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Sharing the Road with Tractor Trailers

Posted by mandy on March 8th, 2011

Children marvel at their size, those who drive may fear them and they appear across all major roadways in the United States – we are talking about tractor trailers and here in the U.S., they remain one of the most efficient ways to transport cargo cross country.

While inexperienced drivers might be intimidated by these hulking transports, sharing the road with tractor trailers doesn’t have to be a frightening or exceedingly dangerous experience. The following are a few tips for promoting harmony on the highways.

Watch for Driver’s Blind Spots

Some, but not all, trailers come equipped with a standard sign displaying “no zones.” These detail the driver’s large blind spots. These are areas to be avoided. No zones exist on all four sides of the tractor trailer. If the trailer you are approaching does not have a sign displaying these zones, one general rule is to always keep one of the side mirrors in view. If you cannot see the driver’s mirrors, it is highly unlikely the driver is aware of the location of your vehicle. Being aware of the other driver’s limited awareness is one of the best safety measures you can take when sharing the road. Even if you think the driver can see you, pay attention to any and all indicator lights.

Use Caution During Inclimate Weather

Special consideration must be taken with tractor trailers during harsh weather. Even with an empty trailer, the weight is considerable, and this becomes quite dangerous when the roads are slick due to ice, snow, or heavy rain. When navigating around tractor trailers during these conditions, important factors such as the driver’s ability to brake successfully must be taken into consideration. Remember that it is generally easier to stop a sedan than it is to stop a fully loaded trailer. Of course, bear in mind that all drivers should exercise caution during harsh weather and other dangerous road conditions.

Be Considerate

It should go without saying, but courtesy goes a long way in promoting safety on the road. Instead of cutting off tractor trailers or prohibiting drivers from changing lanes, try to be considerate. Too many accidents occur thanks to recklessness and carelessness.

Sharing the road with tractor trailers does not have to be an intimidating task. Simply being vigilant accounts for a great deal of the strategy for promoting road safety.

Kim is a contributing writer for TruckerToTrucker.com, a site which provides information for trucking professionals and those who are interested in commercial truck financing and tow truck insurance.

Vintage Cars Now and Twenty Years Ago

Posted by mandy on May 3rd, 2010

When many people hear the word vintage or antique tire they immediately get an image of an old beat up, worn out treadles piece of rubber. That’s funny though it actually has nothing to do with an actual antique tire or vintage wheels . So, before you get too bent out of shape or disturbed by hearing there are great deals on antique tires out there, you can rest at ease to know that it simply refers to a design and style that is not only reminiscent of vintage automobiles but is also fitting for those that are in existence and still being driven around.

In fact, antique car restoration is becoming an increasing hobby turned passion for many people. This actually makes sense when considered in relationship to the fact that backyards and garages have had a broken down fix up car in them since cars were invented and most men have had some kind of a fix it project in the works at some point in their lives. Interestingly, what is considered to be vintage changes with the years and a 1985 Chevy Camaro is now vintage, when twenty years ago a 1967 Mustang or 1962 Corvette was the vintage model. Of course these cars are incredibly cool today as well.

When considering antique tires and wheels, the models go back further and refer to early models of cars. In addition to some of the actual refurbished cars there are also car kits and build your own varieties that emulate the originals. There are even some people who love the look of antique tires and choose to use them on their contemporary model. This, however, can be a tricky process and it is not typically recommended. While tires and cars can be compatible with various styles and sizes you do need to be careful that you are buying tires that are appropriate for your vehicle. Otherwise this can adversely affect your car’s performance and possible even put your safety at risk. Besides, antique tires would look silly on a new SUV, don’t you think?

Time to Buy New Tires? Know the Sidewall Code

Posted by mandy on September 14th, 2009

How does one know that they are choosing the right tire for their vehicle?  Well, aside from asking the people at the facility in which one goes to buy new tires,  there are many things about tires that one can become knowledgeable about in order to know for themselves that they are getting what they want and what they need.  One of the most common mistakes made by people is not getting the right sized tires when replacing their old ones.  One simple way to know a tire, is to look at the code on the side of the wall of the tire.  All tires have this code.

The tire code will begin with the letter “P”, which signifies the kind of tire, in this case, for a passenger vehicle.  If the code begins with “LT”, the tire is meant for use on a light truck.  These tires have a higher carrying capacity and are used on most pick-up trucks and SUVs.  Two numbers follow, and they signify the width, and the ratio of the tire compared to that width.  If the letter “R” follows these numbers, it means that this is a radial tire.  Two more numbers follow and they define the rim’s diameter as measured in inches, and the load rate for the tire.

The next letter will indicate the speed rate for that particular tire.  The speeds range from ninety nine to one hundred eighty six MPH.  The most common letters one will find for this is “T” or “H”.  At one hundred eighteen and one hundred thirty, these far exceed the usually posted speed limits in the United States.  However, if one takes long road trips regularly, these are great tires to have.  Long amounts of time driving at once will raise the heat of the tire, and the ones with higher ratings dissipate the heat quicker.

This is something to take into consideration as the more heat,the quicker the wear on the tire.  For those that are going to spend most of their time driving in town, at relatively lower speeds, the rating of “S”, which is one hundred twelve MPH will be just fine.  If the speed rating is followed by an “M” and an “S”, this means that the tire is suitable for driving in all seasons.  This code made seem hard to understand, but when broken down, it is a simple way to know for oneself, the tires that are appropriate for their vehicle.

Middle of the Night Do It Yourself Auto Repair on the ’67 Chevy

Posted by mandy on September 14th, 2009

One night, while driving to Los Angeles for a college road-trip, the car broke down in the middle of a mountain pass.  We were three kids, who knew nothing about cars, except that you got into them, turned the key, pushed ‘play’ on the cassette player, and stepped on the gas.  It was hot.  For although it was midnight, it was August in the Southwest desert, and the temperatures were still quite high.  We were in my best friend’s ’67 Chevy Mach II.  The Mach II part may make it seem as though it was some kind of race car, but it was a white, four door car we often referred to as the ‘Granny Mobile”, it was very, very fast however.

So, we were sitting on the side of the road, with steam and hot water shooting out from the engine, when a kind trucker pulled over to see if he could help.  Luckily this guy, who had spent most of his last twenty years or so on the road, knew a bit about the concept of do it yourself auto repair.  We were a bit flustered, as he asked to see the factory manual in order to read up on the best way to deal with this small engine repair.  Manuals were not something we kept handy at the time, and after all, the car was circa 1967, and we were circa…19 years old.  Nothing is supposed to break down when one is 19 years old.

This older gentleman, now I am his age and do not like to consider myself ‘older’, gave us a kind but stern talking to about heading out on road trips without thoroughly checking our vehicle before hand.  And on top of that, he said that whether one is traveling by truck, by car or by motorcycle, manuals should always be stored in a safe place, for situations just as these.  So, without a manual for a guide, he took a look under the hood of the ’67 Chevy and found that the radiator hose had blown.  He went to his truck and came back with duct tape, cardboard and some tin foil.  He fixed up the hose so we would make to our LA beach destination, and told us to get to a mechanic as soon as possible.  My best friend sold that car about five years later, with the duct tape, the card board and some tin foil, still intact.

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