Don’t be a sitting duck
In a March 2016 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study of fatal crashes involving large trucks, approximately 14 percent of fatal crashes occurred on the roadside, shoulder or median. Parking on the shoulder for a non-emergency is illegal in most states and local jurisdictions.
Many companies understand the risks associated with parking on the shoulder and have instituted a sitting duck policy. This policy prohibits drivers from pulling over and parking on the shoulder and on/off ramps for non-emergencies.
When a driver does have a true emergency, he or she should pull off the roadway as quickly as possible. Pulling over to the shoulder because a driver is tired, lost, taking a phone call or getting a quick snack is not considered to be an emergency. Remember, it is very important to place hazard warning devices as quickly as possible. Per §392.22 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, drivers are required to place these devices within 10 minutes of stopping.
Below are some tips on how to avoid needing to find a safe place to park at the last minute:
Call ahead: Call your customer(s). Know when and where to pick up/deliver your load. Ask if they have parking onsite or if they know of any safe parking nearby.
Routing: Identify your route, directions and breaks ahead of time.
Weather: Review the weather before you get caught up in a blizzard or tornado.
Rest: Get plenty of quality rest before your shift. It’s important to feel alert before you start driving. Don’t go straight from the sleeper to the steering wheel. Plan rest breaks before you start. If you wait until you feel fatigued, it’s too late.
Pre-trip your vehicle: Many vehicle breakdowns can be avoided by conducting a thorough pre-trip inspection. Be sure to correct any defects right away.
Delays: Schedule time for unforeseen delays. You never know what is going to happen on the road. If you aren’t prepared for delays, you could find yourself in a tough situation.
Posted on: January 13, 2017
Road sign safety
Being able to read, understand and react to road signs is an integral part of driving on today’s busy roads. Road signs warn you of hazards, guide you to your destination by identifying routes, inform you of local regulations and practices as well as regulate the speed and movement of traffic. It’s important to pay attention to all posted signs that you come across in your travels. Road signs indicate a variety of different hazards such as pedestrians, animals, ice, fog, speed limits and many more.
The first step to ensure you stand the best chance of seeing all road signs is to be sure that your own visibility is clear and crisp. Make sure that you wear any prescribed glasses or eyewear and that you are well rested and alert before driving. Another key point that many people often overlook is to clean the windshield and any windows before starting your day as well as check headlights for functionality. Visibility of signs and even pavement markings provide critical information to you. Reflective signs and pavement markings are designed to bounce light from your vehicle’s headlights back toward your eyes, making signs and pavement markings visible. Visibility is critical for drivers to see and be seen in low-light conditions such as night driving, fog and snow.
Regardless of the type of road, location or time, there are always road signs present that indicate hazards or general rules of the road such as speed limits, no-passing zones, no trucks in the left lane(s), etc.
Road signs, at times, can be difficult to see depending on traffic, weather and light conditions. You should always leave yourself enough space so that you have time to see a road sign or hazard and have sufficient time to react accordingly. This is true regardless of road or weather conditions.
With the innumerable amount of distractions drivers face today, it can be daunting to stay focused on the most important task: driving. Every professional driver must make it their number-one priority to stay focused on driving and protect the motoring public.
Posted on: January 03, 2017
Winter driving strategies
As the seasons change many truckers will soon be dealing with weather conditions that pose challenges to safe driving. Whether it is snow, ice, fog, rain or any other condition that makes driving difficult, it is essential to be prepared for such events and to take the appropriate actions when necessary.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, poor driving conditions due to weather contribute to around 1,250,000 crashes, 450,000 injuries and 6,000 fatalities annually in the U.S. A primary reason for this is the reduced visibility that bad weather causes.
While it’s often not practical to delay travels due to poor weather, it is important for truckers to follow basic safety steps if they must drive in such conditions. These can be summarized as follows:
Prepare your vehicle. During the pre-trip inspection extra emphasis should be given to items such as wiper blades, marker lights and mirrors.
Prepare yourself. Besides making sure you are properly rested, it is important to have the right mindset to deal with the delays and other problems that bad weather causes.
Prepare for emergencies. Be ready for events such as being stranded on the road, stuck at a truck stop or involved in a crash. You should avoid running low on fuel in case you need to idle your truck while stranded. You also should keep emergency supplies on hand such as extra food, water and clothing.
Prepare to deal with other drivers. Many on the roads, including both truckers and car drivers, do not adjust their driving habits due to weather. While you cannot change their behavior you can control how you react to them. Give them plenty of room and avoid letting other drivers affect your attitude.
Reduce your speed. Remember, the posted speed limit is intended for clear and dry conditions.
Posted on: November 21, 2016
Interview with William R. Berkley and W. Robert Berkley
Recently, William R. Berkley and W. Robert Berkley were featured in Best's Review magazine in an article entitled Growth Strategy.
The article states, "By focusing on specialty insurance, where expertise is a must, insurer W. R. Berkley has seen its market share grow dramatically.
As William R. Berkley hands the reins over to his son Robert, both expect a seamless transition." Click here to read the article.
Posted on: September 28, 2016
Report a claim 24/7 on our website
Claims reporting has never been easier. Did you know that you can now report a claim via our website using your smartphone? We recently added a new
Report a Claim feature with the launch of our redesigned website. This mobile-friendly form has just a few simple fields to complete such as your name and contact information and basic accident information. After you submit the brief online form, a Carolina team member will contact you as soon as possible to discuss next steps.
When an accident happens, regardless of who is at fault, please report your claim immediately and directly to Carolina Casualty using one of our contact methods. Note: Please call 1-800-874-8053 immediately to report any claims involving death, serious bodily injury, environmental/hazardous materials spills or perishable cargo.
Posted on: August 10, 2016
Did you know that compared to the general population, long-haul truck drivers have some startling health numbers? The 2015 Long-Haul Truck Driver Health Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared the following findings:
• Obesity is more than twice as high (69 percent vs. 31 percent).
• Twice as many drivers smoke (51 percent vs. 19 percent).
• Higher risk factors (hypertension, smoking and obesity) for chronic disease (88 percent vs. 54 percent).
Although fitness and obesity issues are widespread in America, as a group, professional drivers have significant job-related characteristics that pose challenges. Some of these challenges include: sedentary work, sleep cycles, exercise options and healthy food availability.
What are some tips for preventing obesity? According to the CDC:
• Eat healthy and smaller meals.
• Drink more water instead of sugar-filled drinks.
• Be physically active.
• Track your weight and body mass.
Posted on: July 19, 2016
Do you think defensively when driving? Some safety professionals call it defensive driving; some call it decision driving. Patience, courtesy and cooperation on the highway are needed now more than ever. They’re essential elements of defensive driving.
Make the conscious choice to stop competing with other drivers and change your driving style in a way that increases your chances of survival. Make a personal commitment to yourself and think about it as you are driving.
Defensive driving requires you to know the laws and obey them. Develop a skill of watching constantly for abnormal or unusual conditions which may pose a hazard to you and your vehicle. These conditions may be inside or outside your vehicle. They may be the roadway, the weather, time of day or other traffic. They also may have to do with the mechanical condition of your vehicle. They may even be your physical or mental state.
Defensive driving has three primary elements: recognizing the hazard, understanding the defense and acting in time. Two of the best ways to avoid accidents are to maintain a safe speed and keep a safe following distance. Stay on guard, always be ready for something unusual to happen and never stop paying attention. The unexpected can happen.
Defensive drivers are the best drivers; they are alert and ready to react in time no matter what happens. Make the choice to be a defensive driver!
Posted on: July 18, 2016
Independence Day holiday cargo theft reminder
Please take extra caution during the upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend to protect yourself against cargo theft.
According to a recent article on TruckingInfo.com, FreightWatch International states that organized cargo-theft rings are more active on holiday weekends resulting in up to 40 percent more theft than on a non-holiday weekend.
Tips to reduce cargo theft
1. Do not park your loaded trailer over the weekend if possible. Try to schedule your deliveries for Thursday and Friday before the holiday so that your trailer is empty over the weekend.
2. If you have to park your loaded trailer over the weekend, make sure your load is secure and properly locked with a king pin lock for extra security.
3. Be careful of where you park. Park in a highly secure and well-lit area.
4. If you have a high-value load, make sure you use GPS to be able to track it and help recover items if stolen. Also, don't talk about the load or what is in your trailer with anyone.
Source of statistic: http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/fleet-management/news/story/2016/05/cargo-theft-is-40-higher-in-holiday-weekends.aspx
Posted on: June 29, 2016
City driving: Three helpful tips
While most truck drivers would prefer to avoid it, it’s nearly impossible to steer clear of driving in urban areas. With the congestion, pedestrians, traffic lights and tighter spaces, it is important to have the right mental approach when faced with city driving. Through good planning and the right attitude truck drivers can minimize the chances of delays or accidents.
1. Proper planning has become essential to all parts of trucking. This is especially true when the trip includes driving in cities; a proper pre-trip inspection is critical. Any breakdown is inconvenient, but having one on a busy city street can cause added problems if the disabled unit blocks traffic or if the service vehicle has difficulties getting to the site.
2. Another key to preparing to drive in urban areas is to check news and online sources for the latest traffic information. These can alert you to construction zones, accidents or anything else that could affect traffic. Even if you drive through a city on a regular basis you can’t assume it will always be the same.
3. When approaching an urban area it’s a good idea to get into the right frame of mind. Turn off the radio or any other distractions so that full attention can be given to driving. In cities, hazards come from all directions, not just on streets but also overhead from low overpasses, and below from things such as potholes and railroad crossings.
Posted on: June 15, 2016
June is National Safety Month
The National Safety Council (NSC) observes National Safety Month each year in June. According to the NSC, this important month “focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the roads and in our homes and communities.” The NSC is highlighting different safety topics each week; week four (June 27-30) is dedicated to sharing the roads safely. For more information and resources, click here.
Posted on: June 13, 2016
Six NACO Express drivers honored by Carolina Casualty for one million miles of safe driving
Carolina Casualty was pleased to present million-mile driver awards to six NACO Express drivers April 5 as part of our Million-Mile Driver Program. NACO drivers David Cobbe, Ronald Ferino, Thomas Flagella, Bruce Penhollow, Larry Swan and Joseph Tickle received accolades for achieving one million miles of accident-free driving. Fleet Safety Specialist Amy Stewart from Carolina visited NACO to congratulate the drivers and present the awards to them in person. The drivers also were recognized in The Post-Journal publication from Jamestown, New York in the article, “A Million Safe Miles Earns An Award.”
Carolina Casualty-insured customers with tenured drivers who have at least one million documented miles, clean driving records and zero preventable collisions may be eligible for an award recognizing them for outstanding safety performance.
Pictured (left to right): Dean Weaver, David Cobbe, Ronald Ferino, Bruce Penhollow, Larry Swan, Rick Overbeck and Amy Stewart
Not pictured: Thomas Flagella and Joseph Tickle
Posted on: April 25, 2016
Thank you for joining us at MATS
Carolina Casualty recently attended the Mid-America Trucking Show March 31-April 2 in Louisville, Kentucky. We greatly enjoyed visiting with our insured customers, agency partners and prospects. Thank you for stopping by our booth!
Pictured (left to right): Ed Koziara, Tony Sarchet, Jeff Barnhill, Les Nugen, Allan Stevens, Demetrius Johnson and Pat Lennon
Posted on: April 7, 2016
See you in Louisville!
Carolina Casualty will be at the Mid-America Trucking Show March 31-April 2 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Visit us at booth 65089 in the West Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center. We look forward to seeing you there!
For more information about the show, visit http://www.truckingshow.com/.
Posted on: March 17, 2016