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Safety Tips for Heavy Duty Truck Drivers

working as a driverWhen dealing with heavy duty vehicles, safety of the employees is the number one priority.  Make sure that all vehicles comply with the strictest safety regulations.  No matter how secure your vehicle is, working with large trucks can be a trying job, especially when dealing with long hours and intense distances.

With the top tips below, you can make sure you stay safe while driving your heavy duty or dump truck.

Take regular breaks

Every couple of hours, pull over and make a pit stop. You will be amazed at how refreshed you feel after stretching your legs and drinking some coffee!

Get to know your vehicle

Make sure you know your vehicle inside out in case of a breakdown, especially if you break down while on the road. 

Keep your distance

Driving a heavy duty vehicle means a slower speed, but also a reduced stopping distance. Make sure you always keep a space of 4-5 cars in between you and the vehicle in front so you have enough time to brake suddenly if need be.

Watch the blind spot

One of the main reasons for truck accidents on the road is the lack of vision when another vehicle is in the truck’s blind spot. Make sure you are always checking the spots you cannot see in your mirrors, especially before changing lanes or turning.

Watch your amount of Extra Time

Even though working overtime may help you pay the bills, it is not advisable as the longer you work, the more tired you become. No matter how much experience you have as a heavy duty truck driver, driving while even slightly tired should be avoided at all costs.

Follow these tips for safe driving and it could save your life

If you have any tips to share with other truckers, please feel free to comment below

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What Is Your Greatest Fear?

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Is the fear of your business failing, your biggest fear?

You have spent precious time, and invested money in your business, but things can always be better.  You need more sales.  You need to build a client base for the future.

It is time you invested in a professional company, who will take your marketing to a new level, and ensure that your client base grows.

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Contact us today and let us discuss your requirements and put your company on a new level.

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King of the Road

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Life as the "King of the Road" can provide a rewarding career. But no-one said being in control of a heavy vehicle. carrying expensive cargo, and meeting critical deadlines was easy. To see if you’re cut out for truck driving, have a look at the Top 10 qualities that all great truck drivers share.

1.    SAFE – Safety is always first because without a safe driving record, your truck driving career is over.

2.    HONEST – Great truck drivers have to be honest regarding laws, employers, customers and themselves. Shortcuts ultimately backfire and can have genuinely disastrous outcomes. Getting the job done completely, legally and honestly is the key to a successful driving career.

3.    RESPONSIBLE – The duties drivers perform now are as diverse as the range of trucks on the roads. Drivers need to manage paperwork, document and report mechanical issues, assist with loading and unloading, maintain trip logs and in some cases transport hazardous, precious and/or highly sensitive materials.

4.    ALERT – Predictable routes can often carry a higher risk of driver fatigue than complicated ones. Great drivers are alert despite knowing some of their journeys back-to-front.

5.    RELIABLE – In the transport industry, nothing is more important than knowing WHEN a load will reach its destination. Great truck drivers understand that they’re the vital link in the logistics chain.

6.    RESILIENT – Being resilient is about being able to cope calmly in a wide range of high pressure situations. How a driver deals with rapidly changing events can be the difference between a good driver and a great driver.

7.    COURTEOUS – Great truck drivers need to know how to communicate courteously with people including other drivers, dock workers, service staff and everyone else a truck driver comes into contact with. That courtesy should also extend to the cargo they carry.

8.    INDEPENDENT – Great drivers need to be good at working independently, not only because they spend most of their time on the road alone, but because they are the only ones that can make important judgement calls in time-critical situations. This could be a decision about when to take a break, when to investigate a potential mechanical problem or one of a hundred other various issues that truck drivers come across every day.

9.    MECHANICALLY MINDED – Knowing the ins and outs of how your truck works helps keep you safe, can potentially save you time and money and gives you the confidence of knowing how to handle common roadside repairs that ensure you’re complying with safety and legal requirements.

10.    FIT – Great truck drivers need to be ready mentally and physically for the long-haul. Even if you’re not driving serious distances, you’ll need good physical stamina to get the best out of a truck driving career.

attentive   checkingtyres1

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How to Make Your Headlights Shine Like New

Over time, the plastic that makes up your headlights will degrade and cloud over. If yours aren't shining quite like they used to, here's what to do.

Most headlights are made of polycarbonate plastic, which is durable and scratch-resistant. But over time polycarbonate clouds over, mostly due to UV rays that degrade the outer layer of plastic. Fortunately, there are plenty of products on the market designed to help you restore your car's 20/20 nighttime vision.

To test the latest brands, I headed over to the Town & Country salvage yard in Ann Arbor, Mich., where Mike, the guy behind the counter, proudly showed me our shared name on his work shirt and loaned me the dirtiest, cloudiest headlights in the lot; I promised to return them clean. Back in the PopMech garage, I polished half of each headlight with a different product to demonstrate what I hoped would be dramatic before-and-after improvements. I wasn't disappointed. These headlights went from filthy to fancy after less than a half-hour of work. I also applied all the products in strips to a single headlight to judge the results side by side. After soiling a stack of microfiber towels and raising plenty of sanding dust, I found out that all the products restored clarity to the lenses, but a few emerged as our favorites.

Basic Headlight Cleaning

Prep Wipe as much grime as possible off the headlights with glass cleaner or soap and water. After drying the area, tape around the headlights to ensure you don't end up sanding your car's paint. You can also remove headlights for cleaning, but you might have to align them after reinstallation.
Sand All of these products use an abrasive such as sandpaper to scuff away the outer layer of haze. This is the most important step, so be thorough.

When you're done, the entire headlight should be clear of any yellowing and have a rough, dull surface.

headlightcleaning2   headlightcleaning1   headlightcleaning3

Polish A fine polish cleans up the sandpaper scratches and makes the headlight lenses clear again.
Apply UV Sealant There's a reason we tested only headlight lens restorers with a UV protectant. The sanding step removes any protective layer that was originally applied to the headlight, and if you don't reapply that shield your lights will haze over again in as little as a few weeks. Some products, such as the ones from Sylvania and Lenz Solution, promise extended protection.

Adjusting Your Headlights

If you've removed your lights to clean them, you need to line them up properly after you put them back on. Here's a quick way to eyeball the aiming.

Step 1 On a level surface, park the car a few inches from your garage door or the wall of a large building.
Step 2 Use chalk to mark the locations of the headlight beams.
Step 3 Back up 25 feet (about two car lengths); the low beams should still be level and pointing straight ahead to within a few inches of the chalk marks.
Step 4 If not, adjust the beams by turning the headlight's two setscrews—one for up/down, one for left/right.

setheadlights

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Want Better Ride Quality?

betterrideCheck the Tyre Balance and Run-Out

Because every truck driver wants to be as comfortable as they can be when driving a truck, one of the top complaints truck drivers have is that they want their ride to be smoother. This can be done by checking the balance of the tyres, as well as checking the tyre/wheel assembly run-out, which really should be done on a regular basis. It is essential to understand that just because commercial tyres begin to show some regular wear and tear, doesn’t necessarily mean that the tyres need to be replaced. Instead, it could be a matter of making sure that the tyre and wheel assembly are completely balanced.

wheel alignmentTyre Balance

When it comes to correctly balancing the tyre and wheel assembly, there are two external ways that this can be done – statically or dynamically.

When the assembly is statically unbalanced, it means that the rotating tyre requires some wheel weights to be added to the tyre in order to put it back in its correct balance and remove the ‘bounce’. When the assembly is dynamically unbalanced, it means that the rotating tyre is going to ‘wobble’, which also requires adjusting in order to restore the correct balance.

A third alternative requires inserting a special material into the tyre that will help to lessen the impact of the vibrations felt when driving on the road. A fourth choice includes using balance rings that also contain special materials that are specifically made to help reduce any hard impacts that can lead to the tyre becoming out of balance.

Run-Out

When it comes to checking the run-out, there are two different types – radial and lateral. Radial run-out refers to the tyres ability to go up and go down while the truck is on the road, which can lead to irregular wear due to the fact that the wheel is not rolling completely ’round’ as it should be. Lateral run-out is a term that’s used when the tyre is wobbling, which is one of the top reasons for a driver experiencing rough vibrations.

runoutProper Procedure

Checking the run-out on a truck tyres within 10 to 15 minutes of the truck being parked is suggested in order to get the best results. Using a tyre gauge to check both the radial and the lateral run-out should then be done. The results will then need to be checked against the run-out limits.

If the radial run-out exceeds the limits set for that particular tyre, then the tyre will need to be deflated, the beats unseated, the rim lubricated and the tyre rotated 180° before re-inflating the tyre and checking the run-out numbers again. If the lateral run-out exceeds the limits, the wheel needs to be removed so that the mating surfaces can be cleaned. Once this is done, the wheel can be reinstalled and the numbers checked again.

Bottom Line

Regularly checking the balance and run-out on truck tyres will help keep everything running smoothly, ensuring that truck drivers are comfortable when driving.

Did you find this article useful?  Do you have any tips you would like to share?

Please feel free to comment below.  If you would like to advertise your business or trucks on our website, and would like us to handle your marketing, or would like a free quotation, please do not hesitate to contact us today

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Is Your Business Where You Want It?

Are you happy with your ROI?   If not, your marketing needs to be revamped and rethought, and a good strategy put into place.

Why not contact us to discuss what problems you are having and what your requirements are.   Our professional marketing experts are sure to have the perfect solution to suit all your requirements, and get your business onto a higher level. 

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Every day your business is not properly marketed is lost revenue for you.

Contact us today and let us put the smile back on your face.

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That's some body you have

truckbodyThe type of body and vehicle application will dictate what maintenance needs to be performed and how often.

While service/utility truck owners usually keep up on the chassis’ preventive maintenance, they often aren’t as diligent about the body and its components, such as cranes and air compressors.

The type of body and vehicle application will dictate what maintenance needs to be performed and how often.

While service/utility truck owners usually keep up on the chassis’ preventive maintenance, they often aren’t as diligent about the body and its components, such as cranes and air compressors.

Taking care of a truck also means performing proper routine maintenance on its body. If a truck is side-lined because of costly unexpected problems with its body, uptime is diminished, operational expenses go up and customers are inconvenienced.

Consequently, preventive maintenance ought to be as much a priority for truck bodies and its equipment as it is for power units.  ”It is worth the investment.”

The type of body and vehicle application will dictate what maintenance needs to be performed and how often.
Consider service/utility trucks, by way of example. A well-run equipment fleet needs well-maintained service/utility trucks in order to keep its equipment up and running earning money.

inspectingtruckAll too often, because there are very few obvious moving parts and systems on the average service/utility body, maintenance tends to get overlooked.  A good inspection program is the key to keeping these bodies and their equipment clean, safe and available.

Inspecting a service/utility body should be part of the regular vehicle service program, they say, as “overall appearance and condition can tell you a lot. Is the body sitting squarely on the chassis? Does it sit higher in the front or rear? Are any of the doors sagging or not fitting properly? How does the finished paint look? Are all of the required lights on the unit and working?”

In maintaining service/utility trucks, the truck body and its components (crane, air compressor, liftgates, lubrication systems, reels, etc.) must be inspected and serviced on a regular basis.  Each of these has its own checklist of items requiring routine inspection and service.

BODY

It is recommended that service bodies be given a walk-around inspection at least weekly, if not daily, keeping an eye out for any hydraulic leaks, broken transportation/safety lights and cracks in the body’s structure.

If a hydraulic leak goes unnoticed, it could potentially cause a catastrophic failure and dump all the system oil.  If a leak is spotted, it should be corrected as soon as possible..

In addition, it is recommended to take time to check under the body to ensure there isn’t any hydraulic plumbing or electrical wiring hanging low or dragging, and inspecting electrical components and wiring. Any issues discovered need to be immediately corrected.

The underside of the body should also be cleaned and checked for loose mounting bolts, cracked members, rust and structural deformation.  If the unit is equipped with a crane or lifting device, particular attention should be paid to the mounting structure.

washtruck

Not keeping the service body clean can lead to unsafe working conditions and prevent technicians and operators from noticing potential maintenance problems.  The dirtier the truck, the less likely you are to see any problems.

If you keep it clean and routinely monitor the truck, typically you can get any problems with the body rectified quickly and prevent future problems. 

If you need to advertise and concentrate on your business, why not contact us for a free quotation.  It will be the best business decision you will ever make.

 

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Safety Tips for Commercial Drivers

commercialdriversTrucking requires full concentration on the road. Not only must commercial drivers contend with other motorists, dangerous weather conditions, and wandering wildlife, but they must do so while operating large rigs, often carrying heavy and sometimes dangerous cargo. One mistake carries possible huge repercussions.

To help stay out of harm’s way, consider the following safety tips when driving:

•    Do not tailgate. Be patient. Maintain proper space with the vehicle in front of you. According to studies, the most common vehicle trucks hit is the one in front of them, due to tailgating. The bigger the rig the longer it takes to brake and stop.
•    Signal early when approaching an intersection, giving other motorists ample warning of your intended direction.
•    With so many blind spots on a truck, minimize lane changing. Check your side mirrors at least once every 10 seconds.
•    Use the truck’s flashers when driving below the posted speed limit for an extended period of time.
•    Give your truck ample time and space when slowing down for a complete stop. Use brake lights early. Most motorists don’t realize how long it takes for a rig to stop.
•    If you must idle the truck, keep windows closed to avoid prolonged exposure to fumes.
•    Avoid idling while sleeping, loading, or unloading.
•    When pulled off to the side of a road, highway, or Interstate due to mechanical problems, always use flashers, reflective triangles, and even road flares to alert approaching drivers.
•    Always have tire chains at the ready, especially when driving in mountainous regions.
•    Try to maintain a full fuel tank in winter driving to prevent water condensation from building in the fuel lines.
•    Maintain additional space with the vehicles in front of you when driving in rain or snow.
•    Operate below the posted speed limit when driving in wintery conditions.
•    Exercise caution when approaching bridges in wintertime. Bridges freeze faster than roads, creating difficult to detect black ice.
•    Slow down in work zones. Close to one-third of all fatal work zone crashes involve large rigs. Plus, you could lose your commercial drivers license if caught speeding in a posted work zone.
•    Take plenty of driving breaks, especially while driving cross-country, to help remain alert.
•    Don’t fight eye-fatigue. Pull off the road and take a nap. The consequences of falling asleep at the wheel, far outweigh those associated with arriving late.
•    Strictly adhere to commercial driver hour restrictions.

Did we miss anything?  Share your wisdom with our online community by leaving your comment below. 

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How to Buy a Used Commercial Truck

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Buying a used commercial truck is a great way to start your business, or upgrade the equipment you have in your existing business. Every commercial truck is different when it comes to features, safety and price, so you will have to decide what kind of truck will work best for your business. While used trucks are more affordable than new trucks, you will also have to set a budget and decide how to finance your purchase. Buy a used commercial truck by finding the one you want, having it inspected and deciding how to finance it.

1   Look for used commercial trucks online.

•    Search local advertisements online as well. You might find private sellers who have commercial trucks on Craigslist or through the sites run by local car and truck dealers.

2   Check the inventory at local truck dealers. Your newspaper or community directory will provide a list of car and truck dealers in your city or town.

•    Talk to the dealer about what you are looking for and be sure to explain that you are interested in a used truck. Test drive anything that you like.

3   Inquire about commercial trucks for sale with truck rental companies.

4   Go to an auction. Automobile auctions will often include commercial trucks. Dealers in your area will know when auctions are scheduled.

5   Choose a truck that meets your business needs and has a good safety record. The dealer you buy it from is required to provide you with information on whether it has been in accidents or had extensive mechanical work done.

6   Determine the value. Once you choose a truck to buy, research what it is worth before you make an offer.

•    Find value estimates through Kelley Blue Book or NADA Guides. Use their websites to search for value by make, model and year. You can also use these resources to get information and customer reviews on the used truck you are buying.

7   Get the truck inspected by a professional mechanic before you buy. You want to make sure it is safe and in good working order.

•    Reconsider the purchase if significant repairs are needed or safety issues are indicated.

8   Negotiate a price with the dealer or seller. Use the estimated value and the inspection results to get the best price for the used commercial truck you want to buy. 

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Extend The Life Of Your Beloved Truck

The Long Haul: 10 Tips to Help Your Truck Run Well Into Old Agesemi1A truck is like most things in life: You get out what you put in. And for those who depend on their vehicle day-in and day-out to deliver results, a bit of care and maintenance goes a long way. While each make and model will have its own special needs (yes that means consulting the owner's manual) with these simple maintenance tips, your truck can continue running like it's fresh off the lot for years to come.

We compiled these things any man can do to help keep his truck running smoothly.

1. Never Miss an Oil ChangeoilThis one's easy, but no doubt one of the most important things you can do to ensure a long life for your truck (or any vehicle for that matter). Ford recommends you do this every 7,500 miles or six months (whichever comes first) for 2008 model year trucks and newer. For older, higher mileage trucks, always change your oil filter when you change your oil. Be sure to pick up the best oil for your needs. There are dozens of varieties of oil and a wide range of high mileage options tailored to increasing the life of older engines, so be sure to consult your owner's manual to ensure you pick the right viscosity-index for your truck. And then double check before you buy—having to visit the same auto shop twice in one day for a single item is both embarrassing and a waste of time.

2. Rotate Your TyrestyresChanging your oil is a good time to check up on other types of routine maintenance too. Rotating your tyres each time you change your oil helps ensure an even wear—because tyres wear unevenly according to the drivetrain of your truck. "Tyre rotation is very important,"customers often think, 'Oh I just need to change the oil at the prescribed interval, but we recommend that you rotate your tyres every time you have your oil changed, so that your tyres are wearing evenly." While it depends on how you use your truck, the front tyres will typically see the most wear. Rotating them can not only extend the life of the tyres themselves, it can make for a smoother ride and reduce the burden on your truck's suspension that can come from unevenly worn tires. If there are any alignment issues you should be able to spot them when the tyres are rotated. Check your owner's manual for the recommended tyre rotation pattern.

3. Keep Your Tyres BalancedbalancingWhen getting your tyres rotated, it's also worth having them balanced. A tyre is balanced when the weight of the tyre is equally distributed around the axle. With each bump, pothole and off-road mission, your tyres get more and more out of balance. An unbalanced set of tyres can lead to vibrations on the road and cause increased wear on your suspension as well as uneven wear on your tyres. If you need to have a tyre replaced or patched, that's also a good time to get them balanced.

4. Alignment is Key

alignmentIf around the time of your oil change, your truck is pulling to one side or the other it's probably time for a wheel alignment. Driving over rough roads at high speeds and aggressive driving can both increase the likelihood of misalignment. If your wheels are out of whack, you'll cause higher wear and tear on tyres, generally get worse fuel mileage, and experience poor handling on the road. Getting your wheels aligned pays off big in the long run. Vehicle pulling can also happen when your tyres are unevenly inflated or you've got your truck bed weighed down heavily on one side. Inflate all of your tyres to the designated pressure and keep your load evenly secured and spread across your bed to reduce pull.

5. Check Your Lights

lightsIt's easy to get complacent, so that you're only thinking about maintenance around oil changes, but monthly checks on a few basic components are worth the minimal time investment they require. That way, if there are any issues with your vehicle, they'll be on your radar before they become bigger problems. For instance, check that all of your interior and exterior lights are working properly. A dim light can indicate an electrical problem, while a burned out light can be dangerous and lead to a hefty fine. And while you're at it, ensure your glove box is stocked with spare fuses—few things are as embarrassing as calling a tow truck when all you really need is a replacement fuse.

6. Make Sure Fluid Levels are Up

fluidNext, check out your essential fluid levels. The most important one to check is the engine oil. Just make sure it's cool first, in order to get an accurate reading. Also, check the oil itself. If it's dirty or smells like gasoline, it's time for a change. Next, engine coolant. Truck engines make a lot of heat; this is what keeps them from overheating. Check the levels by popping the cap (generally identifiable by a warning and matching illustration indicating you should never open when engine is hot). Refill as needed with the coolant specified in your owner's manual. Finally, check out your windshield washer fluid. It's a good idea to keep an extra jug of the blue stuff somewhere onboard, especially in winter, when salt and sand are on the road.

7. Give Your Engine a Breath of Fresh Air

filter

In order to function at it's best, engines need clean air. Over time, air filters become clogged with dust, debris, and chemical contaminants. Swap in a fresh engine air filter every 20,000 to 40,000 km or even more often if you're frequently driving on dirt roads. A clean air filter will not only help your engine last longer, it can optimize your engine's efficiency and acceleration.

8. Know Your Driving ConditionsriverRoutine maintenance and checklists can only get your truck so far down the road. One of the most important aspects of long term care is keeping in mind what kind of wear and tear you're putting on your truck. Whether you're carrying heavy loads, driving off road, or making multiple short trips daily, the way you use your truck will determine the exact type of maintenance you'll need. Some driving conditions require special maintenance, such as if you're in a high idle situation or dusty conditions, the vehicle can't sense that, so it changes the scheduled maintenance.   Talk to your local mechanic about the best ways to care for your truck given the roads you're driving on each day.

9. Stop in for an InspectioninspectionIf there's one thing that can help keep your truck going longest, it's knowing when to bring an expert in. Most automakers offer specified checks at dealerships. Everything from your batteries to spark plugs to brake pads is analyzed for issues. Technicians should spot potential problem areas early, based on wear, helping keep you safe and your truck running longer.

10. Read UpmanuelEverything you need to know about keeping your truck running well is in the owner's manual. From cleaning, to optimal fluids, to maintenance checklists — it's all in the book.  Too many times customers only refer to the owner's manual when they have a question about how something might work, but there is a lot of good information with regards to fuel, oil, and how they should maintain their vehicles

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