5 parenting tips for truck drivers

No one understands the joys and pains of regularly coming home and turning right around and leaving again like a truck driver with a family. Life as a parent and a truck driver is a challenging but rewarding combination. For regional and OTR drivers, a few days of time in person has to sustain drivers through days or weeks away. Even when you’re home, as a long haul trucker, the transition home can take its toll.  Make time for yourself and your family while you’re on the road and when you come home. Here are a few parenting tips to help you make the most of your family time.

1. Master Good Communication

Facetime, Skype, and Zoom are all great video calling platforms that have a free plan for users. Especially with younger children, being able to see and hear each other is huge. Even when you’re away, your kids will know your voice and be excited to see you when you walk through the door.

Connect with your children in a way that works for them. If you have small kids, read them a bedtime story every night. Or, have a family movie night once a week. If you have older children, they might not want to video chat. Instead, send them messages throughout the day. Find out what’s going on in their lives and stay on top of the little things as well as the big ones.

Bunni

For many drivers, spending time with loved ones has gotten even more difficult since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Bunni, an OTR driver and mother shared, “I have one daughter. Before Coronavirus I was seeing her at least every other week. Now, she’s self-isolating at her grandparents’ farm. I probably won’t see her for a while because of that. We talk on the phone daily. We use Marco Polo, house party, Instagram, and snap chat as well.”

She added, “Kids will tell you everything if you’re a safe space for them. And sometimes you have to ask better questions than “how was your day” and “what did you do”. Try deeper questions. Ask how they feel about something they did. Or if they had anything happen that made them happy for someone else. The more specific the question the better. And once they start talking, stay engaged. Don’t just “mmhmm” their stories.”

2. Make the Most of Home Time

Even superhero parents can’t do everything. When you come home, you’re probably sharing time between a partner, your kid(s) and trying to rest up for your next shift.

Before you get home, prioritize the most important events & make a schedule. A schedule helps you make the most of your time while also allowing yourself recovery time.

When you make that schedule, there’s one very important rule. Be realistic, even when it’s hard. Kids will be disappointed if you can’t make it to an event. But, they’ll be devastated when you say you’ll be somewhere or do something and then cancel last minute. If you do have the energy to squeeze in an extra little league game or dance recital, they’ll be thrilled when you surprise them and show up.

3. Involve Your Kids

One of the best ways to be a part of your kids’ lives is to let them be a part of yours. If you have a take home truck program, show them your truck. Let them ask questions and sit behind the wheel. As they get older, tell them about the places you go and what it really means to be a truck driver.

Before you leave for your next load, let your family help plan your time away. Even if you don’t follow it exactly, they’ll love mapping your route and know where you are when you next call. You can even give each person a special job for while you’re out. It’s a great way to start conversations and connect.

Marion

We spoke to Marion, a truck driver who shared her parenting tips from driving OTR with 3 children and 6 grandchildren.

“[When I was raising kids] I did regional, home on the weekends. My advice would be to listen to your kids. Especially to the things they don’t say. Make electronics your friend and video chat with them daily,” shared Marion.

She continued, “Teenagers are difficult no matter what. Don’t let things go by because you might have a bad conscience not being there. Stay in touch, let them know they can talk to you. Be a parent, even when you’re not physically there. It’s hard at times, but they will thank you later.”

4. Don’t Forget about Your Partner

Not all parenting tips are about the kids! As you share time with your children, don’t forget to make time for just you and your partner. It’s important time for both of you, and it’s good for your kids in the long run.

Set honest expectations about the shortcomings of trucking jobs. Your partner is sharing in the good, the bad, and the ugly, so be frank about what you both need. A key part of your communication is conflict resolution. Establish a healthy way to discuss conflicts before you need it. That way, you won’t spend your time at home solving all the problems you didn’t want to talk about.

5. Be Kind to Yourself

Transitions are hard and you’ll be making a lot of them. All the parenting tips in the world won’t help if you aren’t taking care of yourself on the road and when you’re home. Be kind to yourself and your family.

Take time for sleep, exercise, and healthy meals. Find your balance between time together and time by yourself.

Know that you’ll make mistakes sometimes. Decide what you can do differently next time, sincerely apologize if you need to, and then move forward. Make sure you do what you can both on and off the job to be the partner and parent you want to be.

Single Parent OTR Trucking

If you’re a single parent ready to start driving, you have a few extra considerations. It is definitely possible to work OTR, but it’s important to consider preparation and timing. All long haul families need a good support network, and that is particularly true for single parents.

Both you and your kids will need help from others sometimes. Have those people in place before you get started and know who you can count on in any situation. You should also think about the timing of your decision. Older kids can be involved differently than young children and may be more understanding and supportive of your decision.

Separated Families with One OTR Parent

As with single parenting while an OTR driver, life over the road as a divorced or separated parent has unique challenges. No matter what, the most important thing you can do is prioritize your child. That also means working to maintain good communication between parents (even when it’s not easy). As much as possible, strive to be consistent in your home time.

Even in the best situations where both parents are trying to make the connection work, scheduling is hard. You’re both working around each other’s schedules and sometimes you may have to make hard compromises.

At the end of the day, make sure you weigh the cost of an OTR vs. a local job. OTR jobs typically pay more, but you give up a lot of time in your child’s life. If OTR is still the right decision for you, be prepared to work closely with the stay at home parent and use these parenting tips to find creative ways to connect with your child both on and off the job.

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3 Things to Consider: Lease Purchase Trucking Programs

For a driver looking to bridge the gap between being an employee and an owner operator, it’s worth a look into a lease purchase program with a trucking company. These types of programs can fast track the route from driver to owner. Here are 3 things to consider when thinking about working through a lease purchase trucking program.

What is a Lease Purchase Truck Driver Program?

But first, let’s take a look at how these programs work. A professional truck driver can make the move to be an owner operator by buying their own truck from a company via a series of lease payments. These drivers then drive for the company providing the lease, and make the lease payments for the truck back to the company. In addition the driver usually assumes all responsibility for maintenance and up-keep of the truck as needed. At the end of the lease, the driver completes the terms and will then own the truck.

1. Terms

When looking into a lease purchase trucking program, be sure the deal points are clear. For starters, there’s a monthly payment for the lease of the truck, but is it a fixed amount? Will it change over time? How many payments are there? And is the residual value of the truck at the end of the lease plan clearly detailed in the agreement if the final payment is different than the rest? Be sure you understand the monthly fixed costs and then how the final payments will work. And when exactly you will own the truck.

Be sure you understand all of the costs and details spelled out in the terms of the agreement when exploring this path to ownership.

2. Hidden Costs

These costs can be the deal breaker for some truckers looking to buy their own tractors. If you’re involved in a lease purchase program, are you responsible for ALL maintenance and repairs? Do you need to purchase an extended warranty? Are you eligible for any kind of discounts that your company may be eligible for? Go through the agreement with a fine-toothed comb before you sign anything.

If you’re pursuing this type of program, the hidden costs are usually the cause of the lease purchase plan to fail. As a new owner, being able to cover even one major repair could cause a significant financial impact.

3. The Carrier

Most companies that offer a lease purchase program, tie you to the company for the duration of the lease. In this case, you need to be sure that you’ve done your research and are comfortable with company culture, co-workers and the overall health of the company for the long-term. No matter what, if you enter into this type of program, you’re obligated to the payment and the terms. You want to be sure that the carrier will have work for you to do, and that you’ll be able to cover the payments. No matter what.

Lease purchase plans essentially make you an owner-operator of a small business. But you’re still an employee of your carrier. Drivers need to understand how this “business within a business” model actually works.

If you’re considering taking this route to owning your own truck, be sure you understand all the pros and cons of these programs. There’s obviously a tremendous upside to this. And the allure of “being your own boss” can be enormously powerful. But with this comes a lot of responsibility and assuming a lot of the risk of ownership. No matter what path you choose, we’re here to help you find a great-fit job at Drive My Way.

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thank you truckers

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

From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU TRUCKERS!

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

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

Finding Food

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

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

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

What food should drivers be eating?

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

Keeping the Cab Clean

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

wash hands

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

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

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

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

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

HOS & COVID-19 Relief Loads

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

What if I’m Actually Losing Loads?

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

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

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

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Fan Favorites: Best Truck Driving Songs

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

Truckers and Their Tunes

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

Drive My Way Poll

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

Songs that Remind them of their Families

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

Old School Country

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

Trucker Songs about Long Haul Driving

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

Religious Song Choices

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

Hard Rock for the Win

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

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daylight savings time tips

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

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

1. Sleep

sleeping puppy

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

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

2. Safety

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

3. Plan Ahead

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

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

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

4. ELDs

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

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

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

 

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trucking career

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

Bret Kubin

Before his trucking career

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

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

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

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

Getting started in the trucking industry

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

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

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

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

Bret Kubin

Bret’s advice to truck drivers

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

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

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

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

Developing and keeping the right attitude

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

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

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

Finding a trucking job

Bret credits Drive My Way with helping him stay on top of his career preferences.

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

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

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The CDL Drug test and alcohol tests are a standard part of the trucking industry. If you have a CDL job, you’ve likely had more than a few already. For as common as they are though, there are still a lot of questions about how it all works. Get in the know and don’t get caught unaware the next time your employer asks for a random sample or you are preparing to start a new job. Here are 5 of the most important facts about the CDL drug test and alcohol tests.

1. CDL 101: What is the CDL Drug Test and Alcohol Test?

CDL Drug Test

Most drug tests are urine tests that are given at a specific collection site. The most common type is called a 5 panel test, and it detects marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opioids, and PCP. Most of these substances leave traces that could show up in a urine test long after the effects you can feel have passed (more than 30 days for some!).

CBD oils and lotions can register on these tests, even if there is little to no THC in the product. Make sure you’re in the know on what you can use.

In addition, if you take prescription medications that could register on a drug test, make sure you have written verification from your prescribing doctor that you are able to safely operate a commercial vehicle while taking that medicine. 

Alcohol Test

Alcohol tests are typically done with a breathalyzer. Drivers cannot work or remain on duty with an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater. That’s much lower than the allowed limit for drivers of passenger vehicles. For both men and women, that could mean that even one drink puts you in danger of exceeding the legal limit.

As someone who drives a commercial vehicle for a living, the standards for you on the road are higher than for other drivers both on and off duty. In addition to a lower allowed BAC, commercial drivers are not allowed to have alcohol within four hours of starting their shift. If you are convicted of a DUI or DWI even in your personal vehicle, you must report it to your employer and may face significant consequences for your job.

2. When you can be tested

All trucking companies are required to request a drug test from their drivers prior to employment. Drivers may then be submitted to a random drug test annually for the duration of their employment.

The FMCSA requires companies to test 50% of their number of driver positions annually, so your odds of getting tested are not small.

You also may be required to take a drug test if you’re in an accident. The federal law depends on the type of accident you’re in and particularly whether you receive a citation. The FMCSA laws on this are actually pretty clear cut. However, some companies have stricter requirements, and it’s not uncommon for a company to ask for a CDL Drug Test after every accident. (This may be an insurance requirement or simply to encourage safer driving habits.)

3. How the test works

The most common form of drug test is a urine sample. Typically, the sample is collected and then processed in a lab. It is split into 2 samples: A and B. Sample A is tested. If the sample comes up positive, and you think it is an error, you have 72 hours after learning the results to request that another lab test Sample B to confirm the results. If you take prescription medications that may have triggered a positive result, take action immediately to share the doctor’s note.

 

4. Who gets my results (is this related to the Clearinghouse?)

A positive test result will be shared with your employer, but CDL Drug tests are otherwise confidential. They are, however, on your permanent record in the Clearinghouse.

Future employers can ask to see previous drug and alcohol tests, and past employers must share that information.

While it might seem strict, this rule is in place for driver protection. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, tracking the tests can identify this and help the driver get assistance. Substance abuse may also point to a larger conversation about mental health. Truck driving is a hard, and often lonely career. Know that you are not alone, and get to know your resources

5. What happens if I refuse or fail?

Failing a drug test doesn’t automatically mean losing your job, but it is serious. The results of your test will be shared with your employer. It is up to your employer to decide the consequences. That said, the DOT does require that drivers are not allowed to operate a CMV after failing a drug test. In other words, if you are permitted to stay with your company, you won’t be driving. Whether you are at risk of losing your CDL license also depends on your company and the type of accident.

If you refuse to take a drug or alcohol test, that will also be noted on your permanent record. Just like a positive result on a drug test, refusal to complete a drug tests forces you off the road immediately.

You will then need to complete a formal Return to Duty (RTD) process before you are eligible to drive again.

Operating a CMV while on drugs or under the influence of alcohol is dangerous. While these regulations might seem overly strict, prevention is always better than fixing damage when it comes to safety. Staying away from these substances while on the job protects your life, your job, and the lives of everyone else on the road. 

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dealing with homesickness over the road

A professional truck driver might spend a significant amount of time away from home. They miss out on family events, children’s milestones, and spending time with their friends. After driving for a while, it can become a part of a driver’s normal day-to-day reality. But for a new driver, or a driver new to being gone for days or weeks at a time, homesickness over the road can be a tough thing. If that’s something you’re dealing with, here are 4 helpful tips for dealing with homesickness over the road.

1. Recognize the symptoms of homesickness when they start

Feelings of anxiety or sadness can strike without warning. Or feeling sad when you’ve packed up and headed out for another week away from your family. One of the best ways to deal with homesickness is to recognize and acknowledge it as soon as it starts. Missing your home and family is normal. For many drivers it’s a reality of the profession. So it’s important to know that everyone feels this way sometimes, and it doesn’t help to try and push the feelings aside and not deal with them.

2. Stay busy with a new hobby

Find ways to keep yourself busy when you’re not driving. Picking up a new hobby is a great way to keep your mind busy. Learning how to do something new can help boost your mental state and drive away feeling of anxiety. Photography, staring an interesting collection or even picking up an instrument are great hobbies for truckers. Keeping your mind busy when you’re away from home can be a great help to your overall mental health.

3. Take your family with you

Make your home away from home, feel like home. Bring the family along with you over the road! Keep a few favorite pictures in the cab of your truck. Skype your family into scenic stops along the way. Or have them call you from special family gatherings or school milestones you’re going to miss. Make plans to call and check in each night when possible. Sometimes virtually being there with your family can be enough to help squash some of those feelings of homesickness while you’re away. In addition, some trucking companies also let you travel with your spouse. If this is important to you, be sure to ask this question when going through the interview process.

4. Travel with a pet

Bring your dog with you! If your carrier allows you to drive with your dog, bring him along. Travelling with a pet can help your well-being in many ways. It give you someone to talk to during the day, a reason to get some exercise each day, and a way to be social in an otherwise isolated environment. Having a constant reminder of home with you as you drive can help reduce those feelings of homesickness.

Also, by bringing your dog along with you, you have a perfect opportunity to interact with other drivers.

Having your dog with you when you’re at a truck, makes for an easy conversation starter with other truckers. Everyone loves to talk about their dogs and ask about other people’s dogs. This ensures a few times each day you’ve got a built-in reason to strike up a conversation with someone, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

As mentioned above, everyone gets sad and feels lonely sometimes. With any changes to your overall mood, it’s smart to be honest and open about your feelings. If you notice your feelings of homesickness are turning into something more extensive, be sure to reach out and tell someone. A little bit of homesickness vs. about with depression, could be better addressed with an honest conversation with your doctor.

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can truck drivers use cbd oil

Many truck drivers have been turning to products like CBD oils and lotions for relief from pains and aches that come from the job. There has been a growth in popularity of medicinal and recreational marijuana-related products, even though the legal waters are a bit murky. This can be especially concerning for truck drivers since they are used to thinking about drug screenings and the new Clearinghouse regulations. If that weren’t enough, many trucking carriers may prohibit the use of such products. In a recent poll by Drive My Way, all drivers indicated their carriers don’t allow them to use CBD products. So, you’ve probably been wondering “can truck drivers use CBD?” The answer isn’t so simple, so we’ll break it down for you.

Here are 4 things you need to know about CBD and trucking.

1. CBD products aren’t regulated by the FDA yet

CBD (short for cannabidiol) is a compound found in cannabis plants like hemp and marijuana. There are over 113 such compounds in the cannabis plant, known as cannabinoids. The most well-known cannabinoids are CBD and THC (short for tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the psychoactive agent in marijuana that is responsible for producing the sense of euphoria or the high. It is also measured in drug tests and leads to a positive result if detected.

CBD itself is a non-psychoactive compound—it won’t make you feel high, anxious, or bring redness to your eyes.

CBD is being researched and used for a variety of different medical purposes, and is said to help relieve anxiety, muscle and joint pain, depression, migraines, and other ailments common to truck drivers. Despite these claims of health benefits, CBD products haven’t been regulated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There is no consensus in the medical or regulatory community about the effects of CBD on the body. Science and the law haven’t made up their minds about it yet. So, it remains a grey area—it may help you relieve pain, or it may not, but it definitely won’t get you high.

2. CBD may cause individuals to test positive on a drug screening

There are many CBD derived products that are available for use on the market. For example, CBD oil is made by extracting the compound from either hemp or marijuana plants. These products of course contain CBD, but also many other ingredients, including trace amounts of THC. Remember that’s the one that gets you high. Most states require that commercial CBD derived products contain less than 0.3% THC. That’s such a small amount that it’s not going to have any psychoactive effect on your body or get you high. But even these traces could be detected on a drug test!

Some CBD products claim to be “THC-free”, but it’s not clear whether this is the case. People purchasing CDB products cannot be sure the claims of ‘THC-free’ are indeed valid and that they will not test positive on drug tests.

In fact, many CBD products companies will state disclaimers like “We cannot make any claims on whether or not any of our products will show up on a drug test. We are not legally able to make any recommendations or guarantees regarding drug tests on THC free or Full Spectrum products.”

This just goes to show that even though you hear a brand has “zero THC”, there will always be trace amounts that can be detected. In general, CBD lotions tend to have less THC than oils, but even these cannot guarantee the complete absence of THC.

3. State laws differ on CBD products


It’s important to remember that marijuana use is still illegal in most of the country. State laws differ on these matters. As previously indicated, most states require that commercial CBD derived products contain less than 0.3% THC. In a few other states like Nebraska, South Dakota, and Idaho, the use of marijuana in all forms is illegal.

At the federal level, all kinds of marijuana products are still illegal. This means if you are drug tested using the Federal drug testing panel and use marijuana, it will be reported out as a positive drug test.

The recent Clearinghouse regulations mean that this test result data will be available to other employers in the trucking industry. This makes CBD product use very risky for truck drivers. Aside from the laws, drivers have to consider whether their carriers will allow the use of CBD products. Our own poll of drivers shows that all of them said their carriers prohibit CBD product use!

4. Bottom line for truck drivers

So, what’s the bottom line for people wondering “can truck drivers use CBD?” Using CBD products can be dangerous to a truck driver’s career. If a positive result shows up on a drug test, this can stay on your record for good.

Worse yet, the drug tests cannot differentiate THC that came from CBD products and THC that came from ingesting marijuana.

Since manufacturers can’t guarantee a THC-free product, and since these products aren’t well regulated yet, it can be risky for truck drivers to use them.

CBD lotions may be a better option than CBD oil, but even these can’t guarantee no trace amounts of THC. For those truck drivers hoping for pain relief, they may want to look elsewhere. The benefits of CBD aren’t agreed upon, or even well documented. Truck drivers will have to decide whether the potential benefits exceed the risks.

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GUEST POST WRITTEN BY BETH GERACI

Volunteering for Wreaths Across America has played a special part in my life. When I learned that the initiative honoring fallen veterans was happening on December 14 this year, I knew it could be special to share the experience with my dad, whose passion for the cause rivals my own.

Normally I volunteer for Wreaths Across America in San Diego, where the sun kisses the ocean in a beautiful backdrop. For today’s ceremony, I found myself in Cleveland, Ohio. When my dad and I departed for Western Reserve National Cemetery, it was snowing. By the time we arrived, snow had turned to rain, but it couldn’t dampen the mood.

Volunteering for Wreaths Across America alongside my dad is an experience I will always cherish. To stand side by side knowing that he feels the same appreciation for America’s fallen and men and women that I do is special. We are bound all the more through this shared experience.

Wreaths Across America Unique from One Cemetery to the Next

Wreaths Across America is a poignant tradition—one that couldn’t happen without the committed CDL truckers who transport wreaths to every military cemetery in the country come December. The drivers are veterans themselves. For them, the Wreaths Across America convoy is an honor like no other.

For volunteers like me and my dad, Wreaths Across America is a heartfelt reminder to reflect on the sacrifices that veterans have made on our behalf. At every Wreaths Across America ceremony, they play Taps, the flag waves overhead. But you don’t need either one to know this day matters. Just observe the expressions of those around you.

While Arlington National Cemetery is the most notable of national cemeteries, it’s fascinating to volunteer on the local level, where each cemetery has its own flavor. San Diego’s Fort Rosecrans cemetery, pitched atop the Pacific Ocean, is the final resting place of 100,000. Western Reserve holds just a fraction of that, 36,000. With the cold and the heavily clouded sky, you knew in your bones that you were in Ohio in December. And that made the day all the more perfect.

By Remembering Those Lost, We Help Their Memories Live On

They announced that Gold Star families would lay wreaths first, so my dad and I hung back. We soon realized that nearly everybody there had lost a loved one in battle. One after one, the throngs kept coming. Watching hundreds of people move toward the wreaths in one big sea, you saw the sacrifice. Not just of the veterans we’ve lost. But of the families who loved them.

Remember. Honor. Teach. That’s the Wreaths Across America mission. As we tromped through the mud surrounded by Gold Star families, I couldn’t help but think of the words spoken at the afternoon ceremony: “We are here to remember not their deaths, but their lives.”

It’s a poignant reminder to live well. Love more. Be better. For their sake and ours, while we can.

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