Turn Your Military Skills into a Successful Driving Career

turn-your-military-skills-into-a-successful-driving-career

If you have driven trucks in the military, trucking companies are eager to hear from you.  And there’s a good chance that the training and experience you earned there will allow you to get your CDL without attending driving school and fast track yourself into a new and rewarding career.  

Why Carriers Love to Hire Military Veterans

It’s more than just patriotism and wanting to support American veterans that make carriers eager to hire military veterans to work for them.  Many of the qualities and skills learned in the military are the same ones that make a good truck driver.  Trucking companies have learned that military veterans are:

  • Dependable
  • Alert and aware
  • Have strong self-discipline
  • Work as a team
  • Have strong mental focus
  • May be used to being away from home for extended periods which can make it easier to adapt better to life on the road.

Why A Job Driving a Truck Is a Great Opportunity for Veterans

A job in the trucking industry allows veterans to transition to a civilian job without starting back at square one.  Many of the skills and disciplines learned while working for Uncle Sam transfer easily into a career driving a commercial truck.  Employers will look at your previous driving in the military as experience and will pay you accordingly, even if you just got your CDL.  

Veterans may also be eligible to skip the skills test and just take the written exam to get their CDL.  To take advantage of this, you must be active duty (or honorably discharged less than a year ago) with at least 2 years’ experience operating a commercial motor vehicle as part of your job in the military.  Since 2014, all 50 states and D.C. allow the waiver.  More information on how to obtain the waiver can be found on FMCSA’s website.    

Without having to go to driving school, veterans can have a quick transition into a new, good-paying career.  However, if you are a veteran but you don’t qualify for the waiver, there are several ways to get help paying for driving school.  You can use your GI benefits to pay for it and the  Veterans Administration Apprenticeship Program and On-The-Job Training Programs offer help too.  There are also scholarships available and many truck driving schools offer military discounts and other aids for veterans.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the trucking industry was experiencing a shortage of qualified and licensed drivers and as the economy begins to reopen and grow, the demand for experienced drivers will be back in high demand, ready for experienced military drivers to step in.      

If you’re a military veteran looking to start a new career in the trucking industry, Trucker Search is a great place to start. You can post your resume or search our vast database of companies looking for drivers to join their teams.  Visit Trucker Search and begin your new career today.

Sources:  

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/commercial-drivers-license/application-military-skills-test-waiver

https://www.va.gov/education/about-gi-bill-benefits/how-to-use-benefits/on-the-job-training-apprenticeships/

 

Truck Drivers: How You Can Avoid Back Pain

truck-drivers-how-you-can-avoid-back-pain

Spending hours upon hours behind the wheel of a truck can be physically and mentally exhausting and dealing with back pain seems to be part of the territory.  Along with the long hours sitting there’s also the lifting that is often involved as well as the constant vibration of the truck. The movement may not seem that bad but when your entire body is vibrating for more than 8 hours every day, you’re bound to eventually have some injuries.  Sitting in the same position, sedentary for hours, causes poor circulation and your muscles and joints stiffen.  But you don’t have to accept it!  Back pain doesn’t have to be “part of the job”!  With some adjustments and changes, you can avoid back pain from driving a truck.

Look At Your Seat

Adjust your seat so you’re not only comfortable but that you also don’t have to strain to reach things.  Depending on your seat, it may be beneficial to get some added support in the seat area as well as good lumbar support for the lower back.  While driving, changing your position, even just a little, can prevent some of the pain that comes with sitting in the same position.     

Be Mindful of Your Posture 

Incorrect posture is terrible for the back.  Sit up straight, don’t slouch, and keep your chin parallel to the ground.  Letting your body relax in the seat all the time is only going to cause spinal problems.  If you keep your wallet in your back pocket, take it out when you drive.  It can cause you to sit with your hips higher on one side than the other.     

Stay at a Healthy Weight

Because driving a truck involves inactivity and unhealthy food options, truck drivers are often overweight.  In fact, a recent study appearing in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that 69% of truck drivers were obese.  Whether sitting or standing, carrying around excess  weight is extremely damaging to your musculoskeletal system that wasn’t built for it.  

Quit Smoking

The same study of obesity in drivers found that more than half (51%) smoked which is more than twice that of other occupations (19%).  People who smoke have higher rates of osteoporosis, lumbar disc diseases, and slower bone healing which can lead to chronic pain.  

Take Breaks

Because of strict schedules, it’s not always easy for drivers to get enough breaks throughout the day but it’s important to try to do so.  Get out and stretch your hamstrings.  Move around and get a little exercise if you can.    

Stretch

Find time to stretch while out on the road.  When you’re driving, stretch each leg, reach each arm out to the side and over your head, and move your head from side to side to stretch your neck.  When you stop for a break, bend over and touch those toes and reach up to the sky for a full-body stretch.  Do some more stretching in bed.  When you don’t use your muscles, they shorten.  Stretching actually elongates them, increasing your range of motion, and increases the blood supply and brings nutrients to your muscles.  

Get the Right Mattress

If you’re sleeping in your truck, it needs to have a good mattress, just like you have at home.  When it comes to a mattress for back pain relief, you have to be like Goldilocks―not too firm and not too soft.  You need back support but not rigidity that will prevent good sleep.  It’s also important to find the right sleep position that works for you.  Some tips on how to sleep to alleviate back pain can be found here.    

Get Help

Applying ice to your lower back for 15-20 minutes can calm nerves and provide short-term relief and a chiropractor may help as well.  Because of the prevalence of back pain in drivers, some truck stops have begun opening chiropractic offices with their other driver amenities.  

Driving a truck doesn’t have to destroy your back but it does take some mindfulness and extra steps to keep those back problems at bay.  

If you’re a driver looking for opportunities in the trucking industry, look no further than Trucker Search. At www.truckersearch.com, you can post your résumé (which is a short form application) as well as search the ever-expanding database of companies looking for drivers and job postings.  It’s a great resource for any driver starting in the trucking industry or looking for a new opportunity.

Sources:  

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ajim.22293

https://health.usnews.com/health-care/patient-advice/articles/smoking-and-chronic-back-pain

https://chiropractorofstlouis.com/blog-post/the-health-benefits-of-a-good-stretch

https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/best-sleeping-position-for-lower-back-pain#pillow-under-your-abdomen

https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/what-helps-with-lower-back-pain#2

 

9 Ways That Drivers Can Save Money On The Road

9-ways-that-drivers-can-save-money-on-the-road

It doesn’t matter if the economy is good or bad, it’s important to spend your money wisely, no matter what your profession.  Most people have jobs that take them no further from home than a short commute.  They don’t eat every meal away from home.  For truck drivers who spend time out on the road and away from home, saving money can be particularly challenging.  At home, it’s easy to shop around for deals on food and necessities, or just stay in and not spend any money.  Truck drivers are often stuck with whatever buying options are available along the highway which are usually much more expensive.  However, with a little planning, drivers can make wise choices that will save them money while on the road, and maybe a little time too.

 

  1. Make a budget and stick to it.  Nobody likes budgeting but it works.  Be sure to be realistic about your expenses and include a little wiggle room for entertainment.  If The Shining taught us anything, it’s that “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
  2. Avoid breakdowns.  By keeping up with regular maintenance on your truck, small problems may be discovered before they become big problems.  Maintenance is significantly cheaper than a breakdown.
  3. Limit your spending on food.  Gas stations and truck stops have a huge mark-up on food.  Instead, stock up on snacks and food from the grocery store.  This includes drinks as well―a 6-pack or larger of a particular drink at the grocery store is often approximately the cost of a single unit at a gas station.  Invest in a mini-fridge and stove for your truck.  They’ll quickly pay for themselves and you’ll be able to choose healthier options.  
  4. Follow the rules.  Traffic violations like speeding tickets can be expensive and add up and they’re completely avoidable.  
  5. Use free wifi whenever possible.  You may be able to ditch the high cost of your unlimited data plan or avoid overage charges.  Keep track of free wifi along your route so you know where it is next time.
  6. Pay your bills on time.  If you’re on the road for extended periods, be sure that your bills are paid before you go to avoid late payments, i.e. hefty late fees.  You could also download your bank’s app (they all have them) on your phone or tablet and do your banking on the road.  Late payments not only cost you money right away, but they cost you in the long run by affecting your credit score and resulting in higher interest rates the next time you apply for credit.
  7. Make healthy choices.  By regularly exercising, quitting smoking, and eating a healthy diet, you can  avoid some future medical problems.  Driving a truck, sitting behind the wheel all day and eating fast food makes staying in shape a challenge for drivers but with some dedication and determination, it can be done.
  8. Use cruise control whenever possible.  Manually adjusting your speed constantly uses more fuel than letting your truck do it.  Keeping it at 60MPH is most efficient and by keeping your speed under control you can avoid those expensive speeding tickets too.
  9. Pay your insurance all at once.  Most insurance companies offer a discount for paying upfront instead of monthly or quarterly.  For big rigs, this can mean significant savings.  

Another way to help your bottom line is to find the right company to work for that’s going to pay you what you’re worth.  Trucker Search can help. On Trucker Search’s website, you can post your résumé as well as search the comprehensive database of companies looking for drivers.  It’s a great resource for any driver looking for a great place to work.

Source:  https://ezfreightfactoring.com/blog/money-saving-tips-for-truckers

Driving a Truck In The Era of Social Distancing

driving-a-truck-in-the-era-of-social-distancing
If there’s a phrase that best describes our current situation, it’s “social distancing”.  It’s an easy enough concept to grasp:  by staying home and remaining at least 6 feet from others when we go out for necessities, the coronavirus won’t be able to make the jump from one person to the next, stopping the spread of the virus over time.

In practice, however, it’s not so easy.  Not everyone follows the rules and some people forget so navigating a grocery store and maintaining a 6-ft buffer is a bit like walking through a field of land mines with none of the explosions but all of the anxiety.

For essential workers, this is an all-day stress-fest.  Truck drivers are used to some solitude but during the pandemic have lost those usual welcomed times of human interactions along their routes.  Some truck stops have been forced to close their doors while others only offer drive-thru services which most trucks can’t maneuver through and won’t serve people who walk up to the drive-thru window.  Some drivers now have to pack their own foods and eat in their trucks.

Safety for drivers as well as anyone around them is most important during these difficult times.

Social Distancing Tips for Drivers

  • Stay 6 feet away from everyone even in truck stops, gas stations and points of delivery.
  • Use disposable gloves when you’re pumping gas and dispose of them in a garbage receptacle at the pump immediately after.
  • Use debit/credit cards instead of cash.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Use hand sanitizer often.
  • If you develop symptoms, seek assistance where you are.  Don’t try to stick it out until you’re home.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Wear a mask when you’re in public places.  N95 masks are the best if you have one but they’re needed by medical staff and are in short supply in many areas so the CDC is recommending that they are left for them.  A cloth mask will do, or a bandana or scarf folded in layers.  Continue to maintain your 6-ft. distancing even when wearing a mask.
  • Use your phone to communicate with customers to avoid as much face-to-face time as you can.
  • Disinfect your vehicle often.  Keep disinfectant wipes in your truck so you can use them to wipe down door handles, the steering wheel, gear shift, and pay particular attention to shared items like clipboards, pens, and dollies.
  • Be mindful of what you’re touching when you use a public bathroom.  Once you’ve washed your hands thoroughly, don’t touch anything else.  Use a paper towel to open the door.

More guidelines for protecting yourself during the coronavirus pandemic can be found on the CDC’s website.

By following guidelines and taking appropriate precautions, drivers can be safe and minimize their chances of getting the virus or passing it on and be more prepared in the future.

If you’re looking to start a career behind the wheel of a big rig, Trucker Search can help. Connecting truck drivers and employers is what we do.  It’s quick, it’s easy, and it can get you that dream job on the open road. Get started today at TruckerSearch.com or call us at (888)254-3712.  Stay safe!

 

Rookie Mistakes

trucker-rookie-mistakes
Getting a CDL and landing that first driving job is a great accomplishment.  Driving a truck can be a rewarding and lucrative career.  As with any job, it’s a learning experience at the start, the time spent in CDL training is only the beginning of your education.  You will make mistakes.  Everyone does.  Here are some of the more common ones that you should try to avoid:

Being Too Confident

Just like with driving a car, you may understand it and know all the rules but you haven’t mastered it until you have faced nearly every situation on the road.  You must always respect the fact that you’re in control of up to 80,000 lbs. because the second you forget that, you’re in trouble.   Being too confident will cause accidents.

You Don’t Speak Up

Other drivers will be more than happy to answer your questions.  Use their knowledge.  Listen to their stories.  Learn from their mistakes so you can avoid making the same ones.

You Have High Expectations

When you first start out driving, you’re at the bottom.  You don’t get the good gigs and your pay may be less than what you’d hoped it would be.  If you hang in there and do your time, you’ll work your way up.  Being a good employee helps too.  Being polite and friendly with the dispatcher, who has your back when you break down, gives you the information you need for your current loads, and may give you a heads up on future opportunities.

Disobeying the Rules

Skipping truck inspections or not frequently checking your load to make sure it’s secure because you’re in a hurry will only cost you in the long run.  It’s potentially dangerous to you and to others who share the road and there are reasons for the rules.  The same goes for the rules of the road.  Speeding and not following other basic rules of the road, will put you and others in danger.  You have no control over the speed demon in a sports car who cuts you off and causes you to slam on your brakes.  When you’re in control of 40 tons, you have to be the grown-up on the road.

Not Controlling Your Health

Driving a truck can be an unhealthy occupation.  All that fast food and sedentary time behind the wheel contribute to the prevalence of obesity in the industry.  Both exercising and eating right on the road are challenges that take determination and usually means bringing your own food and exercise equipment on the road.

Having an Unrealistic Expectation of Road Life

Many imagine that life on the open highway is the ultimate freedom.  No boss looking over your shoulder, beautiful scenery, and nights filled with fun times with other drivers.  The reality is  strict delivery schedules, company rules, traffic, and a hefty amount of customer service obligations can put a damper on that feeling of freedom.

Sitting in the driver’s seat every day, all day, driving down the highway can be monotonous and exhausting.  Driving a truck is a great career but you have to have the right mindset.

The most important thing you can do to avoid making rookie mistakes is to remember that you are a rookie and still have more to learn if you want a successful career behind the wheel.

Trucker Search is a tool you need if you’re looking for employment opportunities in the trucking industry.  On Trucker Search’s website, you can post your résumé as well as search the large database of companies looking for drivers and job postings.  It’s a great resource for any driver starting in the trucking industry.

 

Truck Drivers and Depression: What You Should Know

truck-drivers-and-depression
In the U.S., it is estimated that 16.1 million people suffer from a major depressive episode in a given year.  Truck drivers are not immune. In fact, they experience it more. A 2018 study appearing in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found depression in truck drivers occurring at a higher rate than in the overall population, 13.6% as opposed to 6.7% of all American adults.  Why is depression so prevalent in the trucking industry?

Risk Factors

Unfortunately, driving a truck runs through the whole gamut of risk factors for developing symptoms of depression.

Lack of sleep.  Insomnia and depression go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Of all people who suffer from depression, 80% have insomnia.  The relationship works both ways with the people who have insomnia eventually developing symptoms of depression.  It’s not easy to maintain healthy sleep habits while on the road.

Loneliness.  Even with a busy delivery schedule, extended periods away from home can be lonely for drivers.  The loneliness can be severe and can lead to hopelessness and depression.

Unhealthy Lifestyle.  Spending hours upon hours sedentary behind the wheel of a truck has led many drivers, 69% of them, to be obese.  Obesity, along with exercise, can contribute to depression.

Signs to Look For

Depression is more than feeling sad.  Profound sadness is certainly a major part but other indicators often go along with it.

  • Extreme irritability and anger
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities that used to interest you
  • Lack of sleep or too much sleep
  • Lack of energy
  • Weight loss or gain (unintentional)
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
  • Body aches
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

How Drivers Can Beat the Odds

There’s no magic wand that you can wave to make depression go away.  The usual course of treatment for Major Depressive Disorder involves psychotherapy and antidepressants.  As for being able to drive a truck while on antidepressants, FMCSA allows it if the medical examiner signs off on it.

Whether you have Major Depressive Disorder or just mild depression, there are some things that you can do that may help alleviate the symptoms.

Eat better.  This requires extra work because truck stops are full of unhealthy foods.  Get a fridge and microwave for your truck so you can bring healthy foods from home or shop at a grocery store while on the road.  Eat foods rich in antioxidants like beta-carotene from apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato and Vitamin C from blueberries, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, peppers, tomato, and Vitamin E from things like nuts and seeds.  Include lean, protein-rich foods for energy like fish, turkey, and chicken as well as complex carbs in the form of whole-grain foods.

Improve your sleep habits.  Trying to get regular, comfortable sleep can be a challenge on the road.  Your sleeper isn’t the same as your bed at home, and often you have to park all night in a busy truck stop next to other trucks with their loud engines running all night.  Try to park at a distance, if you can, but be sure you’re parking in a safe, well-lit place. Don’t use electronics like phones and laptops right before bed because the blue light from the screen can suppress the melatonin in your system that you need for sleep.  Wear earplugs and a sleep mask to keep distractions out. Other tips on getting better sleep on the road can be found here.

Get regular exercise.  On the road, regular exercise can be as elusive as a good night’s sleep but it’s important for your health that you get out there and try!  Keep some hand weights in your truck. Get out and walk when you’re on a break or before you hit the road or hit the hay. So get moving whenever you can!

Drive away the loneliness.  Call/Skype friends and family often.  Hearing the voices and seeing the faces of your loved ones as much as you can when you can’t be there in person.  Many carriers let their drivers bring along family members or pets to keep them company. Having someone in the cab that you can talk to, be it human, canine, or feline, can keep loneliness at bay.  When driving, listen to upbeat music that you love or find an interesting podcast or audiobook to listen to keep your mind focused on something.

If you find that these changes aren’t enough to help with your depression or that it’s an urgent matter, SAMHSA’s helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) can help you find you a professional that can help or go to any emergency room, if necessary.

If you’re looking to start a career behind the wheel of a big rig, Trucker Search can help. Connecting truck drivers and employers is what we do.  It’s quick, it’s easy, and it can get you that dream job on the open road. Get started today at TruckerSearch.com or call us at (888)254-3712.

Sources:

https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6164547/

https://www.businessinsider.com/trucking-obesity-high-risk-2018-5

https://www.webmd.com/depression/features/sleep-problems#1

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/put-the-phone-away-3-reasons-why-looking-at-it-before-bed-is-a-bad-habit/

https://truckersearch.com/blog/dont-be-a-drowsy-driver/

https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

 

CDL: The Difference Between the Classes

CDL-the-difference-between-the-classes
For anyone driving a commercial truck for a living, the federal government requires that he or she has trained for and received a Commercial Driver’s License, or CDL.  More specifically, it is a requirement for anyone driving a vehicle weighing 26,001 lbs. or more (excluding the trailer), carrying a trailer weighing more than 10,000 lbs., transporting hazardous materials, or is driving a vehicle that was designed to carry 16 or more people.  CDLs are divided into 3 different types to cover these different circumstances.

Class A

With a Class A CDL and the proper endorsements, a driver could be qualified to drive several different types of vehicles including:

  • Tractor-trailers
  • Trucks with double and triple trailers
  • Tankers
  • Flatbeds
  • Many Class B and Class C vehicles

A Class A CDL is the best of the three types because it generally brings in higher pay, more available jobs, and the driver can drive the most types of vehicles including those that require only a Class B or C license.  It covers all of them. Because of this, it also is a longer training period and therefore, more expensive.

Class B

Class B allows the driver to drive a truck that weighs 26,001 lbs. or more but a trailer that weighs less than 10,000 lbs.   These vehicles are:

  • City, tourist, and school buses
  • Segmented buses
  • Dump trucks
  • Box trucks
  • Some Class C trucks

Although it is not the most common CDL type, it is a competitive market for Class B drivers.  If you know that you don’t want to drive tractor-trailers and you want to be a dump truck driver, for example, you can save money by getting a Class B license instead.  Because it is less common, many truck driving schools don’t offer it so it may take some shopping around to find one that does. Getting a Class B license only takes around 40 hours of class time so it can be a quick process and something that can generally be done part-time while you’re working another job.

Class C

A Class C CDL allows the driver to drive a vehicle that is designed to carry 16 or more passengers and also small vehicles used to transport hazardous materials.  Often, training for this is offered when a company hires you to do this kind of job but if not, you may have to get a Class B license instead because Class C courses are rare.

Endorsements

As part of your CDL, you can obtain extra training so that you can haul other kinds of freight.  Doing so can not only open you up to more job opportunities but can bring higher pay as well. CDL endorsements require additional testing.  The CDL endorsements are T (Double/Triple Trailers), P (Passenger Vehicles), N (Tankers), H (Hazardous Materials) X (Tanker plus Hazardous Materials), and S (School Bus).  Hazardous materials are potentially dangerous cargo that falls into one or more of the following categories:

  1. Explosives
  2. Gases
  3. Flammable Liquid and Combustible Liquid
  4. Flammable Solid, Spontaneously Combustible, and Dangerous When Wet
  5. Oxidizer and Organic Peroxide
  6. Poison (Toxic) and Poison Inhalation Hazard
  7. Radioactive
  8. Corrosive

To determine which CDL you should get, you should look at your goals.  Class A is the most versatile and you can drive almost anything, especially with added training and endorsements and is the most common.

For drivers with a Class A or a Class B license, Trucker  Search can be a useful tool in finding hiring companies looking for drivers.  It has searchable jobs so truckers can see exactly what hiring companies are looking for, including CDL class requirements. It allows truckers to post a resume that includes all qualifications along with any added endorsements.  Hiring companies can search by CDL class or list the class of CDL they’re looking for. It’s a web-based service that’s quick, easy to use, and a vital tool for truckers in search of great employers. Start your search today at TruckerSearch.com.

Sources:

https://nettts.com/blog/class-a-versus-class-b-cdl-whats-the-difference/
https://www.dmv.org/articles/want-to-do-even-more-with-your-cdl-cdl-classes-and-endorsements/
https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Nine_Classes_of_Hazardous_Materials-4-2013_508CLN.pdf

 

The Most Fun and Unique Truck Stops Across America

the-most-fun-and-unique-truckstops-across-America

Truck stops in the early ‘40s first opened to offer diesel fuel which was difficult to find at regular gas stations.  With the development of the highway system, truck stops began popping up, catering to the needs truckers and travelers.

Truck stops have evolved and many are more than just a place to fuel up and get a bite to eat.  Most modern truck stops today offer showers, laundry facilities, TVs, and ample parking for drivers to park for the night.  While some may consist of only fuel pumps, a fast food joint, and a place to park, others are elaborate food, shopping, and entertainment complexes that have become fun destinations for everyone.

south-of-the-border

South of the Border

This Mexican-themed truck stop is located not near the Mexican border as you would think but instead is off of I-95 in Hamer, South Carolina near its border with North Carolina.  Pedro the Bandito invites travelers to enjoy the amusement park, a round of mini-golf, or to check out its reptile exhibit and its dinosaur (and other) statues that are located around the sprawling property.

Iowa 80 Truck Stop

This truck stop claims to be the World’s Largest Truck Stop.  It was opened in 1964 in Walcott, Iowa and has grown to be the size of a small city.  Besides ample shopping, it has a trucking museum that has a multitude of trucks on display from the early 1900s onward, as well as an impressive collection of antique toy trucks.  Amenities for drivers include a barbershop, chiropractor, dentist, dog wash, library, movie theater, and a gym.

5069_sparks-alamo-casino

Alamo Casino and Travel Center

Aside from the typical amenities and truck services for drivers, this travel center located in Sparks, NV has great food, a motel, bar, and a casino.  You may want to extend your visit. One thing’s for sure―you’ll remember the Alamo!

Morris Travel Center

This stop in Morris, IL features R Place Restaurant, a slice of home with a fresh bakery and a restaurant full of comfort foods such as hearty breakfasts, pot roast, fried chicken, steaks, and of course, burgers.  For the adventurous eater, there’s the Ethyl Burger, a cheeseburger with all the fixin’s that weighs 4 lbs. If you finish it in less than an hour, it’s on the house.  You may even get a hat if you survive.

The Czech Stop

Located right off I-35 in West, TX, the Czech Stop offers hungry travelers top-notch Kolaches as well as other traditional baked goods.  If you’re looking for a quick meal, they also offer ham and sausage pastries and sandwiches too.

For drivers, finding unique stops can drive away the boredom and can be a reminder of why they were drawn to a life on the road to begin with.  If driving a truck is the life for you, Trucker Search can help you find a great company. Post your resume or search companies looking for drivers to join their teams. Start your new career in trucking by visiting Trucker Search today.

Sources:

https://www.sobpedro.com

https://iowa80truckstop.com

http://www.thealamo.com

https://www.ta-petro.com/amenities/restaurants/r-place-restaurant-morris-il-60450

http://www.czechstop.net/about-us/

 

Trucking Maintenance Issues

trucking-maintenance-issues

Regular truck maintenance can save time, money, and even a life.  It’s important for the safety of anyone who shares the road that a truck is in good working order, of course, and a truck that is regularly maintained will reduce operational costs.  As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is particularly true for big rigs. It’s significantly cheaper to perform preventative maintenance than it is to have a truck unexpectedly out of commission for costly repairs.  If equipment failure caused an accident, there may also be medical costs, legal expenses, and property damage. Downtime costs a carrier an average of $448-$760 per day, per vehicle and those downtimes can cause expense all the way down the supply chain.

Common Equipment Problems That Cause Accidents

Brakes

According to FMCSA, 29% of accidents caused by truck equipment failure is due to brakes.  A qualified brake inspector needs to check them regularly for air leaks, and that there are no broken parts.  When a fully-loaded truck weighing as much as 80,000 lbs. needs to stop quickly, it needs considerable room and properly-working brakes.  The time to find out that the brakes are bad is not when the truck is rolling along a busy road at 70 MPH.

Tires

Another leading cause of truck accidents is tires that are worn or don’t have adequate air pressure.  It’s the driver’s responsibility to check for leaks, tread wear, and damage before going out on the road.  Trucking companies must make sure that their vehicles have tires that have acceptable tread depth and level of wear.  It only takes one bad tire to cause an accident.

Lights.  

Lights not only allow trucks to see when it’s dark or when visibility is low, they’re equally as important to ensure that trucks are seen by other drivers.  Drivers need to make sure lights are in working order prior to each trip.

Who’s Responsible For Maintenance?

The responsibility for truck maintenance falls on both the fleet owner and the driver.  The FMCSA mandates that drivers inspect their vehicles before and after every trip. They must inspect the brakes, tires, horns, lights, and mirrors and sign a safety report stating that the vehicle is safe to drive.

Carriers have scheduled maintenance checks depending on the vehicle’s mileage, age, and type.  It typically involves a brake inspection, tire pressure check and inflation, alignment and steering check, and checking lighting and electrical systems.

As a part of maintenance, trucks should also be prepared for the change in weather conditions.  Winterization means using the right fuel additives, making sure heaters are working, checking the tire treads, and making sure the truck is equipped with snow chains, sand, extra windshield fluid, and other winter driving necessities.  A quality carrier will follow a strict maintenance program with their vehicles for their drivers’ safety. If you’re looking for a great company that cares about drivers, look no further than Trucker Search. On Trucker Search’s website, you can post your résumé as well as search current truck driving jobs.  It’s a great resource for any driver looking for a great place to work.

Sources:

https://www.elementfleet.com/news/media-coverage/the-true-cost-of-vehicle-downtime

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief

The Move Over Law Can Save Your Life

the-move-over-law

In 1994, South Carolina paramedic James D. Garcia was tending to an injured person on the side of the highway when he was struck and injured by a passing motorist.  Surprisingly, Garcia was listed at fault which prompted him to fight to create a law, requiring passing vehicles to move over for the safety of emergency responders.  Since then, all 50 states have adopted Move Over Laws to protect emergency workers.

What Is a Move Over Law?

Move Over Laws require motorists to slow down to a reasonable speed and if it’s safe to do so, to change lanes to create a buffer if there is an emergency such as a breakdown or an accident.  Some states have Move Over Laws that are more specific than others like Wyoming which requires drivers to move over and reduce their speed to 20 MPH below the posted speed limit. Failure to comply with the Move Over Law varies from state to state but could include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 30 days in jail.  A complete list of Move Over Laws and their penalties for each state can be found on AAA’s website here.

Why We Need Move Over Laws

An example of why this law is so important occurred one night in early January in Hawaii when 43-year-old tow truck driver Aaron Malama was struck and killed while helping a driver whose vehicle had broken down on the freeway.  According to police, Malama was hooking up the vehicle when he was hit and later died at the hospital from his injuries.  Move Over Laws were implemented to protect emergency workers such as police officers, firefighters, and ambulance workers but some states have added other responders to the list such as tow truck drivers.  According to the Emergency Responder Safety Institute, 6-8 fire rescue and EMS workers are killed each year in emergency situations where vehicles are passing too close.  For police officers, the number of deaths is higher with 10-12 officers being killed each year. For 2019, there were a total of 44 fatalities during roadside emergencies and consisted of:

  • 18 law enforcement officers
  • 14 tow truck drivers
  • 2 mobile mechanics
  • 9 fire/EMS workers

These statistics don’t include the many emergency workers who are injured each year by passing vehicles.

Laws Aren’t Enough

The only complaint that police and emergency responders have about the law is that few seem to know about it.  Too many people don’t know there is such a law. Currently, there is no federal body in charge of tracking the statistics or getting the word out on the Move Over Laws, so it needs to be done on the state level.

What You Can Do

As a driver, you’ve seen many emergency vehicles helping motorists on the side of the highways and may have seen some close calls for responders.  You may have even found yourself broken down on the side of the highway and are well aware of the dangers while stopped on a fast-moving road. It’s not always easy to change lanes, especially when you’re driving a truck in heavy traffic but when you see those lights, slow down and try your best to safely move over to leave a lane between you and the accident.  It may prompt other drivers to do the same. Get the word out! A safety law is useless if no one knows about it. You may just save a life.

Trucker Search is a tool you need if you’re looking for employment opportunities in the trucking industry.  On Trucker Search’s website, you can post your résumé (which is a short form application) as well as search the ever-expanding database of companies looking for drivers and job postings.  It’s a great resource for any driver starting in the trucking industry.

Sources:

http://www.ourdigitalmags.com/article/A+Margin+of+Safety%3A+Raising+“Move+Over”+Compliance+Rates/1857597/0/article.html

https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/move-over-law/

https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2020/01/13/friends-pay-tribute-tow-truck-driver-killed-crash-boost-awareness-about-move-over-law/

https://www.moveoveramerica.com

https://www.respondersafety.com/Struck-By-Incidents/2019-ERSI-StruckByVehicle-Fatality-Report.aspx

https://www.kvue.com/article/news/local/you-can-kill-somebody-officials-think-many-drivers-dont-know-about-the-move-over-law/269-a1426c45-d131-4c71-8f5a-c73110e0b6a9