Monday, May 20, 2013

Buying a New Truck: How to Get the Specs You Want

Recently, I watched a video from a Youtube friend who offered some excellent tips on truck spec'ing. Now while his specs may not work for your application, I thought that sharing the video and his style of spec'ing may help some who are in the market for a replacement ride.

Contending with the Forces of Nature: Tornadoes

Due to the unfortunate events in Oklahoma City and Moore, Oklahoma today, I thought it would be apt to discuss how to deal with a tornado as a truck driver. First of all, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those lost, injured, and otherwise devastated, and we can all hope that Oklahoma City and its surrounding communities will be able to recover as soon as possible.

In regards to trucking, truck drivers are caught in the path of tornadoes each and every year. While such a situation may never happen to you as a driver, you should keep a few things in mind, especially this time of year.

The greatest danger of a tornado is the debris, often blown at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour. At these speeds even a single piece of hay can become a deadly weapon. For this reason, you should always seek shelter or attempt to drive away from the tornado.

If driving is the option you choose, you should first tune in to any local news radio station. In the event of a tornado, it is likely that such stations will be the best source of information at the time, often providing specific details on the movements of the tornado as well as on its current speed. So if they say that the tornado is heading east, it would be wise to head west if you are behind the tornado, and either north or south if you happen to be in front of it.

Because a tornado can move at freeway speeds unhindered by anything in its path, you should select the best road possible (typically either a freeway, state highway, or major thoroughfare) that leads away from the devastation. Tornadoes have been known to cross freeways and scatter passing traffic like vehicular bowling pins, so you do not want to be heading face-to-face with a twister.

Once you have removed yourself from the danger zone, attempt to make contact with either dispatch or the load recipient to see if the place where you are to deliver is being affected by the storm. If they are, your attempted delivery may be to a non-existent facility. Even if the load's destination is not in the direct path of the storm, it is better to hang back and allow the tornado to pass on.

However, if you happen to be at a truck stop or other facility and are not in a position to drive yourself out of danger, then your best chance for survival is to find shelter in the facility you are in. Open spaces such as shop bays are among the worst places to be in a tornado, and attempting to bug out in your cab could be a deadly decision.

If you are in the Midwest, it is likely that the facility where you may be stationed will have some kind of emergency tornado evacuation plan, or, even better, a safe room or other place to wait out the storm.

Whatever plan you choose, make sure that you are in the best place possible, given your circumstances, to wait out the storm. Safe travels to you, and always keep an eye out for dangerous storms approaching. The best offense is a good defense.

Friday, May 17, 2013

LEDs for the Longhaul: Truck-Lite's LED Headlamps

If you have been in the trucking industry for any length of time, you know that LEDs now permeate almost every field of truck lighting once held by incandescent light bulbs, except for headlights. But thanks to a revolutionary American company, that may be about to change.

Recently, Truck-Lite introduced a series of headlights designed to replace standard OEM headlights in heavy trucks. The first of these are now being seen all across the country on Penske rental and lease Freightliner Cascadias.

Not only do these new lights offer improved visibility, increased longevity, and decreased maintenance cost, but once the full product line is completed, these lights will be able to simply pop into the position once held by halogen and even Xenon-headlamps.

Plans call for versions of the Truck-Lite LED headlamp capable of fitting into the headlight position of all of the most common Class-8 trucks on the road today. Plus, Truck-Lite's existing lineup of 7-inch circular and 4 x 6 inch rectangular headlamps offer the benefits of LED lighting to owners of more classic styled trucks or trucks with custom headlights.

Take a look at or watch the following video for more information. Safe travels to you.