Month: April 2019

A Trucker’s Best Friend: Bringing Your Dog on the Road

A-Trucker's-Best-Friend-Bringing-Your-Dog-on-the-Road

Life on the road can be hard.  The long hours, monotony of the highway, loneliness, being away from home, seeing only strangers for days or weeks at a time, all can make driving a big rig a difficult and stressful job.  This is why it’s not uncommon to see couples on long hauls together to eliminate some of that loneliness that can set in.

This is also why people bring along their dogs.  A dog can provide protection for the driver but mainly they tag along for companionship, for the love and comfort they bring, their familiar face and happy-to-see-you tail wag.  Bringing a dog along on the road is bringing along a little piece of home, the wet nose and big, loving eyes piece of home.

Bringing your dog on the road has many benefits.  Their undying love and companionship can relieve loneliness, depression, and anxiety, not to mention the direct health benefits they bring.  It’s been proven that merely petting a dog releases “good feeling” hormones, reduces blood pressure and lowers your heart rate. Your dog needs exercise which means you’ll get exercise too whenever you stop to walk him.   

Before recruiting your dog as your copilot, there are a few things to consider.  If you’re an owner/operator, you’re the one who can make the decision to bring a pet but if you work for a trucking company, you’ll need to check with them first to see if it goes against their policies.  Fortunately, many trucking companies understand how difficult long haul trucking can be on a person and will allow you to bring along a companion. However, they may have weight and breed restrictions and you may have to provide proof that your dog is current on their vaccinations.  

Will your dog be happy on the road?  Most dogs will adapt and simply be happy to be with their favorite person but for others, it may cause stress and anxiety that could affect their health.  If this is the case, they would probably be happier at home.

Before You and Your Dog Hit the Road

Visit the Vet.  Have a vet give your pet a thorough exam to make sure he’s fit for the job and this includes all vaccinations and any that may be recommended for the regions he’ll be traveling through.

Microchip Your Dog.  If your dog gets away from you on the road, he may not be able to find his way back to you.  Make sure your dog also has a tag on his collar that has your cell phone and microchip number on it.

Consider Pet Insurance.  Vet bills are expensive and bringing your dog on the road may expose him to hazards he may not experience at home.

While on the Road with Your Dog

When you’re on the road with your dog, you’ll want to keep him safe and happy.

  • Use a seat belt designed for the size of your dog.  If you get into an accident, it may save his life. Often when a dog is in an accident, he is scared and confused and if not restrained will just run away from the accident.  In an unfamiliar location, he may not find his way back. Even if you only have to stop quickly, he could fall or hit the dash and be injured, if not properly restrained. Also, a seat belt will keep your pooch from climbing down near your feet where he could cause an accident.  

Some people prefer to keep their dogs in a hard or soft kennel while traveling.  They can be secured on the passenger’s seat so your dog is near you but will keep them restrained.  

  • Secure anything that you don’t want to be chewed such as medications or food.  
  • Give him his own space with a dog bed and toys.  Dogs are den animals and may crave the safety and security of their own den.  A kennel to sleep in may provide them with that comfort.
  • Always have fresh water on hand.  
  • Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise.  He needs outside time to run and stretch his legs.  Some rest stops have dog exercise areas or you can map out dog parks along your route.  Bringing your dog along may mean more stops.

 

Dogs are called Man’s Best Friend for a reason.  They love their people steadfastly. Having your dog accompany you on the road can be a rewarding and comforting experience with one downside―if you never leave your dog behind, you won’t get that wagging-the-tail-so-hard-they-can-hardly-stand, sloppy-kiss greeting when you come home.

What Does It Take to Become a Truck Driver?

what-does-it-take-to-become-a-truck-driver

If you’re stuck in a dead-end job, looking for a career change or you’re just starting out and are in search of a career that will take you places, a career in the trucking industry might just be what you’re looking for.  Driving a truck can be a rewarding and lucrative career that could give you security and financial independence. Do you have what it takes?

In order to become a truck driver you must:

Have a valid CDL

You need this to be able to legally drive a truck.  Many trucking companies offer CDL training or reimbursement and will hire you before you’ve passed the test but otherwise, you have to obtain your CDL on your own.

Be at least 18-years-old

You can get your CDL if you’re 18 or older but only to drive in-state.

Have a valid driver’s license

You must have your Class D operator’s license before you can get your CDL.

Provide driving history

You must provide a driving history for every state you’ve lived in for the past 10 years.  

Pass a medical exam

There are some medical conditions that will prevent you from driving a truck like hearing or vision loss, epilepsy, or insulin use.  You also may not be able to drive if you take prescription medications such as benzodiazepines, anti-seizure medications, anti-inflammatories, and painkillers.  If prescribed by a doctor, some medications may be allowed by a medical examiner. Marijuana, however, is never allowed even if it is prescribed to treat a medical issue.  Good hearing is a requirement and you must have 20/40 vision with glasses or lenses and a 70-degree field of vision in each eye.  You also cannot be colorblind.

Pass a drug test

While you don’t have to pass a drug test to get your CDL, it is a requirement by the FMCSA that trucking companies require any potential employee passes a drug test and if hired, is routinely drug tested.

 

To be hired by a trucking company, you may have to:

Be 21 years of age

Technically, you don’t have to be 21 but it is currently the law that you have to be 21 years of age to be able to drive a truck across state lines.  For this reason, a lot of trucking companies have policies of only hiring people who are 21 or older so they put you on any route instead of just an in-state one.

Have a clean driving record.

Trucking companies will scrutinize your driving history and probably won’t hire you if you have a long history of speeding tickets or accidents.

Have a clean criminal history.

Having a criminal record may or may not affect your ability to be hired.  It may depend on what crimes you committed but some companies may be willing to give you a chance.

A high school diploma

Most trucking companies will prefer drivers who have graduated from high school.  If you didn’t get your high school diploma, you can improve your prospects by getting your G.E.D.

Have endorsements

Your odds of being hired by a trucking company will be higher if you have earned endorsements for double trailers, tankers, hazardous materials, etc.  These endorsements require extra training and certification but having them makes you more marketable and will probably earn you higher pay as well.

 

There are other considerations to make before you decide to become a trucker.  The hours can be long and you may be required to do long-distance hauls that would take you away from home for days at a time.  It is possible to work shorter routes, of course, but opting for shorter routes may hinder your job choices. Fortunately, the shortage in truckers in recent years has caused many carriers to figure out ways to offer shorter routes to accommodate truckers who want to be home every night.  

Becoming a truck driver takes discipline.  Carriers have strict schedules and won’t tolerate employees who call in sick frequently or don’t show up for work, because it costs them money.  They need to be able to rely on their employees to keep their trucks rolling.

Now is the perfect time to become a truck driver.  There are more job opportunities than ever before and some carriers are offering high salaries and bonuses to dependable drivers.  If you’ve have your CDL and are looking for employment opportunities, go to TruckerSearch.com.  Here you can post your résumé as well as search our vast database of companies looking for drivers.  It’s a great resource for any driver starting out in the trucking industry.

 

Sources:

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/commercial-drivers-license/states

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/medical/medical-examiners-certificate-commercial-driver-medical-certification

https://www.cga.ct.gov/2000/rpt/2000-R-0153.htm

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/drug-alcohol-testing-program