Category: truck stop

Cargo Securement Tips of the Trade to Avoid Downtime

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Depending on how you’ve been taught, you might think that a strap is a strap and a chain is a chain. Securing your cargo might be something you haven’t given a lot of thought to in a while. Something to think about is that there are rules in place that you could be unknowingly violating. These rules are in place in an effort to avoid causing damage to other motorists on the road.

Understanding the proper way to tie down and secure loads improves highway safety and keeps you from the lengthy downtimes involved with violating the rules set out by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).

The specific rules to follow come from an older set of regulations given by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that took effect in 2004.

The general overview of these rules can be summed up in the following: “Cargo must be firmly immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle by structures of adequate strength, dunnage (loose materials used to support and protect cargo) or dunnage bags (inflatable bags intended to fill space between articles of cargo or between cargo and the wall of the vehicle), shoring bars, tiedowns or a combination of these.”

A rule of thumb to go by from these rules is that one tie down is required for items 5 ft. or less in length and under 1,100 lbs. Two tie downs are required for items 5 ft. or less in length and more than 1,100 lbs., or greater than 5 ft but less than 10 ft. long, regardless of weight. An extra tie down is required for every additional 10 ft.

Officers from CVSA enforce these rules during their routine roadside inspections of tractor-trailers and their drivers. If a truck driver is found in noncompliance, their truck can be taken out of service due to inspection item violations.

The concern, from the CVSA officers, is that improperly secured items can fall off the trailer and damage, injure, or even kill other motorists. The item itself might not directly cause a fatality, but a flying, bouncing, and fast approaching object on the road can cause accidents that could possibly lead to a fatality.

New drivers are spooked easily and aren’t accustomed to objects hitting their windshield. Older drivers with declining vision and reaction time, are also susceptible to crashes involving unexpected hazards.

In addition to following proper securement rules, routine checks of strap conditions not only help secure the load, but can also prevent unplanned downtime due to a failed CVSA inspection.

A variety of things can damage your straps. Get ahead of this and regularly check straps for cuts, burns, fraying, or other damage.

In cases where you do find damaged straps, replace the strap immediately. Spending a little bit of money now can prevent a significant loss of money due to downtime if the strap fails or is found to be damaged during an inspection. Having extra straps in the cab of your truck is highly recommended.

The Most Fun and Unique Truck Stops Across America

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Truck stops in the early ‘40s first opened to offer diesel fuel which was difficult to find at regular gas stations.  With the development of the highway system, truck stops began popping up, catering to the needs truckers and travelers.

Truck stops have evolved and many are more than just a place to fuel up and get a bite to eat.  Most modern truck stops today offer showers, laundry facilities, TVs, and ample parking for drivers to park for the night.  While some may consist of only fuel pumps, a fast food joint, and a place to park, others are elaborate food, shopping, and entertainment complexes that have become fun destinations for everyone.

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South of the Border

This Mexican-themed truck stop is located not near the Mexican border as you would think but instead is off of I-95 in Hamer, South Carolina near its border with North Carolina.  Pedro the Bandito invites travelers to enjoy the amusement park, a round of mini-golf, or to check out its reptile exhibit and its dinosaur (and other) statues that are located around the sprawling property.

Iowa 80 Truck Stop

This truck stop claims to be the World’s Largest Truck Stop.  It was opened in 1964 in Walcott, Iowa and has grown to be the size of a small city.  Besides ample shopping, it has a trucking museum that has a multitude of trucks on display from the early 1900s onward, as well as an impressive collection of antique toy trucks.  Amenities for drivers include a barbershop, chiropractor, dentist, dog wash, library, movie theater, and a gym.

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Alamo Casino and Travel Center

Aside from the typical amenities and truck services for drivers, this travel center located in Sparks, NV has great food, a motel, bar, and a casino.  You may want to extend your visit. One thing’s for sure―you’ll remember the Alamo!

Morris Travel Center

This stop in Morris, IL features R Place Restaurant, a slice of home with a fresh bakery and a restaurant full of comfort foods such as hearty breakfasts, pot roast, fried chicken, steaks, and of course, burgers.  For the adventurous eater, there’s the Ethyl Burger, a cheeseburger with all the fixin’s that weighs 4 lbs. If you finish it in less than an hour, it’s on the house.  You may even get a hat if you survive.

The Czech Stop

Located right off I-35 in West, TX, the Czech Stop offers hungry travelers top-notch Kolaches as well as other traditional baked goods.  If you’re looking for a quick meal, they also offer ham and sausage pastries and sandwiches too.

For drivers, finding unique stops can drive away the boredom and can be a reminder of why they were drawn to a life on the road to begin with.  If driving a truck is the life for you, Trucker Search can help you find a great company. Post your resume or search companies looking for drivers to join their teams. Start your new career in trucking by visiting Trucker Search today.

Sources:

https://www.sobpedro.com

https://iowa80truckstop.com

http://www.thealamo.com

https://www.ta-petro.com/amenities/restaurants/r-place-restaurant-morris-il-60450

http://www.czechstop.net/about-us/