Posted June 20, 2017 by Administrator
What does a differential do and how does the differential lock work on big trucks? A differential is a part of the rear axle. The differential is the axle that provides power to the unit and moves it forward whether it’s a passenger vehicle, a big truck or a bus. Most passenger vehicles today are front-wheel drive so they will not have a differential; semi-truck tractors are rear-wheel drive and therefore do have differentials.
The root word of “differential” is “difference.” Basically, a differential allows the vehicle to have different speeds for each wheel that is attached to the rear axle. The purpose of having different speeds is so that when you turn a corner the outside wheel needs to accelerate at a faster rate than the inside wheel. The inside wheel is functionally “fixed” and goes at a much slower rate than the outside wheel. The wheels need to be able to turn at different speeds; thus, you have a differential.
When you have a differential you will have gears that will allow one wheel to effectively have free play and the other one to accelerate faster. Sometimes a truck will get “stuck”; when that happens the differential will direct power out to the wheel with the least resistance. Therefore, one wheel will spin if you get stuck (like in a large mud puddle) unless you have the differential lock (diff lock) engaged.
Big rigs have what’s known as a diff lock that helps with traction and driving at slow speeds. On the back of a big truck you will usually have two axles called a set of tandem axles. Both axles in the set of tandem axles have a differential unit on them. On most trucks you will have a single diff lock that will lock up the front axle in the set so all 8 tires in the set will turn in tandem. If you are driving in snowy conditions it is recommended that you put chains on the wheels in the front because that is where the differential (diff) lock is located. When you put a chain on each wheel it will drive the vehicle forward.
Some of the Western Star Trucks will have a diff lock for each axle with two switches on the dashboard of the cab, one for each axle. There will also be an inter-axle diff lock that will lock the axle across each set of tandem axles and will lock in between both sets so all four sets of tires on the back of the semi truck will rotate at the same rate. When the diff lock is on there will not be differential speeds.
It’s important that you do not leave the diff lock on while driving at highway speeds. If you do happen to forget and leave the diff lock on while driving you will possibly wear the tires out faster. One thing to keep in mind is that you should stop the truck or travel at a very slow speed in a straight line when you engage and disengage the diff lock. You do not want to lock the differential gears up while the truck is at speed or turning and the wheels are at different speeds or you are likely to cause damage to the gears.
Cline Wood represents top trucking insurance carriers across the country. We have access to all types of insurance programs. We treat your company as if it were our own. Contact us today to find out how we can help you manage your risk, which directly contributes to your bottom line.
Posted March 28, 2017 by Administrator
Despite popular belief, insurance cancellations are actually more common than you might think. Perhaps you’ve received a notice that reads something like:
“Attention: Your current insurance policy is being non-renewed due to…”
While a non-renewal notice is something you should take seriously, it typically will not negatively impact your ability to find alternate insurance. Here are some facts you should know before securing a new insurance policy and what to do so that you keep your trucking operations running seamlessly.
Why the Non-Renewal?
A non-renewal is not the same as a cancellation. Unlike a cancellation notice, and non-renewal notice is generally issued when there is a change with the insurance carrier. For example, the insurance carrier may no longer write in your state or has left the market completely, which are circumstances outside of your control.
However, if the reason for your non-renewal notice is due to late or non-payment of premiums, an increase in the frequency or severity of claims, or poor inspection reports or compliance issues, your ability to find new insurance may be impacted.
What Should You Do Next?
You’ve received a non-cancellation notice 30-90 days before your renewal date, so use your time wisely. If you’re insured directly through the carrier, finding a new insurance company may be tricky. It is now your responsibility to find and secure new insurance before your current policy is expired.
If you’re insured through an insurance agency, it is likely your agent is already aware of the situation and will be working to find a replacement company that is best suited for your circumstances.
If you were insured through a carrier and will be shopping around for a new carrier, we recommend you have the following information ready.
- Driver schedule
Name, driver’s license number, date of birth, hire date, number of years of CDL experience for each driver
- Vehicle schedule
Year and make of each vehicle, VIN numbers, and value of each of your tractor/trailers
Last four (4) quarters of Fuel Tax Reports (mileage broken down by state)
- Loss runs
Loss runs for the last three (3) years
- Financial information
Financials for the most recent year
- Insurance certificate
Your most recent insurance certificate that shows your current coverage
- Commodities hauled
List top 3 – 4 commodities hauled
- Safety information
Safety director’s name and experience, a copy of your safety manual, copy of driver guidelines, and any safety equipment
Cline Wood represents top trucking and agribusiness insurance carriers across the country. We have access to all types of insurance programs. We treat your company as if it were our own. Contact us today to find out how we can help you manage your risk, which directly contributes to your bottom line.
This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.
Posted December 27, 2016 by Administrator
Insurance rates rose substantially for trucking companies in 2016. And while trucking companies as well as independent-operators have felt the sting of rising costs, the consumer will soon feel the pain of increasing transportation prices that show up in higher costs for consumables.
There are several factors that have had an impact on the rising insurance rates in America.
- Insurance premiums have increased 10% – 30% as a result of very high legal settlements.
- Major companies (like Zurich Insurance Group AG and American International Group Inc.) have eliminated for-hire policies, making it harder for trucking companies to secure adequate coverage.
- New food handling transportation requirements instituted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have increased liability for trucking companies.
- Lesser settlements – in the $25,000 – $75,000 range – are also having an impact. Even though they are lesser amounts they are often not litigated because the cost of litigation does not make it worth taking them to court, even though many times the trucking company was not at fault.
- Frivolous suits are another frustrating factor because they consume resources and needlessly inflate insurance rates.
The negative risk exposure for trucking companies has translated into a renewed emphasis on safety. Safety is no longer just for safety’s sake (although it is extremely important in its own right.) Safety today has a major impact on the bottom line for the company and therefore is a business imperative. Not only are insurance premiums impacted, but safety mitigates risk which is now a significant financial factor for the trucking industry.
Insurance firms today are clear – they want to see motor carriers cultivating a culture of safety. Safety must become a core value of the company, not just a priority. A core value indicates permanency; safety has to be non-negotiable. No matter what conditions are placed on the freight load, it must be safely transported from start to finish no matter what.
Trucking company leaders need to back up the core value of safety with financial supports. For example, one safety feature that companies are installing are in-cab video systems that can provide video proof of driver actions in the case of an accident. That type of information can help drivers improve their safety practices. In-cab video – and other safety technological tools – cost money but are a good investment on the part of the company leadership.
Truck drivers themselves need to be empowered to make safety judgment calls without fear of recrimination. They are on the front lines and need to know they can challenge issues when they see them. Focusing on safety as fundamental to the trucking company or driver will help to mitigate insurance premium increases and will, ultimately, benefit everyone.
Cline Wood is a national commercial property and casualty insurance agency that serves the commercial agribusiness and trucking industries. To learn more about Cline Wood and how we can help your business mitigate your insurance risk, contact us.