Safety Tips

Don't Do a Barrel Roll

Scot Barney
5 minutes

Don't Do a Barrel Roll

During my days as a team driver, my co-driver had a saying for almost every situation. These sayings served as psychological shorthand, quickly summarizing situations or behaviors. Looking back, I realize how valuable this skill was. For instance, if he said, "had to tell dispatch how the cow eats the cabbage," I knew he had shared an uncomfortable truth with them, making my next conversation with dispatch awkward. One of his favorite things to say when I drove in what he believed to be an unsafe manner was "do a barrel roll," like a fighter pilot. It quickly summed up my behavior and prompted me to pay closer attention to what I was doing.

If you are pulling a tanker, doing a barrel roll is the last thing you want. In our industry, a rollover is likely an unforgivable sin, making it hard to secure another driving job afterward. Here are the key points from Safety Director Brian Pickett's article on preventing rollovers.

How to Avoid Rollovers:

  • Slow Down: According to the FMCSA, excessive speed for conditions is reported in 25% of all CMV accidents.
  • Stay Alert: Get plenty of rest. Fatigue was reported in 13% of CMV accidents.
  • Do a Pre-trip: Equipment failure was reported in 10% of accidents. Conduct a thorough pre-trip inspection to avoid unwanted surprises.
  • Avoid Distractions: A 2009 study found that 71% of CMV accidents involved driver distraction. Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Know Your Equipment: Understanding the capabilities of your truck and trailer is essential, especially if you are frequently changing trailers.


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