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Toolboxes: 5 Reasons Newbies Shouldn’t Leave Home Without One

Aluminum toolboxes are just one of the many items we carry to accommodate flatbed truckers. It is interesting to hear the stories every time a newbie comes in looking for that first toolbox that should have been purchased weeks or months ago. Unfortunately, some newbies just do not understand how important toolboxes are until something happens.

Drive down any U.S. interstate and you will see flatbed rigs with all kinds of toolboxes. Some drivers mount step boxes on the sides of their cabs while others prefer the larger, rectangular boxes mounted to the back of the cab or directly on the trailer itself. The type of toolbox a driver prefers is not as important as the fact that he has one. A lot of truckers have more than one.

If you are new to flatbed trucking, there are plenty of reasons to never leave home without at least one toolbox affixed to your rig. Five such reasons are listed below.

1. Something Is Bound to Break

When you put in as many miles as a professional trucker, you are guaranteed that something will break at some point. It could be as serious as a brake line or as minor as a mirror mount. The point is that the driver is his or her own best mechanic for keeping a truck on the road in emergency situations. But fixing your rig requires a toolbox with the right tools and supplies.

2. Mechanics Are Expensive

Minor repairs that can be accomplished on the road can save a trucker a tremendous amount of money. On the other hand, mechanics are expensive. Why spend a ton of money paying a professional to replace a hose when you can easily do it yourself? Of course, this is assuming you have spare hoses in your toolbox.

3. Waiting for Mechanics Wastes Time

A lot of the newbies that come in for their first toolboxes talk about having to wait hours for a mechanic to rescue them. This is not good. Truck drivers are paid by the mile, not the hour. Waiting on a mechanic is like flushing money down the toilet. Time spent waiting is time not spent driving.

4. Tools Are Dangerous in the Cab

Another rookie mistake is storing tools right in the cab. This is a dangerous practice that should be avoided. Why? Because anything stored in the cab can easily become a projectile in the event of a crash. More than one driver has sustained serious injuries from in-cab projectiles, when he or she would otherwise have walked away unscathed.

5. Toolboxes Protect Cargo Control Supplies

Even if a flatbed trucker has no interest in carrying things like wrenches, duct tape, and extra bulbs, aluminum toolboxes are rather useful for protecting cargo control supplies. In fact, that’s why veteran flatbed truckers have multiple toolboxes. Some of their toolbox space is reserved for things like tarps, straps, ratchets, and edge protectors. You can never have too much storage space if you are flatbed trucker.

It is hard to argue how valuable aluminum toolboxes are to flatbed truckers. They are so valuable that we wouldn’t think of serving truckers with an inventory that didn’t include them. We currently offer several different toolboxes in assorted styles and sizes to accommodate any need.

Once you buy your first toolbox, do some online research into what you should carry. Trucker forums are a great source of information. Veteran truckers would be happy to share years of knowledge with you. Remember, a well-stocked toolbox is your friend on the road. Do not leave home without one.


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/


How to Easily Enhance a Headache Rack

If you are a flatbed trucker working without a headache rack, you really need to rethink your strategy. You are but one accident away from a load coming through your cab in a hard-braking scenario that exceeds the tensile strength of your straps or chains. Having said that, truckers with headache racks can enhance those racks with a quick and dirty trick that is easy and inexpensive.

Get more out of your headache rack by securing stacked railroad ties at the front of your trailer with 5/16 chain and a break-over binder. Railroad ties are pretty easy to come by, and in some cases, you can get them for free if you know where to look. You can use 4 x 4 timbers if you don’t have access to railroad ties.

Truckers who haul freshly harvested timber use this trick all the time. Why? Because logs are among the most unruly pieces of cargo you can put on the back of a flatbed trailer. Being careful to stack timbers securely helps to some degree, but you never know when a log is going to shift forward. Adding the bulkhead just makes a driver safer.

How and Why It Works

At first glance, it might seem like building a bulkhead to enhance a headache rack is a waste of time and effort. After all, the whole point of the headache rack is to provide a tough barrier between tractor and load. But here’s the problem: cargo shifting forward on a trailer has to cross that open space between trailer and cab in order to do damage. Any cargo that does manage to traverse that empty space unimpeded has momentum behind it. Momentum is the killer.

A log with enough momentum can severely damage a headache rack to the point of requiring replacement. In a worst-case scenario, a log can send pieces of the rack through the cab. Building a bulkhead on the front of the trailer prevents deadly momentum.

The laws of physics dictate that stacking a load flush with a wooden bulkhead greatly reduces the risk of cargo striking the back of a tractor because the bulkhead provides a surface area capable of absorbing and dispersing the energy of moving cargo. Thus, a bulkhead prevents cargo from getting the momentum it needs to do damage to the tractor.

Easy to Remove

The suggestion to use railroad ties and chain to build a bulkhead is not coincidental. The design is intended to create a bulkhead that is easily removable when it is not needed or it might be in the way. It’s a lot easier to remove chains and railroad ties than to break the welds of a permanently affixed bulkhead system.

If you know you have a month’s worth of loads that do not involve any timber, you can quickly remove your bulkhead and go on your way. The same goes if you have to take an oversized load that needs a few extra inches off the trailer. It only takes a few minutes to reinstall the bulkhead when you need it again.

Here at Mytee Products, we sell a variety of headache racks in different sizes and configurations. Headache racks are great tools for protecting your truck and providing a bit of extra storage at the same time. For those loads when your headache rack may not be enough to protect you, consider building a quick and dirty bulkhead using railroad ties and chains. This simple but effective fix could make a difference in protecting both you and your truck.