ExpressIFTA Blog

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

3 Tips for Car Drivers from Truckers

Alright Trucking Nation, usually we send trucking tips your way, but today we’re gonna take a change of pace.

Instead of offering advice to the good truckers of America, we’re shifting gears and letting the four wheelers out there know what they can do to make the road a safer place for everybody.

#1: Pay Attention

With distracted driving becoming a major issue (hello smart phones?), the road is even more dangerous than before.

I mean how many times has a trucker looked out their window to see a four wheeler pull up on their iPhone, realize they need to merge, and then hide their phone as they speed in front of them?

If I had to guess, I’d say plenty of times. Sure, we know that phones are always connected. You’re bound to get a text or a call while you’re on the road. But make sure you pay attention to the road as a four wheeler

#2: Watch Those Mirrors

I’m sure you’ve seen a sign on a truck that says “if you can’t see our mirrors, we can’t see you.”

You probably see that sign all the time. You might even ignore it now that you’ve seen it so much.

But really, don’t tailgate trucks. Don’t hide in the blind spots of trucks. That means the sides, too!

Come on, you’ve probably seen a truck run a car off the road, or get pretty close. It’s never intentional, and that kind of incident would just cause a trucker to lose money or their job.

Most likely, that car was hiding in the blind spot.

Do your best to not hide beside a truck. If you ever find yourself in that blind zone, get around the truck or slow down to get away from it.

#3: Lane Passing

Sometimes you’re zipping down the interstate and realize you’re about to pass your exit—so you put the pedal to the metal and make it all the way across a four lane highway in a matter of seconds.

If you cross a tractor trailer, there’s a chance you could cause an accident from them OR the other car in their blind spot.

We know it’s tempting to go for the three-lane switch, but you have no clue what is on the other side of a truck as you cross over.

Going back to mirrors and blind spots, if you can’t see around a truck, don’t assume what's on the other side.

Speaking of blind spots—don’t let the 2nd Quarter IFTA deadline catch you off guard. Start tracking your fuel expenses early by recording fuel receipts and unlimited ProMiles tracking with TruckLogics. Sign up for a free 15-day trial today!

What are your tips for four wheeler drivers?

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Whatever Happened to the Cabover Engine?

Most of you know what a cabover truck is, but some of our rookie drivers may be less familiar.

Cabover engines are a style of big rig truck where the nose of the semi is flat and the truck cab sits on top of the diesel engine and steering axle.

For decades across the American highways, you’d see the reliable cab over engine (COE) semi-tractor chugging along, hauling freight from coast to coast.

Today, you can drive across the country and chances are, you won’t even see one.

So we ask you, whatever happened to the COE?

History of the COE

How did the cabover engine begin? Well, the best way to increase payload space while working within a length restriction was to stack your cab on your engine.

After World War II, cabovers became even more common in hauling goods across America's roadways.

By the 60s and 70s, interstate highways connected the most rural areas of America, increasing both trucking traffic and trailer lengths. But still, the eastern half of the US had very restrictive laws about the overall length of a vehicle, so trucking equipment had to adapt.

Restrictions of the COE

In fact, manufacturers competed to shrink their cab size and increase freight capacity. Of course, this worked great for shippers, but left a less than desirable amount of breathing room for drivers.

But the western staff had a different set of regulations, which emphasized spreading a larger amount of weight over a longer span to reduce road damage.

There were some positives to cabovers. Without the large hood, these trucks had great maneuverability and visibility. Whether you were winding through heavy traffic or backing into a dock, the shortened wheelbase gave you a tighter turning radius.

But the decreased comforts ranged from the hard-to-reach sleeper bunk, less insulation, and a rougher ride. Not to mention the noise! Sitting on top of an engine is louder than sitting behind one.

But most importantly, a long hood rig is a safer option for drivers as far as accidents go. And the few modern manufacturers who produce cabovers do meet current safety standards, so it’s not all a dangerous journey.

If you’re driving a cabover or a long-hood rig, you know that you still need to prepare for the 2nd Quarter IFTA deadline. Sure, it’s more than a few months away, but now is the time to get started. But rest assured, the crew at ExpressIFTA will be here at (704) 234-6005 to help you get ready.

Did you ever get behind the wheel of a cabover? Let us know on Facebook!

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