Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

March 17th, 2015

What a winter this has been for most of the country. Record snow falls and arctic temperatures that seemed to last forever have us all dreaming about replacing our snow suits with shorts and t-shirts and escaping outside to enjoy our favorite spring activities.

A sure sign of spring is the appearance of large numbers of motorcyclists on the road. There are over eight million registered motorcycles in the U.S. and when the snow melts, these riders ride! Between the months of April and October, the spike in cyclists on our nation’s highways and secondary roads is staggering. Concurrently, the number of motorcycle-related accidents rises proportionately. Federal studies reveal that the number of fatalities on motorcycles was over 30 times the number reported in cars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute report that in 2013, the most recent year from which statistics are available, 4,381 motorcyclists lost their lives in crashes.

Roughly three-fourths of all motorcycle accidents involve collisions with another vehicle and the most common reason given by motorists is their failure to see and recognize motorcycles in traffic. It has also been statistically recorded that in two-thirds of these accidents, the vehicle driver violated the motorcyclist’s right-of-way. The most frequent locations of these collisions are intersections.

Because of a motorcycle’s narrow profile, it can easily be hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot, or masked by objects or backgrounds outside the vehicle, such as bushes, fences, trees or bridges. Additionally, a motorcycle’s small size may make it look farther away than it really is and it’s often difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed.




Motorists and motorcyclists share the responsibility for safety on the road. Whether you’re driving a truck, car, motorcycle or even a bicycle, remember to keep an eye out for one another. As a truck driver, you know the importance of the basics; keep your eyes high and keep your eyes moving. Maintain your focus and pay attention to proper spacing. At intersections, make eye contact with other drivers before proceeding and always use turn signals. If you roll off the throttle, tap your brakes or ride them enough to engage the brake lights.

Remember: “Look twice and save a life.” When driving, look, signal, and then look again before making a lane change. Check your mirrors and give the other guy time to clear your blind spot if they’re in it. Change lanes gradually. And always keep in mind, that an object as small as a pencil in your line of vision can prevent you from seeing a motorcycle.

Finally, if you yourself enjoy the pleasure of taking to the open road on a motorcycle and you live in a state that doesn’t require you to wear a helmet, consider wearing one anyway. Data indicates that in almost 69 percent of all cases, a helmet prevented or reduced head injury sustained by the rider.


Let’s all take a little extra care so that everyone is able to get out and enjoy all the activities that spring has to offer!  


What is your favorite spring hobby? Do you ride a motorcycle? Share your stories with us at





January 7th, 2015

shutterstock_228944185Happy 2015! The New Year is officially upon us, which means it’s the season for resolutions. New Years resolutions can range from losing weight and eating healthy to running a marathon or improved listening skills — the possibilities are endless. Check out some of our drivers’ and employees’ resolutions for bettering themselves in 2015.

  • Jeff Beckman: To continue to operate safely, compliantly, efficiently and on time.
  • Mary Berg:  Stop eating out and try to force myself to cook.
  • Katlin Owens: My resolution is to improve my posture — while I am driving and otherwise!
  • Kevin Dietrich: To stay off the ice.
  • Tim Hicks: I am going to listen, ask “Why?” and not be defensive in conversations.
  • Robert Miller: To eat healthy for longer than my resolution last year. I have to make it to noon today to beat my previous record…
  • Jeff Thurlow: Better miles and to be more active on down time.
  • Bill Joslin: Bicycling, it is better exercise than walking because I have a tendency to slow my pace walking.

It’s great to know we have employees who are aware of their safety and health. Want to share your New Year’s resolution? Join our conversation on Facebook:


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.