Celebrating Thanksgiving Over the Road? Try These 3 RecipesLiving the life of a trucker, means sometimes celebrating holidays away from home. Sure, you could stop at any truck stop and treat it like any other day. But if you’re alone and celebrating Thanksgiving over the road, you might want to make a special meal exactly to your personal preferences. And if you do, it’s a great way to ensure you’ve got leftovers that will save some money for the rest of the week. So, if you’re planning on celebrating Thanksgiving this year away from home, here are 3 recipe ideas to get your meal planning started.

Making a Turkey

Courtesy of allrecipes.com

Nothing says celebrating Thanksgiving like a cooked turkey dinner. And it can be done in a truck. If you have a slow cooker, you can make a delicious turkey in just a few hours. Using a full turkey or a boneless one, and just a few ingredients, you can have a perfectly cooked turkey. This recipe’s comment is full of comments on how to modify the original recipe. But for the basics, this one is a great one to get that traditional turkey to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

Stuffing as a Side Dish

Courtesy of midwestliving.com

Using your crock pot again, or instant-pot, you can have a great traditional side dish for your turkey. Featuring all the traditional flavors: walnuts, cranberries and hearty bread added to classic sage-and-onion stuffing, all made on the truck. This recipe is a great step-by-step on how to make some great Thanksgiving stuffing. And no oven necessary. You can easily modify to your personal preferences, and this makes enough for quite a few meals for a trucker for the week.

Vegetable Twist for Lower Carb Diets

Courtesy of healthyrecipesblogs.com

There are countless vegetable side dish recipes online. Traditional side dishes for celebrating Thanksgiving, could be a green bean casserole, or any number of ways to prepare potatoes. Mashed or sweet. One way to try something different is to substitute cauliflower for traditional mashed potatoes. And for those looking to make something a little lighter and lower-carb, this recipe is a perfect one to compliment your Thanksgiving meal.

 

Lastly, if you’re out in the Boise, ID area, you’ve got a great option. On Thanksgiving Day, the Boise Stage Stop will give you a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner for Free. It’s their annual Driver Appreciation event, and along with the dinner, there’s a chance to win prizes. Valid CDL gets you the meal, and there’s nothing to clean up when you’re done!

Hopefully these ideas give you a great start on your Thanksgiving Meal planning. If you’ve got some other great recipes that would be good for other truckers celebrating Thanksgiving over the road, head on over to our Facebook page and share your best ideas. Helping fellow drivers make holidays away from home, is always a welcomed idea!

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Dashboard Cameras: The Pros and Cons

Dashboard cameras are becoming an important and controversial evolving issue in the trucking industry. Drivers, carriers, regulators, and industry experts all have an opinion on them. Some say that dashboard cameras are important tools to improve protection and liability. Others insist that dashboard cameras are an invasion of a driver’s privacy and show a lack of respect for their judgment.

At Drive My Way, we held a poll for drivers’ opinions on dashcams, and the responses were great! Here’s everything you need to know about the pros and cons of dashboard cameras.

Pros: Liability and protection

Many people are in favor of dashboard cameras because of safety and liability issues.

As truck driver Steve commented on our Facebook poll, “Outward facing cameras are great. They can be used to prove fault in accidents.”

Whether or not people realize it, the truth is that passenger vehicles are responsible for the majority of truck crashes. Two independent studies by The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), found that cars are at fault from 71-91% of the time in fatal crashes with trucks. Even though the data suggests that truckers shouldn’t be liable for the crashes, it’s often the drivers or the carriers that end up paying the bill or taking the responsibility. Dashboard cameras facing outwards can easily show a record of the incident in detail, including who was at fault for a crash or accident.

They provide a constant eye in the case of danger and damage.

Dashcams can help protect truck drivers from any wrongful allegation with proof that they did nothing wrong. With the high cost of insurance and damage, it’s no wonder more drivers are carriers are electing to install dashcams, at least the forward-facing ones!

Cons: Privacy and micromanagement

On the other hand, many people are against dashboard cameras for privacy reasons, especially if they are facing inward.

As truck driver GS Bass told us, “I feel the cab is my personal space, private, my domicile while working. I know companies can dip into any inward camera and observe.” Similarly, another driver, Eric, observed, “This is my home when it’s not moving.”

It’s important to remember that truck drivers use their cab as a home away from home. It’s not just their office, but their dining room, living room, and bedroom. How would others feel if Big Brother was snooping in their personal space? Truck drivers are understandably concerned that this video footage is available to carriers and other unknown entities out there, without having any say in the matter!

Another reason to be against dashboard cameras is micromanagement of a driver’s decisions. Let’s say you have a trucker who has been a great driver for over 10 years and has deep experience with making the best driving decisions. Dashboard cameras allow the carrier to scrutinize and judge every decision a driver makes, without understanding its nuances and consequences.

Steve told us, “They make driving less safe because we now drive for the camera. If a traffic light turns yellow and you have to brake even minutely hard, it causes the camera to go off. We then get called in and coached on hard brakes. This coaching gets put in your record and you accumulate points for it. If someone pulls out in front of you, and you hit the brakes too hard, points. If you’re listening to the radio too loud when the camera comes on, or taking a drink of coffee, or looking out your side windows (like checking your mirrors), points.”

Understandably, drivers don’t want to be coached on the details of driving by someone who has never driven a rig!

A potential solution

While there is significant debate over the merits of dashboard cameras, there may be room for compromise and middle ground. Many truck drivers would be amenable to forward-facing cameras if they don’t have to deal with the inward cameras. The benefits of forward-facing cameras are undeniable to both truckers and carriers. If carriers take this too far with inward facing cameras, they will face resistance because of privacy concerns.

Another consideration is how much flexibility and freedom carriers choose to give individual drivers. If a carrier decides to institute a dashboard camera policy without consulting with their drivers, they will likely not be happy about it. Even if a good decision is forced upon people, we are likely to resist it.

On the other hand, if a carrier allows drivers to make their own decisions about dashboard cameras, and just educate them on the pros and cons, they may find that more and more drivers will voluntarily elect to install cameras.

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working through the holidays

The end-of-year holiday season is a difficult time for truckers, as many of them are on the road and away from families. While the traditional office job may come with a week’s vacation for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, truck drivers don’t always have that luxury. Americans have spent well over $500 million during the holiday season each of the last five years, and that trend isn’t expected to change. This translates to more truck drivers working tirelessly on the road to deliver freight like holiday gifts and merchandise. With the added pressure to work, it can be tricky for drivers to spend time with family and do holiday shopping of their own. If you’re a truck driver working through the holidays, here are 3 tips for success.

Tip 1: Don’t overwork!

Drivers are more likely to overwork and overextend themselves during this time of year. As carriers are pressed hard over the holidays, they’ll incentivize or pressure you to work more. The potential of making extra cash can be very tempting, especially when you see fellow drivers making the same decision.

Be careful about spreading yourself too thin and overworking during this special time of year!

Becoming a workaholic is a constant danger for truckers, but the holidays are an especially bad time to do it. If you overwork now, you’ll risk either not seeing your family as much, or being exhausted when you finally do spend time together.

Exhaustion and fatigue won’t help you or your carrier either, as you’ll be more likely to make a mistake. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t take advantage of opportunities to deliver a few more runs and make some extra cash. Just make sure you are comfortable with the home time you’re giving up for it. Work-life balance involves trade-offs and sacrificing family time can be tough if you’re working through the holidays. Take on extra work with moderation and balance in mind.

Tip 2: Use technology to your advantage

For drivers who will be working through the holidays, there isn’t much extra time for holiday shopping. Using your phone or mobile device can be an excellent way to stay on top of the holiday shopping list. With online shopping sales soaring over during the season, many consumers don’t need to spend time visiting stores. For drivers working over the road, you can easily spend five or ten minutes browsing sites like Amazon, eBay, or Target for your gift-giving needs.

Mobile technology can also help you stay in touch with family and loved ones if you’re on the road many days at a time. Use popular video messaging apps like FaceTime or Skype to add a personal touch to your calls home. Many other apps allow you to create custom holiday cards and messages to send across the country. Finally, you can use music streaming services like Spotify or Pandora to listen to holiday music while on the road. Just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bask in the holiday spirit. You can share the same tunes and tracks with family members, which will help you feel even more connected to them.

Tip 3: Don’t seek perfection

Sometimes the holidays bring out not just our better qualities, but some of our worse instincts as well. Seeking the perfect holiday is one of them. Aiming for perfection while working through the holidays is a recipe for disaster. Remember that if you’re spending time with family, it’s less important what you do together than just being there in the first place.

This may be a good time to remember all the lessons from the classic Christmas movies we grew up watching. Whether it’s the story of the Grinch, Ebeneezer Scrooge, or It’s a Wonderful Life, they all teach us that it’s the simple things in life that make the holidays worth it. The holiday spirit and cheer come from being good to others and spending time with loved ones – not from perfect gifts or celebrations.

Don’t seek the perfect holiday celebration, the perfect gift, or even the perfect amount of home time.

Since your work-life balance will require trade-offs, there’s no way you can have it all during the holidays. So instead of fighting it, embrace it and enjoy the holidays for what they are. Your family and loved ones will remember the quality time you spent together, and not care about the rest.

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rush hour traffic

Rush hour is dreaded by anyone who commutes on the road. Office workers will do anything to try and leave work early to beat the traffic. Since traffic is heavier, everything takes longer, and passenger vehicle drivers can get antsy. Truck drivers are all too aware that rush hour driving can get maddening. Unlike passenger vehicle drivers, CDL drivers are paid professionals who need to keep their wits about them to survive in rush hour traffic. Here are 3 tips for truck drivers to navigate rush hour traffic.

1. Remember following distance

Rush hour can be extremely frustrating with its pace of movement being so slow. Many drivers may be tempted to ride another vehicle’s rear in an effort to speed them along! Remember that this is probably not going to be effective. They’re in the same boat as you, and if they could move faster, they probably would. Maintaining close distance to the vehicle in front of you won’t speed things along, but it can be dangerous. Remember that trucks require a greater stopping distance between vehicles. It takes longer for trucks to stop and this can be dangerous for surrounding vehicles.

lambyWe talked to Lamby, an experienced truck driver, and she shared some great tips for navigating rush hour traffic. She said, “Give yourself at least two or three lines in between you and the car in front of you. Remember we’re bigger than them, so one wrong move and they’re toast.”

2. Take your time

Sure, it’s called rush hour, but that doesn’t mean you should have to rush. In fact, it will help truckers to take their time more. Truckers need to maintain a Zen-like calm, especially if everyone else on the road is feeling rushed. One wrong move by anyone could cause a crash.

Lamby shared, “Even though it’s named rush hour does not mean you rush. Take your time. Other people are stupid out there. You’re supposed to be the professional and paid for it, so you have a higher standard and license requirements. So just take your time, make sure before you make the turn that you double check, and you’ll be fine.”

Take your time to check your surroundings and anticipate where vehicles are moving. Use your turn signals, anticipate traffic patterns, and drive defensively. Don’t forget that trucks will have larger blind spots, or “no zones”. Other vehicles can be practically invisible to you if caught in your no-zone, so you need to know they exist before they get there.

3. Rush hour or rush hours?!

Just like the Jackie Chan movies, perhaps there are too many rush hours. Different regions or areas will have different start and end times to their rush hours.

Lamby shared, “Rush hour in any state always starts at 3:30 to 6:30 PM for night time in the morning we’ll always be from 4:30 to 7:30 AM. That’s what I’ve noticed out on the road, and I always try to either beat it by getting up earlier or parking it earlier if the load allows it.”

Anticipating the timing of rush hour traffic will help you be prepared for it, or help you avoid it.

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How to Find the Best Trucking Jobs for YouFinding a new trucking job usually isn’t too tough for a good driver. But finding the perfect fit trucking jobs for any driver can take a little bit more effort. There’s plenty of job boards, and social media postings out there for drivers to sift through. As well as the seemingly endless emails and phone calls truck drivers get daily. It can turn into information overload, with no real path to the right answer. With all of the information out there, here’s 4 ways to find the best trucking jobs for you.

1. Know what you want

“Job prospects are projected to be very good for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers with the proper training and a clean driving record.” —Bureau of Labor Statistics

If you’ve just started looking into being a driver, or if you’ve been trucking for 20+ years, you need to know what type of job is the best trucking job for you right now. As time passes, things change, and your personal and professional needs change too. A new driver might be all about logging miles and making money. A more seasoned driver might be needing a change to be closer to home most of the time. In any case, be sure to keep a log of all the things that must be a part of your next job. As well as all of the things that you’d never want to do again.

Once you’ve got that list of preferences dialed-in, be sure to be clear in your conversations, or in your electronic profiles, of exactly what you want. And then don’t settle for less than that!

2. Do your homework

Truckers subscribe to various podcasts, video channels and social media outlets that provide content about all things in a truckers life. Use these channels to help you research your next job. Find out who pays well and who doesn’t. Listen to other drivers when they talk about benefits and how well they’re treated by their company. Follow the blogs and newsletter that give you data about retention and longevity with a company. The right opportunity is there for you to find the best trucking jobs for your next move.

3. Pay attention at truck stops

A quick stop and a stroll through the parking lot at a truck stop can be an opportunity to learn a lot. Talking with other drivers, checking out carriers’ equipment, and otherwise being immersed in “what’s out there”, can be a great way to find the next place you want to work. Or conversely, the places you should avoid.

Old equipment that needs a lot of work or listening to drivers complain about their working conditions give you all you need to know about where the wrong jobs might be. Take note, and be sure to avoid their calls and emails.

4. Create a profile with Drive My Way

One great way to do make sure you don’t miss a great match is to keep your profile and preference current on DriveMyWay.com. Once logged in, you can keep your changing preferences about types of driving, how much time away from home and other personal preferences up-to-date. So when a perfect fit job gets listed, you can be the first to know. If you haven’t yet filled out a profile, you can get started here. It’s fast and is a great first step to changing the way you look for your next trucking gig.

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halloween safety tips

It’s that time of year again when ghosts, goblins, witches, and superheroes roam the streets in search of candy. As trick-or-treaters scour for goodies around neighborhoods, truck drivers need to practice extra caution while on the job. The trucking profession always requires drivers to remember the public’s safety. Halloween can be even trickier since there will be more children and parents near the road. Here are 4 Halloween safety tips for truck drivers.

1. Avoid certain areas

There are certain places which truck drivers should try to avoid during this spooky season. Avoid roads that make you pass by schools and parks. Same goes for any area where there may be events and Halloween festivities taking place. Trucks don’t usually need to pass through small streets and neighborhoods, but this would be a time to really avoid them. Be sure to drive slower and be extra vigilant if some of these places cannot be avoided.

2. Keep watchful

While you can try to avoid certain areas, sometimes trick-or-treaters will spill over to other places. There might be more parents, cars, and children in unexpected locations. Truck drivers need to remain watchful and vigilant for children who may dart out into the street.

Be particularly careful around crosswalks, intersections, and the sides of the road.

If you see one child, there are likely more close-by. Don’t assume that parents or adults will always be accompanying their kids around the area.

3. Don’t get distracted

While truck drivers usually are mindful about not being distracted behind the wheel, everyone slips up now and again. You may have gained a certain degree of comfort with being slightly distracted because nothing has gone wrong yet.

Don’t let that confidence make you too comfortable- Halloween is definitely not the day to get distracted!

Don’t use your mobile device while behind the wheel or get distracted by a snack or drink. Remember that a split second not paying attention to the road can make all the difference for a child who decided to sprint across the street without looking.

4. Driving tips

While most of the Halloween safety tips involve being careful around the behavior of others, there are some driving tips you can follow yourself. Always use your turn signal on this day to indicate your intentions to others. Along with neighborhoods and small streets, make sure to drive slow around driveways and intersections. Don’t pass vehicles that have stopped in the road since they may be dropping off children. Try to avoid reversing entirely, since you won’t get a complete look if anyone is behind you.

With these Halloween safety tips in mind, you’ll be all set for safe driving this spooky season!

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Tips for Women Truck DriversBeing a woman driver in the male-dominated trucking industry comes with a unique set of challenges. Driving provides women truckers with many of the same advantages as it does to men—independence, flexibility, and the opportunity to travel across the country.

But the obstacles don’t affect men and women truckers equally. Women truck drivers have to think about the job, safety, and hygiene differently. While the industry is starting to change to become more friendly toward women, there’s still much work to be done. Until then, here are 7 tips for women truck drivers.

work life balance women truck drivers1. Work-life balance

While work-life balance should be important for all truckers, it’s sometimes not as important to men. Carriers may become used to offering insufficient home time and opportunities for balance simply because men aren’t as vocal about these concerns as women. Women truck drivers may find themselves on the short end of the stick simply because their male counterparts aren’t asking for more!

We spoke to Heather, a truck driver with 2 years of experience. She said, “I did OTR just long enough to get a little experience to find a local job. I have 3 boys so I wanted to be local as soon as possible. Was a VERY LONG 7 months, and I learned everything in the winter months in the snow and ice.”

Communication with your fleet manager or leader is essential to ensuring that you get the work-life balance you deserve. In fact, women drivers shouldn’t be waiting that long to start discussions around home time. Communicating with recruiters that this is a priority for you will set you on the right path to achieving the kind of balanced lifestyle you’re looking for.

2. Safety in your truck

The trucking industry can be tough on women for reasons of safety simply because they are on the road. There’s no predicting what kinds of characters you can run into across the country and in truck stops. Solo drivers may feel particularly uncomfortable if shady characters become aware that they are driving alone.

We spoke to Michele, a truck driver with a few months of experience so far in the industry. She suggests that solo drivers keep their bunk curtains closed at all times. “Let people think there [is] someone sleeping in the back even while you’re driving,” she advises.

Michele also notes that placing a team driving sticker on your truck will also create the impression that you are not traveling alone, and she highly recommends this trick to other women drivers.

truck stop safety tips3. Safety at a truck stop

Truck stops are notorious for being minefields for women truck drivers. Although many truck stops are taking measures to improve conditions and become more woman-friendly, they can’t control the behavior of the characters who lurk around.

We encourage women to know precautions to take to stay safe at truck stops.

Heather said, “When walking through the truck stop at night, have something handy in case you need to protect yourself.”

Although violence at truck stops is rare, there are always safety precautions people can take.

4. Behind the wheel

Some of the women truck drivers we spoke to had specific advice about staying behind the wheel. Road conditions can become dangerous during nighttime or the winter season.

Michele recommends that women truck drivers pre-plan and keep checking their routes, especially in the winter. She states, “Just because it was open 2 hours ago, doesn’t mean it’s open later.”

Heather listens to forensic files and chews gum to help keep her awake during night driving. She encourages women drivers to pull over if needed and states, “If road conditions become too treacherous, just stop! Freight can wait!”

5. Hygiene

Women truck drivers will have specific concerns about hygiene that male drivers won’t. And unfortunately, sometimes male drivers, fleet managers, or truck stop employees may be unaware or unsympathetic to these issues.

Heather said that one of the biggest lessons she learned from her OTR driving days is to always have baby wipes handy. She also recommends to “keep an empty big gulp cup because they are the easiest to pee into.”

Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but with OTR driving, the stops can be few and far between, so it’s better to be prepared in the case of emergencies!

women truck drivers6. Reach out to other women drivers

While it may seem easy to understand the concerns of women drivers, or imagine what the job will be like, there’s no way to know until someone has done it. We recommend completing some research about what to expect, but there’s no substitute for speaking with other women truck drivers who’ve been there themselves.

Reaching out to other women truck drivers will give you an inside look at what issues they’ve been facing and how they’ve handled them. As you speak to more women drivers, you’ll build a network of colleagues who have each others’ back and can work together. You may also want to connect with organizations like Women in Trucking, which focus on addressing these obstacles.

7. Find the right carrier

While women drivers can take certain measures themselves, they can’t do it all alone. It takes a community that values women’s issues and concerns in the trucking industry.

Before signing with your next carrier, do some research and find out which carriers value their women drivers.

Some carriers will do more to promote career opportunities, improve conditions, and deliver resources needed to address women’s issues in trucking. A company’s culture can have a large impact on a woman truck driver’s sense of belonging, identity, and purpose. Finding a carrier that aligns with your own values will help you feel comfortable and secure in a male-dominated industry.

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truck driver depression

Truck drivers spend a significant time away from home. They might not have much quality time with family and friends for long stretches of time. Truckers might spend most of their day without actually talking to anyone face-to-face. Compound this with an extremely high-stress job, and it’s probably not too difficult for a trucker to develop some feelings of loneliness and anxiety. If those feelings don’t get addressed properly, true depression can soon follow. Here are 3 ways to overcome truck driver depression.

What is Depression?

Almost everyone has days when they’re just not feeling 100% happy. Or maybe a mild stretch of feeling sad over something. But actual depression is different. It’s when these feeling last more than a few weeks. And the symptoms cause physical changes to a person’s everyday life. Symptoms can range from mild things like loss of sleep, mood swings, or lack of energy. Sometimes symptoms can be more severe, and result in someone not able to get out of bed or leave their house for days. Truck driver depression rates are almost 2 times that of the general population..

More than 17 million U.S. adults—over 7% of the population—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.  – National Alliance on Mental Illness

Tip 1: Recognize and React

Be receptive to your own thoughts and feelings. Also be accepting of others asking you if you’re doing ok. Once you’re aware that there’s an issue, you can work to make changes to help address it. Truck drivers usually have time in the evenings to do their research. Take that alone time and flip it from a negative to a positive. Listen to a good mental health podcast. Start to put together plans to begin to feel better, and stay ahead of things should symptoms arise again the future.

Tip 2: Don’t Make Things Worse

Rather than dealing with any type of problem, some people think that things will just get better or try to fix it themselves. Or some people prefer to not seek help when they don’t feel great, and just hope things go away. With depression, it’s not always just that easy. Thinking this way often leads people to try and mask systems by abusing alcohol or drugs. Or taking out anger and frustrations on friends or loved ones. Truck drivers already have a high rate of drug/alcohol abuse. Seek help as soon as you recognize symptoms. This is something that’s not just going to go away on it’s own if left untreated.

Tip 3: Plan to Stay Healthy

Once truck driver depression is being treated, it’s time to start planning ahead to make sure they stay healthy. There’s plenty of resources out there that help find ways to reduce stress. There’s plenty of ways to stay in touch with your family and friends while away from home. And lastly, there’s plenty of ways to keep your mind and body in shape with a good diet and plenty of exercise out on the road.

Changing Times

The stigma associated with mental disorders and illness continue to decrease. People with depression issues no longer need to hide in the shadows alone. There are more support organizations and resources available than there ever have been. Some trucking companies even offer mental health benefits and resources specifically to their drivers. Truck driver depression is something that can be identified, treated and overcome when the driver connects with the right resources.

If you or someone you know are struggling with depression, and need someone to talk to, please seek help. If you can’t get in touch with your doctor. a great place to seek help is through the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET. 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org.

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The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

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plant based dietFollowing a plant-based diet has become a well-accepted, and effective way to get healthier. These types of eating plans are especially good for those looking to improve their heart health due to drastically reducing saturated fats and cholesterol. For truckers, life on the road can make it difficult to follow this strict way of eating. Especially when not at home every day to prepare meals. But with a little planning and some kitchen basics, it is possible. Here are some ideas for truck drivers looking to master a plant-based diet over the road.

The Plant-Based Basics

Eating plant-based means that most, or even all, calories come from plants. This includes fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts. Plant-based does not necessarily equal becoming a vegan. For most, eating plant-based means cutting back on meat & dairy overall, but not eliminating them 100%. Some people choose to ease into this way of life by cutting back little by little, each day. Or perhaps eating only vegetarian one or 2 days per week. The Meatless Monday trend came about just for that reason! And that’s a great place for those looking to find a way to change their diets slowly.

Not Every Plant-Based Diet Is Created Equal

If you’ve made the decision to start following a plant-based diet, there’s a few different ways to do it.

Swapping out meat and dairy for healthy vegetables and nut milks, can bring about weight loss and better heart health. But swapping out meat and dairy for a diet laden heavy with potatoes, rice and increased grains might actually lead to weight gain, even though it’s actually plant-based.

Researching all of the variations of this way of eating and working with your doctor to help you choose a plan is recommended before starting any new diets.

Heart Health

A plant-based diet is the only diet that has been shown to not only prevent—but to reverse—advanced-stage cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes says Julieanna Hever, California-based nutritionist, founder of Plant-Based Dietitian and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition.

On the Go

Meal-prepping before your trips is key to keeping on track with a plant-based diet. Having a plentiful supply of clean and ready fruits and vegetables handy for snacks is a great start. That can also make things easier when cooking meals for the workweek. There are great recipes for vegetarian soups, stews, and casseroles. And for those days when it might be tough to find a healthy dinner and you don’t have anything prepped it’s good to have a backup plan. Plant-based protein powders or protein bars are great options when in a pinch.

There are ways to eat a plant-based diet at fast food restaurants as well. Besides focusing only on salad bars, many restaurants are catering to those looking for more meat and dairy-less options. There are some great resources available that can help make good fast-food choices when on the road.

Try a plant-based diet to get heart-healthy while over the road. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page. We’d love to share your great ideas with our our trucker family online.

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

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owner operator

Becoming an owner operator is even more challenging than it sounds. While many company drivers aspire to become owner operators, it’s not meant for everyone. Becoming your own boss in trucking will give you more independence and flexibility but comes with new responsibilities. Generally, you’ll want to consider being an owner operator only after years of experience on the road as a company driver. Even those who would make good owner operators aren’t ready until they’ve invested a great deal in the trucking industry. Here are 5 signs that you’re ready to become an owner operator.

1. Enough experience

Experience is the biggest factor you’ll need to take into consideration before becoming an owner operator. How many years have you spent as a company driver? For how many carriers? There are many things you need to take into consideration before being sure that you’re ready to be an owner operator. Experience gives you familiarity with not just driving, but with the industry and the lifestyle. If you know the ins and outs of the industry, it’s a good sign you’re ready to become an owner operator. Don’t forget the lifestyle. If you’re not a big fan of the long hours on the road and the time away from home, being an owner operator may not be for you. If you’ve adapted to the advantages of the lifestyle, along with the challenges it brings, then it’s a good sign you’re ready to become an owner operator. 

2. Financially prepared

Being financially prepared is another important factor before making your decision. Make no mistake about it, starting your own operation requires you to have access to cash, and lots of it. You’ll need strong credit to take out the loans needed or dig into your savings to finance your operation. The biggest expense, of course, is the equipment. Making a large down payment on your truck will keep your equipment payments lower. You’ll also need cash for insurance, meals, maintenance and repair, or other expenses. You’ll have to ask yourself if you’re willing to risk losing everything.

If you’re successful, you could be making over $100,000, but many more owner operators will be struggling before they start making a profit.

You should have a backup financial plan in case things turn south. It helps to have a solid understanding of your finances, so you know how much you need to make in order to break even or turn a profit. Its important to set a budget for your own personal expenses and for expected business costs. Your health, family’s expenses, kids’ tuition costs, and retirement plans should all factor into this. Talk to a reliable and trustworthy financial adviser before starting as an owner operator. Being in a strong financial position is a good sign that you’re ready to become an owner operator.

3. Personal life

Having experience and money isn’t enough for being an owner operator. You need to make sure the decision is the right one for your personal and home life. The lifestyle can be all-consuming so most owner operators have either a very stable relationship that can survive the distance, or no current relationship. Many owner operators are out on the road for longer stretches of time than company drivers. The trade-off is that you may have more days at home with family before the next job takes you out again. You’ll have to decide if that benefit is worth it. Some drivers forget that even if they’re home for longer periods of time, they’ll be working more hours at home simply to take care of the business side.

The added responsibility of running your own business may take a toll on family life.

You’ll also need to consider health as a factor. If you have serious health issues right now, it could be an impediment toward becoming an owner operator. It’ll be difficult to run the business and drive for long runs if you’re expecting to be receiving constant treatment or paying medical bills. There are always chances that unexpected health issues may arise in the future. However, you should plan around any known health conditions. Being in good health without any expected illnesses is a good sign you’re ready to become an owner operator.

4. Business preparedness

If you’ve taken the time to become business savvy, it’s a good sign you’re ready to become an owner operator.

The independence of being your own boss comes with the responsibility of running your own business, but not every driver is ready for it.

Regulations, compliance, cost per mile, gross revenue, maintenance costs, tax filing and accounting are only a few of the various aspects of a job. You’ll also need to create a basic budget and a medium-term business plan. How many jobs will you take per month? How long will you run your own operation and what will you do afterwards? Some preparation on these matters makes you ready to become an owner operator.

Take some time to research about the basic of finance and accounting. The trucking industry is also heavily regulated. As an owner operator, you’ll need to be aware of all the regulations ahead of time, and make sure you are in compliance. Some drivers speak to legal and business advisers before making important decisions and to learn more about the risks involved. A trucker who has been a company driver for a few years and hasn’t learned much about the business or legal side will likely not thrive as an owner operator.

5. Networking, research, and more networking

Being an owner operator means finding your own jobs and companies to partner with. You’ll need to investigate which companies are honest and trustworthy many months and even years before you get started. Familiarity with the companies is helpful but nothing beats partnering with a good carrier you’ve already driven for as a company driver. When you can’t work with the same company, its essential to speak with other owner operators to find out what they’re saying. What’s their take on the best companies? Which companies should be avoided? Keeping your pulse on the current situation will make you the most prepared before deciding who to partner with.

Look for carriers with owner operators who have been with them for a long time.

Becoming an owner operator is the holy grail of trucking. Sometimes it may seem like an inevitable place to reach since many drivers consider it and some actually pull it off successfully. Still, the added benefits come with new responsibilities which not every driver is prepared for. If you’re thinking about becoming an owner operator eventually, you’ll have to start preparing years in advance. When you’ve put in the work, you’ll start to feel more and more confident. Once that happens, look for these 5 signs that you’re ready to become an owner operator.

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