Croc's Thoughts

One of the most basic lessons in the Trucking Industry is where to place our Triangles if we break down and are on the side of the road for more than 10 minutes. It's one of the first things we learned in Trucking School.

Triangle placement on sidelined trucks is one of the things that amuses me when I drive. Often I see the correct placement of warning devices but more often, I think, I see triangles incorrectly placed which, since this is a basic rule, leads me to think that this driver is not very good at his job if they cannot get the most simple job done correctly.

§ 392.22: Emergency signals; stopped commercial motor vehicles. Here are the rules for those who want to take the time to brush up on the basic idea and the rules have to be followed if we are stopped for more than ten minutes.

Quite often I see trucks with all of their lights out except for the flashers, their curtains are pulled around the windows and the hood is up. Obviously they have been there for some time but there are no warning devices behind their vehicle. Someone might run into the back of them if they are not paying attention and if the basic rules haven't been followed and the driver didn't display the warning as they should have, guess who is at fault. It will not take much of a lawyer to demonstrate that the sidelined truck should pay an inordinate sum of money to the poor driver who ran into the back of them.

I have thought about this for some time but never put "pen to paper" until now because a little while ago I passed a Truck which had broken down. This driver was displaying warnings as described in the rule book with one exception, lets see if you can spot the error. The rig Kenworth with a 53 foot trailer marked with flammable placards, his warnings were at about the right distance behind the trailer on the side of the Interstate. The driver was using fusees, four of them were stretched out at a slight angle away from the granny lane as they got further from the the trailer.

Did you get it? Yup, fusees are burning road markers and there is no way the driver should have used them when his load was flammable!! Duh!!

Another example of bad placement of warning devices was one I saw some time ago, three triangle were used and all of them were hanging from the back doors of the trailer.

On a two lane road we place two triangles behind us and one in front. I have seen this on an Interstate which is again another demonstration that the driver wasn't paying attention in class. How about the driver who somehow thought it was okay to place all three of the required triangles equally spaced along the side of the vehicle?

This is basic Trucking, not Rocket Science, but somehow drivers are not getting it right and if they are not getting the most simple things right how can we expect them to correctly execute some of the more complicated tasks.

I have to say that over the years the trucks I have seen displaying this error for the rest of the Professional Driver population have been foreign trucks, that is non Con-way vehicles. However the example above, two behind and one in front was one of ours.

How about the Bobtail in this picture? Does he have it right? At least the driver has deployed the warning triangles but no, they are not properly positioned. In this case there should be two behind and one in front. Additionally where did he get the idea for the angle of the triangle placement? The distance between the truck and the first triangle and the relative distances between the other triangles is important too. A little bit off is okay but remember there is no right way to do the wrong thing.

Take a few minutes to read over the above link to the FMCSA's website, do a little revision and perhaps pass on a reminder to some folks who could use it.

Just a thought.

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Anyone who spends time on the road behind the wheel has time to think. Thinking can be dangerous. Well it is for me and it gets me into trouble more than I would wish.

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