Big Trucks

October 25, 2014

Are you a professional truck driver?

There are truck drivers with 20-years experience that have been driving for one; and there are drivers with one-year experience that have been driving for 20.  Professionals upgrade their skills, learn from their mistakes, keep current on industry technology, and always strive to be better.


Before Backing…

driving big trucks tips


----(Thanks to Jan Hoosner for this image.)

Get out and do a walk around. Look for both obstacles and object that will work as markers to make your backing uneventful.  And remember to look up for overhead objects – these roll-up doors, for example, may not be all the way up!


Unhooking from Semi-trailer

  1. Wind down the dollies
  2. Disconnect the lines
  3. Release the 5th wheel jaws

If you do it in this order every time, you will neither drop the trailer on the ground nor rip off the lines!


Semi-trailer hookup Rigid Rules

When unhooking from a trailer, after setting the parking brake, winding down the landing gear is your first step.

Conversely, when hooking to a trailer, always, always go under the trailer and shine your flashlight into the 5th wheel. Ensure that the 5th wheel jaws are closes “behind” the king pin.

Only by visually checking the trailer connection in combination with a tug test can you be sure!



The truck & trailer sustained considerable damage.




A truck crash in Lloydminster, SK. The driver struck the bridge either because of ignorance or failed to lower the digger boom.



Three tow trucks were needed to remove the vehicle from the embankment.



The truck high-centred on the railway embankment. High-Centring is when the angle of the trailer is so great that it is crushed on the back of the tractor.


Boogies off Rigid Rules

As part of daily walk around, always ensure that the trailer axle pins are engaged and that the handle is in the locked position.



Inertia caused this crash. The driver went into the curve too fast and the trailer pulled the whole unit into the ditch. 


Stay off the Grass Rigid Rules


an empty bobtail tractor weighs approximately 20,000lbs, and double that with a trailer and load.  Even on the best of ground, these units will sink and become stuck. Most tandem axles wreckers will charge $300 to pull you out!



Always attach the tow cable to the frame – if possible – don’t jerk the vehicle


tirepuncture2       tirepuncture1

Pry bar punctures the sidewall of the tire – check between the duals!

Important: Check between the duals during a pre-trip to discover potential punctures in the sidewalls.



The driver got lost on the prairies, drove across the field, and with considerable speed attempted to drive over the embankment.





Truck Crash – 25 October 2010, Sidney, BC on Hwy #17 (Patricia Bay Hwy)

Driver fell asleep at the wheel two miles down the road after getting off the ferry.


The construction material loaded on the Super “Bs” was scattered up and down the side of the road.


Damage to the truck did not look extensive while in the ditch, but when hauled out, the truck proved a “write-off”!


Time spent on a ferry is NOT “on duty” time – Driving Commercial Vehicles p 132



Know the height of your vehicle – watch for low roofs and overhangs.



When operating a commercial vehicle between Canada and the United States’ “Lower 48”, your logbook must conform to US rules, which allow less work hours than in Canada:

  1.  60 hours in 7 days
  2. 70 hours in 8 days
----(Driving Commercial Vehicles p 138)

More information on operating a commercial vehicle in the United States can be found at U.S. Department of Transportation

Logbook 160km


A  driver operating a commercial vehicle farther than a 160km from their home terminal must keep a logbook. On “Cycle 1”, the previous 7 days’ hours must be logged and in the vehicle – 14 days for “cycle 2”.

----(Driving Commercial Vehicles, p 137 & 138)

The previous 7 days on “Cycle 1”, for example, can be logged on one sheet. “Worked 50 hours doing P & D (Pick-up & Delivery) in and around Victoria” and show the date range in the date slot. If required by CVSE, a driver will be required to prove the previous 7 days work hours via time or pay sheets submitted to the employer.


Logbook_Ferry Time

In BC, ” ‘ON-DUTY time’ doesn’t include time spent on a ferry, unless you’re working – a bus driver selling tickets, for example.”

----(Driving Commercial Vehicles, p 137 & 138)

Many logbooks are now electronic, which makes staying within compliance much simpler for commercial drivers.



Blind Side


A fundamental component of truck driving: always drive or back so that traffic, fixed objects, and building are on the sight side of the unit. Unless it is an absolute necessity, never back in blind side.


ABS v. Standard Brakes


A canine metaphor for standard v. ABS braking.


Dunkin Donuts


Hand over the crispy cream and there won’t be any need for undue fussn’!


Guinness Driver


The most coveted job in the driving industry – bar none! Remember – don’t drink & drive.


(Photo by Leif K-BrooksCC BY)