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Why Vehicle Inspectors Practice What They Do

Truck drivers across North America were subject to the annual Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Roadcheck inspections back in June (2018). You know exactly what we are talking about if you drive a truck for a living. But did you know that inspectors actually practice what they do? They do it to be better at what they do, though some practice in order to compete.

There’s a lot more that goes into truck inspections than meets the eye. In terms of cargo control, truck drivers are all-too-familiar with inspectors checking everything from the number of tie-downs to the actual physical condition of webbing straps and chains. They check hooks, winches, anchor points, bungee straps, and even whether truck tarps are secured well enough to keep them in place.

Inspectors also check the physical condition of the trucks they are looking at. They check everything from tires to breaks and operating lights. And of course, don’t forget hours of service rules and the new ELD mandate. They are looking for anything that could pose a danger on the road – no matter how minor.

Training to Compete

A large number of truck inspectors gathered in Columbus, Ohio this past summer to participate in the CVSA’s North American Inspectors Championship. According to news reports, there were more than four dozen inspectors representing the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, all competing by way of a written test and hands-on demonstrations.

They were competing alongside truckers involved in the National Truck Driving Championships. While truckers were practicing everything from cargo control to turning and backing, inspectors were practicing all the steps that go into doing what they do. When it was time for the competition to commence, both drivers and inspectors hoped to be at the tops of their game.

A truck driver uses chains and straps to securely tie down a load. Drivers practice load tie-down in order to increase their efficiency in the real world of work. The more efficient they are at cargo control, the more time they have to keep the wheels rolling. It is just common sense.

Inspectors are in a similar situation. They practice the skills necessary to conduct complete inspections that are simultaneously efficient. The more trucks they can get in and out of inspection stations, the more they can look at in a given day. This keeps the trucks moving and the roads safe.

Knowing the Regulations and Physics

For both trucker and inspector, the key to success is knowing the regulations and physics of cargo control. Federal law, at least in the U.S. and Canada, is very specific in detailing how truck drivers are supposed to secure cargo to their trailers. One look at the FMCSA’s trucker handbook says it all.

Truckers need to be familiar with the rules so that they maintain compliance. They also need to be familiar with physics. Why? So that they can deploy their cargo control materials in the right way. No webbing strap or chain will do its job if it is not deployed properly.

As for inspectors, they need to have that same knowledge of regulations and physics. It is their job to make sure truckers are complying. If they don’t know what’s going on, they cannot possibly do their jobs.

Truck drivers, you now know that those inspectors you deal with all the time practice what they do. They not only practice to compete, but also to make sure they always operate at the highest possible level. It’s probably not a good idea to put them to the test. They know what they’re doing.

 


Know Your Tow Equipment and How to Use It

America has a lot of unsung heroes who really don’t get the recognition due to them. Among them are tow truck operators who risk their lives every day to recover broken down vehicles. We appreciate the efforts of these towing professionals , which is a primary reason for our decision to stock tow truck supplies including chains, hooks, winches, and towing straps.

This is the time of year we start hearing some of the wildest and craziest stories from tow operators. The later we get in a year, the wilder and crazier those stories will become. You see, winter weather makes already dangerous conditions absolutely treacherous for roadside recoveries. Any tow truck operator who has worked a winter on snow and ice-covered roads can tell stories that would make your hair stand on end.

We say all of that to say this: it is absolutely vital for tow operators to make sure they have all the right equipment on board to safely recover broken-down vehicles. But it is also critically important that operators know how to use that equipment the right way. A little knowledge goes a long way toward both effective and fast vehicle recovery.

Get In, Hook Up, Get Out

It is obviously necessary for tow operators to properly secure recovered vehicles with chains and straps before departing. To that end, rushing through a recovery job is not a good idea. But at the same time, a tow operator wants to get in, hook up, and get out as quickly as possible. Lingering for too long is an open invitation to trouble.

Knowing how to use towing equipment the right way increases both safety and speed. In terms of safety, a properly secured vehicle is a lot less likely to break loose during transport. That should be obvious. But let us talk about the speed question. Remember that a tow operator doesn’t want to hang around on the side of the road for too long.

If you have seen a professional lumberjack competition, you will notice that the men and women competing for the top prize can hack through a log in mere minutes. They are fast and efficient because they know how to use their tools. The same principle applies to operating a tow truck.

A tow operator who knows how to use his or her equipment can, and should, practice doing so. It should become second nature so that, on any given recovery job, the operator doesn’t have to spend 15 to 20 minutes figuring out what needs to be done. The more efficiently an operator can deploy chains and straps, the more quickly he or she can get out of harm’s way.

Know What You Need

Another side to towing equipment is knowing what is needed to complete most recoveries. For example, every tow truck is going to be equipped with a basic inventory of chains, straps, and hooks. But let’s say you operate a towing company in north-central Pennsylvania. Your trucks could be recovering a lot of vehicles from the mountain passes of I-81 this winter.

Your trucks might also need to be equipped with motorized winches and heavy-duty cables. Otherwise, how are you going to get those cars that have managed to find their way into ditches? Once recovered, your drivers may have to deploy some creative tiedown methods to overcome car damage.

Recovering broken-down vehicles is always a sticky situation. Doing it during the winter adds an extra element of danger brought on by severe weather. If you are tow operator, we implore you to make sure you know your tow equipment and how to use it.


Top 4 Reasons to Use Side Mount Wheel Nets for Auto Hauling

Do you agree with the idea that there is a right tool for every job? If so, and if you are a tow truck operator, you probably have an extensive collection of chains, hooks, and tiedown straps on your truck. Do you have side mount wheel nets complete with hooks and ratchets? If not, you probably need some to make hauling easier. These are great tools for securing vehicles prior to transport.

 

We offer several variations of side mount wheel nets in different configurations. We recommend purchasing them either in pairs or lots of four so that you never find yourself one short. If you have never used one of these nets before, we suspect you’ll be a convert the minute you do. They make the job of towing easier and faster than it has ever been before.

Still not convinced? Well, here are the top four reasons to use side mount wheel nets for auto hauling:

1. Fast and Easy Deployment

At the top of the list is the speed at which you can deploy wheel nets. You simply place the loop of the net over the top of the tire and then work it down along the sides until it’s about one-third of the way down. At this point the loop should be completely encircling the top third of the tire.

Next, you use the included hook to secure the strap to your flatbed or tow bar, then deploy the ratchet to tighten it down. With a little practice, you can do this in under a minute. As a side note, the net should always be placed over the tire with the ring facing the rear of the vehicle. That way, the vehicle is pulled forward as you winch down.

2. Webbing Material Is Durable

There is no doubt that chains are pretty durable. But guess what? So is the webbing material used to make wheel nets. You will get plenty of years of reliable service from your nets as long as you take care of them. They stand up well to temperature extremes, precipitation, snow and ice, road debris, and so much more.

3. Webbing Material Is Flexible

While chains may be just as durable as side mount wheel nets, they are not as flexible. There are a lot of sensitive parts on the underside of a car, and you have to be very careful when you’re using chains. Wheel nets are a lot less risky because of their flexibility. They are easier to deploy without damaging anything underneath, and the webbing material itself will never scratch the finish of a car. You still have to be careful with hooks and ratchets.

4. A Cost-Effective Solution

Last but not least is cost. While every tow truck should be equipped with an adequate number of chains, buying chains can get expensive. Wheel nets are a lot more cost-effective. For less than the cost of a good meal at a four-star restaurant, you can purchase a high-quality wheel net more than capable of doing the job.

Save your expensive chains for those tough jobs when they absolutely have to be used. For the rest of your jobs, use side mount wheel nets instead. You will spend less money without sacrificing the integrity of your work.

Mytee Products is proud to serve America’s tow truck operators with a full range of towing equipment and supplies. In addition to side mount wheel nets, we carry a complete range of tiedown straps, hooks, chains, winches, ratchets, and towing lights. Everything you need to fully outfit your truck is available here.


What Auto Hauling Amateurs Should Know

John needs to move an unregistered, uninsured car from one location to another. He can pay a professional to haul the car for him, or he can haul it himself. There is no shortage of amateurs that choose the latter option to their own detriment. Amateurs simply do not know what goes into hauling cars safely.

As a professional auto hauler, you know what it takes to do your job right. We would be willing to bet that you have chuckled in amusement more than once after coming upon a DIY hauler whose methods clearly demonstrate a lack of knowledge. If only amateurs knew what you know. Perhaps their efforts might be a bit safer and more efficient.

A Couple of Straps Won’t Do It

How many times have you noticed an amateur hauling a car – or any kind of vehicle for that matter – on the back of a trailer with only one or two straps keeping the vehicle in place. What a recipe for disaster this is. A couple of straps will not do it if things get ugly for any reason.

The professional uses multiple auto hauling straps and chains to secure the vehicle at as many locations as necessary to keep it secure. You might use wheel straps on each of the four tires along with a chain at the front and back. Even blocking the wheels is not out of the question if necessary.

DIY Hauling Isn’t Cheap

It should be obvious that DIY car haulers do what they do to save a little money. That’s fine. What they don’t know is that DIY hauling isn’t cheap if they are doing it correctly. There is more to it than borrowing your neighbor’s utility trailer, loading your car onto it, and heading down the highway in a state of ignorant bliss.

First and foremost, you need the right kind of trailer capable of handling the weight. Next, you need the right kind of trailer hitch. Next are the various straps and chains necessary to secure the vehicle to the trailer. And finally, there is the matter of informing your insurance company that you are planning to haul a car. DIY car haulers may have to add a temporary rider to their insurance to cover an accident.

There Are Federal, State, and Local Laws

If equipment and costs are not enough to dissuade the DIY car hauler, he or she is probably not aware that there are certain federal, state, and local laws that have to be followed. The starting point are federal and state laws that require cargo to be secured properly prior to transport. These rules apply to anyone and everyone on the road regardless of what they are driving.

Beyond secure cargo are additional rules covering everything from load limits to licensing regulations. Having a truck, trailer, and car to haul doesn’t necessarily mean a person is moving a car legally. And without a good knowledge of the law, a DIY car hauler is taking a risk. Being cited for improper hauling is actually more common than people realize.

As a professional, you know what you’re doing every time you load a car and carry it away. You also know how important it is to have an ample supply of straps, chains, and other tools on board whenever you go out on a new job. That’s where Mytee Products can help.

Our line of car hauling and towing supplies will keep your toolbox filled no matter what kind of work you do. From straps and chains to emergency lights, we have everything you need to safely haul cars.


Get Ready for the 2018 CVSA Roadcheck

We tend to devote a lot of our blog space to talking about things like truck tarps, tow truck accessories, and supplies for farming operations. We want to deviate a bit with this post by talking about the annual CVSA Roadcheck. It is now less than one month away.

Every year the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts their annual Roadcheck event as a way to remind both truck drivers and motor carriers to go the extra mile to make sure they are in compliance. Every year that Roadcheck has a different focus.

Last year’s focus was cargo control. Inspectors were out in full force during the first week of June checking everything from tie-downs to the integrity of chains and ratchet straps. Thousands of trucks were found in violation, many of which were taken out of service until problems were rectified.

Hours of Service Rules for 2018

The Roadcheck this year focuses on drivers’ hours of service. As you know, the ELD mandate that went into effect this past December makes it a requirement for drivers to track their on-duty hours using an electronic logging device. Although ELD enforcement has been spotty to date, the annual Roadcheck is an opportunity to remind drivers that strict enforcement will begin in earnest very soon.

Whether you agree with the ELD mandate or not, it is what it is. It is a necessary part of modern trucking. The mandate is the same for open deck drivers, dry van haulers, reefer drivers, tanker haulers, and even hazmat drivers.

Be sure you are prepared by having a working ELD on your truck. Also start paying a lot more attention to your pre-trip inspections. Law enforcement will be looking at other things as well during the 2018 Roadcheck.

Don’t Forget Cargo Control

As experts in cargo control for the trucking industry, we are smart enough to know that CVSA inspectors will not be ignoring violations just because the focus of this year’s Roadcheck event is hours of service. They will still be looking at how well cargo is secured.

Now would be a good time to go through your inventory of cargo control supplies to make sure you have everything you need to do the job safely and in full compliance. If any of your ratchet straps are worn for example, replace them now. Do not wait for an inspector to give you the evil eye and a possible violation.

Make sure you have enough straps, chains, and blocks on board. Make sure you are paying attention to working load limits as well as the length and width of your loads. And if you’re not utilizing a bulkhead at the front of your open deck trailer, refresh your memory on the extra tie-downs necessary to prevent your loads from shifting.

Let’s Do Better Than Last Year

Although the results of last year’s Roadcheck were comparatively good, there were still far too many violations found. Let’s all work together to do better this year. Let us show CVSA inspectors and the general public that our industry does truly care about safety and regulations.

If you are having any trouble with your ELD, contact its manufacturer or your employer, if applicable. For cargo control supplies, contact us at Mytee Products. We have everything you need to haul just about any kind of load.

The 2018 CVSA Roadcheck is almost upon us. Are you ready? Hopefully you are, because the first week of June will be here before you know it. And with it will come on army of inspectors and law enforcement officers looking for violations.