Semitrailers. You see them everywhere. At your local Jewel. At Walmart. At the Kraft Distribution Center. On the toll road going into and out of Chicago. On the highways in the countryside. How many can there be? Hundreds? Thousands? More than that?

According to, “there are 5.6 million semitrailers (or tractor trailers) in the U.S. That is almost three times the number of semi trucks (also called tractors). Since a trailer has no front wheels and can be used only when connected to the tractor part of the truck, it is called a semi-trailer.”

The article continues, “Trailers are typically 53 feet long. They have brakes that are automatically applied when the trailer is standing unattached to the truck. When the truck is connected to the trailer, pressure from the truck’s engine-powered air pump releases the brakes so that it can roll.”

How important are semitrailers to our way of life? According to the article, semitrailers deliver sixty-eight percent of all goods in the U.S. Amazon has announced the purchase of thousands of semitrailers to send items around the country and to get orders to customers faster. The United States Postal Service uses semitrailers to transport mail from one processing facility to another or to stations and branches. Semitrailers deliver new cars from the factory to the new car dealers lots.

According to the Popular Mechanics article, there are 3.2 million truck drivers in the U.S. You are probably familiar with the names of some of the biggest companies including United Parcel Service, Fed Ex, J.B. Hunt, and Schneider. However, about 90 percent of trucking companies and owner-operators have fewer than six trucks. Each year a single semi will average 45,000 miles. Long distance trucks average 100,000 miles per year.

Many of the routes are on interstate highways built to carry the weight of a fully loaded semitrailer. The maximum weight allowed for a semitrailer is 80,000 pounds spread over eighteen conventional wheels. Problems sometimes occur when a semitrailer has to travel on two lane highways with bridges not built to handle that weight. In that case, the driver has to reduce the weight of the load before traveling such roads. State police set up weigh stations on highways to ensure that trucks are in compliance. If a truck exceeds the maximum weight allowed, the trucking company can receive a hefty fine.

If you are going to be sharing roads with semitrailers, you need to be aware of the fact that semitrailers have certain blind spots. That means the truck driver cannot see your vehicle at certain times. The Queensland (Australia) Government—Department of Transport and Main Roads published the following information at

  1. Stay out of the heavy vehicle blind spots.
    • Immediately in front of the truck
    • Beside the truck driver’s door
    • On the passenger side which runs the length of the truck
    • Directly behind the truck
      Remember: If you can’t see the truck driver’s mirror, the truck driver cannot see you.
  2. Travel at a safe following distance.
    • Do not follow a heavy vehicle too closely. Allow time to stop safely.
  3. Look out for turning heavy vehicles.
    • Trucks need more space when turning. Trucks may take up more than one lane to turn at corners, intersections, and roundabouts.
  4. Overtaking safely around heavy vehicles
    • If traveling on the motorway/highway, try to use overtaking lanes whenever possible.
    • Only overtake when the road ahead is clear.
    • Be aware of strong wind conditions as you pass a vehicle.
    • When it is safe to pass, indicate, accelerate and pass quickly, without exceeding the speed limit.
    • After passing, maintain your speed so the heavy vehicle does not need to brake.
    • Never attempt to pass a heavy vehicle or other long heavy vehicle on a curve or hill as your visibility is reduced.

—By Karen Centowski

To see Share the Road Instructional Video You Tube, go to



Monday afternoon, almost 3:00 P.M. A tall, black man with dreadlocks rides up to your house on a motorcycle. You’re expecting a nurse for the 3:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. shift for your ventilator dependent husband. Could this be the nurse?

When employing a private duty nurse or a home health nurse, it is important to avoid prejudging the worth or value of the individual by his outward appearance only. The man on the motorcycle is not only a nurse but also a nurse proficient with ventilators. In fact, he is a nursing supervisor who trains nurses to use ventilators.

The general public used to think of motorcycle riders as outlaws who rode Harley Davidsons. In fact, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, founded in 1948, is considered an organized crime syndicate by the United States Department of Justice. However, many popular singers and movie stars of the past fifty years rode motorcycles. Do you remember actor Marlon Brando, singer Bob Dylan, actor Clark Gable, actor Clint Eastwood. pilot Charles Lindberg, singer Buddy Holly, actor James Dean, and actor Steve McQueen? All rode motorcycles.

Instead of focusing upon the nurse’s appearance, what should you ask? Does the nurse have a valid Illinois nursing license and CPR card? What hours is the nurse available to work? How many years of nursing experience does the nurse have? How many years of experience with ventilators does the nurse have? Does the agency supply back-up if the primary nurse is sick or unable to work?

American Home Health has many gifted nurses. Some ride motorcycles to work. Some drive to work. Some take public transportation. All are individuals who are devoted to their profession.

—By Karen Centowski

To read about emergency room nurses who ride motorcycles, go to the JOHN HOPKINS NURSING article called Life, Limb, and the Pursuit of Happiness at


american car

With the globalization of automobile manufacturing, is it possible to buy an American-Made car in 2017? The answer is “Yes.”

In an article called “AMERICA STRONG” in the July 2, 2017 issue of the Chicago Tribune, the author describes the sizeable portion of car shoppers who want to buy American. According to the article, “A recent survey on found that about 25 percent of respondents would only consider an American manufacturer.” That figure is nearly double the percentage that answered the same way in 2016.

What percentage of cars are still American made? The article states that “the largest block of this year’s respondents (again, about 25 percent) thought that between 31 percent and 40 percent of cars sold in the U.S. are “American made.” That’s accurate if it’s strictly automakers fully headquartered in the U.S.—namely Ford, GM, and Tesla, whose combined sales through May account for about a third of all U.S. auto sales, per Automotive News.”

For the past eleven years, has released its American-Made Index. The index “analyzes cars assembled in the U.S. with high domestic-parts content, predominant U.S. sourcing for engines and transmissions, and high U.S. manufacturing jobs supported per vehicle.” Below is the 2017 American-Made Index:

2017 Model (Assembly location)

  1. Jeep Wrangler, Wrangler Unlimited (Toledo, Ohio and Belvidere, Illinois)
  2. Jeep Cherokee (Toledo, Ohio and Belvidere, Illinois)
  3. Ford Taurus (Chicago, Illinois)
  4. Honda Ridgeline (Lincoln, Alabama)
  5. Acura RDX (East Liberty, Ohio)
  6. Ford F-150 (Dearborn, Michigan and Clayborn, Missouri)
  7. Ford Expedition (Louisville, Kentucky)
  8. GMC Acadia (Spring Hill, Tennessee)
  9. Honda Odyssey (Lincoln, Alabama)
  10. Honda Pilot (Lincoln, Alabama)

What is the total impact of the global auto industry on U.S. jobs? According to the Michigan based Center for Automotive Research, 322,000 Americans were directly employed by automakers. In addition, another 521,000 worked at automotive suppliers. New car dealers employed another 710,000 Americans.

Many additional jobs exist because of the U.S. auto industry. The list includes used car dealers, independent repair shops, finance and insurance companies. According to the article, “AMERICA STRONG,” “the Center for Automotive Research estimated in 2015 that the U.S. auto industry directly contributed to the creation of another 5.7 million private-sector jobs. That’s 7.25 million private-sector jobs attributable to the auto industry, the center found, with some $500 billion in annual compensation—nearly $70,000 apiece. In sum, the center noted the auto industry supported some 3.8 percent of all private-sector jobs and historically has accounted for 3 to 3.5 percent of the U.S. GDP.”

—By Karen Centowski

To see a video 2015 Ford F-150 Assembly Line—YouTube, go to