Know what to do
Even though you are a safe driver and operate well-maintained equipment, at some point in your career you may have to deal with a breakdown or accident. Knowing what to do when he unexpected happens can help you legally and safely deal with the situation.
Section 393.95 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) requires that a commercial motor vehicle be equipped with at least:
- Three bidirectional emergency reflective triangles,
- Six flares capable of burning for 30 minutes, or
- Three liquid burning flares that contain enough fuel to burn continuously for at least 60 minutes.
Flame producing devises are prohibited on:
- Any vehicle carrying Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 (explosives) hazardous materials,
- Any cargo tank motor vehicle used for the transportation of Division of 2.1 (flammable gas) or Class 3 (flammable liquid) hazardous materials whether loaded or empty, or
- Any commercial motor vehicle using compressed gas as a motor fuel.
When a breakdown or accident occurs you should:
- Stop and secure the area.
- Activate your vehicle’s four-way flashers.
- Set out warning devices (regulations require this within 10 minutes of stopping).
- In the event of a breakdown, notify your company and provide a description of what happened.
In the event of an accident:
- Notify law enforcement,
- Check for injuries,
- Notify your company, and
- Document the accident.
Warning device placement
As previously mentioned, if your vehicle is stopped on the traveled portion or shoulder of the highway, you must immediately activate your vehicle’s four-way flashers and within 10 minutes, set out warning devices.
When placing the devices, hold them in front of you to increase your visibility to traffic. Wear a high-visibility vest if possible. Also be alert for other drivers who may not see you on the road.
The placement of devices varies depending on where the vehicle is stopped.
On a two-lane road:
- The first device should be placed on the traffic side of the vehicle 10 feet (4 paces) from the front or rear, depending on traffic direction,
- The second device should be placed 100 feet (40 paces) behind the vehicle, and
- A third device should be placed 100 feet (40 paces) ahead of the vehicle on the shoulder or in the lane where the vehicle is stopped.
One-way or divided highway:
- The devices should be placed 10, 100 and 200 feet from the rear of the vehicle, toward approaching traffic.
Within 500 feet of a hill, curve or obstruction:
- A device should be placed 100 to 500 feet from the vehicle in the direction of the obstruction.
- The other two should be placed according to the rules for two-lane or divided highways.
Do you have an accident report kit?
In addition to carrying the required warning devices, you should also have an accident report kit in your vehicle. In the event of an accident, all of the items are available in one place.The accident report kit should include:
- A high-visibility vest,
- A written report form to help document the accident,
- A diagram template for completing a simple drawing of the accident scene,
- Witness cards,
- Pens/pencils, and
- A camera.