Industry News & Tips for Truckers
- Written by: Marialis Perez
Do you love driving to new places and across states? Are you looking for a new job? A career in truck driving awaits. For some, it’s more than just a career. It’s a way of life, an adventurous one.
There are plenty of opportunities for truck drivers across the country. Long-haul truck driving is an industry that’s on the rise and will steadily be in demand for a foreseeable future. No wonder why more and more people are applying as truck drivers.
However, before you can be a truck driver, you need to meet certain requirements like completing a driving school, passing a CDL written test, being of a certain age, and passing a medical evaluation.
Is Truck Driving a Good Career?
If you are still unsure whether or not becoming a truck driver is right for you, these benefits and advantages may convince you:
1. Stable Income
A job that pays well surely beats other careers. While it’s not always about the money, it’s still safer and more practical to work in a job with a stable income. A long-haul truck driver, depending on one’s experience, pays from $50,000 to $100,000 a year. Not to mention the bonuses and pay raises. It’s an industry that promotes equal pay among men and women. It even pays better than other jobs that require a college degree.
2. Truck Driver Benefits
On top of the stable income, truck drivers can also expect to receive great employee benefits. Many trucking companies provide additional benefits to their employees. These include vision, dental, medical, and life insurance. Some companies even offer paid vacation and great retirement plans.
3. Job Security
It’s not enough that the income is great. More importantly, many of us seek job security. And that’s something that a career in trucking provides: job security. As long as you don’t neglect your duties and continue to do your job efficiently and safely, then rest assured that you won’t get your job taken away from you soon. With the demand in truck driving continually on the rise, companies will continue to rely on truck drivers like you to perform your duties.
4. Flexible schedule
One thing that a career in trucking guarantees is this: you will have a flexible schedule. Schedule flexibility is not something you get from other kinds of jobs. Many trucking companies offer a flexible work schedule to their drivers, to ensure a work-life balance. This means that you will still be able to spend time with your family and pursue other things. You may be on the road most days, but have an option to choose your schedule.
5. You get to see wonderful places.
With truck driving comes wonderful travel opportunities. You get to see and visit many parts of the country while doing your job. While you may be spending days and even weeks on the road, the fun and thrill of exploring many places across the country is an experience of a lifetime.You even get to sightsee and explore the cities and towns during downtime. It’s a great job, especially for those who love travel and adventure.
Want to become a truck driver? Consider your options and start working on becoming one today.
- Written by: Kate Williams
It’s important to have up-to-date information about coronavirus vaccinations for truck drivers as all people become eligible to get vaccinated, more doses become available, and new guidance for vaccinated people from the CDC gets released.
Here’s the latest news regarding COVID vaccines and truckers:
Effective Monday, April 19th, 2021, all adults in the United States are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The news guaranteed access to a vaccination for all Americans two weeks before President Joe Biden’s previous May 1st deadline that was set in March. “No more confusing rules, no more confusing restrictions,” Biden said during a press conference. “Everyone can get in line.”
All truckers in the United States are now eligible to receive their COVID vaccine free of charge. Some have experienced struggles booking an appointment due to limited availability of the new medicine, though suppliers are beginning to meet the high level of demand for vaccines around the country.
The United States federal government and coronavirus vaccine manufacturers are doing everything possible to supply safe and effective vaccinations for all Americans, but complicated manufacturing and distribution challenges are prolonging the process.
In order to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you, go to vaccinefinder.org/search/, enter your 5-digit zip code and your search radius to receive the latest information about vaccine availability near you.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their most relaxed COVID restriction guidelines in a new release on Tuesday, April 27th. Scientists now say that once you are fully vaccinated, which is classified as 14 days after receiving your final dose of the coronavirus vaccination, people can “start doing many things they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”
Activities that the CDC now deems as safe for fully vaccinated individuals includes indoor gatherings without masks or social distancing with other fully vaccinated people and indoor gatherings without masks or social distancing with unvaccinated people who do not have an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
This new guidance from our nation’s top health officials suggests that as the country gets vaccinated, we’re nearing the end of this pandemic. Use this link to find out how you can get your vaccination as soon as possible.
What Truckers Need To Know
There is important information that truckers need to know about COVID-19. Truck drivers are most vulnerable to being exposed to coronavirus while on the job when at truck stops and in close contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) with attendants, dock workers, or other truck drivers. Another high-risk exposure activity occurs when truckers touch or handle a frequently touched item and then touch their face, mouth, nose, or eyes.
To protect yourself and those you come in contact with, truckers should stay home if they experience any symptoms of coronavirus. If you’re sick, follow CDC recommendations. Notify your employer if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and do not return to work until you meet the criteria to leave quarantine.
Stay at least 6 feet away from others whenever possible at truck stops, where a cloth mask anytime you’re in public or at work with others, regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, and wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to protect yourself and those around you from COVID-19.
With reasonable safety precautions, there is cause for renewed optimism that the end of the pandemic is on the horizon. Each of us may celebrate by reflecting on the lessons learned during the year, lamenting the loss of loved ones, and showing gratitude for the many essential workers who served our country, including the brave men and women in the trucking industry.
- Written by: Kate Williams
In recent years, we’ve watched technology revolutionize the biggest industries in the world. The trucking industry could be next. With our current era of accelerated technological progress, innovation is inevitable.
Rapid application of new tools could transform the way the trucking industry operates before we know it. From the truck driving simulator to the electric semi truck, a vastly different looking process of transporting goods could be on the not-so-distant horizon.
Trucking Technology Supports Green Initiatives
President Joe Biden’s push for zero emissions has put electric trucks back in the news. With a growing number of prominent federal lawmakers directing their attention to combatting climate change, more focus has been put the production of motor vehicles that emit no waste products that pollute the environment or disrupt the climate. This new demand for environment-friendly transportation, coupled with our ongoing technology boom, creates a unique opportunity for electric semi trucks to burst onto the trucking scene.
People who work in the trucking industry are aware that curbing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is in all of our best interests. Fossil fuel reductions in personal vehicles have become highly popular. And although the challenge of developing a semi-truck that runs without diesel may have seemed impossible, electric heavy commercial trucks are expected in the coming years.
Many companies are already trying to step up and become the leading electric transportation company. Tesla touts their electric semi as the “safest, most comfortable truck ever,” also claiming it provides maximum power and acceleration while requiring the lowest energy cost per mile. Volvo is releasing a new regional hauler electric semi truck in 2021, but they’re only able to offer 150 miles of range between charges. The Nikola Two by Nikola Motor Company, however, is starting small-scale production of their electric semi in 2021, which offers up to 900 miles of range per charge.
Suppliers are yet to iron out all of the kinks that come with inventing a new market within the automotive industry, still facing major obstacles such as scale, price points, and battery technology, among other issues. Despite these problems, at some point transportation professionals should be ready for a massive influx of electric trucks in the industry.
Truck Driving Simulator
New technology is reshaping the way driving trainees prepare for their CDL test and future career in the trucking industry with the truck driving simulator. This new invention allows students to learn how to operate a massive commercial motor vehicle by accelerating their knowledge skills, and experience, without ever facing the dangers of actually getting behind the wheel of a real semi.
Truck driving simulators provide students with first-hand experience to see what driving a big rig is actually like, teaching them how and when to shift gears, what their sight lines are, and how it feels to be in the driver’s seat of a tractor trailer, but they don’t have to feel the fear and intimidation that comes with driving a truck for the first time. Anxiety levels are far lower when operating an 18-wheeler simulator when compared to really driving an 18 wheeler, allowing inexperienced student drivers an opportunity to learn.
Truck simulator training is valuable to trucking technology and to the trucking industry at-large for a number of reasons. First, truck simulators provide a fantastic, safe alternative for students who are not yet ready to drive a big rig. Additionally, students can learn hands-on skills, like shifting, significantly faster. Moreover, simulators reduce the cost of truck repairs because beginning drivers often wreak havoc on the trucks that they use to prepare to get on the roads. Truck driving simulators have received high praise from many of the top CDL training programs and it’s reasonable to suspect that these simulators will continue to grow in relevance in coming years.
Self-Driving Semi Trucks
Some companies are also trying to launch tractor trailers that are completely self-reliant from pickup to delivery with no human on board. San Diego startup company TuSimple is set to test its self-driving semi truck as early as this year with the goal of proving that a “driver-out” trucking demonstration isn’t just a science project, but rather an innovative advancement in engineering that has a lot of advantages. By 2024, TuSimple plans to start selling their driverless trucks to fleet operators.
Autonomous trucking companies have received their fair share of blowback because of the logistics and safety of their undertaking. Many believe that no matter how much technology is implemented or how smart trucks get, they’ll always need to have a driver behind the wheel. A future of trucking without truck drivers seems unlikely, as the government will inevitably get involved in the process of regulating any self-driving semi, heavy-duty trucks will always require skill and intuition from the driver, and the supply of autonomous semi trucks isn’t nearly large enough to satisfy the vast trucking industry.
Convenient Lifestyle Technology for Semi Trucks
Much like the car, SUV, and pickup truck industry, semi-truck manufacturers have made electronic pleasantries standard trucking technology items in the latest models. Many of the recent models are outfitted with Bluetooth capabilities, integrated GPS systems, SIRIUS radio options, the latest climate control systems, and many others.
This trend only makes good common sense given that truck drivers spend more time on the road than people in just about any other occupation. Truck makers have also gone a step further by readying semis for upgrades and personal options. Many of the late-year models can seamlessly be accessorized with these and other helpful gadgets.
- Mini Refrigerators
- Video Screens for Downtime
- WiFi Boosters
- Echo Dot (Alexa)
Basically, any electronic gadget that a car, SUV, or pickup truck can utilize, today’s semis can handle in spades. Hard-working Americans need not surrender their lifestyle while delivering America’s goods and materials. And like the car manufacturing industry, heavy load trucks have never been easier to handle.
Automatic Transmissions Trending in Truck System Technology
The age of steering wheels that required significant upper-body strength to handle has gone the way of the dinosaur. Many of the other hyper-physical aspects of working as a trucker are extinct as well. Late-model semi-trucks utilize the same next-generation technologies as even high-end automobiles. Enhanced power steering, advanced braking systems are standard in new models.
What may surprise people considering a high-paying career as a professional trucker is that more and more semi-trucks are coming off assembly lines with automatic transmissions. Yes, people who were once worried about their ability to manage a heavy truck’s shifting in critical situations can put that apprehension behind them. The fundamental thinking behind this trend is that automatics can improve driver safety in the following ways.
- Reduced shifting allows truck drivers to improve focus on the road.
- Removing unnecessary shifting helps reduce driver fatigue.
- Reduced shifting improves a driver’s ability to take defensive action in critical situations.
- Automatic transmissions enhance vehicle performance.
Truckers won’t miss a beat as automatics emerge as the new normal because automatics don’t miss a gear.
Improved Safety and Convenience in Truck System Technology
As fleets swell their ranks with the latest, technologically advanced semi-trucks, decision-makers will have a wealth of add-ons to consider. Trucking technology experts have taken a long look at the operations side and created options that can improve safety, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. These are optional technologies that many trucking companies are finding beneficial.
This offshoot of truck tracking allows fleet managers to review the time and efficiency of deliveries as the truck moves from stop to stop. Hand-selected or traditional routes can be re-examined for inherent time deficiencies that may arise from traffic, road construction or other impediments. Known as “dynamic routing,” emerging technologies allow for rerouting or rethinking pickups and deliveries using hard data. Shaving time off routes can prove valuable.
If you have watched a police show on television, it’s abundantly clear these devices provide fact-based information. Fleet operations are finding that the advanced technologies in dashcam video add-ons can save them money by lowering the risk of potential collisions and fraudulent insurance claims. When a crash occurs at no fault of the trucker, the dashcam video provides evidence.
Truck Driver Scoreboards
This technology reviews driver habits and identifies areas that may require improvement or further training. Driver “score-carding” has proven beneficial for upstart drivers who may have habits such as hard braking, excessive acceleration, and other areas that put people at unnecessary risk. While carriers enjoy the cost benefits of improved fuel efficiency and lower the risk of accidents, it can be a useful tech mentoring tool for beginner drivers.
Emerging collision mitigation systems are re-inventing the tools truckers have at their disposal to avoid crashes. It’s well-known that personal vehicle drivers are not always aware of the necessary safe distance required for a fully loaded truck to effect a complete stop. Newer semi-trucks are being equipped with improved sensor technologies that monitor crashes ahead and assist drivers in taking defensive actions. Some of the new sensor systems are being retrofitted into older vehicles and those with outdated technologies.
Many of these new inventions should be embraced as they will usher in a more profitable, environmentally friendly, and safe life on the road in the coming years.
- Written by: Lauren Gast
Being a woman in trucking can be an incredible and stressful experience. Trucking is seen as a dangerous and dirty job and it is; that doesn’t mean women can’t do it. More women are entering the trucking industry because it's a stable job that offers great benefits. It’s important that women have the tools they need to stay safe while on the road.
This article will provide tips for female truck drivers to stay safe while driving long distances as well as staying safe at rest stops.
6 Tips for Female Truck Driver Safety
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings
This is the most important tip for truck driver safety. Always be aware of your surroundings when outside of your truck. Truck stops can be pretty dangerous places. Many truck stops have poor lighting making it hard to see potholes or other obstructions and easier to get robbed. When at a truck stop, don’t stare at your phone, watch your surroundings. Park in the front line if you can, or under a light if that’s not available. Don’t walk between trucks as this makes it harder for you to be seen. When sleeping in your truck, take great measures to ensure the doors are locked. You can even loop the seatbelt through the door handles so that, even if the doors were to come unlocked, no one would be able to get in.
- Plan Bathroom Breaks
Bathroom breaks aren’t something that male truck drivers have to think about and plan out as much as women. When you’re on the road, bathroom break locations can be few and far between. When planning out your route, also plan your bathroom breaks. You should always be well stocked with the appropriate materials in case of an emergency. Sometimes supervisors are insensitive to female needs, it’s better to be on the safe side and have everything you require in your truck.
- Choose your Carrier Wisely
When choosing a carrier, you want to make sure you find a company that will respect you. Truck driving has been a male dominated industry for a long time and some carrier companies may not respect female truck driver safety the way they should. Truck Driver Institute’s South Bend, IN truck driving school, for example, is known for helping graduates find the carrier that best suits their needs with free hiring services for all students. You want to find a company that will listen to your needs and concerns and work with you to implement necessary changes. Finding the right truck driver carrier will take a lot of research but it will be worth it to join other women in trucking. When searching, take a look at the people they have driving for them. If they have several female drivers employed with them, they may be a good company for you.
- Have the Appropriate Gear
A large part of truck driving is being prepared for many things. While you can track the kind of weather you’ll be driving into, nothing is guaranteed. Stay prepared by having some of these keeping some of these essentials in your truck.
- Rain coat
- First aid kit
- Work gloves
This is not an exhaustive list of truck driver safety essentials but it's a good place to start. It’s a great idea to have a first aid kit in your truck because you never know what kind of medical issue may arise be it big or small. A flashlight/headlamp is always helpful in case you must inspect your truck at night. Truck inspection is something you’ll learn at Truck Driver Institute’s CDL training Louisville, KY area school. When inspecting your truck, or doing any other kind of truck related work, it’s good to have work gloves. Work gloves will protect your hands from any unnecessary injuries and will come in handy more often than you think.
- Always Have Your Own Food
There are a lot of opportunities to purchase food on the road. While these options may be convenient, they’re not always the best or healthy. Many new trucks have mini fridges on them so it’s easier to pack your own food and not have it go bad. Bringing your own food gives you healthy options while on the road and minimizes the number of times you have to risk your safety by getting out of your truck. Being seated for long periods of time can be bad for your health, but if you’re traveling at night, it’s safer to stay in your truck than leave to get food.
- Talk to Other Female Drivers
Having a support system can help you be a successful woman in trucking. As the field grows, and more women become a part of the trucking industry, it’s important to reach out and talk to others. By talking to other women in transportation, you can stay connected and safe while on the road. Truck Driver Institute’s CDL training Indianapolis students, for example, have discussed how having other women in training can be encouraging as you enter the industry. CDL training is a great time to make connections with other drivers and learn the secrets of the trade from instructors.
Join the Women in Trucking Today!
More women are entering the trucking industry every day and you could be one of them. Truck Driver Institute is a CDL training program that has many different locations all over the United States. Its program is efficient, 3 weeks long, and affordable.
The more women who enter the trucking industry, the faster there can be positive changes to make the industry more diverse and inclusive. There are a lot of stereotypes surrounding truck driving, many people believe that you have to be tall and strong in order to be a truck driver. This may have been the case years ago, but it’s not anymore. There are many automated systems that don’t require you to have to lift or pull anything. Truck driving is an industry that anyone can be a part of and with these truck driver safety tips, you can join the women in trucking and get your career on the road.
- Written by: Kate Williams
Truck drivers frequently suffer from common injuries due to the long hours spent behind the wheel. Unnatural posture often results from prolonged periods of sitting, and as a result, truckers are highly susceptible to low-back, knee, leg, and foot pain.
The truck driver exercises in this article are vital to stabilizing the muscles that often cause truck drivers pain and discomfort while on the job. Use individual exercises as necessary to stabilize and strengthen the specific areas you have problems with, or combine multiple exercises for the ultimate trucker workout!
What is Gas Pedal Knee?
Truckers regularly report having knee pain from driving, which is most commonly caused by damage to the connective tissue at the knee joint. Issues are often caused by patellar tendonitis, also known as jumper’s knee or gas pedal knee, resulting from prolonged periods of pushing on the gas and/or brake pedal. The following exercises could help you avoid leg pain from driving:
Straight Leg Raise - Adduction: Lie on your side with your bottom leg straight and your top leg bent in front, placing your foot flat on the ground. Slowly lift your bottom leg up, keeping it straight, and hold the raised position for 2-3 seconds before slowly returning to the initial position. Complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions for each leg.
Standing Hamstring Curl: Standing on two feet shoulder width apart, lift one foot up by bending your knee and rising your heel towards the ceiling while keeping your toes anchored and the rest of your body still with good posture. Hold your leg at a fully flexed position as far as your range of motion will allow for 3-5 seconds before lowering your leg to the starting position and repeating the movement with your opposite leg. Do 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions for each leg.
Glute Bridge: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground in alignment with your hips. Firmly pressing your shoulder blades into the floor, slowly raise your hips and squeeze your glute muscles and hold that position for 2-3 seconds. Maintain a flat back throughout the movement; do not allow your low back to arch. Perform 2-3 sets for 10-12 repetitions.
Tips to avoid Foot Pain
Foot pain from driving is another persistent injury found among professionals working in the trucking industry. Luckily, exercise programs can address these issues by developing the musculoskeletal system, which directly influences a persons’ potential risk of injury. These exercises could help if you’re experiencing gas pedal foot pain:
Plantar Fascia Stretch: Standing with both hands against the wall, place one foot forward towards the wall with the other slightly behind. Keeping your heel firmly planted on the floor, lift your toes and press against the wall while pushing your body toward the wall. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds for each leg for 3-4 sets.
Toe Spreads: Sit on a chair with both feet firmly planted on the ground. Next, spread your toes as far apart as your range of motion allows and hold that position for 15-20 seconds before relaxing the foot. Then, repeat this stretch 3-4 times.
Marble pickup: Sit on a chair with both feet flat on the ground. Place two bowls in front of you: one empty and the other full of 15-20 marbles. Using only the toes of one foot, pick up each marble and drop it in the other bowl. Then, using the other foot, move the marbles back into the original bowl. Repeat this process 2-3 times.
The National Academy of Sports Medicine found that nearly 80% of all adults have been affected by low-back pain at some point in their life. This percentage is likely even higher among trucker drivers because one of the greatest predictors of low-back pain is sitting for periods of time greater than three hours. Try these exercises and watch the linked video demonstrations if needed:
Partial Crunch - Lie down on your back, placing your feet flat on the ground with your knees bent and your hands under your low back. Slowly raise your head and shoulders until you can feel your core muscles contract, then hold that position for one second before slowly returning your head and shoulders to the floor. Be sure not to move your hips, like a sit-up motion, to keep from putting your low-back in a comprising position. Perform 10-15 repetitions for 3-4 sets.
Wall-Sits: Lean your back against a wall and slide into a squat position. Make sure your back is flat against the wall and your knees are at a 90-degree angle, so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Press your back flat against the wall to assist your legs in maintaining proper posture. Perform 2 sets holding this position for as long as you can without sacrificing posture.
Bird Dog: While on your hands and knees, make sure that your back is flat and parallel to the ground. It is important that your back is both flat and parallel to the ground the entire time while performing this movement. Remove two opposing balance points at the same time by reaching back with your left leg and reaching out with your right arm. Then return to your starting position, and complete the same motion with your right leg and your left arm. Complete 8-12 repetitions for 2-3 sets.
These are some of the best exercises for truck drivers to avoid pain while driving. Use these movements and stretches during your rest period to feel more comfortable during long distance travel and to strengthen your low-back, knees, and feet.
It is important to remember this article is not medical advice or a treatment plan. This content is for general education and demonstration purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always consult your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.