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.

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Find a Local Job to Get Home More

Want to work for a company that gets you home daily? We match you with a job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Find a Local Job Today

Trucker meals are often thought of as fast food at truck stops or local diners. That hardly captures the variety of food which real truck drivers prefer. Some drivers have turned to cooking in their cabins to provide meals. Drivers may have food restrictions such as vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free food.

We’ve put together a list of five gluten-free recipes which truck drivers can quickly prepare while on the road or at home.

1. Gluten-free pancakes

gluten free recipes

Image courtesy of AllRecipes.com

Let’s start off with breakfast, although these delicious and fluffy pancakes are sure to be a hit anytime of day. The right type of gluten-free flour makes this dish simple and quick to make within about 20-30 minutes.

Top with your choice of strawberries, raspberries, or other condiments. Get the Recipe →

 

 

2. Cauliflower potato salad

gluten free recipes

Image courtesy of Simply Gluten Free

This fantastic gluten-free alternative to traditional potato salad makes for a easy and delicious lunch. The cauliflower provides similar flavor and texture to potato salad. Best part is that this can be ready in under 30 minutes.

You can chill the salad and keep it refrigerated at home before heading out on the road. Get the Recipe →

 

 

3. Sicilian spaghetti

gluten free recipes

Image courtesy of Simply Gluten Free

Gluten-free pasta is becoming a popular alternative to traditional pasta because many of the flavors in our favorite pasta dishes come from all the other ingredients.

You can try variations to this recipe by changing the vegetables and herbs used. Canned meats or fish makes it easy to prepare in under 30 minutes. Get the Recipe →

 

 

4. Salmon fillets

gluten free recipes

Image courtesy of Simply Gluten Free

Breaded fish makes for a simple, healthy, and delicious dinner.

This gluten-free panko-crust is perfect for adding some crispiness to the flaky salmon.

Add plenty of lime for acid, or change up the herbs and condiments for a different burst of flavor. Get the Recipe →

 

 

5. Gluten-free black and blue berries

gluten free recipes

Image courtesy of Food Network

Just because you’re trying to eat healthy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t indulge in the occasional dessert. These berries will leave your sweet tooth satisfied, while you still get a healthy dose of fruit for the day.

While most desserts can be a pain to make over hours in the kitchen, this easy dish is ready in under 20 minutes. Get the Recipe →

 

 

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Want to find a job you love?

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

Find a Job Today

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.

Never Miss a Beat

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

Join the Conversation

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

Take care of yourself

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

Wash your hands

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

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

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

Know what to do if the flu strikes

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

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

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

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

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

Download the Guide Now

Truck Driving with Your Spouse

Working with your spouse can be great fun, personally rewarding, and emotionally fulfilling. Or it could be a complete nightmare! It completely depends on whether its right for you, your perspective, and how you handle it. Some couples work really well together, while others aren’t used to it and just get in each other’s way. Truck driving is one of the few careers where you have the chance to work with your spouse if you both have a CDL. There are advantages and disadvantages to this option, and it’s not for everyone. There are also things you can do to make the experience more enjoyable. Here’s what you need to know before taking the plunge truck driving with your spouse.

Advantages of truck driving with your spouse

One of the big advantages of driving together is that you have the chance to earn more money. Truck drivers earn based on how many miles they drive. The more you drive, the more you can earn. However, it’s not that easy. Mandated rest-time means you have to stop for breaks at regular times instead of pushing more miles. Good thing too actually, since driving without rest can lead to burnout and a higher chance of accidents! A well-rested driver will be fresher, more alert, and will have had time to recharge away from the job. However, rest-time only affects one driver at a time. If you’re truck driving with your spouse, you can cover more miles together than you would alone. One of you would rest while the other one drives. Yes, you should take a few breaks together as well! But the bottom line is that if you drive together you have the chance to cover more ground and earn more miles.

Another obvious advantage of truck driving with your spouse is the time you get to spend together. Truck driving is a unique profession which takes you away from home for long periods of time. OTR drivers have it particularly tough as they may see their family only after a few weeks on the road. Home time is a crucial factor which drivers consider before accepting job offers, and many drivers seek to balance work and home life. If you’re truck driving with your spouse, this changes the equation entirely. You don’t have to take off work to spend time together (HINT: you still should!). It’s easier to spend time together if your spouse is right there in the cabin with you and taking in life on the road. You should definitely balance spouse time with alone time and rest time. More on that below! Instead of your trucking career being a detriment to your home life, it could provide the chance to reduce loneliness and renew your marriage.

Truck driving with your spouse isn’t for everyone so here are some suggestions to consider before taking the plunge.

Tips for truck driving with your spouse

Depending on how you handle it, driving with your spouse can help you reconnect or can drive you further apart. One big indicator will be how you interact about work currently—before you decide to drive together. It would help to have some previous experience working together in other professions or contexts. Even being in the same workplace but not actually working together gives you some experience to build on. Did you find your previous experience to be positive? Even if you didn’t work together, you may have worked on shared projects together at home. How is your work style while sharing domestic tasks? Did you have a big argument about which furniture to buy, or how to rearrange the kitchen?

If you had positive experiences of making joint decisions and compromising when needed, it’s a good indicator that you’ll be comfortable working together behind the wheel.

Once you’re driving with your spouse, you’ll be spending plenty of time together. Suddenly you’ll have to think about getting enough alone time as opposed to getting enough home time. This can be a bit jarring to truck drivers since they usually have too much alone time and will be excited about spending time together. However much two people love each other, they can get on each other’s nerves if they spend too much time together, especially in cramped quarters. Make sure you both bring plenty of books, music, games, and other activities that can be used alone or in tandem. While your spouse is driving, you may want to be together part of the time, rest for another part, with the option to engage in a solo activity when needed.

Finally, truck driving with your spouse doesn’t have to be all work and no play! If you’re lucky enough that the arrangement works for you, make sure to get the most out of it. There can still be date nights and lazy afternoons even though you aren’t at home. Since you’re already on the road, get out of the truck and make sure to explore. There are beautiful scenic spots all across the country, and new towns and cities to explore together. You can even document your travels through photography and scrapbooks, or engage in a new hobby together. Previously mundane tasks like exercise or cooking can become more fun with a partner alongside you.

Don’t forget the importance of days off. Just because you’re together more often and get more rest, doesn’t mean you don’t need time away from work.

Getting away from trucking for a bit can help you reconnect with home and will leave you recharged for when you return to work. Couples who work together often fall into the danger of having their entire interactions be about work, so try to avoid that trap and keep your marriage interesting outside of trucking as well.

Overall, truck driving with your spouse can offer incredible advantages if you have the opportunity to do it. Being prepared for it and having the right perspective can make the difference between a rewarding and a frustrating experience.

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Drive with Your Spouse

Want to work for a company that allows you to drive with your spouse? We match you with a job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Find a Job Today

For emergencies, it’s better to be overly prepared than to be caught unprepared. This rings especially true for truck drivers. Drivers find themselves in all kinds of weather and road conditions, at all times of the day, and quite often in remote areas. It’s not practical to have everything you might ever need with you. But to make a truck driver’s life a little bit easier, here’s a list of 19 items to keep in your truck. Better to be safe than sorry!

Personal Items

1. Water & Food: This should go without saying, but any driver should have water and non-perishable foods available in their trucks. Even if you don’t have any cooling or cooking tools, keep at least a few days’ worth of water and food in the truck with you.

2. Medications: Have enough of each required prescription for the length of your trip. Probably even a few extras of each medication just in case. Best idea is to have them sorted out by day in a daily pill organizer, so that it’s convenient for you to know what to take and when.

3. First Aid Kit: Have a well-stocked first aid kit to treat minor injuries over the course of any trip. Band-Aids, pain relief medication, antibiotic ointment, and some basic bug bite creams are must haves for anyone spending time on the road.

4. Earplugs: Earplugs are a great idea for anyone working in a loud environment. Or anyone that might need to catch a good night’s sleep away from home.

5. Hygiene Items: A well-stocked shower caddy is a must have for anyone needing to grab a shower at a truck stop. Keep everything you need to stay clean, plus a pair of good flip-flops are necessary items to keep in your truck. For days when a shower stop just can’t happen, keep a package of personal wipes handy to stay fresh.

6. Good Blanket: For sleeping, and also in case of a breakdown in a colder area, a good blanket is a required item for any trucker. Find a good blanket that’s warm, and easy to roll-up and store during the day.

7. Winter Boots & Jacket: Being prepared for snowy weather is important for anyone travelling through areas where snow is a possibility. You might be the first one into the truck stops before the plows get there, or in case you get stuck and must walk somewhere in the snow. Good boots and a warm winter jacket are great to keep in your truck.

Safety and Basic Maintenance Tools

8. Toolbox: A small toolbox with all of the basics should be a staple for any truck driver. Be sure to check on the contents from time-to-time to make sure everything is in there, and in good working order. Consider keeping a folding shovel in with your other tools too!

9. Flashlight: A good basic safety item to keep in your truck. Whether you need it to look around once you’re in your cab for the night, or if you have to walk around in an unfamiliar area after dark, a flashlight with fresh batteries should be available at all times.

10. Headlamp: One step better than a flashlight, is a headlamp. When you want to have your hands free when walking around outside at night, or performing a basic repair, a headlamp with fresh batteries should be in your truck.

11. Work Gloves: Protect your hands when working on a repair, or moving around cargo. Keep a pair of gloves handy for working on or off of the truck.

12. Flares: In case of a breakdown, or if you stop to help someone who needs it, setting flares is a good idea to help other drivers be aware of trouble ahead.

13. Fire Extinguisher: At the first sign of a fire, be sure you can easily get to full fire extinguisher. Be sure to have them well maintained to ensure that they will work when you need them.

14. Printed List of Phone Numbers: Just in case your mobile phone malfunctions, have a list of important phone numbers printed somewhere. You can keep them on a small card in your wallet or somewhere easy to get to in your truck.

Entertainment and Electronics

Porapak Apichodilok

15. Tablet: A smart phone loaded with basic trucker apps goes without saying. A tablet is a real video upgrade for your non-driving time in the truck. A subscription to a streaming movie channel will help make the hours go by faster before you’re asleep for the night.

16. Mounts: Having mounts for your portable electronics can help you better navigate during the day, and have a more relaxing experience watching a movie at night. Have one mount for each device or an adjustable one that can work with everything.

17. Chargers & Batteries: All of your tools and electronics should be well-charged or have a fresh set of batteries. Keep your chargers handy, and spare batteries available for any long-haul trip.

18. Hobbies: Are you an amateur photographer? Or a budding musician? Bring along the things you need to keep up with your hobbies or passions while you’re out on the road.

19. Duct Tape: We’ll mention this one last, as it’s the all-purpose, universal item that comes in handy for just about anything! Keep this in your tool kit along with plenty of blinker fluid and you’ll be ready for any needed repairs that come your way.

Let us know the one unique thing that you always keep with you in your truck. Or something that’s saved you in a pickle at some point. Our readers are always looking for a new idea to make their lives just a little bit easier. Drop a note in the comments below, or on our Facebook page here. We’d be happy to share your great ideas!

Never Miss a Beat

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

Join the Conversation

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

Truck Driver Apps to Make Driving Easier

1. Waze

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

2. Gasbuddy

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

3. TruckerPath

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

4. Camscanner

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

Truck Driver Apps to Make Life Easier

5. Keep or 6. Evernote

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

7. Skype

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

8. Headspace

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

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

9. Flipd or 10. ScreenTime

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

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

Never Miss a Beat

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

Join the Conversation

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.

Never Miss a Beat

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

Join the Conversation

safety tips for truck drivers

On the road truck driving is one of the most important jobs for the economy. It ensures timely delivery of important goods all across the country. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most dangerous jobs. In 2017, 4,889 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes, a 9-percent increase from 2016, according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. Truck driving comes with the heavy responsibility of safety for yourself, your cargo, and others on the road. Every great truck driver is going to try to prioritize safety. Here are ten essential safety tips for truck drivers.

1. Defensive driving

Driving defensively means being constantly aware and vigilant for changing or unexpected road conditions. You have to take particular care for motorists who don’t understand trucks and how they operate. Make sure you leave enough space ahead of you—about twice the distance of that the average motorist keeps. Braking distance is the time it takes for the truck to reach a stop once the brake has been applied. The average braking distance for a commercial truck is about 4 seconds. If you’re traveling 55 mph, that’s another 390 feet until you come to a complete stop.

2. Regulate your speed

Of course, you want to follow the speed limit. When it comes to trucking, there are even times when the posted speed limit is too fast.

Take corners, curves, and ramps very slowly!

This is an example of when the posted speed is for cars and not big rigs. Trucks can easily tip over if approaching these too fast. You also will want to take weather and traffic conditions into account for your speed. Know when to slow down, and when you can afford to speed up. You probably shouldn’t be driving at top speed anywhere except the middle of a deserted Interstate on a clear day.

3. Vehicle maintenance

Make sure you complete your pre-trip inspection. The tires and brakes are especially vital given how much weight is riding on them. Any abnormalities should be reported to dispatch right away. If you skip steps in your inspection, or gloss over them, you are compromising your safety and the safety of others on the road!

4. Weather conditions

Subscribe to weather alerts, so that you’re aware of the weather conditions before departing on a trip. Winter weather is especially dangerous as it causes roughly 25% of all speeding-related truck driving accidents. You should be cutting your speed in half for snowy or icy roads. Allow more time for everything in winter weather—signal longer before turning, double your following space, and change speed more carefully. If you see other truckers pulling over, consider doing the same.

5. Work zones

Work zones will present many hazards for truck drivers, like lane shifts, sudden stops, uneven road surfaces, moving workers or equipment, and erratic behavior from other motorists.

About one third of all fatal work zone accidents involve large trucks.

Keep an eye out for road workers and adjust accordingly. Along with obeying all work zone signs, you can also slow down, maintain extra following space, and be prepared to stop quickly.

6. Minimal lane changes

The most adept truck drivers pick a lane and stay in it. The chances of getting into an accident increase every time the truck moves to another lane. If you absolutely have to change lanes, move over very carefully and slowly. Check your mirrors, be aware of blind spots, and signal well ahead of time. Remember that most motorists don’t know how to react to a lane-switching truck, so you’ll have to take that into account. Avoid lane changes during heavy traffic, poor weather conditions, or during night driving.

7. Check delivery spots

Here’s a safety tip veteran truck drivers will recommend to you.

Scope out your delivery spots on foot if possible.

A truck can easily get trapped or unable to turn around into a tight or unmanageable delivery location, even if the shipper assures you that they have trucks there all the time. When delivering to a new customer, find a place to park safely, leave the rig secured, and check out the delivery spot on foot. Shippers may not be aware of all the hazards or obstacles that make it difficult to turn your rig around. A large fraction of accidents take place while backing up, so try to avoid that if possible.

8. Trip and route planning

If you plan your route ahead of time, you’ll be aware of road and weather conditions, detours, work zones, and other obstacles. Non-commercial GPS navigation systems and apps may not be the most complete or accurate guides for truckers. They also don’t provide warning of height and weight limitations. Invest in a GPS especially designed for truckers which shows vital info like which exits to take, distance before exit, when to change lanes, etc. Don’t rely on any one resource entirely, and cross-reference your information. The Rand McNally Road Atlas is another invaluable tool for truck drivers.

9. Remain alert

This is probably the single most important of the safety tips for truck drivers. Good driving requires you to remain alert at all times and that means no distracted driving. At any given second you may face changing traffic, road conditions, poor weather, or unpredictable motorists.

If you’re distracted, you won’t be able to react in the fraction of a second that is needed.

Texting is the worst driving distraction as the odds of being involved in an accident are 23 times greater for truck drivers who are texting. Add to that list anything that will take the focus off the road such as eating, map reading, or interacting with a navigational device excessively. Make sure you are well rested and getting enough sleep to feel refreshed and alert behind the wheel. If you’re drowsy, pull over. These cautionaries are drilled into truck drivers for good reason but are still worth repeating. If you need to attend to something other than driving, then get off the next exit. Remember that none of those distractions are worth risking your life over.

10. Use seat belts

This one is a no-brainer but super important. Remember to buckle up every time you drive the rig. Don’t take the risk. Seat belts have been shown to save lives and reduce injuries. It also protects you from being ejected from your vehicle in case of a crash.

Never Miss a Beat

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

Join the Conversation

truck driver pto days

CDL truck drivers have a high amount of stress compared to most other jobs. Long hours, time away from home, and difficult driving conditions all contribute to a stressed-out truck driver. On top of that, drivers have to follow multiple rules and regulations, and make sure they are meeting the needs of shippers, receivers, and dispatchers. A 34-hour reset doesn’t always give you a break from the trucking job and lifestyle, so it’s important to take truck driver vacation days from work. Taking time away from trucking to spend with family and friends, or even just time to yourself, can be incredibly beneficial to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Here’s everything you need to know about truck driver PTO days.

1. Make sure you have PTO days

Ideally, your carrier has a good vacation policy, so you have enough PTO days to be able to utilize when you see fit. Make sure to ask about PTO when you’re searching for trucking jobs, and before you accept any job offers.

Although PTO may be lower on your list of job factors to consider, don’t underestimate the advantages of vacation time. If you’ve already accepted a job offer from a carrier and haven’t taken PTO for a while, take the time to familiarize yourself with the PTO policy. You may be surprised by how generous it may be and can learn about how to maximize PTO based on rollover or other policy details.

Once you know you want to use PTO, talk to your manager as soon as you can. The earlier you can inform your fleet manager about upcoming days off, the more flexibility they can have.

Of course, you’ll want to finalize vacation plans with your family in advance also. Don’t forget that the earlier you plan the vacation, the cheaper the airfare and hotel costs will be. The exception to this is if it is during peak travel season or holidays. While traveling during holidays may be unavoidable, it is best to make any additional airline travel plans off-season, if possible. Even if you aren’t planning to travel out of town for the PTO days, you want to make sure your days off don’t coincide with important work days for your spouse, or important school days for the kids.

2. Use trucking to your travel advantage

Having a trucking job doesn’t have to make having PTO days difficult. In fact, you can use trucking routes to your advantage. Your family vacation destination could be at or near your typical routes. Maybe you and your spouse always wanted to spend a few days taking in the sights in Denver, but never got around to it. Or perhaps that long OTR run to Arizona gives you the perfect excuse to finally see the Grand Canyon. You can also try to fly out of airports near your trucking delivery stops and meet your family at the destination directly if it can save you money. Many travel websites have tips about which airlines have cheaper tickets depending where you’re flying out of.

Trip planning can be a hassle for anyone, but truckers can find the time easily.

Use the time you have between drives or at truck stops to research and make detailed travel plans.

There are also dozens of travel podcasts full of trip ideas and fun facts about interesting destinations. Using books or podcasts, picking out a travel destination with your family can be easy even if you’re on the road. Some helpful online resources include Trip Advisor, Airbnb, Kayak, and Hotels for Truckers. Remember that if you make some plans before the vacation, it can help save time later, and ensure you spend the time relaxing. Even if you’re not going out of town for PTO days, planning activities and outings ahead of time will make it easier.

3. Ideas for truck driver PTO days

Regardless of your destination, there are some activities you can pursue anywhere. Of course, you’ll want to sight-see the local attractions, and catch a bit of the local culture.

Apart from that, here are some ideas of how to theme your getaway based on what you enjoy about travel:

Outdoor adventure

Always a favorite for families regardless of where you go. Look for state or national parks and find some tips on the best hiking trails or camping grounds. The more adventurous can try to spend a few days in a cabin in the woods (no Wi-Fi!) or go rock climbing or mountain biking. Being outdoors doesn’t have to be daunting though—even sitting by a lake while fishing or reading a book can do wonders for relaxation.

Culinary exploration

The food scene everywhere is different. Step out of your comfort zone and try your hand at a new cuisine. If you’re traveling, it’s a must-do to take in the local or regional cuisine, whether its Chicago pizza, Tex Mex, or Louisiana gumbo. Many destinations will also offer the best in global cuisine. Some people are surprised by how spicy or sweet different international dishes can be. If you’re staying in town during PTO, it’s still a great excuse to try a different Thai restaurant or the trendy new brewery.

Family fun

Whether it’s science museums or sports arenas, there are always some family-friendly events for kids of all ages to enjoy. Outdoor events like festivals and ballgames are popular throughout the summer. Even a day at the pool can be a welcome getaway. Science and history museums will offer kids fun and learning at the same time. If your child has visited the local science museum a dozen times, they’re probably still up for going back and exploring.

Date night

Spend some quality time with your partner by planning a date night during your PTO day. You can catch a show in town or go bar-hopping after dinner at a nicer restaurant. Staying in is always fun too: pamper your spouse by opening a bottle of wine and offering to cook a meal for the two of you. Taking time off from trucking gives you the chance to keep the romance alive.

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Take Control of Your Career

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

Find a Job Today