When someone says they’re a truck driver, some people might think that’s all there is to it. But if you’re a driver, no matter if you’re in your first year or a seasoned veteran, you know that there are many types of driving jobs. Today’s spotlight is on being a tanker truck driver. What do drivers love about hauling tanker trucks? What would they change? Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking about becoming a tanker truck driver.

The Pros

1. Good pay for the industry

Tanker truck drivers average $20.32/hour across the United States. That’s higher than the average hourly wage for many other driving positions. As with any job, pay increases with endorsements and experience.

Some tanker truck drivers may have longer hours. The good news is that most of these jobs are also hourly. If you have a long run, you’ll get paid for your time. 

The pay also depends on the material you haul. Hazmat driving typically earns more because of the experience required and extra job risks. 

2. Good benefits

Not all tankers drive Hazmat, but many do. Because being a tanker truck driver is considered slightly more dangerous than other types of CDL driving, the benefits are also better. Good health insurance, life insurance, and vacation days are all standard for tanker drivers

3. Typically short load/unload times

Loading and unloading a tanker truck is done with a big hose. While you might wait for hours to get your dry van or reefer unloaded, you’re usually in and out in 15 – 20 minutes when unloading a tanker. Getting loaded usually takes around 45 minutes. 

4. Many drivers are home every night

Tanker truck jobs are typically regional or local hauls. Frequent home time is a huge perk of being a tanker truck driver. You get to spend more time with your family and stay closer to home while doing a job you love.

If home time is a priority for you, becoming a tanker truck driver might be a great way to be home every night or nearly every night. 

5. Can be no touch freight

As a Hazmat driver, you’re often no touch. Frequently, your clients will take care of loading and unloading, so you don’t have to worry about heavy loads or the liability of handling freight. You may still be hooking up hoses, but you won’t have to tarp a load on a windy day.

The Cons:

1. Driving takes some adjustment time

When driving a tanker truck that isn’t full to the top, there is room for your load to move when you start and stop. This is called “surge.” Basically, if you slow down too quickly, the liquid in your load will be a little bit behind. A moment later, you might feel the liquid slam into the front of the tank. The force can be enough to slide your whole truck forward several feet! It’s challenging at first, but most drivers say they adapt quickly and use safe driving habits.

2. Can be more dangerous than other hauls

If you’re a tanker truck driver, there’s a good chance you’re hauling Hazmat. Whether that’s chemicals, hot oil, gasoline, or something else, it does increase your risk.

Normal activities like checking your load and your driving time can be more dangerous.

Even if you’re hauling food grade or other non-hazardous materials, climbing on top of a tanker truck in icy conditions can be dangerous.

DOT officer

3. Draws more attention from DOT 

While there aren’t any studies that officially confirm this, some drivers report that Hazmat drivers tend to draw more attention from DOT. This also may depend on the reputation of the company you’re driving for and the region you’re driving in.

4. Safety equipment

If you’re a hazmat driver, you will have a few extra safety requirements. A big one is the uniform you wear. If you’re a tanker driver, you typically wear fire resistant coveralls and an H2 monitor as protection from toxic fumes.

If you live in a hot part of the country, it’s not always comfortable, but it’s a small price to pay to keep yourself a little safer.

During load and unload times, you will also wear safety glasses and a helmet with a face shield to reduce your risk. 

The Take Away

As with any job, there are pros and cons to being a tanker truck driver. If home time and good pay are a high priority, this might be the perfect job for you. There are extra risks for tanker truck drivers, but there are also specific rules to help drivers stay safe. Overall, most drivers who haul tanker trucks say they love it and are never going back!

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Find a Tanker CDL Job

We match you with a job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Find a Job Today

thank you truckers

Truckers move America. Last September, we wrote a piece called, “Imagine a World Without Trucking.” Well, because of the coronavirus, a lot of the United States is grinding to a halt or trying to change gears to work remotely. Thankfully, there’s one group who isn’t slowing down. Truckers, this is for you. 

From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU TRUCKERS!

We’ve been with you through job changes when many people didn’t recognize your value. Now, the truth is even more clear—America runs on truckers. From groceries, to medical supplies, to clean water and so much more. We couldn’t keep going without you. Thank you, truckers.

As you put in long hours on the road, here are a few things to help you keep going.  

Finding Food

There is no single list of restaurants that are staying open, but Feed the Truckers has a good list started. If you’re looking for a hot meal on the road, try a Texas Roadhouse or one of these local joints. They’ll bring a takeout order to your truck. Many fast food chains are also allowing drivers to walk through their drive thru window. 

Major truck stops are also doing their part. TA/Petro is still allowing you to reserve showers and place take out orders from Iron Skillets. Pilot/Flying J also has showers and laundry open and all restaurants are available for take out. Love’s travel stops will keep their stores and facilities open, but food is only available as a drive through/carry out order. 

Many local restaurants have also taken to social media to offer parking, restrooms, and food to drivers. The Facebook Page Trucker’s has a lot of offers for help coming in from all parts of the country. From coast to coast, Americans are stepping up to help the drivers who are helping us. 

What food should drivers be eating?

We also spoke to Kristin Kirkpatrick, a nutritionist who has appeared on Dr. Oz and The Today Show. She shares advice for the best food and snacks for truck drivers during COVID-19.

Keeping the Cab Clean

Your cab is your house. Many Americans are on stay at home orders, but your home is cruising the highway at 65 mph. Make sure you have what you need in your truck. To protect yourself from coronavirus as much as possible, take a few extra cleanliness measures.

wash hands

1. Wash your hands (the best one we heard was to “wash ‘em like you were cutting jalapenos and have to change your contact lens!”)

2. Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow (because no one touches their face with their elbow)

3. Avoid contact with others or stay 6’ apart whenever possible

4. Clean & disinfect frequently touched surfaces, especially if you’re slip seating. 

Get some gloves and clorox wipes and make sure you clean steering wheels, seats, dashboard, shifter knobs, grab handles, CB microphones, cell phones, ELD screens and buttons, keys, clipboards, tables, doorknobs, light switches, counter tops, cups, desks, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

HOS & COVID-19 Relief Loads

Truck drivers are operating under a Declaration of Emergency. That means hours of service regulations are waived. Since the HOS are not in effect, FMCSA does not require drivers to maintain a logbook. If you are keeping records with an ELD, you can make a note in the record to show that you were driving under the emergency declaration or record the time as “authorized personal use” which you will then need to note as emergency declaration drive time. Your employer may also have a specific policy. The FMCSA has a good FAQ section on what are essential loads and other common questions. Truckinginfo also has answers to common driver questions. 

What if I’m Actually Losing Loads?

Your current work depends on the loads you usually carry. While some truck drivers are working around the clock, others were unfortunately displaced due to the Coronavirus.

If you have been displaced from your job, we have resources to help you navigate the transition. Drive My Way can help you find a new trucking job that matches everything you’re looking for.

We match truck drivers to jobs based on professional qualifications and personal lifestyle preferences. Search our jobs or give us a call at 800-411-5840. We’ll help you get back on the road.

STAY UPDATED ON INDUSTRY TRENDS AND BEST PRACTICES

Join our community of over 150,000 drivers who receive our updates.

defensive driving

The best offense is a good defense⁠—and when it comes to being a safe truck driver, this old sports saying certainly holds true. Keeping you, your truck, other motorists, and your cargo safe is how truckers win on the road. There are many ways to improve your skills and reduce your risks while on the road. Here are 5 defensive driving tips for truckers everywhere.

1. Minimize distractions

Every driver needs to be connected, but not to the point where connections are distractions. Phones beeping with notifications too often, or non-critical calls coming in too frequently should be minimized. If you have something going on at home that’s distracting you, do your best to put it out of your mind until you’re done working. Many of these things are easier said than done for a truck driver with hours of time alone each day.

You don’t want to fall into bad habits while driving. So it’s smart to work on minimizing your distractions and being a safe driver.

2. Keep yourself healthy

Wearing your seat belt every day helps keep you secure in the cab of your truck. Getting enough sleep helps you pay better attention while driving. Eating right and exercising keeps you in better shape to have stamina for long days over the road. Keeping yourself safe also means you should take a break if and when you start to feel tired. Doing what you need to keep yourself in your best mental and physical condition is as important as honing and developing your driving skills and experience.

3. Expect the unexpected

Be aware of motorists around you and know your space cushion in relationship to those motorists. Anticipate what other drivers around you are going to do as they’re going to do something that could impact your driving.

Being prepared and making the correct defensive driving adjustments are key to your ability to remain safe while working.

4. Anticipate changing conditions

Truck drivers who are prepared for changing weather and road conditions will usually be better drivers. A little bit of extra care and planning when trucking through construction zones will ensure that you and the road workers make it home safely. The same goes for planning for specific times of day, especially rush hours. Anticipating construction zones, potential snow, and morning or afternoon rush hour traffic helps you be prepared for it, or better yet, helps you avoid it altogether.

5. Know your space cushion

Knowing your stopping distance is extremely important for a truck driver. A normal car can stop much quicker than a truck and it can stop within a lot less traveled distance.

According to the FMCSA, “A fully loaded truck traveling in good road conditions at highway speeds needs a distance of nearly two football fields to stop.”

That means a truck driver always needs to be aware of keeping enough space around their truck to stop quickly if demanded.

STAY UPDATED ON INDUSTRY TRENDS AND BEST PRACTICES

Join our community of over 150,000 drivers who receive our updates.

Dangers of being a Truck Driver

Truck driving, like any profession, has risks. There are steps you can take to reduce the dangers of being a truck driver. The best rule of thumb? Think it through before you take action. Sounds simple, but taking an extra moment to slow down often makes a big difference. Even pausing for a few seconds can be enough to clear your head and really think through your choices. Here are the top 8 dangers of being a truck driver.

1. Driving tired or distracted

In 2007, the FMCSA did a study to determine causation of CDL Accidents. The number one cause? Driving tired or distracted. These two categories made up 40% of accidents that were labeled with a critical reason. Nearly half of the large truck accidents may have been preventable by extra sleep or improved focus. Need more convincing to get your sleep? As you’ve likely experienced, driving tired often leads to more distracted driving. Even 1 extra hour or a few 20 minute power naps can have a big impact on your ability to calmly make decisions on the road or to notice all the details of the road conditions

The FMCSA is exploring changes to HOS rules that would allow drivers flexibility to split their 10 hours in the sleeping berth however they want (within reason). The FMCSA is expected to share additional information as soon as the next six months.

As a driver, the best thing you can do is prioritize your sleep. Know your limits, and pull off when you need to. If you’re feeling sleepy, drink water and take a short break if you can. A short slow down will let you keep driving safely in the long run and reduce one of the biggest dangers of being a truck driver.

2. Driving too fast for conditions

All professional drivers know that the weather and road conditions can have a big impact on your route. There is a lot of pressure to meet drop times and make the most of your miles. It’s easy to tell yourself that going a little faster won’t be a problem. It’s much harder to convince yourself to slow down and carefully evaluate the conditions.

Road conditions are one of the dangers of being a truck driver that you can’t control. But, you can control how you react.

More experience and time on the road will sharpen your ability to assess the roads and traffic to make safe driving decisions. 

3. Avoid unsafe areas at bad times and stay alert in truck yards and loading docks

As any seasoned driver knows, there are some places you just don’t want to visit outside of daylight hours. Of course, as a seasoned driver also knows, you don’t always know where those areas are, especially when you’re driving new routes. As a general rule, spending nights at the shipper or consignees lots is safer than most truck stops. If you are driving somewhere new or you don’t know the area, call ahead by a few hours. The receivers can tell you if it’s safe to park and sleep there or if it’s a “daylight only” situation. If the area isn’t safe enough for a sleep stop, calling ahead should give you enough time to find somewhere nearby that is safe to rest.

4. Always do a circle check

Circle checks are a small step that can save a lot of time and energy later. Sure, spending 20 minutes on a walk around every time might seem like a pain, but it’s saving you much larger headaches down the road. A circle check is meant to inspect your rig for any damage or issues that need attention before departure. Want to make sure you’re covering all the steps? Smart Trucking has a good basic guide to the D.O.T. pre-trip inspection to make sure you get where you need to go without any surprise maintenance issues. 

5. Use the buddy system for some repairs

Getting pinned under a rig is enough to give any cdl driver second thoughts about the job. Luckily, it’s preventable.

If you have repairs to make under the trailer, bring a partner. They can immediately assist if something goes wrong.

Be particularly careful when pinning up. Now, there are some repairs you may feel comfortable taking on by yourself. A word to the wise. Unless you’re a properly trained mechanic, don’t mess with the brake chambers. Let a professional mechanic take care of any problems with the brake chambers, and you’ll thank yourself later. 

6. Use caution on trailer decks and loads

It’s tempting to climb up the back of your rig. You might just be going up for a quick fix after all. It’s easy to use that logic, but the consequences can be terrible. One slip or fall from your rig can lead to serious injuries.

Instead, carry a ladder with you when possible or wait to climb until you have the proper equipment. Use extra caution on trailer decks and if you’re standing on a load, especially for with a flatbed truck. 

7. Open your doors one at a time in case your load has shifted

moving truck with white boxes in a garage

Even when you have checked your load before departure, things may shift while you’re driving. The vast majority of the time, you could open both doors of your trailer at once and there would be no problem. But, Murphy’s law says that the one time your load will shift is when you have the heaviest haul.

Save yourself the problem. Open doors one door at a time. That guarantees that your load won’t fall out if things have shifted in transit.

8. Other drivers

In a perfect world, we would all be responsible for our own safe driving. Unfortunately, the world is far from perfect and we all share the road with a lot of other drivers.

Other drivers are one of the big dangers of being a truck driver. Be alert to your surroundings and the other vehicles around you.

As a professional driver, you’re much more aware of passenger vehicles than most of them are of you. That said, these drivers (and other cdl drivers) can be a danger to you on the road. While there are likely more than a few driving tips you’d like to give to passenger vehicles on sharing the road, you have to watch out for yourself. Pay attention to your surroundings and leave plenty of space between vehicles. 

STAY UPDATED ON INDUSTRY TRENDS AND BEST PRACTICES

Join our community of over 150,000 drivers who receive our updates.

team trucking jobs

Have you ever heard of any other situation where you have to live with your work partner for extended periods of time? Team trucking is one of the few jobs where you spend an enormous amount of time with the same person you work with. You’re not only sharing a work space, but also a living space.

This can provide many challenges, and could go really well or not so well. It depends on who your driving partner is, and how well the two of you can work together. We spoke with two different team drivers, Anthony and Christine, about their separate team driving experiences, what they have learned, and what advice they have for other drivers.

From solo to team driving

Anthony Futrell is currently a driver for a private company based out of Philadelphia. Like many others, he was a solo driver for many years before he decided to try out team driving. Earning more money was definitely a big factor in Anthony’s decision to become a team driver, and he considered it for about two years before making the switch. For Anthony, one of the big difficulties in being a team driver is not trusting your partner’s driving skills. Specifically, Anthony was previously paired with a driver who was less experienced.

“I wasn’t able to sleep when it’s my turn to sleep while the other person is driving,” he told us. “I had to get up and show him how to do things,” shared Anthony.

Similarly, Christine Milner was a team driver in the past and has been paired with both men and women drivers. “Team driving can be a good thing, but can also be a nightmare,” she reminds us. “As a woman driver, it’s difficult to be by yourself, and having a partner can provide a lot of help,” she told us. “It’s good to know that if something happens to you, somebody is around.” This was a big factor in her decision to be a team driver, along with the opportunity to make more money.

Christine was paired with male team drivers in the past, which can be a hit-or-miss experience. “You don’t want to be driving with a male partner who you don’t really know,” she cautions us, adding “Do I have to sleep with one eye open?”

Pairing with driving partners

Both Anthony and Christine found that having the right driving partner is what makes or breaks the team driving experience. Most companies find you a partner, but unfortunately some companies still don’t match partners in the best possible way. “All they do is give you the phone number and tell you to call them,” Anthony shared about his experience. “I’d rather have a profile about the person. Hopefully you can sit down and get to know each other.”

In addition, sleep has been a concern for Anthony more than once in the past as a team driver.

“One time I had a partner who could never drive at nighttime. He could only drive during the day. Had no idea it was going to happen before we got started,” shares Anthony.

Christine had poor experiences, but especially with males she was partnered with, including trainers. “At first I didn’t care who trained me—but that turned out to be a nightmare, and I asked to switch my trainer.” Even when she was paired with a woman driver, she found it hard to do some basic things because of disagreements.

“It was hard to keep the truck as clean as I would like. Hard to stop and do my laundry at night. Felt like I was always rushed to the other person’s schedule,” shares Christine.

The health and hygiene issues aren’t specific to women drivers—Anthony also had trouble coordinating about them. “You want to have a partner with healthy habits. Who takes care of themselves,” he shared.

team driving jobsAdvice for aspiring team drivers

Both drivers we spoke to had plenty of advice to share. Christine specifically had advice for women drivers who are thinking of team trucking jobs. “Some male trainers will be inappropriate and imply they can help you in return for some favors, so you have to be careful about that,” she cautioned. She also advised her fellow women drivers to develop a strong sense of self-esteem to thrive in the still male-dominated industry.

“Just be smart. Focus on yourself, believe in yourself, and don’t fall for any shenanigans,” advises Christine.

In addition, Anthony suggests doing a lot of research. “Find out if they had any tickets, any accidents, or anything like that. How long have they been driving? Can they drive during both day and night?” He also pointed out that not everybody is ready for the switch to team driving, especially if it doesn’t work out with the partner.

“It’s better if I get my sleep while knowing that no one else will get in an accident. You won’t have that worry in your mind while you’re sleeping,” says Anthony.

The lure of earning more money may not be worth the hassles of having some driving partners. “Even though it’s more money, it doesn’t guarantee personal safety and mental health. I’d rather be a happy driver even if I’m paid less.”

Ultimately, Anthony and Christine both said that finding the right partner is what makes team trucking jobs successful or not. “It’s different for everybody—it all depends on who you are in the truck with and what kind of morals they have,” Christine told us. Anthony reminded us, “I was always told that when you love doing your job, you’ll never work again.”

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Want to find a team driving job you love?

Drive My Way matches drivers with jobs based on their qualifications and lifestyle preferences.

Find a Job Today

Life is a highway… at least that’s what the song says. But for many truck drivers, that lyric couldn’t be truer. Life IS the highway for many. Truckers have countless hours alone in the cab of the truck. They can cover hundreds of miles of pavement every day. This time behind the wheel gives drivers plenty of time to spend listening to music. We asked our readers to tell us about their favorite music to listen to while driving. Here are the best truck driving songs that our Facebook followers mentioned.

Truckers and Their Tunes

There are countless “trucker” themed music compilations available for drivers. A quick Google search results in thousands of results. You can find CDs, playlists, YouTube videos, streaming channels, as well as an endless trucker-friendly podcasts.

Drive My Way Poll

Here’s what our truckers had to say when we recently polled our drivers on Facebook.

Songs that Remind them of their Families

Music can transport you to another place, just by listening to a song. The lyrics can put you in a better mood, make you feel happy or sometimes make you feel sad. Some truck driving songs can remind you of your family and friends who aren’t out driving with you.

Old School Country

Johnny Cash is always a popular selection on truckers’ radios as well as other old school country artists like the Possum himself—George Jones. A good guess would be to also find plenty of Willie and Waylon and the others from the same time. These old school country songs cover a lot of ground—just like most truck drivers. They can be about rebellion, lost loves, and there’s plenty of songs simply about having a good time.

Trucker Songs about Long Haul Driving

A classic in this conversation is East Bound and Down. The song was written for the movie Smokey and the Bandit in 1977. It’s a great song about a day in the life of a long-haul driver. “We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there” are perfect lyrics to sum up an over-the-road driver’s life. Hopefully without any Smokies to slow you down.

Religious Song Choices

Some drivers let us know that they fill their time on the road listening to Christian music. There are so many choices for singers and songs in this genre. Listening to Christian or other religious songs while driving can help drivers reflect and be happy while driving. There’s plenty of genres of Christian music available, from true church music, to soft rock to even Christian metal. Sometimes these spiritual or religious choices are perfect truck driving songs to get a driver through their day.

Hard Rock for the Win

Drivers mention many singers and bands that put out hard rock and metal music. These are always going to be popular choices for favorite trucker driving songs. Louder songs can help you pep up and stay alert. AC/DC, Metallica, and Five Finger Death Punch were some choices that our drivers put on their lists! The loud guitars and drums, combined with aggressive and catchy lyrics might be perfect to help a driver concentrate on the road when there’s been miles and miles of nothing to look at for hours.

Never Miss a Beat

Connect with us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on industry updates and CDL jobs near you.

Join the Conversation

daylight savings time tips

There are only a few things you can count on to happen every single spring. Changing weather, taxes, and Daylight Savings Time. We can’t do much for the weather, and hopefully your taxes are already in progress (or will be soon!). As for Daylight Savings Time, mark your calendar for Sunday, March 8. The official change happens at 2:00 AM on March 8. This time of year we’re all “springing forward,” so we lose one hour during the night. 

Daylight Savings Time impacts all drivers on the road and it’s more important than ever to be alert. Start planning now so you’re ready to handle the HOS difference if you’re driving at night or to hit the road refreshed when you wake up on Sunday. Here are the places where Daylight Savings Time has the biggest impact and some Daylight Savings Time tips.

1. Sleep

sleeping puppy

As a driver, you may already feel tired and road weary, especially near the end of a shift. And that’s not to mention that your hours may not exactly fit within a “9-5 job.” With this in mind, even a one hour difference can seriously throw off your natural body rhythms. 

To help yourself adjust, consider eating your last meal an hour earlier and trying to fit in an “extra” hour of sleep. Be particularly careful about phone time on March 8. Turning off that screen at least an hour before you plan to go to bed will help your body go to sleep more easily. And when you wake up in the morning, try not to drink too much extra caffeine. It might temporarily boost that alert feeling, but it will be harder for your body to adjust in the long run. Instead, boost your energy by drinking extra water and adding a quick workout or stretch when you stop. 

2. Safety

Daylight Savings Time affects everyone on the road. Sleeping one hour less means that everyone is also less alert. It takes most of us about a week to adjust to the time change, not just one day. Accidents increase by just over 6% for the week following the start of Daylight Savings Time in the Spring. Even if you’re a very safe driver with a clean record, leave a little extra space on the road during that second week of March and practice good driving habits

3. Plan Ahead

These Daylight Savings Time tips are all about preparation. Make a point of marking the date on a calendar. Before you go to sleep before the time change:

  • Make sure you set your clock ahead. Cell phones will typically do this automatically, but manually reset your other clocks. 
  • Double check your route. Not all states observe Daylight Savings, so look at your whole route if you’re driving OTR.
  • Review your pickup times, delivery times, and ETA.

A little planning ahead of time will make sure that you’re up and driving without any slowdowns on Sunday morning. 

4. ELDs

Most ELDs now automatically take care of DST, but you may find that you need to work an “extra” hour. Or, if you’re on your break when the clocks change, you’ll resume an hour “later” than you would. Remember, hours of service rules still apply. 

For example, if you have a night shift from 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM, your log will show that you worked a 7 hour shift. If you start a 10 hour break at 8:00 PM on Saturday, you will have to finish your break at 7:00 AM on Sunday morning because of Daylight Savings Time.

If you are exempt from using an ELD, make sure you understand your employer’s expectation on logging hours ahead of time.

 

STAY UPDATED ON INDUSTRY TRENDS AND BEST PRACTICES

Join our community of over 150,000 drivers who receive our updates.

cdl training

Thinking about getting your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and pursuing a career as a professional truck driver? The first thing you need to do is learn to drive a truck. There’s any number of course options available to help you accomplish this. There are hundreds of locations across the country. Some companies even offer their own training programs to get you started. There are so many options it might get overwhelming to get started. However, if a packaged training and a guaranteed job afterwards sounds good to you, start here. When it comes to taking a company sponsored CDL training, what exactly do you need to know?

What is Company Sponsored CDL Training?

There are various levels of what that sponsorship might mean. Company sponsored CDL training does not necessarily mean it’s at no cost to you. Some carriers will train you for free, and even pay you a small wage during the training class. That usually comes with a requirement for you to work for the carrier for some time once you get licensed. But then it might have an automatic repayment program in place once you’re officially driving for them. Some carriers may charge a reduced rate for the training, and will guarantee a job for you after graduation, but they don’t pay you while you’re in school. Other programs will simply pay your tuition to a local training program, and then hire you drive for them once licensed.

You need to be clear from the start about what you’re agreeing to do in exchange for the company sponsored CDL training. Ask questions first, so you’ll have less regrets later.

Sometimes FREE might not always mean what it seems. There might be strings attached, so make sure to do your research and know exactly what you’re agreeing to do after the training is finished. Knowing that you’re making a first step to a new career, it’s worthwhile to make sure you know exactly what to expect once you have your CDL.

Pros & Cons of Company Sponsored CDL Training

When working through a tough decision, there’s always positive and negatives to either choice. Choosing the type of CDL training you’re going to pursue is no different. Regardless of what program you choose, ensure that you’re fully prepared for the training and have thoroughly investigate all of your options.

Finding a program that is properly accredited and has great reviews might seem hard to find, but keep looking, there’s a good one out there for you.

PROS 

  • No out of pocket money for tuition
  • Paid while in training:  “earn while you learn”
  • Using company equipment to learn
  • Guaranteed job after graduation

CONS

  • Training might not be where you live
  • Expenses incurred during training
  • No exposure to other types of driving
  • Might not have exposure to modern equipment
  • Committed to working for the company when you graduate

New drivers have plenty to think about after they’ve got their license. Now they need to focus on getting miles logged and learning the ropes of the road. Getting that time in the seat and getting experience on the road is a crucial next step. From there driver need to continually hone their skills as they work through their CDL trucking careers. The training is just the start, but once trained, a new driver will be well on their way to a life over the road from here.

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Want to find a job you love?

Drive My Way matches drivers with jobs based on their qualifications and lifestyle preferences.

Find a Job Today

Thriving since 1998, PKG Express is a family-owned and operated transportation solutions provider. They know that maintaining excellent relationships with customers begins with developing a company culture that values its employees.  Harold ‘Duke’ Williams and Chris Williams started PKG Express in order to demonstrate their passion for the trucking industry as entrepreneurs. Duke had over 15 years of experience as a driver himself, and they started PKG Express with just one truck. They have since grown the company from one truck to a medium-sized fleet, servicing customers across the nation.

PKG Express and Drive My Way

Partnered for Success

PKG Express partnered with Drive My Way to hire and retain quality OTR drivers for their quickly-growing fleet. Bobbi Williams, the Safety Director and daughter of Duke and Chris Williams, oversees PKG Express’ recruiting and retention efforts with an ongoing goal of keeping drivers safe and happy at work.

“Our owner would never ask a driver to do something that he has not done himself or would be willing to do himself. He has over 40 years of experience in the trucking industry and has put in the work to get where he is now. He respects drivers and holds them to the same standard he holds himself,” Bobbi shared.

PKG Express has worked hard to create a great culture for its truck drivers and also for its employees. They demonstrate that they care, provide opportunities for growth, and work hard to maintain the family atmosphere.

One of PKG’s drivers Billy shared, “I’ve driven for PKG starting as a company driver working my way up to becoming an Owner Operator. I like the family-like atmosphere and how the owner is a loving, caring, and understanding person even though he has a business to run. He was a driver who started a company and I have a lot of respect for him because of situations he has helped me out with in the past when he did not have to.”

As the Safety Director, Bobbi also works hard to demonstrate she cares. Overseeing the safety and recruiting efforts for PKG Express is no simple task, but Bobbi loves her job because she is in a position to help others. Bobbi has rebuilt driver safety manuals, safety programs, and recruiting efforts and has been diligent about asking the drivers for their feedback throughout each process.

Another driver named Kim shared, “I like PKG Express because I don’t feel like a number. I feel like I have a voice and PKG listens to me even if they’re not able to change something I think they should. They at least take my opinion into consideration. I also love how understanding and family-oriented they are.”

PKG Express remains dedicated to its customers, drivers, and entire staff. They are looking forward to continued success and growth going into the future!

PKG is Hiring OTR Dry Van Drivers

Drivers have new equipment, consistent home time, competitive pay, and full benefits. Learn more about the position details and apply.

View the Job

trucking career

Many people consider trucking as a career, but few actually make the leap. Bret Kubin is someone who did. He left the safety of a comfortable job because he was intrigued by the idea of becoming a trucker. Bret originally worked in the insurance industry and hadn’t considered a trucking career until a friend suggested it. Now, he’s left insurance behind and is a full-time trucker. We had the pleasure of speaking with Bret about his story, and he shared advice for those who are also thinking of pursuing a trucking career.

Bret Kubin

Before his trucking career

Bret was working in the insurance industry on a 1099 job and had about six years of experience under his belt. A friend told him that he should consider a trucking career to earn more money. At first, Bret wasn’t thinking about making a move. However, his friend talked to him about it again, and Bret decided to look into trucking more.

He started by researching the industry before making any decisions. “I went into one of the trucking schools and talked to the instructors. That really changed the way I looked at things, and I became very interested,” Bret recalled.

If you’re considering driving as a career, you may want to consider this method of research before deciding. Bret decided to give it a try and went to a driving school.

“After that, I realized I can really make a living through this. I got my first driving job soon there after and didn’t look back,” shared Bret.

Getting started in the trucking industry

Pursuing any new line of work can’t be easy, but Bret shared that the people in the trucking industry made it easier.

“People are there to help you,” he shared. “They’re not there to test you or fail you. This isn’t like you’re going to Harvard or something. This is something where they want you to know the ins and outs so that when you’re stuck or need help, you can guide yourself to the right place.”

Along with help from others, Bret said that having the right attitude also helped him. Mostly, he emphasized the importance of learning and being humble.

“You have to go with the flow. Keep learning and be open to new ideas. Understand that you’re not going to know everything right up front. The other stuff comes naturally after that,” said Bret.

Bret Kubin

Bret’s advice to truck drivers

Bret was happy to share advice with other truck drivers who are new to the industry or those considering joining the industry. He shared the importance of developing the skills. Even though he hadn’t been a driver before, he knew he had a skill set that could make him valuable.

“I’m 50 years old. I knew that throughout my career I’ve developed skills I could bring to the table. I knew that I had people skills, the ability to learn, and the ability to adapt to new systems,” shared Bret.

Knowing your strengths, while also being humble about what you don’t know is the balance that Bret advises. In addition, Bret emphasized the importance of not going at it alone. While trucking is often thought of as a solo endeavor, it’s important to find friends and a support system. His advice is to help each other out.

Bret shared, “It’s good to have a buddy system. Even if you go into trucking alone, talk with other people. Talk with managers and driving instructors, and that will help.”

Developing and keeping the right attitude

While the first few months of being a truck driver can be stressful, Bret reminded us to stick with it and not let small obstacles get in the way.

“When you have a few bad days, negative thoughts are going to run through your mind, but you have to stop yourself right there. Some people don’t know how to do that. You have to be able to stay with the now,” advised Bret.

It’s important to remember that not everything will go according to plan in the beginning, and that there will be many struggles. Knowing that there will be roadblocks can help you manage them and maintain a positive attitude toward the job and career.

Finding a trucking job

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobsBret credits Drive My Way with helping him stay on top of his career preferences.

“The good thing about Drive My Way is that it’s always there, even when you aren’t looking for a job. It’s updating and is 24/7. You can apply for one company and then don’t have to worry saving the application or where you put it. Drive My Way keeps it right there to use again. Applying is easy. Going back to look at what you’ve done is easy. It’s always there for you, and it’s easy access,” shared Bret.

Bret’s story from insurance to trucking is inspiring for many people. While many fret over career and job choices, Bret had the courage to take a risk and try something new. It gives inspiration for those who are already truck drivers, those who are hoping to be, and those who have never considered a trucking career before. Bret credits his positive attitude and the help of others in the industry for getting him adjusted and comfortable with his new role as a truck driver.

STAY UPDATED ON INDUSTRY TRENDS AND BEST PRACTICES

Join our community of over 150,000 drivers who receive our updates.