Anti-lock brakes and cargo securement: Putting safety first for pre-trip inspections

For every driver, conducting a thorough pre-trip inspection is a rule of thumb for maintaining safety and performance on the road – and is also required by law. Many areas on a commercial vehicle need to be inspected before every trip – like tires, suspension, lights, fluid levels and much more. Check out this guide for a refresher on everything you should check for during a pre-inspection. You don’t want to be the driver that starts the trip off on the wrong foot – or in this case, the wrong tire!

2023 Ascent Safety Focus: Anti-lock braking systems and cargo securement

This year, as part of our safety initiatives at Ascent, we’re highlighting best practices for ensuring drivers properly inspect anti-lock braking systems and cargo securement. It’s essential to ensure that the vehicle’s brake performance is up-to-standard and that transported freight is without any risks of getting damaged or putting the driver in harm’s way. Here are some tips for what to keep your eyes on:

#1 Ensure that brakes are working properly

It’s imperative to keep your brakes in top-notch condition to have a safe and successful trip. Be sure to closely monitor air pressure levels, inspect the wheel and brake chambers, check brake linings and hoses, replace brake shoes, apply grease to slack adjusters and much more.

Check out these in-depth tips for inspecting your brake system to double-check that you get everything covered during inspection.

#2 Inspect and resolve ABS lights

ABS lights are a standard safety system that prevents your wheels from locking up when using the brakes. It’s an essential tool for drivers to control steering in the unfortunate (and inevitable!) case that your wheels lock up. You can find the ABS light on the dashboard; it will stay lit if there’s a potential issue with the anti-lock braking system. If this light stays on, you must inspect your ABS immediately, as things can worsen quickly. Check out these four reasons your ABS light may come on.

You don’t want to take brake issues lightly, especially when driving a 2+ ton vehicle on the highway. If the ABS issue is something you can’t resolve yourself, prioritize getting a technician to examine the vehicle. Otherwise, you may risk skidding and losing control of your vehicle on the road.

#3 Keep your cargo secured

Strap it down! A truck with cargo that is not sufficiently secured can lead to poor steering, an imbalanced range of motion or damaged goods. A good rule of thumb is to keep the heaviest items near the truck’s cab to prevent putting too much weight at the back of the truck, which can lead to losing traction and fishtailing and potentially putting yourself and others in a dangerous situation.

Use quality rachet straps and anchor points to tie down cargo and prevent it from getting loose and sliding. You can purchase different grades of rachet straps, so pay close attention to the weight that your rachet straps can manage and use accordingly. Also, stay on the lookout for loose grommets and tighten them the second they appear to be coming loose. Wind pockets are another hazard due to not strapping down correctly and can lead to a significant headache. So, apply tight tarps and use cargo protectors to keep them in place. Additionally, extend your equipment’s life by ensuring anything external does not flap in the wind. To familiarize yourself with the FMCSA regulations for cargo securement, click here.

#4 Re-check at every fuel stop and rest break

It’s best practice to check your load securement within 50 miles of hitting the road. Once that check is complete and everything is working correctly, use the time allotted for rest breaks and fuel stops to take another peek at the cargo and ensure everything still looks in good shape.Regularly check in at your freight between shifts to ensure that all cargo is locked and loaded. Shifting can happen often and lead to more significant issues if not addressed immediately. For the shipment’s safety, you and others, keep a consistent eye on your cargo throughout the trip. Remember, there’s no such thing as checking a load too often! It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Remember: A well-inspected truck leads to a passed roadcheck

Maintaining a consistent and diligent inspection process before – and after – every trip is the perfect recipe for passing regulatory, mandated road checks. The best way to fly through upcoming inspections is to keep your truck up-to-code, so you won’t have to worry about the adverse effects of getting a violation.

Mark your calendars for upcoming safety checks and inspections happening in 2023.

  • May 16-18: International Roadcheck
  • July 9-15: Operation Safe Driver Week
  • August 20-26: Brake Safety Week

It’s crucial to maintain your safety on the road and pass the regulations and requirements that all truck drivers need to follow – not only because it’s the law but for the protection of the driver and other vehicles. Learn more about the upcoming roadcheck events here.

Safety is our Specialty at Ascent

At Ascent, we always ensure our drivers are set up for success, especially regarding safety. Ascent Expedite is proud to be in the top 2% of Safest Carriers in the United States. Our contracted drivers enjoy a 98% pass rate for all open scales, making Ascent one of the safest companies to drive for on the road.

We encourage our drivers to follow all legal regulations and stay current on the latest requirements and safety protocols when transporting commercial freight. Safety will always be our top priority through our culture and teamwork.

Do you want to drive for a logistics company that helps you feel protected? Apply to partner with us today:

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