The Onspot Blog

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Automatic Snow Chains – how it really works

A press of a button and the chain wheel swings out. Then, strands of chain are slung under the tyre, increasing traction. It’s as simple as that – for the driver. But, if we take a closer look at the ingeniously simple principle behind, we realise that Onspot Automatic Snow Chains requires a good dose of engineering to become such a reliable tool for safety and convenience. Here is why!

How to Improve the Environment for Refuse Trucks?

In a world where we are more and more “connected,” technology plays a major role in the working environment. Do you remember when we were introduced to the “internet” for the first time? This novelty was not so long ago, it has only been about twenty-three years! It’s the same for the trucking industry! New advances in truck equipment happen every day and these innovations change the work environment for refuse trucks and drivers’ safety.

How to be Healthy on the Road and Handle Stress

Long haul truck drivers face many risks while working in today’s fast paced environment. While some might consider the chances of being in an accident the most pressing danger to a driver, there are several other risk factors to consider. Lifestyle-related illnesses due to poor diet and reduced exercise are a problem in the industry and it´s not hard to understand why. Living healthy on the road is challenging. Drivers travel long distances which may require time away from home for long periods and the work in itself doesn’t always provide an opportunity for physical activity. However, eating healthy and staying fit is as important for you as a driver as it is for the rest of us in society.

How to Spec your Fire Apparatus to Serve your Community

Everyone loves a parade! Especially, a Fire Truck Parade, Lights & Sirens!

However, when writing the specifications for fire apparatus there are some things more important than looks. Two important factors when preparing to purchase a new fire truck is the vehicles’ function and the terrain in its “operating environment.” Not taking into account function and terrain could lead to ownership of a great looking truck that falls short of the end users expectations.       Image: Firemen march on the Champs-Elysées, Paris © Maxppp -

Keeping the wheels turning: Today’s Truck Technology

Through major advances in technology, the trucks of today have surpassed the trucks of yesterday in terms of efficiency and safety. Today, not only can fleet owners and mechanics track the location of their trucks, they are also able to get real time diagnostic data while the truck is on the road. The drivers of these trucks also benefit from new advances in technology accomplishing the majority of their work from the safety and security of the cab.

One of the safest modes of transportation in the world

My daughter first rode the bus to school about half way through her first grade year. After several months of her begging to ride, we swallowed our first time parent fears and allowed her to joyfully experience her first trip on the big yellow bus. She was excited to test her new freedom and we found out how much easier our mornings would become without the hassle of the school drop off.

It’s August. It’s time to prepare your Christmas travels!

Christmas? In August? Well, not quite, but this time of year many people around the world actually start booking their bus tickets for Christmas travels. Either for spending the holidays in the winter resorts or just for go visiting friends and families. These people have one thing in common: they plan and make early reservations to be well prepared and avoid unpleasant surprises.

The New Generation of Truckers - meet Lotta

When you think of truck drivers, you automatically think of the stereotypical male, macho, reckless driver, in a male dominated industry. However, women make up a small, but growing percentage of truck drivers.
 
According to truckingtruth.com, women truck drivers make up around 5.8 % of the 3.5 million drivers in the U.S, which is up from 4.8 % in 2010. More and more women are entering the trucking industry due to the uncertain economic climate and aging workforce. The biggest challenge in the recruiting process is convincing women that they are welcome (CNCB Transportation) especially now, when according to the American Trucking Association, there is a shortage of drivers. 
 
Meet one woman who made it, twenty-seven-year-old Charlotta (Lotta) Kopsch from Sweden.

Is automated driving technology reaching the school bus industry?

As our colleague, Ulrik Andersson, wrote earlier this year, “there has been much attention paid to autonomous cars and trucks recently” but what about school buses?

5 Most Scenic Routes in the World

For most drivers, the road is rather a workplace than a source for relaxing experiences. Out of the world’s circa 18 million kilometres of paved roads, most are just transport roads offering nothing but insignificant surroundings. However, some drives offer such breath-taking sceneries, that many find a worthwhile trip for their own sake. What routes are the most scenic in the world is, of course, a matter of personal preferences, but here’s my pick of routes I’d like to drive for the scenery.

How Onspot Can Improve Your Daily Life

Whether you are picking up household waste in isolated villages, driving children to school early in the morning, or delivering to customers awaiting their orders, drivers are almost always on the road. The open road can be great, but sometimes, the conditions can change to much less than favorable in a matter of minutes or even a couple miles.

Can Automatic Snow Chains be installed on a Dodge Ram?

Onspot automatic snow chains can be used on several different types of vehicles; trucks, busses, coaches, rescue vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks etc. Occationally, customers come to us for help finding a solution where Onspots can be mounted on a new type of vehicle. One such exampel is the Dodge Ram. 

4 Questions to Consider When Thinking About Automatic Snow Chains

You’ve done the research and decided that increasing traction is important. The following four questions can help you determine if Onspot Automatic Snow Chains are the right solution for you.

How onspots helped the fire brigade to save a pregnant driver

It is always a great feeling when we hear true stories from our customers especially when lives are saved. The following story was related to us recently about an incident witnessed by then-Assistant Chief Raymond Urich, Jr. of the Fisherville Volunteer Fire Company #1 in Halifax, PA in the USA. 

Five good ways to protect your cargo

The summer is here and so are the season challenges. We at Onspot are very concerned about our colleagues and customers in the transportation industry. During the winter months we want you to have good traction and during the summer months we want you to be safe as well. This is especially true when it comes to making sure that you and your cargo are protected in the best way. That´s why I want to share some useful tips with you out on the roads this summer.

What to think of when working with transportation?

The need for transports is constantly increasing in our society. It can be products on the way to the stores, parts on the way to a factory, waste transported from your home to the recycle center or people going from one town to another. In almost everything we do, a transport is involved.  When a personal car is not enough, most transports move by trucks or buses.

How to keep Accurate Records? The Onspot Fleet Review Program

Ever wonder what would happen if we did not have accurate records for certain things in our lives. Say for example you go to see the doctor or the dentist and they did not have any record of your medical history or any record of what took place during your last visit.  The same could be said for your home or car. Service work was done but there were no records kept.  Imagine driving with no license, registration, or proof of insurance.  Although not as critical as these scenarios, the same does hold true when talking about keeping accurate records of your Onspot chain system.

Will truck automation improve driver satisfaction & safety?

There has been quite some attention to autonomous cars and autonomous trucks recently. In a world where more and more things, e.g. trucks, are connected, technology constantly pushes the boundaries. What seemed like science fiction yesterday is now literally waiting around the corner. From a professional driver’s perspective, there are other concerns: Will autonomous trucks be a threat to my job? Actually, truck autonomy could really improve the working conditions for drivers.

How to make your first Onspot installation?

Think back to when you left driving school. Your mind was full of rules and regulations, dos and don’ts and a lot of advice from teachers and experienced drivers. But today, do you really remember literally all traffic signs and rules? I don’t… and do you use all the equipment in the optimal way?

Will drivers be replaced with drones?

Several companies are involved in projects with unmanned aerial vehicles, also called drones. How will the use of drones impact the global transportation industry? Here are a few pros and cons.

From invention and innovation to convenience

Probably, many of us consider an invention as a ground-breaking achievement, while an innovation is ‘just’ an improvement of something existing. But, if you really think about it, what makes your working day safer and more convenient? Is it the ground-breaking inventions or the small innovations?

Is technology the key to shorter response time in rescue driving?

Why response time must be reduced

For rescue operations ‘response time’ is one of the measures for effectiveness. In emergency situations response time should be as short as possible as this could be crucial for saving lives or properties at danger. Accordingly, much effort is put into reducing response times. But actually, what is response time?

Why should I engage Onspot once a month?

Well, you probably know that this is to keep the bearings in good order. But, why do they stay in good condition when they’re rolling? Wouldn’t it be less wear if they’re not engaged and then stay in better condition? Although it may seem contradictory, they should be rolling. Let’s dive into the world of bearings and their lubrication to understand why!

Onspot Spring Maintenance

Spring is finally here. Although the start of spring in the USA officially began on March 20th the winter season would not go quietly.  On the East coast, for example, a wintry mix of snow and ice started off the month of April.  Now, however, the colder weather truly seems to be behind us as streets are swept clean, motorcycles take to the roads and classic cars come out of storage.   During this time of the year there is also a focus by many towns and cities to start spring maintenance on their equipment and vehicles.  

Bye, bye winter and icy roads! How to conquer a hill?

Guest Blog, no 3 from the Haaks

Very soon spring is here and the winter season is over – for this time. Yesterday, we did the last after ski gig in the Swedish mountains. We had an amazing response from the audience and the band was really on top. To the delight of the skiers there were loads of snow this weekend, but we were not that delighted since the roads around Sälen got very slippery – and our bus got stuck at the lodge! However, in these situations Onspot automatic snow chains are our best friends. Johan, the driver, just pushed the button and off we went uphills in a cloud of snow.
 

Watch this video when Onspots help us conquer a slippery hill!

Tire chains – are they the best choice for rescue vehicles?

Some products are so functional and effective that there is little potential to improve them. The violin, for example, got its design by the Italian master violin-makers in the 17th century. Countless efforts have been made to challenge its basic construction in order to improve it, but in vain. The violin is so close to perfect that no one has come up with a fundamental improvement during the last 350 years.

Tire chains are not that old – they were patented in 1904, and ever since they have proven to be very effective for increasing traction.

My lowliner doesn’t need any Onspot or does it?

"...You don’t even have to stop your vehicle. Press the button, overtake the others and steadily drive upwards the slope... And in the end the road was mine – at least for a while…".  Karsten Glaschick ( KaSaTrans e.K.)

This week we are happy to share a post from one of our valuable customers, Karsten Glaschick from KaSaTrans e.K in Germany. We are always very happy and proud when our customers get back to us with stories about situations when Onspot has helped them out in their daily life. KaSaTrans´ trucks are lowliners, a truck type not so well known outside Germany. A lowliner is a kind of a volume combination truck with smaller tires, a flat frame and a big upper structure. In other words a low semitrailer. Enjoy your reading! / The Onspot team

Why are truck drivers so hard to find?

Is the truck driver an endangered species? At least it seems like that if we look at reports from many countries – all concluding that carrier companies have a hard time finding good truck drivers to hire. But, what’s the reason for this shortage of drivers? Of course, there is not one single answer to that, and besides, reasons differ from country to country and from region to region. However, I think that the solution to the problem is most certainly many-sided.

Tales from the field, how Onspot saves lives

Over the years, I have received reports from customers who arrived at their destinations safely because of their Onspots. However, the most humbling accounts are from people who were saved because someone else had Onspots or the realization that they wish they had Onspots.

Touring in the winter landscape

Guest Blog, no 2 from the Haaks

After quite some vacation we’re on tour again! In a way, the winter is our favourite season when we perform in the different ski resorts, and the audiences are always wonderful. Our first week of the tour was spent in the classical hotel Sälens Högfjällshotell, in Sweden. The sun was shining, the slopes were filled with skiers, and already by four o’clock, the after ski was crowded with partygoers. A very special thing about this week was us co-arranging a corporate event, resulting in 250 happy hairdressers on the show.

Can I increase traction without any aiding device?

Maybe you’ve been there? The road is becoming icy and slippery and you ought to get out there to mount the snow chains. But you’re in a hurry, so mounting time would cost you another hour of delay or so. And besides, you don’t feel like leaving your warm cab for the freezing cold roadside… So, is there a trick to get traction anyway? Actually, there is a trick that many experienced drivers know of. Yet, it’s a controversial trick. Here’s why!

Post #2 - Living large on the road, with Bob and Linda Caffee

Guest Blog

In this week's blog we continue to follow Linda Caaffee´s life on the road in the United States as a team truck driver with her husband Bob.
 
/The Onspot team
                                        

Days away from home: 25 
Km Driven: 14896
US States visited since Jan. 4th 2017: IA, IL, IN, KY, TN, GA, NC, AR, OK, TX, NM, AZ, CA, NV, UT

Nothing is a direct route in trucking and we had to attend a recertification class in January. We carry a lot of hazardous materials, hazmat for short. As a result, we are required to attend classes every two years, have a background check, provide fingerprints, and take a hazmat test to keep our commercial driver’s licenses compliant.  This year we had to attend the class which was held in my birthplace of Tucson, Arizona.  We had to be in class on January 13th and our route was anything but straight. 

Living large on the road, with Bob and Linda Caffee, USA Team Truck Drivers

Guest Blog

In this week's post we'll get a glimps of how it is to work in the expedite industry as a team truck driver. A way of working that is quite common in the USA, but not so familiar to us outside the USA. A team truck driver drives with another driver. While one driver operates the truck, the other rests or sleeps. Drivers on a team can work out their own schedule and hours. Using a driving team allows a truck to be on the road continuously, resulting in faster delivery of the products on board. This week's writer, Linda Caffee, is an industry leader and a well known team truck driver in the USA. She will share her experience from the roads on the Onspot blog. We think that Linda's experience is of great value for all of us in the haulage industry.

/The Onspot team.

Why a truck driver?

Getting started as truck drivers was not as easy as it sounds. After twenty years as a diesel mechanic Bob decided he wanted to start driving trucks instead of working on them. I, Linda at the time worked at our local county courthouse and we were facing the “empty nest syndrome” as our youngest daughter was heading off to college. The idea sounded appealing and we started our research. 

Peace of mind for Rolf-Olav, when using Automatic Snow Chains

"When I get a call from a driver saying `-Today I was saved by Onspot´ it´s already payed off".

This quote is from Rolf-Olav Tenden, owner of Thor Tenden Transport AS in Norway. It is a quote that sums it all up quite well. When you, as an owner of a transport company can relax, knowing that your drivers are using vehicles with the right equipment. Equipment that is reliable and makes sure that the driver makes it to the delivery point regardless of the weather. And also brings them home safe.

Artists on the road

Guest Blog

Although Onspot automatic snow chains are mostly used in transportation trucks and rescue vehicles, of course there are other users who also need to make it in time. This week’s guest blogger, Jonas and Henrik from the Haaks band, points out that also showbiz has the very same need. Enjoy! / the Onspot team

Preparing for winter road conditions

We’re Haaks, a show band who have been playing full-time for the past 24 years. It’s me Jonas (bass & vocals), my brother Johan (guitar & vocals), Mattias (keyboards), Roger (drums) and me Henrik (sound & light).

From being mostly a night club band, we’re now doing more and more company events and happenings. Especially, we look forward to the after beach gigs in the summer and the after ski gigs in the winter. Nothing compares to entertaining people who are on vacation. Summertime, we’re mostly in Swedish Tylösand and Tanumstrand and wintertime is mostly about Swedish and Norwegian ski resorts. All gigs also mean that we spend a lot of time out on the roads and it requires good planning.

What is road friction?

We all know that friction and traction is crucial to avoid sliding vehicles and spinning wheels. (To learn more, read the blog post What is traction, friction and road grip?) When driving, we have a sense of whether road friction is high or low. But is there a measure for road friction? If so, how could that be calculated since there are several different variables summing up as road friction? Let’s have a closer look at this “road friction”.

Why are bridges icy when the road isn’t?

We should pay special attention to bridges and overpasses when driving in temperatures around freezing point. We’ve learnt that bridges may be icy while the road isn’t, and that’s all we need to know to for safety reasons. But, giving it a second thought, how could the bridge be icy when the road isn’t? Here’s why.

Happy New Year!

From all of us to all of you:

 

 Happy New Year!

 

2017 will be an even better year

Keeping students safe – Five modern school bus technologies to consider for your fleet

Note to you, the blog reader outside the USA! In North America the yellow school busses are a very important part of the society. They are getting a lot more attention than the equivalent school busses in Europe for example. Here you´ll find a blog post made especially for North America. It is always interesting to learn how things develop around the world. Maybe, we can learn something from each other. We believe that you will find this information interesting even though you live outside the North America.

The classic school bus may look similar to those on the road for decades, but major technology changes are increasing student safety. We have assembled a list of five technologies that you may not have heard about that can improve fleet performance and student wellbeing.

Which is the grand potential for reducing response time?

Every single rescue operation is about minimizing damage and ultimately saving lives, and hopefully, every single driver strives to reduce response time. For the rescue driver, with his specific knowledge and experience, it’s natural to reflect upon the matter from a local perspective. But, if we look at it from a general perspective; how many operations are there actually that may have response time reduced? Let’s have a look at some numbers.

Icy road basics for safe driving

To many, the white winter landscape is the paragon of icy roads. However, due to weather and meteorology there are different reasons why roads become icy. For safe driving, it’s a good idea to know some theory behind icy roads. With proper knowledge and awareness, the driver can reduce the risk of accidents or delays due to slippery road conditions. So, let’s have a closer look at some common causes for roads to become icy.

What is traction, friction and road grip?

Whether driving a small go-kart or a heavy hauler, you must have traction to move forward. Actually, you can’t even walk without it. Traction is a commonly used word and many believe it’s just another word for friction. But is it really? Let’s have a closer look at friction and traction – what it is and why it’s so fundamental to safe driving.

We all know the feeling when tyres lose grip and the vehicle starts skidding. Controlled skidding in a go-kart could be fun, but a heavy vehicle unexpectedly skidding on a road could cause a very dangerous situation. The skidding is due to the vehicle losing road grip and obviously, this has to do with tyres and road surface.

How to discover black ice?

Last week, the winter surprised me and most drivers totally. We had our first huge snow chaos of this season, some say it was the worst snow storm in 100 years.  The news reported that many had left their vehicles on the highways to walk instead and many truck drivers where stuck in the snow and had to sleep in their trucks all night long.

It is not only the snow that can cause us problems. Even more dangerous is the Black Ice because this is not always seen. This week we have put together important information of how to discover black ice. Tips that could help you holding your time schedule and avoid accidents or getting stuck in a snowdrift and causing traffic jams.

What to do when waking up to slippery road conditions?

Early November, just a few degrees below the freezing point. Strong wind and the first snow has been fallen since the night and it has started piling up. It´s time to go to work and start your scheduled route throughout the city.

These first days with ice, snow and slippery conditions are always interesting. Everyone seems surprised about the rough conditions and you have to be prepared and drive more intelligent. Watch out for the extra slippery junctions and roundabouts where the thin layer of ice is polished by other vehicles to an even more slippery surface. Be sure to have enough space in front of you to be able to stop before hitting someone or something.

How to keep your Onspots working properly

Working habits could become bad habits

We tend to do as we always do. Many things in everyday life become habits, and we don’t reflect on them. At least until something goes wrong, or we get some other trigger to change our routines. To most people, driving is one such habit, irrespective of if we’re professional drivers or just drive the family car.

How to compare Automatic Traction Control with the alternatives

Get a grip – one way or another

Yes, you need traction when driving. Losing traction and getting stuck could cause stressing delays, possibly with serious consequences…

Would I benefit from automatic tyre chains?

Drivers ruling under the laws of nature

We live in the era of automation. Have you ever thought of all these things that used to need a lot of human involvement, but today are seemingly automatic? Buying things for example. We have access to a global supply of products and services that are just a few clicks away, and we get our deliveries with very little human involvement. It’s different systems that communicate and automate that provide this convenience.

Also today’s vehicles are stuffed with systems to make usage safer and more convenient. Actually, automation technology develops at such a pace that self-driving vehicles are no longer a futuristic dream. They are here soon…

5 ways to improve performance on icy roads

Performance is much more than the vehicle

When the going gets tough and harsh winter conditions strike, the interaction between the driver and the vehicle is put at test. In such conditions, good driving performance is not to just rely on the vehicle or driving assistance tools. Rather, it’s about instantly adapting your mindset and behavior in order to do the job effectively – in the safest way possible.

Is there an alternative to 4x4?

When purchasing a new vehicle, 4x4 is a common option to consider. No wonder, it’s a familiar and well-tried solution with good features for safer driving – but it’s easy to ignore its weaknesses believing there’s no better alternative. However, when reflecting on those situations where traction is really crucial for your operations, you may conclude that 4x4 is not the perfect solution, but rather a compromise.

5 tips for efficient driving when the winter weather strikes

It comes every year, but it surprises us every time and often poses severe problems – of course we are talking about the winter. Everyone involved in the transportation industry knows that a lack of road maintenance and poorly equipped trucks can cause major problems and increased costs. We cannot influence the weather but we can adapt our business to the weather and to the slippery conditions.

Properly equipped vehicles adapted to different weather conditions and recommendations or laws may be crucial to ensuring that the shipment can be delivered as agreed. Many countries also have legal requirements for both winter tires and snow chains. 

6 tips on driving in adverse conditions

Why the school bus driver is my hero

Even though I’m not a school bus driver by profession, I can clearly imagine what it’s like. That’s because I know what it’s like to be a professional truck driver. To me, truck driving could be very stimulating with a good sense of freedom, being there on my own in the cab. But I also know it could be stressful when there is an impatient receiver of the goods I carry, and something goes wrong…

How to keep up with your schedule

The fact that schedules and deadlines are critical for most transport operations is no news. Actually, missed deadlines could mean temporary profit loss and even lost contracts – not to speak about the bad company reputation that may result. The professional driver is of course well aware of this and hopefully he knows how to keep up with the schedule. Accordingly, missed deadlines could be blamed on things beyond his control – a missed deadline is blamed on chance. However, there are different ways to deal with chance.

How to shorten your response time in rescue driving

Why response time must be reduced

For rescue operations ‘response time’ is one of the measures for effectiveness. In emergency situations response time should be as short as possible as this could be crucial for saving lives or properties at danger. Accordingly, much effort is put into reducing response times. But actually, what is response time?

Response time is a sum of parts

The total response time could be split into three clearly different phases:

  1. Dispatch time – This is the time elapsed from when an emergency call is received at the central until the rescue unit is notified.
  2. Turnout time – The time from when the rescue unit is notified until it is responding.
  3. Travel time – The time from responding until arriving at the incident scene.

It’s quite obvious that the potential for reducing response time will differ considerably depending on what phase we’re looking at.

What is an automatic traction control system?

Yet another complicated system for the mechanic to learn and maintain?

Most people stick to the familiar, that’s quite natural, and we feel comfortable with the working tasks we already know. We know what to do, we know how to do it and we know how long it takes. All this makes it easier to plan for the day – without ruining the coffee break…

The guide to improving fleet productivity

Transport enables prosperity

A transport stoppage for just a few days is enough for large parts of our society to come to a sudden halt. Despite this, the challenges facing the transportation and logistics industries have never been so great as they are now. Lower rates, increased competition, bigger forwarders, a shortage of drivers, tighter requirements for safety and quality certification, and requirements for clean, climate-friendly transport are just some of the challenges that contractors themselves describe as obstacles to good profitability and productivity.

More than half of transportation firms in the USA and Europe have problems with profitability. How can contractors adapt their operations to the challenges they face while also achieving profitability for their own companies?

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