Why Semi-Truck Turning Is So Hard

For trucks, turning can be one of the hardest things you can do. Why? Read on and find out.

If a truck wants to u-turn (180 degrees) for example, a truck park must allow for a minimum turn path, a truck of 18 wheels needs about 20’ to turn, the rear wheels follow a shorter path than the front wheels.

Because a truck cannot make a turn in a small radius, they need to swing wide, meaning they must start the turn in the second lane to the left. There is an increased risk of a tip over or roll over if a truck tries to turn in too small a radius.

During any turn there is an increased risk of accident, and if there are only two lanes, trucks should avoid turning left. A truck may collide with a vehicle heading toward it from the front or there may be a right turn squeeze play accident from a vehicle trying to turn alongside it.

Squeeze-play Accidents

Squeeze-play accidents can happen in two ways. First because the trailer turns tighter than the cab and cars tend to assume they are safe if the cab isn’t going to hit them. However, the rear tires on the trailer can strike and even climb over a small car that is overtaken on the inside of a turn. It’s never a good idea to attempt a turn at the same time as a truck even when there are two turn lanes.

The second type of squeeze-play happens when drivers are lured into it. Because trucks need to swing right in order to turn left the truck gives the illusion it is turning right. Car drivers see the left blinker on, but assume the driver really meant to go right.

Trucks also have a larger blind spot than cars which means if they put their left turn signal on a car may feel safe pulling up next to it on the right. When the truck driver turns right to begin his left turn any cars in the way would be crushed, generally at the roof but it can be squeezed against a barrier.

How to Turn a Truck:

If you’re driving the truck, it is important to use signals when turning. It’s important to use windows and mirrors to check what is happening and do not move too quickly. It’s vital that you not put yourself in a position to have to back up the vehicle in the middle of an intersection.

To enter into a right turn, ensure that you have enough space from the curb and do not swing into the far-right lane. Conversely, if a truck makes a left turn it needs to first move right.

Different truck turns can be performed in different gears, right turns should be done in third gear, while left can be done in fourth gear. If it is a big right-hand corner with a turning lane (also known as a slip lane) it may be done in fifth gear. A slower vehicle turns more sharply.

Turn signals need to be up-to-date, mirrors should be correct for the size of the vehicle. The driver needs an adequate level of experience, qualifications and training. Unfamiliarity, such as a new route and different conditions may change things. Or the driver could be distracted which includes being tired.

This is just a simple guide, and it should be noted that you need a considerable amount of training to drive a truck, fortunately for other users of the road!

Avoiding Accidents:

It is vital not to overtake a turning truck.

If you’re driving a vehicle near a truck, to prevent accidents always stay away from a truck’s blind spots, especially if it is an 18-wheel truck. Only pass one when there is a great deal of room and do not pass on the right. Should a truck be indicating, give it a wide berth.

Car drivers shouldn’t think of a truck operating like a regular vehicle and just be more patient.

11% of all crash deaths in 2019 involved trucks but 74% of them involved a large trailer, while 24% involved single unit trucks. It is vital as a car driver to stay a safe distance and only pass when there is a great deal of room, especially if it is indicating.

Altering the Car’s Interior

What can be altered about a car’s interior? Is it even worth it?

People do want their to personalize their car and to express their creativity but there are consequences if you go too far.

1st Reselling

Obviously if they car’s interior is in bad shape then there is nowhere to go but up, however it depends on how you intend to sell your car—should you be thinking of eventually doing so. In the second-hand market, yes, a consumer who looks at a nicely redone interior will prefer it to seeing an original interior with scuffs or holes, even if it’s not a factory color. You would need to do some research to find out what’s desirable based on your make and model.

If you try and sell the car in a mainstream way you may have difficulty selling the vehicle. A car lot will be able to spot customized interiors no matter how well it is done.

Other Factors

The layout of some interiors could mean that the comfort of passengers have been compromised and some changes may even be illegal – please don’t overdo your alterations!

It could make your insurance invalid depending on the changes made. You call it custom, your insurance calls it vandalism. That’s assuming you’ve done it well, which frankly a lot of people don’t. It is hard to do well and highly difficult to change back.

Ways to Customize.

Carpets

One place to start is the car’s carpets as most of them have a dull black or gray pattern and a bit of pattern might make a change.

An alternative is to buy some mats, the more expensive the better value it will give the car. If you bought your car used you might start by having the carpets shampooed. Don’t replace them if they’re simply dulled by soil.

PS grime ads wear to carpets so keeping them clean radically extends their life.

Seats

Moving on to the seats, you can buy what are known as aftermarket seats for instance bucket seats as replacement for the originals. As hinted to above, it is vital that you do this properly which means getting a professional in. You’ll need to inform your insurer in any case.

Alternately you can have the old seats reupholstered in leather or leatherette or just buy some seat covers. Look to see which fabrics you like. Maybe looking at massage seats, especially if you have back problems.

Steering Wheel & Dash

Back in the day one could unbolt a steering wheel from the column and replace it for a unique look that fit the owner…now there are air bags…

When it comes to altering the steering wheel and the dashboard the prices will escalate very quickly. But there are ways to do it without breaking the bank and also not damaging your insurance.

A simple way of improving the dashboard region is to look at under dash lighting using LED lights or to add vinyl to the steering wheel or dashboard or perhaps a colorful steering wheel cover. A dash kit will change the finish and is relatively easy to install.

Perhaps the most common car customization involves the dash and is the exception to the rules we’ve been talking about. You radio is virtually built to be replaced if you have the right tools and training. Many stereo stores offer instillation services, and you are wise to take advantage of them. An improved stereo won’t get you much in trade in value, but can make a big difference in the second-hand market, depending on the kind of car you are selling.

Other Changes

Another popular upgrade for young people are racing pedals instead of the regular sort. Maybe a trunk liner to make the most of this region of the car? Again, these are pretty inexpensive ways to improve your vehicle. 

For the music lover you might look into upgrading your speakers. There are car owners who alter the entire trunk by filling it with gigantic speakers, but it does render it unusable.

While you are making all these improvements you may as well add some video screens or a video game console. Depends on the amount of pressure from your children, really.

If your driving is a bit under par you may decide to invest in a collision avoidance kit, particularly if you drive at night. Even if you do drive well, it’s good for your piece of mind and helps your insurance premiums.

Your car is likely the second most costly thing you own after your house. Don’t take chances on totalling your car in the name of self-expression. Or do, the choice is yours.

Exploring Cars on Various Islands

There are a number of islands that ban cars such as the Mackinac Islands which have to rely on bicycles and horses though they do allow snowmobiles during the winter months and a police car for obvious reasons. Apparently, a car was smuggled onto the island by the secret service in 1975. It was only there in case a quick getaway was needed for the president’s visit.

Although these islands without cars do seem idyllic this post isn’t concentrated on that specifically. More on that topic later though.

Islands that Embrace Cars

There are, after all, other islands which embrace the motor car such as Amelia Island, Florida. They are due to hold an automobile event in May. It includes an auction of various classical cars.

Peel P50 Microcar

Developed on the Isle of Man the Peel P50 microcar is the smallest car in production – though there have been smaller homemade (and garage made) cars. It is designed for an adult and a bag of shopping weighing 59 Kg or 130 pounds. Turning in an enclosed area is impossible, the only thing you can do is pick the whole thing up. It is road legal in the UK if not elsewhere.

Seguin Island in Paris, the site of a medieval abbey farm was the location of a Renault factory up until 2005 when the buildings were demolished and is now a cultural centre.

Shetland off Northern Scotland are to have electric cars powered by tidal power. This was created by Nova Innovation, though the charge point does resemble other electrical charge points.

A Portuguese island in the Atlantic – Porto Santo – charges up cars using solar power which in turn can add electricity to the grid (yes, it is still part of the electricity grid) and gives money back into the community.

For some islands, such as the Big Island, Hawaii renting a car seems to be the best way to get around. Even then you can’t go to such places as Mauna Kea or Green Sand Beach. If you wish to travel by public transport, there are taxis, Ubers and Lyfts available – though the latter is fairly new to the island and operates from the three main airports.

So, what about Car Islands that Don’t Work

So far, so picturesque. But the introduction of cars is bad news for paradise island in the Pacific such as the Marshall Islands or South Tarawa. These are littered with broken down cars, buses and even trucks left on the side of the road. You will also find the detritus of abandoned cars by the beach, which is sad as this is where it is believed to enter the ecosystem.

It’s not just vehicles obviously, but these items are highly visible. There’s no space to dump vehicles, the only real option is to export the car. Repairs that would otherwise be made are not carried out due to the lack of trained mechanics and car knowledge on the islands. It could be changed with a bit of training here, but even getting to the island is proving tricky nowadays.

Changing Luxury Cars

2022 Bentley Continental

The definition of a luxury car is not set in stone. We all know what a convertible is, for example, but a luxury car is constantly evolving. A luxury car is about an increased level of comfort, performance and a mix of popular-right-now attributes which increase your well-being or status.

For a long time, then needed to be large, but these days not so much. There is a whole sub-category of luxury sports brands for instance. Increasingly luxury is coming into the world of SUVs, coupes as well as compact luxury and mid-size luxury.

Luxury Brands:

Lincoln MKX

What often leaps to mind is the brands that make exclusively luxury cars, but we do get luxury models from makers who are better known for their everyday cars. Ford, as an example is best known for their trucks, but they make Lincoln and a few other pricey lines. (To be fair, most of their luxury cars are concept cars or collaborations with other automakers.)

One challenge for Luxury only automakers is that they may face a takeover from another company, Bentley is now owned by VW and BMW now owns Rolls Royce.

New Class of Luxury SUVs: (Yes its Oxymoronic)

Rolls Cullinan SUV

There’s even a Rolls Royce SUV which is due to enter the market. Why do we call it an Oxymoron? Well the idea of a luxury vehicle and a “go off road” vehicle just clashes in the mind. If it doesn’t in your mind, please comment on this post and let us know we got it wrong.

The SUV is designed to deal with any terrain in a bold new look. They don’t like the term “SUV” preferring to call it a full-bodied car. It was rumored to be based on a BMW X7 platform.

When Luxury Just Doesn’t Say Enough:

There are also ultra-luxury cars. Many potential customers are young and do not like the old style. Even Rolls Royce are shifting the focus from 60 year old’s to 40 year old’s and looking at an improved interior.

The Rolls Royce Wraith is an ultimate grand tourer not to be confused with the 1938 model with the same name. It has the hardtop design, which is more expensive than the sedan, and all the side windows can roll down.

Rolls Royce Wraith

The Rolls Royce Ghost, named in honor of the Silver Ghost, has the Ghost Extended Wheelbase. It’s designed to be more “realistic” – so more defined than the Phantom at a lower price.

The 2022 Bentley Continental is all about power and handling having air suspension by three-chamber all-wheel drive. It has a series of modes: Bentley, Comfort, Sport and Dynamic. Another selling point is the carbon ceramic brakes. It also has a darkened grille on its hood.

A Luxury Hybrid or EV?

The Mercedes C is defined as a “mild hybrid” having 48V of power as well as having four cylinders. It can rely on a battery pack or plug in as it’s a hybrid. It’s power reaches 25.4kwH, one of the most powerful plug-ins on the market. The interior has been recently updated, now the focus is the touchscreen on the central console.

Merc C

Jaguar is looking at becoming an electric vehicle only brand, but only after 2025. They also have plans to become net zero in 2039 but this may be somewhat optimistic.

Having to wait four years for an electric model might be considered a strange business dynamic but on the plus side there will be six different variants to choose from.

Apart from being electric it remains to see the features of these Jaguar cars. As this is slightly in the future it’s a waiting game.

Ultimately What is a Luxury Car?

It seems that even ultra-luxury cars have to move with the times as luxury needn’t be looking back to a golden age. Sometimes it’s just about getting a modern appearance but with noticeable extras—sometimes it’s just about price.

Buying Convertibles

Spring is in the air and what better way to celebrate than buying a convertible? If you have never owned a convertible before you need to know a couple things first. On the bright side, you have the joy of the open road on a sunny day, but they cost a bit more than an equivalent car and space is a problem.

Wait, they charge more for Convertibles?

Yes, and not just because they can (although they’re desirable and that comes at a premium). Added to that, you must factor in the cost of manufacturing a converting roof and the complex engineering involved.

What do you mean less space?

As with price, they aren’t just being mean, there are legit reasons. You lose space in the trunk due to stowing away the canvas or hard top roof. when you lower the canvas roof it needs to be stowed somewhere.

Okay, so What Else?

Convertibles don’t have as good a visibility as standard cars when the roof is up, which is most of the time. Having a built-in parking or driver assist is a game changer when parking a convertible.

It also takes longer to warm up than a regular car due to less insulation roof.

The roof is easier to damaged and if the roof does break, you’re talking about a huge payout needed to repair it, given the parts involved.

You are also best advised keeping the car somewhere secure as a canvas roof is not the best protection in the world, even if you invest in a steering lock. When not parked at home or at work, lock any valuables in the trunk as thieves will simply cut their way in and take items off the seat.

Enough of the doom mongering, what about the cars themselves?

The Mini Cooper Convertible combines style with build quality. There have been five generations of Mini Convertible to date. They have gas and diesel variants of their convertible with black trim around the wheels. There is a horizontal bar under the licence plate, despite not being needed for the US market. To access the rear seats, the front seats need to be both tilted and slid forwards which seems a bit of a pain.

The Audi A5 comes in a convertible and has two turbocharged engines to pick from. It comes with Apple Car-Play as well as All-wheel handling. Critics may point out the smallness of the trunk and the general lack of legroom in the back seat, but the latter could very well be expected by purchasing a compact.

(Please note the Audi A5 also comes in coupe and sportback versions. Just to be clear; a sportback is a four-door hatchback with a sloping roof, in other words a hatchback that looks like a coupe.)

The Mazda MX-5 Miata has a smallish interior and storage space, but plus points include user friendly safety tech. The suspension is similar to what you’d find in a sports care. It also has rear wheel drive, allowing you to reach 34 MPG on the highway.

Possibly you consider a Ford Mustang as a sports car, but the convertible version is known for having a decent trunk (unusual in a compact car) and the handling is sure-footed. There are powerful engine choices – between 310 and 480 hp. The CoPilot 360 helps with driver assist. It is a pity that the rear seats appear so cramped. The front seats seem worthy of note – they are bucket seats that have an actual curve to them (not all “buckets” do). No doubt this gives them an improved level of comfort.

You really need to live somewhere warm enough and have enough in the bank to take on a convertible. So…

…Now that you know the potential drawbacks to a convertible have you changed your mind about owning one? No, we didn’t think you would.

Car Explosions – Fact & Fiction

Op-Ed from Editors (Wimsett & Bunch)

I think my mom watched too many episodes of chips in the 80’s. She’s pretty sure that if you hit a curb at 25 MPH the car will flip into the air, roll three times and land on its top, only to explode instantly. Try as I might, nothing seems to change her beliefs around cars and explosions. (The following post contains references to some of the ways in which journalists have reported car explosions, which have mislead the public into believing they’re driving about in a bomb.)

The Truth

When a car explodes, something is definitely wrong. It’s reassuring that a car can’t simply blow up, something needs to happen first.

Cars do catch fire, in fact, they’re quite flammable and they burn quickly. But an explosion tends to be a slow process which always starts with a fire. Even when the flames hit the gas tank it doesn’t always explode. As long as you attempt to remove yourself from the car as quickly as possible before calling 911 you should be fine.

But they can explode, right?

Okay, so cars are rarely explosive, but it does happen, only not like it happens in movies. A car hit by bullets for instance wouldn’t necessarily explode.

When the battery blows up it looks like the car explodes. An oil leak can cause fires, as can faulty wiring in items like car stereos. It’s important that a mechanic deals with all of these as well as making sure any seals are secure. Shoddy work is more likely to lead to a fire.

The problem is that journalists aren’t explosive experts or mechanics, they don’t always come up with the real reason a car explodes.

This explains reports in the media of items like car fresheners causing explosions, when in fact only the front window was blown out (which may have had more to do with the heat). Whatever the real cause a blown-out window is not an “explosion.”

Can a car explode by hitting a lamp post? Reports seem to suggest so, but it may well have had more to do with the gas leak.

A car may also explode if it should crash through a house and hit the natural gas line. Sometimes explosions are a complete mystery, or at least according to the reporter.

Obviously, cars can be exploded.

Some cars are the victims of controlled explosions if they are in the wrong place or believed to have something explosive in it.

It is possible to trigger an explosion by attempting to unlock a door by laser if there is an acetylene tank in the car. Fortunately, not many people carry acetylene tanks in their car.

So, what does it take for a car to explode on it’s own?

A build-up of pressure inside a gas cylinder leads to a gas explosion. It may shatter nearby windows.

Sometimes the car explodes from the gas in gas stations. But the flames around petrol do not always lead to an explosion. The fumes from gas are more explosive than the liquid gas, however the pressure needs to reach a certain point.

It’s more dangerous when an electric car catches fire. So, it’s especially important to keep away from these types of fires.

On screen Explosions

It should come as no surprise that when a car explodes on-screen things aren’t always as they seem. Sometimes it’s only a plastic shell with nothing inside it. Or it may be swapped for a much older model just before the explosion.

Alternatively, a car could look pristine outside but suffer from some kind of damage inside (water damage, no seating and so on).

There are some explosions which aren’t explosions at all – it’s pure CGI (computer generated imagery), allowing the car to look as photogenic as possible despite exploding into bits.

This goes to show that what films well in the movies isn’t really like real life, but at least in this instance it should put our minds at ease.