January 2014 Auto & Trucking Atlantic

 

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January 2014 Auto & Trucking Atlantic

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auto CARS • TRUCKS • JOBBERS C-STORES • INSTALLERS • RECYCLERS CARWASHES • SERVICE STATIONS DEALERS • GARAGES • BODY SHOPS & trucking JANUARY 2014 $4.95 MARITIME RACING GETS CHECKERED FLAG FOR 2013 (STORY ON PAGE 20) BEAT COLD, GET A GRIP ON WINTER DRIVING (SEE PAGE 32) NOVA SCOTIA CATCHING UP WITH EV’S (SEE PAGE 42) FREE 2014 NAPA WALL CALENDAR IN THIS ISSUE!! WIN PRIZES!!! A BRAND NEW GARMIN® NÜVI® 40LM GPS NAVIGATOR OR A NAPA 126 PIECE TOOL SET! CROSSWORD GUESS & WIN DETAILS ON PAGES 53 AND 54! LED LIGHTING SHINES THROUGH THE FUTURE OWNED AND PUBLISHED BY ALFERS ADVERTISING & PUBLISHING INC. EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED Publications Mail Sales Agreement Number: 40062985

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auto scan & visit our online hub! Call us toll-free: 1-866-423-3939 Fax us: 1-902-423-3354 E-mail us: rob@autoatlantic.com Mail us: 51 Bethany Way Halifax, NS B3S 1H6 atlantic V O L U M E T H I R T E E N • I S S U E 1 • J A N U A R Y • 2 0 1 4 & trucking EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED Page 6 ADVERTISING DIRECTORY: PAGE 52 PUBLISHER / OWNER Robert Alfers rob@autoatlantic.com EDITOR Carter Hammett carter@autoatlantic.com OFFICE MANAGER James Somers james@autoatlantic.com PRINTING & MAILING Advocate Printing Ltd. advocateprinting.com Auto Atlantic magazine is owned and published bi-monthly by Robert Alfers of Alfers Advertising & Publishing Inc. For advertising rates or information regarding Auto Atlantic magazine, please call or write to us at: 51 Bethany Way, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3S 1H6. Tel 902.423.6788 Fax 902.423.3354. Opinions expressed in Auto Atlantic do not necessarily reflect official policy of Alfers Advertising & Publishing Inc. Printed and produced in Canada. Our editor shines a light on the latest developments in one of the most exciting technologies out there: LED MARITIME RACING SEASON GETS CHECKERED FLAG FOR 2013 – Racing pundit Tim Terry offers up the best of the year in racing FIX AUTO ADDS NEW LOCATION IN NS – The newest member of the Fix family lands in… Kentville! CONQUER THE COLD! GET A GRIP IN ALL WEATHER CONDITIONS – Did you know the stopping distance for all-season tires can be up to 30 per cent longer than winter tires? The choice is clear… LIGHTING UP THE NIGHT – Tim Terry is back and meditating on something most of take for granted while attending race events on those hot summer nights: race track lighting. The insights may be surprising. ALI INTRODUCES INTERACTIVE ONLINE LIFT SAFETY TRAINING – In partnership with KPA, The Automotive Lift Institute offers new and improved safety training for service and repair professionals. AUTOMOTIVE LIGHTING SYSTEMS: AN EVOLVING TECHNOLOGY -While night driving represents a quarter of all traffic, about half of all fatal car accidents occur after dark, proving that newer lighting technologies can be a matter of life and death, says writer Jay Larue. NSCC READY FOR EVS IN OTTAWA – Dave Giles heads to the nation’s capital to attend a conference on electric vehicles and learns about the growth of the EV market across Canada. ARE YOU VULNERABLE TO LOSING YOUR CURRENT CLIENTS AND RECOGNIZE WHEN A CUSTOMER BECOMES A CLIENT – Regular contributor Bob Greenwood asks a fundamental question. And the answer is….. YOU HAVE ARRIVED – Kenneth E. Seaton describes how the humble GPS has grown from automotive novelty into an automotive necessity. NAPA AUTOPRO COMPETES IN TARGA NL RALLY! – The love of motorsports and thrill of competition keeps bringing Brad Melindy back to Targa Newfoundland. WIN BIG! A Garmin Nüvi GPS from National Energy Equipment, or a NAPA 126 piece tool set in our 2 BIG contests!! januar y 2014 n autoandtruckingatlantic.com Page 20 Page 30 Page 32 Page 36 Page 38 Page 40 Page 42 Page 44 Member AIA Canada, AAIA, ATA and the AMA Page 48 Page 52 Publications Mail Agreement No. 40062985 Return Undeliverable Canadian Addresses to: Alfers Advertising & Publishing Inc. 51 Bethany Way, Halifax, NS B3S 1H6 Page 53 Page 54 3

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Letter from the Editor PRIVATE REALMS OF LIGHT Y By Carter Hammett EAR-IN-REVIEW ARTICLES IN MAGAZINES ARE POSITIVE FODDER FOR LIST JUNKIES LIKE ME. I love end-of-year top ten lists. They’re a great way of sniffing out trends for the past and following year; a cool method of tapping into the collective psyche of readers and determining what’s on their minds. Sometimes it’s hard not to be just a touch snide while thinking, “ they actually wanna drive that?” Other times it’s gratifying to see that you’re not alone with your own wish list. And this is the time of year where those lists start appearing. One of those is Autotrader.ca, which identifies the most sought out vehicles on Canadians’ bucket lists. This is done by measuring the number of searches in each province nationally. This year, the most desired vehicle (drum roll please) is owned by Ford’s F-150. Not surprising, given the diversity of the drivetrain options, that can easily shift between light- and-heavy towing. It’s also got decent fuel economy and good WHY BUY NEW WHEN USED WILL DO! 1-800-565-2433 looks. While the F-150 took top spot overall, regionally, Maritimers tended to favour the Civic. In fact, Atlantic coast drivers leaned more toward domestic brands like Dodge, Chevy and GMC, while imports ran away in popularity in other parts of the country. MAZDA3 and Porsche’s 911 rounded out the top five. It’s interesting that light is one of the more popular features in the Civic, besafety scores, and a fine interior to boot. cause light is one of the key themes for Ford also owned the third place spot this issue. LED in all its facets is the lead with its Mustang, tops in performance story this time out, and the evolution of given its relative affordability. And with this technology has been both fast and fuengines ranging from V6 to a hyperspeed rious. Halogen might still rule the day, but V8, there is more power here than many LED is catching up fast, not only in cars cars this class. and trucks but spreading to everything Number two on the list, was the Honfrom convenience stores to street lights as da Civic, bouncing back after a misstep in well. 2012, the 2013 edition is revitalized with For the uninitiated, light emitting diupgraded side pillars, thicker windshield odes date back to the 1970s, and have exand soundproofing features, with overall panded from use in numeric displays to ride quality remaining stable. a host of exciting applications that range One of the more interesting compofrom accent and task lights, to traffic nents of this car is its generous lighting lights, outdoor lighting and wall sconces. features. The front end is Accord-inspired, They offer terrific cost savings, low and includes fog lights and clear lens corheat output, durability and save heaps of nering lamps, giving the exterior a more energy consumption. Especially notable is sophisticated amid subtle and softer new its amazing design flexibility, particularly in colour changing, dimming and distribution by combining juxtaposing small units with desired lumen packages, shapes, sizes and colours. You’ll find all that and more in our cover story this issue. Elsewhere, writer Jay LaRue celebrates the magic of well-lit rigs, while KenBrookside Road, Truro, NS neth Seaton meditates on the power of GPS systems and the Phone: (902) 897-0252 extraordinary inroads this reFax: (902) 897-2854 markable piece of technology has made in the evolution of vancehanesautoparts.com all things automotive. Taken DAILY SHIPPING ANYWHERE collectively, it all adds up to a high tech issue containing items all drivers will find to add to their Xmas lists! And with the Christmas— or whatever you observe this time of year—looming over the horizon, there could certainly be worse themes to celebrate. Wishing everyone a happy holiday, safe travels, and a prosperous year ahead, from our house to yours! n Recycled replacement auto parts n Rebuilders available n Parts locating service 4 autoandtruckingatlantic.com n januar y 2014

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Road Safety 6 autoandtruckingatlantic.com n januar y 2014

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EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED LED LIGHTING SHINES THROUGH THE FUTURE LED IS FAST BECOMING THE DRIVING FORCE IN BOTH INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR LIGHTING IN BOTH CARS AND TRUCKS. A NEW ERA LIGHTING IS JUST BEGINNING TO SHINE! By Carter Hammett OU KNOW YOU MIGHT BE FROM N E W FO U N D L A N D IF THE BRIGHTLY LIT DAY YOU WERE DRIVING IN SUDDENLY GOT SWALLOWED BY A GIANT FOG PATCH. Being the responsible driver you are, you immediately flip on your lights. They slice a long, thin strip of light through the dense weather, managing to avoid the oncoming moose and survive another day in the pothole capital of Canada. Thank goodness for Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology. Although some of us might take it for granted, lighting is a key ingredient, essential to the success of any vehicle. As improvements and efficiencies in adaptive lighting have occurred, car and truck manufacturers have managed to lower the energy usage in differing lighting units even as vehicle safety has increased in the process. Let’s be blunt for a moment: although lighting may add to a car’s overall sexiness, it also provides visibility in both darkness and poor weather for others sharing the road. Although there’s less traffic on the road at night, about 40% of all traffic accidents occur during this time. Additionally, the car’s overall interior aesthetic is distinctly enhanced. And while halogen is still the most widely-used technology for automotive lighting, there’s no denying the rapid ad- Y vance and the global impact LED lighting has had on a wide cross-section of industries. Indeed, changes in government lighting policies, a greater awareness and response to highway safety, and advances in lighting technology have all played a role in the evolution of LED in both cars and trucks. A report published earlier this year by Digitimes Research estimates that global automotive lighting market revenue will reach upward of $25 billion by 2018. And while some reports offer differing estimates, all sources agree that overall growth is impressive, rapid and ahead of US Department of Energy’s development targets. Furthermore lighting prices were predicted to drop by up to 25% as performance ratios increased over the previous year’s. Cost for R & D remains high though. While North America has been somewhat slower to embrace this relatively new technology—possibly due to slower policy development and the glacial pace of government response on this side of the Atlantic—Asian markets have seen wild increases throughout the region. Japan has the highest LED market penetration in the world, with over 73%, followed by huge gains in both South Korea and China. The BRIC—Brazil, Russia, India, China-- countries are also seen as a possible contributor to the global phenomenon of LED lighting as a rise in automotive production in those parts of the world increases as well. Digitimes also predicts that LED lighting will take 38.6% of the global lighting market by 2015 and projects that the glob- al LED lighting market will be worth $44.2 billion by 2015. The global automotive lighting market continues to grow at a healthy pace. Owing in part to greater consumer purchasing power, an increased demand for technologies like daylight running lights and advanced front lighting systems, market forces will continue to shape and bend technological change as LED stands poised to become the go-to technology in automotive lighting. LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY…. For the uninitiated, LED lighting is a semiconductor light source. Believe it or not, the concept was born 51 years ago in 1962 as a pragmatic electronic part— which proves how far technology has come, especially when you consider that the first lighting used in cars consisted of oil lamps back in the 1880s! Early LED incarnations emitted red, low-intensity light but today, modern incarnations are available with brighter alternatives, including ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths. One of the reasons LEDs are prized is because of the advantages over traditional light sources, including a long shelf life, lower energy consumption, more compact size, greater durability and faster switching. “The biggest reasons why LED works is because it’s energy-efficient,” says Dave Giles, an instructor in the automotive technology progam at NSCC. “There’s less strain on the electrical system of the car and you get more brightness for less space because you can have a smaller diameter headlight producing three times the energy that a halogen light does.” januar y 2014 n autoandtruckingatlantic.com 7

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Road Safety LED technology has continued to develop at a steady gallop, with efficiency and light output steadily increasing at a doubling rate of every 36 months over the last 50 years. These developments are often cited because of the simultaneous evolution of semiconductor technologies and optics. In automotive lighting, they are especially popular with brake lamps, turn signals and indicators as well as traffic signals. In domestic appliances, DVDs and TVs, infrared LEDs are used in remote control units. LED was introduced on pro- national sales manager, Webco/LSI Light Canada, a well-known supplier and distributor of LED and other lighting products. Because of its versatility, LED can be used for everything from ambient to instrument lighting and this includes head lamps, brake lights, daytime running lamps, turn signals, map lights, dome lights, fog lamps and marker lamps. Complementing the safety component, LED also offers a host of rewards including flexible lighting that can adapt to any number of requirements. For ex- LEDS IN TRUCKS Running parallel, if not ahead of cars, LEDs have a bright future in both small and large trucking fleets. Truck lighting presents its own set of circumstances and challenges for LED, partly because much of the lighting on trucks is exterior and therefore not protected by the trucks’ body. Corrosive chemicals, road spray and even washdowns can all play a role in the efficacy of lighting equipment. Likewise trucks often carrying hazardous materials are exposed to high vibration situations and are on the road for thousands of kilometers per year. Often the lights are on when the truck’s in motion. Additionally, truck maintenance can have a huge impact when bulbs burn out and need to be replaced. The rig gets taken off the road and technician and mechanic costs can be prohibitive, cutting into fragile profit margins. “LEDs are frequently used on the running and marker lights. There’s typically 120 lights on a truck and trailer,” says Dave Giles. “When one incandescent light burns out, others can’t be far behind. You’re less likely to have to replace an LED….they’ll look like a 1960s ride at the fair!” LEDs can provide an effective solution to many of these issues. Long shelf life reduces bulb replacement and vibration and shock don’t mean a thing to these rugged lights. Some manufacturers cover circuit boards in epoxy material, thus protecting the entire set up from moisture. Trucks aren’t necessarily known for their low power usage, so the advantages offered by the low power consumption of LEDs becomes important. Using about one fifth of the power needed by incandescent technology, LEDs have proven that they are dependable even with the addition of extra weight added to trailers. In early 2013, Freightliner trucks announced a new headlamp as an aftermarket and factory-installed option for its Cascadia and Cascadia Evolution models, which are now being offered as a standard on these trucks. In 2014, Kentucky trailer announced that dual-function mini LED lights will become standard, improving both safety and visibility. The company claims the lights will have both a 50,000 hour-life and less amperage. Furthermore, new developments like a light replacement kit and top rail with internal raceway will protect wires from the elements. All of this bodes well for the future of LEDs in trucking. duction vehicles, first with rear lights in 2003, followed by headlamps in 2006. LED technologies have made their way inside the car as well. Because its effectiveness results in less energy consumption and noxious emissions, which in turn, assists manufacturers meeting policy standards. “LED can outlast the life of the vehicle,” says Giles. They are also incredibly versatile in terms of design, allowing manufacturers to customize their offerings to the buying public. “LED technology has now advanced to the point that it is being used more in the marketplace than any other conventional lighting. The reason for this is up to 80%  energy savings, excellent colour temperature creating a “daylight” environment at night and huge maintenance savings as there are no lamps, sockets or ballasts to be replaced for well over 12 years depending on the application,” says Dave Bowen, 8 autoandtruckingatlantic.com n januar y 2014 ample, adaptive lighting is important to avoid blinding other drivers sharing the road, especially when following or crossing them. Particularly useful when driving on curves, they are also beneficial for observing obstacles on road sides. The lights are also dimmable. “LED is more of a projective light so you can really direct it to where you want it to go,” says Giles. LEDs are also more flexible in terms of design. This is an area of innovation which allows car lighting designers to effectively brand their vehicles with more creative leeway than ever before. Interesting to note that LEDs were first used in luxury cars before filtering down to the masses.“LEDs were first used in the Corvette brake lights in 1984,” notes Giles. “Today’s cars you can’t even tell in some because they are so small. In the old Porsches, the lights used had to be streamlined. Not anymore” AND SPEAKING OF THE FUTURE…. But the real development in LED appears to belong to an emerging technol-

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Road Safety ogy called OLED. “The future in LED appears to be another technology --OLEDs Organic LEDs but they are still in their infancy with limited lumen output for lighting purposes but this will ramp up considerably in the next 5-7 years with a sustainable product just about the time existing LED starts to burn out in 12 + years so lots to look forward to in the future,” says Dave Bowen. Used to produce thin, bright displays on lighting panels, OLEDs are a fascinating development that can be made both transparent and flexible and used for a variety of applications, including phones and tablets. The technology is beginning its slow emergence into vehicles, including headrest screens and dashboard consoles. The Lexus 2010 RX has a white OLED display and Audi’s R18 uses a digital rear view mirror. Tesla has used a 17inch display as its main console, which in turn, substitutes buttons and knobs with a classy screen. As a result, money is saved because this feature’s power originates from the engine battery. Despite these options, OLED is really still in its embryonic stages. Audi has been working on projects like The Swarm where OLEDs cover the back of a vehicle, forming an arc as brake lights. Expect even more useful and unique developments and tweaks as the driving experience continues to be enhanced. BUT WAIT! THAT’S NOT ALL! LEDs aren’t just about cars. Their use is popping up all over the place; not only finding their way into cars but also, everything from car washes to streetlights as well. “LED has advanced so rapidly it has begun to level out for lumen output (brightness) and is now functional for a large percentage of projects. Due to this now wireless controls are being integrated into LED systems to further enhance energy savings but also offer security controls never available before. The trends in LED now are for totally integrated lighting/control systems for projects  large-and-small. We have numerous installations across the country especially in car dealerships.West Edmonton Mall is totally wirelessly controlled in LED saving over $65,000.00 per year just in energy”, says Dave Bowen. “The other quick developing trend in LED is utilizing colour changing LED to help increase sales and profits depending on the application. In Quebec we have over 20 Shell sites done that go through a slow colour change as the car sits in the tunnel, changing the water  and soap into different eye-catching colours. These carwashes have glass walls from end-to-end for the “visual” effect outside the tunnel is what increases traffic flow to the sites. The experience while inside the car in the wash is incredible and that drives increased profit and sales as clients keep coming back and wordof-mouth referrals is amazing. Most sites are realizing a minimum 25-to-45 percent increase in sales and flow  and these sites set themselves aside with “wow” factor over competitors simply with a subtle but effective colour change that only LED can accomplish. As well, car dealerships now are utilizing colour changing LED in building designs with special entrances  and towers, GM and BMW to name a couple, again  an eye catching subtle effect that not only enhances the visual vehicle experience in the tower but a far reaching visual effect from a distance.” Come join our team! Auto & Trucking Atlantic energetic Auto Atlantic is seeking an is seeking an energetic advertising salestime sales professional advertising part time part professional with with prior experience.position involves sourcing prior experience. The The position involves sourcing and new sales leads, and you will have and building building new sales leads, and you will have a chance to grow with our company. a chance to grow with our company. We offer We offer an independent, flexible work environan independent, flexible work environment ment with lots of opportunity for growth, and a with lots of opportunity for growth, and even competitive commission structure. We’ll a competitive business cards. Please visit our provide the commission structure. We’ll even provide thewww.autoatlantic.com,visit our website at business cards. Please and forward website at www.autoatlantic.com, and forward your Email to rob@autoatlantic.com your Email to rob@autoatlantic.com (All submissions in absolute confidence). auto 51 Bethany Way, Halifax, NS B3S 1H6 51 Bethany Way, Halifax, NS B3S 1H6 Tel: 902.423.6788 n Fax: 902.423.3354 n Toll-Free: 1-866-423-3939 Tel: 902.423.6788 n Fax: 902.423.3354 n Toll-Free: 1-866-423-3939 www.autoatlantic.com www.autoatlantic.com 10 autoandtruckingatlantic.com n januar y 2014 auto atlantic atlantic & trucking autoatlantic.com

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Diverse LED projects are in development everywhere. In Nova Scotia, Amherst firm LED Roadway Lighting has brightened up neighbourhoods across the province with its pilot program that was recently rolled out across 10 municipalities, including Halifax’s Stanfield Airport. This in addition to a series of already-successful pilot projects across North America. “LED has strong benefits for Atlantic drivers,” says Dave Giles. “Our coastal towns have weather that fluctuates between hot and cold and that can affect incandescent lights and visibility,” he says. “LED is very visible through the fog and offers a lot of intensity and distance. Manufacturers need to build to a certain standard, and if they can build a set of lights that never need replacing, that’s a pretty neat feature that benefits the consumer as well.” Dave Bowen puts things more succinctly: “Anyone today considering any form of lighting or signage needs to do themselves a favour and look into all the benefits and features of LED technology and help your municipality, town or city offer Less Energy Demand--LED!! I want my auto & trucking atlantic! You or somebody you know would like to recieve this magazine? Get a FREE Subscription to contests, news and links & more, then visit us online at autoatlantic.com and get your FREE Subscription! www.autoatlantic.com

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From the Showroom Floor LIGHTS! CAMERA! SELLING! By Gavin Brown HAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT A CAR AS IT IS DRIVING TOWARDS YOU ON THE ROAD? (HOPEFULLY, IT IS IN THE OPPOSITE LANE). For most people it is going to be the lights. It is one of the biggest reasons that Canadian vehicles require daytime running lights, they grab attention and get the car noticed. While the intention of the DRL law is to increase safety and visibility of oncoming traffic, when selling a car we can use this to our advantage to point out the unique features of our headlight systems to help build additional confidence and value in our product. W The design and shape of the headlights are typically an extension of the front end styling and help accentuate the grill and first impression of the vehicle. A basic rule that almost every manufacturer will follow will be to provide as much visibility as possible from multiple angles; this will usually result in light assemblies that wrap around the front of the vehicle to allow for lights to be seen from both the front and side. This design will also help provide a wide angle at night to help illuminate the road ahead as well as to the sides of the vehicle. The design of headlight can be a major presentation point, from standard halogen lamps to newer projection style lamps for wider and more even illumination to the high end Xenon and HID lamps for the purest light and distinct look of luxury. How do your high beams work? Are they an improved level of the regular lamps, does your vehicle run on a 4 light system? Take a look at one of your vehicles and make a list of all the benefits of the light construction, you can probably hit 10 in less than a minute. Fog lamps can make a major impact 12 autoandtruckingatlantic.com n januar y 2014

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on a vehicle, especially in the Atlantic region. If your vehicle is equipped with fog lamps, don’t just point them out; expand on the benefits they can provide beyond your traditional headlamps; we get a lot of fog and a lot of whiteout snow in the region and these extra lights can cut underneath and make a big difference in how much you can see. Fog lamps can also help with a wider angle of visibility and increases the overall style and appearance of the vehicle. Available on most luxury vehicles, we will see the transition to all vehicles within the next few years, LED running and positioning lights are growing in popularity. These very bright lights are visible at far greater distances than conventional lighting, allowing for improved safety as you can be seen from much further away. LED lights also provide a very distinct look and can add some additional value and prestige to your vehicle. While everything discussed so far has been in regards to the front end of the vehicle and the headlamps, many of these elements are also applicable to the rear end of the vehicle. LED lighting is even more prevalent in the taillights than headlights at the moment; all because of the improved brightness and visibility. A good lighting system can get the attention of drivers behind you and help prevent you from being rear-ended should you need to stop suddenly in an emergency situation. Interior lighting sees as much advancement as the exterior. We now live in an age of customizable gauge clusters where we can set what information is displayed as we drive, allowing us access to information that has never been available to drivers before. Without even touching into the high tech end of interior gauges, the basic lighting colour on the interior is a presentation point to your clients. Most companies have used red interior lighting for decades, not because it was the only colour on sale, but because it is the colour that has the least effect on a driver’s night vision and as such is a major safety point for your buyer. In recent years, a few companies have stretched out with various interior colours, blue, green, purple, to distinguish themselves from the standard red lighting; but even these colours and the lighting formats used have been specially engineered to help the driver maintain their night vision. Many of us will remember the vehicles of our youth and many of the improvements that have been made to lighting systems. Daytime running lamps were not even thought of until a few years ago, in some parts of the world (just across the border to the U.S.) it is still not required. Drivers would come towards you with no lighting in the daytime, early evening, fog, snow storms and you wouldn’t even see them until the last second. The high mount brake light in the rear was a new concept, a 3rd light now allows us a better chance to see someone stopping multiple vehicles ahead, improving our response time to be able to stop sooner. Advancements in lighting technology change just as fast as everything else in the auto industry, transmissions, emission controls, tractions and stability systems. It can be easy to skim over vehicle lighting, all it does is light up, but as we both know there is far more to it and educating your clients on what vehicle lighting systems can do for them will help you sell more vehicles and help add value to your products over competitors. januar y 2014 n autoandtruckingatlantic.com 13

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Truckers Corner MEGA LIGHTED BIG RIGS, A MATTER OF SAFETY AND “BLING!” By Jay LaRue HE SPECTACLE OF SEEING A M U LT I - C O L OURED RIG COVERED IN LIGHTS IS LIKE SEEING XMAS ON WHEELS! Tractor trailers are typically easy to spot and identify on the open roads at night. There are rules and regulations in place, as far as “minimal lighting” on rigs is concerned. These rules are in place with good reason. Trucks are big and heavy and they can be cumbersome to get around, especially when there are clusters of them, travelling at relative same speeds. Nevertheless, when we see them, we know what they are, based on their size and lighting. But, every now and again, you will see a truck that is so welllighted, you’d swear what you’re seeing must be Santa Claus, barrelling down the highway, delivering his toys! To elaborate on why some trucks are more lighted than T required to light their rigs up that much, but they sure can turn heads when they do!” What about negative aspects to extreme illumination? “Here’s the thing with that,” he says. “If you’re going to venture into lighting overkill, you better make good and sure that every one of those lights are working. The rule states that if a light is attached to a truck, it has to be operational. That can get costly in two ways. Firstly, the cost of installing and maintaining all those lights can get pricey, however, if you pull into a scale house and you have even one light not working, even when you have met the minimum lighting requirements, you can incur fines for any extra lights that are not operational.” This sheds light as to why you don’t see too many trucks that are “super lit.” And what about the possibility that all that “bling” distracting other motorists on the roads? Let’s face it, you won’t see all that many trucks that are super-lit so when you do see one, you’re inclined to follow it with your eyes. I can recall driving to Toronto to see my Dad several years back. Somewhere others, I consulted seasoned trucker John MacDonald, a veteran of the heavy hauling business. “Trucks that are lighted to the max are a beautiful sight,” says MacDonald. “They really stand out and they look great, too! They really are a spectacle,” he adds. But as for regulations, MacDonald says that once you’ve met the minimum lighting requirements, adding more illumination is simply a matter of preference by the operator. “When you see a truck with a hundred lights or more, what it really is, is “bling” for trucks. Truckers are not 14 autoandtruckingatlantic.com n januar y 2014 near the New Brunswick-Quebec border, well into nightfall, we passed a tractor trailer that had lights all over the cab, the trailer and about 12 really bright orange lights across its front bumper. This truck was so “over lighted”, particularly in the front, that I’m sure the operator could have turned off his headlights and still seen where he was going at night! It looked really cool, but if you’re looking at that, instead of watching where you’re headed, you can really run into trouble, particularly when travelling around 18 wheelers at night! Nowadays, with the advent of LED or even HID (high intensity discharge) trucks are even more noticeable. But, according to MacDonald, these newer, brighter lights require attention as well. “When you look at an LED light cluster, you will notice that there are many individual lights that are under the lens,” he says. “There could be 10 lights in there that make up that particular light,” he says. “There are regulations in place that suggest you can only have a certain number of individual lights not working in a given cluster, before the light is deemed ineffective,” he said. “When you have 100 LED light clusters on your rig, you’ve really got to make sure they are working and pay attention to what’s going on with them. When lights go, they do so at random intervals, so a thorough pretrip inspection of all those lights is very necessary,” Thanks, John! It would appear that having an extremely lit big rig has roots in road safety. There also appears to be a big part of it that is rooted in something fun as well. And let’s not forget that there are lighted truck parades that are held annually in Western Canada and in the United States as well. These parades highlight big rigs and large dump trucks featuring lights that rival the best decorated Christmas trees. Typically, these lighted truck parades are in the interest of raising monies and food for local food banks and other various charity groups. Seeing trucks all dressed up, with enough lights to make them look something like Clarke Griswold’s (Chevy Chase) house in his Christmas movie, surely has to bring out greatness in people and inspire them to give generously to those less fortunate, during fund raising events. And why not? After all, we all know how exciting it is to see stuff lit up! So, next time you see a big rig lit up like a tree, consider that the operator wants you to see him/her, as much as you want them to see you. But for all the added safety they offer, let the “kid” in you rejoice and enjoy the spectacle for just a little while. They want you to enjoy their grand spectacle and all the work they put into making their rig look so neat. Just be careful when doing so and keep your eyes on the road too!

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