More from: truck drivers

How to Not Abuse Your Roll Tarps

The arrival of spring brings with it increased road construction. And with that increased construction comes more dump trucks filled with gravel, dirt, broken concrete, and fresh asphalt. Truck drivers will be relying on their roll tarps to keep the loads in place during transit. Used properly, a roll tarp can provide years of reliable service.

A brief, three-paragraph article recently published by the ForConstructionPros.com website suggests that normal wear and tear is not the biggest enemy of roll tarps. Abuse is. It is an interesting perspective that certainly bears further investigation. Of particular interest is what constitutes abuse. Figure that out and it is only a short step to understanding how to not abuse roll tarps.

Watch Out for Those Loaders

One of the first points made in the article is that roll tarps can suffer damage at the hands of loader operators. There were two things associated with this point, the first being that loaders sometimes dump debris directly on tarping systems. This is an obvious no-no. The other point was that loaders sometimes make contact with roll tarps, rails, etc.

The idea here is that it is the responsibility of both truck drivers and loader operators to pay attention. No tarping system is going to survive constant impact with loaders. Tarps will rip prematurely if loaders are dumping debris on them.

Deploy Against the Wind

Anyone who has ever attempted to deploy a roll tarp knows that wind is the enemy. The ideal way to do it is to turn the truck so that the cab is facing into the wind. That way, the wind is technically behind the tarp as it starts to unroll. Do it in the other direction and the wind will catch the tarp like a sail. If it is strong enough, it can rip the entire system apart.

Deploying a roll tarp against a cross wind is only marginally better. Any wind allowed to get up underneath the tarp is bad news. So again, point the truck into the wind before deployment begins.

Keep the Tarp Taught

The third point of the article is the suggestion to keep roll tarps taught at all times. We assume this is in reference only to when they are actually deployed. When not deployed a roll tarp is obviously rolled up.

Why keep the tarp taught? For starters, that prevents it from being caught by the wind and ripped away. Keeping it taught also reduces the stress on the tarp in transit. Less stress means the tarp will last longer. If you do not make a point to keep it taught, you may be actually encouraging the tarp to wear out faster.

As an added bonus, keeping the tarp taught and rolled up when not in use improves fuel mileage. You can also improve fuel mileage by deploying the tarp over an empty dump. Just keeping the flow across the top of the truck could extend fuel mileage by as much as 10%, according to the article.

Buy Replacement Tarps Here

We present this information about not abusing roll tarps for educational purposes only. We suspect you know how to best care for your tarps better than anyone else. At any rate, even the best cared for tarps will eventually wear out. No worries, though. Mytee Products has you covered.

Everything you need for your roll tarp system is available here on our site. Feel free to browse our complete inventory in advance of your next purchase. And as always, do not be afraid to ask for something you don’t see listed here.

 


3 Reasons to Use Edge Protectors with Parachute Tarps

The ripstop nylon fabric used to make parachutes is a great material for truck tarps. It is just amazing that it took so long for tarp manufacturers to figure it out. But that’s a different topic for a different post. We want to use this post to discuss the necessity of using edge protectors with parachute fabric tarps.

Since parachute fabric is quite durable, there is a tendency to treat it differently. Smart truck drivers know their parachute fabric tarps need just as much care as their vinyl counterparts. As such, the proper care of parachute fabric includes using edge protectors whenever necessary.

Here are three reasons to use edge protectors despite the extra strength and durability of ripstop nylon fabric:

1. Ripstop Does Not Mean Rip Proof

One of the distinguishing characteristics of parachute fabric is that it is classified as ripstop fabric. Whether a parachute is made of nylon, canvas, or some other material, its ripstop designation comes from its cross-weave pattern that prevents rips and tears from growing. The last thing you would want as you are falling through the sky is to have a small rip become a huge, gaping hole.

The thing to understand here is that ripstop fabric is not rip proof. If you are not sure that this is true, get yourself a piece of scrap material, lay it on top of a cardboard box, and see if you can put your utility knife through the center of it. Trust us when we say you’ll succeed.

The point we are trying to illustrate here is that using edge protectors with parachute tarps still helps prevent rips and tears that could occur when tarp material comes in contact with sharp edges. The possibility of such rips and tears isn’t diminished simply because a tarp is made of parachute fabric.

2. Fragile Cargo is Still Fragile

Sometimes truckers are forced to use edge protectors in order to protect the cargo underneath their tarps. In other words, you do not want fragile pieces of cargo rattling around and bumping into one another. So you secure each piece as tightly as you can and then use edge protectors as an extra insurance policy.

Choosing parachute fabric tarps over regular nylon has no effect on the tendency of cargo to rattle around. So use edge protectors to keep individual pieces from damage during transit. Your customers will be happy on the other end.

3. Webbing Straps are Still Vulnerable

Another important reason for using edge protectors with standard vinyl tarps is the fact that sharp edges can wear away webbing strap material – even if said edges actually pierce the tarp material. This is an even bigger problem when you are dealing with parachute fabric, given that it is lighter and thinner than standard vinyl.

Wherever there is likely to be friction between webbing straps and cargo, you should consider using an edge protector – even if there’s tarp material between cargo and strap. An edge protector mitigates friction and reduces the likelihood of a strap being cut. As an added bonus, the edge protector will also help keep your tarp in place to some extent.

As you can see, truck tarps made of parachute fabric are not perfect or indestructible. They certainly do have some benefits over traditional vinyl tarps in terms of weight and durability, but they are prone to the same kinds of things that damage vinyl tarps. So do yourself a favor and protect your investment. Use edge protectors with parachute fabric tarps in the same way you would with canvas or vinyl.


A Reminder about Those Ratchet Straps

The holiday season that time of year when truck drivers are under more pressure than they deal with the rest of the year. As such, there might be instances when attention to cargo control equipment is not as it should be. We strongly encourage our customers to prevent such instances from taking place in their cargo control routine. Being diligent about cargo control this time of year as you are any other time always pays off.

A recent accident in Minnesota underscores what we are referring to in this blog post. In early November, a woman driving on I-494 in Maple Grove found her car struck by a piece of metal that broke loose from a nearby truck. The piece of metal bounced off the pavement and went through the windshield of her vehicle.

Fortunately, the woman walked away with just a few minor cuts. Things could have been worse. As for the truck from which the metal piece dislodged, it has not been located. That did not stop the Minnesota State Patrol from using social media to post a reminder to drivers to make sure any non-contained cargo is properly secured during transport. The post specifically mentioned using toe or ratchet straps. Whether intended or not, the post speaks directly to truck drivers.

No Room for Error

Without locating the truck involved in this accident, there is no way to know what went wrong. What we do know is that there is no room for error when tying down cargo. Any non-contained cargo can pose a danger to other drivers if not properly secured. This is why every state includes specific legislation in its motor vehicle code requiring drivers to secure their cargo and fully control it throughout transport.

Where ratchet straps are concerned, the two biggest issues are related to working load limits and operational conditions. Both are things that should never be neglected by truck drivers.

Beginning with working load limits (WLLs), every ratchet strap should have its WLL printed on it. This number tells the truck driver how many tie-downs are needed based on the total weight of the load. Having said that, there are some important things to understand:

• If the WLL of a ratchet strap is either missing or illegible, the law requires assuming the lowest possible rating. If a driver assumes a higher rating which is then observed during a roadside inspection, the driver could be cited for a violation.
• Even if WLLs are clearly displayed on ratchet straps, drivers can still be cited if they don’t use enough tie-downs to accommodate the total weight of their loads.

The other area of concern is operational condition. In other words, a driver should never use ratchet straps that are frayed or demonstrate excessive wear and tear. Inspectors can downgrade a strap to zero if they observe any such issues that they believe compromise the integrity of the strap.

In short, truck drivers are required to use ratchet straps that are in good operational condition and appropriate to the load being transported. Drivers have to pay attention to working load limits, the operational condition of their ratchet straps, and the methods used to tie down cargo.

Make the Holidays Safe

The holiday season is supposed to be one of good cheer and happy times. Do your part to make the 2017 season safe by not slacking off on cargo control. Everyone else on the road is depending on you to make sure your straps and chains are in good condition and that you use appropriate methods to keep your cargo under control.


6 Important Things to Know about Tire Chains

Do you routinely drive in regions requiring snow chains during the winter? If so, you know all about what it means to chain up before heading into bad weather. If you are new to trucking or winter driving, tire chains may be foreign to you. One thing is for sure in either case: chains can cause a lot of problems if you don’t know how to use them.

Mytee Products carries tire chains for both 22.5-inch in 24.5-inch tire chains. We invite you to purchase your chains through us, along with all your cargo control supplies including tarps, bungee straps, ratchet straps, and edge protectors.

In the interests of advancing public safety, we have compiled a list of six important things to know about tire chains. Know and understand these things, whether you are a veteran or a rookie.

1. Keep to a Safe Speed

Tire chains are only intended to withstand a certain amount of punishment. Drivers should never exceed speeds of 30 mph when chained. Going any faster could cause chains to break while in motion. This could be dangerous for driver and vehicle alike.

2. Avoid Bare Pavement

Tire chains do not hold up well against bare pavement either. So while there may be some instances when it’s necessary to drive short distances on bare pavement, the practice should be avoided as much as possible. As soon as a driver gets through the area of snow-covered roads, he or she should find a place to pull off and remove the chains.

3. Chains Slip on Pavement

Something else to note about chains is they tend to slip on bare pavement. If a driver is braking on bare pavement while still chained up, he/she has to be more gentle in the process. It is very easy to lock up the wheels and slide on chains. On the other end, hitting the gas too aggressively could cause the drive wheels to spin on bare pavement. Drivers should accelerate slowly.

4. Routine Inspections Are Necessary

Truckers will naturally tighten their chains when first deploying them. However, it is generally recommended that chains be inspected and re-tightened at regular intervals. Chains will loosen as the miles roll by, making them subject to breakage.

5. Chained Tighteners Can Cause Problems

Chain tightening devices have a tendency to pull chains off-center if they are not used the right way. A driver who is not intimately familiar with how to use such a device should avoid doing so. There are other ways to effectively tighten chains.

6. State Regulations

Nearly every state in the union has some sort of regulations in place pertaining to tire chains. Truck drivers should make themselves familiar with those regulations in any states where they plan to work during the winter months. Running afoul of the regulations could result in a citation.

Along those same lines, there are a few key regions in the U.S. were chains are mandatory during the winter. In some of these regions truckers will find chains at highway department chain banks. A word to the wise though: drivers should not rely solely on chain banks to meet their needs. If no chains are available when a driver reaches the start of a mandatory chain area, he or she will have to wait until a set is available.

Tire chains are part of winter driving for truck drivers. Hopefully you have had some experience chaining up your truck. If not, you will probably have to learn eventually. Just remember that chaining up is not the end of the world. You will get pretty good at it with enough practice.


Cargo Control – Important for Every Trailer and Load

Cargo control is what we stress here at Mytee Products. What began as a small, local company specializing in truck tarps and straps has grown into a retail operation with a national reach. Not only do we still carry truck tarps and straps but we also carry just about every piece of cargo control equipment an American truck driver could possibly need. That includes load bars and e-track. We do what we do because cargo control should be a part of every trailer and every load.

Experienced truck drivers know that cargo control is not just a flatbed issue. Even dry goods vans and reefer trailers cannot be operated safely if the cargo within is not properly secured.

Shifting Cargo Is Dangerous

Police reports say a tractor-trailer hauling 40,000 pounds of liquid on 17 pallets turned on its side in the early morning hours of September 22. Apparently, the driver failed to properly secure the pallets. They shifted as he drove down U.S. 70, causing the trailer to tip on its side. The driver was not injured, but the truck was heavily damaged and the entire load of liquid was lost.

The biggest lesson to be learned here is that shifting cargo is dangerous. Truck drivers are well aware of the dynamics of shifting cargo when it comes to loads on flatbed trailers. They know all about using blocks, chains, straps, and winches to secure things tightly in place. They know about working load limits and how to properly distribute weight across the trailer.

Unfortunately, what is taken for granted with flatbed trailers is often ignored for dry vans and reefer trailers. Yet as the above stated crash demonstrated, shifting cargo can be just as dangerous when goods are enclosed. Cargo has to be kept in place at all times, otherwise disaster is just one shift away from striking.

Cargo Control Experts

One of things we stress here at Mytee Products is our belief that truck drivers should be cargo control experts. Yes, there are engineers who work out working load limits, tensile strength, and the other calculations necessary to properly rate things like chains and straps. But it is U.S truck drivers who apply those chains and straps in a real-world setting. They need to be the experts in how it all works.

Whether a driver is securing pipe to a flatbed trailer or filling a dry goods van with pallets of liquid, a basic understanding of physics comes into play.

The energy stored in cargo as a truck is moving – known as kinetic energy – will force that cargo to continue moving in the same direction unless something prevents it from doing so. Cargo control principles are designed around doing just that.

A truck driver should know that unsecured cargo in a dry goods van is likely to shift as a trailer turns. Kinetic energy forces it. Therefore, load bars should be put in place to prevent dangerous shifts. If there is empty space between cargo and the sidewalls of the trailer, either that space has to be filled or the cargo needs to be secured with straps to prevent it from moving.

It is fortunate that the North Carolina accident did not result in injuries or death. It is equally unfortunate that failing to secure cargo resulted in financial losses for both the trucking company and the shipper. The accident provides all the evidence truck drivers need to understand just how important cargo control is.

Sources:

UPI – https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2017/09/22/Truck-overturns-in-North-Carolina-loses-44000-pounds-of-vodka/3431506101215/