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Important Safety Tips for Truck Drivers

reefer trailers

Millions of trucks regularly rumble down the streets and highways of the United States, hauling a wide variety of products and generally helping the nation’s economy. A number of these units utilize reefer trailers, which are essentially refrigerators on wheels and carry perishable goods, primarily food products. Properly maintained, a refrigerator truck can expect to travel more than a million miles in its service life. However, such vehicles require careful attention so they will continue to run safely and efficiently. These are some of the mechanical items drivers should watch in order to ensure the safety of their rigs.

Tires

Since tire failure is a leading technical factor in accidents involving large trucks, regular inspections are necessary. In addition to testing internal pressure, tires should be examined for cuts and external wear. Such problems could point to other issues, including improper alignment.

Brakes

Brake systems are essential to safe truck operations, especially in emergency situations. Parking brakes are particularly important to big rigs. In addition to checking for leaks in the system, warnings and alarms should be monitored while driving. In the event that anomalies are discovered in any part of the brake system, the vehicle must be removed from service and repaired.

Vehicle Fluids

In addition to fuel, vital fluids include engine oil and liquid coolant. These should be checked to ensure proper levels and for the possibility of leaks that could result in a loss of them at an inopportune time. Fluids can also be checked when driving through the proper monitoring of the gauges.

Electrical System

This system provides power for standard electrical features, including headlights and turn signals. Modern trucks rely upon certain new technologies, such as camera systems, which also connect to the electrical system. Checks should be made on the vehicle’s battery and its wiring to ensure that the electrical system is fully functioning when driving.

Maintenance Records

Trucks require regular maintenance ranging from oil changes to transmission service, and this information should be properly recorded. Additionally, records should be available to indicate any special problems or maintenance activity. A careful review of standard and special maintenance should be conducted to ensure that the vehicle is in proper running order.

Arriving Safely

In addition to displaying good driving habits, preventive maintenance can help ensure that drivers safely deliver their reefer trailers or anything they are towing to their intended destinations.

If you follow these rules on and off the road, you’ll be safer knowing you took all the necessary steps to ensure you travel without a problem.

Common Uses for Refrigerated Trailers

A refrigerated trailer is just how it sounds. It’s a special trailer that is used to transport goods with cooling and heating functions. These cooling and heating functions allow it to keep perishable goods within their required temperature range.

Since these types of trailers can be very costly, it may be in your best interest to seek out a refrigerated trailer rental company. You can trust that these types of companies keep up with the service of the trailer to ensure that it’ll run efficiently for your business.

If you’re not sure if you can use a refrigerated trailer, also known as reefer trailers, check out some of the common uses for them.

Deliver Fresh Food

One of the most common uses of a refrigerated trailer rental is to keep food fresh. Many food-based businesses that need to transport food from one location to another can do so by utilizing a reefer trailer. It also prohibits the growth of any bacteria in the time that it takes to transport it.

Common food groups to transport are seafood, vegetables, deli meat, chicken, beef, pork, etc. If your food needs to be kept cool, this trailer can do the trick. Since different types of foods may need to be kept at different temperatures, these trailers’ internal temperatures can range from -20 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Whatever food you have, it will keep it cool and safe.

Pharmaceutical Drugs

Some pharmaceutical drugs need to be kept at lower temperatures to ensure they work. Pharmaceuticals typically need to be transported between 55 degrees Fahrenheit and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Utilizing refrigerated trailer rentals affords you the benefit of a 24/7 breakdown line to keep your trailer moving and your product in the appropriate temperature range.

Nursery Stock Delivery

Nursery stock is big business! In order to keep plants viable, refrigeration may be needed as part of the delivery process. Sometimes, flowering plants that are used to brighten your yard may not reach their destination due to logistics delays. If exposed to heat or cold for an extended period, a plant can begin to wilt and the flowers fade. A refrigerated trailer rental can help keep all the nursery stock viable for yard beautification.

The uses of a refrigerated trailer can be endless. It’s not limited to just food and can be used for almost anything that needs to be kept cool or warm. If you are interested in renting a refrigerated trailer, contact us today!

Businesses That Could Benefit from Reefer Trailer Rental

In the current climate of economic uncertainty, many businesses are looking for ways to save money. One way that’s often overlooked is by renting a reefer trailer from a reliable company. Renting a refrigerated trailer can be cheaper than buying one outright and can also help with cash flow since you only pay for what you need when you need it. Remember that the average cost of a refrigerated truck can is more than $60,000. The long-term savings can add up to a lot of money over the course of a year.

Here are some businesses that could benefit from reefer trailer rental:

1. Restaurants

While many restaurants already lease trailers for their wares, using a reefer trailer rental allows you to avoid tying up capital in an outright purchase or expensive leasing deal. You’re only paying when you need the extra space to store and/or transport your food products for as long as you need it.

2. Non-Profit Organizations

Many non-profits need to transport food, water, and other goods to disaster areas. A reefer trailer can help them keep their costs down because they don’t make money when delivering these items. They only pay for what they use.

3. Food Processors

If you make your own sauces, frozen meals, or other similar items at home, a reefer trailer could be a great time-saver for you.

It’s not always easy to find an appropriate space to store these products without risking spoilage. A refrigerated trailer allows you to conduct food processing anywhere and keeps your products at safe temperatures while they’re being shipped from one place to another.

Using a reefer trailer rental also helps eliminate the extra costs associated with buying a large freezer that might otherwise sit empty most of the year anyway.

4. Caterers

Many caterers have to transport their food to off-site locations where they’ll be serving it.

Buying a new trailer can be very expensive while paying for reefer trailer rental allows you to spend your money on the extra space you need without wasting it on a trailer that won’t see much use.

5. Delivery Companies

If you deliver perishable items such as flowers or specialty foods by truck, you should strongly consider using a reefer trailer. Some businesses specialize in delivering live seafood, such as crabs and lobsters.

This is another great way to save money because refrigeration space on your delivery vehicle can be limited. Renting a van or box truck with additional cold storage space is a more economical option that still leaves you with the flexibility to only pay for what you need when you need it.

6. Hospitals and Pharmacies

Hospitals and pharmacies often need to store large quantities of drugs, medical supplies, and other products.

Using a reefer trailer rental allows them greater flexibility when storing their merchandise while also keeping their costs down since they only pay for what they use.

Some medicines require refrigeration after opening, so if you’re a hospital or pharmacy and you have to handle these products, renting a reefer trailer could be highly beneficial for your business.

7. Manufacturers

Many manufacturers don’t make enough product at one time that it makes sense for them to have their own warehouse space or storage facility. Reefer trailer rentals can serve as a “temporary central warehouse” for these companies to store more goods without an upfront cost.

8. Aquaculture Companies

Many aquaculture companies also use frozen food in their operations. A reefer trailer rental can help them maximize efficiency by allowing them to store these foods outside of an expensive cold storage facility. They can get the frozen foods out of storage and on their way to customers when it’s most convenient for them.

9. Special Events

In many cases, the food that’s provided at special events is perishable. This means that you’ll have to throw it out if it spoils instead of giving it away or selling it at a reduced price. Renting a refrigerated trailer may provide an affordable way to transport the food before and after your event without having to worry about throwing anything away.

Commonwealth Trailer Rental offers reefer trailer rentals and live floor trailer leasing services for several uses, including food storage, shipping, and more. Get in touch with us today to learn more about the different options available.

Tips to Keep a Refrigerated Trailer Maintained

refrigerated trailer

Refrigerated trailers are often used in the transportation of food and other refrigerated goods. However, this equipment is subject to several potential risks that can lead to rapid deterioration or contamination. Here are some tips for maintenance that you should follow as much as possible.

1. Inspect the Cooling System

You should inspect the cooling system to ensure that it is working properly each time you use the refrigerated trailer. At a minimum, you should check the temperature of the refrigeration compartment with a thermometer before loading and after unloading. Check the temperature of the air circulating through the trailer. Ensure there are no leaks in the refrigeration system and that any filters or cooling coils have been cleaned.

2. Clean the Refrigerated Trailer

Clean the interior of your refrigerated trailer regularly, especially before you use it for the first time in a while and before long-term storage. Give special attention to flooring, wall corners, door seals, and other areas where dirt accumulates. Check that all drain plugs are open so that water does not collect inside and damage equipment or food products.

3. Inspect the Exterior

Inspect the exterior of your refrigerated trailer regularly as well. Check for dents, rust on metal surfaces, improper paintwork, and signs of corrosion around handles or hinges that could cause doors to become difficult to open or close properly in an emergency.

4. Inspect Electrical and Wiring Systems

Inspect the electrical system of your refrigerated trailer regularly for loose connections or frayed or worn insulation around wires that could be a fire hazard, especially when the trailer is in use or left unattended for long periods. Ensure no exposed wires can cause damage if they touch anything while you’re driving. Check that all light bulbs work properly, and replace those that don’t work with genuine ones.

Replace fuses and circuit breakers as necessary so that they can protect against overloads and short circuits. Also, make sure that grounding systems are working perfectly since any problems could lead to electrical fires and other potentially hazardous situations.

5. Practice Safe Driving

Drive carefully to avoid incidents where the reefer trailer could be damaged, or items inside could become broken. Ensure you follow all applicable traffic laws and keep an eye out for any safety warnings related to trucks carrying food ingredients or other potentially hazardous materials. If anyone in your vehicle notices a strange smell, smoke, leak, vibration, or noise coming from the refrigeration unit, stop and check that everything is working properly before continuing on your route.

6. Maintain the Refrigeration System

You should also have regular refrigerated trailer maintenance performed on your fleet’s refrigeration systems to help ensure that they are always working properly. This kind of maintenance can include everything from inspecting operating components for leaks or wear and tear to cleaning cooling coils and replacing filters when necessary. When you have this kind of comprehensive preventive repair done, you will likely be able to avoid expensive problems with the mechanical equipment inside your trucks.

7. Keep Records

Always keep records of all maintenance performed on your refrigerated trailer. Make sure you note down any repairs made, the cost of those repairs, and whether the repairs were successful or not. Also, pay attention to what caused damage in the first place so that future incidents can be prevented. While this may seem like a lot of work, understanding how and why past problems occurred makes it easier to anticipate and prevent them from happening again in the future.

8. Follow Safety Rules

Always wear a seat belt and secure cargo with tie-downs, so it does not fall on other vehicles or passengers in the event of an accident. Never engage in activities like smoking or eating while using any motorized vehicle, including a refrigerated trailer.

If any of your reefer trailers or live floor trailers show signs of strain — leaks or cracks, for example — contact a qualified professional contractor to handle refrigerated trailer repair and maintenance.

An average of 76,680 refrigerator trailers are sold in the United States each year. Each one of them needs to be properly maintained to be used safely. By doing this, operators can avoid any accidents and ensure that they have a safe loading and unloading experience every time.

Tips for Fuel Savings

Fuel is the second-highest operational cost for fleet managers, after drivers’ wages. In 2018, the cost of fuel made up a whopping 24 percent of carriers’ average total costs per mile. Most fleet managers are keen on cutting fuel costs anywhere they can, but it isn’t always easy to do.

You’re probably already implementing some best practices to reduce fuel costs, but there may be other methods you haven’t considered. Let’s take a look at seven ways that can help you to save money on your fuel costs.

Aerodynamic Devices

If you’re driving a refrigerated trailer, aerodynamic devices can be incredibly helpful for reducing fuel spend. Any time you can improve the aerodynamics of your trailer, it’s going to help cut down on fuel costs — maybe even more than you would expect.

A recent study showed that combining Utility’s Aerodynamic Side Skirt (USS) and their innovative Aerodynamic Tail (UAT) can give you a fuel savings of 646 gallons of fuel per 100,000 miles. Our experienced staff will work with you to determine which aerodynamics options you should consider adding to your leased equipment.

Tire Pressure

Under-inflated tires hike up your fuel costs. A study by the U.S. Department of Energy found that for every one psi drop in the pressure of your tires, fuel mileage drops by 0.4 percent. Keeping your tires properly inflated is an easy and effective way of lowering your fuel costs.

Just about every driver on the road knows this, but tire pressure often goes neglected anyway. Most people have gotten used to the idea of automatic tire inflation systems (ATIS), and CTR includes ATIS on most of our fleet. We do this to make your life easier, save you money, and prevent costly downtime.

It’s worth noting that over-inflating your tires won’t give you even better fuel economy. The ROI tops out at the correct pressure, and over inflating will only harm the reliability of your tires.

Proper Trailer Alignment

Ride enough curbs or hit enough potholes and your trailer’s axles will become misaligned before long. Once that happens, your fuel efficiency can drop by as much as 10 percent.

If the trailer is dog tracking six inches to the right, your tires are scrubbing with every revolution, trying to go right when the tractor wants to pull the trailer left. That wears on fuel economy badly in addition to premature tire wear, then it’s time to contact CTR’s 24/7 breakdown line so our team of service professionals can realign your trailer.

Manage Fuel Card Usage

If you’re using fuel cards, it’s important to hold your drivers accountable for the way they spend them. Review how your drivers are using their fuel cards, and keep them accountable for purchasing only fuel, and only for approved vehicles. To curb misuse, use a fuel management system that provides real-time fuel purchase alerts and details on every fueling transaction including PIN, odometer and vehicle/driver ID.

Incentivize Choosing Affordable Fuel Stops

Fleet managers understand the value of refueling at the lowest cost fuel stops, but company drivers often just want to find the closest place — or the stop with the best food and showers. You can encourage your fleet drivers to refuel at the most affordable places by providing incentives they’ll be excited about.

Some companies provide incentives for fuel efficiency. These companies will pay an additional bonus per mile if you surpass a target mpg over a certain period of time.

Encourage Off-peak Driving

If you’re going through a big city, it’s better not to do it during peak traffic hours. As much as possible, plan your route to avoid getting stuck in traffic. You’ll burn less fuel and keep your drive hours lower.

Fleet Management Software

Fleet managers can use telematics software to monitor driver behaviors. Telematics installed on your trucks can spot hard braking, speeding, and other poor driving habits that eat up fuel economy. Each instance is recorded and flagged for review later on.

Telematics data can help you track and understand exactly what your fleet vehicles are doing. You can use that data to provide targeted driver training or specific incentives to reduce the poor driving behaviors.

“The Highest Quality Customer Service…the First Time!”

Today it’s more important than ever to keep operating expenses low and maximize your bottom line. Reducing fuel costs can provide significant savings to your business. As a trusted partner to many in the transportation industry, Commonwealth Trailer Rentals is committed to helping our customers strengthen their businesses. At CTR, our number one goal is to offer our customers “the highest quality customer service…the first time!”

Leasing Only the Best Equipment

Utility has been the top-selling refrigerated trailer for the past 26 years. What sets this trailer apart from the crowd is its full 360-degree foam in place process, which no other manufacturer can boast. The foam in place process prevents foam voids in the corners, which means you won’t get any hot spots or thermal leakage.

Utility’s high-performance Versitex liner (VR2) is an innovation that drastically reduces damage done by forklifts and careless product handlers. An intact liner means increased thermal efficiency. Moisture stays out of the foam, prolonging the life of the trailer.

Utility also uses this high-performance liner in the subfloor. Because the liner is highly resistant to damage, the subfloor will maintain its integrity much longer. It helps prevent moisture intrusion, which weakens the load bearing capacity of the floor itself.

With a number of customizable options, CTR’s knowledge staff will help you determine which specifications are best suited for your unique application.

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