It’s no exaggeration to say that the commercial trucking industry is the backbone of our economy. With over 73% of total freight value in the US transported by trucks, CDL drivers play an essential role in keeping goods flowing across the nation. 

 

CDL drivers also are important to the global production and exchange of goods, especially through the role of intermodal trucking. Intermodal truckers transport freight that requires more than one form of transportation, such as rail, air, or over the ocean, during the first and last segment of the freight’s journey.  

 

Wondering if this important trucking job could be the right career fit? Keep reading to find out what to expect as an intermodal driver, including the benefits, challenges, and daily routine.  

 

What do Intermodal Drivers Do? 

Intermodal freight transport is the term for the overall process required to move a shipment that involves more than one mode of transportation. There are four modes involved in intermodal transportation of goods – ship to rail, air to rail, rail to ship, and road to rail. These short hauls are also referred to as drayage. Intermodal trucking is an essential part of the process when the shipment is transported by truck from one intermodal terminal, such as a port or rail yard, to the next destination.  

 

Because the shipments are stored in specialty modular containers throughout the entire process, intermodal trucking differs from other forms of trucking in that drivers never have to load or repack the actual goods.  

 

Intermodal truck drivers begin the day by arriving at the first destination, usually a rail yard, port, or distribution center, to pick up the modular container. Drivers then load these shipments onto their intermodal container chassis, which is specifically designed to safely and securely carry intermodal freight.  

 

After ensuring the freight is secure, drivers bring the containers to the next destination, which could be a warehouse, distribution center, or other transportation hub. At this final destination, drivers carefully unload the modular containers for further handling or storage, and potentially pick up new freight for the next trip.  

 

Intermodal truck drivers can work for a range of companies, varying from large carriers to small carriers that focus on a single market. Regardless of size and scope, the most important factor is that drivers are operating near major rail yards or ports.  

 

What are the Benefits? 

For CDL drivers searching for a position that offers a predictable schedule, consistent pay, and benefits, and is always in demand, intermodal trucking might be the right solution. These are some of the benefits of a career in intermodal freight transportation.  

 

  • Steady schedule and less time away from home. Intermodal drivers often have more predictable schedules compared to long-haul truckers. You’ll spend fewer hours on the road and more time at home.  
  • No direct contact with freight. Unlike with most CDL jobs, intermodal freight remains in specialty containers throughout the entire transportation process. This means intermodal drivers spend less time loading and unloading, and the chances of damage and safety risks are greatly decreased.  
  • Opportunities for specialized training and career advancement. Some intermodal companies provide specialized training in areas such as container handling, safety procedures, and hazardous materials handling, enhancing drivers’ skill sets and making them more competitive in the job market. 

 

Are There Any Challenges?  

However, like any career, it is essential to consider the drawbacks as well as the benefits.  

 

  • Limited routes and potential delays. Intermodal routes are specific to rail and port locations, so you won’t have the same flexibility as long-haul truckers. Transportation hubs are also prone to delays and backups, which can lead to frustrating logistical challenges and potentially wasted time. 
  • Equipment challenges. Intermodal containers require specialized equipment, such as the chassis and twist locks, which can be challenging to learn and manage. Drivers may also encounter restrictions on the types of freight they can haul and the routes they can take due to equipment limitations or regulatory requirements. 
  • Physical demands. Although arguably requiring less lifting and moving than other trucking positions, the job can be somewhat physically demanding even with the assistance of specialized equipment.  
  • Additional requirements. Drivers that will be accessing ports, must obtain a Transportation Workers Identity Card (TWIC) and a Port ID which is required by all ports within the United States. Drivers that need access to airports to deliver or pick up freight will also need to obtain a TSA card. While obtaining these additional endorsements can take between 10 – 60 days and cost nearly $130, having them will create more opportunities for the driver to haul different types of freight and earn more.  

 

Intermodal truck driving is an important CDL job that offers a flexible schedule and unique training for drivers of all experience levels.  

 

Looking for more information on potential jobs and new trends in the trucking industry? Be sure to check out more posts on our blog and follow us on social media! 

Everything You Need to Know About Being an Auto Hauler 

One of the best parts about being a truck driver is the freedom that comes with being able to choose what freight you carry.  

 

Whether you want to drive long haul or last mile delivery, carry hazardous materials, or refrigerated goods, your job choice depends on what kind of freight best fits your interests and experience.  

 

If you are a CDL driver looking for a career that will offer stability, independence, and the potential for high pay and benefits, auto hauling might be the right fit. Keep reading to find out what auto hauling really is, and the benefits and challenges to this essential career.  

 

What Does An Auto Hauler Do? 

Auto hauling, also called car hauling, is a professional driving career that involves transporting vehicles from one location to another. Auto haulers often work with cars, trucks, and motorcycles, and usually serve dealerships or private customers.  

 

There are typically three types of auto hauler trailers: open, enclosed, and flatbed. Enclosed hauling trailers are the most protective, keeping the cars from exposure to any outside elements such as rocks, wind, or rain. This usually leads to a higher service cost for enclosed hauling, and often is reserved for higher end automobiles. Enclosed trailers can usually only handle 1-6 vehicles at a time, whereas open carriers can sometimes handle up to 9-12.  

 

Auto haulers are not just responsible for safely transporting vehicles across far distances, they must also assist in the loading and unloading of costly and heavy freight. This requires high attention to detail, physical strength, and extensive training.  

 

Like many CDL jobs, auto haulers begin each day by conducting a thorough truck inspection before loading and securing freight to ensure safe transportation. Auto haulers must also take various size requirements and federal regulations into consideration, including weight limits and distribution, vehicle dimensions, and securement guidelines mandated by the Department of Transportation.  

 

Tommy Valenzuela, Director of Recruiting at Hansen & Adkins Auto Transport, believes that auto hauling requires a special level of commitment and hard work.  

 

 “When you get somebody who’s going to put in the work and dedication it takes to be an auto hauler, I think that really speaks volumes on who the individual is, and the respect that they have for the job that they do,” said Valenzuela 

 

“It takes a lot of time and dedication and knowledge to learn how to load your truck. Are you going to be over the weight limit or too tall? And if you are, now you’re three and a half hours into your day, and you have to restart and do it all over again.” 

 

Necessary Experience and Requirements  

With a specialized and challenging job like auto hauling, employers often look for experienced drivers who are willing to continue growing with the role.  

 

All auto haulers are required to possess a Class A CDL, and previous experience behind the wheel of other heavy vehicles and a clean driving record can boost an applicant’s chance of finding well-paying employment.  

 

Employers may also prioritize candidates who have completed specialized training programs or certifications specifically tailored to auto hauling. These programs often cover topics such as vehicle loading and securement techniques, regulatory compliance, and best practices for transporting different types of vehicles. 

 

What Are The Benefits of Auto Hauling? 

There are many advantages to a career in auto hauling that make it an attractive option for many CDL drivers.  

  • Competitive pay. Auto haulers often receive higher income on average than some sectors of the trucking industry due to the high level of responsibility required in this position. Haulers who work with high-value or luxury vehicles can also receive higher compensation.  
  • Steady demand and scheduling. Vehicles will always need to be transported, keeping the job of auto hauling continuously in high demand. This allows drivers to rely on a consistent work schedule with some flexibility.  
  • Independence. Auto haulers often drive far distances around the country, giving drivers the freedom to work independently.  

 

Are There Any Challenges? 

However, like any position, it is important to consider both the advantages and the drawbacks before deciding to pursue a career in auto hauling.  

  • Physically demanding. Loading and unloading vehicles can be physically taxing. Auto haulers must secure vehicles properly, which involves lifting heavy chains, straps, and ramps. 
  • Time away from home. Due to some long-distance routes, auto haulers may spend extended periods away from their families. Loneliness and missing important events can be challenging
  • Risk of Accidents and Injuries. Driving a commercial truck involves inherent risks, especially with the added stress of costly and heavy freight like vehicles. Auto haulers must stay alert, follow safety protocols, and be prepared for emergencies.  

 

 

Auto hauling is a rewarding job that offers many benefits and learning opportunities. However, it is also essential to consider the high level of responsibility, commitment, and physical strength necessary to transport vehicles.  

 

Wondering about which other jobs in the trucking industry might be a good fit for your experience and interests? Head to our Truck Driver Blog or check out our social media for up-to-date information on trucking trends and opportunities.  

New CDL Holders

Starting out in a competitive and ever-changing industry like trucking can be daunting. From finding the right job to staying up to date on the newest technology and trends, there are many resources that exist to support new CDL holders every step of the way.  

 

Keep reading to find out the organizations, communities, and online resources that can provide valuable assistance and guidance to new CDL holders as they navigate their career in the trucking industry.  

 

Research Online Forums & Industry Websites 

Some of the most trusted resources for drivers across the world are online forums where truckers share their experiences, ask safety questions, and seek job advice from fellow drivers. For new CDL holders, online forums can be a great place to start learning about the ins and outs of the industry from more seasoned drivers.  

 

Popular forums like Trucking Truth and Truckers Report both offer conversations between real, experienced drivers, as well as access to training opportunities, CDL job listings, and the latest industry updates. Forums provide a space to discuss a wide range of topics, from safety tips for female drivers to the benefits of carrying certain freight.  

 

Social media platforms like Facebook, Reddit, and LinkedIn also host numerous groups and forums dedicated to trucking. These online communities are the perfect place for drivers to ask questions, share advice, and connect with others in the industry. 

 

Trucking news-based websites are another great resource for drivers looking to find out more about the industry. CDLLife is a popular site for transportation-related news, entertainment stories, and a truckers-only social media platform offered through the CDLLife mobile app 

 

Many drivers use the website FreightWaves for information on supply chain logistics and new trends in transportation. FreightWaves also promotes exclusive podcast and video content to entertain drivers and discuss frequently asked questions and trucking subject topics.  

 

Join Trucking Associations 

Another option for new CDL holders looking to find community and access to resources is to join a trucking association.  

 

Trucking associations are a great way to connect with other drivers from around the country while learning more about legislation and news affecting the entire industry. Many of these associations actively lobby on behalf of the industry, advocating for favorable legislation and regulations that benefit truck drivers and trucking companies. 

 

Many trucking associations also offer educational resources and training programs to help new drivers improve their skills, stay updated on industry best practices, and meet regulatory requirements. Additionally, some trucking associations offer members access to exclusive discount programs on products and services such as fuel, insurance, vehicle maintenance, and roadside assistance.  

 

The American Trucking Associations (ATA), which is the largest and one of the most well-known trade associations in the industry, is actually the national-level affiliate of numerous state organizations. The ATA collaborates with state trucking associations across the nation that work closely with local trucking companies, drivers, and other industry stakeholders.  

 

The Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) is another prominent trucking association that is specifically dedicated to representing the interests of independent owner-operators and small fleet owners. OOIDA fosters a strong sense of community among its members by providing a platform for networking, mentorship, and mutual support. 

 

For underrepresented members of the trucking industry, associations can also offer an opportunity for support, community, and career advancement. Women In Trucking is a fast-growing nonprofit that is committed to promoting gender diversity and equality within the trucking industry. By becoming a member, drivers can gain access to a supportive network of like-minded individuals, mentorship opportunities, and professional development resources tailored to the unique experiences and challenges faced by women in trucking.  

 

 

For new CDL holders, it is essential to seek out communities that will support you and provide the resources needed to succeed in the trucking industry. 

 

Looking for more information on tips and tricks to stay ahead of the curve? Be sure to check out the rest of our Truck Driver Blog posts and follow us on social media  

What do you look for in a trucking job? 

 

For many CDL drivers, the answer is obvious: fair benefits and competitive pay that validate the difficult but essential work truckers do each day.  

 

However, there are many other factors that can demonstrate a carrier’s commitment to their driver’s success and safety that every trucker should consider before deciding to join the team. Keep reading to find out what you should be looking for in a trucking position, and why it’s important to ask about these factors in every interview.  

 

Check the Reviews 

The first step any trucker should take before even applying to a position is to look at reviews or talk to other drivers. A company can make as many great claims as they want, but the real proof comes from actual experiences had by former and current employees. 

 

Research the company’s reputation by reading online reviews on platforms like the Better Business Bureau and GlassDoor, or use specialized trucking forums like TruckersReport. Look for patterns related to safety, communication, and overall driver satisfaction.  

Reviews are important to learning more about company culture and values and what opportunities are offered. Keep an eye out for any information on company retention rates, which can be a clear marker of the quality and work experience of employees.  

 

While research is important, it’s best to reach out to current or former drivers who have worked with the company. Ask about their individual experiences, challenges, and any red flags they encountered. 

 

Freight Type 

Another important consideration is the type of freight a company primarily handles, such as dry van, refrigerated, flatbed, or tanker. These can have an impact on your time at home, work/life balance, and overall satisfaction, so choose a company that aligns with your preferences and expertise. 

 

If being home every night is a priority, inquire about home time policies. Does the company offer consistent schedules or flexible options? Ask about the process for taking time off work and assess if the balance meets you and your loved ones’ needs.  

 

Carriers that primarily conduct OTR or longhaul runs will understandably provide less home time, while they might offer other benefits that make it worth a driver’s time. Look for options such as last mile delivery if staying local and having a flexible schedule is essential for you.  

 

However, no matter the freight type, inquire about the company’s stance on work/life balance and how they support their drivers in achieving it. Finding the right balance between work and home life is crucial for your overall well-being and job satisfaction. 

 

Training & Professional Development  

A company that invests in continuous learning and training benefits both the drivers and the organization, so assess what opportunities are available for ongoing professional development.  

 

Discover if they offer paths for career advancement, such as internal mobility or the potential to receive skill certifications and specialized training. Ask if longevity in the company comes with benefits such as better route choice, promotions and increased compensation, or the ability to become a mentor for other drivers in a trainer program.  

 

Communication is Key 

Clear communication is an essential part of every trucking job, so it is important to understand how a company views and values conversation and driver engagement.  

 

Ask about how communication works with dispatch and employers. Is it efficient? Do they listen to and understand drivers’ concerns and needs? This is an area where it helps to ask during the interview phase but also read reviews and talk to current employees.  

 

Driver feedback helps carriers to improve the quality of company policies and employee satisfaction, so some conduct regular driver engagement surveys or offer one-on-one meetings. Find out how the company seeks driver feedback, and how they act on this input.  

 

Health & Wellness Support  

A factor that some drivers might not consider asking about is how a company supports their employees when it comes to mental and physical wellness. An employer that prioritizes driver health is a good sign, so it’s important to ask about safety protocols, health insurance, and driver support programs.  

 

Find out about health insurance, dental coverage, or other wellness programs offered to support physical health such as a gym membership. Some carriers also provide programs to support mental health, such as access to online counseling programs like BetterHelp 

 

 

Finding the right fit for a CDL job can be tricky, but it’s always worth the time and effort to make sure your experience and interests align.  

 

For more information on trucking jobs and industry trends, check out the rest of our Truck Driver Blog posts and follow us on social media! 

hazmat truck

Transporting hazardous materials is one of the riskiest, yet most highly rewarding jobs a trucker can find.  

 

Requiring specialized training, strict guidelines, and unwavering attention to detail, the transportation of hazardous material is not for the faint of heart. However, for many truckers, the risk is worth the reward with high pay and a constant supply of work.  

 

But do the benefits outweigh the danger involved? Keep reading to find out the challenges, advantages, and expectations of hazmat trucking and decide for yourself.  

 

Understanding Hazmat Trucking 

Hazardous materials, also called hazmat, refer to substances or materials that pose a potentially serious risk to health, safety, and the environment when transported. Hazmat truckers take on the critical responsibility of delivering these materials to new locations while following strict DOT guidelines and protocol.  

 

Hazmat drivers must have a commercial driver’s license with a hazardous materials endorsement called a Code H. To receive this endorsement, drivers must pass a hazmat knowledge test as well as a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) background check.  

 

Drivers also must go through specialized training courses on handling, loading/unloading, and transporting hazardous materials, as well as emergency procedures and safety precautions.  

 

These courses teach drivers the importance of proper labeling, placarding, and packaging of hazardous materials, and how to follow all DOT guidelines. Some employers offer these courses, but oftentimes drivers must complete extensive training on their own before applying for hazmat transportation jobs.  

 

What do Hazmat Truckers do? 

Before every run, drivers must conduct a thorough pre-trip inspection. This involves checking for leaks, tears, and loose containers, and ensuring that all freight is properly and safely secured. Hazmat truckers also must plan out routes that avoid heavily populated areas and tunnels, since some prohibit hazmat trucks from passing through.  

 

Hazmat drivers should also remember to wear personal protective equipment, such as gloves, goggles, and respiratory masks, when handling hazardous materials. This gear is essential in case of an accident, and important to minimize risk for drivers who face long term exposure to radioactive material and toxic substances.  

 

Are There Ever Accidents? 

What most prospective hazmat drivers want to know is if accidents ever occur, and how dangerous they really are.  

 

Unfortunately, a recent CBS News study found that accidents involving hazardous materials in transportation on the road have more than doubled in the past decade, sometimes with severe consequences.  

 

Over the last 10 years, there have been 52 fatalities and 160 injuries caused by incidents involving hazmat transportation by tractor trailers in the US. The study also revealed that nearly 1 in 5 accidents were caused by some form of human error.  

 

However, countless drivers avoid potentially devastating disasters by following hazmat transportation protocols and general safe driving practices every day. Modern safety technology, such as lane keeping assistance and automatic emergency brake systems, also can greatly affect the safety of drivers and bystanders.  

 

In the case of an accident, hazmat drivers can minimize risks by using their training on emergency response protocol and containment procedures until hazmat cleanup crews arrive. This involves isolating the spill and preventing it from spreading, if possible, while promptly alerting the proper authorities.  

 

Pros & Cons of Hazmat Trucking 

Before deciding on a career transporting hazardous materials, it is vital to consider both the advantages and challenges of such an important job.  

 

Benefits: 

  • Job demand. Hazmat transporters are always in demand due to the essential nature of their work. Industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, and construction rely on timely and safe transportation of hazardous materials. The need for hazmat transporters continues to remain consistent, providing job stability even during economic fluctuations. 
  • Higher compensation. Hazmat drivers often receive higher pay compared to non-hazmat drivers due to the specialized nature of their work and the inherent risks involved.  
  • Training and experience. The experience gained transporting hazmat can be translated to many other trucking jobs and will stand out to potential employers. With the added CDL endorsements and specialized training, employers will see a committed and seasoned driver.  

 

Drawbacks: 

  • Safety Risks: Hazmat transport involves inherent risks, including exposure to toxic substances, fire, explosions, and chemical spills. 
  • Stringent Regulations: Compliance with federal, state, and international regulations is crucial. Violations can result in fines, penalties, or even criminal charges. 
  • Physical Demands: Hazmat drivers handle heavy loads, wear protective gear, and must help in the loading and unloading of hazardous materials. The responsibility of safely transporting hazmat can also be mentally and emotionally taxing. 

 

Transporting hazardous materials is a well-rewarded trucking job that is critical to many industries and lives. However, it also comes with a high level of responsibility and risk. For drivers willing to make this tradeoff, it can be a lucrative and satisfying path to follow.  

 

For more information on trucking jobs and industry trends, be sure to check more of our Driver Blog posts and follow us on social media 

 

Ready Mix Driver

Looking for a career that’s always in demand, offers daily home time, and a great work/life balance?  

 

For CDL drivers who want to stay close to home and take advantage of steady pay and benefits, driving a ready mix truck can be the perfect solution.  

 

Keep reading to find out what every trucker should know about this important job, from the specialized skills and experience necessary to the daily responsibilities and benefits.  

 

What Does a Ready Mix Driver Do? 

The primary job of a ready mix driver is to transport freshly mixed concrete from the batching plant to a construction site.  

  

Sites can vary from residential homes to commercial buildings, but ready mix jobs are nearly always locally based, ensuring that most drivers are home every night.  

 

Although demand usually remains strong year-round, especially near cities and metropolitan areas, mixer truck drivers are busiest in the summer, with work slowing down a bit in the winter and during patches of harsh weather. 

 

What Are the Daily Responsibilities? 

The day-to-day expectations of a ready mix concrete driver depend on the time of year and job type, but many aspects remain the same no matter the season.  

 

Drivers must feel comfortable behind the wheel of a mixer truck, often driving in difficult locations such as narrow residential roads or tricky construction sites. This makes safety a top priority, especially when the mixer is full.  

 

Operating the specific mixing equipment can be a challenge at first, but once a driver has mastered the techniques, the rewards are immediate. Ready mix drivers are usually paid by the hour, so increasing efficiency can have a great payoff.  

 

Building relationships with local construction contractors is also an important part of the job, so proving your skill can result in steady work with contractors eager to rehire dependable and talented mixer operators.  

 

Beyond operating the mixing drum, chute, and any additional equipment, ready mix drivers must also keep up frequent vehicle maintenance. This involves cleaning the mixer to avoid cement build up, which most drivers recommend doing between every load.  

 

Dried cement build up can be considerably more difficult to remove, usually requiring a mix of chemical cleaners, scrapers, and pressure washing. Regular cleaning not only enhances the efficiency of the mixing process but also helps prevent potential issues such as blockages and mechanical failures.  

 

Experience Necessary? 

Like most trucking jobs, ready mix drivers are usually required to possess a CDL Class A or B, depending on the job requirements. Some employers will hire and train drivers without a license, while others might offer assistance to help drivers pay for the costs of driving school.  

 

It also usually helps to have previous commercial driving experience, especially in similar roles such as tanker or liquid hauling.  

 

The experience gained as a ready mix driver can also be a great career steppingstone. Employers across the transportation industry value and understand the hard work and specialized skills required to operate heavy machinery like a mixer truck, potentially opening the doors to various other opportunities.  

 

 

Wondering what other truck driving jobs could be the right fit for your interests and experience? Then be sure to check more of our Driver Blog posts and follow us on social media for up-to-date information on the latest trends and opportunities in the trucking industry.

Flatbed Truck

Considering a career as a flatbed trucker? 

 

Calling for a specialized set of skills, daily attention to detail, and physical strength, flatbed trucking is an in-demand job that comes with high risks and high rewards.  

 

However, before making any decisions, it is important to understand the full expectations, challenges, and advantages of being a flatbed trucker. Keep reading to learn what flatbed trucking really is, and you can decide if this is the right career choice for you.  

 

A Day in the Life 

A flatbed truck is a large commercial vehicle with an entirely flat and level “bed” or trailer. This differs from a traditional tractor-trailer because there are no sides or roof on the trailer. Flatbed trucks are typically used to transport oversized, bulky, or abnormal loads that are not delicate or vulnerable to weather. 

 

While this open-top design allows for quick and easy loading and unloading, flatbed trucks also require proper load securement every run to prevent potentially dangerous accidents in transit.  

 

In fact, since 2002, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has had rules in place ensuring proper cargo securement. These regulations require all flatbed truckers to use some sort of securement device, whether it be steel straps, chains, wire rope, or synthetic webbing.  

 

Each day, flatbed truckers start off by securing the cargo they are going to carry. However, every day might still feel different because flatbed truckers are likely to encounter a wide variety of freight that each call for a different securement method, ranging from lumber to steel beams to construction machinery.  

 

Throughout every run, drivers will need to periodically check to ensure the load is still properly secured. For many flatbed truckers this is one of the best parts of the job, as it provides a constant excuse for break time, fresh air, and a little exercise.  

 

In general, flatbed truck routes tend to be shorter than other freight types, meaning that most drivers are home every night. Even for regional OTR flatbed truckers, who might have longer routes, pickup and delivery usually only happen during the week, making for a more predictable schedule with downtime every weekend.  

 

What are the Advantages to Flatbed Trucking? 

For many drivers, flatbed trucking is a continuously challenging yet rewarding job that requires specialized skills and daily commitment. These are some of the benefits that flatbed truckers regularly cite as the best parts of the job.  

 

  • More free time. Since most flatbed routes are specific to one region, flatbed truckers are often home every night and rarely drive coast to coast. This creates a more predictable schedule than other types of trucking, including most weekends off.  
  • Higher income potential. Although compensation always depends on factors such as location and employer, most industry veterans agree that flatbed truckers can make significantly more on average than other types of trucking.  
  • Regular exercise and skills training. Continuously ensuring proper load securement can be a big responsibility, but it also offers a chance to change the often-sedentary life of trucking. Flatbed truckers can regularly take breaks to check on their load securement, while gaining valuable experience in learning the techniques to secure a wide variety of freight.  
  • Job security. With the talk of AI and self-driving trucks on the rise, many truckers have begun to fear their roles might be replaced or lessened in the decades to come. While not much is known for sure, one thing remains certain. The job of load securement and flatbed trucking will always remain in the hands of truckers since it is too dangerous and necessary of a job to be replaced.  

 

Are There Any Challenges?  

Just like any job, it is just as important to understand the difficulties and potential challenges as it is to know the rewards.  

 

  • Physically demanding. Flatbed trucking can be rigorous work, with some drivers needing to lift over 75 pounds and remain physically flexible.  
  • More dangerous. Proper load securement is not an option, it is a requirement to avoid potentially life threatening and freight damaging accidents on the road.  
  • No room for error. Drivers must understand and correctly use all securing gear, and continuously ensure that freight remains properly secured. This means a high level of responsibility and awareness are always necessary.  
  • Drivers must help unload. Due to the nature of the cargo, flatbed truckers must help load and unload at each stop.  

 

 

Being a flatbed trucker is a challenging job that calls for elevated levels of responsibility, training, and endurance. Think you’re up to the task? It also comes with great rewards that many drivers find more than enough to make the challenges worth it.  

 

For more information on diverse types of trucking jobs and career advice, be sure to check out more posts on our driver blog and follow us on social media! 

 

Pros & Cons of OTR Trucking

Are you a rookie truck driver starting out in the field and wondering which route type best fits your lifestyle and needs? Or are you a seasoned trucker looking to switch it up and earn a little higher on average pay as an OTR driver? 

 

No matter your experience level or current position, there are many reasons to pursue a career as an over-the-road or OTR truck driver. However, like any job, it’s important to consider both the advantages and challenges before deciding if it’s the right path for you.  

 

In this article you will find out what being an OTR trucker really entails, and the pros and cons of this profession.  

 

What does an OTR trucker do? 

Every driver entering the trucking industry has to first decide if they would rather drive locally, regionally, or over-the-road (OTR).  

 

OTR trucking, also called long haul, involves transporting freight across state lines, and sometimes even national borders. OTR drivers handle various cargo types, including vehicles, consumer goods, machinery, construction materials, and food, and they can drive over hundreds of miles every day.  

 

Owner Operators hauling OTR are typically paid by the load, a percentage of the revenue of the load, or a set amount of miles driven. Company drivers who choose to drive OTR are often paid by the mile, and compensation rates depend on carrier location, experience level, and freight type. However, since most OTR drivers complete more than 400 miles a day, this can really start to add up.  

 

OTR drivers also have the freedom to decide whether to drive as a team or solo, although all drivers must comply with the FMCSA regulations on required driving breaks. Some carriers even allow drivers to bring along family members or furry friends to help avoid loneliness on the road.  

 

Being behind the wheel for days, weeks, and even months at a time also means that OTR truckers must take advantage of the numerous truck stops across the nation. Many trucks include a sleeper cab, while showers, meals, and break time are often found at truck stops deisgned with lots of convenience items and services to accommodate the unique needs of truckers, such as Iowa 80 

 

OTR driving is often seen as a life of freedom, but there are still many factors to consider before trying it out for the first time. 

 

What are the advantages? 

The potential for higher pay. For many truckers, OTR driving stands out because of the opportunity to receive higher pay on average than other types of trucking due to longer routes and higher mileage covered. OTR truckers also often receive additional benefits and safety incentives that can increase their earning potential.  

 

A chance to see the country. Long haul trucking enables drivers to explore different cities, states, and diverse landscapes. The open road offers a sense of freedom and adventure, and there’s no better way to explore than when you’re getting paid to do so.  

 

Independence and flexibility. OTR truckers have more independence when creating and managing their daily schedules and routes, especially in comparison to local drivers. The limited supervision and increased autonomy are major benefits for drivers who prefer to set their own rules.  

 

Job security. While last mile delivery and other local trucking jobs have been increasing in demand recently, there will always be a steady need for long haul transportation. With the ongoing driver shortage, experienced drivers will always be in demand.  

 

Are there any challenges? 

Long stretches away from home. The most difficult part of OTR trucking is being on the road and away from your loved ones for long periods of time. This means it’s important to find ways to remain connected, such as through video calls, virtual game nights, and planning ahead for time at home.  

 

Long hours and loneliness. Spending long shifts on the road far from home can also bring feelings of loneliness and even depression. There are many strategies to combat mental health struggles, but it is important to be aware of the potential impact of the lack of social interaction and time away from loved ones. 

 

No set schedule. While the flexibility of OTR trucking can be a perk, it can also be stressful to have an unpredictable routine. Depending on weather, traffic, and shipper requirements, OTR truckers often have to drive overnight or make last minute changes to a planned route.   

 

Health and safety. Sitting for extended periods can cause health issues like obesity, back pain, and circulatory problems, which can be worsened when combined with an irregular sleep schedule. It is key for OTR truckers to take frequent breaks to get out and walk around, even if just for five minutes. Drivers should also focus on finding nutrient-rich, protein-packed meals, which can be found at truck stops and gas stations such as Love’s or Buc-ee’s.  

 

Over-the-road trucking is a popular choice for drivers across the nation, but it’s important to consider both the pros and cons before deciding this is the right fit for you. If you’re looking for a direct comparison between pickup and delivery drivers and OTR, also called long-haul, read our article here 

 

For more information industry advice, safety tips, and career opportunities for truck drivers, be sure to check out our Truck Driver Blog or follow us on social media 

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.