Pros & Cons of Night Driving 

For many drivers, the best part about the trucking profession is the flexibility.  

 

You can choose between OTR or local runs, team driving or remaining solo. Some drivers prefer to always carry certain freight, while some are flexible and like to switch it up. And, when it comes to scheduling, some drivers prefer to hit the road at night, while others prefer the daylight hours. It’s all part of the flexibility that makes trucking such an appealing profession for many. 

 

However, every choice as a trucker has its benefits and drawbacks. Driving at night can save time, seem more peaceful, and get drivers back home by morning. However, there are also plenty of safety and logistics concerns to keep in mind with this unique schedule. Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of night driving and some essential safety tips to keep in mind before trying it out.  

 

Why drive at night? 

There are many reasons a CDL driver might choose to drive at night instead of during the traditional daytime hours. Some drivers are adamant that it’s easier, and many have been doing it for years so their bodies are used to the routine.  

 

Other truck drivers might switch to a night schedule simply because of their employer. Many trucking companies like to keep their trucks running on a near 24-hour cycle to maximize returns, which means at least some of their drivers will end up with the night shift.  

 

Sometimes night driving might just make more logistical sense, such as if you have an early morning pick-up or drop-off and you won’t make it without hitting the road before dawn.  

 

Whatever the reason, it’s important to consider these pros and cons before making the switch to night driving.  

 

What are the pros? 

Traffic is usually much lower: One of the main reasons truck drivers prefer nighttime driving is the reduced four-wheel traffic on the roads during this time. With fewer passenger vehicles, truckers can navigate more smoothly and efficiently.

More off-duty parking options: Since overnight drivers complete their routes in the morning, when most other drivers are active, they have better access to available parking spaces at truck stops and rest areas.  

 

Less-crowded truck stops: Truck stops tend to be less crowded during the night, allowing drivers to refuel, rest, and take breaks without the hustle and bustle of daytime traffic. This means decreased wait times at the showers, fuel islands, and more.  

 

Less construction: Nighttime driving often means encountering fewer road work zones, which can be a significant advantage for truckers. Construction-related delays are minimized, allowing for smoother travel. However, keep in mind that sometimes major road construction and repairs do take place at night instead, so it’s important to remain vigilant.  

 

What about cons? 

Reduced visibility: Darkness makes it harder to spot obstacles such as other vehicles, wildlife, roadkill, or debris.  

 

Increased wildlife movement: Wildlife tends to be more active during dusk, nighttime, and dawn. Truckers must remain vigilant for animals like deer, moose, and livestock that may venture onto the roads.  

 

Poor road conditions: Winter nights can be particularly challenging due to icy roads and slower snow removal. Drivers must consider weather conditions and adjust their plans accordingly before each night time run.  

 

Increased safety concerns: Overall safety concerns can be increased due to the nature of driving at night. It can be hard to adjust your body to driving at this time, so you must find ways to remain alert at all times. Drivers need to constantly scan their surroundings, avoid cruise control, and take breaks if feeling even a little drowsy. 

 

Night driving safety tips 

If night driving seems like the right choice for you, keep these tips in mind to ensure the safety of yourself and any other drivers on the road.  

 

Frequently check lights: This should be part of any pre-trip inspection, but it is especially important at night. Avoid costly fines or worse by inspecting every lighting system on your rig, including the headlights, clearance lights, brake lights, marker lights, and overhead reflector.  

 

Keep a clean windshield: This helps reduce glare from any other light source and increases visibility.  

 

Remember high beams: It’s important to turn off your high beams whenever you see another driver on the road.  

 

Drive defensively: You should constantly be on the lookout for wildlife, pedestrians, and drunk drivers.  

 

Keep yourself awake: It can be difficult to avoid feelings of drowsiness while on the road, so use these strategies to keep yourself alert. Lower the temperature in your cab or roll down your windows to keep the air cold and moving. Listen to music or podcasts at high volume. Don’t eat a large meal before you leave, and try to nap during day time hours to adjust your body to the change of routine.  

 

Remain aware of your surroundings: Another consideration for night driving is that some places just aren’t as safe at night. If you get out for a break or are dropping off a load, remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings. If you don’t feel comfortable, listen to your gut and don’t leave your cab. Circle the block and look for another spot, or just wait it out.  

 

Truck driving at night has many benefits, but it also has a few important considerations. If you are thinking of switching to this schedule, be sure to get enough rest beforehand and don’t be afraid to pull over whenever you need a break.  

 

For more information on trucking tips and tricks, be sure to stay up-to-date on our most recent Truck Driver Blog posts and follow us on social media 

A Truck Driver’s Guide to P&D Routes vs. Longhaul Runs

One of the many reasons commercial truck driving remains a popular and rewarding career choice is the flexbility and freedom that comes with a life on the road.  

 

Truck drivers can decide what freight they want to carry, which vehicle they operate, and even the kind of route they drive each day. For many truckers, one of the most important decisions to be made is whether they want to be a pickup and delivery (P&D) or longhaul driver.  

 

There are distinct differences between these two options, and both come with their own benefits and challenges. It’s important to fully understand each route type before making a decision, and to consider what factors matter most to your career goals and overall satisfaction.  

 

Keep reading to find out what P&D and longhaul routes really mean, and how the differences in pay, workload, and flexibility impact the decision process of truck drivers across the country.  

 

What’s P&D? 

Simply put, P&D refers to the pickup and delivery of packages to homes and businesses within a specific area or region. P&D drivers collect packages from shippers, businesses, or individuals and deliver them directly to recipients’ doorsteps.  

 

These drivers often use small box trucks or vans, which means a CDL is not always required, making P&D a common choice for drivers who are just starting out in the industry.  

 

Pickup and delivery routes also have significantly lower risks and operational costs than longhaul runs, including lower insurance, vehicle maintenance, and initial starting expenses. Since P&D routes cover fewer miles on primarily local roads, they are generally recomended for drivers looking to gain experience and remain close to home each day.  

 

There are two different delivery types for P&D drivers, either home delivery or ground routes.  

 

Home delivery involves delivering packages to residential households. These packages are typically smaller, and the volume experiences high seasonal variability. 

 

Ground routes focus on deliveries to commercial businesses. Ground packages can be significantly larger than home delivery packages, and some routes may include multiple, heavier packages to a single location. 

 

When it comes to pay, there are a few factors to consider. P&D routes often have more narrow profit margins than longhaul runs, which means that the pay is usually lower on average, although more stable overall.  

 

P&D drivers are also often paid hourly instead of per mile. This can be a benefit when considering the potential of city traffic and long wait times at pickup or delivery locations. However, pay rates and benefits will always depend on experience level, location, and company policies.  

 

What Are Longhaul Runs? 

The other available route type is a longhaul run.  

 

These routes typically involve transporting goods over long distances, often spanning several states or even across the country. Unlike P&D routes, which focus on local or regional deliveries, longhaul runs cover extensive ground and can last several days or even weeks, depending on the specific route and cargo. 

 

For longhaul runs, drivers will need to use a semi-truck and have a CDL, as packages will either need to be delivered intra-state (within a state) or inter-state (across two or more states), which may require hundreds or thousands of miles on major roadways.  

 

Longhaul runs have higher upfront and operational costs than P&D routes, since maintaining and repairing 18-wheeler trucks can be expensive, and the extensive mileage demands significantly more fuel. This makes longhaul runs generally more difficult for owner operators investing in a route for the first time or drivers just starting out in the industry.  

 

However, longhaul runs also generate significantly higher revenue on average. In fact, according to KR Capital, a single linehaul run could bring in up to five times as much profit as a P&D route. This means that for experienced owner/operators investing in a route, longhaul runs are often the top choice.  

 

For longhaul drivers, the compensation is usually in the form of pay per mile, which can really add up due to the extensive distance covered by most longhaul routes. However, this pay structure means that any delays, such as traffic or long wait times, will result in time spent behind the wheel without direct compensation.  

 

 

 

Whether you’re a owner operator looking to invest in a route or a company driver deciding which option is the right fit for your interests, both P&D and longhaul runs offer unique advantages and challenges. P&D can be great for those starting out in the industry looking to take advantage of the increasing need for last mile delivery, while longhaul runs are a solid choice for experienced drivers interested in higher pay and a chance to explore the country by road.  

 

If you’re looking for further insights into industry trends and trucking advice, make sure to keep an eye on our latest Truck Driver Blog posts and connect with us on social media. 

 

 

Garbage Truck Driver: A Guide to Responsibilities, Qualifications, and Job Opportunities

Although it might not be viewed as the most glamorous CDL job, local waste and recycling collectors play a vital role in the health and well-being of our communities. 

 

They also receive decent pay, benefits, and an ideal work/life balance—perfect for any trucker who wants to stay close to home while gaining experience in operating heavy machinery and navigating detailed routes via GPS. 

 

Are you considering becoming a local waste collector? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know, including required skills, experience level, and the day-to-day routine.  

 

A Day in the Life 

Local waste collectors, also known as garbage truck or dump truck drivers, follow a distinct work routine compared to most other truckers. This specialized schedule is ideal for CDL drivers who want to stay near their homes while enjoying flexibility and ample free time. 

 

Many waste collectors start their day between 5 and 6 in the morning to take advantage of the cooler hours and avoid heavy traffic. This might seem like an early start, but remember that also means an earlier end to the day, since the bulk of the daily labor is done before afternoon.  

 

Each shift will start with route familiarization, using GPS technology to review the assigned route and optimize the path between the locations of residential and commercial areas where waste needs to be collected. Drivers must also keep in contact with dispatch by radio throughout the day to keep up with pick-up schedules and any route changes.  

 

Although there are different types of garbage trucks depending on the experience of the driver and the specialized equipment necessary for the job, most feature a hydraulic lift and compactor. Drivers must have the required training and experience to operate such machinery, and it’s important to conduct a safety inspection each day before the first stop of the route.  

 

There are also two different options for waste collection drivers, residential or commercial. Commercial waste collection drivers typically service businesses, industrial areas, and large-scale facilities, managing the disposal needs of higher volume waste generated by these organizations. These drivers often operate larger vehicles and navigate more complex logistical challenges. On the other hand, residential waste collection drivers focus on picking up household waste within neighborhoods. Their routes involve frequent stops, demanding a different set of skills to efficiently manage varied waste types from individual households. 

 

All drivers, however, must be prepared to pick up a wide variety of waste, including recycling, yard waste, and sometimes bulk items such as furniture. The day ends with hauling and disposal, whether to a landfill, recycling center, or other transfer station, where drivers follow strict waste collection safety standards and procedures to ensure efficient and responsible waste management. 

 

Education and Experience Requirements  

Like any CDL driving opportunity, it helps to have some experience behind the wheel as well as a clean Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) to start out as a garbage truck driver. Some waste management companies look for up to 3 years of prior driving experience, and many require that applicants be of 21 years or older.  

 

In most cases, a high school diploma or GED are sufficient for educational background, as well as a Class A or B CDL, depending on the type of truck you will be operating. Most waste collecting trucks, such as front load, rear load, and roll-off dumpster require a Class B CDL, while long-haul transfer trailers require a Class A.  

 

It’s important to be in good health to operate any waste collection vehicle, including having good hearing, vision, and the ability to lift heavy weights and operate large machinery.  

 

Driving a garbage truck also presents distinct challenges. Unlike typical 18-wheelers, dump trucks usually have fewer rear axles equipped with brakes, impacting their stopping ability. Additionally, these trucks frequently transport loads with a higher center of gravity, making them more prone to tipping over. When operating off-road, drivers must navigate hilly, soft dirt roads while seeking stable ground for dumping. 

 

However, it’s important to consider that most employers offer on-the-job training, including educational courses and behind-the-wheel practice.  You’ll learn important topics regarding safety, vehicle maintenance, and governing rules and regulations, while gaining confidence in operating important transportation technology.  

 

Finding Job Availabilities  

Another reason that many drivers decide to become a local waste collector is because overall job growth in the field has remained strong due to worker shortages and the highly essential nature of the career.  

 

When searching for a position, consider directly checking with local government agencies, such as city or county waste management departments, as well as private waste management companies. Job postings can be available in many sites, including online job boards, truck carriers, and even waste collection depots and landfills.  

 

 

For many drivers, the most appealing part of a trucking career is that there is a wide variety of opportunities depending on your experience level, availability, and needs. Waste collection is a great option for any driver looking for a dependable and local position that is sure to remain in high demand.  

 

For more information on finding and applying to other job opportunities for CDL drivers, be sure to check out our social media and stay up-to-date on our Truck Driver Blog!   

 

Team driving: Why more truck drivers are choosing this option

Have you ever felt lonely on the road? 

 

Truck drivers face many challenges throughout their career, but few are as persistent as the feeling of loneliness that comes with being far from home for hours on end. Some might simply view trucking as a solitary profession, but this doesn’t have to always be true. 

 

What if there was a way to drive with a companion while also earning more money and increasing your chance of receiving priority loads?  

 

For many truckers, the solution is team driving. Keep reading to learn the benefits of being a team driver, as well as what other truckers have had to say about how they earn more and better enjoy driving when they’re part of a team.  

 

What is team driving? 

Simply put, team driving is when two (or more!) professional drivers ride together in the same truck and share driving duties while transporting freight. Most carriers allow team driving, and many even encourage it, due to the more efficient mileage covered and turnaround allowed by alternating drivers.  

 

Team driving is an especially popular option for married drivers or close friends who already know they work well together and don’t mind the close quarters required of OTR truck driving teams. Team driving allows one partner to drive while the other takes a break, either in the passenger seat or in the sleeper berth. This way, both drivers can receive valuable downtime while keeping the truck moving.  

 

This arrangement is also a smart way to abide by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations on commercial driving breaks.  

 

According to the FMCSA, truck drivers are allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. With team driving, one team member can drive for 11 hours while the other driver catches up on sleep, allowing the truck to be on the road for longer periods of time.  

 

The FMCSA also mandates that a driver must take a 30-minute break after driving 8 consecutive hours. During this break, the driver cannot be behind the wheel. With team driving, the driver can take their 30-minute break to rest while their partner continues the drive, resulting in fewer stops and faster deliveries. 

 

What are the benefits? 

Team driving is an increasingly popular option for many truckers because of the higher earnings, increased safety, and companionship.  

 

Although team drivers split their earnings for each load, they still make more on average than solo drivers. This is because team drivers can drive nearly double the number of hours per week as solo drivers, and they are often first selected for priority loads and loads that are in higher demand. In fact, according to Prime Inc., team drivers log an average of 4,500 to 5,000 miles a week, compared to an average of 2,400-2,800 miles a week for solo drivers. As a result, team drivers can find more consistent work and earn more money per mile driven than solo drivers.  

 

Besides providing a solution to the potential loneliness of trucking, bringing another driver along for the ride also increases the safety of yourself and your freight. Team driving allows you to ensure that your truck and freight are never left unattended. While one driver grabs food or hits the truck stop showers, the other driver can remain in the cab and keep watch.  

 

Team driving can also be a great option for female truck drivers who have valid safety concerns and might feel more comfortable sharing their cab with a trusted colleague while at truck stops and on the road.  

 

Are there any cons? 

While team driving is the perfect solution for many truckers, it’s important to consider the potential downsides as well.  

 

For drivers who are used to having the cab to themselves, it can take some time to adjust to a partner, even if they’re your spouse. Team drivers must always take into account another trucker’s opinion when making decisions, whether it’s about break times, what route to take, or even what speed to drive at.  

 

Trucking might feel lonely sometimes, but it can feel overcrowded quickly if you don’t get along with your partner. It’s important to get to know your partner before you set out on the road, so consider comparing your driving habits and personal interests to make sure the fit is right.  

 

The alternating schedule of team driving can be beneficial, but it can also affect your sleep quality if you’re not a heavy sleeper. Adjusting to sleeping during the day can be harder if there’s additional noise from your partner and the road, not to mention the bumps and braking that could keep you awake. Being well rested and alert is essential to trucking, so keep this in mind if you think sleeping in shifts could impact your ability to sleep while on the road.  

 

 

 

Whether you’re looking to earn more money per mile, gain experience by driving with a seasoned driver, or just feel a little less lonely on the road, team driving could be the right option for you.  

 

For more tips and strategies to make the most of your trucking profession, be sure to check out our social media or check out our other recent Truck Driver Blog posts.  

 

Thinking about becoming a snow plow driver?  

 

This seasonal job requires its own unique expertise, equipment, and dedication to a challenging schedule, but remains in high demand each year by both state Departments of Transportation and private businesses.  

 

If you’re up for the task, snow plow driving could be the right solution for CDL drivers looking to gain additional income or find an annual gig. Keep reading to learn more about the experience needed, expectations on the job, and perks of being a snow plow driver.  

 

What is a snow plow driver? 

Operating a snow plow is different from most other CDL driving jobs because it is usually an on-call or contracted seasonal position through a local public works department, state Department of Transportation, or private company.  

 

Some snow plow drivers are contracted by private businesses such as malls, hotels, or residential communities. Others plow major roads and public areas and often deposit melting solutions, salt, and sand as preventive measures when heavy snowfall is predicted.  

 

This job requires physical endurance, manual dexterity, and the technical skills required to operate large machinery. It’s also important to remain available for on-call shifts throughout the winter, and whenever wintery weather conditions are forecasted.  

 

What experience do you need? 

Although operating a snow plow is a challenging and physically demanding job, it is not difficult to gain the required experience to become a qualified applicant.   

 

All positions will require a commercial driver’s license (CDL), and some may ask for additional training or certifications. Private companies often offer on-the-job training, but it is always beneficial to have at least two years of experience with similar vehicles or equipment.  

 

To stand out on applications, connect with seasoned professionals, and receive training materials and skill certifications, consider joining an industry association such as the Snow & Ice Management Association or the Accredited Snow Contractors Association. While the annual demand for snowplow operators remains consistently high, being equipped with industry connections and verifiable experience will give you a competitive edge when seeking employment in this field. 

 

Equipment necessary  

Operating a snow plow is also unique because the actual blade is able to be equipped on any truck, even a half-ton pickup. This makes it more accessible for drivers looking to work for a private company or even start their own, without having to think about finding a new tractor.  

 

Facing unpredictable and potentially dangerous weather and road conditions, snow plow drivers must be prepared for anything. These are some of the essentials that every operator should bring with them.  

  • Snow plow. The most important part of the job, which can be attached to trucks, backhoes, scrapers, excavators, or other vehicles. There is a range of plows to choose from, such as straight blade, V-plow, winged plow, box plow, or rotary plow, depending on the amount and type of snow to be cleared.  
  • Melting solutions, salt, and sand. Many snow plow drivers also deposit melting solutions to prevent ice build up and make it easier to clear. It’s useful to bring extra, in case you get stuck and need to increase friction on the road.  
  • Ice scraper. When driving in the winter, it’s important to always keep your windshields clear of snow or ice.  
  • Shovel or broom. These can be used to clear snow and ice from sidewalks, driveways, or other areas that are not accessible by vehicles.  
  • First aid kit. With a job as risky as snow plowing, you never know what could happen. It’s important to be prepared and keep the kit stocked.  
  • Basic emergency items. Besides first aid, remember to bring blankets, extra clothes, a tow rope, and tire chains.  

 

What are the benefits? 

What most drivers really want to know about a position like operating a snow plow is what the pay and benefits are like. While compensation varies depending on factors such as location, experience, and demand for snow removal services, drivers are usually paid hourly and can sometimes receive overtime during times of heavy snowfall.  

 

Today’s average hourly pay for a snow plow driver in the US is $24.36, with a range from $12.98 to $35.34. Although this adds up to a lower average annual salary than the overall CDL driver average, the seasonal nature of snow plow driving means it is usually a supplement to income, allowing drivers to pick up a little extra cash around the holiday season.  

 

Some employers also offer standard employment benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans, as well as performance bonuses or further training to gain additional experience operating snow removal equipment.  

 

 

Operating a snow plow is a challenging but rewarding job for CDL drivers looking to make additional income each winter. If you’re interested in finding out more, head to your local DOT website or find a nearby private company focusing in winter maintenance and snow removal.  

 

For more information on opportunities available to CDL drivers year round, be sure to check out our social media and stay up-to-date on our Truck Driver Blog 

Truckers face many challenges on the road, but rarely is something as unpredictable and difficult as driving during the winter.  

 

When dealing with intense weather conditions, icy roads, reduced visibility, or other hazards, driving a truck requires a specific set of skills and precautions, as well as the right equipment and supplies. 

 

Keep reading to learn winter driving tips and tricks for CDL drivers, and some of the essential gear that you should always have in your truck during the cold months. Whether you are a seasoned professional or a new driver, these tips are sure to keep you safe and comfortable on the road this winter.  

 

Be Prepared for Anything  

Safety should be every driver’s priority year round, but winter driving calls for another level of caution and preparation. Road conditions in the winter can be unpredictable and fast changing, which means you should be prepared for the worst every time you hit the road.  

 

To better prepare yourself for any situation, double check that you have the following items each time you depart: 

  • Always keep at least a half full tank of gas. Sudden weather changes could mean taking longer, alternative routes or stopping on the side of the road until it’s clear. This also helps keep fuel from freezing.  
  • Windshield scraper. This might seem obvious, but it’s important to double check. Always keep your windshield clear of snow or ice.  
  • Jumper cables. You don’t want to be stuck with a dead battery when it’s freezing out.  
  • A bag of salt, sand, or kitty litter. Any of these would be useful to spread on the ground and create friction if your truck gets stuck in snow or ice.  
  • Heavy duty winter clothes and blankets. You never know what could happen, and you don’t want to be underdressed or under prepared in case of an emergency. Remember jackets, gloves, a hat, socks, and waterproof boots.  
  • Flashlight and Flares. You’ll want a sturdy flashlight that can stand cold weather in case you get stranded and need to signal. Flares are also helpful to alert others to yield.  
  • Extra food and water. If you find yourself waiting out a storm, or waiting for roadside assistance, you won’t want to be without either of these essentials.  

 

Check Conditions and Forecasts Frequently 

Although even the weatherman gets it wrong sometimes, it’s important to stay up-to-date on potential weather changes and road conditions. Keep an eye on the forecast and closed routes by radio, GPS systems, your phone, or by calling into dispatch.  

 

Thorough Inspections 

Pre-trip vehicle inspections should look a little different during winter months. Each time before hitting the road, be sure to check these features: 

  • Fluid levels and fuel. This will keep them from potentially freezing or running low.  
  • Tires. Check for pressure, wear, and balance. Install winter tires or carry snow chains if you even have a chance of encountering wintery conditions.  
  • Brakes. They are extremely important when potentially facing icy or slick roads.  
  • Lights. Visibility is reduced for many reasons throughout the winter, which means you need to keep an eye on all lights, including brake lights and turn signals.  
  • Wiper blades. If you have any doubts, it’s better to replace them.  
  • Exhaust pipe. Always be sure nothing is blocking it, such as snow.  

 

Slow and Steady Wins the Race 

The best advice for winter driving is to always drive slower, smoother, and steadier than you think is necessary. Rushing to get a job done or to get back home quicker is never worth the risk of collisions, jackknifes, or rollovers.  

  1. Reduce your speed when conditions are hazardous. Allow for extra stopping time, and maintain a safe following distance. Poor road conditions can require up to 10 times the normal stopping distance.  
  2. Avoid sudden movements. Sharp turns or hard braking can lead to loss of control or skidding.  
  3. Don’t use the Jake Brake if the road is icy.  The compression release engine brake, also known as the Jake Brake, releases compressed air in the cylinders and will halt the wheels entirely, which could cause skidding. Instead, put the truck into a lower gear and use regular friction brakes to maximize safety. 
  4. Know when to stop. If conditions worsen to the point where it’s unsafe to continue, find a safe place to pull over and wait for conditions to improve. In general, winter driving can be physically and mentally demanding. You should take regular breaks to stay alert and well-rested.  

 

Don’t slip! 

Finally, remember that your vehicle’s steps might be more slick than you expect. Be careful when entering and exiting your tractor during winter. It might help to wear boots that have a good grip, and be sure to take your time.  

 

 

Driving in the winter can be dangerous, but it doesn’t have to be. With over 17% of all vehicle crashes occurring in winter weather conditions, it’s essential to drive slowly and defensively, remain alert, and prepare your truck for every situation.  

 

Here at Drive My Way, we take driver safety seriously. For more information safety tips and tricks, be sure to connect with us on social media and stay up-to-date on our Truck Driver Blog 

delivery man holding package

The chances are, if you’ve been in the transportation industry for a while, you’ve heard the phrase “last mile delivery, also referred to as final mile delivery.”  

 

In recent years, with the rise of e-commerce and a consumer-driven industry, last mile delivery has become a major differentiating factor among competitor, and a job opportunity for independent contractors looking to have a regular route, close to home.  

 

With today’s consumers expecting fast and reliable delivery every time they make an online purchase, retailers and last mile delivery companies have had to work hard to offer multiple options for fast and affordable shipping and delivery rates. This has also opened up availability for 1099 independent contractors and owner operators who have the equipment necessary to respond to the rising consumer demand.  

 

Read on to find out what last mile delivery really is, the biggest challenges facing delivery drivers today, and how this could be the right job for you.  

 

What is Last Mile Delivery? 

The supply chain process can be divided into three main stages:  

 

The First Mile is the creation and distribution of a product from the original manufacturer.  

 

The Middle Mile is the long distance transportation of a product from the manufacturer to its final transportation hub.  

 

The Last Mile, also called Final Mile is the transportation of a product from a hub such as a local warehouse or fulfillment center to its final destination at either a retailer or customer’s home.  

 

Every step of the supply chain process is important, but the last mile has the most impact on the customer’s experience, and their likelihood of ordering from a company again. Therefore, businesses must ensure the most quick and efficient last mile delivery as possible if they want to stay ahead of competition.  

 

What’s the “Last Mile Problem?” 

The “last mile problem” is another phrase you might have heard thrown around. This simply refers to the common factors that cause issues, delays, and additional expenses during the last mile delivery. This stage of the supply chain process might be the most critical to the consumer experience, but it’s also the most expensive and time-consuming for the business, often accounting for 53% of overall delivery costs.  

 

Many factors play a role in this notoriously difficult and expensive phase of the delivery process that affect both drivers and businesses. For drivers, last mile delivery can be difficult due to a short delivery time frame, dense urban areas that lead to more stops and last minute route changes, rising fuel prices, and failed deliveries.  

 

Businesses must also account for other factors such as the added pressure of customer expectation for rapid delivery and real-time tracking, the shortage of qualified drivers, and the costs of vehicle maintenance.  

 

Although these common inefficiencies aren’t going away any time soon, neither is the importance of quick and efficient last mile delivery. This is where the opportunity for independent contractors comes in.  

 

Opportunities for Independent Contractors 

1099 independent contractor drivers and owner-operators from across the nation have found success in recent years filling the gaps left by the “last mile problem.” As the demand for fast and reliable shipping and delivery has continued to increase, drivers with the right equipment are increasingly able to find flexible, locally based, and well-paying delivery jobs.  

 

Last mile delivery appeals to many owner-operators who appreciate the flexibility and autonomy that comes with this kind of job. Delivery drivers are able to choose their routes, allowing for more control of their schedule on a day-to-day basis.  

 

For drivers looking to reduce long-haul travel and find consistent work within a particular region, last mile delivery is ideal because of its inherently local nature. Local drivers are also better suited for making deliveries in urban areas and other locations where having a prior knowledge of the roads and shortcuts could save time and money during delivery.  

 

Drivers also benefit from understanding consumer expectations. One of the most requested and expected features of last mile delivery is real-time tracking, with one study finding that 93% of customers expect to be able to track their order. By integrating technology such as fleet management software or telematics systems, owner-operators can streamline their operations and provide better service.  

 

Some drivers also choose to partner with delivery platforms or gig economy services that connect them to businesses and individuals in need of last mile delivery. These partnerships offer independent contractors opportunities to leverage their vehicles and expertise in efficient and timely deliveries while providing them with consistent freight.  

 

It’s important for independent contract drivers and owner-operators to research and evaluate potential partners based on their specific needs, preferences, and the types of deliveries they are interested in handling. Building relationships with a mix of local businesses and larger platforms can provide a diversified and steady stream of last mile delivery opportunities. Additionally, staying informed about industry trends and changes can help owner-operators identify new partnership possibilities. 

 

 

If you’re looking for an in-demand job that will continue to grow while remaining locally-based, last mile delivery might be the solution for you. Although facing a number of difficulties and considerations as it expands, last mile delivery is sure to be a key part of the future of the trucking industry.  

  

To stay up-to-date on trends and news on the trucking industry, be sure to follow us on social media or read more of our Driver Blog 

 

Every New Year, people around the world set resolutions, reflect on the last 12 months, and decide what they want to change this time around. Was your 2023 different than you expected? Have you already made goals for 2024?  

 

When it comes to setting resolutions for your career, everyone’s goals are different. In an industry like trucking, each driver’s priorities and experiences affect what they’re hoping to accomplish. Still, there are many ways to set yourself up for success in the new year, whether you’re looking to improve your job applications, find exciting driver events, or stay on top of new industry trends.  

 

Keep reading to find out Drive My Way’s 2024 checklist for CDL drivers to save time and stress by getting ahead this New Year.  

 

Insurance Renewal and Keeping Information Up To Date 

Commercial truck insurance isn’t the most exciting thing to think about at the start of a new year, but it’s important to not get behind and cause yourself more stress later on. Most insurance coverage lasts for a year, with your actual renewal date based on the date you first got your policy.  

 

Be sure to contact your agent or carrier ahead of time, sometimes even up to two months before your renewal date, to assure your coverage doesn’t lapse. You should also keep in mind that rates can change, often increasing due to various factors, such as driving history, industry claims, or overall insurance rates.  

 

If your carrier provides a flexible spending account plan, it’s also important to be sure to submit all the required information to receive your reimbursements for the past year. You just need to submit a claim to the FSA administrator, which is done through your employer, with proof of the medical expenses and a statement that they haven’t been covered by your plan. After this, you’ll be able to be reimbursed for your costs.  

 

It’s also a good idea to use the new year as a time to make sure all your general information is up to date in your employer’s records. Be mindful of updating dependent and emergency contact information if there have been any changes. You never know when this could be necessary, and you don’t want your carrier to have out of date information if something serious happens.  

 

If your mailing address has changed, it’s also important to update your employer with the correct information to ensure that you receive your W2 or 1099 forms to complete your 2023 taxes. You’ll save time and hassle by having this information up to date before the start of tax season.  

 

Review Application Materials 

Whether or not you plan on applying for a new job in 2024, it’s beneficial to have all your application materials up to date and ready to go. Start by reviewing your resumé and add any updates or skills gained that may have taken place over the year.  

 

Nowadays, most hiring is digital. That makes LinkedIn an important platform to utilize and keep up to date. Make sure that your employment and driving history is correct and updated, and add any relevant information that could help your profile stand out to employers.  

 

You can also order ahead certain documents that will make the hiring process more streamlined, such as your PSP report.  

 

Health & Wellness Goals 

Many New Year’s resolutions often focus on health and wellbeing. This makes sense, as it’s a good time to assess how you feel and what changes you could implement into your routine to make yourself healthier and happier. For truck drivers, who often face health problems due to the sedentary nature of the career,  it can be a great idea to tie a New Year’s resolution into your daily routine as a driver.  

 

This year, it might help to set goals surrounding when and where you eat, and how active you are on a daily basis. It could save you time and money to start packing your own meals, or find affordable, energy-sustaining food at truck stops across the country. There are also many short workouts you can do from anywhere that will keep you moving and feeling better while you’re on the road for long stretches of time.  

 

 

Make 2024 your best year yet by getting ahead of the curve and preparing for the things you know you’ll have to do this year. It’s sure to be a busy year for the trucking industry, so you might even want to look at this year’s upcoming conferences and events and start planning.  

 

Stay up to date on driver advice, events, and opportunities this year by following our social media or reading other posts on our Driver Blog 

 

 

All year long, CDL drivers make difficult sacrifices as they work long hours, often far from home, to maintain a critical part of our nation’s infrastructure. For many drivers, these sacrifices are especially felt during the December holiday season.  

 

Not only does the increased demand of goods and services during the holiday season create a greater workload for many drivers, but being far from your loved ones can be much more difficult when you feel like you’re missing out on important events.  

 

This holiday season, you should remind yourself you aren’t alone. There are many ways to remain connected to your loved ones, even from hundreds of miles apart. Many drivers also find creative ways to make their trucks feel like home, while creating a community with fellow truck drivers.  

 

Will you be on the road this holiday season? Keep reading to find out the best ways to make the most of your time and bring the holiday spirit along for the ride.  

 

Celebrating While Miles Apart 

Modern technology has made it easier than ever to feel connected to your loved ones even when you’re far from home. Leverage technology such as FaceTime, Duo, Skype, and Zoom to give your family the gift of seeing you on Christmas morning! 

 

There are also apps such as Rave or Teleparty that allow you to stream the same movie or TV show across different devices no matter where you are, a perfect way to make sure you still get to watch your family’s favorite holiday movie.  

 

All of these platforms require cellular data or connection to wireless internet. Luckily, all of the major truck stop chains, many state welcoming centers, and other establishments such as McDonalds, provide Wi-Fi that is free and accessible to truckers.  

 

A True Trucker’s Holiday  

There are many CDL drivers who have spent every holiday season on the road and have become pros at celebrating no matter how far they are from home. Truckers across the country find ways to eat a holiday meal, decorate their truck, or celebrate with fellow drivers to make sure they never miss out on the holiday cheer. 

 

Photo by Ken White on Facebook

If your favorite part of the holiday season is the food, you’re in luck. There are many ways to make sure you don’t miss out on a home-cooked meal this December.  

 

Most major truck stop restaurant chains offer a holiday meal each year. Keep an eye out for advertisements which usually begin in November, and you’ll be able to find somewhere along your route to stop and celebrate with fellow drivers. However, some restaurants serve these meals on an RSVP basis, so double check when you’re planning where to stop.  

 

Another option, if you’re looking to save money and embrace the tradition of a home-cooked meal, is to make a holiday feast from the comfort of your own cab. Cooking from your truck is easier than it may seem, and there are countless recipes available online if you have a slow cooker, crock pot, or portable stove. Just make sure your truck has the power capabilities necessary for the job. An inverter and an auxiliary power unit (APU) work together so you can easily operate all these appliances, even when your truck is off.   

 

Many drivers also embrace a unique holiday tradition: decorating their truck. Drivers nationwide have found creative ways to make their truck feel more like home by decorating with lights, bows, and ornaments.  

 

Winter Safety  

Driving during the holiday season can be difficult for other reasons, too. This time of year can bring some pretty rough weather conditions, coupled with increased holiday traffic, making it extra important to be vigilant and careful while out on the road.  

 

Rushing to get a job done or to get back home is never worth the risk of collisions, jackknifes, or rollovers. If there are severe weather conditions that could impact visibility or overall safety, the best decision is always to wait it out on the side of the road. Maintain space from the vehicles around you, in case you have to make an emergency stop.  

 

Safety is important year round, but there are a couple of essential tips to keep in mind all winter long.  

 

  1. Don’t exceed driver hours of service.  In most cases this is a maximum of 11 hours on the road, including a 30 minute break every 8 hours. While you might be tempted to shorten the break or drive a little longer, these laws exist for a reason.  
  2. Maintain headlights. With lower visibility during the winter, shorter hours of daylight, and an increase of deer on the road, headlights will help you avoid dangerous situations at any time of the day.  
  3. Slow down when driving over bridges. Most drivers know that bridges freeze faster than roads, but it’s easy to forget when you’ve been driving all day. Bring yourself to a lower speed before crossing a bridge, avoiding slamming the brakes in case of black ice.  
  4. Don’t use the Jake Brake if the road is icy.  The compression release engine brake, also known as the Jake Brake, releases compressed air in the cylinders and will halt the wheels entirely. Your rig will skid across the ice if the conditions are slippery enough. Instead, put the truck into a lower gear and use regular friction brakes to maximize safety. 

 

 

Driving during the holiday season is hard, but it doesn’t have to feel impossible. Create new holiday traditions by remaining connected to your loved ones while celebrating on the road and staying safe all winter long.  

 

What are your OTR holiday traditions? Can you think of any advice that we left out? Be sure to reach out to us on social media about your experience driving during the holidays.  

Are you happy at your job? What could make you happier?

These were some of the questions answered by over 500 truck drivers nationwide as part of Drive My Way’s 2023 Driver Happiness Survey. The results of this survey were recently released in a report now available to be downloaded as a PDF from this page.  

 

If you’re unhappy in your current position, you aren’t alone. The survey responses highlighted the issues facing today’s truck drivers, and the factors that could increase driver satisfaction rates across the nation.  

 

In 2023, only 51% of surveyed drivers said they were happy at their job. Younger and newer drivers especially expressed less satisfaction than older, more experienced drivers, with only 44% of drivers with 1-2 years of experience saying they were happy in their current position.  

 

These surprising results revealed that driver happiness nationwide has decreased since Drive My Way’s last happiness report in 2019, when 54% of drivers said they were happy in their positions. Today’s drivers are also now nearly twice as likely to look for a new job than those surveyed in 2019.  

 

When asked what employers could do better to increase satisfaction rates, many drivers agreed on two things: compensation and communication. Communication is seen as especially important by female drivers and new employees, with twice as many women as men reporting that communication was the one thing employers could improve.  

 

To download Drive My Way’s Driver Happiness Report on the state of satisfaction among professional truck drivers in 2023, just click to this link and enter your information. https://hiring.drivemyway.com/2023-driver-happiness-report/ 

 

Drive My Way is a truck driver recruiting platform completely focused on drivers and their needs. We match company drivers and owner operators with CDL jobs based on more than 20 personal lifestyle preferences. If you believe we could help you reach your career goals, or you’re interested in being a part of our next Driver Happiness Survey, be sure to visit our driver platform here and sign up for our email alerts.