Log Trailer Visibility

Topic: Forest Products
Date: March 22, 2022

Caldwell Spence, Senior Risk Control Consultant

Our Top Tips to Help Stand Out and Prevent Accidents

Every logger operating a log truck needs to be diligent about making sure their vehicles are conspicuous, especially the log trailers. The time of day or weather can create conditions that make it difficult to stand out to other drivers. In the event of a crash, whether or not it’s an “at fault” accident, you can be sure the plaintiff’s attorney will introduce, explicitly or implied, that their driver did not see the truck/trailer. Why? The lack of or poorly maintained conspicuity tape, inoperative lights, reflectors, or obscured lamp lenses among others. Continue reading to learn our top tips to help stand out and prevent accidents.

Pre- and Post-Trip Inspections

To discover unsafe conditions, drivers should perform pre-and post-trip inspections. Inoperative lights and lamps (tail/brake, turn signals) are commonly noted during DOT roadside inspections as being:

  • Broken
  • Missing reflectors
  • Conspicuity tape issues

Check for these issues before leaving the yard or location.


It is highly recommended that drivers have the necessary replacement and repair parts with them to act immediately. Keep extra bulbs, lenses, reflectors, and a supply of reflective tape on hand.

Periodically, drivers should wipe off the reflectors, lenses, and tape to ensure visibility. Another tip is to replace filament bulbs with LED bulbs to increase serviceability and brightness.

Reflective Tape and Lights

In 2001, The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NTHSA) conducted a study on the impact of using reflective tape on trailers. The results concluded that the consistent use of reflective material would prevent over 7,800 accidents per year and 191 fatalities. The study reported that tape is quite effective and, it significantly reduces side and rear impacts into heavy trailers in the dark.

In addition to the DOT requirements at the federal and state level, add reflective tape to the rear bolsters, covering at least 50% of the height of the bolster. Add a beacon light centered on the rear of the trailer and use it, whether loaded or empty, before dawn and after dusk or when weather conditions dictate to make your trailer more visible. If your drivers often forget to turn on their beacon lights, the lights can be wired to activate when the truck's ignition switch is turned on.

Check out the examples below.

Beacon Light and Bloster Tape:

Log Truck with Flags



Tape Issues: Replacing Poorly, Missing/Incomplete Tape, or Worn Tape on Trailers

Missing tape on trailer

tape missing on back of trailers

Fleet Safety Training

Provide training to log truck drivers regularly. Training reduces accidents and injuries and saves lives by improving the safety of log truck drivers and others on the road.

Contact your local Risk Control Consultant to learn more tips on how to reduce the risks in the logging industry. To find a BITCO agent, click the "Find an Agent" button below.

Find an Agent

For information purposes only. BITCO's blog content does not address all potential circumstances and is not a substitute for business, safety, or legal consultation.

Let's Talk

Looking for a long-term partner that works hard for you and your business? Contact a local BITCO agent today.