Helpful Tips for Commercial Truck Driving

Driving a large vehicle is not as easy as driving a car. While you are doing the same action, driving a truck particularly if it’s a commercial vehicle requires the proper skills and techniques. Owing to its large size, there are some maneuvering actions that you need to be careful in doing to ensure a safe journey to your destination.

Turning on a curve. Drivers of huge trucks notably the 10 to 18-wheeler types need to take it slow when taking sharp curves. The trick is to slow down as you approach the curve and power through once you’re on the curve. Remember not to let the trailer push you as you pass through the curve but instead keep a pull on the trailer.

Looking ahead. When driving, make it a habit to look ahead of the road and not just what’s in front of your vehicle. By doing so, you will be prepared for what’s ahead and adjust your speed appropriately. For example, learning how to judge distance and the situation ahead will allow you to slow down a bit when you another truck or car coming up that wants to get out of a slow moving vehicle in front of them.

Be considerate of the small vehicles. Despite the large size of the vehicle you’re maneuvering, don’t feel as if you’re already the king of the road. You still need to be considerate of the cars passing by you or traveling beside you to keep the traffic smooth-flowing. Don’t be in a rush and cut in front of cars and always be mindful of the blind spots.

Driving on two lane roads. If, for instance, there is a long traffic ahead on a two-lane road you are on, you can try to get out of it by making a right turn and going through the shoulder if there is any. In this way, the other vehicles can keep moving.

Be a calm driver. Never let your emotions rule you while you’re on the road. Keep a cool disposition especially for long-haul trips to enjoy a safe and smooth journey to your destination. To avoid getting upset, just follow traffic regulations and be patient with the other drivers. It’s best that you’re the one who understands than be the one to flare up when things go wrong on the highway you’re passing through.

Bring your essentials. Whatever the distance you’ll be traveling, don’t forget to bring your truck’s important tools and your personal items as well. These should include your water, towels, extra shirts and food. Don’t expect that they’ll be restaurants along the way all the time. It’s best to be prepared so you won’t go hungry during your trip.

The proper handling and maintenance of a commercial truck are taught in a CDL training course. This is offered by vocational trucking schools for the purpose of training aspiring drivers who wish to enter the commercial trucking industry as an employee or operator.

The CDL course normally involves both classroom lectures and hands-on experience. A legitimate school should have experienced faculty members and proper facilities including a real functioning truck and driving range where students can practice truck driving.

Why Buy Touring Caravan Insurance?

There are many things that you must do in order to be a good caravan owner. You have to buy a good caravan unit, furnish it with functional equipment and make it as comfortable as possible. This is to make the caravan a good place to stay in during your summer vacations.

One of the most important things to do when you own a caravan is getting an insurance policy for it. There are many insurance companies that have this kind of offer. Just leaf through the yellow pages and you can easily locate one that is near your area. Another way to find one is through the internet. There are caravan insurance companies that maintain websites where they can be reached anytime. When you find one, you should know everything about their policies to help you determine if their terms meets your needs.

Websites maintained by insurance companies are always attended by customer care personnel. This means that applying for insurance online is very convenient. You just have to share information about your caravans and ask about their policies. The advantage of looking for an insurance company online is that you can compare their rates as well as their programs. Apply to one that you think offers the best deal.

Getting discounted touring caravan insurance is possible. However, you should make sure that the insurance company you are getting it from is reputable and legible. Today, you should be very careful about choosing the right company because there are so many scammers that are preying after people who don’t know much about insurance programs.

Getting an insurance policy for your trailer and caravan is relatively easy, most especially today when it can be done online. Touring caravan insurance programs come in many kinds. Touring caravan insurance is one of the things you can do as a caravan owner. Insurance can help you financially whenever you need it for caravan repairs and maintenance.

There are some things that you should look for in an insurance program. For example, it should cover slide-on and horse floats campers, folding trailers, demountable camper units and campers. Such factors can be very useful especially if you always use your caravan.

If you place your caravan on one site, look for an insurance program that covers not just the caravan itself, but also all the equipments in it. Find a reputable insurance company and get your caravan insured.

Top Tips for Buying a Second Hand Motorhome

The majority of motorhome owners buy second hand vehicles. You may feel confident choosing a second hand car, but a motorhome is another kettle of fish altogether, and special care should be taken to ensure you buy something that runs well and suits your touring lifestyle. After all, a motorhome is likely to be one of the most expensive purchases you are likely to make, so it is worth spending a little longer and doing some homework to get it right.

Like everything else, second hand motorhomes have a host of advantages and disadvantages. One of the main disadvantages of buying a second hand or used motorhome is that you are unlikely to find something absolutely perfect. That is not to say there aren’t any great motorhomes available, there are, but you will need longer to search for one, and will have to see a lot before you make a decision. Then, even if you find the make and model you are looking for, there is no guarantee that it will run well, and function correctly straight away.

The main advantage of buying a second hand motorhome is fairly obvious: cost. A second hand motorhome is far cheaper than a brand new one, in fact a new motorhome loses its value the minute it is driven away from the dealership. A used motorhome is perfect for first timer as it gives you the chance to get to know the motorhoming lifestyle without spending so much money. There are many bargains to be had, but you must make sure you know what you’re looking for to avoid being ‘done’.

Top Tips…

  1. Do your homework…: Look at used motorhomes in classified ads, both online and offline and you’ll easily get a gauge on types of motorhomes and prices. Get a shortlist of makes and models that most interest you, then key each one into a search engine with the words ‘fault’ or ‘problem’ next to the make or model of motorhome and you should get a good idea of any major issues with the model. This isn’t perfect, but it should give you a good idea of common faults.
  2. Set a Budget!: Now you know roughly the makes and models of motorhome that are most suitable for you, you should also have some idea of the price of vehicle you want. Use this to set a budget, but remember the price of the motorhome isn’t the only cost involved. There are the running costs to consider as well. Make sure you can afford to run your chosen motorhome! Factor in such necessities as motorhome insurance, regular servicing, recovery and fuel economy and, if necessary storage costs, in to your calculations. You should then end up with two figures, the initial outlay cost of the vehicle itself, and the cost of running it. This should help you narrow down your search for the right vehicle.
  3. Layout: You probably have strong ideas about the layout of the vehicle you plan to buy. Be prepared to be flexible in this, but, just as when you buy a house, make a list of absolute necessities. You could also make a list of desirable attributes, as well. Remember though, the longer your list of requirements, the longer it will take to find a second hand motorhome to fit your purpose!
  4. Base Vehicles: This is is an important factor to consider. The base vehicles used are varied, but one of the most common is a Fiat Ducato which is designed specifically for motorhomes. Other base vehicles available are; Peugeot Boxer, Citroen Relay, Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, Volkswagen Transporter and the Iveco Daily. A good tip to remember is that some of the best bargains to be had are on motorhomes made on less widely used base vehicles, so don’t rule anything out. Although, it is wise to also consider the availability of parts, and whether you have a local specialist who can service and fix any engine or vehicle faults.
  5. Book Test Drives: Spend a day (or weekend) doing test drives. Make sure you book with the dealer(s) to avoid disappointment on the day. When you get there, check the engine isn’t warm and that you can start it yourself – a common way to disguise starting problems in vehicles is to start the engine prior to the arrival of the potential buyer. Make sure your route includes a steep hill, a section of the motorway or a duel carriageway, and drive around a town to get the feel of real driving conditions. Make sure the test drive is long enough to get a true feeling of the vehicle. Try a hill start to check the clutch works correctly. Park the vehicle – if you’ve never driven something so large before then parking could be tricky at first so keep this in mind, but if you feel the vehicle is too big at this stage then maybe it’s time to reconsider the size of vehicle for you. Also look at such things as whether the stereo can be heard in the back, to help avoid boredom on long journeys!
  6. Check, Check, Check…: Make sure you check the overall condition of the vehicle. This includes looking at the chassis, the engine and check the mileage, just as you would when buying a second hand car. You should then also look at the seals and trims on the exterior as well as checking for cracks and dents. When you get to the interior, have a good old sniff! If it smells musty or damp, then there may be underlying problems. Check the soft furnishings, carpets, cupboards (do they close properly?). Check the shower works (if the water tank is empty, as for it to be filled). Check all gas and electric appliances work correctly. Make sure all service records are available for both the vehicle and the interior services.
  7. Picture yourself in the Motorhome: This may sound a bit daft, but bear with us… See if you can picture yourself and your family having a holiday in the motorhome. If you can see yourselves having fun in the vehicle, then it’s the right motorhome for you!

Have Fun!

Have You Driven a Ford Lately? New Technology Options For This Years Cars and Trucks

 The news this week that Ford is back in the black, and impressive how they did so without becoming a ward of the US taxpayer. Coincidentally, I took a look at two of the company’s latest cars to see what they are doing with installing technology there, and came away with mixed feelings. Yes, they are moving in the right direction, albeit clumsily. And while few people buy a car because of the installed computing features, they are becoming a bigger part of the usage equation as we spend more time commuting and working from our cars. 

Ford has two very different computing programs underway, and sadly they are mutually exclusive by design. The latest effort is called Ford Work Solutions, and it is only available on its truck line. The system is based on having a touch screen Windows CE 6.5 inch display in the dash, running a wide variety of software programs including a suite of office apps (but not the real MS Office), LogMeIn, GPS, entertainment controls, and more. Yes, that LogMeIn. It comes with a wide variety of confusing options, including a Bluetooth keyboard, printer, and cellular broadband data modem for Internet connectivity. The ideal target buyer is a building contractor who needs to work from the job site, or a delivery service. You can create documents and print them out in the cab, do a remote control session back to your office to pick up some data, and surf the Web to answer customer queries. The touch screen is a bit clunky, because some of the controls are designed for fingers on the screen rather than on the keyboard, but by and large it seemed well thought out. For example, you can’t operate the PC when driving.

But I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I was going back to the early days of WebTV, and using technology that was already obsolete before its time found its way into many current hotel rooms. Part of the challenge that car makers have is that by the time a computer is installed in the vehicle, it is out of date. Granted, this is a computer that you don’t have to worry too much about — Ford claims it will withstand brutal environmental conditions — but it still is a Windows CE based device that is closer to my Uverse TV settop box or my mobile phone than the PC that I am using to write this essay.

The in-dash PC comes with a few handy things, though. It has SD card and USB ports right there on the dash so you can import files or connect to external data sources. You can synch up your phone’s contacts and do voice command dialing. It has the GPS display and your audio system controls so you don’t have to hunt around for them. And there is an optional tool tracking software where you can stick RFID tags on your tools and instantly do a census before you leave a job site and make sure you got everything back in the truck before you leave. There is also a vehicle tracking and scheduling software called Crew Chief that one Chicago pizza delivery company is using to match demand with supply, as the trucks have their own baking ovens that can finish the pies and get them piping hot to their customers. That seems to offer the most promise, if you can figure out the options.

Ford has done a mediocre job of getting the word out about Work Solutions. They haven’t any press loaners to try anywhere in the country — I had to find one locally that was being used by one of their corporate dealer trainers.The company Web site has some information, but it doesn’t satisfy anyone who has moderate tech knowledge, and indeed asks more questions than it answers. They could do better and appeal to more IT-minded potential buyers, rather than the big and brawny Joe SixPack contractors. (Actually, the contractor that my interior designer wife currently uses has a pretty sophisticated Web site that tracks his job progress and tasks, but that is story for another essay.) Each truck has to be specially ordered with the computer factory installed, so you can’t just walk in off the lot and drive one home. They aren’t all that expensive as computer options go — the monthly fees for the cellular modem and LogMeIn is probably the biggest obstacle just because people don’t normally think their car needs an additional monthly payment for communications. And there are a confusing array of options and add-ons, which is why the dealers need training here. The biggest issue  is that they aren’t available in their sedans. I shouldn’t have to buy a pickup truck, or even their sexy Transit Connects (which you see all over Europe and are just being imported here) to get a measly WinCE PC. 

Why not just spend your money on a laptop with a cellular modem and call it a day? You can get a “real” PC with a bigger screen and put whatever apps on it you desire, and still have the connectivity back to your office or Internet access if you need it. The only trouble is that you either have to leave your laptop at risk inside your car or have to tote it around with you. If you are a contractor or a delivery person or someone else constantly on the go, it might make sense to go with the in-dash PC. 

What about the other Ford tech package? This is the Sync software that they developed with Microsoft. It is designed for a character-mode display and isn’t a real computer in the sense of even a CE-based device. It can sync up with your cell phone, offer turn by turn navigation instructions (but not a visual display of the landscape), and automatically mute the radio when an incoming call is detected for your cell phone. This is available on most of the newer model cars, and Ford will throw in the navigation package free if you buy other options for Sync. Or so I was led to believe. Again, figuring out all these options is maddening, and why so many of us run screaming from our local car dealers. 

Now, you should know that I have rather quirky car buying habits: I have only owned cars for about 25 years, roughly half my life, and only bought one Big Three American car over that period (my current car was made in Canada and is actually offered by Ford, although I bought the Toyota version). I don’t drive it enough to consider the Work Solutions package even if it were available in a sedan. 

While I give Ford credit for trying to add some interesting technology to their vehicles, they have a long way to go before many people will choose to use it. Yet it is noteworthy in that they are attempting to go after a part of the market that the other car makers have ignored: road warriors that want to get work done in their cars, and not just deliver fancy infotainment systems. Now if they could appeal to the nerds they might have a winner.