Category: Semi Truck

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.

 

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

 

Truck Drivers: How To Reduce Stress on the Road

Truck-Drivers-How-To-Reduce-Stress-on-the-Road

Traffic, deadlines, bad weather conditions, erratic, unpredictable drivers…life on the open road may sound like a dream to some people but in reality, it can be extremely stressful.  Poor diet options and a sedentary job only add to the stress of driving. If you’re feeling stressed in your job driving a truck, there are some things you can do to reduce that stress and be more relaxed behind the wheel.

  1. Eat healthy foods.  With all of the high-fat, high-sodium, high-calorie fast-food restaurants that line the highways, making healthy food choices can be a challenge.  Try packing healthy snacks from home. Opt for salads from fast food restaurants (they usually have them) or if you don’t have a healthy option, cut your portion size in half and drink water with it instead of soda.  Never supersize!
  2. Exercise.  When you’re under a deadline, fitting in time to exercise can be difficult but try to get out of your truck and go for a short walk whenever you can.  Stretching is also a good way to release stress.  
  3. Be with your family.  Even if you can’t be there physically, Skype with them or talk on the phone and take the time to listen to what’s going on in their lives.  When you do have time at home, be present for your family.
  4. Occupy your mind.  While you’re driving, listen to your favorite music or a podcast about something that interests you.  It’ll help you forget about the traffic for a while and make the time fly.
  5. Get enough good sleep.  It can be difficult to find a quiet spot to park your truck and sleep at truck stops and rest areas.  Trucks are loud and if you or someone around you is driving a reefer, the truck will run all night. Earplugs or a white noise machine may help.  Getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night, at home or on the road, helps keep you alert on the road, healthy, and reduces stress.
  6. Meditate.  Mediation can be done anywhere and at any time (except while driving!).  Simply sit comfortably and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing and try to push all thoughts out of your mind.  If you prefer to keep your eyes open, pick an object and focus on that. Meditation calms the mind and lowers anxiety and stress levels.
  7. Take time for yourself.  When you’re at home, take time to do something you enjoy.  Your time on the road isn’t for you―it’s for your employer and your family.  While you’re at home, you’ll want to spend time with your family but taking time for yourself is important too.

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.    

The Importance of Securing Your Load

the-importance-of-securing-your-load

In early November, as a Sacramento woman drove her Impala down the highway, her car was struck by a large, metal bar that had fallen off a flatbed driving in front of her.  The bar flew through the engine compartment and into the front of the car where it impaled the woman’s leg. The driver of the car was expected to be fine but accidents like this one are far too common and it highlights the need for drivers to secure their loads.

Danger

An improperly secured load is a danger to the driver, those who unload it, and everyone else who shares the road. Whether the truck is pulling a flatbed,  van, or dump trailer, the load that is in or on it, must be secured, as mandated by the DOT.   

Aside from the obvious debris coming off a flatbed, there are other hazards.  Pallets not secured can tumble in the back of a van trailer and boxes can fly out when the trailer is opened.  Items like hoses on tankers or tarps covering flatbed cargo can become dangerous if they are unsecured and flap in the wind.  For dump trucks, you may not be able to see what it’s carrying but it can still fly out and crack your windshield. An unsecured load on a flatbed could cause freight to fall off into traffic or on a road where it can cause an accident resulting in injury or death.  

Your load should not only be secure but it also needs to be balanced.  Freight stacked too high can obstruct the flatbed driver’s view or in a trailer, it can affect the trailer’s center of gravity making easier to tip over.  Loads that are not balanced can adversely affect the truck’s handling. 

It’s not uncommon for a box or pallet to fall onto the driver as he/she opens the trailer.  The injuries can be serious. Carrying livestock can be extremely difficult because even if the livestock are secured, they will still move which can affect the handling of the truck.  

Securing the Load

No matter what the load or what kind of truck, there are lots of tools to use to secure the load.  Load bars and load straps have ends that hook into tracks on the walls inside the trailer.  Load bars work best with simple, boxy pallets where load straps work well for irregularly-shaped loads.  For trailers without tracks inside, pressure-fitted load bars work well. Other types of devices used for securing loads are chains, synthetic webbing, tiedowns, wire rope, synthetic rope, steel strapping, blocking, grab hooks, binders, shackles, and friction mats.

Each state has different regulations for securing loads so you need to be aware of rules for the states you drive in as well as federal rules.

Here are some ways that you can secure your load:

  • Drive smoothly.  Fast stops and starts or taking corners too fast can dislodge your cargo.
  • Help load the truck or observe during the loading process.
  • Be careful when opening your trailer door.  Don’t stand directly in front as you open the door.  If it has two doors, open them one at a time.  
  • If something is falling, don’t try to stop it.  Instead of damaged freight, you have a damaged body and damaged freight.
  • If you’re pulling a flatbed, check your mirrors.  Your load must not obscure your view. Recheck periodically–when you stop or every few hours.  
  • Be aware of your trailer’s center of gravity.  If freight is stacked too high, your trailer will have a high center of gravity and will be more likely to tip over. 
  • On flatbed trailers, the load must be secured with straps that keep it from shifting.
  • If using a tarp, it must be securely tied down to keep it from flapping in the wind as you drive down the road.
  • Covering the cargo with heavy tarps will protect the cargo and will help keep the cargo from falling off.  
  • Tankers need to secure all hoses used for loading and unloading the product.
  • Many states require dump trucks to use tarps to keep their loads secure.  Dirt, rocks, sand, stone or other things carried by them can fly out and be a real hazard for other drivers.  

In the case of the Sacramento woman, everything turned out okay but it could’ve been much worse.  Always ensure that your load is properly secured for your own safety as well as the safety of others.  

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 out in the trucking industry.

 

Sources:  

https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2019/11/04/metal-bar-flew-off-truck-impaled-woman/

https://www.smart-trucking.com/unsecured-loads/

How To Prepare for Winter Driving

how-to-prepare-for-winter-driving

Winter weather is unpredictable.  It can go from clear and sunny to icy and treacherous before you can say, “Winter Wonderland”. Many drivers start routes in a warm, sunny state and end in one covered in snow.  Being prepared can mean the difference between delivering your load on time and sitting in a frozen truck waiting for help.

With some mindfulness and preparedness, you can be ready for anything that Mother Nature throws at you.

Inspect Your Truck

Make sure it’s ready for cold temperatures.  Check your tires’ pressure and treads, oil, antifreeze, and windshield wiper fluids.  

Pack Necessities

In freezing temperatures, fuel can begin to freeze in the tank, fuel line, and filter if you’re not using a winter blend fuel.  Be sure to have some fuel additives with anti-gelling agent on board in case your fuel begins to gel. Having an extra blanket, warm clothes, and gloves can keep you warm if you have no heat. It’s also smart to have things that can help if  you’re stuck in snow or ice like sand, a shovel, traction mats, and salt. Some other useful items are a flashlight, a lighter or matches, jumper cables, food, water, and extra windshield washer fluid. Also, always keep your phone charged.  

Adjust Your Driving If The Weather is Bad

Often, winter accidents happen because drivers don’t slow down in icy or snowy weather.  It may be tempting to keep your speed up to make deliveries on time but getting into an accident will really throw off your schedule.  High speed decreases traction when you need it most.

Hang Back

You may need some extra stopping distance in case an accident happens in front of you.  Winter driving means defensive driving.

React Smoothly

Sudden reactions like sudden braking, accelerating, and turning during slick road conditions are dangerous and can cause an accident for you or others on the road.

Pull Over

If you think the weather is too dangerous to drive in, don’t.  Find a safe place to ride out the storm. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Watch For Wind Gusts

High winds can take you by surprise.  Be cautious when driving in open areas and on mountains, especially if you’re hauling an empty trailer.

Check the Weather Often

Know what you’re driving into even if you have all your safety supplies.  Weather can change quickly so check often.

Be Careful on Bridges

As the signs say, bridges freeze first and in many areas, they are not treated with sand or salt.

Winter driving means driving cautiously and being prepared for the worst.  A bad storm can slow you down but if you are prepared and drive carefully, you just may deliver your load safely and on time.  

If you’re a driver looking for a great company to work for, Trucker Search can help.  Post your resume or search our growing database of companies’ driving job postings. Visit Trucker Search today to find out more.