Tractor-trailers and other semi-trailers pose significant dangers to other vehicles. This is why, before any large vehicle embarks on an expedition, a pre-trip inspection must take place. Drivers of big rigs are taught in CDL School the importance of these assessments, and how to properly ensure that all parts are in proper working order before they log their first mile.
A proper pre-trip inspection is broken into three parts:
- A visual inspection of the engine and other parts before starting the vehicle
- An inspection after the vehicle has been started
- A last inspection after the vehicle has been driven a short distance
During the first inspection stage, the driver will pop the hood and carefully evaluate the engine, looking for debris or signs of damage to any of the parts. Fluid levels will be checked and additional fluid added as necessary. Parts will be evaluated for wear and tear, particularly uneven wear that indicates a problem.
During the second stage, after starting the engine, the driver will ensure that all the moving parts of the engine are working correctly, including fans and lights. The driver will also rely on other senses, including the sense of smell, to determine if there might be problems that need addressed.
In the last stage, the driver re-evaluates the engine and other parts after the vehicle has been driven a very short distance, to make sure that the tractor is properly mounted, and that the engine is still functioning properly. If everything checks out, the driver can begin his trip.
Unfortunately, not all drivers perform proper pre-trip inspections, or ensure that necessary maintenance is done on their vehicle. In these situations, tractor trailers and semi-trailers are incredibly unsafe. If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor trailer or other large truck, determining whether or not maintenance was done in a timely manner and whether all inspections were completed is important. Please, retain an experienced attorney who can help you get the information you need.