expands when hot. When you over-fuel, it’s likely to seep out the sides as you drive. Fuel spillage is a sign of low fuel efficiency. It’s also dangerous for other motorists. 

Use Low Rolling Resistance Tires

Low rolling resistance tires designed for semi-trucks need less energy to move. Using the right tires helps you reduce the fuel you use and increase your fuel economy.

Check Tire Pressure

Maintaining your tires in good condition also helps maximize fuel efficiency and save money. Check your tire pressure regularly to ensure they’re well-inflated. Your fuel usage increases by 1.5% if your wheels are underinflated by ten pounds for every square inch (PSI). On the other hand, inflating your tires well saves you about $0.11 per gallon.

Check Tire Alignment

Misalignment between your front and rear axles creates higher rolling resistance, which increases fuel usage and tire wear. Regularly checking your tire alignment ensures you handle misalignment issues early and use fuel efficiently.

Slow Down

Every increase in driving speed consumes more diesel. For example, driving above 75 mph consumes approximately 27% more fuel than driving at 65mph.

Maintain a constant speed to ensure your fuel consumption remains consistent. Stay in one gear while sticking to the speed limit as long as possible. The fuel economy of trucks reduces by 0.1 MPG for each mph you drive above 55 mph.

Brake Wisely 

Many drivers use various braking methods to reduce the number of unnecessary complete stops, especially at stoplights and stop signs. This helps you avoid restarting your vehicle often. It takes more fuel to restart your truck whenever you come to a complete stop.

Use Your Momentum

Driving a heavy-duty vehicle generates momentum even if you travel at constant speed. By strategically using momentum to coast through certain situations, such as approaching stop lights or slowing down when going downhill, you can reduce the need for heavy braking. Using your momentum helps you use your brakes sparingly, which reduces fuel usage.

Use Cruise Control

For better fuel economy, use cruise control whenever you get an opportunity to do so. Cruise control helps you move at a constant, safe average speed throughout, using enough fuel. It prevents excessive acceleration and braking, which lowers the fuel economy of trucks.

Manage Cruise RPM

RPM, your truck’s revolutions per minute, measures engine speed. Semi-trucks use more fuel at higher engine speeds and less at lower speeds. Monitor your truck’s RPM to keep the figure within the range recommended by the manufacturer. Slower speeds and lower RPM will reduce your fuel costs.

Avoid Idling

Most truck drivers leave their semi-trucks idling when running quick errands. Others leave their trucks idle to stabilize the temperature on a hot or chilly day. But this behavior wastes fuel. You lose a gallon of gas in an hour of idling. Always turn off your truck when you have to leave it.

Avoid heavy traffic 

Heavy traffic contributes to idling, which, as mentioned above, wastes fuel. Consider paying attention to real-time traffic updates to recognize congestion-prone routes ahead of time and work around them to avoid getting caught up in traffic and idling.

Keep load height low

A low cargo height reduces wind resistance, so your truck moves smoothly with less fuel. This helps you save fuel costs. Keeping your load height low and evenly distributed also improves fuel efficiency by improving your semi-truck aerodynamics.

Invest in Aerodynamics

There are several technological advancements and add-ons you can invest in to make your truck more fuel-efficient. A few add-ons to improve aerodynamics and get you more miles per gallon include:

  • Truck Wings – close the gap between your cab and trailer, reducing drag
  • Side extenders
  • Roof fairings
  • Trailer skirts
  • Deep angled bumpers

Adopt Electronically Controlled Transmissions

Automated manual transmissions are a new technology that helps increase fuel mileage and improve fuel economy. An automated manual transmission (AMT) makes driving smoother and less tiring, leading to increased driver safety and better performance. 

Most trucking companies are switching to automatic transmissions to improve driver retention and increase fuel efficiency.

Regular Preventative Maintenance

A regular preventative maintenance schedule can also lead to an improved fuel economy. Ensure you:

  • Change your air filter regularly
  • Replace your fuel filter often
  • Change your oil plus oil filter regularly
  • Consider switching to synthetic oil, which has less engine resistance
  • Grease your fifth wheel top plate regularly

Here are a few more semi-truck care tips you should consider.

Final Thoughts 

All the fuel efficiency strategies discussed above will help you reduce fuel expenses and increase your income. To begin, control your speed. Speed control is the number one strategy you can implement today and start seeing results almost immediately.

If you’re a fleet owner, create speed control guidelines your drivers can follow and incentivize them to ensure they’re motivated to adhere to all speed control guidelines. Your operating costs will be reduced, and your profit will increase. 

Also, consider replacing your older trucks with newer models fitted with the latest fuel-saving technologies to enhance fuel economy. In this case, call us. We’ll customize our commercial loan options to your business needs and help finance your purchase without interrupting your cash flow.

 

driver accessories

Useful Accessories For Semi-Truck Drivers

driver accessories
Almost all truckers rely on tools and accessories to make their on-the-road lifestyle comfortable, and efficient. The right semi-truck driver accessories can also help improve a trucker’s safety and the safety of other drivers.

We’ve rounded up a list of essential accessories every trucker needs to make their truck feel like a second home. Whether you’re a short or long-haul truck driver, our top picks will make your trips safer and more enjoyable.

Truck Driver Accessories Every Trucker Needs

Opinions on what truckers’ must-haves are may vary from one truck driver to the next because different truckers have different needs. All the same, some accessories stand out as necessary items to bring along for any trip.

Truck Driving Essentials

Over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers spend approximately 300 days every year on the road. Truck driving essentials keep them at ease behind the wheel so their workdays become more manageable and stress-free.

GPS

Trucker GPS systems have several tools truck drivers require to navigate different terrain. They’ll help you plan your truck routes and avoid hazards like narrow roads, low bridges, and other places challenging for a big rig to pass through.

seat cushion
image: Amazon

Comfortable Seat

Because truck drivers spend many hours seated while driving, a comfortable seat is a must-have to prevent several health issues. The best seats offer proper lumbar support to protect you from chronic back pain, spinal disc degeneration, muscle tension, ligament strains, etc.

A good seat cushion can also make your seat more comfortable. Here’s a quick guide on the best semi-truck seat cushion to help you find a comfortable seat cushion without a hassle.

Cell Phone Holder

A rigid cell phone holder helps put your phone in place so you can stay connected with your loved ones during your long hauls. It also prevents distracted driving – one of the top causes of trucking accidents in the U.S.

Smartphone Charger

A good charger keeps your cell phone on, which is crucial for emergencies. You should have at least two portable cell phone chargers.

Bluetooth Headset

This hands-free device allows you to use your phone safely when you need to. A high-quality headset has clear speakers and a good microphone with background noise cancellation.

Dash Cam

A dash cam can save you from various liability claims if a trucking accident occurs. It also works as a security device, preventing thieves from breaking into your cab.

first aid
Emergency and Safety Essentials

Emergency and safety essentials improve safety behind the wheel and help you handle unexpected events. Some of these include:

Anti-sleep Alarms

These gadgets are designed to detect signs of drowsiness or fatigue while driving and alert the driver to take necessary breaks or corrective actions to prevent accidents. They monitor eye movements, head position, or vehicle lane deviation to assess driver alertness and trigger an alarm if they detect fatigue.

Toolbox

A trucker’s toolbox has several hand tools they can use to perform basic repairs when the need arises. These hand tools may include screwdrivers, tie-down stripes, pliers, wrenches, a tire pressure gauge, a pocket knife, you name it.

Emergency Kit

Like a toolbox, an emergency kit has several items to help you deal with changing road conditions and other unforeseen circumstances. A few essential items in an emergency kit are an all-purpose first aid kit, a flashlight, batteries, jumper cables, emergency flares, and bottled water.

Cold weather equipment like tire chains and a snow shovel can also be helpful during harsh winter weather.

Polarized Safety Glasses

A good pair of polarized sunglasses is a safety and health-promoting item. It minimizes eye strain and promotes your visibility on the road. These sunglasses keep your eyes healthy by preventing permanent eye damage due to prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.

matress
image :Amazon

Cab Comfort Essentials

Comfort truck driver accessories make your space feel cozy, like a home away from home.

Roll-up memory foam mattress

A memory foam mattress ensures you get enough high-quality sleep. Enough sleep is essential for you to stay alert when driving. Add an electric blanket and memory foam pillow for a complete set of comfortable sleeping accessories.

Organizational Items

Items like seat organizers, storage containers, and hooks help long-haul truckers save space and keep their trucks in good order. As a result, trips become more efficient because everything the truck driver needs during their long haul is within reach.

Cleaning Supplies

Several cleaning supplies, like an all-purpose cleaner, handheld vacuum, paper towels, and disinfectant wipes, keep your cab fresh and comfortable.

Cooking and Food Essentials

Long-haul truck drivers are at a higher risk of getting lifestyle diseases such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and heart diseases because of their unhealthy eating habits. Most prefer purchasing quick meals and snacks on the go to save time and log in more hours.

Cooking and food essentials help truckers maintain a healthy lifestyle by preparing and enjoying nutritious hot meals at their convenience instead of buying truck-stop fast food.

cooker

image Amazon

Slow Cooker

A slow cooker lets your food cook all day on the low. You’ll always have a hot dinner waiting at the end of a long day behind the wheel. Most truckers love this appliance because they don’t have to lose driving time to prepare meals.

Hot Plate

Another helpful cooking appliance for truck drivers is a hot plate. It doesn’t occupy too much space and often works well for preparing quick breakfast meals.

Mini-Fridge Or Coolers

A portable fridge or cooler keeps food items and snacks fresh throughout your trips. It helps you save money and time because you can purchase food ingredients in bulk and store them well. This prevents unnecessary stops, which eats into your working hours.

Final Thoughts

There are loads of products on the market today designed for truckers. Consider your needs, the size of your rig, and a product’s quality to find the best accessories for your cab. The goal is to get items that simplify your life on the road while promoting your health and safety.

Mission Financial Services is committed to helping you enjoy your trucking lifestyle and succeed in your business. That’s why we offer a range of vehicle financing options, including semi-truck repair loans, to help you keep your truck in tip-top shape and get the most out of it. Contact us to learn more about this.

semitruck accidents

Semi-Truck Driver Accidents: What You Need To Know

semitruck accidents

Semi-truck driver accidents are a frequent occurrence in the U.S., with approximately 388,000 incidents annually. In certain years, like 2021, this number surpassed the half-a-million mark.

The prevalence of these accidents is due to various factors. As a truck driver, understanding these causes is crucial. It enables you to take necessary precautions, ultimately reducing the likelihood of trucking accidents.

This article looks at top causes of semi-truck accidents and how you can prevent them to make our roads safer for all road users.

Common Causes of Semi-Truck Driver Accidents

According to a truck crash causation study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the common causes of semi-truck accidents fall under three main categories:

  • Driver error
  • Equipment failure or vehicle malfunction
  • Environmental conditions

Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.

Driver Error

Driver error is an umbrella term referring to any mistake a driver makes that leads to an accident. This is the number one cause of semi-truck driver accidents because almost all trucks are entirely human-driven.

Oversight by truckers includes non-performance errors, that is, mistakes unrelated to the driver’s driving skills, and performance errors, i.e., those related to their driving habits, and may include the following:

distracted truck driver

Distraction Behind the Wheel

A slight lapse in concentration when driving a semi-truck can lead to a fatal semi-truck driver accident, killing or injuring several people. This is because driving a semi-truck is different from driving regular cars. It requires more calculation, such as ensuring there is enough space (about 40% more) before stopping.

Distracted drivers can easily miscalculate their next move and cause a crash. Often, truck drivers get distracted trying to use their phones and other hand-held devices while driving.

Case in point: a trucker was recently charged with five counts of manslaughter. He hit another commercial vehicle, which crashed into two other cars, killing five people on the scene.

Driver Fatigue

Truckers are usually compensated based on the number of miles they drive, motivating many to extend their work hours for increased mileage. However, the FMCSA has established strict hours-of-service regulations that all truckers must follow.

Despite these guidelines, the pressure to cover more distance often leads to fatigue, and some truckers may find themselves dozing off behind the wheel, contributing to the occurrence of truck crashes.

Substance abuse

Alcohol or substance abuse impairs one’s judgment, and truck drivers are not immune to their effects. A truck driver can become drowsy and slow to respond to different situations or conditions on the road when under the influence. Fatal truck crashes are more likely to occur as a result.

Traffic Violations

Flaunting interstate traffic laws is a common practice among truckers. Most run stop lights, fail to obey road signs, or overspeed, increasing their risk of getting involved in semi-truck accidents.

blind spot

Failure to Check Blind Spots

Because of their large size and weight, there are several blind spots a trucker must check before switching lanes or turning. Some drivers fail to check their mirrors as needed and hit other vehicles or pedestrians.

Aggressive driving

Road rage affects nearly all drivers, truckers included. More often than not, it leads to reckless or aggressive driving, where one driver might try to crash into another who made them angry deliberately.

Inexperienced Drivers

Inexperienced drivers are more likely to cause a crash, especially on interstate roads, compared to their experienced counterparts.

Equipment Failure Or Vehicle Malfunctions

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted another large truck crash causation study and realized that equipment failure or vehicle malfunctions are among the top causes of semi-truck accidents. Nearly 55% of the trucks involved in the crashes studied had one mechanical failure at the very least.

If your vehicle or any of its parts fail when you are on the road, a truck crash becomes unavoidable because the situation is almost always out of your control. There are several types of equipment failures or vehicle malfunctions to note, including:

  • Part manufacturing defects
  • Wrongly Loaded Cargo
  • Transmission failure
  • Improperly inflated or worn-out tires
  • Missing safety equipment, like underride rails
  • Overall poor vehicle maintenance, including poorly maintained brakes

rain
Environmental Conditions

Unpredictable weather and changing road conditions can also cause semi-truck accidents. Heavy rains or storms, for instance, make roads wet and slippery, increasing the risk of accidents. Some roads are also poorly maintained and demand more cautious driving.

If a truck driver fails to drive keenly on uneven roads or those with large potholes, fading road markings, and missing signage, they will likely cause a crash.

Steps You Can Take to Prevent the Causes of Most Truck Accidents

As you can tell, most causes of semi-truck driver accidents are things or situations within your control. Here are a few steps you can take to drive safely and prevent truck accidents:

  • Focus – be keen while driving to stay alert and respond to changing road conditions accordingly. Avoid taking your eyes off the road to use your phone or any other gadget when behind the wheel.
  • Maintain your semi-truck properly regularly – this helps identify and handle mechanical issues quickly, minimizing the risk of accidents. Also, follow the required pre-trip vehicle inspection process to ensure your truck is always in good shape before getting on the road.
  • Obey traffic rules and regulations – these rules are there to protect you and other road users.
  • Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles to give yourself enough room to maneuver.
  • Avoid overloading and ensure all cargo is secured perfectly before making a trip.
  • Don’t drink or use any street drugs and drive.
  • Get enough rest, especially if you’re a long-distance truck driver. It prevents fatigue and helps you stay alert while driving.

road rules

Final Thoughts

It is essential to note that most truck accidents happen due to a combination of factors. For example, a semi-truck driver might run stop lights due to brake failure or make sudden, unpredictable turns due to poor road conditions.

Because of this, it’s advisable always to drive defensively and follow all the tips for preventing trucking accidents discussed above.

That said, there are a few things you ought to do if you ever find yourself in a truck crash. Follow our safety guide to learn how to handle a semi-truck accident.

Also, contact us if you need financial help to replace your truck after an accident. We’re always ready to help.

How To Avoid Commercial Truck Accidents

How To Avoid Commercial Truck Accidents

Commercial truck accidents are one of the biggest risks of running a trucking business. Even the most experienced commercial truck drivers can get caught up in an accident, so it’s essential to be alert at all times and aware of all possible accident causes.

While you never know what lies ahead when operating a truck, drivers must be prepared for all possible scenarios. To help you out, this guide explores some of the key causes of commercial truck accidents and how to avoid them.

How to Avoid Commercial Truck Accidents as a Driver

You can never predict when a commercial truck accident will take place. However, as a truck driver, you must do everything you can to prevent these accidents.

Here are some of the most important steps and considerations to avoid minor or fatal truck accidents.

Regular Maintenance

The most critical step in avoiding truck accidents is to make sure your vehicle is in good running condition. 10% of truck accidents result from vehicle errors, so ensuring your vehicle is taken care of will immediately reduce any risk of an accident.

Ensure that the commercial trucks are well-maintained. Regular inspections, maintenance, and repairs will help prevent mechanical failures that could lead to accidents.

Be sure to check all common issues before each truck journey. This includes looking for bad shocks, fuel filter issues, a bad starter, or faulty brakes. Keep your truck’s tire pressure at the right level, maintain correct oil levels, and pay attention to any strange noises or movements coming from the truck.

If you experience anything unusual, report this to a mechanic or take the truck in for maintenance. Not only will fixing issues early on help you avoid more significant accidents, but it can also be cheaper in the long-term maintenance of your vehicle.

Beyond the regular checks a truck driver should perform, you must never miss a service. Regularly servicing the truck will help you detect any possible issues that could result in accidents.

Secure Your Load

Truck accident statistics show that the cargo causes a large portion of accidents. Truck drivers must ensure their cargo is secured correctly and safely handled to avoid any cargo-related accidents.

Improperly secured cargo can shift, causing loss of control and accidents. The truck driver must understand the cargo they are transporting and how best to manage it. Some difficult types of cargo even require special licenses and training – ensure you are equipped with this if it applies.

When driving on multi-day trips, always check the cargo at the start and end of each day. Cargo can often shift around during long days on the road, so staying on top of it can play a significant role in avoiding truck crashes.

Driver Training

Of course, most truck accidents happen as a result of poor driving. You must have a good driver behind the wheel to avoid truck accidents.

Employ qualified and trained drivers who understand the unique challenges of driving commercial trucks. Provide ongoing training to keep their skills up-to-date.

The best way to minimize the risk of truck crashes is to use a driver with plenty of experience in the route, experience with the vehicle, and experience with the cargo they’re hauling. The longer the driver has had their commercial driver’s license (CDL), the better.

While gaining experience takes time, younger drivers can improve their odds against truck crashes with ongoing training. Consistently keeping up to date with best practices in truck driving safety is essential.

Drivers can also enroll in short courses to improve their truck driving skills and knowledge for different scenarios. For example, you could take a short course in driving in the snow or a course in driving vehicles that carry abnormal loads to better equip yourself with different types of commercial truck driving.

Vehicle Knowledge

Following on from the point above, many commercial truck accidents happen when the driver is unfamiliar with handling the vehicle.

A critical step in avoiding fatal crashes is gaining plenty of experience in the specific type of truck you’re driving. Understand the gross vehicle weight rating, know the total vehicle miles, and get accustomed to the tractor-trailer setup. The better truck operators know their vehicle and how to handle it, the easier it will be to avoid large truck crashes.

Hours of Service

Even the most knowledgeable and experienced truck operators can cause fatal crashes if they’re overly tired. Long-haul truck drivers need to get enough rest when driving their routes.

Always adhere to hours of service regulations to prevent driver fatigue. Make regular use of truck stops, and know when you need rest.

A significant number of commercial truck accident statistics result from fatigue. So, getting enough rest is essential if you’re driving a large truck. Not only does this protect the truck driver, but it protects any other passenger vehicles on the road. This is why national highway traffic safety places so much emphasis on truck drivers resting when necessary.

Avoid Distracted Driving

Drivers must stay focused on the road and avoid distractions like cell phones or other electronic devices. Fatal crashes can easily occur when the truck driver takes their eyes off the road for only a moment.

As a truck driver, you must always keep this in mind and practice absolute vigilance when driving.
Speed Management
This is another basic rule for truck driving, but it significantly reduces fatal crashes. fatal crashes.

Always follow speed limits and adjust speed based on road conditions, weather, and traffic. Speeding is a common cause of commercial truck accidents, but it’s an easy issue to avoid.

Even if you’re driving behind schedule, sticking to the speed limit can help you get your cargo to its destination safely – which is more important than getting there quickly.

Safe Following Distance

Always maintain a safe following distance from other vehicles. Commercial trucks require more time to stop due to their size and weight, so large trucks must keep their distance from other passenger vehicles.
Fatal truck crashes often result from drivers not having enough time to stop. So, keep your distance, and you’ll be a far safer driver.

Weather Awareness

While the weather is beyond your control, anyone driving a large truck needs to understand how to drive in different weather conditions.

Always check the weather report before taking to the road, and be prepared for different weather conditions. Slow down and exercise extra caution in adverse weather conditions like rain, snow, or fog.

Defensive Driving

Train drivers to anticipate the actions of other drivers and be prepared to react appropriately. This can help avoid collisions caused by other drivers’ mistakes.

The truck driver doesn’t always cause commercial truck accidents. Instead, negligence may be due to passenger vehicle drivers. However, when trucks get involved in fatal crashes, the situation becomes a lot worse.

Large truck occupants need to know how to react swiftly to other vehicles on the road. Taking a defensive driving course is always a good idea for commercial drivers.

Avoid Aggressive Driving

Being a truck driver can get frustrating, but drivers must always stay calm and collected on the road.

Avoid any aggressive driving behaviors such as tailgating, road rage, and abrupt lane changes. Crashes involving large trucks are often caused by these brief moments of aggression – which can quickly turn into a fatal accident.

Use Mirrors

Any large truck occupants need to make the most out of their mirrors.

Make proper use of mirrors to be aware of the surroundings. Blind spots are larger for commercial trucks, so use mirrors to stay informed. Always double-check the mirror, even if you think the road is clear.

Observe Traffic Signs

Another obvious one is that road signs are there to keep truck drivers safe. As driving a large truck is a different experience, truck drivers must closely monitor road signs that relate to them.

Follow all traffic rules and signs, including weight limits, height restrictions, and other commercial vehicle-specific regulations. Of course, drivers also need to understand their truck’s height and weight before setting out on a journey.

Conclusion

Knowing how to avoid commercial truck accidents is essential to being a truck driver. Always be aware of the common accident causes and be alert about how to avoid them. This is one of the most critical functions of anyone operating a large truck.

Looking to purchase a semi-truck for your business? Get in touch with us at Mission Financial Services where we help all kinds of truck drivers acquire commercial vehicle financing, regardless of credit score.

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Renew Your Commercial Vehicle Insurance With These Steps

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One of the most essential parts of operating a trucking business is ensuring you have the right commercial vehicle insurance coverage. This means you’ll often have to renew commercial vehicle insurance policies – a process that could require multiple steps.

Renewing your commercial vehicle insurance ensures your business is properly protected on the road. When doing this, there’s a detailed process you should follow.

Here’s a breakdown of how to successfully renew your commercial vehicle insurance policy.

Review Your Policy

Before you renew commercial vehicle insurance, you’ll want to ensure you understand your existing policy.

Take the time to go through your current commercial auto insurance policy. Understand the coverage it provides, the premiums you’re paying, and any deductibles. This will help you assess if the policy still meets your business needs.

Understanding your commercial vehicle insurance policy will also help you establish what areas you have been missing that you want to look for in a new policy.

Shop Around For Commercial Vehicle Insurance

While you can renew with your current insurer, it’s also an excellent opportunity to shop around for better rates and coverage options. Before choosing a commercial vehicle insurance policy that best matches your needs, you’ll need to know what’s out there.

Contact multiple insurance providers and get quotes to compare. This might help you find a more cost-effective policy that suits your requirements. The more commercial vehicle insurance companies you reach out to and investigate, the better you’ll understand the pros and cons of each policy.

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Gather Your Commercial Vehicle Information

Before renewing commercial vehicle insurance, you must ensure your business and vehicle information is ready. Gather all necessary documents early on in your commercial vehicle insurance journey. Finding and applying for the right policy will be a far easier process.

Prepare all the necessary information about your business and vehicles. This could include vehicle details, driver information, business registration, and commercial vehicle insurance claim history.

Assess Your Commercial Vehicle Insurance Policy Needs

Your trucking business needs might have changed since you last dealt with an insurance company.
You may have acquired new vehicles, expanded your operations, or made significant changes. Whatever the case, your commercial vehicle insurance coverage needs differ.

So, understand what your commercial vehicle insurance policy needs to include. Beyond covering your vehicle, you could also look for other insurance requirements, like third-party liability, personal accident cover, mechanical or electrical breakdown coverage, financial protection, and more.

Decide On Your Coverage

Based on your commercial vehicle insurance assessment, decide if you need to change your coverage.
You can adjust your policy to include additional coverage options like collision, comprehensive, liability, and more. Make sure the insurance policy aligns with your business risks.

Of course, you’ll also want to consider the commercial auto insurance cost and ensure the insurance provider covers enough insured declared value in their policy. Sometimes, cheap semi-truck insurance isn’t worth the lack of coverage.

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Look For Discounts

There’s a good chance that each insurance company you deal with offers a discount. Your commercial vehicle insurance policy could reward you for good driving records, vehicle safety features, bundling multiple policies, or being a loyal customer.

Ask the insurance company you’re interested in about possible discounts. This could help you with the commercial auto insurance cost.

Get In Touch With Your Current Insurer

If you stick with your current insurer, contact them well before your policy expires. This will give you enough time for any necessary paperwork and adjustments.

If you use a new commercial vehicle insurance company, contacting your existing provider is still a good idea. You must follow all the correct steps when ending your policy with them.

Provide Updated Information

This applies if you renew your commercial vehicle insurance policy with the same insurance provider.

If there have been any changes in your business, vehicles, or drivers, inform your insurance provider. This makes sure you have accurate coverage and premium calculations. If the details are wrong on your commercial vehicle insurance premium, claiming your insured vehicle could get messy.

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Carefully Review The Renewal Offer

When you get the renewal offer, carefully review the details.

Check for any changes in coverage, premiums, deductibles, and insurance policy terms. Make sure that every detail in your commercial vehicle insurance policy aligns with your expectations.

Ask Questions

If you have any questions or concerns about the renewal offer, don’t hesitate to ask your insurance company or agent. It’s essential to understand the commercial vehicle policy you’re renewing clearly.

The better you understand your commercial vehicle insurance, the more value you could get from your policy.

Make Payment On Time

Pay by the specified due date if you’re happy with the renewal offer. This ensures your commercial vehicle insurance policy coverage continues without any gaps.

The last thing you want is to drive commercial vehicles without any commercial vehicle insurance plans or coverage.

Keep Proof Of Your Insurance

After renewing your policy, keep a copy of your new insurance policy and proof of coverage in your commercial vehicles. This is essential for any legal or regulatory requirements. It will also make any commercial vehicle claim process easier to handle.

Conclusion

Whether you renew your commercial vehicle insurance online or through a representative, following the right steps will help ensure you have the right policy and coverage for your business needs. Taking the time to do this carefully can save your business money while offering greater commercial vehicle insurance coverage.

If you’re looking to purchase a new commercial vehicle, then get in touch with us at Mission Financial. We can help all kinds of truck drivers gain financing for practically any kind of new and used commercial vehicles.

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