Several different safety and operator behavioral categories determine a CSA , or Compliance, Safety, and Accountability score for semi-truck carriers. A carrier's overall score can change if your semi is in an accident, you receive a violation, or you are stopped by law enforcement for any reason.
One such category revolves around the maintenance and condition of the semi-truck you operate. Preventive maintenance is crucial not just because it adheres to rules set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, but because it prevents accidents and helps keep everyone safe on the highway.
Preventive maintenance consists of checking all working components of your semi-truck like brakes, fluid levels, and belts. However, don't forget about the tires and how they can impact a CSA score.
Whether you operate a new or used semi-truck, tire condition is important. Here are a few instances when poor tire condition can cause accidents and harm others.
- Old or unevenly worn tires affect your truck's ability to safely navigate roadways, especially during bad weather. For example, you may experience increased instances of slippage in snow or hydroplaning in rain.
- Tires that are improperly inflated affect truck performance too. Under-inflated tires tend to meet too much roadway surface and overheat. Hot tires are a big cause of semi-truck blowouts, a sudden and dangerous incident that puts you and other drivers at risk.
- Over-inflated tires make your truck vulnerable to sidewall and impact damage, and tread cuts. Often such damage results in blow-outs as well, which force your truck to swerve and scatter pieces of tread on the roadway.
You can prevent many instances of tire mishaps with preventive tire maintenance.
Begin each trip with an inspection of each tire on your rig. Look for unusual wear patterns like cupping and feathering. Check for damage to sidewalls like bulges and cuts that can lead to blowouts.
Check Tire Pressure
Each time you stop, check the pressure of each tire with a calibrated gauge rather than rely on appearance or feeling for heat with your hand. A pressure check at each stop is important because the air pressure can fluctuate due to factors like road surface temperature and load.
Rotate Tires Regularly
Regular tire rotation ensures a more even tread wear due to differing tire performance between tractors and trailers. Even tire position affects tread wear. Consistent, even tire treads boost truck handling and performance and extend tire life.
Make sure part of your preventive maintenance focuses on commercial truck tires for a safer ride and a lower CSA score.