More from: tire chains

It’s Time for Your Winter Inventory Check

With winter just a few months away, now is the right time for the trucker’s annual winter inventory check. Look through your toolboxes to make sure you have exactly what you need for tough winter driving and cargo control. Repair what needs fixing, replace what needs to be replaced, and buy any additional trucking supplies you need to fill in gaps in your inventory.

truck-winter

Mytee Products has everything you need for safe and productive winter driving. We invite you to browse our entire inventory for the following critical supplies:

Truck Tarps
Every trucker who does flatbed work needs to have a full selection of tarps on hand at all times. During the winter months, the trucker’s choice of tarps can mean the difference between adequate protection and taking risks with cargo. In terms of fabrics, there are three main choices:

  • Poly Tarps
    Made of polyethylene or polypropylene, poly tarps are considered all-purpose tarps. They are generally UV-treated and waterproof, so they’re not bad as general tools for cargo control. They may not be the best choice during harsh winter weather that can include very low temperatures.
  • Vinyl Tarps
    Also known as heavy duty tarps or machinery tarps, vinyl tarps tend to be the strongest and most durable that truckers can buy. They provide the most resistance against stress, tearing and abrasions, and they can handle cold temperatures exceptionally well. The best vinyl tarps on the market don’t even flinch at temperatures well below zero.
  • Canvas Tarps
    Canvas tarps are a good choice when breathability is an issue. They also handle cold temperatures well, but struggle with standing water. Canvas tarps are subject to mold growth and could tear as a result of ice buildup. It is advisable to use them with caution during the winter.

Tires and Chains

Every trucker knows how critical tires are in bad weather. Good tires are essential during the winter months, as are chains. Make sure all of your tires are in good condition before winter weather sets in. We also advise truckers who frequently travel through areas requiring tire chains to purchase their own rather than relying on chain banks. We carry both singles and doubles.

Straps, Binders, and Winches

Cold temperatures and high winds can make securing cargo a real challenge during the winter. Cargo control is easier when the truck driver has the right kinds of supplies in good working condition. Therefore, check your toolbox for an ample supply of mesh and bungee straps, binders, winches, and chains. If any of your straps are worn, keep in mind that cold temperatures could cause them to fail at any point. Worn straps should be replaced.

Along with straps, binders and winches, drivers should have an ample supply of corner and edge protectors. Remember that even vinyl tarps can get brittle in cold temperatures. Where corner and edge protectors may not be necessary during the warmer temperatures of summer, they could make a real difference in protecting your tarps once temperatures drop.

Get What You Need Now

Investing in the trucking supplies you need for winter earlier ensures that you will receive everything you order before the weather begins to get troublesome. Winter weather makes for more difficult driving even with the proper supplies on hand. Don’t make your job more difficult than it needs to be this winter by ignoring your inventory of trucking supplies. Order your supplies from Mytee Products; if we do not have something you need, contact us anyway. We might be able to get it for you.

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Winter Driving 101: Do You Know How to Chain Your Tires?

It only takes a few inches of wet snow and a slight incline to stop a truck in its tracks. Once stopped, a big rig weighing 10,000 pounds or more suddenly becomes a serious problem. That’s why tire chains are required in some locales where snow and ice are routine problems every winter. So when posed with the question: Do you know how to chain your tires? It is surprising to learn how many truckers do not learn this procedure.

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The East Oregonian ran a story on February 8 (2016) profiling two men who work as certified tire chain installers along a 30-mile stretch of I-84 in the northern part of Oregon. These certified installers are among a group of five certified by the Oregon Department of Transportation to help truckers install tire chains when necessary. This particular crew is called into action, whenever the DOT declares chains are required on their stretch of highway.

According to the East Oregonian story, professional tire chain helpers often find themselves helping truckers, who have never installed chains before. Some of the drivers are new to the truck driving occupation; others have worked for companies, with policies in place instructing drivers to park when conditions are severe enough to require chains. The pros say the biggest problem they encounter among inexperienced drivers, is chains that are not put on tight enough.

Chains that are too loose are prone to falling off without warning. That could be a big problem in the middle of a steep grade where there is very little room for error. Lose a chain while climbing and it is nearly impossible to get it back on again. The pros make a point of getting chains as tight as humanly possible. More impressively, they can completely chain a truck and get it on its way in about 20 minutes.

Know Your Company Policy

The best advice we can give truckers starts with understanding company policy. If your company expects you to keep running even in the snow, it is important that you learn how to apply chains quickly and effectively. You might also want to maintain a supply of chains on your truck just in case state DOTs either don’t lend them or run out during a heavy snowstorm.

Company drivers who are encouraged by their employers to park during heavy snow should obviously abide by those recommendations. Pressing on in extreme weather and winding up in an accident, not only jeopardizes one’s own safety and health, but it could also jeopardize one’s job. It’s better to just park and wait it out, than to violate company policy.

Independent contractors should certainly consider purchasing chains as well. We carry them here at Mytee, along with a full range of truck tires for all positions. The right combination of tires and chains will keep you on the road except under the most extreme conditions.

Making a Living in the Snow

We commend the dedicated workers in Oregon who brave miserable weather conditions to help truckers apply tire chains. It cannot be easy to spend an entire workday kneeling in the snow, being dripped on by dirty, melting snow underneath wheel hubs, and constantly having to worry about other truck traffic that could be potentially deadly. These individuals certainly deserve the respect of the entire trucking community.

Should you ever have need of their services, we hope you will show them your appreciation and respect. Getting professional help to chain your tires will get you back on the road quicker and ensure that your chains are properly fastened. Everybody wins in the end.

Sources:

  • East Oregonian – http://www.eastoregonian.com/eo/local-news/20160208/chain-men-embrace-cold-and-dirty-job

Tires and Tire Chains: Time to Get Ready for Winter

The beginning of the football season means something outside the sporting world – that winter is just around the corner! In some places like Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado and northern California, the snow will not even wait until the official start of winter in December. Truckers need to begin planning for winter driving now. Those plans include key components – tires and tire chains.

Owner-operators and large carriers, need to examine truck tires to make sure there is sufficient tread to make for a safe winter season. Just a trace of snow can be treacherous when tires are worn. As for tire chains, much of the planning centers around where your trucks normally travel and the various state laws having to do with chaining up.

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Truckers who operate from I-80 north should seriously consider carrying chains on board at all times. The same goes for many parts of Colorado between high I-80 and I-70. Weather can change rapidly enough that chains may be needed at a moment’s notice. Furthermore, the states are not necessarily cooperative in maintaining consistent laws across state lines. Below are two examples: California and Colorado.

California Law and Chain Announcements

The law in California does not stipulate specific times of the year when chains are necessary. Chaining is a decision left entirely up to Caltrans. If the weather does necessitate chain use, officials from Caltrans will send out a bulletin and activate signs located along the affected roadways. It is then up to drivers to make sure their vehicles are in compliance.

California has three different requirements depending on weather conditions and vehicles. For truck drivers, there is a choice between chains, cable chains, and spiders. However, cable chains are not permitted on some roadways under some weather conditions because they are not deemed reliable enough.

Affected roots in California include Interstate 8, Interstate 15, U.S. Highway 50, Interstate 5, and a few others. The law in California is significantly different compared to other states, like Colorado for example.

Colorado Chaining Laws

The chaining law in Colorado applies to every state, federal and interstate road in the state. Colorado has two levels of chaining requirements, depending on the severity of conditions. Furthermore, there are specific stretches of I-70 on which truck drivers are required to carry chains with them at all times from September through May.

Colorado does offer chaining banks where drivers without chains can pick them up as needed. However, drivers are better off buying their own chains if they regularly pass through Colorado on I-70. Otherwise, it is too easy to arrive at a chain bank only to find there are none left. Drivers found in violation of the law could face fines of up to $500. Blocking traffic as a result of not chaining up could double that fine.

Mytee Products carries a full line of tires and tire chains for America’s truckers. Our tire chains come in a variety of sizes, in both single and double configurations. If you do not see the right chains for your tires on our website, please contact us directly for more information. We may still be able to provide what you need.

We also carry a full line of tires for drive, trailer, and all positions. Once again, you may not see the particular size you need for your rig on our website. Nevertheless, we can likely still provide what you need if you give our sales department a call.

Winter is on its way so don’t get caught off guard by not having the right tires and tire chains. Prepare now before the first signs of snow fall.

Sources:

  • OOIDA – http://www.ooida.com/EducationTools/Info/chain-laws.asp

Securing Tarps for Potentially Bad Weather

Powerful storms that included tornadoes swept through Illinois in early April (2015), leaving a line of devastation in its wake. Perhaps you even saw the viral video of a tractor-trailer being blown over by the wind. Interestingly enough, the tornado being filmed by storm chasers was still a few miles away when winds toppled the truck. It just goes to show how vulnerable trucks are in bad weather.

Flatbed trailers do have a slight advantage over dry vans and reefer trailers in that their profiles are not as high with most loads. However, an oversize load can be just as prone to high winds as a refer or drive van. And, of course, the tarps used to protect a load are always a concern. The potential for bad weather dictates that flatbed driver take extra precautions to secure their tarps.

bad-weather

Preparing for Bad Weather

When a driver knows bad weather is imminent, he or she understands the urgency to make sure loads and tarps are well secured. Cargo should have already been properly secured at the shipping yard prior to departure; this is something drivers routinely check before hitting the road. Having said that, it is still a good idea to check that the chocks are in place and that tire chains are tight, prior to driving out into adverse weather conditions.

Insofar as truck tarps are concerned, any air pockets allowing the fabric to move could become a real problem in the event of extraordinarily high winds. Tarps should be readjusted to eliminate air pockets and prevent any material from flapping. A trucker should check his/her tarps within 50 or 60 miles of departure and then with every stop after that.

Rubber straps may be sufficient for securing steel tarps under normal driving and weather conditions. Nevertheless, when the potential of severe weather arises, extra straps might be required for more strength. Likewise, rubber rope could be used around the entire perimeter of lumber tarps to keep everything in place.

The main antagonist for truck tarps in extreme weather conditions is wind. Doing everything possible to make sure wind does not get underneath a tarp is the best thing a trucker can do. Truck tarps should never be secured to the outside of the rub rail. Under normal driving conditions, this allows debris and soot to get in under the tarp. And if debris and soot can get in, so can air. This could prove quite problematic in the event of foul weather.

Applying Better Judgement

Truck drivers should take necessary precautions to secure cargo and tarps in the anticipation of severe weather. However, no tarping system is a substitute for better judgement. An experienced truck driver knows when not to challenge the wrath of adverse weather conditions.

Spring and late summer can be volatile in the Midwest due to the threat of tornadoes. Being mindful of weather forecasts while choosing driving routes is not just wise but potentially lifesaving. In the Northeast and upper Midwest, winter storms can be as violent as severe summer thunderstorms, including whipping winds that could pummel a tractor-trailer on the freeway.

At the end of the day, weather can be unpredictable. It is up to a truck driver to gauge the weather conditions and determine the best way to secure their vehicles appropriately. The goal is to make sure the load makes it to its intended destination with both the cargo and driver unharmed.


Tire Chains and Bad Weather: When to Chain and When to Park

Driving in winter weather is just part of the over the road driving career. There is no way around it. As such, the vast majority of truck drivers have to think about tire chains from time to time. There are two questions to consider in this regard, the first being whether to purchase chains or to use chain banks along major routes that supply them. The second question is one of deciding whether to chain your truck or to park it instead.

The answers to both questions really depend on the individual driver and how much risk he or she is willing to take. Ultimately, though, it is the driver who decides whether to proceed in bad weather or not. Federal and state laws prevent employers or dispatchers from forcing drivers to continue driving when they believe weather conditions endanger their safety.

Tire Chain Basics

Tire chains are available in two basic options: the ladder design and the zigzag design. The ladder chains looks just like a mini version of an aluminum ladder you use to paint your home, except that it’s made with chain links instead of pieces of aluminum. The ‘steps’ of the chain ladder go across the horizontal surface of the tire while the rails fit over the side.

tire-chains

The zigzag tire chain looks a lot like a shoelace, crossing from one side of the tire to the other. A zigzag chain can consist of one or two ‘laces’ held together by two side rails. Some truck drivers prefer this pattern because they believe it provides extra bite; others prefer the ladder design.

Regardless of which type a driver chooses, the chains are applied to the tires and held in place with either additional chains, bungee cords, or rubber rope. It is important for drivers to check chains within a few hundred yards of installation to make sure they are tightly secured. It is possible for chains to fall off during travel if not properly secured.

State Regulations

The states have different regulations when it comes to tire chains. For example, California does not require truckers to use chains in a general sense. However, police do have the authority to prevent truckers from entering certain roadways, under certain weather conditions, without chains. Colorado is a bit stricter.

The laws in Colorado apply to every interstate and state and federal highway when weather conditions warrant. When the regulations are in effect, DOT officials post signs along roadways warning truckers to chain up. Chains can only be removed when bare pavement is encountered on a descending grade.

Parking versus Chaining

Truck drivers ultimately have to decide whether or not to chain or to park. Having said that, some trucking companies have established policies indicating they do not want their drivers ever using chains. If weather were bad enough to require chaining, these companies would prefer drivers pull over and park their rigs instead. They do not want to risk driver or equipment in such bad weather.

Independent contractors do not have the luxury of a company policy making chaining decisions for them. Therefore, they have to consider their own schedules and financial requirements. The one thing that should always be remembered is that human beings cannot be replaced. Delivery schedules can be changed, extra work can be taken to make up for lost income, and equipment can be repaired or replaced. However, a dead trucker is a dead trucker.

Chains are appropriate in certain weather conditions and inappropriate in others. At the end of the day, a driver needs to be objective when it comes to deciding between chaining and parking.