Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays

Originally Posted on Tue, Dec 25 2007 @ 12:48 PM [EST]





I would like to wish everyone:





If you don't celebrate Christmas, then:






And to everyone:



Comments

Merry CHRISTmas and a happy New Year to you and yours..Thanks VM
Comment By:VM on Sat, Dec 29 2007 @ 8:20 AM [EST]

Saturday, December 15, 2007

No Zone / Share The Road Safely

Originally Posted on Sat, Dec 15 2007 @ 3:41 AM [EST]

It has been a while since I've posted anything about trucking, so I figured I would cover some important topics: 'The No-Zone' and 'Sharing The Road Safely'. Now, I know that most of you may believe you know about these two subjects and if you are a trucker, then you probably do know about 'The No-Zone' but please take the time to at least read the items under the 'Sharing The Road Safely' section.

Now, how about we go see if we can learn something together. (For some reason I just had a flash back to Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.)

Instead of taking the chance of messing up this very important public service announcement, I'll just quote the web site and published information. You can find more information at the FMCSA's "Share The Road Safely" web site.

I'll list the URL for the page I'm quoting before each quote.






What is a No-Zone?

The "No-Zone" represents the danger areas around trucks and buses where crashes are more likely to occur. Some No-Zones are actual blind spots or areas around trucks and buses where your car "disappears" from the view of the drivers. These blind spots are the Side No-Zone, Rear No-Zone, and Front No-Zone areas. The
right-side blind spot is doubly dangerous because trucks and buses make wide
right turns! Knowing the No-Zones can save your life!

For examples of
"No-Zone" situations to avoid, click below.

http://www.sharetheroadsafely.org/cardrivers/workZoneSafety_Tips.asp

Safety Tips for Work Zones

Trucks have more accidents in highway work zones than other vehicles. Work zones can be very dangerous for all vehicles especially when traveling on the highway. It is important to be alert and prepared to slow down or stop in a work zone. Slowing down and allowing others to merge, will ensure a safe passage through work zones. Here are a few tips on work zone safety.

STAY ALERT- HIGHWAY WORK ZONES ARE UNSAFE
Work zones are busy places where construction vehicles and workers are always moving. Stay alert and stay on the safe path that is designated throughout the work
zone. Avoid work zones altogether by using alternate routes when possible. If you can't avoid work zones, allow for more time to travel, slow down, and consider sharing a ride with someone to reduce congestion.

TAKE YOUR CUES FROM TRUCKS
Work zones often pop up suddenly. If you are not paying attention to the signs, you could find yourself in a serious accident. Trucks can be great indicators of trouble or slow downs ahead. Trucks have a height advantage and can see ahead of traffic. Paying attention to a truck's brake lights is a good signal of a slow down or work zone ahead. Truck drivers know the stopping limitations of their trucks, and pay close attention to traffic. Take your cues from trucks and you'll be prepared.

MERGE GENTLY
Aggressive drivers can be extremely dangerous while driving in work zones. Work zones require time and courtesy. For a smooth passage through work zones, allow others to merge in front of you. Be especially considerate to trucks. They require more space to merge and are the least maneuverable vehicles on the road. Remember, trucks have large blind spots, making it difficult to see cars squeezing in close to the front and sides of their truck.



http://www.sharetheroadsafely.org/truckAndBusDrivers/truckAndBusSafetyTips.asp


Safety Tips for Truck and Bus Drivers

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!
The most important part of a moving truck or bus is the driver! Get plenty of rest before getting behind the wheel. Eat well and stay fit. Remember, hours of service violations are serious and can threaten your livelihood or even your life. Stay healthy and well rested, or don't drive!

ALWAYS MAINTAIN YOUR VEHICLE
Inspect your vehicle before each trip and check your brakes regularly. Learn how to inspect your brakes, identify safety defects, and get them repaired before risking your life and others on the highway.

BE AWARE OF YOUR "NO-ZONE"
Other drivers may not be aware of the size of your truck's blind spots. Be vigilant in watching out for vehicles in the No-Zone. The No-Zone represents the danger areas, or blind spots, around trucks and buses where crashes are more likely to occur. One-third of all crashes between large trucks and cars take place in the No-Zone.

SLOW DOWN IN WORK ZONES
Watch out for highway construction. Stay alert. Work zone crashes are more likely to happen during the day. Almost one-third of fatal crashes in work zones involved large trucks. Take your time going through work zones and give yourself plenty of room. Expect the unexpected!

ALWAYS KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
Always leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you hit someone from behind, you are typically considered "at fault," regardless of the situation. Large trucks require more stopping distances than other vehicles. Take advantage of your driving height, and anticipate braking situations.

FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT
Buckle up for safety and control. If you are in a crash, a seat belt can save your life and those around you. It will keep you in your seat and allow you to maintain control of your truck or bus. A major cause of truck and bus driver fatalities involves being ejected from the vehicle. Wearing seat belts, is still the single most effective thing all drivers can do to save lives and reduce injures on our roadways.

ALWAYS DRIVE DEFENSIVELY
Avoid aggressive drivers! It's estimated that each year two-thirds of all traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving behaviors. Keep your distance and maintain a safe speed. The only thing speed will increase is your chance for a crash.

WORK TO HELP YOURSELVES
Be the professional on the highway and at safety events! Help stranded motorists; notify traffic safety agencies of crashes, unsafe drivers, unsafe roadway conditions, and other situations that can lead to crashes. Join a "Highway Watch" program, if available in your state. Your participation in public safety events and your performance on the highway can change public perception!

TELL US WHAT IS WRONG
If you know of unsafe situations, tell us about it. This includes unsafe companies, unsafe drivers, unsafe roadways, and unsafe vehicles. The following "hotlines" are maintained for your protection. Please call us to help make the roads safer and your job easier.

FMCSA Driver Hotline: 1-888-DOT-SAFT (368-7238)
NHTSA Vehicle Hotline: 1-888-327-4236


Check out these links to other web sites for additional Commercial Motor Vehicle Information:


Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Large
Truck Crash Facts 2001

Layover.com





http://www.sharetheroadsafely.org/cardrivers/carSafety_Tips.asp

Safety Tips For Car Drivers

When driving on the highway you are at a serious disadvantage if involved in a crash with a larger vehicle. In crashes involving large trucks, the occupants of a car, usually the driver, sustain 78 percent of fatalities. In order to keep you and your family safe when driving around large trucks and buses, you should be extra cautious. Sharing the road with larger vehicles can be dangerous if you are not aware of their limitations. Here are a few tips to help you drive safer to prevent an accident and minimize injuries and fatalities if one does occur.

CUTTING IN FRONT CAN CUT YOUR LIFE SHORT
If you cut in front of another vehicle, you may create an emergency-braking situation for the vehicles around you, especially in heavy traffic. Trucks and buses take much
longer to stop in comparison to cars. If you force a larger vehicle to stop quickly this could cause a serious, even fatal accident. When passing, look for the front of the truck in your rear-view mirror before pulling in front and avoid braking situations!

BUCKLE YOUR BELTS
Always buckle your seat belt. Seat belts are your best protection in case of a crash,
especially if you get into an accident with a large vehicle such as a truck. Trucks require a greater stopping distance and can seriously hurt you if your car is struck from behind. However, your seat belt will keep you from striking the steering wheel or windshield, being thrown around, and from being ejected from the car. Wearing a seat belt is the single most important thing you can do to save your life, especially in a crash with a large truck.

WATCH YOUR BLIND SPOTS - THE "NO-ZONES"
Large trucks have blind spots, or No-Zones, around the front, back and sides of the
truck. Watch out! A truck could even turn into you, because these No-Zones make it difficult for the driver to see. So, don't hang out in the No-Zones, and remember, if you can't see the truck driver in the truck's mirror, the truck driver can't see you.

INATTENTIVE DRIVERS
Inattentive drivers do not pay attention to driving or what is going on around them. They can be just as dangerous as aggressive drivers when they drive slowly in the passing lane, ignore trucks brake lights or signals, and create an emergency-braking situation. They also create dangerous situations when they attempt to do other things while driving, such as using cell phones. When you are driving, please focus only on the road. If you need to attend to another matter while driving, safely pull over in a parking lot or rest stop.

AGGRESSIVE DRIVERS
Aggressive drivers can be dangerous drivers. They put themselves and others at risk with their unsafe driving. Speeding, running red lights and stop signs, pulling in front of trucks too quickly when passing, and making frequent lane changes, especially in the blind spots of trucks, can create dangerous and potentially fatal situations on the road. These situations can lead to road rage not only for the aggressive driver, but also for others sharing the road.

AVOID SQUEEZE PLAY
Be careful of trucks making wide right turns. If you try to get in between the truck and the curb, you'll be caught in a "squeeze" and can suffer a serious accident. Truck drivers sometimes need to swing wide to the left in order to safely negotiate a right turn especially in urban areas. They can't see cars directly behind or beside them.
Cutting in between the truck and the curb increases the possibility of a crash. So pay attention to truck signals, and give them lots of room to maneuver.

NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE
Drinking and driving don't mix. Alcohol affects a person's ability to make crucial driving decisions, such as braking, steering, or changing lanes. Remember, you are not the only one in danger when you decide to drink and then drive. You are sharing the road with everyone including large vehicles and your chances of getting into an accident are greatly increased. If you get into an accident with a truck, you're out of
luck. The odds of surviving a serious accident with a large truck are too low. However, if you do live through it without serious injury, think of your higher insurance rates, your large legal fees, and other social and professional setbacks it will cause you. So think before you drink.


I recommend that truckers and 4-wheelers (car drivers) alike should check out the FMCSA's "Share The Road Safely" web site.I think I've taken up enough of your time for tonight. Be safe out there. -TTB


Comments


Heres what really happens in work zones..Trucks are traveling the speed limit when some idiot decides that saving 4 seconds on his trip is worth his life and decides to whip around you. I've seen it over and over again. They think somehow that they can just around you and merge and that is where they are DEAD wrong! I remember being on the I-35 in Austin when someone thought they could do that and they ate guard rail and I just kept on a trucking. I'm not stopping for nothing. Trucks have more accidents in these zones because of these idiots not because of the drivers..VM-out!
Comment By:VM on Sat, Dec 15 2007 @ 7:05 AM [EST]

Good blog, TT. I am glad someone cares.
Comment By:lenutt on Sun, Dec 16 2007 @ 7:45 PM [EST]

I agree with you comment VM. Not being an expert on the subject of big rig accidents in work zones, my thoughts on why there appears to be more accidents involving trucks is two fold: 1) Big Rigs are HUGE and the space in construction zones are smaller and the road surface is uneven 2) Most drivers of 4-wheelers (and some truck drivers) are idiots and think that those extra few MPHs or that extra time gained (a few seconds) by not slowing down are going to get them where they need to go faster. Most people do not realize how marginal the gains are by speeding, not to mention what happens if you get pulled over or have an accident. I use to be one of those people. I was the guy that drove at 85+ MPH every where he went and took stupid risk. Then I turned 18 y/o and I realized it wasn't worth it. I still would speed some but as the years went on, I even stopped that. Now I pretty much obey the law. I become more and more embarrassed each day at being a 4-wheeler. -TTB
Comment By:Truckin Tedybehr on Tue, Dec 18 2007 @ 1:32 PM [EST]

Its not so much your speed that matters its the space in front of you that does. Can you stop if the car in front of you slams on the brakes?..Speeding is OK as long as you got the cushion to stop. I pass trucks all the time going 59mph when I am going 61mph...Why?..Because I don't want to break RPM's a secret my mentor taught me who has 30+ years in. I catch them when I am empty on the hills which usually is not the best place to pass but I do. It's actually easier for me to drive a big rig in heavy traffic than a 4-wheeler because of my mirrors and I am used to it. Don't break your RPM's when behind another slow moving vehicle hang back and bring up your RPM's when safe to pass and they'll think you've got a Frankenstein of an engine. VM-out!
Comment By:VM on Sun, Dec 23 2007 @ 2:42 AM [EST]

Friday, December 7, 2007

I'm Still Alive

Originally Posted on Fri, Dec 07 2007 @ 10:38 PM [EST]


Hello all. I'm still alive. I know that my blog hasn't had a lot to do about trucking but it has taken all my time to take care of dad. I have not given up on the idea. I just have to get dad independent again.

Just to warn you now, this still will not have anything to do with trucking except one of the reasons I haven't made the move yet; my dad. If you don't want to read my rant on my dad, you can feel free to stop reading know. Don't worry, I'll understand and I won't get made. I just need to rank a while and get some things off my chest.

OK ... here I go. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Dad has improved a lot but it is still a waiting game to see how far he will improve. He has gotten to the point were we believe he can pretty much take care of himself again but he does seem to want to do that. He seems very willing to let everyone wait on him and not do anything for himself. I hate to do it but I'm about to set him straight and remind him that he is a 66 year old adult. He had physical and occupational therapy coming to his place once a week. Well, physical therapy released (discharged him from care) last week and occupational therapy released him this week. If they feel that he is able to do things well enough that he doesn't need them any more, then I feel he can start putting forth the effort to start taking care of himself. I understand that there are things that he cannot do on his own, such as putting in his eye medication. The wife and I are more than willing to help him with those things. Right now, the wife and I are putting in a HUGE amount of effort and he is willing to sit back not put in much at all. It is time for that to stop. This has put a big strain on us. We both feel we have lost our lives and that all we do now is take care of him.

My dad was always the strongest, most independent man I had ever known. Except for injuries (I'll list a few of them in a moment), he has only missed one day of work due to illness and that was actually because he was too drunk to go to work (which was really saying something at the time because he was a VERY big drinker. He no longer drinks. He hasn't had a drop to drink in over twenty years.) I really do not know what has happened to him. He has started relying on my brothers and me more and more each year, even before his leukemia and kidney problems. As I said earlier, he is only 66 years old which isn't that old these days. Several times over the past few years, we've had to use some tough love on him and he has come around and started being more independent so I guess it is time to do it again.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, as promised, here are some of the injuries he has had:

  • He has broken his back 3 times (resulting in his lower 6" of his spine being fused together.)
  • He had a blood clot moving toward his heart. It caused him to pass out. Luckily, he was on a roof at the time and rolled off. Why is this lucky? The clot was heading toward his heart. According to the doctor, if the clot had reached his heart, it would have killed him. When he fell off the roof, it caused the blood clot to break up and pass through the heart. The down side to falling off the roof, he broke his sternum which punctured his diaphragm.
  • He has cut off his thumb. Surprisingly, they were able to sew it back on in the late 1970's. It is fully functional and he even grew back his thumb nail. The only thing is it is now a 1/8" shorter which is the width of the saw blade.
  • He shattered the ball and socket joint in his right shoulder. The interesting thing is how he did it. He woke up one morning and stretched while yawning. That's it, he stretched. Explanation? He had been working roofing for several weeks and the biggest thing he did was carrying bundles of shingles up a latter. Most of the time it was two or three bundles at a time. Well, by doing this, he built up his back muscles so strong without much building up of his chest muscles and when he stretched; his chest muscles weren't strong enough to stop his back muscles. The result: a loud pop, a shattered shoulder and now an artificial joint.
  • He was crushed between the two halves of a double-wide mobile home which resulted in him have 30K lbs across 6" of his pelvis area. Amazingly, besides being much thinner in that area for a while, he had some pelvis damage. He was walking again (on crutches) in 6 days and left the hospital in 16 days.
  • Completely exploded a disk in his back (all three sections...nothing was left). After the surgery, he was a 1/4" shorter.
    (The broken backs and the exploded disk accounted for a total of 5 back surgeries.)

(Yes, it is amazing that he is still alive after all of this.)

Now, before you say, "No wonder he wants someone to take care of him." let me say, he was strong enough emotionally and stubborn enough, he recovered from all of those injuries and was able to return to a very normal life. He actually returned back to work after all of them except after the mobile home crushing him. This put him on disability but he still lead a very full life. Even the death of my mom didn't keep him down for too long. It was rough on him but he still pulled through it. He made it through the leukemia and kidney problems last year and spent almost a year with the leukemia being in remission and his kidney function getting back to over 80% of normal. But since his relapse a few months ago, it is like he doesn't want to try. He hasn't given up but he definitely isn't fighting very hard. (Sorry, I started kicking into the rant again.)

I'm sorry this ended up being so long and if you are reading this, I can only think of a few reasons:

  1. You skipped to the bottom without actually reading it.
  2. You are really, REALLY bored
    or
  3. You're VM and you had to take a break from driving a pencil long enough to let your hand rest. =-)

That is enough for now. Feel free to comment or drop me a line at: truckin.tedybehr@gmail.com

-TTB



Comments

Your Dad is going to do whatever he wants to do and there is nothing going to change that, its up to him. I hope he does the right thing for your sake. He will probably play the martyr role for a while until he realizes that you are serious. You owe him love but that can't stop you in what YOUR family needs. Put YOUR family first..He's a grown MAN he's gonna do what he wants..He's probably deep down scared about his mortality and he doesn't know how to express it but to have you waiting on him hand and foot. He seems like a truck driver thats for sure STUBBORN..So use Trucker Psychology 101 with Professor VM..Let him rant and rave but push on with what you need to make your family happy..VM-out! By the way I drove a truck for a total of 60 miles today when I dropped the pencil...VM-out!
Comment By: VM on Sat, Dec 08 2007 @ 6:01 AM [EST]