The Trailer Pre-Trip Check

 DriveSmartBC

Ubilt Utility Trailer

There’s nothing like a beautiful spring day to bring out the trailer that has sat unused since last fall. A lot can happen to a trailer while it sits idle waiting to be useful again. Lighting connections corrode, tires lose pressure, reflectors are broken, brakes need service along with many other possibilities for wear and malfunction.

Are you tempted to just hook the trailer up, eyeball the tire pressure and take off? Look around you in traffic, you’re not alone!

If you pull a heavy recreational trailer, you will have learned all about the necessity of a pre-trip inspection check when you were studying for your heavy trailer licence endorsement. This examination is just as important for drivers who tow light trailers.

The hitch ball must be the proper size for the coupler. Attaching the trailer to a ball that is too small is just asking for trouble!

All trailers that connect to the tow vehicle with a hitch ball require a safety chain (or chains) that are equal in strength to the coupler. These chains must be free of abrasion damage and attached to form a cradle under the hitch to support it if it fails.

Lights and reflectors are next and it is not sufficient to simply shrug and say that everyone behind me can see the lights on the back of my tow vehicle. Tail, brake, signal, licence and marker lights must all be present and functional along with the appropriate reflectors. Plug them in and test them before every trip. If they don’t work, make the repair before driving away.

The tires must have sufficient tread, be properly inflated and capable of carrying the weight that you are going to put in the trailer. While you’re at it, check the wheel nuts to make sure that they are tight too.

Overloading a utility trailer is a common practice. I watched a man load his trailer last fall during firewood season. The sidewalls of the tires were compressed and bulging but he had made it home like that before so he didn’t think that it was worth worrying over.

If you are stopped by the police for being overweight, you will be expected unload the extra weight before you move again.

Finally, let’s take a look at the brakes, if they are required they must be adjusted and working properly.

My experience has taught me that surge brakes are the most neglected part of any trailer. At roadside checks I used to hand an adjustable wrench to the driver and ask them to demonstate the brake fluid level in the reservoir. The cap was either solidly corroded in place or was destroyed in the attempt. Yes, we checked the brakes before we left officer…

Surge brakes are relatively simple to check, just pull the breakaway brake cable until it locks the lever and try to drive forward. If there is no resistance, chances are good that the brakes are not working.

Electric brakes are a bit easier to test. Just apply them from the controller at the driver’s seat and make sure that they are adjusted properly and resist forward movement.

Is the battery for the breakaway brake system charged and will it hold the trailer stopped for at least 15 minutes? This is usually not an issue on RV’s as the trailer battery is used for other purposes, but on utility trailers it is often dead or missing.

Before we leave the subject of brakes, remember that if your tow vehicle is a pickup truck, you may be required to stop and check the brakes at the top of steep hills just like the drivers of heavy commercial vehicles.

This is not a complete list of considerations but should serve as a good starting point for a safe trip.

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

Find Out If You Are Hard Working or Working Too Hard

Many people confuse hard-working people with workaholics.

What is workaholism?

Workaholism is more than a dedication to your job. It’s a near-obsessive commitment that supersedes most, if not all, other aspects of life. For many, workaholism is a true addiction, inextricably tied to feelings of self worth and identity.

What are some characteristics of workaholics? How could a person tell that he/she is a workaholic?

A workaholic displays symptoms similar to any other addict. He/she works long hours, at the expense of personal relationships and health. When not working, they’re thinking about work. Work dictates their mood: when work is going well, they’re up; when work is going less well, they’re down. Workaholics often go months without seeing friends; put their marriages on cruise control; defend their choice to work as hard as they do (come up with justification after justification); and may use work as a distraction from other problems or aspects of life.

What are some reasons that workaholics work so hard?

Working, or simply being busy, can be a hard habit to break. Busy people are important people. They’re also often pleasantly distracted people. In an op-ed that went viral in the New York Times a few years ago, a cartoonist named Tim Kreider wrote that “Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness.” When workaholics aren’t busy working — or doing something to promote their work — they feel anxious and guilty. For both men and women, this is often a result of recession — they hang onto jobs for dear life and do everything they can to ensure they’re indispensable. For  women in particular, workaholism may stem from the lingering notion that great opportunities for women are still rarer than they are for men, and as such must be strived for with unflagging determination and drive. What’s more, today’s female employees are among the first generation to have been raised by mothers who, as a whole, placed importance not just on a job, but a career. For many of these women, the slide into workaholism seems almost predisposed.

Is there a link between health problems and workaholism?

There is. Just because work itself is a respectable pursuit doesn’t mean that an addiction to it is any less damaging than other sorts of addictions. A number of studies show that workaholism has been associated with a wide range of health problems, such as insomnia, anxiety, and heart disease.

Besides from health problems, does being a workaholic bring negative effects?

Yes. For some people, working serves as a Band-Aid for other issues, a way to numb undesirable feelings or fill certain voids, much in the way that alcohol might do for an alcoholic or sex for a sex addict. What’s more, working too much can lead to lower job satisfaction, as found in a 2008 study published in The Psychologist Manager Journal that compared overworking employees to those who maintained a better work-life balance. Also, the ill effects are contagious: A study published in the International Journal of Stress Management found that workaholics can even make their co-workers stressed.

What about the effects to the families?

A 2001 study published in the American Journal of Family Therapy found that working too much negatively impacted an employee’s marriage. This isn’t surprising, since if you’re married to your work it can be difficult to be married to anything, or anyone, else. There have also been studies looking at the impact of workaholic parents on their children and the news isn’t good. In one study, adult children of workaholic fathers experienced more depression and anxiety and a weaker sense of self. That study appeared in the American Journal of Family Therapy.

What about the positive side?

There are many positive aspects to working hard and to an increasing commitment to career. These days, more and more people, women especially, are embarking on, and staying with, careers that are personally fulfilling, identity making, and lucrative. Hard work can reap great rewards. For many, it’s how they develop feelings of self worth and confidence and purpose. This can be empowering.

Since many workaholics often deny having a problem, what are solutions for them?

It’s difficult to convince a workaholic to change their behavior if they’re not also willing. If you have a workaholic in your life you might point out the things he or she is missing out on while at work, whether it’s a child’s soccer game, a good book, or a yoga class. Seek to understand why the person feels the need to work so much and support them in finding a resolution. Perhaps they feel pressure to earn money, or they feel insecure about their performance. Work together to find ways to handle the dilemma beyond longer hours at the office. For people who wonder if they might be workaholics, I might suggest they resolve to check in every so often and ask themselves: Am I working too hard? And if so, why? What am I getting out of 60 hours that I couldn’t get out of 40? Or 35? Many who work hard are working for reasons beyond the benefits good work provides but it requires really stopping and evaluating the situation to recognize that.

Can the symptoms get better?

They can, but it almost always requires a total overhaul in perspective. The first step is acknowledging and accepting — really accepting — that work isn’t the most important thing in your life. Decide what is. You won’t be able to say “no” to work unless you are saying “yes” to something else. The second step is actually starting to say no — to working late, to extra assignments, to doing a little more ‘for the team.’ Finish one task before taking on another. Third, be firm and vigilant about the time you spend working. Decide in advance that you will work, say, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or no more than 40 hours a week. Often, you will find that limiting the time you have to spend on work will make you more efficient during those working hours. You’ll get just as much done — because you have to — and still have time to have dinner with the family.

Excerpted article written by Dr. Peggy Drexler, Huffington Post

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International probe shuts down cyberattack provider

By Mike Corder

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

THE HAGUE, Netherlands _ In a major hit against cybercriminals, an international police operation has taken down what investigators called the world’s biggest provider of potentially crippling Distributed Denial of Service attacks.

On Wednesday, police hailed the success of the operation Wednesday, saying that a joint investigation led by Dutch and British experts and supported by European Union police agency Europol led to the arrest on Tuesday of the administrators of the website webstresser.org.

Europol said webstresser.org had more than 136,000 registered users and racked up 4 million attacks on banks, governments, police forces and the gaming industry. Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS, attacks attempt to make online services unavailable by overwhelming them with traffic from multiple sources.

“It used to be that in order to launch a DDoS attack, one had to be pretty well versed in internet technology,” Europol said in a statement. “That is no longer the case.”

The agency said that registered users could pay a fee of as little as 15 euros ($18) per month to rent its services and launch cyberattacks.

Administrators of the service were arrested Tuesday in Britain, Croatia, Canada and Serbia, Europol said. The illegal service was shut down and computers and other infrastructure seized in the Netherlands, the United States and Germany.

Croatian police said that a 19-year-old Croat, whom they described as the owner of webstresser.org, was detained on charges of “serious criminal acts against computer systems, programs and data” that carry a possible sentence of one to eight years in prison.

Gert Ras, head of the Dutch police’s High Tech Crime unit, said the operation should send a clear warning to users of websites like webstresser.

“Don’t do it,” Ras said. “By tracking down the DDoS service you use, we strip you of your anonymity, hand you a criminal record and put your victims in a position to claim back damages from you.”

Chubb Launches Proprietary Online Cyber Risk Index

Chubb, a leader in cyber risk assessment and underwriting, has launched its Chubb Cyber IndexSM, a new interactive platform that showcases nearly two decades worth of Chubb’s proprietary commercial cyber claims data. The Index is designed to highlight a range of cyber threats based on an organization’s industry and size.

“We’re thrilled to offer businesses throughout North America this interactive capability to provide insight into real threats facing them on a daily basis,” said Bill Stewart, Division President of Chubb’s Global Cyber Risk practice. “The first step to protecting a business from a cyber attack is staying aware of what threats are most prominent to a company’s size and industry. Our Cyber Index will help users to better understand their exposures and manage risk before a cyber incident occurs.”

The innovative Index provides users with a simple and immediate means of identifying the leading cyber risks their business may face based on real-world examples of cyber attacks and data breaches. With a user-friendly interface, accessible via desktop or mobile device, users are able to set parameters unique to their company, and view historical trends based on type of threat, size of a company and which industry that company operates within.

“Chubb has nearly two decades of cyber claims data, which enables us to help clients gain insight into the types of events affecting their industries,” said Michael Tanenbaum, Executive Vice President, Chubb.  “That insight has helped us to monitor the evolution of the marketplace and understand various threats and how they impact different businesses, based on their profile.”

Along with delivering key intelligence to businesses of all sizes, the Index will be updated biweekly, and ultimately will deliver real-time data.

“As cyber risks evolve, Chubb will continue to focus and respond to the environment by its strong commitment to the industry and by providing best-in-class solutions to clients,” said Mr. Tanenbaum.  “In the meantime, organizations of all sizes need to proactively assess current procedures in place to mitigate the risk from potential cyber-attacks, and ensure that their cyber insurance policy is structured to addresses any gaps.”

The Index is free to access and can be used at http://www.chubb.com/cybermedia.

About Chubb:
Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and the largest commercial insurer in the United States. With operations in 54 countries and territories, Chubb provides commercial and personal property and casualty insurance, personal accident and supplemental health insurance, reinsurance and life insurance to a diverse group of clients. As an underwriting company, we assess, assume and manage risk with insight and discipline. We service and pay our claims fairly and promptly. The company is also defined by its extensive product and service offerings, broad distribution capabilities, exceptional financial strength and local operations globally. Parent company Chubb Limited is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: CB) and is a component of the S&P 500 index. Chubb maintains executive offices in Zurich, New York, London and other locations, and employs approximately 31,000 people worldwide. Additional information can be found at: chubb.com.

SOURCE Chubb

‘Um… no’: Zuckerberg protects his own privacy in testimony

Even Mark Zuckerberg has limits on what he’s willing to share.

In a rare light-hearted exchange during his public grilling before U.S. senators Tuesday, the Facebook CEO told Sen. Dick Durbin that no, he would rather not share personal details of his life with the U.S. Congress.

“Mr. Zuckerberg, would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?” asked Durbin, an Illinois Democrat.

“Um… no,” Zuckerberg said after pausing, then smiled as the room laughed.

“If you’ve messaged anybody this week, would you share with us the names of the people you’ve messaged?” Durbin continued.==

“Senator, no, I would probably not choose to do that publicly here,” Zuckerberg replied.

“I think that maybe is what this is all about,” Durbin said.  “Your right to privacy. The limits of your right to privacy and how much you give away in modern America in the name of quote, ‘Connecting people around the world.”’

Durbin was among many senators who grilled Zuckerberg on what the social network collected on its users, following revelations that the Donald Trump-affiliated data mining firm Cambridge Analytica scooped up data on millions of Americans without their knowledge.

B.C. takes new approach to testing older drivers, some ask if ageism a factor

By Dirk Meissner

THE CANADIAN PRESS

VICTORIA _ Frank Harding is 98 years old and most days he drives his 1990 Volvo sedan to the Comox Recreation Centre where he works out.

One summer, the resident of Courtenay, B.C., said he drove across Canada four times from Vancouver Island to New Brunswick to visit relatives, although he doesn’t drive that much any more.

But Harding said he recently faced the prospect of losing his driver’s licence under a revamped driver reassessment program geared at drivers in B.C. once they reach 80 years old, which has raised questions about age discrimination.

Harding, who learned to drive tractors on family farms and trucks during the Second World War, said he was told to take a road test after undergoing a government-ordered driving fitness exam by his doctor.

“I went and I didn’t do so good on my medical,” said Harding. “So, he wanted me to have a road test, so I went and had a road test and I came through with flying colours.”

In March, the B.C. government introduced its Enhanced Road Assessment program, which is the second stage of its fitness testing program for driver’s licences. It replaced the former DriveABLE program, which drew criticism from seniors for its reliance on computer tests and road tests in unfamiliar vehicles.

RoadSafetyBC, the government agency responsible for road safety, mandates every person at age 80, and every two years following, must undergo a Driver Medical Examination Report. The report serves as the primary tool for the assessment of conditions that may affect someone’s fitness to drive.

Harding, who has been through several driver fitness exams since he turned 80, said this was the first time he had to take a road test. He agreed it was time to retest his skills, but he said his life would have changed if he lost his licence.

“I think it’s a good idea,” he said. “I think it’s a very good thing.”

B.C.’s seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie said the new testing program is less daunting for seniors, but she is concerned about targeting drivers just because they are 80 years old.

“Why are we doing it based on age and who picked age 80?” she asked.

Driving regulations based on age vary across Canada.

In Alberta, drivers 75 and older must file a medical report from their doctor every time they renew their licence. There are no age restrictions in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or the territories.

Ontario has a Licence Renewal Program that starts at 80. In Quebec, drivers must submit a physician’s report when renewing their licence at age 75, age 80 and every two years following.

Steve Wallace, a long-time owner of a driving instruction business, said the new program in B.C. is much more comfortable for seniors who can now take the exam in their own vehicles and no longer face the test on a computer.

But why not look at a driver’s record rather than age when considering testing for fitness, he said.

“When every other segment of society is judged on their record, then this group of people should be judged on their record,” he said. “There’s an extreme prejudice against seniors. This is blatant age discrimination.”

Recent data from RoadSafetyBC suggests not every driver asked to take the enhanced road test is 80 or older.

To date, the agency said it has referred about 1,700 drivers for assessment. About 1,100 of them were 80 or older.

The agency said it processes about 60,000 medical exams for drivers who are 80 and older annually.

Last year, about 3,450 drivers who were 80 and over took the previous DriveABLE assessment. Of those drivers, 1,400 were found medically fit to drive and 550 were found medically unfit and had their licences cancelled. Another 1,250 drivers had their licences cancelled for non-compliance and 250 voluntarily surrendered their licence, the RoadSafetyBC data says.

Mackenzie said the numbers of drivers voluntarily surrendering their licences increases as they age.

At 65 years old, 95 per cent of drivers have their licences, but at age 84 only 34 per cent of people have their driver’s licences, she said.

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