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Getting Ready to Ride: 5 Tips for First-Time Truck Owners

truck driving

There is truly something cool about driving a truck, and with the new features adding more power and luxury, even ladies don’t want to be left out of this game. Besides the beasty feel of a truck, you can carry so much stuff in the back for home and business use, so it’s a do-it-all kind of vehicle.

However, if it is your first time driving a heavy vehicle, you are in for some exhilarating pleasure and scares as well. Here are the top five tips for first-time truck drivers.

1. Take a Driving Refresher Course

Driving a truck is very different from driving a small car like a sedan regarding weight, view, and maneuverability. Unlike small cars where the brakes work in a jiffy, you will have to get used to the very slow reaction when you step on the brakes, especially if you were speeding.

Heavy vehicles cannot abruptly stop because of their weight, so you have to give yourself ample room between the truck and the car in front to avoid accidents. You may not need to go back to driving school, but you need someone to guide you on how to safely drive a truck at least until you get the hang of it.

2. Do Not Lift

Many people admire those vehicles that look so high off the ground because it’s cool, but it is by no means safe. A truck is designed to be high so lifting it further does more harm than good and it can cause stability, vibration and wear issues. Though it looks kind of cool to be so high or have those wide wheels, the truck will not be well grounded, and so it will be hard to control in case of any mishap.

Instead, get thin, beefier tires that are good for off-roading and snow and don’t tamper with the integral structure of the truck. You can also add a few lights and graffiti to pimp up the ride or install pickup truck bed caps to protect the front railing and make it look cool without tampering with the vehicle’s integrity.

3. Relax on the Accelerator

The first thing you will notice about heavy vehicles like trucks is that they have extreme power and can fly off the handle if you step on the accelerator too much.

Though trucks are used in off-road races, often a new driver cannot deal with the massive power that such a vehicle holds, so it’s better to go slowly and steadily especially because you cannot stop very fast. Always step gently on the accelerator and add speed slowly as you go instead of stepping at once.

4. Always Remember the Rear Section

One significant difference between a small car and a truck is that the latter has two body parts and it is possible for a new driver to forget the back part when turning, reversing or driving in snow.

Though the two pieces are attached, they don’t always move together, and so it’s important to ensure the back part has moved with the rest of you or it has enough weight to keep moving through snow or mud. For example, when you are making a turn, always ensure there is sufficient room for the entire vehicle, and this consciousness is the biggest challenge for new truck drivers.

5. Reverse with Caution

Seriously, reverse with extra caution than you would with a smaller car. A truck allows you very limited vision at the back so unless you have a backup camera, always go back slowly and ensure there is nothing behind you.

Driving a truck is going to be one of the most exciting things you will ever do if you practice enough before going to the highway. It is a powerful thing to take control of such a beast and be part of the American dream, and everybody should have a chance to do it.

4 Rules Every Teen Should Live By When Driving for the First Year

When you send your teen driver out on the road alone, it can be a daunting feeling. However, if you practice with your teen and explain how to drive and what to watch for, then there should be very few problems. Go over some of the rules of the road when your teen has his permit so that you can show how to handle situations and what not to do while driving.

Ditch the Distractions

One of the first things that you should teach your teen about driving is that no distractions should be in the car. This means no cell phones unless it’s an emergency and your teen pulls over to the side of the road, no loud music and no eating or drinking in the car. These are things that can take your teen’s eyes off the road, which can result in accidents or other issues that might arise.

Drive Alone

Some states have made regulations and laws that prevent teens from having people in the car while they are driving for the first year after getting a driver’s license. You can go a step further and make a rule to not have passengers in the car at all until your teen is a certain age or shows a certain amount of responsibility. The only people who should be in the vehicle are parents or other adults who are responsible and who can offer support and encouragement to your teen while driving.

Encourage Safety

Most teens know the basic safety rules of being in a car. Reiterate to your teen that the seatbelt needs to be worn at all times. You also need to make sure your teen knows not to speed while driving. There are apps and devices that you can use on the car that will track the speed that they are driving and where they are going so that you can monitor the driving habits until your teen has experience.

Don’t Drink and Drive

This is a rule that should be evident for teens who drive. There should be no drinking or using drugs while driving or at any other time. Your teen needs to know the legal consequences of drinking and driving as well as what could happen physically if he’s in an accident.

There’s a time when you need to let your teen explore the road. If you haven’t purchased a car yet, consider getting a used vehicle that can be used for practice so that you’re not losing a lot of money if there’s an accident and to give your teen a vehicle to drive to get the basic functions of driving out of the way. Practice with your teen in a positive manner instead of discouraging driving.

Basic Types of Trailers to Know About

There are a wide range of trailers manufactured for commercial and transport purposes. There are several trucks with varying load capacities and for each type there is a different trailer that can be attached to it. Each trailer has a category of applications linked to it.

While loading your truck by attaching a trailer, there are various factors to consider like the load bearing capacity of the truck and the road guidelines, the size and the cargo to be carried. While considering the total weight, do not forget to add-up both the weight of the trailer as well as the freight that is to be shipped within it.

These trailers are generally classified into 14 basic types. Here is a list:

#1. Flatbed trailer

There are one of the most commonly used trailers because of their versatility. They are used for all types of freight. It has load capacity of 40,000 pounds and a length of 48 to 53 ft. It is an open container with no cover over the cargo that is being shipped.

#2. Dry trailer van

These are also known as enclosed trailers. It is just like a flatbed trailer but with a box around it. The best feature about is that it is waterproof and it protects the cargo from rain and dew during transit. It is mainly used by the grocery stores, clothes stores, electronics industries, and all such organizations that have products that can be damaged by rain.

#3. Refrigerated trailer

Some items need to be kept in a restricted and controlled environment continuously. For such items, refrigerated trailers are used. Stuff like frozen food, pharmaceuticals, and dairy products are to be shipped by such a trailer.

#4. Speciality trailers

This is a category of trailer built specially for transporting a particular type of cargo. For example, the air-tight tank trailers built for hazardous liquids and the inert material trailer for transporting natural gas and LPG. There are discreet regulations to be followed while making such trailers to match the safety requirements of the trailer during transport of hazardous and inflammable materials.

#5. Side-kit trailers

This trailer is equipped with a side wood panel and are used to transport loads that are packed like sand, gravel, dirt, wood, bricks, and all such materials. All the materials that are to be transported in free-form without a packaging is hauled in side-kit trailers. It is generally a flatbed style with a 4-5 ft side panel attached to the deck.

#6. Double drop trailers

There are extendable trailers that enables you to extend the trailer length to fit in longer cargos. They are designed exclusively to handle excessive lengths as well as weights. Though the heights if this type of trailer is low.

#7. Stretch RNG trailers

This is the type that carries extra-long objects that cannot fit into double drop trailers or flatbed trailers. The loads generally are low in weight. But in case the load is more, the truck may need to attach more axles in order to prevent the trailer from slacking in the middle.

#8. Multi-car trailers

These are most commonly used to transport automobiles. There are 2 types in this section of trailers- single layered and double layered. The weight allowance for such a trailer is high and that lets you carry 8 cars at a time. This is also used as a mobile home as that would need an equally high load capacity to be able to carry all your heavy belongings.

All these above-mentioned types are the most commonly used types of trailers. If you are hiring a freight trailer for the first time, it is necessary that you know the basic use of each trailer type to pick the right one for your cargo.

Auto Accidents: How to Do Your Best to Avoid Them

One of the best ways to avoid accidents is to drive defensively. You never know what crazy things can happen on the road. That is why it is essential for you to always be focused and alert. Luckily, when you pay attention and anticipate the moves of other drivers, you can avoid them when they do something dangerous.

Scan Ahead

If you can see ahead of the car in front of you, it’ll be easier to avoid an accident if they slam on their brakes. This leaves you time to maneuver your own vehicle to avoid hitting the person in front of you. By doing this you can avoid so many accidents and help keep you and your family safe.

Blind Spots

While your side and rear view mirror can give you a view of what’s behind or beside you, there are blind spots that will leave you vulnerable. Turn in your seat to see what’s behind or beside you before switching lanes. Be aware of where you are in other people’s blind spots too.

Condition of the Other Car

If you see a car with dents all over it, you’ll likely want to avoid that car. It’s the outward sign of a bad driver, or one who doesn’t care. It’s like a neon sign that you should be watching that driver closely too. Just be sure to pay attention to the cars around you so that you can be aware of what’s going on around you.

Driving at Night

While there might be less traffic at night, so it seems like a better time to travel. It’s actually more dangerous. You have your own vision limitations at night as well as the decreased visibility available to other drivers. People out late at night might be joyriding kids or people leaving bars who have had too much to drink.

Safety on the Wet Roadway

While hydroplaning means you have no control of the vehicle, you can help avoid the condition in the first place if you slow down while the roads are wet. The car’s tires can’t get purchase on the road when it’s wet. Don’t slam on your brakes when hydroplaning either. It can make the situation worse.

Parking Lot Accidents

Be aware of your surroundings as well as the width of your vehicle when pulling in or out of a parking space. Leave enough room next to you for the other car’s doors to open. You might even want to park away from other vehicles to avoid damage.

While you can’t avoid all car accidents, some are avoidable if you’re aware of your surroundings. Always be aware of other cars on the road. Don’t rely on your mirrors since they have blind spots, and drive slowly when dealing with hazardous roadway conditions. If you get into an accident, a lawyer like Steve W. Sumner, Attorney at Law can help you. Getting professional help can really help make you feel better and relieve a lot of stress. This is also a good reminder that you are never alone.

Best Ways to Learn Defensive Driving as a New Driver

As a newly licensed teen, you are probably ecstatic about your accomplishment. You passed your road test, but you still need to learn defensive driving skills. An experienced driver is always mindful of irresponsible and careless drivers and these skills take time. To learn them, ask your parents, teachers, and other drivers you know what defensive skills you should have.

Be Mindful of Tailgaters

If someone is following your car too closely, try to put twice as much space between your car and the other vehicle. The extra space will decrease the chances of you being in a collision. Do not press your brakes too hard and check your surroundings. When you have an opening, move to another lane. Be aware of how close you follow other cars as well. Being too close can increase your own risk of getting in an accident.

Use Your Turn Signals

Always use the turn signals. The turn signals should be used whenever you are making a left or a right turn. You should also use the turn signal whenever you are changing lanes. Other drivers will anticipate your actions and respond accordingly. This is an important part of your road test, but don’t neglect it later on when you have your license.

Keep a Consistent Speed

Whenever you drive, other drivers will watch your actions so they can stay safe. Your actions need to be predictable. Look for obstructions. You need to anticipate slow traffic, erratic drivers, and construction. You should always look far ahead and keep your mind on the road. 

Yield and Stop at Red Lights

According to a Memphis car accident attorney, if you and another driver cannot decide who has the right of way, you should always yield. If you do not yield, the other driver might hit your car. If another driver hits your car you might be liable. You should always stop at red lights and changing yellow lights as well. Sometimes, you might not notice a red light at an intersection. If you lower your speed when approaching an intersection, you will notice a yellow or red traffic light more easily.

Drive Slower in Rainy and Snowy Weather

Drive slower in rainy weather and make sure there is ample space between your car and other vehicles. You should also drive slower in snowy weather. Turn off cruise control when the road is wet or icy, and keep your eyes peeled as you go along.

Control Your Temper

It is only natural that you might get angry at other drivers, but you have to control your temper. If you drive aggressively, you might hurt yourself or other drivers. If another driver is driving recklessly, you should get away from the car and contact the local police.

Practice your defensive driving skills every day. These skills will be second nature after a few weeks of driving on crowded city streets and you will recognize hazardous road conditions from afar. Hopefully with these tips in your toolbelt, you can respond appropriately when another driver does something dangerous.