Experienced driver or beginner, driving on snowy and icy roads is a risky situation for everyone. These risks, however,can be reduced by applying the following advice.
Internet communication and services play an important role in the transportation and logistics industry, as well as for the truck drivers. However, there is a possible side-effect to common online behaviour that may put extra pressure on the commercial truck driver…
How does the system work… is a question that is often asked by new owners of vehicles equipped with the Onspot automatic tire chains. When I hear this same question asked by those who have had the system for a month or more it grabs my attention. The best way to properly maintain the system and understand how it works is to use it. This is how!
Here is what David Anderson, Director of Transportation & Fleet at Adams 12 Five Star Schools in Colorado has to say about Onspot automatic snow chains on their school buses:
“Onspots are great tools! Give them some general maintenance and they last the life of the bus.”
What does a fleet manager say about Onspot?
Automatic tyre chain systems can be discussed in two ways: 1) The physical properties of the system, and 2) What the system provides the user.
Do you need to improve your transportation business? Maybe, instead of tweaking bits and pieces you should re-consider your entire business model. Or, at least look upon your business from new perspectives. Here is why!
It’s the time of year that we all begin to think about silent nights, sleigh bells ringing, and the joy of spending time with loved ones by the fire. It’s the time of year when the everyday heroes go to work so that we can enjoy the comfort and kinship of the holidays.
It happens every year and every year it surprises us, catching us off guard. We are, of course, talking about the winter season and the host of winter weather problems it brings.
We should pay special attention to bridges and overpasses when driving in temperatures around the freezing point. Over the years we have heard that bridges may be icy while the road is not. We have also seen signs posted before bridges and overpasses which state this for safety reasons. This condition however is an important one that should be given some consideration. So how could the bridge be icy when the road is not? Here’s why.
The first winter storm of the season often catches many of us by surprise. Soon most of us will have had our first big burst of winter weather. The snow-covered roads and plow trucks are an obvious indicator that we should be vigilant while driving. But what about when ice is present without these visual cues? Black ice is the winter threat many of us fail to observe until it’s too late.
Not so long ago, we saw on the roads these trucks that kept the landscapes and green spaces alive. These vehicles equipped with several equipment and accessories that cut the trees or maintained the road, change now from another equipment’s. The snow plows take place to clear away these new roads, which will become snow-covered and ice-free.
When winter strikes, the conscious driver prepares for increasing traction in case of icy and slippery roads. Some bring a sandbag and a shovel while others gear up with a set of snow chains. Still, others have automatic snow chains mounted on their vehicle, so there is no need at all for special preparation. All these drivers rely on mechanical principles for increasing traction. But, are there no other options? Let’s dive into the world of chemical de-icing of roads.
The automatic snow chains are genius when you encounter adverse road conditions in the colder seasons. With just a flip of a switch you have instant traction added so that you can get up in speed or if you need to stop, you get improved breaking power.
But what about the rest of the year, when you are not in the winter season? In the middle of the summer or in the autumn?
In rescue operations the time required to arrive on site from the moment of the first call is a critical measure of effectiveness. First responders work tirelessly to reduce response time which means more lives are saved and injuries can be tended to before they become life threatening.
Friction and traction are key to avoid sliding vehicles and spinning wheels.
Friction is defined as the rubbing of one object or surface against another. The friction between your vehicles’ tires and the road will determine maximum acceleration and minimum stopping distance. The force of friction depends on the force pushing the objects or surfaces together and the coefficient of friction. The coefficient of friction is the relationship between the force required to move the surfaces against each other and the pressure to stay in contact while in motion.
The Driver is in control
We live in the era of automation. Have you ever thought of all the 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.
In your profession, driving a vehicle is not just a mode of transportation, it’s one of the tools that allows you to save lives. As such, your vehicle must be equipped with the best equipment to get the job done.
Optimisation is key to the transportation industry. From a logistics perspective, trucks should never roll unladen. The bigger truck fill rate, the better. New technologies and driving techniques are developed with the aim of reducing fuel consumption which is good both for the business economy and the environment. Looking at such major factors as fill rate and fuel consumption, is there reason to consider optimisation of such a tiny thing as tyre pressure? Yes, there is!
One of the measures of effectiveness in rescue operations is ‘response time’. Naturally, in emergency situations, achieving the shortest response time possible is crucial for saving lives or property in danger. Therefore, a lot of time and effort are put into reducing response times. But what is actual response time?
If you’re a truck driver, you don’t need us to remind you of the job’s daily demands and stressful situations. The busy nature of the trucking industry can make healthy choices almost impossible to integrate throughout the day. However, with prioritization and planning, it is possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle while working on the road.
Natural gas, all electric or autonomous trucks, the vehicles of the future are actually those of the present thanks to the many innovations of manufacturers and equipment manufacturers.
When I attend trade shows, I am often asked if it is necessary to fill out our VSI or Vehicle Suspension Information form. Although the form typically takes 10 minutes to fill out, most people miss the importance of what they consider an “extra” step. Some believe that the VIN number or a description of the suspension should be enough. My favorite, however, is when people tell me the vehicle is a “sister” to one already fitted with Onspots so there should be no need to measure the chassis. This statement could not be more further from the truth.
At Onspot, nothing is left to chance! Each piece that makes up the complete system has been the subject of a comprehensive study. The same is true for our chains.
Have you already noticed that we use different types of chains? Each of them has been designed to meet a specific need, and we will reveal our secrets about wheels and chains!
Federal, state and local law enforcement departments are equipped to respond to calls for service no matter the time of day, weather or terrain. As with their fellow first responders, law enforcement officers must arrive “on scene” safely and in a timely manner.
Our company tagline “saves lives, deadlines and reputations” is not just a catchy slogan, we believe our system has realized its objective. Whether you are a professional transporting goods, people, or in public service, your vehicle is your means to completing your work. You must have control of your vehicle whatever situation you find yourself. Let’s review together how Onspot can get you out of difficult situations.
Rules about winter tyres for trucks and buses differ between countries and regions all over the world. Many countries, of course, have such a warm climate all year round that there is no need for winter tyres at all. Other countries have such cold winter climate that winter tyres are necessary. Yet other countries are prioritising safety, with strict regulations for the use of winter tyres accordingly. Let’s have a look at winter tyres!
Spring is here! The days are getting longer and the streets have been swept clean as motorcycles and classic cars take to the roads once again. During this time of the year it is quite easy to leave the cares of winter behind, especially if the season was a long and harsh one. Although we would like to forget about winter, it is important not to lose sight of vehicle maintenance.
The most widely used response time standard in the United States is the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 1710 which requires “the arrival of an ALS (Advanced Life Support) company within an eight-minute response time to 90% of incidents.” This standard resulted from a 1970s cardiac arrest survival study by two Seattle physicians.
Over the years at Onspot, we have fit thousands of chassis with our automatic snow chain system. Vehicle applications ranging from fire and rescue, school and transit bus, plow and tow truck, and various forms of local and long-haul delivery trucks are just some of the chassis where the Onspot system is currently in use. Our Onspot factory located in North Vernon, IN is also more than just a place where our product is made, it is also an R&D facility that allows us to stay on top of the latest chassis changes and adapt our product to these changes. Occasionally, we also have customers contact us with some pretty interesting and challenging vehicles that they would like outfitted with Onspots. One recent vehicle that comes to mind is that of Bro. John Pinnix with the Remote Alaska Missions or R.A.M.
If you’ve been considering an investment in Onspot, you may have grown curious about how it’s possible to purchase and install a product that is custom fit for your vehicle. We have a time-tested design process and a solid dealer network to ensure that the right product and installation services are available when you need it.
From emergency vehicles, garbage trucks, and snow removal vehicles to passenger or goods transport vehicles, each profession requires adapted and different vehicles. While some equipment have advantages on trucks, others better fit on lighter vehicles. But what about Onspot? Does it fit as well on a light vehicle as trucks? Are the advantages the same? Let's compare and answer it!
The use of a truck is two-fold. For the owner, it is a tool for generating revenue, while for the driver, it is the workplace. Many people consider truck accessories as costly gadgets only, like, the Coffee Machine De Luxe. However, there are accessories that not only increase driver’s comfort and safety but also increase operational efficiency. Let us have a look at some obvious accessories – and some less obvious…
Onspot Automatic Snow Chains have been installed on many tow trucks; however, they are not a one-size-fits-all product. As with any vehicle, fitting automatic snow chains on a tow truck is based on variables or combination of variables. Let’s talk about tow trucks!
In today’s commercial trucking industry, keeping the wheels turning is still a daunting task. Even with all the latest advances in technology, simple factors like traffic, weather, downtime, and health still hamper the transportation of freight by truck drivers around the world. What follows are the most common issues that plague drivers and ways to combat them.
When is the correct time to engage your Onspot Automatic Snow Chains? This is a common question that we hear from our friends in the fire and rescue industry. Actually, it’s a frequently asked question in many of the markets that we serve.
Fatigue is a reality that affects all drivers; especially commercial vehicle drivers who are exposed to long hours on the road and even in extreme conditions like bad traffic and/or weather.
How does one prevent fatigue and be effective in your daily work as well as outside? We tried to answer this question.
Which is the perfect road surface treatment to increase traction?
To keep transportation – and society – running, authorities have different strategies for keeping roads open and driveable in harsh winter conditions. Snowplows keep the snow masses away from the road, and often some kind of surface treatment is used to increase traction when roads are icy and unsafe. But, which is the perfect road surface treatment? The simple answer is... None! Every method of surface treatment is a compromise between effectiveness, cost, handling and side effects. Let's have a look at some methods.
Traction devices allow you to travel safely on slippery roads and in adverse weather conditions. Most people who use these devices navigate in less than optimal conditions because it's their job.
Professional drivers don’t have the option of taking a day off to avoid the winter weather.
The process of creating a product depends on a human labor force working with machines to complete a finished product. To meet the needs and expectations of customers, several factors must be considered. We wish to share with you how Onspot produces its vehicle bracket kits.
How much does Onspot increase traction?
With more than 150,000 Onspots installed in vehicles worldwide, numerous drivers and fleet managers testify and praise the effectiveness of the automatic snow chains. Without a doubt, Onspot improves both road safety and drivers’ safety while helping them keep to the schedule by instantly increasing traction. But, why are there no figures on what to expect?
Yes, Onspots work in reverse. The important question of engaging chains in reverse is asked time and time again. Moving in reverse is always challenging due to obstructions (your field of vision is blocked by the vehicle itself), depth perception, and the difficulty of controlling your speed and direction; now add snow and ice!
If we pay attention to the world around us, we notice that an assembled set of components results in the machines used to assist us in completing our daily tasks. Mechanically speaking, we can observe gears which make up cogs which in turn set the machine in motion. However, when there is a missing or defective gear then the cog becomes paralyzed thus impeding the machine’s function.
The holiday season has arrived and many of us will be traveling to spend time with friends and family. It’s also the time of year when retailers return to profitability, grocery stores sell out of popular items and our price at the pump increases in response to seasonal demand. Increases in freight shipments and passenger traffic create a situation where all drivers need to pay especially close attention to safety.
In a tyre-surface system, the coefficient of friction is called ‘traction coefficient’. It’s as simple as that. But, what’s more important is to know why the traction coefficient is fundamental to road safety – and peace of mind.
The winter weather is upon us and it’s time to begin thinking about maintaining traction on icy road surfaces. The U.S. Department of transportation has compiled the following list of tips for keeping your tyres in good working condition.
Canada’s Waste & Recycling/Municipal Equipment Expo (CWRE) - 2017
Most of us attend trade shows and expect the same old exhibits but then you stumble on a product and wonder to yourself – why didn’t anyone think of this before?
As a mechanic, every day, you have to find new solutions to the problems you encounter. You are reflective, rigorous, and logical, and we know that it is not always that simple...
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!
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.
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.
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 -
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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!
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.
Guest Blog, no 3 from the Haaks
Watch this video when Onspots help us conquer a slippery hill!
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.
"...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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
"When I get a call from a driver saying 'Today I was saved by Onspot' it's already paid 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.
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.
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”.
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.
From all of us to all of you:
Happy New Year!
2017 will be an even better year
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.
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.
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.
Black ice on the road is rightly considered very dangerous when driving. Still, many drivers are not watchful enough in weather conditions where there is the risk of black ice. But, what is this black ice – and what should I know about it?
No, it’s not black
Typically, black ice is invisible. It’s a thin coating of glaze ice on the road surface. Since it’s thin and transparent, the black road surface is clearly seen through it, and that is why it’s called blackice.
But, it’s dangerous
The typically low levels of noticeable ice pellets, snow, or sleet surrounding black ice means that areas of the ice are often practically invisible to drivers. Accordingly, the driver is not prepared of the slippery road area, and there is a risk of unexpected loss of traction. This in turn may result in subsequent accident.
Black ice sometimes forms from super-cooled rain which freezes into ice and constitutes a particular risk to winter traffic because it is extremely slippery and hard to spot. The temperature may be above freezing but the road surface may still be slippery.
The road surface can be well below freezing temperature – while the vehicle thermometer suggests it is not freezing.
This is how you discover black ice
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.
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.
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…
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…
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. Here you will get some good tips on how to deal with icy roads!
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.
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.
Download the tips for efficient driving in winter weather conditions below!
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…
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.
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:
- Dispatch time – This is the time elapsed from when an emergency call is received at the central until the rescue unit is notified.
- Turnout time – The time from when the rescue unit is notified until it is responding.
- 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.
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…
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?