truck driving tips

7 Truck Driving Tips You Should Review

Even the most experienced truck drivers can practice dangerous behavior on the road. After all, truckers are human too and their road behavior may depend on many factors. However, forgetting to act safely behind the wheel can lead to unfortunate consequences, some of which won’t be easy to fix. So even if you are a seasoned trucker, you might benefit from reviewing these simple rules.

Rule #1: Always Wear the Seatbelt

When you are on the road, you are in danger 100% of the time. Many drivers neglect to wear a seatbelt when they drive “just for a few minutes”. It only takes a second to get into an accident. While you should review you seatbelt-wearing habit, you should also think about your passenger. It’s your responsibility to make sure that the passenger’s seatbelt is fastened.

Rule #2: When in Doubt, Reduce Speed

This goes for adverse roads, bad weather conditions, and dark streets. You must reduce your speed by 30 % when you are on a wet road. A snowy road signals about reducing your speed by at least 50%. Obviously, driving on an icy road should be extremely slow and cautious. Don’t forget that the roads get especially slippery when it just starts to rain or snow.

Rule #3: Going on a ramp? Reduce Speed

Exit and entrance ramps must be approached at a slow speed. Many truck accidents occur on the ramps when the driver can’t evaluate the curve sharpness and enters at a high speed. Don’t follow the speed limit you see on the signs before the ramp. These signs are for smaller vehicles. You should reduce the speed even further in order to avoid a rollover.

Rule #4: Loaded Trailer? Reduce Speed

A loaded trailer has a high center of gravity, which means any sudden speed changes can cause load shifts. As a result, a truck can skid or even, roll over. Consider adjusting your braking distance when you carry a load. A driver of a heavily loaded trailer should consider a 20 % braking distance increase.

Rule #5: Watch Out for Work Zones

If you see a work zone, you should immediately adjust your manner of driving. Many deaths in work zones are caused by truckers driving large vehicles. You need to be extra careful about the speed when you are entering a work zone. Be ready for sudden lane closures and always be prepared to stop.

Rule #6: Don’t Forget About the Signals

A recently conducted study showed that more than 600,000 lane-change accidents happen on the USA roads every year. They can be avoided just by using the turn signals. It’s imperative to show your intent to make a lane change before doing it. This is a simple truth, but unfortunately, many truckers disregard it.

Rule #7: Look In the Mirrors

Checking the mirrors is one of the first things you learn when you start driving a vehicle. For some reason, it’s one of the rarest things some drivers do when they are on the road. The mirrors have to be checked at least once every 8 seconds to avoid accidents.

 

Trucking Jobs-6 Different Types of Trucking Jobs

6 Different Types of Trucking Jobs

Most people believe that a truck driver is simply a guy (or a gal) sitting behind a wheel of a large vehicle and driving hundreds of miles a day. Essentially, this is true. However, not all trucking jobs are created equal. They vary in intensity and pay as well as benefits. Whether you are just starting out on your way to becoming a trucker or getting ready to change professions, you might want to get a better idea of the various types of trucking jobs.

  1. Long-Haul Trucker

These truckers work with heavy trucks carrying various loads. They usually drive for long periods of time, be it within the state or interstate. The work schedule of long-haul truckers can vary greatly. Some come back home the same night, others travel for days or weeks at a time. Long-haul drivers often work in teams in order to avoid layovers.

  1. Pick up and Delivery Trucker

These truckers work with all types of trucks from heavy to light. They usually have regular routes for pickup and delivery of various goods. They make several stops a day and have more interactions with the clients/customers than the long-haul drivers have. Such truck drivers can earn more money if they also have sales skills.

  1. Specialized Truck Drivers

These truckers transport unusual loads, including oversized or sensitive materials. They work both within the states and between them. Such drivers often need extra training to learn how to operate the equipment that handles the specialized loads. Depending on the type of the load, various permits might be required.

  1. Hazardous Load Truck Drivers

These drivers require training to learn how to handle hazardous loads. They need to know the characteristics of the materials they are carrying and how to handle them safely, as well as how to act in an emergency. Hazardous load truck drivers must pass an extra test when applying for CDL.

One of the highest paid hazardous load truck drivers are tanker drivers. They have to deal with liquefied or gaseous loads. The high wages come from the danger such truckers face if the load is not handled properly. The containers these drivers carry can be either pressurized or non-pressurized. Such containers make the driving harder. Meanwhile, tank truck drivers risk their lives.

  1. Refrigerated Truck Drivers

These truck drivers deal with refrigerated containers. They haul them to different destinations, both within the state and out of it. Temperature sensitive loads need special attention since they can spoil if carried too slowly. That’s why such truck drivers are obliged to keep to the time limits.

  1. Flat Bed Truck Drivers

These drivers operate flatbed trucks that are usually used to load construction materials, such as pipes, wood, timber, and more. Improperly fastened cargo is one of the main reasons for accidents caused by the truckers.

Before choosing a trucking job, make sure you have the proper permits and ask yourself whether you are ready to execute dangerous tasks.

 

Women in Trucking

Women in the Trucking Industry

When we talk about truckers, we tend to imagine a 200-pound guy with a crew cut sitting behind a wheel of a huge vehicle with his large elbow sticking out the window. This stereotype is a thing of the past. Ever since the trucking business started experiencing a rise in popularity, more and more women are thinking of getting on to the bandwagon.

Being a Trucker is a career, which is becoming attractive to women in North America. The work hours, the benefits, and the freedom that trucking offers women of all ages is truly impressive. If 50 years ago a woman driver might have had serious trouble surviving in the male-dominated world of trucking, the 21st century is slashing the stereotypes thanks to the shortage of the truck drivers on the roads.

Women in trucking can take advantage of larger salaries. While in the female-dominated professions, males can count on more benefits, the same works when the tables are turned. In order to attract female truckers, many companies are raising pay and offering additional perks just to get them working. Women can count on tuition reimbursement programs just as men do.

Many fleet operators are happy to hire women since they have a lower accident rate. Surprisingly or not, women do not get into accidents as often as men do. Moreover, when it does happen, the damage is usually much smaller. Now, only about 5 % of all truckers are women, but more and more fleet owners realize the advantages of hiring a female truck driver. Some companies have more than 10 % of women truckers working for them.

Becoming a truck driver is a great opportunity to travel. Getting on the road is usually a big advantage for women who used to be homemakers. While a truck driver is a great career for a young woman, it’s also a solid choice for housewives, whose children are old enough to take care of themselves. More often than not, such women are looking for ways to earn money without spending years on education.

At the same time, there are some disadvantages to becoming a truck driver for a woman, and the main one is safety. Even though men face the same safety problems as women do, they often have an easier time dealing with it. Knowing how to protect her is a skill a woman can master just as well as a man can.

Another disadvantage of the life on the road is, well, life on the road. Women are usually tied to a home and family and have a harder time being away for weeks at a time. That’s one of the major reasons why women don’t take up truck driving. Most of the time, it is either suitable for girls, who are just out of college, or for middle-aged women.

Trucking has plenty of benefits to offer female drivers. That is why we should expect to see more of them behind the wheel in the near future.

 

Self Defense for Truckers on the Road

Self Defense for Truckers on the Road

While it might seem that you are safe when locked in your vehicle, truckers often face security threats that make them consider self-defense. Defending yourself when you are a trucker is tricky. Each state has its own set of laws about weapons. One state might allow you to carry a firearm while another will frown upon a Taser. Some truckers go through over 40 states in one month and keeping all the requirements in mind is not just frustrating but often impossible. What can a truck driver do to keep himself safe without breaking the law?

  1. Carry a Stun Gun

Stun guns and Tasers are probably as close as you can get to carrying a firearm without actually holding a deadly weapon. Most of the states have loyal laws regarding the stun guns. If a Taser or a stun gun are your choices for self –defense, be careful when entering the following states:

  • Connecticut – Legal, but only at home
  • Hawaii – Illegal
  • Massachusetts – Illegal
  • New Jersey – Illegal
  • New York – Illegal
  • Rhode Island – Illegal
  • District of Columbia – Illegal

 

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Compact

Cons:

  • Costly
  • Illegal in some states

 

 

  1. Buy a Baseball Bat

Striking weapons are another good option for a trucker’s self-defense. However, carrying a baseball bat in the driver’s cabin might be suspicious. Truckers are subjects to various searches and finding a baseball bat lying around can cause certain problems.

In order to minimize the suspicion factor, you might want to carry the bat together with a glove. The main disadvantage of a bat as a striking weapon is its size. You might not have enough room to maneuver a bat when you need to defend yourself and, just like any other weapon, it can be turned against you by an attacker. You can consider other “harmless” things to become your defense weapons, such as brooms.

Pros:

  • Legal
  • Moderately-priced

Cons:

  • Bulky
  • Might be suspicious

 

  1. Get a Pepper Spray

This compact and effective self-defense weapon can be very useful for truckers. Manufacturers claim that the pepper spray is legal in all the states. However, there are some restrictions as to the strength of it. By doing some research and studying the restrictions closely, you can buy a great weapon that won’t cause any suspicion while being surprisingly effective. Pepper sprays are often disguised as pencils, pens or other things that allow you to wield them unexpectedly. This weapon can be used up to 20 feet away from the attacker.

Pros:

  • Legal
  • Versatile
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Affected by the wind
  • Some risk of explosion

 

  1. Master hand-to-hand Self Defense

This is one of the most useful ways to protect yourself since you don’t need any extra weapons to deal with an attacker. At the same time, this method can’t be used against you. However, it requires you to take classes and get yourself into a good shape. Can there be a better reason to start exercising?

Pros:

  • Always with you
  • Completely legal
  • No extra expenses

Cons:

  • Time consuming
what is takes to be a truck driver

Do You Have What It Takes To Become a Truck Driver?

Not many little kids dream of becoming a truck driver when they are having fun on the local playground. However, with time, the priorities change, and they find themselves searching for a career that doesn’t involve saving lives or jumping with a parachute.

A truck driver is a solid job with certain benefits that are attractive to many people. However, as it is with many other jobs, there are specific skills you need to master in order to become a high-paying trucker.

So, whether you are thinking about a career change or already found yourself behind a wheel, you must be wondering if you have what it takes to become a good truck driver.

Education

While you don’t need to get a Ph.D. to become a truck driver, most of the companies will check if you have a high school diploma or good GED scores.

Health

Truck driver is a job with many hazards. You need to be healthy enough to handle them. While high blood pressure or a smoking habit won’t keep you from getting a job, you must be healthy enough to pass a DOT physical.

Clean Driving Record

Don’t hope to get a high-paying trucker job if you have a poor driving record. This doesn’t include a couple of parking tickets you got 10 years ago, but a reckless driving charge can put an end to your career before it even starts.

Stamina

Long and boring driving hours can take a toll on your nervous system. If you don’t know how to entertain yourself and alleviate stress, this job might not be for you. Truck drivers face hazardous road situations every day. They require stamina to literally keep their sanity.

Desire to Learn

Driving a truck is not just about turning the wheel and listening to your favorite audio books all day long. There are many things you must learn before getting into the vehicle. Before becoming a truck driver, you need to pass Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Exam.

Experience

If your driving experience ends with driving from your home over to the friend’s house, you’ll have a hard time becoming a good truck driver. Ask yourself, do you know enough about driving to conquer interstate highways? Perhaps you need to get some driving experience first.

Independence

A truck driver is a job that gives you independence and a certain amount of freedom. You won’t have someone looking over your shoulder and correcting your mistakes. Most of the time you’ll be on your own, making your own decisions. Accordingly, you should master a good work ethic.

Alcohol –free life

Truck drivers must pass random alcohol and drug tests. That’s why you’ll have to forget about wild alcohol parties. In fact, CDL holders have lower alcohol limits than regular drivers. If you fail a drug test, you can say goodbye to the truck driver’s career.

Family Issues

Many truck drivers spend more than half of their lives on the road. Before becoming a truck driver, consider whether your family is ready to deal with not seeing you for weeks at a time.

trucking dispatch software

Trucking Dispatch Software – The Best of Both Worlds

Paper, envelopes, pens, and pencils are a thing of the past. You will hardly meet a trucking company owner, who is ordering stationary for his tracking, accounting, load planning, and route optimization. The trucking dispatch software is conquering the world of trucking, and if you haven’t gotten on the bandwagon yet, you are in trouble.

You’ll have a tough time finding a business out there that doesn’t use some kind of software to maximize its profits. Most of the time such software comes with a team of developers, production support, maintenance charges, and more. However, most of the business owners are ready to put up with the numerous fees in order to make their lives worry-free and the work more convenient.

Thankfully, when it comes to the trucking dispatch software, much simpler programs can help you organize your business. The web-based software gives you full-time access to the information about your company from any place on planet Earth, where you can find an Internet connection. So, if you are still unsure whether you need such a software, let us look at the obvious benefits and a few not so obvious ones.

Mobile Access

Most of the trucking dispatch software is adapted to mobile platforms. You can organize your business from your smartphone or tablet, whether you are sitting in an office, going on a skiing trip, or dancing at a nightclub.

Timely Maintenance

When looking for the trucking dispatch software for your needs, make sure it comes with timely maintenance. If you make the right choice, all the software testing, maintenance, upgrading, and bug fixing will be done on a regular basis without you even knowing about it.

Route optimization

High-quality trucking dispatch software offers the real-time route optimization options. Your trucks will not be losing money on closed roads or in traffic. Planning a route can also help you calculate miles and approximate the fuel costs.

Fleet Tracking

Trucking dispatch software is one of the best tools for your fleet tracking. It will save you a significant amount of time on trying to keep your trucks and truck drivers in check.

Truck Maintenance

Most of the truckers’ job-related injuries happen due to improper and untimely truck maintenance. The trucking dispatch software keeps track of the regular vehicle checks and schedules periodic maintenance.

Logistics

Having high-quality trucking dispatch software at hand allows the trucking company maximize the services they offer and the profits they get. It offers solutions for complex scheduling of regular deliveries and allows you to optimize the use of your fleet.  Eventually, a trucking business owner can reduce the time the trucks spend on the road, the amount of fuel used, and the maintenance frequency.

Living in the digital world without taking advantage of the software specifically designed to boost the profits of your business is like using a coal stove to heat up a high-tech apartment in New York. Keeping up with the times is the key to allowing your business evolve.

Pass your DOT Physical

How to Pass DOT Physical?

Five Tips to Help You Pass a DOT Physical with Flying Colors
If you are a truck driver you need to pass DOT Physical, you must have good health in order to avoid problems on the road. Since good health is vital to your safety, you need to prove it once in two years. Let’s face it, in the modern days, not many people have excellent health. Truck drivers often face such problems as obesity and high blood pressure.

All these conditions can be kept in check by medication and shouldn’t be an obstacle to passing the DOT physical. However, many truckers fail it due to silly mistakes. Don’t become one of them and prepare for the checkup like you would for one of the most important exams of your life. Here are some tips to help you on your way.

  1. Evaluate Your Condition

If you feel healthy and nothing bothers you, you will probably pass the physical without any problems. However, you might not be aware of some hidden conditions, such as high blood pressure or not-so-perfect vision. Two weeks before the physical, check your blood pressure and your vision to know what you are up against. Your best bet is to make an appointment with your physician to find out which problems you need to deal with. Otherwise, you might be unpleasantly surprised with the results of your DOT physical.

  1. Take a Healthy Approach

Even if you’ve been slacking when it comes to your health for the past two years, it’s time to pay close attention to what you are eating and drinking. One or even two weeks before the physical cut down on unhealthy food, caffeine, sugar, and, of course, alcohol. It wouldn’t hurt to factor some exercises into your routine as well. Give your body a chance to show the best results at the checkup.

  1. Don’t Forget the Meds

Truckers with blood pressure and heart problems often forget to take their medication. High blood pressure is a silent enemy and won’t remind you about itself every time it spikes. However, your body suffers anyway and the doctor will see it clearly. That is why at least one week before the physical you need to pull yourself together and start taking your medication on a regular basis.

  1. Act Smart

If you’ve got a cold or the flu, make sure to reschedule your physical. Even if you don’t have anything more serious than a runny nose, a common cold can affect the results of your physical. Each sickness, even the slightest one, impacts your body. You might not notice it yourself but if you have some chronic conditions, they can worsen. Even a harmless stuffy nose can impair your hearing. Make sure you are completely healthy on the day of the physical.

  1. Stay Calm

The fear of white coats can do you a bad service at the DOT physical. If you are unable to relax at the physical, your blood pressure might spike and the vision can blur. If you know you have such a fear, study a few breathing techniques to help you relax and pass the physical with excellence.

 

 

how to choose truck stops

How to Choose the Best Truck Stops

how to choose truck stops

how to choose truck stops

If you are an experienced truck driver, you know that not all truck stops are created equal. In fact, some of them are outright terrible. When you are planning your route, it makes sense to do some research about the places you are planning to stop at. But even if you need to suddenly park somewhere and get a bite to eat or take a bathroom break, there are a few tips that can help you make the right choice.

  1. Check Out the Fuel prices

The highest cost you’ll incur at a truck stop is the fuel price. That’s why you need to start watching for the prices a long time before you start running out of gas. After passing a few stops, you’ll get a good idea about the average price in the area. Gather information about at least three of them to make a decision.

Plenty of truck stops offer some kinds of cash back program. The next time you stop to refuel, ask if they have loyalty cards that will help you save money in the long run. While $5-$10 might not seem worth the effort, in 5-10 months it can add up to a significant amount.

  1. Look for Truck Stop Chains

Large truck stop chains usually have a significant advantage over individually owned truck stops. Most likely, a chain will offer higher quality fuel which can be a deciding factor for most truckers. Chain stops offer membership cards so you can enjoy discounts and service benefits. Owners of chain truck stops are always ready to spend extra money to attract customers so the truckers get additional bonuses for using their services. Chain stops are usually larger and have wider parking areas.

  1. Ask About The Services

Nowadays, a truck stop is not limited to a gas station, a café, and a parking lot. The modern truck stops are offering a wide range of services such as truck wash, gym, laundry machines, bowling alleys, and even chiropractor services. You are more likely to find a longer list of services at a large chain truck stop. However, smaller individually-owned stops can offer a few interesting benefits, such as medical and dental services, free internet connection, and a big variety of tasty food.

  1. Look at the Parking Lot

A good truck stop has a big parking lot with wide spaces. Unfortunately, such stops might also be more expensive than smaller ones. However, a large parking lot is often the deciding factor for truckers since it can save you plenty of time and nerves. Even if you are a parking guru, a spacious parking lot can be a great advantage and give you peace of mind.

  1. Trust Your Intuition

After all the research is done, allow your intuition to guide you. Sometimes, your inner voice does a better job choosing a place to rest than your brain does. If you feel that you don’t like something about the way a truck stop looks, just go on to find another one. After all, there are thousands to choose from.

 

truck drivers fight boredom on road

Truckers – How to Fight Boredom On the Road?

truckers fight boredom on road

How truck drivers fight boredom on road

All truckers know how boring a long drive can be. When you don’t have to be alert all the time due to bad weather conditions or heavy traffic, driving is easy and, well, dull. Music and audio books are the obvious solutions, but even they become boring over time. Here are a few innovative things you can do to enjoy your time on the road.

  1. Learn a New Language

Don’t roll your eyes and say that you always hated school. Learning something new is essential to the drivers since their work is often monotonous. Did you know that people who don’t flex their brains on a regular basis have memory problems when they get older and suffer from depression?  Learning something new is a great way to exercise your brain power. Download some lessons and listen to them for at least an hour a day. You’ll start speaking a new language in just a few months.

  1. Exercise

Did you know you could exercise when you are in the driver’s seat? All you have to do is flex your muscles. This is a great way to get a flat stomach or stronger arms. Besides being a great approach to keeping yourself in shape, exercising while driving can help you avoid drowsiness. So pump up your muscles and keep yourself from falling asleep at the same time.

Warning: While most exercises designed for drivers don’t take up much of your attention, make sure to practice them before going out on the road, so you can get a hang of them.

  1. Become a Storyteller

Truckers spend a lot of time on their own. What’s a better opportunity to tell a story? Practice your declamatory skills while on the road. You can either come up with something new or tell stories from your life. Who knows, maybe you’ll come up with real masterpieces that will be worth publishing. But most likely you’ll just have a lot of fun and won’t notice the time passing.

  1. Quiz Yourself

Another great way to flex your brain muscle while staying alert on the road is to test yourself. Download audio quizzes or trivia with more or less simple questions and spend the time guessing the answers. Don’t go for anything too complicated since it might divert your attention from the road.

  1. Call Someone

A great way to pass the time is to give someone a call (if you have a hands-free system, of course). A long road is a wonderful time not to just call your parents, kids or your partner but to remember some friends or acquaintances whom you should have called long ago just to say “hi”.

  1. Pull Over

If you feel like you are going out of your mind with boredom, pull over and get out of the truck. Perhaps your brain just needs a bit of fresh air to keep functioning normally. Walk around your truck a couple of times and start from the top of the list.

TransIT small trucking-company software

6 serious issues that a small trucking company face today

If you are an owner of a small trucking company, you know how many challenges the trucking businesses face on a daily basis. When you are making plans for the new year, you want to avoid as many problems as possible while maximizing your profits. TransIT small trucking company software can help you become a winner even in the hardest situations. Here are the 6 serious issues the trucking business owners face today and how to avoid them.

TransIT small trucking company software

TransIT small trucking company software

 

  1. The Law

While the lawmakers seem to try to make the business easier and the trucker’s job safer, they often pass such regulations as trucking speed limiters or fuel emission requirements that are usually taking the toll on the owner’s pocket. New limitations and requirements are often expensive and slow down the business.

  1. Fuel Costs

Fuel prices go up and down and you never know what to expect. The fuel costs directly influence the profits of a small trucking company. High fuel prices can either make or destroy a small business. Since the fuel costs are unpredictable, the only thing the owners can do is track their fuel expenses and do a lot of planning. TransIT small trucking company software offers a useful fuel management system free of charge.

  1. Cash Turnover

Sometimes it takes up to 3 months for the trucking company to get paid by the shippers and the brokers. While such cycle might not be a problem for large companies, small trucking businesses can suffer significantly. The accounts receivable/accounts payable option offered by the TransIT small trucking company software can help you receive the payments on time.

  1. Lack of Drivers

The trucking industry is on the rise and many companies are suffering from the lack of truck drivers. The shortage of truck drivers in the USA is close to 50,000. Finding a good driver and keeping him is a challenge for small trucking companies that can’t always up the salaries. An “integrated HR” feature in the TransIT small trucking company software assists you with recruiting truckers through an integrated job portal.

  1. Congested Roads

Congested roads are an issue that can only be dealt with by the government. While the authorities plan for new roads, truckers suffer from heavy traffic. Long hours on the congested roads lead to boosted fuel consumption, delivery delays, health problems, and etc. The Truck routing feature in the TransIT small trucking company software can help you generate routes and calculate miles in order to avoid congested roads.

  1. Breakdowns

One of the most common causes of the truck driver’s injuries is the equipment breakdown. Bad-quality or missed vehicle inspections are becoming more and more common. The Service/Vehicle Maintenance feature in the TransIT small trucking company software keeps all the service records of your vehicle and helps schedule periodic maintenance.

Unfortunately, small trucking companies are the first to suffer from the above problems. But thanks to the modern technologies, most of these issues can be avoided with the help of proper trucking software.