Ultimate Headlight Buying Guide For Trucks

Inferior headlights and improper installation on your big truck can cause a number of problems. The wrong headlights might not illuminate the roadway as well as you would like, causing visibility issues. Poorly installed headlights with ill-fitting hardware might wind up with lights not aligned optimally. Since you encounter a variety of driving conditions—fog, rain, darkness, objects in the road—it’s important to get the best headlights and hardware for your ride. Knowing where to buy headlights is the key to success.
Continue reading Ultimate Headlight Buying Guide For Trucks

Shifter Knob Installation Guide For Truckers

If you want to add some character to your truck, then an easy, fast and affordable way to do that is to change your shifter knob. You can find them in a range of styles to match whatever look you are going for. There are even custom shifters for semi trucks just as there are for other types of vehicles. Regardless, installing your new shifter knob is pretty straightforward and simple.
Continue reading Shifter Knob Installation Guide For Truckers

How To Measure Your Exhaust & Choose Top Stacks

Making your truck look good means you have to add on a lot of aftermarket parts. Most trucks don’t come with all the fancy chrome accessories or even the highest quality parts. Replacing parts and adding some customization can make your truck look and operate better. One common change drivers make is to add top stacks. To do this, you first need to learn how to measure your exhaust, and then you can start looking at the  best semi truck exhaust stacks.
Continue reading How To Measure Your Exhaust & Choose Top Stacks

How to Choose the Best Lug Nut Cover Style

Changing out your lug nut covers is something you may do if you want to change the style or if you have broken or lost a lug nut. Your lug nut covers are a quick way to add some style to your rig, too. They are not too expensive, and they are easy to change. However, buying the right semi lug nut covers requires knowing how to measure leg nut size. A good fit is essential.
Continue reading How to Choose the Best Lug Nut Cover Style

Cargo Securement: Which Tie Down Is Best for You?

Just like almost everything in life, when it comes to tie-down straps you have a number of options. How wisely you choose can spell the difference between riding down the road with a secure load or watching your goods spilling out onto the highway. If you operate a big rig or a flatbed trailer or a moving van you will no doubt need to secure a valuable load from time to time. Fortunately, there are many excellent products out there to help you keep your items safe and secure. In short, using the best hardware for your cargo will give you the best chance for success.
Continue reading Cargo Securement: Which Tie Down Is Best for You?

5 Benefits of Using AutoSock as Your Winter Traction Aid

With brutal winter conditions possible in many parts of the country, drivers need to be prepared. That goes double for commercial truck drivers powering through bad weather over both short and long distances., Snow tire chains have been a classic vehicle accessory for driving in ice and snow, but AutoSock is an innovative traction solution that prevents spinning tires, wheel slippage, fishtailing and other weather-related road hazards. AutoSocks for trucks is an efficient and safer alternative to tire chains, offering five unique benefits for owner-operators, drivers and fleet managers.
Continue reading 5 Benefits of Using AutoSock as Your Winter Traction Aid

2018 Walcott Truckers Jamboree Concerts Announced

Iowa 80 Truckstop is pleased to announce the musical acts who will take the stage to entertain attendees at this year’s Walcott Truckers Jamboree. “We are excited to announce these great headliners,” says Heather DeBaillie, Marketing Manager.

On Thursday, July 12th attendees will enjoy a performance by Logan Mize courtesy of CAT Scale. “Logan is a great entertainer,” says DeBaillie.  Some may recognize his hit “El Camino” and his latest album “Come Back Road” which was released and debuted in the top 20 Billboard Country Albums and reached no. 2 on the iTunes Country Charts.

Logan Mize

Friday, July 13th will feature the Grammy winning group The Kentucky Headhunters, brought to you by Mobil Delvac.  “Their high energy show is sure to have everyone on their feet”, says DeBaillie. “Live, outdoor music is one of the best parts of summer and we are excited to be able to continue to hold concerts at Iowa 80!”

The Kentucky Headhunters

Join the Jamboree fun and experience the Super Truck Beauty Contest, Antique Truck Display; Iowa pork chop cookout; over 175 exhibits, Trucker Olympics; carnival games; two fireworks displays, a 100th birthday party for Iowa 80 Trucking Museum’s 1918 Independent (built in Davenport, Iowa) and lots more fun for the whole family!  Admission and parking are FREE!  Concerts are FREE!  Complimentary shuttles will be provided from the parking area to the event grounds.

The 39th Annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree, will be held July 12-14, 2018 at Iowa 80 Truckstop, I-80 Exit 284, Walcott, Iowa.  More bands are still being added to the concert line up. The most up to date information can be found at www.truckersjamboree.com.


Are You Ready?

By Larry Pruitt

With the FMCSA‘s Electronic Logging Device Mandate deadline quickly looming, Owner-Operators and small fleet owners alike are trying to wade through all of their options for the upcoming mandate deadline.  They’re trying to decide what will work best for them.  I know some companies have been testing different products on some select trucks in their fleet, while other operations are holding out hope that there will be a stay at the eleventh hour.  In my opinion, Congress doesn’t seem to agree on anything these days and unable to get anything passed, so I seriously doubt that this will get stopped before December 18.

With that being said, there is a very large contingent of drivers that have made the statement that they are leaving the industry when this mandate takes effect.  Some may leave and will probably move on to other careers, but most will continue on and adapt to the mandate. This upheaval in the industry will subside, and as my Mom would say, “This too shall pass”, and I agree with her, “This too will pass… it may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass”.  I’m old enough to remember back in the late-eighties or early-nineties when the CDL License Program was being introduced into the Trucking Industry.  There was a large number of drivers that were afraid that the CDL process would be so complicated that there was going to be a large shortage of drivers.  Drivers were going to leave the industry in droves because of something that today is viewed as no big deal and just part of the process of the regulations that we are saddled with today.

I’m not going to try to change anybody’s mind here on whether you want ELDs or don’t want them.  I’m just going to pass on my experiences, as I switched over to an ELD a little over a month ago.

To give you a little bit of background, I’ve been doing my logs on a tablet for the past 5 years or so using the Big Road app. I found that my logs were much easier to make sure that they were filled out completely and most of all, correctly.  This helps ensure you have a lesser chance to fall victim to a form and matter violation at a roadside inspection. The app would not let you sign your log unless everything was filled out properly.  I installed the connection to ECM back in September using the same app Big Road app.  I chose this product for a couple of different reasons, one was that I already was familiar with the app and the other was that I had good luck with tech support previously.  I wanted to get acclimated to using an ELD now versus trying to get compliant in the middle of December and having trouble.

The process of switching over has been pretty much uneventful so far.  I haven’t been caught about to run out of hours in my day yet, but I’m sure that will happen eventually.  I’m very fortunate that my operation allows me to be home every night.  I will admit that e-logs make it easier to keep track of duty status changes, it automatically knows when you start driving and when you stop driving, so you don’t even have to look at it for the biggest part of the day.  I will go back into it later and add notes to my stops whenever I have the time.

I think that ELDs are going to affect the industry over the foreseeable future.  I think that changes are going to be just as hard on shippers and receivers.  The truck lines are going to force shippers to get their trucks in and out and back on the road.  Let’s face it, companies are not going to be able to let trucks sit at a shipper or receiver for roughly 8 hours and then only have 6 hours left for their day and still be able to make any profit whatsoever.  Shippers will have to get better or their freight will lay on their dock, because no one will waste their time with that shipper.  I can see more drop and hook freight in the future, in segments that have never before been drop and hook operations.

One thing is for sure, the small fleet folks may have to change how they do business.  I think most small carriers will be able to adapt if they approach this from working within the system rather than trying to work around the system.

Well, that’s my opinion and experiences on the ELD mandate.  There are folks that agree with me and most definitely some that do not agree with me but are very passionate about their opinion.  No matter what anyone’s opinion is, let’s revisit this issue in about a year or so and see what the industry and it’s logging issues are at that time.  To everyone involved, GOOD LUCK with the mandate!

Iowa80.com offers a variety of e-log devices, shop here.

Larry Pruitt is an owner-operator with over 20 years of experience and has been involved in trucking for close to 40 years. He is a firefighter in North St. Louis County Missouri and resides with his wife, Jeanette, in Saint Clair, MO.


Heart Your Kidneys on the Road

By Sarah Moon

Kidneys are small but mighty. They filter around 50 gallons of blood every single day to remove waste products. Working hard day in and day out can cause stress on the kidneys if you aren’t taking preventative measures and living a healthy lifestyle. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition in which kidneys do not filter blood properly and leaves the body’s waste products to build up. This can lead to many negative health effects, but the primary concern of CKD is it leading to kidney failure, and when your kidneys stop working, so do you.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, 1 in 3 Americans are at risk for kidney disease and prevalence is on the rise. Often times, people do not even know of their condition until it is too late. Some risk factors to consider are diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, being of age 60 or older, and a family history of kidney disease. If you have one or more of the following risk factors, it may be a good idea to have a conversation with your doctor next time you’re in and talk about kidney disease, or stop by one of the free KEEP Healthy kidney screenings.

Prevention is crucial with kidney disease, but it is not always an easy road. Truckers have a more difficult and unique challenge when trying to be kidney-healthy. Between sitting in your truck for a good part of the day to the food choices on the road, it can be a whirlwind of obstacles to get through to keep your kidneys’ strong and pristinely functioning. Here are a few tips to #HeartYourKidneys and reduce your risk of developing kidney problems:

  1. Stay hydrated
    • Water is crucial to kidney function. When you stay hydrated, blood flows easier to the kidneys. Dehydration can slow that blood flow down and eventually lead to kidney damage. To ensure you’re getting enough, try this water bottle that tracks your intake and reminds you when you need fluids.
  2. Don’t smoke
    • Smoking is a risk factor for many chronic illnesses and kidney disease is no exception. The kidneys can’t filter properly because smoking decreases blood flow throughout the body.
  3. Skip the salt
    • The recommended amount of sodium for a day is one teaspoon. However, Americans consume about 50% more than that on any given day. Cutting down on salt is a difficult task because it is hidden in a number of foods. Asking your waiter/waitress to serve your meal without salt is a good start. You can also try reading food labels for a week. You may be surprised what types of foods contain salt!
  4. Don’t skip the fruits and vegetables
    • Diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure both can stem from a poor diet. The easiest swap that can be done on the road is if you are eating at a restaurant, swap fruit or vegetables in for fries or any starchy side dish.
  5. Exercise When You Get the Chance
    • Exercising regularly helps the body maintain a healthy weight and prevents many diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. It also helps regulate your blood pressure. Prolonged sitting can be linked to kidney disease, so exercising can be done to offset the negative effects. Opt for the stairs or park your truck at distance for easy ways to get in more steps!

Kidney deterioration happens over the course of many years from the added stress we put on them, but by being mindful of the risks and working to mitigate those stressors we can have happier and healthier hauls in the future!

Have questions about kidney disease? The National Kidney Foundation can help! Call toll-free at 1.855.NKF.CARES (1.855.653.2273). For more tips on keeping your kidneys healthy, visit www.kidney.org or follow them on Facebook!