Archive for the ‘Driver Stories’ Category

March 30th, 2015

Andrea and Jai Steward, a married couple and a Con-way Truckload company team have decided to let us in on a little secret: how they stay fit and flexible by working out for less than 20 minutes each day on the road.

Something that many professional truck drivers struggle with is finding the time/space/energy to exercise while working. We offer many tips, recommendations and workout styles to those of you who read Steering Your Health, but one piece of travel-friendly equipment we hadn’t yet heard of is called the Bellicon. The Bellicon looks and acts like a mini trampoline. It is referred to as a “rebounder.”  It is easy to store in your cab and the Steward’s are already seeing results, as they explain in the video below. Check it out:

 

 

The Bellicon, unlike other workout regimes, allows you to work most of the muscles in your body. It strengthens your legs and feet, tightens the muscles and skin in your face and grows your muscles. The Steward’s share that they have “bounced” in rest areas, truck stops, scenic overlooks, parking lots and “anywhere else we can find 39 inches to put up the Bellicon!”

Andrea and Jai share more stories from their life on the road on their website, www.LovinTruckin.com. They feature stories from the road, workout routines, recipes and some great recommendations. We highly recommend that anyone – a driver or not – follow their travels.

What do you think of the Bellicon? Is it something you would consider investing in? Share your own over-the-road fitness secret on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ConwayTruckload.

 

 

 

January 5th, 2015

By: Tim Hicks, Con-way Truckload Driver Advocate

What is ABS?

Abs? The muscles that hurt after doing too many sit-ups?

All Bread Sandwich?

Acrylonitrile butadiend styrene?

No. If we are talking tractor trailers, ABS stands for Anti-lock Braking System.

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is a safety system that allows the wheels on a trailer to maintain tractive contact with the road surface while braking, preventing the wheels from locking up. By preventing the wheels from ceasing rotation, ABS helps drivers avoid uncontrolled skidding.

ABS photo SYH 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This sounds like a pretty good idea. Under no circumstances would I want to see my trailer passing by me. This can prove to be a great concern for drivers, especially when your tires lock up on wet or slick roads. ABS generally offers improved control and decreases stopping distances, with improved vehicle control.

Is it automatic braking?

No. Professional drivers maintain control of the trailer and have to be aware of road conditions. Roads covered in rain, ice and snow are always going to require more distance to come to a complete stop.

ABS isn’t new; it’s been around for years.

ABS is widely used on production cars, motorcycles, commercial and military aviation, as well as tractor trailers and race cars. Engineers developed the first anti-lock braking system for automobiles in the mid-1970s. Thinking back to when ABS first came out, I remember how dangerous my fellow drivers and I thought it would be. We did not understand how sacrificing control over a trailer’s brakes could increase safety. Over the years, however, the system has proved reliable and prevented numerous costly accidents.

Respecting the ABS light

Whether driving an SUV or a tractor trailer, most motorists do not respect their vehicles warning lights. In the past two years, we have had 64 violations involving the ABS lamps alone. These infractions result in Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) points charged to Con-way Truckload. More points equates to more Scale and Roadside inspections, which cost time and money. 

Traditionally, many drivers looked to avoid such infractions by tampering with the ABS light. I have seen drivers unplug or even cut the light’s wires to prevent it from coming on. The dangers involved with doing so cannot be overstated. In doing this, you not only put yourself at risk, but also the drivers who use that trailer after you. Take the time to get the light fixed. Fixing a broken or unplugged ABS light will minimize the problem and promote a safer driving environment for the motoring public. We are the only ones that can truly solve this issue that continues to plague our industry.

Recently, I asked a couple of members from our Fleet Services team if they could help answer a few common questions. Their responses provide key insight into ABS system operation and maintenance.

What causes an ABS light to illuminate?

Tony Coulson, Road Service Manager at Con-way Truckload:

  • Sensor out of adjustment
  • Broken wire
  • Loose wheel bearing
  • Sensor failure
  • ABS module (brain) failure

Tony says that an average ABS repair is 1-2 hours with an experienced technician.

How do you properly check if the ABS light and system are working?

Greg Wilkins, Senior Inspector at Con-way Truckload:

  1. Set key in OFF position, then turn key to ON position (don’t start).
  2. Step on brake pedal and hold. ABS light will come on and go out within five seconds if ABS system is     working.
  3. Fault indicated if light doesn’t come on, at which point we check that the wire to the light has not been cut. Next we replace the ABS light and try again.
  4. If light does not come on, or comes on and stays on, then it goes to shop for repair.
  5. ABS systems on trailers have always been touchy and most noticeable when it is raining. Then when they dry out they tend to work again unless a code has been set in the computer.
  6. Generally if a wheel sensor throws a code, the ABS stays inoperative until the fault is cleared in the computer. Computers go bad in one out of 20 trailers.
  7. When the light is illuminated, the ABS system is inoperative but the brakes work normally without the ABS feature.

Don’t take a chance. Make a point of respecting the ABS light and maintaining the system when necessary. It is designed to help you stop faster and with more control. An inch can be the difference between a collision and a close call.

 

December 29th, 2014

By Tim Hicks, Con-way Truckload Driver Advocate

Winter is no longer fast approaching – it’s here! With the new season and its less-than-ideal weather conditions comes a new saying I hear all too often: “It’s not me I am worried about on the road, it’s the other guy.” Overconfidence is a well-established bias in which a person’s subjective confidence in his or her judgments is reliably greater than the objective itself.

At one point or another, we all have the tendencey to be overly-confident – while taking an exam, playing a competitive sport, etc. But, consider the following facts:

  • According to The Journal of General Psychology, a group of individuals who took an exam reported being 99% confident in their answers. The study showed them to be wrong 40% of the time.
  • In a study where subjects made true-or-false responses to general knowledge statements, they were overconfident at all levels. When they were 100% certain of their answer to a question, they were wrong 20% of the time.

This winter, don’t fall into the trap of becoming an overconfident driver – you may run the risk of missing the mark 20-40% of the time.

I have personally experienced my own overconfidence, and how it can backfire. Here’s an anecdote:

Many years ago, I was driving my truck in the freezing rain. I had just received the green light at the St. Clair scales in Missouri and I was easing along.

I looked in my mirror where I saw a car a little ways behind me, and another set of headlights coming up the hammer lane at a fair clip. The car in the left lane was a Jeep, just passing me, but suddenly, we were face-to-face. She had spun out right in front of me on a curve. I tried to slow down, but we ended up colliding. Luckily, everybody was okay and the damage minimal.

I know that I left my house that morning not expecting that I would be involved in an accident, and I am sure the driver of the Jeep felt the same way.

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Lesson learned: I will never think “It’s not me I am worried about on the road, it’s the other guy” again. Let’s all replace our overconfidence with cautiousness and keep ourselves and everyone else on the road safe this winter.