In-Car Air Quality Innovation; the Crispify Story

It sounds obvious but the air you breath is important, not just that you get enough, but that it’s clean. Just like our taste buds go blind to a higher than healthy sodium level in our diet our noses go blind to air that’s not really fit to breath. For people with asthma or COPD the air must be clean or they’re in danger, but even if it’s not a health risk, it’s unpleasant to breath bad air.

All modern cars do something to filter air for both the vehicle and the passengers. Just look at these pictures of places that haven’t yet addressed air pollution. The pollutants don’t have to be visible to the naked eye to be something you don’t want to breath in.

Crispify is one company taking on in-cabin air quality. This Israeli based start-up set out to apply cutting edge technology to the user’s air quality experience. They’re able to transform any climate control system into a smart Air Quality Management solution capable of identifying and mitigating pollutants, and more.

They do this through AI powered monitoring and analyzing platform harvesting data from inside and outside your vehicle to achieve unmatched air quality.

Fleet Applications:

A side benefit of the air quality technology is its fleet applications. Of course, enhanced passenger wellness is a bonus but the same technology can allow employers, rental fleet owners, even rideshare owners to know if passengers are violating smoking policies. By maintaining the best possible air inside a vehicle, the car will be fresher for the next user, which aids in customer satisfaction.

Without having to invade privacy the way camera monitoring does, air monitoring can check in-vehicle condition. Is it time to clean or change the upholstery? What if your car sent you a message to notify you?

Features include:

  • Real Time Monitoring.
  • Virus and Bacteria Checks
  • A crisp score (rating the current air cleanliness)
  • Trends and Metrics of your vehicle over time
  • Recommendations (identifying vehicles that could cause problems over time.)
  • GPS (Don’t’ go to the expense or trouble of installing a separate service, it’s included)

Another side benefit to rideshare owners is the increased confidence customers have in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fleet Conversion:

The Canary Device by Crispify is an aftermarket device that installs easily as a plug and play device should. There’s no need to replace your fleet just to gain the useful features of this technology—simply retrofit your current fleet. The MaaS software will expand easily with each new license purchased as a monthly subscription.

The optional API also allows for integration with common fleet management software or built-in infotainment systems.

Possible Life Saving Technology

Crispify doesn’t just protect against the long-term problems from chronic exposure to pollution. High levels of CO2 can cause drowsiness which can be life threatening when operating a vehicle.

Toxic Chemicals are used or incorporated in many interior parts of a vehicle. If heat, age or improper installation has allowed some of these chemicals to leak into the car’s internal atmosphere it could cause skin, eye, nose or throat irritation which could send false messages about health condition. Who wants to go to the doctor with a mysterious rash when you actually need to take your car to the mechanic?

Making a Splash

Crispify is starting to get noticed with press coverage on platforms like TechCrunch, Embryo, and GeekTime.

Crispify is partnering with other forward-thinking companies so look for them to be a part of the future of cars for many years to come.

They’ve partnered with Avis Budget Group, Tesla, Connetic Ventures, Hatcher +, GoAhead, AWS, Techstar, Plug and Play, & Fusion LA.

We look forward to potentially interviewing them sometime in the future. Until then…you can do your own digging on the website Crispify.io

Cars and Water – A Good Mix?

It would go without saying that automobiles do not go well with water – or do they?

Design

Most car design is inspired by planes, but are they any that are inspired by boats? Rolls Royce’s Nautical Wraith is one, but it may be a one-off. All we know about availability is – not for the UK. Possibly US? It has a dashboard made of Tudor Oak. For those who don’t know, Tudor Oak is a dark green version of oak with a noticeable number of knots.

Before the Wraith came the Nautical Phantom which had an anchor design.

Rolls Royce is being a bit cagey on the price of the Wraith too. It has a blue shade (known as Arabian blue) with a white roof. Definite a nod to a millionaire’s yachts.

Rolls Royce is one of the few bespoke car manufacturers to actually try their hand at boats – Ferrari, McLaren and Lamborghini have also produced examples too.

Yacht Rock

A now forgotten type of car was known as Yacht Rock. It was used in the 1970s and early 1980s and was named after certain jazzy songs on the West Coast, known as the West Coast Sound.

Acts Associated with Yacht Rock:

Yacht rock is a broad music style and aesthetic commonly associated with soft rock, one of the most commercially successful genres from the mid-1970s to early 1980s. 

Wikipedia

Examples of such cars are Lincoln Continental and Chevrolet Caprice. It’s not immediately clear the connection with nautical matters apart from the yachts in the background of their marketing.

The cars drew inspiration from the music, which drew inspiration from the yachts. There’s a certain feel to smooth music that suggests a nautical environment, which somehow made some people think of fast cars. The cars were mainly American, although there were some Japanese and British pretenders which also wanted to embody this type of music.

The Jeep Wrangler??

The Jeep Wrangler is inspired by a light sailboat which is apparently the reason for its strong white color. The interior resembles a sailboat too with naval white leather (naval officers generally wear white) as well as a deck floor mat. It also comes with a white awning.

Moving from cars slightly linked to water to those immersed in the substance…

Many cars that get caught in floods do not have the correct insurance, though if you usually park in a place and it suddenly becomes flooded then it should be covered by insurance.

When they are sold they tend to be in a substandard state—all dried out, but does that mean they’re good as they were before?

To repair a flooded vehicle requires an experienced mechanic. To do it yourself will cause too many problems. Even when they are fixed there will be chances of electric defects and so on.

You need to look at the suspension joints, which can be rusted, and get the car cleaned to remove mold. The lights and the brakes may also need replacing.

But all this is useless if it is flooded with sea water. Despite what you remember from James Bond films it’s completely undrivable and should be scrapped.

If the fuse box was submerged it should be replaced as should the control modules. The control modules are the various electrical engineering of the vehicle. If you don’t replace them it will fail after a while, even if it works okay now.

They are probably best being scrapped in any case as the interior will stink!

The Soft Top vs The Hard Top Car

This is about the two basic choices of buying a convertible or cabriolet: soft top or hard top. There are more choices to be made with these types of cars, but this is the focus of this post.

Soft Top

A soft top is an informal way of referring to a convertible with a thick fabric roof which can be taken down or removed altogether.

The bad side of the soft top are the maintenance issues. If you maintain it properly it will last about 6 years or so, but hundreds of owners forget regular maintenance.

It’s important to get rid of any specks of dirt and repair any rips in the fabric. It’s awkward to find the right material to clean them, as you can’t use any product that contains citric acid, bleach or petroleum. The acid in these products aren’t reactant to water. An auto shampoo is better though you do need to rinse the shampoo off, otherwise the colour will fade.

If you leave the top in the weather for a long time it may develop mold or spores, the first can be removed using a hood cleaner, the second using a mix of white vinegar and warm water applying it using a clean microfiber cloth. It’s best to use protective gloves when handling vinegar.

You should also use the microfiber cloth and cool water for the plastic window, a normal glass cleaner will make it speckled.

Although it seems a simpler treatment, a car wash will ruin the fabric. In a similar way a power wash is also a no no, the basic message here is there are no shortcuts!

The Real Gotcha of Soft Tops

You shouldn’t leave the top down overnight, as it can become stuck down. If you park outside you might want to leave it up in case of rain, but then it’s going to get more sun fade and wear from the weather and more incidental damage. If the roof does become stuck it is important not to force it – see expert help.

Soft tops are hard to secure – and it means insurance premiums are higher unless you keep it in a garage or similar. It’s best to shop around to discover the insurers who offer specialist rates for convertible. So bottom line, be sure to always garage your convertible.

Hard Tops

Merc Hard Top (self storing)

There are certain advantages to buying a hard top – it’s harder to break into and offers better protection against the elements. However, they are more expensive, and many drivers seem to think they don’t have the look of an iconic convertible.

There is also a color difference between the top and the body of the car. This isn’t noticeable for some consumers while others it drives crazy. Some describe the roof color as “too perfect.” The sun will also fade the roof at a different rate than the rest of the car, but it sort of does that even on standard cars, so just expect a paint job to expire after a few years.

There are two main types of hard top, those that come off in one piece to store in a garage and those that fold into a compartment in the trunk space for safe keeping. The first is more like having a regular roof, the second is more convenient and lets you take the car out when there is a chance of rain (because you have the roof with you if it starts to rain).

Which is Better?

What you may not know is that a soft tops flip much easier than a hard top due to the lower center of gravity because of the flexibility of the roof which reduces the structural integrity of the car. The soft top is more likely to be bent out of shape after an accident even if it does have other elements of structural stability, designed to prevent injury in a crash. (The safety structure, or lack of it, in a soft top is not easily spotted if you lack the knowledge of aerodynamics.)

As so often happens “better” is in the eye of the beholder. In summary, a hard top is over all better, but people just prefer the soft top in terms of status. It could be worth taking both for a test drive to see what you prefer.

Reliability in Cars

For a person, being called reliable is not a good thing. It tends to mean you’re soft or boring. Yet it’s precisely what most people are looking for in a car, whether it be a compact, mid-sized or SUV.

When a car becomes unreliable, what is the problem? It may be the air conditioning, the battery, brakes, the engine and its electrics, suspension and items such as the clutch/gearbox.

Once a car buyer chooses a model, they find dependable its very likely they will stick to that model, maybe for life. Psychologically speaking, people reaffirm their decision by ascribing good feelings towards it. I chose it, so unless I’m confronted clear evidence that I made a poor choice, I’m going to believe I made a great choice.

What does Reliability Mean?

Family cars and commuter cars most likely to advertise their reliability, but that doesn’t mean they have the same definition of reliability.

In a family car, look at how practical it is and what are the running costs/how fuel efficient is it?

Does it up all the gas? Because families like fuel economy but in a commuter car, there is no reliability in a gas guzzler. Either way, it can’t break down often, which is what most of us think of when we think of reliable.

As for unreliable…

The cars least likely to be advertised as reliable are sports cars and indeed they have their brand of problems. Take Porsches – the 718 Cayman had faults with their engines as well as electrics. A third of them couldn’t even be driven. It may have been linked to having two engines; after all more can go wrong.

Porsche 718 Cayman

Then there’s the Panameras, 47% of which had faults due to their bodywork and other items such as the exhaust. Although the company did pay for some alterations, a number of people had to fork out for their own fixes. You could call buying some of these cars a gamble.

A sports car of the same Porsche brand you can rely on is possibly the 911 with an impressive 370+ horsepower engine. The precise hp is dependent on the exact model so it is best to check with your dealer. It has luxury and has the advantage of not needing those trips to the repair shop. As it has the obscure “number” name that is the number you would dial for assistance in the U.S. it’s a bit ironic that it’s considered the Porsche least likely to break down. Still not a ringing endorsement in many people’s books.

Cars that Might Make the Reliable List

Okay, we don’t have stats on the models that break down the least. Some companies claim to publish this info and they are hotly disputed by manufacturers who don’t make those lists.

We will, however, mention a couple cars that are boring enough to be considered reliable the way we mean it when talking about a person.

Hyundai Electra

When it comes to reliability in a staid, dull kind of way, some critics may look to a vehicle such as the Mitsubishi Mirage. It has an evident grayness and the controls seem workaday. Is it reliable though? It does have a tendency to gobble up the gas, not that good an attribute.

Another example is the Hyandai Electra which is built to attract the older generation; note the black/brown interior. There is something weird about the steering wheel, you either have to strain your arms or position your body too far forwards. The rear view is too obscured by the head rests, and the acceleration seems cursed, it just doesn’t get going. But it wasn’t designed to be “peppy.”

Okay, we know what you really mean by reliability….

Reliability means that the car is inexpensive to repair and won’t be in the workshop for several weeks when it does break down. For those who use the car everyday, say for commuting, this must surely be the most prominent meaning of the word “reliable”. So the trick is finding a car that’s reliable but not boring!

A Look Into The Headlights (and Sidelights)

Not literally! Okay, it’s just a title pun. The primary function of headlights when they decided to put them on cars, was to allow you to operate your vehicle at night, however they’ve become almost as well known for their unintended side effect—they make you more visible.

Headlights typically have two light levels, bright and dim. Because it’s difficult to see on rural roads without streetlights overhead, your car should come equipped with “brights.” Because driving in crowded roads with “brights” on can make it difficult for other drivers to see, you’ll spend most of your time driving with your “dims” on. For many years, the dimmer switch (controller) was available on the floor, though now it’s more commonly found on the steering column.

Signalling with Headlights

Headlights may be used to warn other road users of upcoming hazards including speed traps. Some manuals even describe the headlamps as an “optical horn” which seems a novel way of putting it but there you go.

So, lights on a car have become primarily used for signalling.

  • It can let you know of another car’s presence especially in the fog or on a dark night
  • That you are aware of another car’s action
  • That a car is indicating right of way
  • That a car has a certain problem, though it might be clear exactly what the problem is
  • To say thank you
  • Or most often to let you know your brights are on and they can’t see

Do you have a right to use the headlight to signal people? Opinions vary. For example, we mentioned warning other drivers of a speed trap, it’s not legal in some states. Some states say this is covered by the First Amendment or freedom to speech. This is evidently open to some interpretation.

Hidden Headlights

Hidden headlights are also known as pop-up headlights or flip-eye headlamps. Whenever they aren’t in use they are hidden, though the hiding place used varies. Some are mounted in a housing, while others retract into the hood or the fender. Sometimes they may be concealed behind a grille panel feature. The Buick Rivera introduced this feature to the public.

Mazda Pop-up Headlights

The first pop-up headlight to be “seen” was created by General Motors in 1939.

But the feature came and went as a “fashion statement”-possibly it’ll come back in the future. It’s biggest point of popularity was during the 1960s. This was the point where the lights couldn’t be aerodynamically designed. Although the Lotus Espirit and CS Spirit both date from 2004 it’s the last time these types of headlights were on a mass-produced vehicle. For some reason it became dated.

Unique Headlights

Tucker Torpedo

Mazda Furari created headlights which resemble a smile of blue neon.

Directional lighting of a sort was available for one year (1935) on a car called the Tatra, which simply allowed the driver to flip a switch and electromagnetically shift a reflector to illuminate the curb side only.

The Cizeta V16T has two pairs of pop-up headlights.

The Opel GT rolls over from the side rather than popping up. The 1948 Tucker Torpedo has a middle light which must have been slightly off-putting.

Types of Headlights

LED Headlights

Most headlights are halogen, LED, Xenon/HID, and Laser.

Good old halogen have been around since 1962 (the H1) and has been vastly improved since by tungsten filaments and pressurized iodine or bromine gas to increase illumination and lifespan. Not only did these improvements make the bulbs not burn themselves out so quickly, they also made them tougher. On the bright side (pun intended) they’re cost effective, but on the downside they’re only so bright. (Halogen cast a slight yellow tint that never gets as white as daylight). Also, they don’t last too long and some models are difficult to replace.

Laser headlamps have the best illumination but also cost the most to repair, which seems to happen to anyone who owns them as they need to be repaired after the slightest bit of damage.

Xenon Headlight

The DAF LED headlamp uses (as the name suggests) a low beam of LEDs. This means that the heat isn’t focused on one place. It also lasts a long time and is able to cope with a strong amount of vibration through use. LEDs can be fit in tight spaces, and they are energy efficient.

High end vehicles often come equipped with Xenon/HID headlamps because the mix of Xenon and Argon gasses create a very bright light at a long range. The downside is that they take a few seconds to reach their full brightness and they can be too bright. If you don’t enjoy having oncoming traffic flash their brights at you, it’s probably not worth getting a conversion kit to install this type of light. It’s also a very focused light so you see well what these lights hit and see very little of what they don’t hit, which impedes parking or lane changes. One final positive is that these lights can last for years without being changed.

From headlights to sidelights.

Although they are contained in the same unit as headlights, sidelights are used for slightly different purposes. The front ones give off a white light and the corresponding tail-lights give off a red light which will also light up your registration plate.

The sidelights are dimmer than the other lights on the car. They’re not there to keep the way ahead lit but instead to ensure you are visible and that other road users are able to pass you.

You shouldn’t use your headlights if parked as they affect other road users too much.

So that’s the end of a short look at headlights and sidelights, hopefully it was illuminating.

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.

Dealing with an emergency vehicle

So, who is in charge when you are on a driving exam? Even though the person grading you on your exam is giving instructions and even though they hold your fate in their hands, you are ultimately responsible for the vehicle because you are the driver.

Actually, the law always takes precedent over the exam proctor during a driving test. They won’t tell you things like, “the speed on this road is 45MPH.” However, the most stressful thing that can happen during a driving test is when an emergency vehicle enters your route. Sometimes an exam proctor will give you instructions in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances but many times they simply wait to see how you react to it.

One of the challenges is that many drivers on the road don’t know what to do when an emergency vehicle comes on the scene. Other vehicles on the road may not behave exactly as you think they should.

So, when you see an emergency vehicle what do you do?

Well, its simple really; pull over. If you don’t pull over and it was safe to do so you will fail your driving test. A police car on the scene can site you for failing to yield but they generally don’t have time.

If you are stuck somewhere where it’s impossible to pull over, you may have to pull over as far as possible for the emergency vehicle to get through. You should also beware that another emergency vehicle isn’t following it (it may not be the same type by the way, for instance if you have an ambulance you may get a police car following on behind).

Remember though it is always advisable only to stop if the situation isn’t hazardous; do not put yourself in danger.

The Toughest Thing About Emergency Vehicles!

Because the sirens are generally on it should give you plenty of time to respond, though you might have initial confusion on where the emergency vehicle is coming from. As with all times on a driving test it is essential not to panic. If you aren’t on a driving test and you were listening to music turn it off until the emergency vehicle has passed.

It is always a good idea to stay especially alert in a situation such as this.

Although you might be tempted to follow an emergency vehicle through traffic, especially if its an ambulance carrying a loved one, do NOT do this. You should be more than 500 feet away from the emergency vehicle at all times.

When you overtake an Emergency Vehicle.

When you see an emergency vehicle at the side of the road you should reduce your speed slightly and change lanes if it is safe enough to do so. If you can’t change lanes you should proceed with caution.

Emergency Vehicles from Different Directions

How exactly you deal with an emergency vehicle depends on where they approach from. If they approach from behind (that is, if you see one in your rear view mirrors) you must attempt to pull over, staying as close to the curb as you can.

If they are approaching from the front you must still stop and pull over. This is in case the drivers in the opposite lane cannot pull over fully.

The difficulty with emergency vehicles may reveal itself at intersections. Ideally, no part of your car should be impeding the emergency vehicle’s progress.

This specific law is known as the “Move Over” law, but it also known as the “Steer Clear” law in Pennsylvania. There may be a specific speed limit for cars that cannot get out of the way of an emergency vehicle, for instance in Texas it is 20 mph below the advertised speed limit.

According to information released by Taylor & Francis Online more firefighters die in traffic accidents than the fire itself, though it does refer to these vehicles being a hazard to other road users. It’s difficult to think of a solution to this problem as a fire engine must get to the incident as quickly as possible.

Winter Car Care

There are so many difficulties with the cold weather. Here are a few tips from your friends at The Kicker.

Dirt!

The salt on the road makes cars become dirty quicker. It is recommended that you constantly wipe your lights with a cloth – 40% of luminosity is lost on gritted roads, according to a road safety charity. It may also mean that your registration plate becomes obscured. So it is important to wipe it down before you leave your house.

Battery

Is your battery fairly new? Cold is hard on batteries and it’s also the worst time to get stranded in a car that won’t start. The battery should be changed every three years. If your car battery is beginning to age it means your car will take longer to start or not start at all.

New batteries can hold their temperature thanks to a substance called “liquid electrolyte solution.” A battery will only totally freeze when the temperature becomes really icy but the colder temperatures mean that transfer of power that occurs in a battery is slowed down and as a result you will have difficulty in starting up.

Also, because people tend to use their lights more at this time of year the battery is drained more; using the windshield wipers and the radio can also have an effect.

Signs of a Bad Battery:

There will be noticeable signs that you have a flat battery when you start the engine up such as not hearing anything when you place the key in the ignition or hearing a whining sound but no motor. Other signs may be that the ignition lights fail to work, or the central locking fails to unlock.

Your engine may be started by jump leads if there is no other way, but it should only be used if there is no other way. You might also carry a portable battery this time of year which allows you to jump you car or the car of a stranger in need.

Be prepared:

It may be life or death to ensure that the tires aren’t worn. If you drive on country roads more than average you may need some snow tires.

What’s important too is to have a survival kit in your car, such a blanket, hot thermos and so on in case you break down. You will need warm clothing for you and all the passengers in the car as well as a shovel and a torch.

Do you need to change the coolant? The coolant needs to be changed every 2-5 years, the exact time is dependent on the coolant used and the type of car.

Another vital part of winter car care is checking the car has been serviced recently. Although most cars need a service every twelve months all cars are different. It’s best to have your car serviced before the worst of winter occurs, if you can.

Wipers

Make sure your wipers work effectively – maybe wipe them with a clean cloth. But if the wipers seem to be stuck it is best to heat the car up. Applying water, which is too hot may crack your windows, so take care. It’s important by law to ensure the windshield washer is full of fluid.

If your car is cold all the time it means that your car will consume more fuel. The car should take 30 seconds to a minute to warm up. If your car takes longer to warm up it should possibly be kept in a garage.

Hopefully these tips can protect you from the worst of the wintry harm out there.

Truck Stops

Trick Stops began in the 1940s, though many have been rebranded as Travel Centers. Their main purpose is to provide a secure stopping off point as well as access to fuel.

Although there are supposed to be secure they don’t have the best reputation in the world, especially at night. It’s advisable to drive slow around the premises and not go against the direction of the traffic. When you park it’s best to back in and pull out.

Other pieces of advice…

  • Inspect your vehicle every time you leave
  • To watch out for potential scammers around the place – is someone offering you something which seems too amazing to be true?
  • Keep to the well-lit areas.

Although truck stops will have huge parking spaces it is vital to park your wagon in the right place. Many drivers needlessly crowd the gas station region, so don’t be one of those.

Large chains like Flying J, and Loves often have an app for truckers to help guide you along the correct roads in the truck stop.

A number of truck stops don’t have the best reputation. It’s generally agreed to commit to a specific chain. Some truckers go for places with the best value fuel, either the cheapest base price or through a cash back program.

Other Amenities

Another consideration is access to food. Some truck-drivers could look for specialty diners, especially if they have dietary requisites, while others don’t necessarily want a premium diner, preferring somewhere that is open 24/7 and passes all food hygiene specifications.

Moving onto more detailed attributes, these may include medical services, dental services, even items like churches and casinos, even a cinema. (Some of these are just a TV projector in a rest room though).

You may want someone to wash your truck or deal with repairs and there may be people at the truck stop who can do that. Some may allow you to take advantage of their free showers. As with anything it is vital to shop around.

Some drivers look for something else in their truck stop such as easy access from the freeway and cheap prices. There is something for everyone if you research a bit.

The biggest truck stop in the US is the Iowa 80 which even has things such as a gift shop, museum as well as a truck showroom. It has been in operation since 1964.

Covid Update

Note that some things have changed at truck stops since the advent of the Coronavirus, they are shutting down all but essential business here, that is food and fuel. Some restaurants may close at 9 and they have removed refillable mugs; there may be a limit to the number of customers who enter the cafe and the removal of buffets. Driver’s rooms may also be closed.

At these times you may find the toilet area is dirtier than usual due to lack of cleaners. This is why it is vital to use sanitizers and soap.

Unfortunately, a number of quarantined drivers are still working on the road. If you are still working while quarantining then it is vital that you stay away from public areas as much as possible, for instance taking advantage of drive throughs.

Stay safe and stay healthy during the pandemic—drink plenty of water, vitamin C, D, and Zinc. Get plenty of rest.

Link to article about mask requirements at Truck Stops

How to Prepare for a Road Trip: Holiday Edition

With an end to the pandemic nowhere in sight, families are turning to road trips to give themselves a break from the stress of their daily lives. Vacations involving airports and hotels are not feasible, or even considered safe at the moment. So, families are deciding to pack up their car and drive to a vacation spot that is within reach.

If going on a road trip sounds like just what your stressed out, quarantined family needs, you are in luck. Below, we discuss, in detail, everything you need to do to prepare for a road trip. All you’ll have to do is pick where you want to go (if it’s not to visit family)!

Get Your Car Checked

The first thing you’ll have to do before your road trip, and perhaps the most important, is to take your car in to get checked. Whichever car you choose to take on the trip needs to be strong and reliable. Take your car in to a shop that you trust. Make sure they change your oil and top off your fluids, rotate your tires and check your brakes. Let the mechanic checking your car know that you are going on a road trip and ask him to do a diagnostic check to make sure everything else is running smoothly. If you’re sure your car is well serviced, consider calling a mobile inspection service, who can verify there isn’t anything wrong in a place you wouldn’t normally thing to check.

On your end, make sure to check the dates that your registration and inspection expire. If they are close, consider renewing your car registration papers and getting your car inspected while you are at the shop. Additionally, you will need to make sure your car insurance is updated and active. It may also be helpful to join a roadside assistance service like AAA before you leave in case something goes wrong on the road.

Clean Before and During Your Trip

Since you will be spending a lot of time in your car, it is necessary to clean it well before embarking on your adventure. Before leaving, complete a thorough clean on your whole vehicle, inside and out. Use proper cleaning fluids to wipe down the dashboard and console, removing any little crumbs as best as you can. A different cleaner can be used to wipe down the seats of your car. The right cleaner will both clean and condition the fabric. Driving in a clean car will improve your mental health and have you feeling less overwhelmed or claustrophobic.

Consider hiring a detailer. This sounds a bit much, but they’re not busy in the winter and might be surprisingly affordable. Think of it as a practical Christmas gift to yourself given the amount of time you’ll be inside your car.

Once you get driving, it is vital to try to maintain the cleanliness of your car as much as possible. A lot of people in a confined space tend to make a mess quickly. So, do a clean out of the trash every time you stop at a rest stop or get gas. Try to remind your kids to keep their personal space tidy.  Seat back organizers are great for helping kids to keep their space organized. No matter how you figure it out, try your best to stay on top of the mess in your car. It will help keep you, and your family, sane.

Prepare A Loose Itinerary

Before leaving, take some time to come up with a loose itinerary for your trip. All of your stops do not have to be rest stops and fast-food restaurants. Take the time to do some research and find a few interesting places to stop along the way to your final destination. Beautiful scenic lookouts, delicious diners, and interesting museums my lie along your general route. Plan them into your trip to expand your experiences and give your family a more well-rounded trip.

It’s proven fact that incorporating these kinds of activities to break up the monotony of a drive can allow you to arrive fresher at your destination. As an added bonus, you can arrive at a good time instead of 10 o’clock at night when your in-laws thought you were going to make it for dinner. Just add a day to the itinerary and make each leg of the journey less hectic.

While planning can help your trip run smoothly and be more interesting, there is also a fine line between not enough planning and too much. No plan or itinerary will make your trip seem boring, but over planning and trying too hard to stick to a schedule makes your trip seem hectic and stressful. This is the opposite of what a vacation is supposed to do. So, do yourself a favor and only plan a few extra stops along the way. Keep in mind, if there are more places you’d like to stop, you can always add a few stops on your way home.

The Easiest and Most Common Mistakes

The key mistake most people make when they don’t road trip often, is planning around gas stations or not planning enough around gas stations. Figure out how far your car goes between fill-ups and locate places with gas stations near the road. Don’t plan on running your tank nearly dry because sometimes stations are closed for remodeling. No sense pushing your luck.

Final Thoughts

A road trip may be just the thing you and your family need to escape life for a few days. Often, when you live a ways from family you spend all your vacation time traveling to see them. Consider taking the scenic route to at least give yourself some time off in this high stress year.

While a road trip is less involved than flying or using other types of transportation, a little bit of planning can go a long way to make your trip a success. At the bare minimum, follow the steps above, and you will eliminate a lot of stress and anxiety from your trip to that you can enjoy yourself as much as possible.