The New Year is here and with it comes a fistful of new and exciting possibilities! Here at Raney’s, we are always interested in developing products and industry trends – especially when they involve new technologies! As a result, we’ve put together a list of product trends that you should keep an eye out for this year.
1. Floor Mats
Okay, so Floor Mats aren’t exactly at the cutting edge of new tech, nor are they a new invention. However, they are undergoing some design changes – or should I say additions – that are worth noting. Instead of covering just your typical driver and passenger side floorboard, companies like Redline Floor Mats are now offering more complete coverage of your cab. The end result?
Approximately 30% more cab coverage than the rubber floor mats you probably currently have installed in your Rig. Makes sense, right? Your driver and passenger-side floorboard isn’t the only place that dirt and debris can go to make a mess, so why not also cover those other areas?
All Redline floor mats are constructed of rugged thermoplastic rubber that has been laser measured for an exact fit. A patterned texture increases grip and durability while a raised edge prevents leakage.
2. Full LED Headlights
LED lighting options have steadily been increasing in popularity over the past couple of years, with many headlight kits coming with at least an LED running light option.
The reason? LED lights are generally a much more efficient light, capable of delivering a brighter, more luminescent light beam with an even longer bulb life than halogen lights.
One notable characteristic of LED lighting options is the color of the light itself. LEDs have a higher color temperature than their halogen counterparts, giving them more of a warm white color versus the yellowish tint of halogen. The difference in color doesn’t actually affect the brightness of the light (i.e. the lumen count), but it will make things more clear which makes a big difference when you’re driving at night.
Reflector vs. Projector
When discussing headlights, it is important not to confuse LED vs. Halogen with Reflector vs. Projector. When talking about LED and Halogen, one is referring to the type of bulb used to produce the light. Reflector and Projector, on the other hand, is the type of housing.
Reflector Headlights, like the one featured in the image to the left, have been around for quite some time. They function by having a bulb in a bowl/cone that is aimed at a concave mirror – the dome that you see at the center of the headlight to the left. That concave mirror will then reflect the light back onto the surrounding mirrors at the back of the light, allowing for a forward direction of the light. While effective, this method is less controlled and often results in an inconsistent beam pattern, leaving some areas with a high concentration of light and other areas much darker. Generally, this type of housing will have a halogen bulb and will be a less expensive option than a projector headlight.
Projector Headlights take the reflector headlight design and improve upon it by adding a cut-off shield and a lens. Now, the reflected light that’s projected from the concave mirrors flows into a lens. This lens bends, spreads, or concentrates the light, much like what happened when you were a kid with a magnifying glass trying to burn a leaf. The end result is a brighter, more potent light source. To make sure this light isn’t blinding to other drivers, a cutoff shield is used to direct the light out and down. Thanks to this cutoff, projector headlights have an even distribution of light and can use a more luminous light without blinding other motorists – they also look pretty darn cool!
We anticipate that most lights will already come installed with an LED bulb in a projector housing for the best vision possible – currently, most headlights have an LED running light with a halogen in a reflector housing. You can get a full LED set up like the 4×6 headlight featured above, or you can simply replace the halogen bulb with the appropriate LED counterpart – just make sure that the bulb you’re looking to use will work with your current housing. If you need assistance, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-888-888-7990!
3. Winter Products
Trucking presents its fair share of difficulties, all of which are magnified during the winter season as hauling becomes increasingly challenging and demand increases. These increased difficulties become the catalyst for innovative products to make life easier. Products like Autosock and Supersox have become a popular alternative to the hassle of tire chains.
Other innovations in headlights have also taken place to make winters easier. Every winter trucker knows the importance of a great pair of heated windshield wipers. They can literally be the difference between being able to drive safely or not. Winter weather can cause snow and ice to gather on a truck’s windshield, reducing a driver’s visibility. The genius of heated wipers is that you aren’t sacrificing one function for the other; they’re just as effective at clearing rain as they are with snow and ice. The same cannot be said with LED headlights. For years, winter truckers would avoid LED headlight options because the bulbs couldn’t get hot enough to melt the ice on the lens for clear vision, forcing them to use the subpar brightness of halogen lighting. Now, companies like Maxxima and JW Speaker offer heated LED lighting options, to achieve the superior brightness and clarity of LED lights without losing the necessary heating capacity that halogen provides. However, they didn’t stop with just LED headlights, they extended their heated LED lighting technology for Stop, Tail, and Turn lights.
How does it work, you may ask?
Both Maxxima and JW Speaker each have proprietary technology that continuously monitors the outside air temperature. If the air temperature drops below a certain amount while the truck is running, they will begin melting the snow and ice from the surface of the lens to maintain maximum visibility. Best of all, this process requires no action from the operator, allowing you to focus on driving.
4. Recording Devices
Recording Devices have become a must for any and all truckers. With viral videos proving trucker’s innocence in the event of accidents, recording devices have become an ever-present fixture in a rig’s cab. Raney’s recommends the EagleEye Triple Dash Cam System to cover all possible angles. This way, in the event of an accident, you have complete coverage of the front, back, and sides, of your rig. We anticipate recording devices to only grow in popularity as their application begins to evolve. There have even been rumors of vehicles absent of passenger and driver side mirrors – which may not seem too surprising with the development of autonomous semi-trucks. The mirrors would be replaced by recording devices that would display real-time footage from a monitor within the vehicle’s dash, eliminating blind spots. Until that technology arrives, we recommend using a dash cam capable of capturing multiple vantage points so nothing gets missed.