Archive for transportation

What You Need to Know About Driving in Southern California

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The Los Angeles area has a terrible reputation with drivers because of the amount of traffic that is present. If you are visiting Southern California for the first time, you might be too intimidated to attempt to drive, but you should know that it is manageable if you are smart about it. Just like driving anywhere else, you can make it through Southern California’s traffic if you are aware of your surroundings and follow the rules of the road.

Be Prepared

Before leaving your hotel in the morning, prepare yourself for the absolute worst. This does not necessarily mean that traffic will be horrible for your entire stay, but leaving early and being aware that you might end up stuck in traffic can help to limit your frustration. Do not rush to get anywhere and enjoy the scenery along the way to maximize your experience in this beautiful part of the world. You can further prepare yourself by listening to a news radio station before leaving your hotel. That way, you will be aware of any road closures or accidents that might slow you down.

Plan Your Journey

It is very difficult to avoid traffic completely, but you can avoid traffic during less busy times of the day. For example, some will say that Los Angeles rush hour last between 4 AM and 8 PM, but there are breaks during the day that will allow you to travel more freely. For example, traffic tends to die down between 10 a.m. and noon, making this a good window in which to drive. Make sure that you have a GPS on board, so that you do not waste time trying to figure out which turns to make as you attempt to beat the traffic.

Choose a Lane

Your lane selection can make your trip much easier. Many of the freeways in Southern California are between six and eight lanes, so you will want to begin changing lanes well before your exit. You should also know that there are a number of exit only lanes on the right hand side of these freeways and that people drive extremely fast in the left hand lanes. Therefore, it is best to stick to the middle lanes until you need to get off the freeway, at which time you can begin moving over in your desired direction.

Be Ready to Brake

Traffic can stop at any moment, so do not get too comfortable with the speed that you are going. A traffic jam or an accident could occur miles ahead of you and the chain reaction could lead to you having to slam on your brakes at a moment’s notice. Do not tailgate the vehicle in front of you and give yourself plenty of time to stop if the flow of traffic comes to a rapid halt. This is especially true if it starts to rain, as you are much more likely to end up in a gridlock when it is wet outside.

Public Transportation

Southern California is very spread out so use of public transportation depends on your destination. You can take the subway between downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood or take the bus out to Santa Monica, which provides you with a break from the traffic and allows you to relax with your vision stardust clearomizer. If you want to visit some of the theme parks that are found in Anaheim or head to Long Beach for some seafood, public transportation is not your best option. In this situation, you are better off driving because it will save you time and money while you visit all of the region’s attractions.

Suspended Driver’s License? Check Out These Convenient Alternatives

Have you ever had a suspended driver’s license as a result of being charged with driving under the influence (DUI)? In addition to all the fines paid and penalties served, among all the legal lessons you probably learned, chances are you also realized how inconvenient it can be when you are not allowed to drive.

Depending on friends for rides or public transportation such as subways, trains, and buses, can be a hassle. If your city is fortunate enough to have a public transit system, figuring out where the stops are, or how to get to the stations can be frustrating. Your wardrobe is now going to have to include outdoor weather gear.

A simple trip to the grocery store, dentist, or even the movie now takes careful planning. If your trip is far you may have to combine several modes of transport, such as bus, train, and then shuttle. For instance in Tampa, Florida county leaders are revisiting plans for public transit, but until then, the opinion is that the services are severely lacking.1  By the time you get to your destination you may be exhausted!

As one Tampa DUI attorney says, “Drinking and driving is a serious offense and something we should all avoid whenever possible.” If you didn’t know it then, you definitely know it now. Here are some alternatives to getting you where you need to go safely and dependably when you can’t drive yourself.

Peer-to-Peer Transportation: An Alternative to Public Rides

You may not have heard about it yet, but the fastest growing trend in “public” transportation is not really public at all. It functions on the basis of private individuals driving their own cars around town and giving people rides where they need to go, like work or to the grocery store. It is cheaper than a taxi, and less time-restrictive than a train, bus or subway. This method directly gets you where you need to go within your time-frame. Too good to be true, you wonder? Not so.

How it Works

Three peer-to-peer transportation operations that seem to be thriving in today’s economy are Lyft, Uber and Sidecar. Drivers who pass a background check, have a valid driver’s license, and download an app to their smartphones select the “available” option to let potential passengers know they are ready to drive. A person who needs to get to a doctor’s appointment or to the grocery store, or to his or her office requests a ride also through the app. If it is in the vicinity in which the driver is going, or would like to go, she picks up the passenger.

Once the passenger has safely arrived at his or her destination, he offers a “donation” of sorts to the driver via his credit card. Cash never exchanges hands; it is all done online through the app. And a rating system keeps everyone honest. In other words, the passenger rates the driver and vice-versa. If the passenger stiffs the driver on a “donation,” his or her chances of getting a ride next time he or she needs one decrease. Make sense?

Win-Win Situation

Because Lyft, Uber and Sidecar cost less than hiring a taxi to drive you around town, this innovative ride-sharing option is quickly catching on. When your license has been suspended as a result of a DUI, you will undoubtedly have legal fees and mandatory fines to pay. Saving money on your ride to work can help you pay these debts without incurring additional ones.

Carpooling

You may not have thought of this option, but in many cities across the United States, you can visit a carpool website to find a ride. One such site, CarpoolWorld, serves cities all over the state of Florida, including Orlando, Tampa and Miami. You simply visit the site, type in the city of your choice, and then place a request for a ride along your route. You can offer a contribution toward paying for gas costs, let others know about your easygoing personality, if you are a smoker or nonsmoker, and the days and times you are looking for a ride. Drivers who can accommodate you will send you an offer.

Like peer-to-peer transportation options, carpooling is another win-win situation because you get where you need to go, you are decreasing your carbon footprint, and the driver gets company on his or her long commute or help with his gas bill each week.

Whatever options you choose while you have a suspended license, remember that this situation is most likely temporary. And who knows? You may even forge a new friendship with your rideshare partner, thus turning a challenging situation into something positive.

Freelance writer Teresa Stewart enjoys taking mass transit as a means to seeing who really lives in the city. She researched licenses and suspensions on the website of one Tampa DUI lawyer to gain an understanding of penalties imposed on those arrested.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Footnote 1

Things you need to be careful when asking your choice among the best auto transport companies

The focus of auto transport companies is to offer the best possible services to the people with regards to transfer of the car from one place to another. Such type of company was started with an intention to help the people who tend to travel a lot or have the problem to taking a drive to another city covering these heavy kilometers by your own car. However, looking at the demand of such services. It seems that there are many scams and frauds as well taking place.

Be alert! Pay attention! Read all the rules and policies when choosing such company, otherwise, you will end up paying lot more amount for the services as compared. Besides, you never know if you don’t do a thorough research on such companies, it might take away your car without giving you any details of contact or provide you with the wrong numbers. Hence, make sure that your own such huge investment goes safely to home only when a good research is made and you have all those warning in your mind against such companies. Read More…

Containers – An Efficient Means for Shipping Vehicles

Shipping of cars in containers is much better than their shipping through the Roll on Roll off (RoRo) process, in many ways. Especially, when the type of automobile to be shipped is considered, containers prove to be a far better means of transportation than the alternatives. Also, if you need to ship some spare parts, or some personal items, you can load them into your car and send the car to be shipped.

Shipping of vehicles, particularly cars, through containers is done with great care and caution. Transportation of the cars, unharmed to the destination, is the sole responsibility of the shipping company undertaking the job of shipment. 

Read More…

Guide to Gross Vehicle Weight Rating for Moving Trucks

GVWR or GVM is very important when it comes to moving trucks. Known as the gross vehicle weight rating it is considered to be the highest weight a vehicle of this nature can operate as set out by the manufacturer. This takes into account a number of different factors including the likes of the truck’s body as well as its engine, fuel, body, cargo and even the passengers. These hosts of factors are all crucial in the vehicle’s weight. Yet the gross weight overall is referred to the actual mass of an actual truck or particular vehicle. Below you will find are there is to know regarding GVWR for moving trucks and vehicles.

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Licence permits

If you decide to drive a truck or a vehicle then a regular car licence in an EU territory allows you the opportunity to drive anything with a vehicle weighting of around 8,000lbs. This includes;

  • Any licence holders who possess a UK class B permit.
  • Anyone who have passed a driving test since the beginning of 1997.
  • The ability to operate minibuses.

HGV trucks

On the other hand, those who would like the chance to drive an HGV or Heavy Goods Vehicle with a rating of more than 7.5kg needs to have a class C official permit for their truck. This can be for any given vehicle except a bus, whilst you will need to pass not to mention have to;

  • Receive a Class C permit.
  • Be aware of the fact that there might be restrictions for driving vehicles in the US which are more than 6,000lbs.

Safety

Of course it is essential to recognize the gross vehicle weight rating as a limit for your truck or as set out by the manufacturer. Nonetheless your vehicle should not under any circumstances be unnecessarily loaded up beyond the weight rating itself. In this way, safety is definitely the operative word. Some problems you may encounter with an unbalanced GVWR feature;

  • The brakes may not work properly in order to reduce your speed.
  • The suspension suddenly grinding to a halt or becoming ineffective thanks to the extra strain.
  • Tyres that are under strain coming under greater pressure from the weight thus creating more heat and leading to a possible blow out.

Be sensible

If you are moving home or looking to hire a london removals company to transport your goods, you will need to take into account an important point. In addition to this, you will have to factor in things such as passengers in the car and whether or not this is included in the overall GVW. On the other hand, if you are towing a trailer, you should consider things such as;

  • Tongue weight.
  • Finding out the gross vehicle weight which can normally be found inside the door frame of the vehicle.
  • Looking for further details on the web regarding gross vehicle weight from the manufacturers.

Security

One of the most important areas for a moving truck is that all loads should be properly secured in case of any issues. Furthermore, any items should be covered or at the very least so they don’t interfere with the overall vehicle weight rating which might alter. This is so objects do not become loose from the vehicle in question. It should also not obstruct the driver’s vision which could prove to make the truck unbalanced to a certain extent.

Personal choice

At the end of the day, it is really down to the individual when looking for the right vehicle and weight rating. You must locate the correct vehicle with a rating that will match your specific requirements. Therefore, it is imperative that you;

  • Find a vehicle or truck which has slightly more capacity.
  • Search for the tow load or tongue weight which is well within the capacity of a vehicle.
  • Take your time to find something that will be both durable and good value.

With more and more people hitting the highway in search of adventure, moving home or using trucks for work, there are a host of opportunities for people to use trucks. If you follow just a few of these simple steps, it will ensure you are more than comfortable with seeking information on gross vehicle weight ratings.

Highlights of The 2013 L.A. Auto Show

The 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show started on November 22 and will end on December 1, with a total of 56 production models having their world première there, along with several concept cars. There are many highlights from the show that are worth mentioning, including some luxury SUVs, such as the Porsche Macan, high-performance sports cars, such as the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, but some alternative fuel vehicles, as well, such as the Hyundai Tucson FCEV.

Porsche showed off the 2014 Macan, their compact crossover SUV, that should go into production by the end of this year. The company decided to name it Macan, which is the Indonesian word for tiger, although it originally planned to name it Cajun. It comes with a 3.0-liter, V6 engine, delivering 340 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Even though details on its performance haven’t been released, you should expect a top speed of over 150 mph, and a 0 to 60 mph time of about 5 seconds.

Land Rover unveiled its incredibly luxury, incredibly expensive Range Rover Autobiography Black. It will only be offered in the U.S. market, and the company will only build 100 units, making it a pretty exclusive item to own. It comes with 18-way power-adjustable front seats, and climate and massage control for all seats. The seats are covered in high-quality leather, there is a panoramic sunroof, LED mood lamps, and 10-inch screens keeping the rear seat passengers entertained. All this luxury comes with a $185,000 pricetag.

South Korean car maker Hyundai was very busy at this year’s show, presenting a couple of models, including the Elantra, the Tucson FCEV, and the Genesis. The Genesis is a car that is targeted to the high-end consumer, but at a significantly lower price than the average luxury car. Its starting price is set at $35,200, which is pretty reasonable, considering the amenities and luxury features it has. It’s powered by a 3.8-liter, V6 engine, and delivers a 27-mpg fuel economy. It has a leather-wrapped steering wheel, as well as a leather-wrapped shift knob, heated seats, a 7-inch touch screen navigation with DVD and text-to-speech feature, along with a Bluetooth hands-free phone system.

Another highlight of the show was the Maserati Ghibli, a full-size sedan, with a stylish, luxury interior, featuring leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, and keyless entry. The company has set an annual production target of 50,000 units, and each of them will be available for $65,000.

Lastly, there was the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo Concept, a car that definitely stole the show. It’s a concept with an amazing design, featuring a raked roofline, a pretty long, wide hood, a sharp, aggressive rear end, and a front grille that is covered with LED lights. Its body is made of carbon fiber, with an aluminum chassis, and extra large wheels. Obviously, there are the gull-wing doors, a feature typical of many sports cars made by Mercedes, and a rear spoiler that raises and lowers automatically.

Jordan Perch is an automotive fanatic and “car tech” specialist. He is a writer for a collaborative community designed to help ease the stress and annoyance of “dealing with the DMV”.

How Did The Federal Shutdown Affect State DMVs?

The Government shut-down became effective on October 1st  and the consequences of it were felt by just about anyone, such as federal workers, who weren’t able to receive their pay-checks in time, veterans and people with disabilities didn’t receive their benefits, as well as small business owners, who didn’t have access to financing provided by the Government. Various national museums and national parks were closed, and passport and gun permit applications were delayed. State DMVs were also affected by the shut-down, which closed for a certain period of time, or operated with delays, at the very least.

Each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles is a state-level government agency, and they are mainly funded by taxes, such as road, gas, and income taxes, and fees, including license plate, registration, and title transfer fees. Due to the fact that DMVs are operated at a state level, instead of a federal level, the Government shutdown shouldn’t affect their funding and operating hours, but there will be some exceptions. For example, the District of Columbia DMV is run by the city, and it closed on October 1st, which coincidently, was a Tuesday, the busiest day of the week for the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.

This means that all services this DMV provides weren’t available, so you couldn’t be able to apply for a driver’s license, or renew your current one, register your vehicle, request a driving record, or apply for a title transfer. When the shutdown finally ended, the DMV were in a bit of a chaos situation, since all the people who couldn’t get their service during the shutdown, overwhelmed local offices when they opened. This resulted in incredibly long lines at all DMVs and people had to wait for hours to receive their license plates or get their driver’s licenses renewed.

However, the federal shutdown also had a few effects that people were probably happy about. For one thing, law enforcement were impacted, and drivers didn’t get as much tickets as they used to. Parking enforcement officers were not going to work, so no matter if you were double-parked, or parked in a restricted place, you couldn’t be cited for it. But, this had a negative effect in the long run, as the city gets a large portion of its funding through fines and fees, so it had less resources for further investments in the infrastructure and it might not be able to meet certain budget obligations.

Unlike the District of Columbia DMV, other DMVs across the country were open, and people were able to go to their local DMV office and do whatever it is you need to do there. They operated as usual, which was certainly a huge relief for every car owner. Fortunately, the shutdown lasted until 17th October, so both the public and the government sector were not hugely affected, and consequently, the general public, as well.

Help Wanted: Three Ideal Careers for Drivers

For some, getting from point A to B is the only reason to hit the road. Others might enjoy the occasional Sunday drive to feel the breeze and take in some fresh air. But for a small minority, driving is a way of life. If your idea of a great job is one spent on the road, taking in sights and making the miles through a career in certain kinds of positions might be just the ticket to a lifestyle that suits you.

Here are three of the most popular jobs that those with a spirit for the road can access in order to turn their passion into a full-blown career, along with these positions’ average income, qualifications, and general responsibilities.

1. Truck Driver

Average income: $48,000

Qualifications: Pass the CDL test, complete trucking school, superb fatigue management skills

Description:

Call it personal bias to start off on this – I have been a lifelong trucker, after all – but a career in trucking is one the most accessible and well-compensated driving positions an entry level worker can ask for. Best of all, competition for quality drivers has started something of a bidding war in today’s market, so qualified applicants can expect excellent starting pay and benefits.

Those who don’t mind a more breakneck pace and harder work can make over triple figures annually driving for the UPS. Gaining special endorsements and driving more specialized loads can make a massive difference salary.

There’s currently a huge driver shortage in the states, and practically zero unemployment among those seeking trucking jobs. Many firms will even cover the costs of trucking school tuition to get you behind the wheel, so there are plenty of opportunities out there no matter what your financial situation is. However, those who prefer to hold down a routine family life might found that the nature of trucking might make it difficult.

2. School Bus Driver

Average income: $44,000

Qualifications: Acquire your CDL, review your state’s (S) and (P) endorsements (especially if you have a criminal record), excellent behavioral management skills

Description:

There’s no doubt that the life of a bus driver is hard, and the pay is sometimes not very rewarding. Bus drivers generally make a measly $26,000 annually. But with the right endorsements, that same duty can rake in up to double the amount when you’re working with schools. If you have strong skills in dealing with rowdy kids, this can be a steady position that’s always in high demand.

Those who prefer to stay home on evenings rather than sleeping in motels will find that the life of a school bus driver allows you spend your evenings home with your family, which makes this a great combo for any family-oriented individuals who want to find a living driving. However, it’s important to note that a sterling driving record and a clean criminal record are usually necessary to find a position.

3. Mailman

Average income: $52,000

Qualifications: Pass the postal exam and Postal Service Road Test, ability to carry heavy loads, immaculate driving record, good organization skills

Description:

For the most patient and studious drivers, a career as a mailman can be a richly rewarding career path with all the benefits that a position with the federal government provides. Those in need of immediate employment might have difficulty landing a job with this field, since gaining employment can take two years or longer after the initial application.

Passing the exam and road test both require a great deal of study and discipline to pass, but this highly-compensated position is an excellent route for drivers who prefer a steady lifestyle over the open road. While you’ll be seeing a lot more of suburbia than highways, the stability offered by such a position makes it the perfect choice for those who prefer routine and organization over the unpredictable nature of trucking.

As for me, I’d rather keep trucking long before I’d ever take up filling mail boxes or carrying around a group of kids all day long. However, I think all three of these professions are excellent fields for stable, well-paying driving jobs. Most importantly, I’d recommend them to anyone who would rather put miles behind them for a living.

Hank Barton is a trucker by profession and a philosopher by nature who enjoys writing about his experiences and the freight industry. He currently writes in support of eGears and advocates trucker safety.

Useful Hints On How To Choose The Best Tarpaulin For Your Truck

It is the trucks and their drivers we should all thank for having such a variety of choice whenever we go shopping. Trucks usually become their homes while on the road. However, there is another important part, that makes the truck reliable and sturdy – it is the tarpaulin. Finding the right tarp for your truck is essential, as tarpaulins are designed to keep the freight in place and to keep the roads safe for other passengers at the same time. It often happens that tarps are reinforced, they are durable and waterproof, therefore they can be used throughout all four seasons. Hauler tarpaulins, for instance, are especially designed for long-distance traveling, as they are the hardest, most durable and most secure type available on the market, while pick-up tarps are designed for smaller trucks and boats as they are flexible and lightweight. If you have a truck and you want to choose the best tarp for it, then here are several useful tips and hints that will help you do that:

1. Choose The Right Material
Some tarps are made from polyethylene or cotton, while others are made from steel or aluminum – the latter being designed mainly for large, heavy-duty shipments. Also, different materials have different properties: while polyethylene or cotton tarps are weatherproof and can last in the long run, they may mould or even rot after several years. Stainless steel tarp, on the other hand, are not only stain-proof and weatherproof, but they are also very durable and they are not prone to rot, rust or mould.

2. Consider The Main Features And Specifications Of The Tarps
The features are extremely important: in addition to being mildew and rot resistant, it is highly recommended to opt for truck tarps that are washable and shrink proof. There is nothing more bothersome than seeing that your tarp is starting to shrink and you can no longer lock it in securely. On the other hand, flame retardant tarps are also very sought-after these days: they are strong, heat-resistant and easy to maneuver, and they also come with flame-proof and rust-proof reinforcing grommets.

3. Thickness
The thickness of the tarp is extremely important, as it usually defines its life span – the thicker the tarp, the better. It is not uncommon for tarpaulins to measure up to 15 mm in thickness, and these ones are ideal for outdoor use especially if the tarp will be exposed to extreme and sudden weather conditions. On the other hand, for indoor use (for securing the merchandise inside the truck) it is recommended to opt for a thinner tarp. At the same time, the mesh count is also very important!

4. The Mechanism Of Action
The mechanism of action of the tarp (the tie down method) should also be taken into account, as a good truck tarp must be set up easily and it needs to secure the load in place quickly and without any fuss. You can opt for manual tarps or automatic ones, based on your needs and preferences – it often happens that automated truck tarps come in handy for larger shipments, as they are easier to lock in place.

The bottom line is that it is extremely important to choose a tough, reliable and weatherproof tarpaulin that comes with a tight and secure tie down mechanism, because only this way you can be sure that your truck load is safe and secure and that it will not get lost on the highway!

Special 150th Nevada License Plates

The state of Nevada celebrates its 150th anniversary next year, and a series of events will be held during the next 12 months to mark the occasion. Nevada was admitted to the Union on October 31, 1864, becoming the 36th state, and each year on that date the state organizes special events to celebrate the admission to statehood. Since next year marks an important milestone in the state’s history, some pretty special and unique events will be organized that will celebrate its rich culture and heritage. The state’s DMV has decided to join the celebration, by issuing special license plates in honor of the 150th anniversary.

Nevada DMV will allow the state’s residents to be directly involved in the celebrations, by giving them the opportunity to obtain special license plates that will feature a design with raised white reflective letters on a dark blue background, along with the “Battle Born” emblem, which is the state motto. The design was picked by the governor’s office, Nevada Cultural Affairs Foundation, and the Nevada Sesquicentennial Planning Committee.

These commemorative plates became available at the end of July, and Nevada residents can obtain them for $33.50, along with a $20.00 annual fee. That is the fee for the standard plates, and if you want a personalized set of plates, you will have to pay $68.50, and a $30.00 annual fee. The Sesquicentennial license plates will be available for a limited time, and the DMV will stop issuing them on October 31, 2016.

Nevada Governor Sandoval said: “The 150th license plate is an important part of recognizing our state’s 150th anniversary. The proceeds from the plate will go towards supporting the year-long celebration, and I am thrilled that at the end of this month (July, 2013), motorists will be able to show their support for our great state.”

DMV Director Troy Dillard said in a press release: “The DMV is proud to help all Nevadans celebrate our 150th anniversary. These plates are one way nearly everyone can show pride in their state and celebrate an important milestone.”

As far as the production of the anniversary plates is concerned, DMV spokesman said that they won’t be made by prison inmates at a factory at the closed Nevada State Prison in Carson City. The DMV has decided to outsource the production to a company based in Oregon, instead. Irwin-Hodson Group of Portland, Oregon, will manufacture the plates, and will receive $7.50 for each pair of plates, and the DMV has ordered 8,500 sets of plates so far.

Nevada is not the only state that has issued commemorative license plates to celebrate an anniversary. The state of West Virgina celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, and as part of the celebration, the state DMV offered a limited edition sesquicentennial license plates. West Virginia residents were able to get the special plates for free at an event that was held on June 22nd, and those who couldn’t make it that day, can apply for a commemorative license plate at any DMV office for a pro-rated fee.

Author bio:
Jordan Perch is an automotive fanatic and “green cars” specialist. Currently he is a writer for DMV.com, a collaborative community designed to help ease the stress and annoyance of “dealing with the DMV”.