All posts in On the Road

How to Survive Long Haul Journeys

long journey

If there is one skill that a person who drives for a living knows that many others do not, it is how to be patient and able to sit in a vehicle for hours on end. When you are just starting out, however, you might find it takes a while for your body to adjust. Driving is cramped, it is exhausting, and it can be taxing on the mind.

Even if you have a partner to split the driving times with, being inside a small spaced for long periods of time can be difficult. Knowing in advance how to prepare for long overhaul commutes is the best way to start your new career. Follow these simple steps to get you on the right track:

Never Fight Fatigue

Fatigue is one of the leading causes of all accidents. If drivers never drove when they were feeling tired, accidents could be reduced by upwards of 19%. Fatigue can be something as typical as fighting sleep, to having irregular hours, to fighting your natural sleep cycle, to driving on monotonous roads for hours on end.

Fatigue is especially prevalent among commercial drivers. Fatigue is a factor that is behind just over half of all commercial truck accidents and 30% of all fatal accidents.

So, when you are tired, don’t fight it. The best solution is to pull over and have a short nap (or ask your partner to change shifts with you). Caffeine is also a temporary solution; however, you need to be aware and prepared for the inevitable caffeine crash later.

Listen to Something Interesting

If you drive with someone else in the car, you are already better off than most long-distance commuters. Conversation is a great tool when it comes to staying awake and alert. If you drive alone you should frequently call your friends, family, or message other truckers. When you are driving a commercial transporters being awake and alert can mean the difference between the life and death of you and many others on both sides of the road.

You can also take this time to listen to audiobooks or podcasts. What a better way to multitask than to learn something new while you are driving? Keep your mind active to keep your senses and reflexes alert.

Have Snacks and Drinks on Hand

When driving long distances there is never a guarantee when the next rest stop will be. That is why you should always have enough water and snacks to keep you going. You don’t want to be dehydrated or hungry when driving. Do all you can to keep your mood elevated.

The transportation business is a great one. It means seeing your country, or maybe even your continent if you transport items across borders. Staying safe means taking your wellbeing while you are driving seriously. If you fall victim to fatigue, you could kill many people on the road with you. Use every trick in the book to stay on top of fatigue. Stay fed and hydrated, keep your mind busy, and when in doubt, pull over and take a nap. It is always better to be safe on the road.

Check Yourself! 4 Bad Driving Habits that Can Cause an Accident

Yes, some drivers may operate vehicles for years or decades without ever being in an accident. Yet, others are involved in accidents periodically over the years. Your actions behind the wheel can directly affect your likelihood of being involved in an accident. To reduce the chance oi being involved in a car accident, consider avoiding these bad driving habits.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a common cause of car accidents. It is most commonly associated with the use of a cell phone or mobile device. However, applying makeup, eating, and fiddling with the radio can be considered distracted driving behaviors. In fact, anything that pulls your hands off of the steering wheel could be a distraction. Such things should be avoided if you want to be as safe as possible.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving while drunk can result in serious accidents. However, there are other types of situations that are related to this. For example, prescription or over-the-counter medications could impair your ability to drive safely. This is because such things can make you drowsy or affect your vision and other senses. All influences that may impair your abilities should be avoided if you intend to drive.

Driving While Emotionally Distraught

There are many factors on the road that can irritate you. If a driver cuts you off, for example, or if you are caught in heavy traffic. When you begin a trip already feeling angry, sad or otherwise emotionally charged, then that’s not good. These and other types of driving events could push you over the edge. They may cause you to drive erratically or at high speeds. Thus, a car accident may be the end result.

Failing to Obey Posted Speed Limit Signs

Speed limit signs and other traffic signs are posted for your safety and for the safety of others. Speeding, failing to yield and other factors could potentially result in a traffic violation. Getting a ticket isn’t your only worry, though. The officer who stops you is doing so out of protection of everyone, especially yourself. He, and the rest of society, does not want your speeding to turn into a fatal situation. Always be aware of speed limit signs and all other traffic.

A car accident can be a stressful, costly and even painful event. You certainly want to avoid this type of event, if possible. Many car accidents could be avoided if drivers simply take proper precautions. Buckle up when you drive to help reduce the impact if an accident were to occur. Also, don’t hesitate to take legal action if necessary if you do end up in such a situation.

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.