Dillon is serious about trucking and that means we are also serious about road rules. Whether it’s making non-distracted driving a priority or just sharing the road with smaller vehicles, we want you to feel as prepared as possible.
This is Dillon Logistic’s Summer of Safety series. Stay tuned for simple tips that can make all the difference behind the wheel.
#1 STAY ALERT
Being attentive and sharp while navigating your route is crucial for success, especially during summer time and intensive construction season. To make sure you keep safety first priority, don’t allow your attention to slip! Keep an eye out for motorcycles, blindspots and merging lanes, and always try to keep a safe distance between you and other cars. When it comes to staying alert, it all boils down to sleep. Getting the proper amount of shut eye will help your body and mind stay active. Make rest a priority the night before a haul.
#2 LIMIT DISTRACTIONS
Limiting distractions during your drive is the surest way to make sure you stay safe this summer. While cell phones are vitally important for everyday life, they can be deadly when used on the road. Make sure you invest in a handsfree set before leaving the terminal so you can keep your eyes on the road.
#3 ALWAYS BE PREPARED
Unfortunately, no matter how alert or free of distractions you might be there is always a chance that something could not go as planned. Try your best to be as prepared as possible by planning out your day - from the time you leave the terminal to when you make it to your destination. Make sure to leave on time and to have everything with you that you will need for a trip. Another important tip, and one we encourage, is to ask questions! Don’t be afraid to not know the answer to something. It’s better to ask and receive the correct information than to be delayed or stuck because you are unsure.
A third way to be prepared is to keep your body hydrated. As we approach the summer months drinking that extra bit of water can save you from headaches, fatigue and many other unpleasant symptoms that could knock you off your time schedule. Plain water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated - you can help your body by eating fruits that are high in water (watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries and peaches) and steering clear from drinks and food that are high in sugar (like soda and sugary coffee drinks). Your body will thank you later!
These tips might be simple, but that makes them no less serious! When you’re heading out on the road try and keep these 3 things in mind: Always stay alert, eliminate as many distractions as possible and always be prepared.
In order to live up to our mantra as a serious company, serious about our customers and serious about our business, we need a strong fleet of deliberate drivers who are resilient on the road and never take a hazardous shipment lightly.
Shelly Long, a 15-year trucking veteran and 3-year Dillon Logistics professional, is a true exemplar of our driver pedigree. As the first female driver hired out of Michigan City, Shelly is a well-known and respected driver on our team.
In 1988, Shelly first stepped foot into the industry working for an RV manufacturer, setting up dealer shows and drive units for display. She also delivered brand new motor homes to dealerships country-wide.
From there, she gained driving experience behind the wheels of ambulances, shuttle buses and tour buses, delivering them all over United States.
Although Shelly found that she loved the road, she ran into multiple frustrations with compensation and work environment. According to Shelly, when she would deliver a vehicle, she would only get paid one way, having to either fly home or use a car she towed along with her.
“I wanted to get a job where I got paid for all the miles that I drove. So, in 2003, I went to truck driving school and got my class A CDL,” Shelly relays.
Shelly’s first gig as a trucker started at Family Express as a route driver. From there, she went on to drive dry van, refrigerated, liquid tank and even pneumatic tank, hauling frac sand.
Like most truck drivers, Shelly was on a continual hunt for a company that offered the best combination of good home time, good pay and a great working environment. Finding a group of people with which she enjoyed working and who empowered her to take every mile seriously was also important to her.
“The jobs I’ve enjoyed the most all involved great management, and Dillon Logistics is the best so far! We spend so much of our life working, and if you’re not happy you’re not successful. The Dillon Logistics management is like family to me. They enable me to be successful. I just want to say Thank You to my Dillon family for making succeeding possible. I’m very happy to be here.”
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), of which the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) is a member, will be conducting a roadside inspection blitz for commercial vehicles from June 4-6 across North America. It’s a 72-hour event involving motor vehicle inspection jurisdictions across the US, Canada and Mexico to promote road safety.
While a multi-day inspection blitz may sound intimidating, the inspections themselves will be the same ones you might receive 365 days a year. Most trucks will receive a North American Standard Level I Inspection (though inspectors might choose to do other inspections based on initial assessment) that usually takes about 45 minutes. You will also be required to show the inspectors the following:
If no critical issues are discovered during the inspection, you will receive a CVSA decal for your truck indicating that the vehicle successfully passed inspection conducted by a CVSA-certified inspector. If an inspector does identify a critical vehicle issue, they can render vehicle out of service. Likewise, a driver can be declared out of service if they show signs of fatigue or impairment or have problems with their paperwork or credentials. Depending on the severity of the infraction, failing inspection can even negatively affect your company’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score.
International Roadcheck has been held every year since 1988 and is the largest commercial motor vehicle compliance operation in the world. During this 72-hour period about 17 trucks and buses will be inspected every minute. As with any day you hit the road, be sure your vehicle, logs and credentials are in good order, and June 4-7 should be like any other days on the road.
If you’re a truck driver looking for a unique career opportunity, you might consider becoming an owner-operator. Owner-operators typically enjoy great flexibility, compensation, and job security. In fact, it’s how many of the top trucking companies today were born. One driver, one truck and a lot of hard work can transform into a fleet of trucks and a team of drivers. With the constant demand for drivers within the transportation industry, 2019 is flourishing with opportunities for driving professionals interested in working for themselves, and Dillon Logistics is happy to announce they are expanding to include O/O.
Check out some of the following benefits of being an owner-operator.
Does the idea of self-employment spark interest? Owner-operators get to lay the groundwork for their own business. Want your spouse as a co-pilot on long hauls? No problem. Have a furry friend you can’t bare to part with? Bring them along. As an owner-operator, you can do everything from establishing what kind of money you want to make by giving yourself more flexible hours to outfitting your tractor with decals and colors. Although there are more risks and responsibilities tied to being an owner-operator, ask any business owner and they’ll tell you there are numerous benefits of self-employment.
You keep the profits
We know you know that operating a tractor-trailer properly and efficiently requires expert skill and care, and an experienced, talented driver saves their company real money in diesel and maintenance costs. If you’re better than average driver, as an Owner Operator you’ll pocket more of the fuel surcharge and spend less to maintain your tractor.
The demand is there
The most recent Truckstop.com Market Demand Index from February 2019 indicates there are about 30 loads posted for every available truck posted. The American Transportation Research Institute’s 2018 Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry report lists the driver shortage and driver retention as the first and third most critical issues, respectively. Thus, being an owner-operator means that you’ll have the flexibility to easily go where the demand is highest to maximize your profits. At Dillon, we offer 100% of the fuel surcharge, a $3,000 sign on bonus and a wide variety of lanes so you can get home more often.
Own your own business
Manning your own small business is a lot of responsibility and hard work, but the rewards are endless. It’s not just for an elite club, either. There are over 30 million small businesses in the US alone that employ almost half of the workforce, and many of these businesses aren’t just surviving, they’re thriving. So, if you like the idea of building a business you can be proud of, something you could even pass on to your kids one day, give us a call at 863.225.4144 to learn how Dillon Logistics can be the first and best partnership of your new business.
If you’ve been on the road long enough, you are sure to have noticed the diamond-shaped labels on the back and sides of semi-trucks and trailers. These helpful signs are called hazmat placards and they are used to communicate what kind of hazardous materials trucks are hauling. The US Department of Transportation requires vehicles hauling over 1,000 pounds of hazmat to display them on all sides of their vehicle letting everyone know, including first responders, what’s inside so they know how to handle it safely.
The signs not only tell if something is flammable, explosive, radioactive, poisonous, biohazardous, or corrosive but also give details about what specific chemicals make up the material, and the dangers it poses. The color of the sign is the most noticeable detail from far away and communicates the basics about what kind of threat the cargo on board can pose. Here are some of the placard colors and the characteristics they convey:
As you get closer to the hazmat placards you can make out symbols (that are self-explanatory) and class numbers in the bottom corner of the diamond. Each class number indicates a specific characteristic of the material and can go further with subclasses (e.g. 1.1, 1.2, etc.) to explain how that material might react.
Knowing what type of material you are dealing with and how it might react is vital in hazmat transportation, however, hazmat placards have an additional detail that specifies even more about what’s inside called the United Nations ID (UN ID) number. This four-digit number, ranging from 0004-3534, is another way to communicate hazard and will often specify what exact chemical is being hauled. To give some examples UN 1202 means diesel fuel, UN 1072 means compressed oxygen, and UN 3066 indicates paint or paint related material. Unlike color, symbols and class numbers, you might need a reference to know what the number means but they can be very useful to understand how to handle it properly or to contain the substance if something were to go wrong.
Some hazmat doesn’t have a UN ID number and is assigned North American (NA) numbers by the US DOT. UN/NA numbers can be found in the middle of a hazmat placard.
Before booking a shipment
At Dillon Logistics, we believe all accidents and injuries are preventable. Our commitment is a ZERO accident rate. If you are booking a hazmat shipment with Dillon, it’s important to let us know what exactly is being hauled, any special requirements it may have in being moved, assembled or disassembled, and its hazard class (as detailed above). The safety of drivers, first responders, terminal staff, and even the general public depends on properly labeling hazmat.
In an industry where safety is key all year around, it’s even more pertinent to be extra cautious during frigid months. Extreme weather can make any road unpredictable and challenge any driver’s capabilities. Sometimes staying safe simply means brushing up on a few reminders. Freshen up on some of these tips we curated from various industry news outlets.
First. Check your truck. Tanks and trailers that are in tip-top shape offer better odds for safer performance. Before you depart to your destination, double-check the necessities, like tire pressure, engine oil, antifreeze levels, windshield wipers, washer fluid, mirror adjustments, etc., to verify everything is working and that your ride is ready for harsh weather.
Before leaving a terminal or customer, make sure to always dislodge snow from your windshield and windows, hood, roof, trunk and lights. This may be a given, but it’s crucial that your vision is never impaired while driving. Because we take safety seriously at Dillon Logistics, we’d rather you take a few extra minutes to clear your view than put yourself at risk of danger.
Once you are out on the road, the safest precaution you can take is to slow your speed and make some space. It’s the hustle and bustle that often instigates dangerous and even life-threatening accidents, especially during winter. Because traction on icy roads is poor, staying at a safe distance from other vehicles and maintaining safe speeds not only gives a buffer for breaking, but it also offers more time to react if something does go awry.
“Do you know that the stopping distance on a wet road is twice the normal stopping distance? And on icy roads, it’s almost 10 times,” an article from GPSTrackit online said.
Also, recognize that with frozen conditions comes thin layers of transparent ice known as black ice. Deceptively similar to water, black ice is transparent and easy to miss. According to an article by Ryder Fleet Products, the best way to pinpoint black ice is to look at your truck and surrounding terrain. If ice begins to build on the outside mirror arms, the antenna, or top corners of the wind-shield, it’s possible there is black ice on the road. If water spray from vehicles tires in front of you suddenly stops, it could mean there are ice patches on the road.
What happens if, after taking all these safeguards you still find yourself skidding? Firstly, be calm and try not to overreact, as that could make the slipping worse. Next...
1) keep the steering wheel straight
2) slowly take your foot off the gas pedal but do not hit the brake
3) shift into neutral
4) steer in the direction you want your vehicle to go
5) once your truck starts to straighten out, shift back into drive and slowly press the gas.
At Dillon Logistics, we aren’t just about serious drivers and serious hauling. We are serious about safety. As a result, we are personally committed to living a culture of safety and providing the best workspace and equipment to protect each other. If you have any questions about how to drive through cold conditions, please contact our safety department at 813-853-4864.
Serious drivers. serious hauling.
A personal hub dedicated to our entire Dillon Logistics team for staying up-to-date on all things trucking related. Get a monthly dose of inspiration on how to up your serious-hauling game and have first-hand access to resources and the latest happenings out on the road.