From Endurance to Dressage
This is the fourth post in an ongoing series chronicling my journey towards a Class A Commercial Driver's License. You can read the other posts at the links below:California Commercial Driver Handbook (section 11.2.2 - Cab Check/Engine Start).
First of all, it's common sense to carry some emergency equipment, even if that just means a AAA Card. Since cell phones don't always work where trouble strikes, we all probably need more than that card in our vehicles.
Always in my truck is my original roadside kit. It's two-sided, the top half of which is seen above. Besides that kit, I always have a current insurance card and registration. I also have a jack and a spare tire. However, locating all the pieces necessary to change the tire requires a literal map. The jack is located under my rear passenger seat, bolted to the back of the truck. The jack handle and the lug wrench are under the back seat behind the driver. Once you have all of that located, you have to use the ignition key to unlock the tube in the bumper to access the spare tire. Then you assemble the lug nut wrench, an extension, and the jack handle which goes through the bumper hole. You then crank on that to lower the tire and remove the thing that holds the tire in place.
In theory, I know how to change a tire, but from experience, I know that I would have to give myself a shot of adrenaline in order to lift one of my truck's tires onto the bolts that hold the wheel. I can take the tire off, but I cannot lift the tire on; I've tried. If I were totally desperate, and if I were towing my trailer, I could probably roll the tire up onto my trailer's Jiffy Jack and try to maneuver it from there. Maybe. Without the Jiffy Jack, I'd probably be up a creek without a paddle.
What you and I think of as emergency equipment is all well and good, but the state of California has an actual list that is expected to be followed to the letter, and nothing in my roadside kit is on that list. While the list is in the handbook, it isn't very clear as to the actual specifics. You have to visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's website for that. The section on emergency equipment can be found in Chapter 5: 5.14 Emergency Equipment. And once you get there, you'll need to see 49 CFR 393.95 for full emergency equipment specifications, regulations, and exceptions. CFR stands for Code of Federal Regulations.
Once you make it to 49 CFR, you'll have to wade through two pages of one of these, six of these, OR several of this other thing. Since each driver's situation is different, you'll want to look it up to verify what you'll actually need to have on board.
According to Section 11 of the California Commercial Driver Handbook. you must have spare electrical fuses. The CFR defines this as one spare fuse for each type/size needed to operate any required part or accessory. I looked through my truck's owner's manual and identified every single fuse that my truck needs to operate. The CFR isn't exactly clear on which parts or accessories are required, so I drew the line at the fuses under the hood. If one of those needs to be replaced, I am calling AAA or a tow truck. I discovered that all of your basic fuses, the ones in the cab of your truck, are pretty standard, so I ordered a kit from Amazon for $8.99.
The next piece of must have emergency equipment is three, red reflective triangles, but of course, they must conform to Federal Standard No. 125, §571.125. Since I didn't know what that standard actually said, I just looked for triangles on Amazon that stipulated that they met the DOT's (Department of Transportation) requirement. The triangles I found were $32.89 and came with a bonus safety vest.
There is an "or" here. You can also choose to have six fusees - a red signal flare used especially for protecting stalled trains and trucks, or three liquid burning flares. The CFR for fusees and flares states that each fusee shall be capable of burning for 30 minutes, and each liquid-burning flare shall contain enough fuel to burn continuously for at least 60 minutes. I couldn't find 60-minute flares, and the regulations don't state whether LED flares meet the requirement, so I bought a six-pack emergency flare kit for $24.95. I don't have to have flares since I have triangles, but I wanted to cover all of my bases.
The last required piece of emergency equipment is a fire extinguisher, but like everything else, you can't just grab the old one hanging out in your garage. I know because I tried that. First of all, the one in my garage was empty and the handbook specifically states that the one you carry must be properly charged and mounted (more on that later).
There is a lot to know about fire extinguishers, most of which I researched and then promptly forgot, but here's an excellent link explaining what you need to know. For my purposes, I needed one that had an Underwriters' Laboratories rating of 5 B:C or more. That means it is used for (B) combustible and flammable liquids like grease, gasoline, and oil and (C) electrical equipment. The number preceding the B indicates the size of fire in square feet that an ordinary user should be able to extinguish. The extinguisher I ordered is rated 10 B:C and cost $26.30.
Section 11 of the California Commercial Driver Handbook lists optional emergency equipment. While it says these items are optional, they're so easy to procure that I put all but one of them in my emergency kit.
The first item listed is tire chains (where winter conditions require them). I am not buying chains because I am not hauling my trailer anywhere that chains would be required. Once, while on the way to an endurance race, heading through the Tehachapi Pass, there was snow on the ground, and it was pretty dicey, but no chains were required. I also have four wheel drive. If I decide to haul to a show in winter, and if there's going to be snow, I'll buy chains then. For now, they're just not something I need as I never drive in the snow.
Surprisingly, tire changing equipment is listed as optional, which I find to be hysterically funny. Why are extra fuses required but not a jack? Either way, I have tire changing equipment. See above.
The last two items that belong in the optional emergency equipment are a list of emergency phone numbers and an accident reporting kit. A list of emergency numbers was easy to compile. I also added my insurance information and vehicle make and model. Nowhere in the CFR could I find what was required for the accident reporting kit, so I downloaded two samples that seemed to have everything I might need to report an accident. All of my paperwork fits neatly into a zippered portfolio that I had laying around. I even made sure the ink pen worked.
Everything fits: electrical fuses, three red triangles, 6 liquid burning flares, a fire extinguisher, emergency phone numbers, and an accident reporting kit. As much as I would have liked to include the tire changing equipment, that stuff already had a place in my truck.
The one thing I need to check on is how to properly mount the fire extinguisher. Right now it's in the bag, stowed under my back seat, but I suspect that's not going to be good enough. That's going to take a bit more investigation.
These two parts, Emergency Equipment and Optional Emergency Equipment are just two sub sections out of sixteen in section 11.2.2 - Cab Check/Engine Start. There are eight more entire sections, each with numerous subsections with their own bullet points to know or do. Two of the sections, 11.4 School Bus and 11.6 Coach/Transit Bus don't apply to me, so that's a bonus.
I am trying not to feel overwhelmed. It's definitely a slow and steady sort of endeavor. Maybe it's a good thing that COVID-19 is slowing this all down. It actually gives me more time to learn all of the parts before I take the test.
Stay tuned for future posts.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%