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November 30, 2020
It is important to check the tanker trailer before driving even after following the correct loading procedures. First check the entire trailer to make sure there are no leaks. Do not drive even if the leak of gas or liquid is small. Check that all manholes and valves are covered. Driving a tanker trailer with the valve open is risky.
During regular maintenance service, inspections must be performed. However, it is important to recheck the parts before loading new cargo.
Control the surges
We mentioned that liquid surges can cause the trailer to roll over when stepping on the brakes. Some tanks have baffles that control the forward and backwards movements of the liquid.
However, the side to side surges will still occur, which can cause an accident when not controlled. One way to control the liquid surges is to keep the pressure on the brakes steady. Avoid releasing the brakes when stopping the trailer.
Another tip to control the surge is to start braking while still a distance away from the stop. Sometimes you must use the emergency brakes to avoid an accident.
In such cases, use stab or controlled braking and avoid steering quickly while applying the brakes. Quick steering can make the tank trailer to roll over.
Keep a long stopping distance
The stopping distance is not only important in controlling liquid surges but also for the safety of other motorists on the road. Determine the safest stopping distance depending on the type of the road.
For instance, you need to double the normal stopping distance when driving on wet roads. Consider the weight of the tank trailer as well. An empty tank trailer is lighter and normally takes a longer time to stop than a fully loaded tank trailer. Hence, you need to increase the stopping distance when the tank empty.
Start, reduce speed, and stop the tank trailer smoothly. The center of gravity of most tank trailers is high when loaded. Hence, the level of stability of the trailer is low. Driving smoothly especially when changing lanes or turning the trailer improve its stability.
In addition, driving smoothly helps you to control the surges. Be careful when approaching curves on the road. Slow down the trailer before you get to the curve and then accelerate gradually as you navigate the curve.
One major cause of accidents and incidents on the road involving trailers is skidding. If you over brake, over steer, or over accelerate, the trailer is likely to skid.
If you notice that the wheels are skidding while driving, move fast to restore normal traction. Failing to act on time may cause the trailer to jackknife, which simply means that the trailer slided towards the front the truck.
At this point, the trailer has exceeded the normal 45 degrees angle. Practice driving the tank trailer smoothly whether loaded or empty. Skidding and subsequently jackknifing is common on wet and icy roads.
Observe speed limits
Many accidents occur when drivers ignore speed limits. Watch the speed limits on the road and drive within those limits. Avoid the temptation to speed up when the road seems clear.
Consider the weather as well to determine the most appropriate speed. You may need to drive a slow speed during the icy and wet weather to avoid skidding. Hence, it is important to get weather updates before starting any trip.