We Are Here To Stay.
In an industry that is always changing, see how we have been deciding our own future over 20 years.
“Dog Days of Summer”
The heat is on, any extreme weather condition can make for difficult driving conditions. As a driver hot weather can be a bit more taxing. In the summer parts of the US can experience temperatures the 90’s and the 100’s making travel even more difficult. So, we have put together a few helpful hints to help you through those “Dog Days of Summer”.
If the sun is hot so is your cab. Studies show that over a period of less than an hour interior temp of a closed vehicle can rise by 50 degrees. If you have to remain in a parked vehicle for any amount of time, whether it’s on break or waiting to unload, its important to utilize the air conditioning to regulate the temperature. I know it seems like something simple, but it only takes a few minutes for an enclosed vehicle’s temperature to reach deadly levels. Rising temps can also take a toll on your truck. From brakes, to tires, engine oil, and coolant. When temps get to hot breaks can fail due to lost friction. Check your brakes frequently during hot weather trips. Keep an eye on your coolant level, low coolant can lead to overheating. A higher viscosity oil can also help protect your engine. Heat wears down the integrity of your tire and can increase blowouts. Make sure you have the proper air pressure to assist in regulating the tire pressure. Along with your vehicle the sun can take a toll on you. Be sure to have sunscreen and plenty of water; to prevent burns and dehydration. Expect more traffic in the summer with schools out and families on the road for vacation along with more road construction. This will all lead to more congestion so give your self more space and time. We strongly suggest weather apps and real time weather alerts. With summer comes crazy weather like thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and heavy rains, these all can cause major damage. Following your company guidelines when it pertains to weather to keep you and your vehicle safe. What is that you do to keep you and your vehicle safe during these crazy summer months?
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Tin can Tourist”? Early in the twentieth century people in the US still felt that pioneer spirit. People packed their cars with tents and as much canned food as they could, along with extra gas to explore this country and seeking adventure. The tin cup tourists were not traveling due to a lack of work. Many of these people were Doctors, lawyers, and other professionals some even retired. So, with road conditions greatly improving and the advancement of Automobiles the tourists hit the road. However, even though the roads were improving there was a lack of lodging and other amenities thus the reason for the tents. If the tourists saw something that intrigued them along the road, they could just pull on over and stay for a while, increasing that sense of adventure. Camp sites began popping up along the Dixie highway around the State of Florida for these travelers to gather in groups and socialize. These campsites cost nothing and there was even entertainment. After the end of World War 1 the number of these tourists increased along with people driving homemade mobile trailers with cases of canned food and bedding piled high. The first group was organized at De Soto Park in Tampa FL with the objective being “to unite fraternally all auto campers”. This was the beginning of RVing. The Tin Can Tourists are still around today with members and chapters around the world. The means of travel are a bit more luxurious then a dirt road and a tent. Just think, we are delivering someone’s adventure.
Brake Check Blitz Week Is Coming
The CVSA/DOT will be performing their annual brake check inspections the week of September 16th. Their primary focus will be to inspect commercial vehicles for brake issues but once they have you pulled over they can inspect anything. Make sure you are properly inspecting your vehicle(s) at the beginning of every shift and at the end of every shift. Actually check ALL of your safety items, mechanics, etc. to make sure your vehicle is compliant with FMCSA requirements, don’t pencil whip them. A proper pre-trip inspection should take a minimum of 15 minutes each working day and the end of day inspection should take at least 5-7 minutes to perform. If you are using paper logs or the Keep Truckin app that is set to 15 minute intervals, you can flag the end of day inspection and must list how many minutes it took (5-7 minutes). Anything over 7 minutes would be rounded up to the nearest 15 minute increment.
If you have not checked your emergency brake in a while, you are already non-compliant. That is a required item on the pre-trip list. If you are pulling a trailer with electric brakes, you must hook up the battery properly, connect the breakaway cable to a fixed point on your truck (not to the chains or hitch), and test the breakaway system by pulling the cable each day to ensure the system is working properly. To test this you must unplug the power cord from the truck prior to pulling the cable. Make sure the battery is protected from the elements. If it is placed on the outside of the trailer, it must be completely covered with a battery box and lid.
If your brakes are not working properly you can be placed out of service for as long as it takes to correct the issue. Once placed out of service, you cannot move that vehicle until the item has been corrected. Jumping an out of service order can result in huge fines.
Since you are checking your brakes, you might as well check the tire tread depth on your tires. Steer tires (front) must have at least 4/32” of tread in two adjacent grooves. Drive tires (rear) must have at least 2/32” of tread. That is pretty bald and doesn’t leave you much traction. If they are that low or close, get them changed out.
A popular right up is always lights. Make sure that all lights are working. Carry spares when possible. Rear turn signals that are not working are a sure out of service.
Windshield cracks, major chips and tint and window tint on either side of the driver may not place you out of service but do have to be corrected within 15 days of the write up by an officer. Avoid this by not adding window tint to your front side windows or windshield. Get cracked windshields fixed before it spreads across into your vision.
Snow Chain Season…
From Sept. 1 through May 31, all commercial vehicles traveling on I-70 between the Edwards exit (mile point 133) and the Morrison exit (mile point 259) must carry enough chains to be in compliance with the Colorado chain law.
Chains help commercial vehicles traverse the steep climbs often present in the high country. Without chains, vehicles often become disabled, causing traffic delays and sometimes road closures. For the safety of the traveling public, it’s critical to use chains to be in compliance with Colorado’s chain law.
Colorado’s chain law applies to all state, federal and interstate highways, and was initially enacted in 1996. Colorado’s chain law defines commercial vehicles as being used in commerce to transport passengers or property and fitting into one of the following categories:
- Gross combination weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds, inclusive of a towed unit, which has a gross vehicle weight-ratio of more than 10,000 pounds
- Gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds
- Designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver
Colorado has a Truck Parking Guide with a map that shows you chain up locations, parking, exits, and rest stops for I-70, I-25, and I-76. Clicking on the following link you will find helpful hints for crossing the Rockies. https://www.cotrip.org/truckers.htm##chainLaws
With, Star Fleet’s winter driving policies are to be followed when road and weather conditions are hazardous. If you must put chains on you shouldn’t be on the road. Our Customers will not allow us to put chains on the RVs. In the upcoming fall and winter months it is extra important to pre-plan and have plans for adverse weather conditions. Remember more states will soon be following with their chain laws. Check out the chain law app from OOIDA to help you keep up on chain laws for all states and its free.