rush hour traffic

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

1. Remember following distance

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

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

2. Take your time

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

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

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

3. Rush hour or rush hours?!

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

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

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

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

1. Know what you want

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

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

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

2. Do your homework

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

3. Pay attention at truck stops

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

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

4. Create a profile with Drive My Way

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

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

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

work life balance women truck drivers1. Work-life balance

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

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

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

2. Safety in your truck

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

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

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

truck stop safety tips3. Safety at a truck stop

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

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

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

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

4. Behind the wheel

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

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

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

5. Hygiene

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

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

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

women truck drivers6. Reach out to other women drivers

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

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

7. Find the right carrier

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

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

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

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dangerous truck driving

Truck driving is considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. That’s no deterrent to passionate drivers who love the job and the independence it gives them. While most truckers and carriers prioritize safety, truck drivers still get injured in crashes every year. Even the most well-trained, safety-conscious drivers can occasionally engage in dangerous truck driving behaviors which put them in jeopardy. Driving defensively isn’t everyone’s favorite activity, but it’s essential to be a truck driver. Use this handy guide to double-check you aren’t doing these five things while behind the wheel.

1. Speeding

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study reported that 23% of large-truck crashes occurred when truck drivers were traveling too fast for the conditions. Speeding anytime in a large vehicle is a bad idea, but particularly in adverse conditions. Adjust your speed to match road conditions, weather conditions, low visibility, or high traffic.

The rule of thumb is to reduce speed by 1/3 on wet roads and ½ or more on snow packed roads.

Speeding is also a bad idea when entering curves. The posted speed limit on curves are intended for passenger vehicles, not large trucks. So, you should be driving even slower than the 30-mph posted on a curve, even if it annoys all the passenger vehicles behind you! Similarly, maintain a safe speed while entering or exiting highway ramps. Truck rollovers are more likely to occur on ramps and curves when drivers misjudge the sharpness and drive too fast. Another area to be particularly careful about is work zones. Nearly a quarter of work zone deaths involve large trucks. Be mindful of lane closures and start slowing down before the work zone begins.

2. Not scanning properly

Driving defensively means being constantly aware of your surroundings. If you’re able to monitor everything happening, you can anticipate what other vehicles will do before they do it. Looking far enough ahead will allow you to adapt earlier to slower traffic and lane closures. The rule of thumb is to look at least 15 seconds in front of you- that’s about ¼ mile on the highway or 1 ½ city blocks. In addition to looking ahead, you should be scanning what’s going on immediately “around” you. Checking your mirrors will give you an idea of who’s behind you and which vehicles are looking to pass.

Checking mirrors often will also show you who’s about to be in your “no-zone”.

Driving large trucks means having large blind spots. Passenger vehicles may be unaware that sometimes they virtually disappear from your view if caught in your “no-zone”!

3. Changing directions suddenly

In general, the larger the vehicle the more difficult it is to change directions or make turns. You need to allow for more time to make turns or even move into adjacent lanes. If you’re about to miss a turn or exit, take your time to pass and find a safe way to change directions. Always make sure to use signals accordingly before changing directions. Passenger vehicles often assume that trucks will stay on the same lane or route for long distances of time. If you change without signaling, these vehicles may panic and react unpredictably. Similarly, you should approach intersections and curves with caution, because you may need to change directions. Remember that driving defensively means taking your time and making sure others on the road understand your intentions.

4. Getting distracted

Here is one of the biggest causes of accidents behind the road- driving while distracted. Avoid using your cell phone while driving. While texting is obvious to avoid, even looking at your phone for a few seconds takes your eyes off the road. Cell phones involve all four of the major distraction categories. They are visual, auditory (require you to listen), biomechanical (require you to use your hands), and cognitive distractors (require you to engage in mental tasks).

The risk of a crash is four times higher when using a cell phone.

At the same time, you want to avoid eating behind the wheel as much as possible. It also involves visual and biomechanical distractions. While sipping on a soda or water shouldn’t be a problem, having a second Thanksgiving meal behind the wheel poses obvious problems. Use your judgment and only consume what you need to while on the road. Leave the large meals for when you pull over.

5. Staying too close to other vehicles

All vehicles on the road should be maintaining a safe following distance, but this is especially true for large trucks. They need additional space between vehicles to allow for safe breaking and unexpected turning. In many crashes, trucks often hit the vehicles directly in front of them.

The rule of thumb is that if you’re driving under 40 mph, you should have at least one second for every 10 feet of vehicle length.

For the typical tractor-trailer, this is about 4 seconds between you and the leading vehicle. For speeds over 40 mph, you should add an additional second. Another tip is to double your following distance in adverse road conditions like weather, visibility, or traffic. Don’t forget that braking distance can be greatly affected by road surfaces and weather conditions like rain, ice, and snow.

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trucking industry changes

The trucking industry has seen a number of changes in just the last few years, not to mention since a generation ago. Seems like every year there’s a new law, mandate, regulation, or technology that may impact the industry. Despite all this, truck drivers remain in high demand and trucking remains vital to the national economy. Truck drivers simply want to know whether and how these changes will impact their job and their work. Here’s what you need to know about recent trucking industry changes.

Electronic logging devices

Probably the biggest change in the industry over the last few years has been the electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate. There was plenty of controversy and debate surrounding the ELD mandate when it was about to launch. There was also some anticipation of whether it would actually have any effects. Many drivers were upset about the ELDs and how it would impact their behavior.

While many truckers threatened to leave the industry over ELDs, trucking has continued to see steady growth.

Since it’s been over a year, there are some signs of how it impacted the industry.

Recent findings suggest that the ELD mandate improved hours of service (HOS) compliance overall. The percentage of inspections with intentional violations has dropped. Interestingly though, there seems to be no effect of the mandate on crashes. The number of crashes pre-mandate and post-mandate are comparable. At the same time, drivers were cited more frequently for unsafe driving behaviors after the mandate was in effect. It’s unclear whether the mandate changed driver behavior, or if enforcement has just been stricter.

Bottom line for drivers: Mandates aside, its how truckers choose to drive that determines how safe they are on the road. While mandates can be annoying, drivers haven’t left trucking because of the ELD. Clearly, the industry and the truck driving profession has been attractive regardless of the mandate.

New hours of service rules

There has been much discussion around the proposed hours of service (HOS) rules. These rules are intended to regulate the number of hours a driver can spend on the road at any given time before taking an extended break. The rules are designed to promote the safety of truck drivers and other motorists, although many truck drivers aren’t happy about these proposed mandates.

Basically, as the industry is adapting to the ELD mandate, it is calling for additional HOS flexibility without compromising safety.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed some changes to elements of the HOS rules. These include the 14-hour rule, the short haul exception, the 30-minute rest break, the split-sleeper berth rule, and the adverse driving conditions exception. Good news is that the FMCSA is seeking input from all industry stakeholders, including drivers. The comment period is set to end on October 7, and drivers can express their opinion on the matter until then.

Bottom line for drivers: While the new mandates regarding the HOS can be frustrating, some of the new exceptions might be useful. Nothing has been decided yet, so drivers would need to keep an eye out for new rule changes coming in the near future.

Pay increases

The trucking industry has seen high growth and is expected to continue growing through 2024. Given the high demand for drivers you’d think that higher pay would be expected. Even though pay rates have been on the rise, there is more to the story.

Often the increase in pay isn’t enough to account for increases in inflation and cost of living.

Additionally, the implementation of ELDs means that carriers have to deal with the costs of switching over their trucks. Even when there are pay increases, they may be more likely for some types of jobs over others. Many companies offer sign-on bonuses, but they usually come with too many conditions and strings attached that sometimes they aren’t worth it.

Bottom line for drivers: Truckers should still be careful and shop around for the best pay. You have some room to be “picky”, but don’t expect all companies or runs to pay as well as others. Try to look past the sign-on bonuses and evaluate whether they are really worth moving to a new carrier.

Autonomous trucks

Here’s an issue which has seen much contention, but very few changes over the last few years. For at least a decade, we’ve heard news about the coming age of self-driving trucks. Some truckers were worried that the development of autonomous trucks means they could be out of a job, although they shouldn’t be. Well, autonomous trucks are now here, and nothing much has changed. Drivers don’t need to worry about losing their jobs because of self-driving trucks. Although these trucks have been developed, they are still in their infancy.

Seeing more of these autonomous trucks on the road is at least a generation away, if not longer.

Even once the technology catches up, there are legal and liability issues to work out because carriers don’t want to be on the hook if the robot trucks cause crashes. As any truck driving veteran will tell you, it’s their judgment, experience, and intuition that helps them drive safe. Will the autonomous trucks be able to replicate that on the road? Remains to be seen. Until then, there is still a desperate need for great truck drivers.

Bottom line for drivers: Nothing has changed yet. Self-driving trucks can’t do everything and truck drivers are still in high demand. Your job isn’t in danger, although the trucking industry may look different in 40 years.

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owner operator

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

1. Enough experience

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

2. Financially prepared

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

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

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

3. Personal life

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

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

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

4. Business preparedness

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

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

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

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

5. Networking, research, and more networking

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

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

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

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world without trucking

Imagine a world without trucking. Most truck drivers have a keen sense that if trucking were to stop, then the nation would come to a standstill. A study by the American Trucking Associations suggests that “when trucks stop, America stops”. While truck drivers are strongly aware of this, perhaps most people in the general public don’t know that our economy depends on trucks to deliver ten billion tons of almost every commodity consumed. If trucks stopped, there would be catastrophic effects on the food industry, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, finance, and more. Here’s a look at what happens in a world without trucking.

Within 24 hours

  • Hospitals begin to run low on medical supplies.
  • Mail delivery and package services would stop.
  • Gas stations would begin to run low on fuel.
  • Manufacturing slows down, due to lack of supplies delivered on time.

 Within 72 hours

  • Gas supplies start to dwindle low within a few days, and prices would soar.
  • Food supplies in grocery stores are depleted, causing the prices to skyrocket. Consumers start to panic and hoard food.
  • Garbage starts to pile up to building-size, creating severe environmental and health consequences.
  • Banks and ATMs would run out of resources, creating a panic due to lack of access to cash.

Within 1 week

  • Sources of clean water will start to run low. Perishable food supplies almost depleted at food stores.
  • Without new fuel supply, automobiles are no longer able to travel.
  • Public safety threatened as police and fire departments unable to function properly.
  • Hospitals lack basic supplies including oxygen.

Within 3-4 weeks

  • Clean water supply dwindles completely. The only water safe for consumption is boiled water. Lack of clean water will lead to increased illnesses and public health risks.
  • Manufacturing comes to a standstill with lack of components, leaving thousands of people unemployed.
  • Air, rail, and maritime transportation will come to a halt due to lack of supplies for operation.
  • Country moves closer toward economic collapse due to shock in the system.
  • Health and public safety threatened as hospitals and law enforcement cannot function.
  • Environmental catastrophe will be imminent as trash and hazardous materials pile up.

These are just a few of the effects that halting trucking would bring. A world without trucking would soon bring the national economy to a standstill. It would also severely damage public health, safety, and the environment. This year for National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, we should all be thankful for the truckers in the industry who keep their trucks, and the country, running smoothly!

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

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

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

1. Run the Same Short Routes

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

2. Be Flexible

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

3. Put in Your Time

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

4. Be Okay with Less Pay

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

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

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truck stop safety tips

Truck stops can be a haven for truck drivers who spend long hours on the road. In addition to refueling yourself and the truck, you can get some rest and park your truck in a safe location. However, not all truck stops are equally safe for yourself or your rig. Even in the safest truck stops, there are risks of damage to your vehicle. Many truck accidents occur in truck stop parking lots, given the tight parking situations. There are also horror stories out there about drivers whose trucks have been broken into and who were put into dangerous situations. As an owner operator or company driver, you can guard your truck, and your safety, by following a few simple truck driver safety tips.

Safety at truck stops

There are many reasons why parking and safety are issues at truck stops. First of all, most trucks are now longer than the allotted parking space. This is because most current truck stops were built a few decades ago when the average truck was much shorter in length. The parking lots haven’t grown in size along with the length of current trucks. There may also be unnecessary traffic at truck stops due to student drivers. Some CDL trainers bring student drivers to truck stops to practice their skills. Unfortunately for you, this means there’s a higher chance that your rig could be damaged by a rookie who is just learning the ropes.

You may be tempted to overlook the chances of damage at truck stops but take a minute to think about the costs.

Even if you have an insurance deductible on your truck as an owner operator, it wouldn’t cover all the damage. It doesn’t take much by a careless rookie to rack up about $5,000 in damage. Add the costs of parts and labor, and the economic loss of downtime, and you’re looking at several thousand in damage. Personal safety at truck stops is also of major concern. While you may think truck stops look safe enough, they can be targets for robberies in the middle of the night. Here are a few truck driver safety tips you can follow to protect yourself and the rig.

Truck safety

There are a few simple tips you can follow to reduce the chances of damage to your rig while parked at a truck stop. First, try parking at the very end of the parking area, away from the fuel island. You may have to try stopping earlier at night to find a good spot farther away. The reason is that there is less parking traffic that occurs here. The farther you are from moving trucks, the better. You might want to avoid the entire truck stop if they have a smaller parking lot.

Second, pick a good parking spot.

Parking next to immovable objects like poles makes it less likely that another truck hits you on at least one side of your vehicle.

You could also find a stop next to two trucks which have already parked well for the night and look like they won’t be moving soon. Avoid stopping next to trucks which had a shoddy parking job, or which seem like they’re going to be leaving soon. Lastly, consider investing in dash cams. These handy devices can record events in front of your truck. You’ll be able to view this footage if someone hits your truck and takes off. In such an event, you want to protect your reputation as a driver with your carrier, and have clear evidence of what happened, even if the camera can’t identify the culprit.

Personal safety

In addition to your rig, you need to take safety measures to protect yourself at truck stops. Not all truck stops are equally dangerous. You can save yourself some trouble by reading reviews ahead of time for which truck stops to avoid at all costs. Some truck stops have taken measures like security cameras to make their premises safer. Even at the best truck stops there is always a small chance of robberies or burglaries. The valuable cargo you’re carrying can make you a prime target for such crime.

Women drivers in particular may have to think about safety concerns more than men, even though truck stops are taking measures to become more female-friendly.

If you’re staying the night at truck stops, there are simple ways to make your area more secure. First, make sure to lock all doors to avoid break-ins. You may also want to pull the blinds over the front windshield so that your possessions aren’t visible. Most company drivers inform their carriers exactly where they are staying for the night for documentation and record-keeping purposes. Finally, consider investing in more cameras. Dash cams can be placed aside from the front blinds so they can capture footage of any would-be perpetrators.

Keeping these truck driver safety tips in mind will help you secure yourself and your rig in truck stops across the country.

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otr driver

OTR truck drivers have one of the coolest jobs. Their office is a window to the world, or at least the country. As an OTR truck driver, your job will take you all around the US. You may have the opportunity to visit popular attractions and travel destinations across the country. Some of these are on the bucket lists of most Americans. Here are 8 top places to see in America as an OTR driver.

lake tahoe8. Lake Tahoe

Often forgotten among top travel destination lists, North America’s largest alpine lake still enjoys visitors year-round. Nestled between California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is known for its stunning clear water.

The area surrounding the lake is surrounded by a panorama of mountains on all sides. In the winter months, you can enjoy skiing and snowboarding through one of the numerous resorts in the area. The warmer months will offer plenty of opportunities for hiking, kayaking, and boating.

mount rushmore7. Mount Rushmore

Visiting Mount Rushmore in South Dakota will give you a chance to pay tribute to America’s greatest presidents. The sculpture is carved into the granite face of the mountain and features the 60-foot heads of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

The four presidents were chosen to represent the nation’s birth, growth, development, and preservation, respectively. Sometimes referred to as the “Shrine of Democracy”, the sculpture is unlike any other in North America. Families can enjoy hiking trails, ranger talks, and lighting ceremonies. If you’re in the area, consider touring the surrounding Black Hills and the South Dakota Badlands, known for its sharply eroded buttes and pinnacles.

Florida Keys6. The Florida Keys

Sure, the Florida Keys aren’t one single destination to see, but if you’re there you might as well see it all. You can traverse the entire coral cay archipelago, including the seven-mile-bridge. Key West is home to the southernmost point in the continental United States and offers pristine beaches and a lively bar and restaurant scene.

In Key Largo, you can find some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving spots in the country. The entire area is known for its ecological preservation, including the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the first underwater park in the United States. Visitors flock to the Keys to enjoy all sorts of water recreation including snorkeling, sailing, deep-sea fishing, or simply lounging on the beaches. No trip to Florida is complete without seeing the Keys at least once.

yosemite national park5. Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park in California boasts nearly 768,000 acres of land with granite cliffs, towering waterfalls, and giant sequoia trees. Over 4 million people visit this UNESCO world heritage site every year.

Among the famous spots here are El Capitan, a sheer granite rock that measures about 3,600 feet tall, and Yosemite Falls, North America’s tallest waterfall. Yosemite is a popular destination all year-round, even though the best hiking months are when its warmer. Tuolumne Meadows is a hiker’s delight, complete with alpine lakes, rivers, and mountain peaks. The diversity of the terrain, along with the unique flora and fauna, make Yosemite one of America’s great treasures.

everglades4. The Everglades

If you’ve never seen a tropical wetland before, the Everglades should be at the top of your must-see list. The Everglades National Park comprises only 20 percent of the original Everglades region in Florida. It’s the largest tropical wilderness in the United States, with over 1 million people visiting the park every year.

As another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Everglades functions to preserve a fragile ecosystem, along with many threatened or protected species such as the Florida panther and American crocodile. Visit the River of Grass, where you’ll find the largest stand of old-growth cypress trees on Earth, along with alligators and black bears. The 15-mile Shark Valley Scenic Loop tram or airboat tour will also offer spectacular views right through the glades, with plenty of opportunities for wildlife sightings.

yellowstone national park3. Yellowstone National Park

With over 2 million acres, Yellowstone is so massive that it spans three states- Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It was established by the US Congress and signed into law in 1872, making it the first national park in the US. Yellowstone is famous the world over for its wildlife and geothermal features like lakes, canyons, rivers, and mountain ranges.

The park is open year-round and offers different recreational activities each season, to complement the must-see natural wonders. Yellowstone Lake is one of the highest elevation lakes in North America. It’s centered over the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent. Half of the world’s geysers are in Yellowstone, including the famous Old Faithful, which erupts every 90 minutes. Yellowstone is another original American natural treasure.

niagara falls2. Niagara Falls

Rightly considered one of North America’s great natural wonders, the Niagara Falls State Park and Heritage Area is housed between the Canadian province of Ontario and the US state of New York. The Falls are actually comprised of three waterfalls- the largest Horseshoe Falls which straddles the border, the American falls, and the Bridal Veil Falls.

During peak daytime hours, more than 168,000 cubic meters (six million cubic feet) of water goes over the crest of the falls every minute. The best views of the Falls are undoubtedly from a helicopter tour or from the Maid of the Mist boat tour. Alternately, you can stay until dark when the falls are lighted or walk across the Rainbow Bridge to the Canadian side. The Falls are famed the world over for their beauty and enjoys an average of 20 million visitors annually.

grand canyon1. Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon frequently tops lists of best places to visit in the country, and for good reason. The canyon is carved by the Colorado River in Arizona and is a testament to nearly 5 million years of water cutting through layer after layer of rock. The canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and attains a depth of over a mile.

The park is one of the world’s premier natural attractions and enjoys about five million visitors per year. Once again, helicopter tours or other aerial sightseeing offer some of the best views of the canyon. On foot hiking tours will also offer some jaw-dropping vantage points. Aside from sightseeing, visitors can also enjoy rafting and camping. Along with Yellowstone and Yosemite, the Grand Canyon completes the holy trinity of must-see natural wonder sites in America.

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