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driving-in-severe-weather

The weather is a popular topic of discussion any time of the year.  But this time of year it seems to be nearly constant headline news.  All drivers must prepare for the day’s road conditions.  Sometimes that preparation leads to making the call to not drive at all.

But for truck drivers who NEED to drive to make their living, where is the line drawn for being able to safely navigate the roads?  Do you know your rights when making the call that it’s just not safe for driving in severe weather?

In a conversation with Overdrive.com, attorney Paul Taylor discusses common questions about driving in severe weather.  He details your rights as a driver to protect yourself and your job.  The key is knowing your rights, having good communications with your dispatcher and keeping proper documentation when the situation arises.

As the article states: “Under the employee protection provision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act, you have the right to refuse to operate a commercial vehicle if it would be unsafe to drive. U.S. Department of Transportation regulations state that “if conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed” until it’s safe to drive.”

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truck-driver-winter-roads

Winter is coming, and truckers are beginning to notice the effects of the weather on the roads. What were once long stretches of asphalt are now covered in ice and snow across many of the northern states. Any smart trucker is always prepared, especially when hitting rougher conditions.

In order to stay safe this winter, we’ve compiled some go-to tips to make sure that your wheels stay on the road.

  1. Use your best judgement. If weather becomes so severe that you can’t see out of your front windshield, take it to the side and wait out the storm. But don’t just stop on the side of the road! Find either a truck stop or a safe place to park to wait for the weather to clear.
  2. Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.Don’t just follow the headlights in front of you. Leave plenty of room between you and the next car or truck in front of you should you hit a patch of ice.
  3. Double check your systems during your circle check.Before you leave, make sure your defroster and windshield wipers are working properly. Your tail lights, as always, should be clean, your tires and brakes should be unfrozen, and your mirrors should all be wiped clean. If they can’t see you, you can’t see them. Though simple, some drivers might forget this significant step.
  4. Don’t use the jack brake on icy roads.Never brake with an empty unit, as this may increase your chance of spinning off the road. Also try to avoid braking unless the entire unit is driving straight down the road.
  5.   Your winter safety kit.Along with the mandated safety kit, carry a bag of kitty litter with you. Throwing some of this onto your tires is a safe way to get that extra bit of traction in the snow and ice. A hammer and putty knife can help you deal with frozen air tanks. And don’t forget an extra blanket!

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