Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

November 7th, 2014

As winter approaches, it’s key to have your truck ready for the upcoming colder temperatures. Here is a quick checklist and some tips to make sure you’ll be prepared and safe when the snow starts to fly.

1) Check the batteries — One weak battery can drain them all. Old or weak batteries should be replaced.

2) Empty the air tanks — The air compressor produces residual water, as will sudden drops in temperature. Some of this may get past your air dryer. When cold air hits it, it can cause the air valves to freeze up, affecting brakes and air suspension. Remove all drain plugs, drain all air tanks in the air system completely and allow time for them to dry. It’s not a bad idea to add some airline antifreeze as well.

3) Fuel filters and additives — Condensation occurs in fuel tanks when the weather changes, allowing water to collect in the fuel filters. Replace old filters and keep a few in the truck with you while on the road. Adding a fuel additive will also help prevent jelling when the really cold weather hits.

4) Check tires frequently — The importance of tire wear cannot be overstated. Be sure all tires are inflated to the correct pressure and keep track of tread wear.

5) Keep an emergency kit handy —  Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  • Keep a supply of non-perishable food items.
  • Pack a well-stocked medical kit.
  • Always have extra cold weather gear like blankets, gloves, hats, boots and sweaters.
  • Road flares are essential for flagging down help.
  • An extra radio with extra batteries is a good idea.
  • Cell phone and charger.
  • Carry extra coolant, washer fluid and engine oil.

6) Inspect hoses and belts — Anything that is worn or cracked should be replaced.

7) Electrical wiring — Inspect wiring for frays or other damage. Keep extra fuses on hand. Check periodically for loose or hanging wires that may collect ice and snow.

A little time spent now may save you a lot of time (and hassle) later. Be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at you and prepare your truck and yourself for the road ahead.


August 18th, 2014

As Con-way Truckload’s Driver Advocate, I’m always looking for ways to keep drivers safer and healthier on the road. One of the best strategies for doing this is to simply listen. Our drivers are experienced professionals who understand the importance of working together to improve the job, so when they bring concerns, comments or ideas to me, I try to share the solutions and tips.

An issue that has been brought to my attention recently is tandem slide locking pins that won’t retract when the locking pin release arm is pulled. This is a safety issue that generally results from one of the pins binding on the slider rails. Drivers have reported injuries to their shoulders — especially damage to the rotator cuff —from trying to muscle the pins into position.


Some success has been reported from the practice of putting the truck in forward or reverse and sliding the trailer box slightly forward or backward in order to get the pins to retract. There is also the temptation to simply whack the pins with a hammer (strongly discouraged). The easiest and most effective solution is to use a lubricant on the pins and slider rails.

Lithium grease, also referred to as white lithium, is an inexpensive, easy-to-use and effective answer. It adheres well to metal, is non-corrosive, may be used under extremely heavy loads, has outstanding temperature tolerance and is resistant to moisture. It can be purchased in spray can form at any Wal-mart or automotive parts store for between $3.00 and $5.00. It stores easily, will not gum up or collect dirt and is very easy to apply. A quick shot to all four pins and a couple of pulls to work it in is all it takes.

Regular applications of white lithium will make the chore of adjusting trailer tandems easier, less work, less frustrating and reduce the risk of injury.

Stay tuned for more tips and if you have a comment or issue that you’d like me to look into, please give me a call.

-Tim Hicks

July 30th, 2014

Con-way Truckload takes pride in constantly being on the lookout to identify and remedy safety issues. As many of our professional drivers know, safety is our number one core value and to that end, we have introduced a new backing initiative to reduce these kinds of crashes at customers and consignees.

Backing crashes are the still the most common in the business.

A recent survey of our drivers and consignees conducted over a four-month period concluded that backing incidents occur four times more often at customer locations than at shipping facilities.

It only makes sense. Our drivers are picking up merchandise at distribution centers designed to accommodate the truck size and maneuverability. They then deliver to destinations such as retail stores that are not set up to receive 70 feet of truck and trailer. Often, in urban areas especially, drivers find themselves having to back in off the street, thereby blocking traffic lanes.

Con-way Truckload is dedicating itself to working collaboratively with its customers to minimize risk and make sure each facility is as safe as possible and have asked our customers to consider the following tips for improving safety at their drop-off sites. We are also looking to you, our drivers, to give us feedback on what sites are difficult to deliver to and how to help improve the situation by submitting emails to

Tips for customers:
• Review your facility regularly to identify impediments to safe backing such as disposal dumpsters, docks or walls and clearance related problems caused by low hanging tree limbs, low eaves, roofs or wires.
• Keep the area free of parked vehicles by making sure your employees park in designated areas.
• Whenever possible, and if backing in off the street is unavoidable, provide spotters for the delivery driver.
• Try to schedule delivery times so as to avoid peak traffic hours and shift changes.

Tips for drivers:
• Get out and look. We know our drivers are the safest in the industry, but don’t forget to get out of the truck to assess a delivery site for any potential issues.
• Ask for help. If you see an unsafe backing situation or potential problem, ask for assistance. Do you need another set of eyes to help you navigate or someone to hold traffic? Do you need people to move cars to accommodate the size of the truck? It’s perfectly acceptable to respectfully ask for assistance to ensure that shipments are made safely.
• Talk to us. If you had to deliver to a location that was unsafe, let us know so that we can help remedy the situation. Remember to include the
o Load number
o Whether the unsafe location is the shipper or consignee
o Brief description
o Pictures if possible, Google Earth is also a good resource