Hot Weather Tire Safety Tips

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Extreme summer heat seems to be hanging around in many parts of the country, which can bring extra concerns out on the road. Keep these simple tire safety tips in mind when the temperatures climb.

 

 

  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated. When the air is too low the tire creates more heat because of excess flexing.  This not only affects the handling and fuel economy, but it also causes the tires to wear out faster and make the chances of heat related tire damage higher. Buy a good quality gauge; don’t rely on only a visual check. According to the rubber manufacturers of America (RMA), a tire can lose up to half of its inflation pressure and still not appear to be flat. Tires can lose one PSI every month, so it’s important to check pressure in all tires at least once a month. Check tires when they  are cool for the best, most accurate readings. Air pressure in a tire goes up in warm weather and down in cold weather- approximately 1-2 pounds for every 10 degrees of temperature change.
  • Don’t overload your vehicle.  Too much weight can put extra pressure on those tires, which is never a good idea.  This is especially true in hot weather.
  • Always check tire tread for uneven spots, excessive wear, and foreign objects. Worn tires are more likely to be damaged, so keeping on top of the wear and tear on your tires is very important. Be sure to check tire walls as well for any bulges, gouges, cuts, or deep abrasions. A good rule of thumb: tires with tread worn down to 2/32 of an inch or less are not considered safe and should be replaced. When in doubt, try the penny test: insert a penny into the tire’s tread, and position it with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires.
  • Obey the speed limit. Lower speeds put less damage on the tires, while heavy speeding during long periods of hot weather can increase temperature and friction.

Useful Apps for Truck Driving

phoneThere’s no question it takes a special type of person to hit the open road and work as a trucker, moving the goods of America from coast to coast.  While the days of struggling to find the right road in a Rand McNally road atlas are gone, the change in technology can be a huge boost to truckers who now have a wide variety of helpful apps they can grab right off of their smart phone to make life easier on the road.  In no particular order, here are ten great apps for truck driving that every driver may want to consider getting on their smart phone or tablet:

Big Road Free Trucker Log
This phone app is designed specifically for use with Android devices only, but it’s a great tool for keeping track of your mileage as well as every other part of the trucker’s daily log.

Trucker App & GPS for Truckers
Offers invaluable turn-by-turn voice-guided directions with satellite or map views, with re-routing option so you can avoid areas you don’t want to travel through. Also lets you view travel centers, weight stations, travel centers and more. Includes an easy-to-use MPG price calculator. For Android devices only.

Skype App
This is a great way to keep in touch with family and loved ones when pulled over for a break, the night, or a meal.  The ability to actually see your family as opposed to just hearing your voice can be a big deal for those long trips. Available for Android and Apple products.

Netflix App
For entertainment purposes, it’s hard to beat seeing a good new movie or TV series just out on Netflix. The easy-to-use site offers a huge variety of movies and shows; great for passing the time on a break or before calling it a night. Available for Android and Apple products.

Fuel Dawg
 Fluctuating gas prices are enough to make anyone crazy, especially those on the road every day. Fuel Dawg  searches its data base of over 7,000 locations to find the cheapest diesel fuel near the user’s location. Features of the truck stops are also displayed, including showers, parking, repair options, etc. For Android products only; another similar app that gets rave reviews and is available for Apple: GasBuddy.

iHeartRadio
 This app gives access to thousands of songs in many different styles – so you don’t have to rely on the one or two sole radio stations in the area for your music. Available for Android and Apple products.

Audible
 A great alternative to music apps, this one offers up a wide selection of audio books. Available for Android and Apple products.

Truck Driver Forum
 Good social app that allows truck drivers to connect with one another sharing advice, warnings, or stories of all types.

Around Me
 This will help a trucker identify anything in the area from local restaurants to truck stops, hotels, sites to see, and whatever else there are files on in the area. Available for Android and Apple products.

LoseIt!
 For truck drivers looking to count calories and keep the gut in check, this is one of the most popular calorie counting apps out there. Available for Android and Apple products.

If you have some favorite apps for truck driving that you use regularly, please let us know so we can highlight them in a future blog post. 

8 Legends In Our Placard Set: What Do They Mean?

Image of truck placard set from US Cargo ControlOur placard set is one of our best-selling items in our vehicle and driver supplies, due in part to its versatility- eight different legends are available with the quick switch of the plates. The hazardous materials placard’s legends cover a wide variety of labels for whatever hazardous materials you find yourself hauling.  These meet the all-important requirements from 49 CFR Part 172.519 of all hazmat codes.  So one question really makes sense: what are the eight legends in the placard set and what does it take to use each?

Dangerous

The “Dangerous” placard needs to be used if the shipment in question has non-bulk packages of two or more of these other placards, meaning multiple signs are required.  This could be if a chemical was flammable and explosive, for example, or chemical and combustible, etc.

Corrosive (Class 8)

To be considered corrosive, the material can be solid or liquid, but its main trait is that if a person comes into contact with it, the “full destruction” of human skin will occur within a certain amount of time after contact.  Also any liquid that can corrode steel or aluminum is also considered corrosive in nature.

Flammable Liquid (Class 3)

A liquid is considered Class 3 flammable when it has a flash point of not more than 60.5°C (141°F), or also for any liquid that has a flash point above 37.8°C (100°F) that is intentionally heated, and is transported at or above flash point in bulk packaging.

Flammable Gas (Class 2)Image of truck placard from US Cargo Control

The Class 2 flammable gas legend is for any gas that is compressed and stored for transportation, and is also flammable when put into contact with an open flame.

Non-Flammable Gas (Class 2)

To use the non-flammable gas legend you’re looking at any gas that is compressed for transportation but is not naturally flammable, according to the HAZMAT Class 2 gas requirements in the United States.

Inhalation Hazard (Class 6)

This designation is for any poisonous material other than a gas that is known to be toxic and possibly fatal to humans.  Toxic gas gets a designation of poisonous gas, so is separate from this one.

Oxidizer (Class 5.1)

You can use the oxidizer legend when hauling any chemical that readily yields oxygen in reactions, which is a fancy way of saying it can cause combustion or enhance any combustion taking place.

Image of semi truck placard from US Cargo ControlPoison (Class 6)

Any material being hauled that is known to be toxic to people and presents a health hazard during transportation (other than gas) is classified as a poison.

You can find more information online at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) page: Hazmat regulations.

Have a College-Bound Kid? 9 Tips to Help Tackle the Move

moving day

The summer moving season is still in full swing, which means college moving time is coming up fast! If this is your first time sending off a son or daughter, take a look at some moving tips we’ve compiled to make the move to dorm life a smooth one.

1. Keep hanging clothes on hangers. This will save time and space once you’ve arrived. Rather than having to unpack folded clothes and then hang them, you’ll be able to open a box and put them away immediately. Wardrobe boxes work great, and offer a space on the bottom for shoes, bags, or other small items. If you don’t have room for wardrobe boxes, group hangers together in small groups and cover with large plastic garbage bags, poking the hanger tops through the top of the bag. Don’t forget to pack a few extra hangers for those college sweatshirts and t-shirts that most like will be purchased throughout the year.

2. Invest in a hand truck. This can turn several trips to and from the car into just few.

3. Don’t forget the bungee cords. Great for strapping smaller items to the hand truck, bundling items together for easy carrying, keeping box tops secured, holding doors open, etc. Big rubber bands are also a good option.

4. Unpack before you go. Be sure and un-package anything you can before you leave home, i.e., dorm refrigerator, new toaster, etc. This will save space in the vehicle and will save time once you arrive. Plus, you won’t have to be concerned with disposing of more empty boxes or haul them back home. Also assemble items if possible too- put a light bulb in the desk lamp, batteries in the TV remote, etc.

5. Organize at home. On a similar note as #4, pack storage drawers and under bed boxes at home before you set off for campus. If your child plans to use a plastic storage drawers, consider arranging them at home with the items he or she intends to put in them. Once you arrive, it’s ready to go, and also saves unpacking a box or two.

6. Take pictures. Snap photos of the dorm room before move-in to document any missing drawer knobs, marks on the walls, etc. This way when move-out day arrives in the spring you won’t be charged for any miscellaneous damage/issues.

7. Label everything. Be sure and label all boxes, bags, etc. with name, dorm and room number before you even pack them in your car. Some colleges have crews ready and waiting at the curb to help families unload. Making sure everything is labeled will ensure it all gets to the right room.

8. Pack in order. Pack bedding in your son or daughter’s laundry sack or hamper in order of how you’ll make the bed: comforter on bottom, sheets in the middle, pillow cases/shams on the top. SpaceBags are also a great way to pack bulky linens. Also  pack a bag with essentials you know you’ll need right away: chargers, power strip, etc.

9. Add these to your list:

  • Extension cord
  • Trash bags
  • Scissors
  • Command hooks
  • Duct tape
  • Broom
  • Batteries
  • Fan
  • Paper towels
  • Door stop
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Tools
  • Quarters for vending machine,  washing machine, parking meter, etc.

Being as prepared as possible before you even leave the house is the best way to start this life-changing journey. Have some college moving tips to share? Please add them below!

 

 

10 Great Uses for Seatbelt Webbing

image of gray seatbelt webbing from us cargo controlWhen you hear about seatbelt webbing, you may get some great ideas for one or two uses, but are you really getting the most out of our high quality polyester webbing, or not?  Why keep this great material to just one or two uses when it can be used in so many different areas around your property?  Just take a look at the basic list of ten great uses for our seatbelt webbing, and let it give you ideas for the best ways you can use this excellent durable material.

#1 Custom tie downs

Add any type of tie down hardware like ratchet buckles, hooks, S-hooks, etc., and you can create tie down straps custom-made for a variety of tie-down jobs: hauling motorcycles, securing a tarp on a boat, attaching gear to a 4-wheeler, etc. You can even use multiple straps to create a custom cargo net. Seat belt webbing is thinner than typical polyester webbing, so it’s great for jobs where you need strength but in a thinner profile.

#2 Replace broken straps or handles

Instead of throwing out broken bags, backpacks, golf bags, etc., just create new, stronger straps from our seatbelt webbing, right to the exact length you need. The polyester web is also easy to add to camera bags, guitars and more, to make them easier to carry or handle.

#3 Make custom length leashes for large dogs

Not every dog is going to require the same type of leash, even among the same breeds.  You can create a custom length dog leash for the family’s best four legged friend and make sure it’s just right for walker and walkee.

#4 Replace older seat belt web

Our seatbelt webbing is an economically friendly alternative to many other types of webbing and straps used for the same exact purposes.

#5 Create “storage baskets” from rafters

Need places to hang tool boxes from in the garage or hang baskets of miscellaneous stuff where it’s easy to grab, but not taking up counter space?  Here you go!

#6 Add safety strap to open shelves

Have some shelves proving a little too narrow for heavy boxes?  Add safety straps across each shelf to keep all your stored things in place!

 #7 Create storage space on open walls in a garage or shed

If you have open wall studs in your garage, attach a length of seatbelt webbing across the wall, to allow for rakes, tools, etc. to be stacked and held in place between the stud. Also great for creating short straps to secure garbage cans to a wall, propping a door open on a barn, fastening around a tool box or other cargo during transit, and more!

#8 Repair lawn chairs or hammocks

Sometimes also called lawn chair webbing, the durable, low-stretch polyester is ideal for fixing or reinforcing framed lawn chairs, even hammocks and other outdoor furniture.

#9 Use as lifting straps for heavy loads

Lifting straps can be a great tool, as anyone who has ever worked on a farm and had to lift unwieldy bales of hay or bags of feed from one place to another.  Use these to make the lifting easier on you and your workers!

#10 Secure tents

The wide 2″ width of polyester webbing is perfect for reinforcing straps on tents. And because the polyester resists water absorption, it won’t rot or mildew like some all-natural ropes can.

Those are ten great reasons to go with our seatbelt webbing, which gives all the benefits of polyester webbing and often at a less expensive price.

 

 

 

 

Iowa 80: World’s Largest Truckstop

Iowa80_East EntranceWe recently had a great story idea about featuring a list of some of the top truckstops across the country. After some quick researching on the web, one place kept coming up on the trucking forums: the Iowa 80, also known as the World’s Largest Truckstop. And since it’s not far from us here in NE Iowa, we thought it was fitting to feature this popular stop with a post of its own.

The sprawling Iowa 80 truckstop is tucked away in SE Iowa in the town of Walcott, just off of Interstate 80. Founded in 1964 by Bill Moon when he was employed with Standard Oil, Moon took over management of the property a year later for Amoco, and started adding amenities based on what he was hearing from truck-driving customers. Moon purchased the property from Amoco in 1984 and it’s continued to grow and change to meet the needs of truckers.

The truck stop is still managed by the Moon family and now rivals a small town. Along with the standard truckstop amenities like showers, coffee, and an ATM, other services include washers/dryers, a movie theater, church services, barber shop, DOT physician, chiropractor, dentist, truck wash, dog wash, a trucking museum, a super truck showroom, and a full service truck center. For visitors tired of standard convenience store food, there’s a full service restaurant that seats 300, as well Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Caribou Coffee, Wendy’s, Dairy Queen, and a Blimpie sub shop on site.

Heather DeBaillie, Marketing Manager at the Iowa 80 Group, says the company is excited to be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year. “We’ve had the privilege of serving millions of people over the years and in some cases we are now serving 4th generation drivers.”

A few of the attractions include:

Truckers Jamboree

Since the first Jamboree in 1979, this event is the only of its kind to celebrate America’s truck drivers. Held over a weekend each July, attractions include nearly 200 exhibits, a Super Truck Beauty Contest, carnival games, live music, Trucker Olympics, an antique truck display, and fireworks.

Trucking MuseumCornpatch Cadillac

An amazing collection of more than 60 antique trucks and memorabilia is on display for visitors, which also features audio narratives available through free smart phone apps. The museum also has its own website, which features a list of trucks currently on display, offers information on field trips, an annual golf tournament, and more.

Super Truck Showroom

This 30,000-square foot space houses everything from mud flaps and mirrors to lighting and locks. Sales experts are on hand to help with questions as well. A custom shop is available for embroidery, vinyl, and laser engraving for DOT standards, clothing, business cards, etc., making it truly a one-stop shop.

Other Iowa 80 stops

Obviously not in Iowa, but did you know there are other stops in the country managed by the same Iowa80 group? Be sure to check out these stops:

Kenly 95 Petro in Kenly, North Carolina

Oak Grove 70 Petro in Oak Grove, Missouri

Joplin 44 in Joplin, Missouri

Do you have a favorite truckstop? Drop us a message or reply below and let us know- it just may be featured on a future blog post!