More from: truck

Tips To Remove Flatbed Tarps Easily

Applying and removing tarps is part of the job for the flatbed trucker. It can be a bit tedious when the wind is blowing or loads have sharp edges to contend with, so the best thing any trucker can do in this regard is pay attention to what works for other drivers and learn the little tricks that make flatbed tarp application and removal easier.

We have addressed applying tarps in other posts, however in this post, we will concentrate on tarp removal. Needless to say that most truckers get better at tarp removal with time and practice. Below are a few examples of little things you can do to remove tarps easily.

flatbed

Fold Sides up First

After 500 miles of interstate driving, there is a big temptation to undo your straps, grab one corner of the tarp and start pulling. You may get lucky on a load that has no sharp edges and is not oddly shaped but more often than not, the “yank and hope for the best” method can cause more trouble than imagined. Before you do anything, your best move is to fold the sides of your flatbed tarp up onto the load.

Folding creates a flat surface on the top of the load that is much easier to deal with. As a side note, you may have to get on the load to do this. Be careful.

Move from Front to Back

The second thing you can do to make your life easier is to move from front to back as you pull the tarp. There are two ways to do this. First, if you have someone willing to help, you can both grab a corner on either side of the trailer where it meets the cab. Then walk toward the rear of the trailer, pulling up and pushing forward as you go. This will essentially fold the tarp on top of itself as you pull it off the trailer.

If you are working alone, start at the rear of the trailer and grab your tarp (with the sides already folded up) at the center. Slowly drag it off the load in an even, continuous motion. The idea behind both of these methods is to cause the tarp to move from front to rear across the top of the load, thus avoiding sharp edges that can rip tarp fabric.

Get Some Air Underneath

Experienced truckers know that getting some air underneath flatbed truck tarps can help considerably. This is obviously not a problem on windy days, but what if the weather is still or you in an enclosed terminal? Grabbing one corner of your tarp and flapping it a couple of times gets just enough air underneath to separate the fabric from the cargo. This will make dragging the tarp off a bit easier.

Always Use Edge Protectors

New flatbed drivers tend to stay away from edge protectors unless they have reason to believe they are in danger of ripping their tarps. Why take the time to apply edge protectors if there are no real sharp edges? There is actually a very good reason: it makes tarp removal a lot easier. Edge protectors create space between your flatbed tarp and the cargo underneath. That extra space reduces friction and makes it easier for you to get the tarp off.

Flatbed tarp application and removal are an integral part of the job for those who hauls flatbed loads. So rather than continuing to struggle, the trucker is better off learning all those little secrets that make tarp application and removal easier.


What to Remember When Choosing New Truck Tires

Whether you are an independent operator or a fleet manager, you will face the decision of choosing new truck tires at some point during your career. You will be looking at tires for both tractors and trailers as well. What you choose will directly affect how your trucks perform down the road. It is safe to say that choosing truck tires is as important as choosing flatbed tarps and tarping systems.

Truck owners have a few standard choices in terms of size:

  •  295 truck tires
  • 285 truck tires
  • 11R22.5 truck tires
  • 11R24.5 truck tires

There is also the question of bias, radials and tubeless tires to consider. Ideally, a truck driver wants a tire that will provide maximum performance under most weather conditions and specific load requirements. Those requirements may change throughout a driver’s career. Therefore, a truck owner may have to reconsider all of his or her options whenever tires need to be replaced.

truck-tires

Size and Load Concerns

Perhaps the two most important factors when choosing new truck tires are size and load concerns. When we speak of size, we are talking about the size of a tire in relation to the rig on which it is being mounted. Size needs to be considered from three angles:

  • Vertical Clearance – Vertical clearance is the amount of space between the top of the tread tire and the structure above it. However, it cannot be measured solely by the amount of space that exists when the truck is at rest. Clearance changes along with axle movement as the truck moves down the road. Drivers need to consider total clearance on either end as dictated by a truck’s axle stop.
  •  Front Tire Clearance – This is the distance between the edge of the tire tread and the front of the tractor in the steering position. It must be measured by moving the front to full left, then to full right. Minimum clearance will occur somewhere between the two lock positions.
  • Tire Width – The overall tire width becomes important when mounting tires side-by-side on the same axle. Tire width must be measured at the top position rather than the bottom. Remember that the width at the bottom will increase under load as the tire surface is compressed.

In addition to the size of the tires themselves, drivers have to consider the kinds of loads they are carrying. Some shippers pay based on weight, expecting drivers to carry loads as heavy as possible while remaining within legal limits. One way to maximize load weight is to reduce the weight of tires and rims. But tires not rated to handle the weight of heavier loads will obviously be inappropriate.

Drivers and fleet managers can choose either bias or radial tires depending on their needs. Both choices include several subcategories including tubeless, tube-type, low profile, and wide-base single tires. Again, the choice relies heavily on the rig being used and the types of loads most frequently carried.

As with flatbed tarps and tarping systems, there is no particular tire that works for every driver under every circumstance. Tires are a very personal choice that each rig owner has to make individually. Thankfully, there are enough options and manufacturers to meet just about every need.

At Mytee Products, we are proud to serve our customers with a full line of truck and trailer tires. We carry several of the best-known manufacturers including Triangle truck tires. We also have multiple sizes as well. While you are shopping for truck tires, do not forget to upgrade your stock of flatbed tarps as well.


What You Need to Know about DOT Conspicuity Tape

One of the products we sell here at Mytee is DOT conspicuity tape. This is a reflective tape product intended to be used on trailers in order to increase visibility. As new truck driver, you might question why this tape is used. The answer is simple: the law requires it. Having said that, let us delve more deeply into why the federal government has made use of the tape mandatory.

Also known simply as DOT tape, a roll of DOT conspicuity tape is a double-sided product with adhesive on one side and a highly reflective surface on the other. The reflective surface is intended to reflect the headlights of other vehicles during nighttime driving in order to make a dark trailer more visible. The idea is to reduce the number of serious crashes involving big trucks and cars.

Government Study Results

DOT conspicuity tape was not always required. In the late 1990s however, it was determined that steps had to be taken to increase the visibility of large trucks with the use of additional lights, reflectors, and conspicuity tape. In 2001, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted an analysis of crash data and estimated the use of conspicuity tape reduced the number of accidents and fatal injuries as much as 44%.

The study was conducted by analyzing crash data from Florida and Pennsylvania. Nearly 11,000 accidents were included in the study. NHTSA researchers concluded that, although using conspicuity tape does significantly reduce the number of crashes between large trucks and passenger vehicles, such crashes are not eliminated entirely. They further discovered:

  • Crashes involving flatbed trailers were reduced more than those involving dry vans
  • Applying DOT tape had the greatest benefit on dark roadways with little or no lighting
  • Applying DOT tape significantly improved trailer visibility during inclement weather – except for snow
  • DOT tape was most beneficial for avoiding crashes among drivers age 50 or younger.

The results of the NHTSA study were convincing enough that federal regulations made using the tape permanent. Every trailer now on the road must make use of the tape in strategic locations as determined by the regulations. Furthermore, DOT conspicuity tape must meet certain specifications as outlined by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 108 and DOT-C2 in order to be legal.

Limitations of Conspicuity Tape

As helpful as DOT conspicuity tape is, it does not eliminate all risk. In order for it to be as helpful as possible, it must be properly applied and in good condition. For example, dirty reflective tape loses its effectiveness as the amount of dirt and grime accumulates. Therefore, drivers have to take the time to clean the tape every now and again.

Wear and tear can also be a problem. When a piece of DOT tape begins to look old and worn out, it should be replaced as soon as possible. The good news here is that the tape is rather inexpensive.

As a truck driver, it is your responsibility to make sure all of your equipment meets federal standards for safety. When hauling your own trailers, purchasing and installing DOT tape falls squarely on your shoulders. When hauling trailers belonging to a shipper, the expense and labor is their responsibility. Nevertheless, you are still required to inspect the trailer for compliance before you pull out of the shipping yard. Don’t leave until it’s right.

DOT conspicuity tape is a good tool for reducing crashes between tractor-trailers and passenger vehicles. Make sure you use it correctly at all times. It could save a life.