More from: truckers

Aluminum Toolboxes: Organization Tips for Truckers

The average flatbed trucker has at least one toolbox affixed to his or her rig. Some have a large trailer toolbox and two aluminum step boxes to maximize storage space, and some drivers have even more. The thing to remember is that proper organization of aluminum tool boxes maximizes storage space and reduces the frustrations of not being able to find the tool you’re after when you need it.

What constitutes the right number and size of toolboxes isn’t for us to say. Every flatbed trucker has his or her own preferences. But Mytee can offer a few organizational tips to help truckers make the most of their storage space. Keep in mind that we carry a full inventory of aluminum toolboxes for truck drivers and pickup truck owners.

 

Organizing Tarps

Assuming you are the kind of trucker who stores tarps and toolboxes, the first rule of thumb is to consider which tarps you use most often. Let’s say you regularly haul lumber loads that require coverage on all sides. You are going to want those tarps easily accessible at all times.

You may have a selection of smaller smoke tarps or general purpose canvas tarps that you only use every once in a while for machinery loads. Because they are used less frequently, you can store them on the bottom of your toolbox in favor of putting your lumber tarps on top.

One thing to note is that tarps should never be put away while still wet. If throwing a wet tarp into a tool box is unavoidable at the time, it should be retrieved and dried out as soon as possible. Leaving tarps in long-term storage with moisture trapped in the folds is a good recipe for mold.

Organizing Tools

When it comes to tools, truckers need to separate things like ratchet straps and binders from the hand tools used to perform regular maintenance. It’s a good idea to keep them in separate toolboxes if you have the space. If not, divide existing toolbox into two separate compartments using a piece of scrap wood or metal.

Ratchet straps can be rolled up and stacked very neatly in one corner of the box. Chains can be coiled and stacked in another corner. Binders, hooks, and other similar tools can then be placed in the center of the compartment. As for those hand tools, keep them separated according to tool type. Put all your sockets in one location, all the wrenches in another, etc. Organizing hand tools is a lot easier if you invest in some shelves and smaller boxes that can fit inside your main toolbox.

Everything in Its Place

It should be obvious that the strategy we are promoting here follows that old adage that says, ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’. The hard part is not necessarily finding a place for everything that needs to be stored. It is finding the most efficient place and then making sure that the items are returned to their places after use.

Few things are as frustrating as having a journey interrupted by some sort of failure and then not being able to find the tools you need to fix the problem. Equally frustrating is the task of securing a load and having to dig through your toolbox looking for the right straps or chains. Organizing your toolboxes changes all that.

An organized toolbox – where everything has a fixed place that never changes – is one that lends itself very well to efficiency and productivity. Take it from us; you’ll be glad you organized your equipment once you do it.

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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.

snow-chains

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.

truck-tire-chain

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