20 road trip tips from professional truck drivers

The first summer of COVID-19, people hopped in the car for road trips. It was the safest way to travel. One AAA forecast estimated nearly 700 million road trips during the summer of 2020. With borders still closed and travel largely discouraged this year, road trips will again be the vacation of choice. So to help you prepare to hit the open road, we’ve compiled a list of tips from professional truck drivers to help you drive safely and enjoy your summer vacation.

  1. Wear sunglasses. Driving in the midday sun is no joke. Road glare can be a serious safety concern, especially in hot climates like our home state of California. Invest in a good pair of sunglasses to avoid straining your eyes.
  2. Check your load. This is the number one rule that truck drivers follow. Always check your truck and load before your leave. You may not be pulling an 18-wheeler, but you still have to make sure that everything you’ve packed is securely stowed. If you’re towing a trailer or have a car topper make sure everything is properly secured and in place.
  3. Be careful using cruise control in bad weather. Cruise control is great for fuel efficiency and it makes long trips easier. But if you are driving in poor weather, turn it off. It’s best if you’re able to adapt your speed to road conditions quickly.
  4. Plan your route. Good drivers always plan out their routes ahead of time. They plan for stops, breaks, and contingencies. Do the same and make sure you know your route well.
  5. Get good sleep. Did you know that professional drivers are required by law to take rest breaks? In addition, they can only drive a certain number of hours in between breaks. These rules were put in place as a safety precaution by the Department of Transportation to ensure drivers are always in good condition to drive. If you want to drive safely, plan plenty of time for proper rest and sleep so you can be fully alert while driving, just like the professionals do.
  6. Pack healthy snacks and hydrate well. Road trips can be expensive if you stop to eat every time you’re hungry. Gas station treats are a surefire way to trigger heartburn and nausea. Pack healthy snacks to keep you full and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  7. Take breaks every 3-4 hours. Regular breaks are good for your health. They give you a chance to stretch your muscles and use the restroom.
  8. Watch your surroundings. Good truck drivers are always focusing on the road around their rig. They pay attention to the drivers in front, beside, and behind them. As the biggest vehicle on the road, they have to stay alert to avoid accidents because it takes more time for such a large vehicle to slow down. Follow this practice to stay safe on your road trip. Pay attention to your fellow drivers and keep an eye out for risky situations.
  9. Use music or audiobooks to stay focused. For some people, the open road is as soothing as a mother’s lullaby. If you’re one of those people, it’s time to download your favorite music, audiobooks, or podcasts to stay awake and alert.
  10. Know the road signs. When was the last time you tested your road sign knowledge? Take this traffic and road sign test to see if you can pass. If you can’t, brush up on your sign knowledge before you hit the road.
  11. Make sure your car is in good condition. We all have family stories of hitting the open road for a trip, only to break down in the middle of nowhere on the highway. Don’t make your parent’s mistakes. Get your car checked out before a road trip to make sure it’s in the best shape possible. Follow this guide for basic road trip maintenance. Ensure all your fluids are topped off and get a good oil change before you hit the road.
  12. Don’t follow too close. According to research compiled by the Insurance Information Institute, in 2018, 7.2% of all fatal crashes or 2439 accidents were collisions with the rear end of a vehicle. Following too closely to the vehicle in front of you, especially at high speeds, is reckless and dangerous. Be careful and make sure you have enough room to stop in an emergency.
  13. Check the weather. You can’t always prepare for bad weather, but you can do your best. Check the weather report for your whole route before you hit the road. If you hit bad weather, pull over and wait it out.
  14. Avoid drugs, alcohol, or stimulants. Driving while intoxicated or under the influence is illegal. Don’t drink and drive. But also be careful of overusing energy drinks or other substances that could impair your judgment. Avoid excessive caffeine or other stimulants to stay awake. Pullover and take a rest instead.
  15. Don’t speed. The number one cause of accidents is driving too fast. In 2018, 16.7% of fatal crashes or 8,596 crashes were caused by driving over the posted speed limit. Stay within the speed limit, avoid a ticket and stay safe.
  16. Check the route for construction ahead of time. There’s nothing worse than hitting highway construction when you are road tripping. Check the road trip report before you head out to avoid it if you can. If you do hit construction, don’t get mad. Just adjust your timetable, follow the posted speed limit, and eventually, you’ll make it to your destination.
  17. Take shifts (if driving with a buddy). One of the best parts of road tripping with friends is the ability to shift off driving duties. It’s a great way for everyone to stay rested and to cover a lot of distance fast. If you have a family member or a buddy you can travel with, take shifts to cover more ground.
  18. Make sure you know how to pass safely on the highway. How well do you remember the rules of highway passing from driver’s ed? Probably not as well as you think. Here’s a quick refresher: make sure you’re allowed to pass, check your mirrors, shoulder check, turn on your signal, recheck mirrors/shoulder check, move to left lane for passing, speed up 10-15 mph to pass the vehicle in front of you, safely merge back into your lane.
  19. Share your travel plans with others. You never know what will happen on the road. Make sure you share your travel plan details with a trusted friend or family member, including your expected arrival and departure times. If something changes while traveling, update your contact to make sure they know you are safe.
  20. Use the GasBuddy app to find the best gas prices. Gas prices can vary widely across the country. If you want to make the most out of your road trip budget, download the GasBuddy app to find the cheapest places to fill up on your route!

As California fuel and lubricant suppliers, we’ve driven all over the country delivering orders for our customers. Our delivery team is the best, and they know their stuff. Follow these tips, and you’ll be sure to have a great and safe road trip!

Introducing the new Chevron xpress lube program

Have you ever considered reimaging? Did you know that you now have the option to transform your facility to a Chevron xpress lube?

This new program gives qualifying quick lube owners the power of leveraging the strength, awareness and trust that comes along with the Chevron brand while maintaining operating control of your business.

Transform your facility
Already have a clean, quality quick lube facility but are in need of a new image? Attract a new base of customers that have come to know Chevron through their network of retail fuel stations, by providing the trust and quality assurance that comes with Chevron brand and their reputation in the community.

High level of customer satisfaction and brand image
Ensuring a high-level of customer satisfaction and brand image is a standard Chevron expects from independently owned and operated Chevron xpress lube businesses. To sustain the high regard that consumers have for the Chevron brand, they created the Xpress Lube Shopper program to ensure that all locations maintain a high-level of customer satisfaction with each oil change, including compliance with brand image standards. Built on decades of customer satisfaction and image management experience, the Xpress Lube Shopper program is unique to a non-franchise, royalty free branded quick lube program.

Meet the family of products
Whether it’s the engine, drive train or fuel-system, Chevron is known for quality automotive products that meet and exceed the latest industry standards for engine protection and performance. Chevron xpress lube owners will only install premium brands, Havoline, Techron and Delo. You can count on their complete line of Havoline passenger car motor oils, automatic transmission fluids, antifreeze/coolants, Techron gasoline and diesel pour-in fuel additives, and Delo heavy duty diesel engine oils. Plus, Chevron’s Pitpack bag-in-the-box packaging solution helps you streamline the way you store and use Havoline and Delo premium products – and your customers will notice and appreciate that you are using less plastic.

Grow your business
Chevron’s knowledgeable industry experts are committed to helping you grow your business by:

  • Acquiring new customers
  • Increasing car counts
  • Adapting your marketing mix
  • Attracting younger demographics
  • Retaining your loyal base
  • Improving customer satisfaction and reviews

This program can offer business insights grounded in trends and experience, as well as additional resources that can help you achieve your business objectives.

We want to hear from you! If you’re ready to transform your business with the trusted quality, reputation and affinity that comes with the Chevron xpress lube brand, contact us today!

Where to Track Fluctuating Gas Prices

As we all know, retail gasoline prices frequently fluctuate. But do you really know why?

Retail gasoline prices are mainly affected by crude oil prices and the level of gasoline supply relative to gasoline demand. Strong and increasing demand for gasoline and other petroleum products can place intense pressure on available supplies.

Gasoline prices tend to increase when the available supply of gasoline decreases relative to real or expected gasoline demand or consumption. Gasoline prices can change rapidly if something disrupts crude oil supplies, refinery operations, or gasoline pipeline deliveries. Even when crude oil prices are stable, gasoline prices fluctuate because of seasonal changes in demand and in gasoline specifications.

Historically, retail gasoline prices tend to gradually rise in the spring and peak in late summer when people drive more frequently. On the flip side, gasoline prices are generally lower in winter months. Gasoline specifications and formulations also change seasonally. Environmental regulations require that gasoline sold in the summer be less prone to evaporate during warm weather. This requirement means that refiners must replace cheaper but more evaporative gasoline components with less evaporative but more expensive components.

These fluctuations make tracking average fuel costs an important factor for many businesses in managing their fleet, tracking business profits and providing insight when making certain business choices. There are so many ways to utilize this valuable information in today’s economy.

A great resource for gasoline and diesel fuel pricing updates is The U.S. Energy Information Administration. You can access historical information, analysis & projections, as well as sign up for email updates.

You can also view retail gas and diesel prices by region. You can filter by product (regular, midgrade, premium, diesel) as well as by period (weekly, monthly, annual). Data is reported in dollars per gallon, including taxes. Click here for access to this report.

So although gasoline prices vary and are out of our control, resources are available to help you track and project costs based on current and historical data. If you have any questions, please contact us today!

Introducing POLARIS Laboratories New Oil Analysis Mobile App

Have you heard the news? POLARIS Laboratories has launched the HORIZON mobile app, bringing the powerful oil analysis management tool to users anytime, anywhere. This mobile application is a great tool for viewing and managing fluid analysis data, helping equipment managers make informed decisions about asset maintenance through data-driven reports and straightforward recommendations.

“Maintenance personnel need sample results with them in the field or on the plant floor, not tucked away in the maintenance office,” POLARIS Laboratories Chief Executive Officer Bryan Debshaw said. “HORIZON Mobile pushes alerts to users so they can save and extend the life of their equipment before serious damage occurs.”

The mobile app features a customizable push notification feature that users can adjust by fluid type and severity level. Alerts lead users to a sample report summary with the overall severity and maintenance recommendations. The full report can also be downloaded to analyze wear metals and trending data.

What this means for you? If you already have a Horizon account, you can download the app on your device and access your information with the same log-in and password. It will automatically link to your account showing your equipment list, historical reports, and submissions. You will even be able to submit sample data through the app itself. This will help avoid countless hours of paperwork by entering the equipment hours while standing next to the equipment. It also fast-tracks your samples at the lab, providing you with quicker results that no one else in the oil analysis industry can offer.

And don’t worry, if you are a new customer wanting to get set up for a Horizon account, the process is easy. We just need your account information including company name, address, phone number and email address, as well as an equipment list. Once your account is set-up, you will be ready to download the app and start utilizing your oil analysis management tool right away!

The app is available to download for both Apple and Android devices. Contact us today to learn more or to get set-up for this award-winning management reporting software, HORIZON Mobile!

New In-Network CFN site with Diesel Island and Gas Station Now Open in Tulare – Paige Truck Stop!

Located at 1297 E Paige Ave in Tulare, Paige Truck Stop is now open! This location includes a CFN diesel island with four full size truck lanes, an unbranded fuel island, and a convenience store.

The location boasts easy access from the 99, and easy in/out for any size of vehicle.

The full-size unbranded station provides safe, reliable fuel products including regular, plus and supreme gasoline at affordable costs.

The convenience store offers all the best convenient, grab-and-go items that will satisfy your cravings whether drivers have a short or long route ahead of them.

This location offers truckers an easily accessible and affordable place to grab a snack, rest and refuel on their way to delivering supplies and products to our nation.

If you're in the area, be sure to check out this new location!

How much do you know about grease?

Did you know a major cause of bearing and equipment downtime is lubrication failure? As a southern California fuel and lubricant supplier, we’ve seen nearly every type of lubrication mistake. We’ve supported our customers through their lubrication failures and helped them avoid making the same mistake again. All of our experience has taught us a few things, and we’d like to share some of our knowledge with you today. Here’s the big lesson: you need to understand grease.

Grease errors are always one of the top lubrication failures. In fact, in the tragic crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 in January 2000, a grease failure was cited as one reason the plane crashed. The investigation revealed that inadequate lubrication of the threads in the horizontal stabilizer caused them to strip away and for the plane to lose control. This dramatic example shows just how crucial proper lubrication and grease knowledge can be.

So what is grease? It’s important to start with the basics. Grease is a solid or semi-fluid lubricant. It is used for lubrication in places where oil won’t work well, like gears, bearings, and other machinery components. Grease is longer-lasting and can also act as a sealant to stop leakage and keep out containments. There are three main properties of grease:

  1. Base Oil: Grease is formed out of mineral oils. Some greases may use synthetic oils as well or a combination of the two.
  2. Thickener: Metallic soaps like lithium, aluminum, clay, sodium, calcium, and polyurea are some of the materials used to create the solid to semi-solid state of grease.
  3. Additives: Like lubricating oils, additives are also added to grease mixes for various purposes. Some of the most commonly used additives include rust inhibitors, extreme pressure, anti-wear, and friction-reducing agents.

Many greases come in a variety of colors. The colors are usually determined by the manufacturer and are used to identify the product. Some manufacturers use different color schemes for their grease products. Many people organize their grease products by color. What are grease lubricants used for? Grease lubricants are best used for lubrication purposes where oil won’t work—for example, a spinning wheel or a set of gears. Lubricating such machinery with oil wouldn’t work. It would simply drip off as the wheel moves. Here are a few of the types of machinery that work well with grease lubricants.

  • Machinery that sits in storage for long periods of time or runs intermittently. Grease doesn’t wear out easily and is great as a long-term lubrication solution.
  • Machinery that operates under extreme conditions like temperature shifts, high pressure, and high or low speeds.
  • Parts of machinery that are not easily accessible for frequent lubrication. Since grease lubricants last a long time, they are ideal for lubricating hard-to-reach machinery or components within motors or equipment.
  • Older components. Older machinery with worn-out components benefits from the thicker substance of grease lubrication. In some cases, grease lubricants may even extend the life of worn-out parts.

What are the benefits of choosing a grease lubricant? These are a few of the characteristics that make it ideal for lubrication.

  • Water resistance. The thick nature of grease makes it less susceptible to contamination and water damage.
  • Pumpability. There are various ways to apply grease, but it works well in grease guns and other nozzle systems, making it easy to apply to machinery.
  • Temperature stability. Most greases are great at withstanding temperature shifts. Check the supplier guide for your grease temperature points. At high temperatures, grease will begin to lose structure and drip, flowing away from the area. Low temperatures cause grease to get too hard, and it may gum up the equipment.

Now that you know what grease is, it’s time to talk about the best way to use it. Here’s a quick guide to the best grease lubrication practices.

  • Choose the right grease. You can’t just use any grease for your lubrication needs. Just like selecting the right oil for your engine, you need to choose the right grease lubricant for your specific needs. To choose the right grease, you need to consider the base oil viscosity, base oil type, thickener type, NLGI grade, and additives. Our lubricant delivery team is highly skilled at recommending lubrication products and can help you find what you need when you place your order.
  • Determine when you need to use it and how often. The best thing to do when using grease lubricants is to determine your lubricant procedure. This is a breakdown of where you need to use the grease on your equipment and how often you need to apply it. Consult your equipment manual and review your mechanical needs while determining your procedures. Keep track of what methods work best for your equipment and which grease works best.
  • Monitor your grease for effectiveness. The best way to make sure your grease is working the way it should is to check. There are a variety of ways you can do this, from spot checks to grease sampling. Regularly inspect your grease for signs of breakdown like hardening, melting, or contamination. You can even get your grease samples tested to make sure they are still performing properly.
  • Learn from your mistakes. Every mechanic can tell you that you’re going to make lubrication mistakes. But the best mechanics learn from their mistakes and don’t repeat them. Keep a detailed history of your lubrication practices so you can avoid past mistakes.

Our final note on grease lubricants is a word on proper storage and handling practices. If you fail to store your grease properly, it will degrade and could be wasted. Follow these tips and other safe storage practices to get the most value out of your grease lubricants.

  • Don’t use old grease. Grease deteriorates over time. Make sure to check your product guidelines for how long a grease lubricant lasts. The National Lubricating Grease Institute (NLGI) recommends testing grease that’s more than a year old before using it.
  • Store in a dry, temperature-controlled space. High or low temperatures can cause grease lubricants to wear down. Water and other contaminants can also affect grease lubricants. Avoid storing grease in areas with direct sunlight or next to a heat source.

Choosing the right grease for your lubricant needs is an important part of equipment maintenance. As a fuel and lubricant supplier, we’ve helped many of our customers choose the right supplies to keep their machinery in good working order for years to come. If you need product recommendations or help with your lubrication needs, give us a call. We’re always here to help!