Cargo Securement Tips of the Trade to Avoid Downtime

cargo-securement-tips-of-the-trade-to-avoid-downtime

Depending on how you’ve been taught, you might think that a strap is a strap and a chain is a chain. Securing your cargo might be something you haven’t given a lot of thought to in a while. Something to think about is that there are rules in place that you could be unknowingly violating. These rules are in place in an effort to avoid causing damage to other motorists on the road.

Understanding the proper way to tie down and secure loads improves highway safety and keeps you from the lengthy downtimes involved with violating the rules set out by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).

The specific rules to follow come from an older set of regulations given by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that took effect in 2004.

The general overview of these rules can be summed up in the following: “Cargo must be firmly immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle by structures of adequate strength, dunnage (loose materials used to support and protect cargo) or dunnage bags (inflatable bags intended to fill space between articles of cargo or between cargo and the wall of the vehicle), shoring bars, tiedowns or a combination of these.”

A rule of thumb to go by from these rules is that one tie down is required for items 5 ft. or less in length and under 1,100 lbs. Two tie downs are required for items 5 ft. or less in length and more than 1,100 lbs., or greater than 5 ft but less than 10 ft. long, regardless of weight. An extra tie down is required for every additional 10 ft.

Officers from CVSA enforce these rules during their routine roadside inspections of tractor-trailers and their drivers. If a truck driver is found in noncompliance, their truck can be taken out of service due to inspection item violations.

The concern, from the CVSA officers, is that improperly secured items can fall off the trailer and damage, injure, or even kill other motorists. The item itself might not directly cause a fatality, but a flying, bouncing, and fast approaching object on the road can cause accidents that could possibly lead to a fatality.

New drivers are spooked easily and aren’t accustomed to objects hitting their windshield. Older drivers with declining vision and reaction time, are also susceptible to crashes involving unexpected hazards.

In addition to following proper securement rules, routine checks of strap conditions not only help secure the load, but can also prevent unplanned downtime due to a failed CVSA inspection.

A variety of things can damage your straps. Get ahead of this and regularly check straps for cuts, burns, fraying, or other damage.

In cases where you do find damaged straps, replace the strap immediately. Spending a little bit of money now can prevent a significant loss of money due to downtime if the strap fails or is found to be damaged during an inspection. Having extra straps in the cab of your truck is highly recommended.

When Do Truck Drivers Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine and Why?

when-do-truck-drivers-receive-the-covid-19-vaccine-and-why

The Centers for Disease Control has determined that truck drivers are in the essential workers category. However, there is controversy over the CDC recently pushing transportation workers into the third group of COVID-19 vaccine deployment.

Specifically, it’s the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) who provides advice and guidance to the CDC on which groups of people receive the COVID-19 vaccine first. ACIP initially outlined that truck drivers would be closer to the front of the line than they are currently.

In its initial recommendation made on December 1st 2020, the ACIP determined essential workers, such as those in the transportation industry, to be in the Phase 1b launch. However, transportation workers have now been moved to “other essential workers” to receive the vaccine in the third round (1c).

Keep in mind that these are recommendations, not a ruling, but the ACIP has determined the timing of the vaccination rollouts in the past and these “recommendations” have been followed to the T.

The fact that truck drivers are not included among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccination has many people disagreeing with the ACIP’s guidelines.

Seeing as how truck drivers have played such a necessary role in the distribution of goods during this pandemic, as well as currently distributing the vaccines in their trucks, it would seem fair that the drivers themselves would have priority access to the vaccine.

The profession of truck driving entails widespread travel at a time when most people are hunkering down in their homes to avoid the virus. The job puts truck drivers at high risk of both contracting and transmitting the virus. Traveling from state to state and interacting with various people puts truck drivers at a higher risk than most of the general population.

The Importance of Truck Drivers During COVID-19

Truck drivers are still responsible for 71 percent of the freight that is transported within the United States. Now, more than ever, Americans everywhere depend on these drivers for their essential goods. However, since the truck drivers don’t interact with the consumers themselves, these drivers are often left out of the discussion. When the topic of essential workers comes up as vaccines are rolled out, truck drivers aren’t the first people who come to mind.

Truck drivers deserve more recognition in the public’s mind for their work during this time and should receive priority standing as Americans begin to receive the vaccine. In serving the public, truck drivers are risking their own lives to save others’. In order to continue serving Americans, truck drivers should be closer to the front of the line as vaccines are given out.

Tax Season For Truck Drivers: What Can I Write Off?

 

tax-season

Tax season is right around the corner! For truck drivers, this can be a daunting process. What items can you write off on your taxes and what items can you not write off? While a professional tax preparer is the best and safest way to do your taxes, you can do a lot of the tax preparation yourself. There are, however, a few guidelines that you need to be aware of if you’re going to do your taxes yourself.

A recent change that could affect you is that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has changed how some truck drivers can do their taxes if they receive a W-2. The Job-Related Travel Expenses (Form 2106) is no longer available due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Truck drivers that receive a W-2 cannot deduct certain items from their taxes anymore such as mileage and travel expenses.

If you do not receive a W-2, and fall under the independent contractor category for tax purposes, you can still claim business expenses on your tax return. Truck drivers who are independent contractors can claim a variety of tax deductions that relate to the expenses that arise from being a truck driver. We have compiled a list of all the work and travel related expenses that you can write off on your taxes as an independent contractor truck driver.

Your deductible items that you could report to the IRS at tax time include:

Accounting Fees
Administrative Fees
Air Freshener
Alarm Clocks
Antennas
ArmorAll
Atlas
Bank/ATM Fees
Batteries
Briefcase
Brokerage/Factoring Fees
Broom/Dust Pan
Bunk Heater
Cab Curtains
Cab/Bus Fare & Car Rental
Calculator
Camera
CB Radio
CDL
Cell Phone Bill
Check Cashing Fee
Cigarette Plug-in
Circuit Tester
Cleaning Supplies
Clipboard
ComCheck Fees
Computer Expense
Copies
Crowbar
​De-Icer
Disinfectant
Duct Tape
Electrical Tape
Fax
First Aid Supplies
Flashlight
Floor Mats
Form 2290 Tax PD
Fuel Expense
Fuel Paid
Fumigate Trailer
Gloves-work
GPS
Hand Cleaner
Hangers
Hard Hat
Insurance – Health
Insurance – Trailer
Insurance – Truck
Insurance – W/C
Internet Fees
​Jack Strap
Lap Desk
Laundry Bag
Laundry Expense
​Lease Equip
Legal Expense (not fines)
License Plates
​Log Book/Cover
Lumper Fees
Magnifying Glass
Map Light
Maps
Meals & Entertainment
Medical
Money Order Exp.
Motel/Hotel Expense
Office Supplies
Oil and/or Additives
Paper Towels
Parking
Payroll Expense
Permits
Physical (DOT)
Pillow
Postage
Power Booster
Power Cord
PrePass
Professional Fees
Qualcomm
Radio (Sirius, XM)
Rain Gear
Receipt Book
Safety Boots
Safety Clothing
Safety Glasses
Scale Tickets
Seat Covers
Security
Sheets
Shift Grip
Showers
Sleeping bag
Sleeping Fan
Sunglasses
Thermal Underwear
Tie Downs
Toiletries
Tolls
Tools/Equipment
Towels
Towing
Trailer Lease Payment
Trash Bags
Travel Expense
Travel Bags
Trip Charges
Truck Cables
Truck Lease Payment
Truck Magazine
Truck Repair & Maintenance
Truck Parts
Truck Tires
Truck/Trailer Storage
Truck Washes
Uniforms (if required)
Vacuum (portable)
WD-40
Window Screen

With a list of deductible items like this, you can go back through your travel and work expenses to find items, such as these, to write off on your taxes. If you haven’t kept an accurate record of your work-related expenses, this list can also help you know which receipts to hold onto for next year’s taxes.

Truck Driver Mask Mandate?

truck-driver-mandate

Due to recent events, there are many questions swirling around asking if truck drivers need to wear masks while driving. The President has issued executive orders that require facial coverings to be worn on federal lands and during interstate travel. Does this apply to you? We break it down below.

On January 21 2021, President Biden issued this executive order and there’s been some confusion about it ever since. What is clear is that masks are now required for interstate travel on commercial aircrafts, trains, public maritime vessels, and any kind of hub or facility where people gather to use these modes of transportation.

Since this news broke, truck drivers everywhere have been questioning if this new mandate applied to them.

The short answer is that truck drivers are not mandated to wear a mask while operating their vehicle under this executive order from the President.

There is more to unpack however, so we’re offering a longer answer below.

Since the executive order, there has been an additional order that helps clarify what this new mask mandate means for truck drivers. The follow up order that came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on January 29 added helpful information as it pertains to commercial motor vehicles (CMV) operators engaged in interstate travel.

Like everyone else, all CMV operators are required to wear a facial covering at transportation hubs. Put simply, where people are out of their vehicles and crossing paths with one another, you have to wear a mask. These places include private facilities, such as shipping and receiving stations, as well as public places such as truck stops.

Here’s what you really might be wondering about: the CDC order specifically exempts truck drivers from wearing a mask if they are the “sole occupant of the truck.”

What does that mean for team truck drivers? What if they are from the same household? Are they exempt?

These are issues that are left unclear from the CDC follow up to the executive mask mandate.

However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicates that team truck drivers are indeed required to wear masks inside the vehicle while traveling. Whether or not the drivers are from the same household.

From the guidance there are, however, some exceptions to the mask requirements. These exceptions include the following:

  • Team truck drivers can take their masks off inside the vehicle for brief periods of time when eating, drinking, or taking medications.
  • They can also take off their mask if they are communicating with someone who is hearing impaired and the ability to see mouth movement is essential for communication.
  • A mask can be removed from another team truck driver is they are found unconscious, incapacitated, unable to be awakened, or cannot remove their own mask for a given reason.
  • If a law enforcement officer needs to verify a truck driver’s identity during a traffic stop, the mask can be removed for a short period of time.
  • Additional exceptions for removing one’s mask include if a truck driver is experiencing shortness of breath or is sick and vomiting.

Popular Truck Driver Magazines

popular-truck-driver-magazines

Magazines are a convenient and entertaining way to stay up to date on news, technologies, and stories pertaining to a wide array of interests. There are magazines for virtually every industry, and truck driving is no exception. In 2016, the Census reported that 3.5 million people are employed as truck drivers. There are a great number of national and regional magazines for everyone associated with the industry, but some are more popular than others because of the reliability and applicability of their content. Here are 5 of the most popular national truck driver magazines in the United States.

Overdrive

Overdrive is a general truck driver magazine started in 1961 that offers news on everything from product reviews, and regulations to custom trucks, and industry news. Consistently rated in the top 5 in popularity lists for truck drivers, Overdrive has a wide appeal and a long-term commitment to providing news for truck drivers all over the nation! Besides being a dependable publication, Overdrive subscriptions are free to anyone who would like one.

Commercial Carrier Journal

Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ) has the same publisher as Overdrive, Randall-Reilly, LLC. CCJ is dedicated more specifically to fleet owners and managers, but it has interesting information for any driver as it covers the latest technologies and equipment reviews. CCJ is a great source for learning more about the industry and the business and management side of things. This publication aims to make industry and tech information accessible and free to all drivers and managers.

Land Line

Land Line magazine was started in 1975 after the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) decided that it needed a way to communicate news and share information throughout the nation. While many of the articles appeal to owner operators, there is plenty of news for company drivers as well. This magazine aims to tell the truth about driving and this includes a variety of factual and opinion pieces throughout the publication and website.

10-4 Magazine

10-4 Magazine is dedicated to publishing accurate news, but it also maintains a feel-good atmosphere with an entertainment section that includes comics, jokes, and words to live by. The magazines are filled with technical information, beautiful centerfolds, and their website has some fun content as well! 10-4 is committed to making the world a better place and often takes on humanitarian aid projects alongside their efforts to make the lives of truck drivers better through their lighthearted publications.

Road King

Road King has been around for 50 years and has maintained a top spot as a great magazine for truck driving professionals. Road King’s content has won national publication awards and is praised for reliability, accuracy, and usefulness. There are many pieces of interest in Road King from lifestyle, stories, and issues that affect over the road drivers.. Road King magazine has a mission to make the lives of truck drivers easier and more efficient with the latest and most useful news out there.

Final Thoughts

Reading is a great way to relax the mind and stimulate thought, so it’s no wonder why well-designed magazines, such as these, are popular among drivers. If you’re a professional truck driver, we highly recommend checking out some of these magazines at one of your next stops or by viewing their websites, which often have additional content. Expand your knowledge and keep your skills sharp with proven tips and tricks, and access the latest technologies for the industry by flipping or clicking through the pages of these popular magazines!

Sources:
https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2019/06/america-keeps-on-trucking.html#:~:text=More%20than%203.5%20million%20people,occupations%20in%20the%20United%20States.
https://www.fueloyal.com/10-best-trucker-magazines-in-us/

Best Trucking Magazines


https://www.atbs.com/knowledge-hub/trucking-blog/trucking-industry-news

 

First Year Expectations as a Truck Driver

first-year-trucking

Truck driving can be a very rewarding career, but like most jobs, the first year of driving can be difficult to navigate. Fresh out of driving school, and ready to hit the road, you may be expecting high pay, easy customer interactions, and limitless freedom. While some of these expectations are warranted for experienced truck drivers, it takes time to gain know-how that you can use to receive better loads and higher pay.

Even during the trying  first year, you will have positive experiences such as seeing parts of the country that you never knew existed and overcoming challenges that make you a better driver. Surviving the first year removes you from the high turnaround statistics of truck driving and allows you the opportunity to become a dedicated driver. Driving isn’t for everyone, but if you research it and decide to pursue this career, be prepared to face the challenge of the first year and you will be better because of it.

A New Career

Truck driving is a different career from most and it can be quite a nerve-wracking experience when you’re new. The working conditions are the most dramatically different aspects of truck driving in comparison to other careers. You will face long hours of driving that leave you far away from your family and the places you’re familiar with- this can be exciting for some people, but it may take some time to adjust for those dependent on prolonged human interaction or the ability to jump from task to task.

Choosing to begin a career as a truck driver requires some sacrifice, especially during the first years. Money will be tight as experience truly earns pay in the world of truck driving, so your ability to budget will be put to the test. Resilience pays off in most settings and this is incredibly applicable in truck driving. Gaining experience will be a challenge, but facing the challenges posed to you by the demands of the career and employers will allow you the freedom and pay of an experienced driver.

Great Expectations

Some of the most important skills you should nurture as you grow in ability are parking, navigating, and accident prevention. Getting lost is something that happens to every driver at some point in their career. This can pose difficulties in timeliness of deliveries which can result in a decrease in pay. However, time in the seat will help you become better at navigating the world, preparing you for tight corners, narrow streets, and low bridges which will make driving easier in the long run.

Parking a truck can be quite difficult. It takes a lot of skill to park safely in some areas, so make sure to take your time getting the truck parked correctly to avoid damage or injury. Although it may seem like a waste of time, spending a few extra minutes ensuring you are backing precisely into position will save many future headaches. Accident prevention goes hand in hand with navigating and proper truck handling skills, so it is important to ask questions during your training, ensuring you know how to handle challenging situations.

Do not be afraid to ask questions to more experienced drivers so you’re prepared for any circumstances. Many employers will purposely give you tougher routes or customers to test your skills and determine if you will be a worthwhile employee. Show them you have practiced and trained to be excellent at your job.

Final Thoughts

Even the most experienced and well-paid drivers had a tough first year. However, most professional truck drivers will assure you that persevering is worth it. You will gain enough experience to earn better pay, freight, and routes. Driving is a unique and integral career that allows the economy to continue running smoothly, if you think it may be the career for you, do plenty of research and think about the pros and cons. If the pros outweigh the cons, we encourage you to pursue driving and stay encouraged because the longer you do it, the better and easier it gets.

Sources:
https://www.smart-trucking.com/new-truck-driver/
https://www.cdljobs.com/news-notes/news/your-first-year-as-a-truck-driver
https://unitedtruckschool.net/so-youre-a-truck-driver-now-what-5-tips-to-survive-your-first-year/ 

Driving During the Holidays

driving-during-the-holidays

Holidays always mean more vehicles and traffic out on the roadways, which makes it harder for those driving big rigs. The increase in traffic is mainly made up of passenger cars, delivery fleets, and vehicles transporting people, such as buses. Along with the holiday season traffic comes winter weather conditions and less daylight hours, which make driving even more stressful. The volume of vehicles on the roads is at its highest from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through January 1. Keeping all of this is mind, here are some tips for driving during the holiday seasons.

  • Be extra patient in winter conditions. If the weather conditions are severe, you should not continue driving. Making sure you get to your stop on time is not worth the risk of rollovers, jackknifes, and collisions. Driving at a slower speed is often unavoidable during these months.
  • Allow safe space. Make sure you increase your following distance. Having more than enough space to stop and maneuver is necessary when unexpected traffic situations arise.
  • Keep a tight grip on the wheel. It may sound easy, but keeping a tight grip on the wheel is important in order to maintain control. Make sure you always keep both hands on the wheel while driving through snow and ice.
  • Maintain a close eye on your fuel tank. There are several benefits to keeping your fuel tank full. One, it adds more weight allowing for better traction. Two, a full tank will reduce condensation in your tanks. A third benefit of a little extra fuel is that it provides an extra margin of safety in the event you become stranded
  • Decrease lane changes. Going back and forth between lanes is dangerous. As a driver, you know there are multiple blind spots on a truck. You need to signal early to allow other drivers to know where you are planning to go. Change lanes slowly to reduce any risk of sideswipe accidents due to blind spots.
  • Use caution on bridges. Remember bridges freeze faster than roads. Slow down, be patient while crossing, and watch out for black ice.
  • Don’t use your jake brake when roads are icy. Since your jake brake only provides braking to your tractor it should not be used when roads are slick.  Using foot pedal braking will apply braking to the tractor and trailer
  • Maintain headlights. Making sure your headlights are working and in good condition not only makes it safer to drive at night, but it also allows you to see the shiny eyes of animals before it’s too late. Clean the headlights often to prevent the buildup of snow and dirt, which can obstruct your view.
  • Watch out for work zones. Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean road construction has come to a halt. When approaching a work zone, slow down so workers remain safe and you dodge a hefty fine. If you are caught speeding in a work zone, you could lose your CDL.

Whether you are a seasoned driver who has been in this business for years, or a brand new driver experiencing driving over the road during the winter months for the first time, it is important to stay cautious. There is more traffic, bad weather, and less daylight which can all make driving a little more challenging this time of year. Following these guidelines will help you and others to remain safe and enjoy the holiday season with loved ones.

Winterizing Your Rig

winterizing-your-rig

Winterizing Your Rig

With cooler temperatures and winter weather upon us, it is important to take action to ensure your truck is ready for winter weather conditions, keeping your costs down, and staying safe. The following guidelines will help you do just that. It is extremely important to take action now to make sure your truck is ready for winter weather conditions, keeping your costs down, and staying safe. The following guidelines will help you do just that.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

There is a higher chance of getting stranded during the winter months. Be sure and have the right kind of survival supplies in your truck. These items include:

  • Extra blankets
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Bottled water
  • Canned food
  • Gloves, scarves, and hats
  • Snow boots
  • Snow shovel
  • Flares
  • Radio
  • Extra coolant, washer fluid, and engine oil
  • Extra fuel filter and fuel filter wrench
  • Tire chains

Check the Batteries

It is important to keep in mind that freezing temperatures drain battery life fast. If any of your batteries are near the end of their life cycle, you should consider replacing them. If it is not, make sure they are firmly mounted and all of the connections are tight and clean. Performing a load test on each battery will help you determine if you have one going bad.

Check the Fuel Filter and Water Separator

Because there is no way to easily check the contamination level of a fuel filter consider proactively changing your fuel filter as cold weather sets in.. Keep an eye on the water separator daily to decrease any chances of it becoming completely full of water and starving your engine of fuel. Water is a well-known pollutant in diesel fuel especially in the winter due to condensation in fuel tanks. If you notice a large amount of water has been collected, make sure you drain it. Since many separators are not self-cleaning, you will have to find the separator, which is normally near the fuel filter, and turn the drain valve in order to get rid of the water.

Use Fuel Additives

Paraffin, a wax, is found in diesel fuel and crystallizes when the temperature is below freezing. Crystallization of the wax causes the fuel to become slushy and gel-like. When this happens, the fuel is unable to pass through the fuel filter. When the fuel becomes gelled, your engine will be starved for fuel and  the engine will stall.  Adding an anti-gel fuel additive or fueling with winterized fuel can prevent this from happening. Make sure you check your owner’s manual for exact additive guidelines and follow mixing directions precisely. If you don’t, you risk damaging your fuel system.

Inspect the Cooling System

Do a complete inspection of the entire cooling system including the radiator, checking the hoses for any bulges, and inspecting hose clamps to make sure they are secure and not damaged. It is also a good idea to have your coolant tested to make sure it is at an ideal freeze point. Make sure you use the right coolant for your truck

Keep the Engine Warm

Diesel fuel is less combustible at low temperatures making your truck harder to start.  If you live someplace cold or know you will be traveling to a place with cold temperatures, installing an electric block heater would be a good idea. This will keep the engine warm while it is shut off. Be sure the block heater is plugged into a receptacle capable of handling the load.

Check the Air Dryer

The air dryer collects and removes water before it enters the brake system, which stops it from freezing in the brake lines. Inspecting the air dryer will help you determine whether or not it is functioning correctly. It is important to replace the filter if  necessary and to drain the air reservoirs every so often. If you do not maintain the air dryer, you’re taking the chance of causing your brakes to malfunction.

Prepare the Windshield

Snow and ice on the windshield makes it hard to drive and can be dangerous. Check to make sure your windshield wipers are in good working condition, and if not, replace them. Also make sure your windshield wiper fluid is full and you are using a cold temperature blend.

Check Your Tires

In order for you to navigate safely through snow and ice, your tires need to be in good shape. Thoroughly check your tires to make sure they are fully inflated, if you are traveling through states that require tire chains, and be sure you have the right size and number of chains in your truck. Make sure you check the chains to see if they are worn, twisted, or damaged links, and if they are, replace them.

Know what you can and cannot do when it comes to maintenance. Although self-maintenance can be cost-effective, it can also become expensive and dangerous if you are not a professional mechanic. Allow a professional to help you with what you are unable to do yourself, so your truck can be winterized and you can feel safe this winter season.

Pre-Owned Trucks – Is Now A Good Time to Buy

is-now-a-good-time-to-buy-preowned-trucks

When it comes to buying a used truck, you will want to be prepared. When you are researching, you may spend hours seeing what trucks are available, comparing prices and features, to help decide  which truck will be the best option. Once you find a truck you are interested in, you will want to inspect the truck to see if any repairs will be needed This task probably seems overwhelming, so consider making a checklist and following these tips to help you through the process.

Checklist

Following this checklist, may help to better prepare yourself in order to find the right truck and make a smart investment.

  • Come up with a list of what you want your truck to include
  • Know what your budget is
  • Narrow down your search to a few possible options
  • Look into the truck’s history and its current condition
  • Figure out the right financing and insurance options

Tips

Run a history check. Running a history check will give you a complete picture of the truck’s history. Inquire about its maintenance and oil change records, accident history, and any possible upgrades. Follow these tips when checking the history.

  • Determine why it has been sold. Doing so can help you determine if there are any current or possible future mechanical issues that you will have to take care of.
  • Look at the maintenance history to see if the truck has had regular tune-ups or any parts replaced.
  • Review the oil change records. If the truck hasn’t had routine oil changes, then that could mean potential engine problems later on.
  • If the seller does not have maintenance or oil change records, take caution. This could mean poor maintenance and possible hidden problems.
  • Ask the seller if the truck has been in any accidents, what kind of damage was caused, and which parts had to be replaced.
  • Figure out what needs to be replaced. During your maintenance check, you should be able to determine what has already been replaced. From that review, you will be able to know what parts are due for replacement and which ones will need to be upgraded. Pay close attention to the transmission and engine. If you determine that there are parts that need to be replaced, this could mean a huge investment for you after you purchase the truck. Make sure you also check for safety concerns, such as the brakes and lights.
  • Check the engine model’s track record. There are certain models that are known to have long-lasting problems and others that wear out after a certain amount of time or mileage is reached.

Perform a quality inspection. Now it is time to inspect the details of the truck’s overall quality.

  • Check the current oil situation which means you need to look at the oil levels along with the condition of the oil. The condition of the engine and transmission oil will let you know the overall health and condition of the truck.
  • Inspect for body rust on the outside surfaces as well as within the structure of the truck. Look at the door frames and other areas for signs of structural rust. If you find rust, this could mean the truck has not been well-maintained and therefore may not have a lot of life left.
  • Look for body damage during the daylight and when the truck is outside. This could help you miss any deficiencies.
  • Check the mileage on the truck, as this could indicate the overall quality of the truck. Knowing the engine model can also help you determine at which mileage point the engine may need to be rebuilt. When you do check the mileage, consider what your own use of the truck will be. If you are driving the truck over a long distance, it would be more sensible to purchase a truck with lower mileage. However, if the truck has high mileage, that doesn’t mean it won’t run for an extended amount of time. If it has been well-maintained then it could still have a lot of life left.
  • Check the tire tread and ask how many miles have been put on them.

Assess the mechanical operation. After inspecting the quality of the truck, you will need to get to know the truck from a mechanical and operational viewpoint.

  • Determine the best axle layout for your traveling needs. Ask yourself if you are hauling loads long distances and throughout tough terrains or if you are making shorter, more frequent trips.
  • Decide what the right horsepower and towing capacity is for you. Different types of loads require different horsepower and towing capacity.

Plan ahead. Once you have found some options, you will want to begin thinking about the long-term investment, which can include ongoing costs, upgrades and insurance, as well as research finance options.

  • It is important to find at least two parts suppliers that have the correct replacement parts for your model of truck.
  • Budget for repairs and upgrades. When you know what parts need to be replaced and you have found the right parts supplier, you will want to add up your total potential cost. Once you have that figured out, factor it into your total investment so you know the whole picture of your budget.
  • Research finance options, as certain companies work on different criteria when it comes to financing plans. In some cases, financing approval is determined by the official inspection. If your truck does not meet the requirements, then financing may not be optional.
  • Choose the best insurance option. Rates can vary depending on the provider. You should consider both the cost of insurance and what kind of coverage is provided.
  • Inquire about an extended warranty. A lot of the time dealerships offer extended warranties on trucks. If extended warranties are an option, they can ease some of the financial weight that comes with buying a used truck.

One of the most important things to remember when purchasing a used truck is to be aware of when something sounds too good to be true or if something makes you feel uncomfortable. If you experience either one of these, it is time to walk away. Walking away can save you a lot of time, money, and stress. There are plenty of other trucks available to choose from.

Strategies to Reduce Stress on the Road

strategies-to-reduce-stress-on-the-road

As an over-the-road truck driver there are many enjoyable aspects of the job. You have the chance to see sights that other people can only dream of, you interact with people from different places and stages of life and there is time to catch up on your favorite podcast or audiobooks, all from the seat of your cab. Even though driving can be very enjoyable we are all aware that it can also be stressful.  As you are driving for extended periods of time to make sure you get to your destination on time many things can cause stress to build. Tight schedules, weather conditions and road construction are just a few of the everyday stresses drivers deal with. It is important to practice stress reducing techniques while you are on the open road for your overall well-being. Follow some or all of the following tips in order to be less stressed while you are out on the road.

  • Take deep breaths. When you start to feel stress and tension building, take a few deep breaths. Diaphragmatic breathing with inhaling and exhaling is a very powerful way to relax in order to calm the mind and body. Start by taking a deep breath in through your nose, making sure your diaphragm inflates with lots of air, helping your lungs to stretch. Hold your breath for about seven or eight seconds then exhale on count nine or ten. Repeat this five to 10 times in a row.
  • Adjust your position. Just by adjusting the way you are sitting and keeping your body loose can help decrease stress. When you find yourself gripping the steering wheel too tightly, loosen your hands and fingers. If you are hunching over the wheel, lean back or adjust the seat to become more comfortable. When stopped at a stoplight, stretch your arms in the air or stretch your neck from side to side to relieve any muscle tension.
  • Listen to music. Music can go a long way, especially when you are stressed while driving. Music can elevate your mood, lower stress, and calm the body. So create a playlist of your favorite stress reducing music so you can turn it on when needed.
  • Leave extra space. Knowing that another vehicle is right beside you, in front of you, or behind you can cause unwanted stress. Leaving extra space between you and that other vehicle can help ease the fear of getting into a wreck prepare you for the unexpected. When driving on the highway, allow room for cars to merge, and if you are driving at night or during bad weather, give yourself more room if you have to stop quickly.
  • Allow extra time. If you are feeling stressed even before you head out onto the road, allow yourself some extra time to drive. If you are driving to someplace new, give yourself some extra time to find the place or in case you get lost. Also, try planning your route ahead of time to avoid traffic or construction delays.
  • Pull over. If you start feeling overwhelmed and stressed, pull off to the side when it is safe or at a rest stop, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Stress can most likely affect your driving abilities, so for your safety and for others, it is best to be cautious and take a break to calm down, allowing yourself to clear your head.
  • Get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep is never any good and can lead to higher stress levels. Getting enough sleep is very important for your health and allows your body to refresh and prepare for the next day. If you are drowsy or groggy, your reaction time could be compromised, you might begin driving recklessly, or you might even fall asleep. All of these could put you and others in danger.
  • Eat Healthy. Although it may be difficult to eat healthy while on the road, good nutrition has been proven to reduce stress. Not only will healthy eating help reduce your stress, but it will help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

There can be many things that cause stress while driving, including other drivers, weather, and construction. However, stress shouldn’t hold you back from getting to your destination on time and safely. Consider bringing a copy of this list with you the next time you are out on the road. When you are experiencing a stressful situation, pull it out and try one or more of these tips to help relieve any tension you may have.