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dealing with homesickness over the road

A professional truck driver might spend a significant amount of time away from home. They miss out on family events, children’s milestones, and spending time with their friends. After driving for a while, it can become a part of a driver’s normal day-to-day reality. But for a new driver, or a driver new to being gone for days or weeks at a time, homesickness over the road can be a tough thing. If that’s something you’re dealing with, here are 4 helpful tips for dealing with homesickness over the road.

1. Recognize the symptoms of homesickness when they start

Feelings of anxiety or sadness can strike without warning. Or feeling sad when you’ve packed up and headed out for another week away from your family. One of the best ways to deal with homesickness is to recognize and acknowledge it as soon as it starts. Missing your home and family is normal. For many drivers it’s a reality of the profession. So it’s important to know that everyone feels this way sometimes, and it doesn’t help to try and push the feelings aside and not deal with them.

2. Stay busy with a new hobby

Find ways to keep yourself busy when you’re not driving. Picking up a new hobby is a great way to keep your mind busy. Learning how to do something new can help boost your mental state and drive away feeling of anxiety. Photography, staring an interesting collection or even picking up an instrument are great hobbies for truckers. Keeping your mind busy when you’re away from home can be a great help to your overall mental health.

3. Take your family with you

Make your home away from home, feel like home. Bring the family along with you over the road! Keep a few favorite pictures in the cab of your truck. Skype your family into scenic stops along the way. Or have them call you from special family gatherings or school milestones you’re going to miss. Make plans to call and check in each night when possible. Sometimes virtually being there with your family can be enough to help squash some of those feelings of homesickness while you’re away. In addition, some trucking companies also let you travel with your spouse. If this is important to you, be sure to ask this question when going through the interview process.

4. Travel with a pet

Bring your dog with you! If your carrier allows you to drive with your dog, bring him along. Travelling with a pet can help your well-being in many ways. It give you someone to talk to during the day, a reason to get some exercise each day, and a way to be social in an otherwise isolated environment. Having a constant reminder of home with you as you drive can help reduce those feelings of homesickness.

Also, by bringing your dog along with you, you have a perfect opportunity to interact with other drivers.

Having your dog with you when you’re at a truck, makes for an easy conversation starter with other truckers. Everyone loves to talk about their dogs and ask about other people’s dogs. This ensures a few times each day you’ve got a built-in reason to strike up a conversation with someone, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

As mentioned above, everyone gets sad and feels lonely sometimes. With any changes to your overall mood, it’s smart to be honest and open about your feelings. If you notice your feelings of homesickness are turning into something more extensive, be sure to reach out and tell someone. A little bit of homesickness vs. about with depression, could be better addressed with an honest conversation with your doctor.

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

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CDL B license
Considering getting a commercial driver’s license, also known as a CDL? There are 3 options when first starting: Class A CDL, Class B CDL or Class C CDL. Each type of license has its own training and testing procedures, and there are pros and cons to each. Depending on your career plans, any of these might be the right fit for you. Here we’re going to explore what you need to know when getting a Class B CDL License.

1. The basics of a Class B CDL

Though getting a Class A CDL endorsement may open up the most job opportunities for a driver, a Class B CDL licence can provide a driver with a great career. A Class B CDL is a restricted license as you are not allowed to drive large tractors that tow 10,000 pounds or more.

From the Federal Motor Carrier Association, “Any single vehicle which has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 11,794 or more kilograms (26,001 pounds or more). Or any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight that does not exceed  4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds).

2. What vehicles a CDL B driver can operate

With a Class B icense, a trucker can drive any vehicles endorsed for Class B or Class C. Some of these vehicles are:

  • Straight trucks
  • Large passenger buses (city buses, tourist buses, and school buses)
  • Segmented buses
  • Box trucks (including delivery trucks and furniture trucks)
  • Dump trucks with small trailers
  • Garbage trucks / Cement mixers
  • Tractor-trailers

3. Age requirements

For a Class B CDL, the driver age requirement in some states is only 18 years or older. In these cases, this is a great opportunity for a new driver to start earlier and gain valuable experience over the road. After only 3 short years, a CDL B driver can be ready to test for the CDL A license if they’re looking to driver bigger rigs, longer distances. Please check with your local state licensing board for the most specific information for your state.

4. Where can a Class B licensed trucker drive?

If you’re a driver looking to stay closer to home, the Class B CDL might be a great option for you. Running routes locally or regionally in the Class B vehicles, can be a good option. Drivers looking to be movers, delivery drivers, bus drivers, garbage truck drivers, etc. will all need a Class B CDL.

No matter what type of license and endorsements you pursue, the key is to make sure you’re matched with the best fit trucking job for you. If you’re a newly minted CDL driver looking for your first gig, or you’ve been driving for years, let Drive My Way help you get connected with the perfect job for you.

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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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Today’s job of the day comes from Ergon Trucking Inc.

Ergon is a world class, family owned liquid tank carrier. A fleet of 156 trucks, 421 tanks and 161 owner/operators logs more than 25,000,000 miles each year in service to more than 200 satisfied customers nationwide.

Currently, Ergon Trucking is hiring Owner Operators in multiple locations in the Northeast.

In addition, Ergon Trucking requires the following for these positions:

  1. A minimum of 1 year experience in the operation of tractor/trailer equipment.
  2. Valid CDL A with Tank and Hazmat endorsements
  3. No more than 2 moving violations in the last 36 months
  4. Must be 23 years old
  5. No drug or alcohol convictions in the last 10 years. No felonies
  6. Able to pass DOT drug test and physical. Must meet all FMCSA guidelines

The company driver jobs offer up to $90,000 per year, a great benefits package, and late model Peterbilts and Kenworths with manual transmissions.

Interested in applying?

Learn more about the job requirements, benefits, pay and more.

Learn More & Apply

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.

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

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home timeTruck drivers have a tough job. Driving thousands of miles each week can mean many nights away from home. It can add up to hundreds of nights away from their own bed each year. Though the paychecks might be great, all those nights away can take a toll on mental health and overall stress levels.

Of the mental health concerns that truck drivers experience, loneliness tops the list. Nearly a third of drivers say being alone all day and away from their family is a “significant issue affecting their mental health. – Business Insider

For truckers looking to spend more time with their family and friends, here’s 4 ways to increase your home time.

1. Run the Same Short Routes

If you look for routes that are about 200 miles each way, you can run those daily and be home every night. The more you focus on finding those jobs, and being consistent in your work, it can lead to a highly predictable and efficient schedule. You’ll most likely find cost and time savings as well. If predictability and repeating routines are your cup of tea as a trucker, this is the best type of work to maximize your home time.

2. Be Flexible

If you keep an open mind on working weekends, it could lead to more time at home over the course of a year. Consider working holidays as well. If you can convince yourself that weekends and holiday are just like any other workday, you could find yourself being rewarded for working when others won’t. There could even be some bonus money in it for you depending on your carrier.

3. Put in Your Time

Driver schedules usually get better with time. The longer you stay with a carrier, the higher priority you get when choosing routes. Newbie drivers tend to have to grind out the least desirable routes while gaining seniority. This can translate to the most miles away from home. But if you can grind it out and put in the time, you could eventually find yourself first in line for the prime routes. And the most time at home as well. Stick with it!

4. Be Okay with Less Pay

Some carriers offer great options for drivers to increase their home time. You can find opportunities where you might work 7 days on, and then have the following 7 days at home. Find jobs that are setup with these unique types of schedules. Find ways to be okay with the trade-off in pay. You’ll find that you can certainly have plenty of time at home.

Truckers are always seeking ways to improve their work-life balance. Finding ways to spend more quality home time is usually at the top of the list. We’ve given you 4 tips to help you strike that balance, and increase your time spent with family and friends. Do you have a great tip for your fellow drivers? Drop them in the comment box at the bottom of this page.

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Fall is almost here, and that means cold and flu season is just around the corner. Everyone has to deal with germs every day. And most people try to stay mindful of how to avoid sickness and stay healthy. Though many people can keep their workplace as clean as they’d like, truckers just don’t have that luxury. Your surroundings are always changing. You interact with tons of people (directly and indirectly) at every truck stop or loading dock you encounter each day. Every one of those interactions might have the potential to make you sick if you’re not careful. So, for you truck drivers, here’s 3 tips for avoiding sickness over the road.

Take care of yourself

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Knowing this, you should do what you can to keep yourself healthy. See your doctor at least once per year. Take all your necessary medications and supplements as needed. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. Eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise. Reduce your stress levels. Get enough sleep. These simple things can keep your body in tip-top shape to help you fight germs and avoid sickness year-round.

Wash your hands

The easiest, and most effective thing for avoiding sickness is to wash your hands frequently. Every time you leave your truck cab, wash your hands before you return. Wash them before you use your phone again.

Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. Center for Disease Control

Use soap and water every time if possible. If you can’t get to a sink, keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket. Keeping your hands clean can reduce your chances of getting sick. Bonus tip: wipe down your phone a few times each day as well. Your phone can be dirtier than a toilet seat!

Know what to do if the flu strikes

Sometimes when you do everything right for avoiding sickness, the flu can still strike. Safety still needs to be your number one concern. Knowing your own limits is very important. So, if you’re really under the weather, do what you can to rest and get better. This might mean pulling off the road for a while so that you can keep yourself, and other drivers, safe.

Take advantage of these 3 helpful tips and you can give yourself an edge on avoiding sickness this flu season. Feel free to drop your best tips in the comments below, and we’d love to share them with our drivers. If you liked these tips and want to get more like this, download our eBook.

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

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

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“I know a great app for that”! That’s a pretty common thing to hear whenever you’re trying to find a new way to be more efficient or focused about some aspect of your life. There are literally hundreds of thousands of apps available for your mobile devices, with more being added daily. We’ve put together a list of a few great truck driver app suggestions to make your life easier.

Truck Driver Apps to Make Driving Easier

1. Waze

Waze: one of the largest travel and traffic app, with over 100 million downloads. Maps are user-updated minute-to-minute. The app gives the most current traffic conditions and potential reroutes due to traffic jams or road closures. In changing traffic conditions, Waze can keep you moving instead of wasting time sitting in traffic jams.

2. Gasbuddy

Gasbuddy: this is a great app to help you keep your gas expenses low. This app provides very timely user-sourced information about gas prices in your current location. As well as locations that you’re planning on stopping at further down the road. If you are given incentives to keep gas prices low, this app and a little extra planning helps you save!

3. TruckerPath

TruckerPath: for help finding weigh stations, rest stops, and amenity info at those truck stops. Considered by some as the most versatile apps for truckers, it can also give weather updates and provide opportunities for truckers to communicate with each other out on the road.

4. Camscanner

Camscanner: This app can help make it easier to keep track of all your receipts that you accumulate while out on the road. You can scan receipts and easily save to the cloud rather than risk losing paper copies. This scanning app works any time, anywhere, without the need for any additional equipment. It’s a great truck driver app that will help keep your expense reports accurate.

Truck Driver Apps to Make Life Easier

5. Keep or 6. Evernote

Keep or Evernote: these apps are very useful for keeping track of to-do lists, reminders or other notes that you  might normally write in a portable notebook. Collect information and keep everything in a handy app for access across all of your mobile devices. Quickly create practical notes like grocery lists or new music to download. It can even save more detailed notes to help you keep your thoughts organized if you’re thinking about writing a book!

7. Skype

Skype: this app has been downloaded literally billions of times. This app helps you keep in touch with family and friends while out on the road. It allows you to have a video chat, rather than just a phone call or text conversation. Skype is also is a great tool for messaging, screen-sharing, and file sharing. You can use this app to help plan date nights or be a “virtual” part of family activities that you might otherwise miss.

8. Headspace

Headspace: we highlighted this app a while back and had great response from some drivers. This app is beneficial to reduce anxiety and boost mindfulness & happiness at any point in the day. If you need a quick 2-minute stress-reliever, or a longer, more soothing session to help you sleep, Headspace is a great app for your overall mental health.

Lastly, we’ll mention a type of app that can help you spend LESS time on your phone. If you think you’re wasting too much time online, one of these could be beneficial to you. With the increase in the amount of time people spend on their phones every day, these types of apps are also gaining popularity.

9. Flipd or 10. ScreenTime

If you think you’ve got an issue with the amount of time you’re spending on your phone, or on social media, you can try either Flipd or ScreenTime. These tools help you track your online time. You can also block selected apps from being used during set hours of the day.

It seems every day there’s a new app created to help you in one way or another. Some are great for making life easier, others are great for keeping in touch. And still others that are simply ways to play games or help pass the time. We hope this short list of recommended truck driver apps is helpful to you. If you’ve got a suggestion for a great app for another trucker to try out, mention it in the comments section below, or drop a link on our Facebook page here. We’d love to share your great ideas with other drivers!

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self driving trucks

The world of technology innovations continues to move forward. New advancements are being made every day. The development and progress being made with autonomous, or self-driving vehicles, is no exception. Though similar, there are going to be very different applications for self-driving trucks vs. self-driving cars. So here we’re going to look at what’s on the horizon for self-driving trucks.

The landscape is full of potential and new companies looking to get involved. Several of the biggest brands in the world are working to hone this technology to improve trucking efficiency, and ultimately make the roads a safer place for all drivers. Google, Tesla, and Daimler to name a few. Google has been testing self-driving cars since 2011, and their Waymo trucks since 2017. There is evidence that Amazon has been testing deliveries since early 2019. In May 2019, the US Postal Service tested self-driving trucks running loads between Phoenix and Dallas for 2 weeks. Just last month, a Florida based robotics company sent their first truck onto the interstate for 10 miles via remote control.

Truck platooning is a great application of self-driving technology

Platooning has already been tested for a few years.

By using a lead truck with an actual driver, several self-driving trucks follow closely behind, creating less congestion for other vehicles on the road. Since all of the trucks brake and accelerate in complete unison with the lead driver, helping overall traffic flow and delivery times.

Some might jump to a conclusion that self-driving trucks are going to put current CDL truck drivers out of a job. But this is simply not true. This technology is still very new and needs significant vetting. Presently, most self-driving programs have a driver controlling the wheel, but the computers are controlling everything else. And even when trucks move to being fully unmanned on long highway stretches, drivers still will jump-in and take over in more congested areas.

There’s a lot of potential in the future of this technology. Many companies are making great strides in testing and bringing self-driving trucks to daily life.

But there’s still a lot of work to be done

And some companies once committed to it, have already gotten out of the game. Uber had committed but now is reallocating resources to autonomous car technology and development.

If you have any thoughts on what impact self-driving trucks are going to the overall trucking industry, drop a comment on our Facebook page.

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Truck drivers are required to get a tanker endorsement (Type N or X) in order to haul large loads of liquid cargo.

N endorsement is required if you plan to haul 1,000 gallons+ of liquid or gas cargo.

X endorsement combines tanker endorsement with HAZMAT endorsement, allowing drivers to haul large quantities of liquid hazardous materials.

Getting this endorsement takes some extra time and money to complete the process. There is a written test that you must pass as part of the process. Drivers also need to gain the skills required to handle large volumes of liquid cargo. And of course, you already need to possess a CDL truck driver’s license. However, deciding to get a tanker endorsement along with your CDL license can be very beneficial. Here are 3 key reasons CDL truck drivers get a tanker endorsement.

More Opportunities

Companies that ship any type of large quantities of liquids or gasses, require drivers that have tanker endorsements. By going through the process to get this endorsement, truckers automatically make their applications more attractive than drivers that aren’t endorsed. This opens doors to jobs that require drivers to have a tanker endorsement. And gives those truckers an advantage when someone is scanning through job applications seeking tanker drivers.

More Money

Drivers with any additional skills and endorsements often find that they are paid more than drivers without additional endorsements. Driving a tanker requires additional safety skills due to the unstable nature of hauling liquids. Therefore, drivers with tanker endorsements many times are some of the highest paid truckers on the road. So, the payoff of seeing those paychecks increase certainly outweigh the up-front costs to pay for a tanker endorsement and training.

Required for Additional Endorsements

Getting a tanker endorsement sometimes requires the CDL truck driver also get a HAZMAT endorsement at the same time. Having this X endorsement even further separates a driver from other applicants when filling out a job application. Having tanker and HAZMAT can further highlight your application, and dedication to your career. And give those drivers access to some of the highest paying jobs.

Getting your tanker license can be very beneficial to any CDL truck driver. Regardless of what stage you are in your career. With a tanker endorsement the job pools is bigger, the pay is likely higher, and overall earning potential as a trucker increases.

If you’re looking for tanker truck driving jobs, complete your driver profile here, and be sure to include that you have that endorsement. We can match you to a great new job that best fits your lifestyle and driving preferences!

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