“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!

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self driving trucks

The world of technology innovations continues to move forward. New advancements are being made every day. The development and progress being made with autonomous, or self-driving vehicles, is no exception. Though similar, there are going to be very different applications for self-driving trucks vs. self-driving cars. So here we’re going to look at what’s on the horizon for self-driving trucks.

The landscape is full of potential and new companies looking to get involved. Several of the biggest brands in the world are working to hone this technology to improve trucking efficiency, and ultimately make the roads a safer place for all drivers. Google, Tesla, and Daimler to name a few. Google has been testing self-driving cars since 2011, and their Waymo trucks since 2017. There is evidence that Amazon has been testing deliveries since early 2019. In May 2019, the US Postal Service tested self-driving trucks running loads between Phoenix and Dallas for 2 weeks. Just last month, a Florida based robotics company sent their first truck onto the interstate for 10 miles via remote control.

Truck platooning is a great application of self-driving technology

Platooning has already been tested for a few years.

By using a lead truck with an actual driver, several self-driving trucks follow closely behind, creating less congestion for other vehicles on the road. Since all of the trucks brake and accelerate in complete unison with the lead driver, helping overall traffic flow and delivery times.

Some might jump to a conclusion that self-driving trucks are going to put current CDL truck drivers out of a job. But this is simply not true. This technology is still very new and needs significant vetting. Presently, most self-driving programs have a driver controlling the wheel, but the computers are controlling everything else. And even when trucks move to being fully unmanned on long highway stretches, drivers still will jump-in and take over in more congested areas.

There’s a lot of potential in the future of this technology. Many companies are making great strides in testing and bringing self-driving trucks to daily life.

But there’s still a lot of work to be done

And some companies once committed to it, have already gotten out of the game. Uber had committed but now is reallocating resources to autonomous car technology and development.

If you have any thoughts on what impact self-driving trucks are going to the overall trucking industry, drop a comment on our Facebook page.

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Image via TT News

Chaos ensued this past year when the trucking industry implemented mandatory electronic logging devices (ELDs). However, few consumers understand the true impact that this mandate is having on everyday prices.

While some companies have been using ELDs for years, most had not, and were then forced to transfer to the new technology, used for tracking drivers’ hours on the road, after the MAP-21 act was passed in 2012.

While this law doesn’t sound too vicious at first, it is the underlying hours of service (HOS) law that bothers truckers so much. Under HOS, no trucker may drive more than 11 hours within a 14-hour period. After completing their 11 hours, they must take 10 hours of consecutive off-duty time. This law was set to ensure that drivers were not overworked, and thus would be better prepared to drive each day, hopefully reducing the number of fatal crashes each year.

Previously, truckers had been responsible to track their own hours with pencil and paper. Hours were easy to fudge, and drivers could easily drive more than their daily allotment each day. Now, a driver may not leave their terminal without turning on their ELD to initiate their 14-hour driving period. As a result, many truckers complain that they are making less money.

According to Andrew Lynch, co-founder and president of Zipline Logistics, MAP-21 “has drastically limited the flexibility drivers can build into their activity and tightened the constraints that diminish their operating efficiency.”

This along with the driver shortage has proven troublesome for retailers. Shippers have raised their rates higher than ever to compensate for increased wages in order to compete for more drivers. As a result, prices have risen for everyday products, ranging in anything from groceries to toys to luxury items.

Industry titan General Mills have already raised their prices to neutralize the blow of ever increasing wages. Other giants, such as Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo, are expected to raise theirs shortly as well.

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Tesla acquired trucking capacity

Elon Musk announced that Tesla acquired trucking capacity to assist with shipping Model 3 equipment by year end.

Tesla acquired trucking capacity

Image via Tesla

The CEO stated that using trucks, as opposed to rail, saves more than a month off of shipping times from the West to East Coast. “We bought some trucking companies and secured contracts with major haulers to avoid trucking shortage mistakes,” Musk tweeted.

In addition, these acquisitions appear to have been done without any news of said transactions spread throughout the transportation industry. Also, General Manager, Auto Haulers Association of America, Guy Young said he hadn’t heard a peep about these acquisitions.

“There’s a capacity crunch right now, because so many companies are gearing up for Black Friday and the holidays,” Young told Bloomberg. “There’s a lot of stuff that needs to go on trucks right now.” Therefore, Tesla acquired trucking capacity this season as a start to solve this problem.

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The new freight-matching app, DrayNow, officially raised nearly $5 million in it’s first round of funding.

Image via DrayNow

Comcast Ventures and Osage Venture Partners backed the much anticipated freight booking and tracking app. With its new capital, the company hopes to expand its employee base in both Chicago and Atlanta.

“The shipping and logistics industry serves as an incredibly vital and growing part of our economy. However, the industry’s Intermodal sector sees little technology enabling the match-making and operational efficiency,” Sam Landman, managing director of Comcast Ventures, told DC Velocity.

“We invested in DrayNow because the team and the technology establishes a more efficient method for moving freight. Furthermore, as the first mover in the space, DrayNow addresses customers’ pain points.”

DrayNow quickly connects brokers and carriers based on prospective companies’ drop off locations. The app focuses on the beginning and end of each individual freight movement, allowing users to track their shipment’s location.

Furthermore, Founder and CEO Mike Albert said in a press release, “The industry experiences low visibility and transparency from pick up through delivery. However, we provide transparency and breadcrumbs all the way to delivery,” said Albert.

“When shippers give a carrier a load, they only hear about it when there’s bad news, like they have to push back delivery a day. But, now they see the load pickup, while it’s moving, and at its delivery. This gives them the tools to measure supply chain performance accurately. You can’t measure what you can’t see.”

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New ELD

PeopleNet’s new Android-powered PD.5 might be the one you’ve been searching for.

Image via TT News

Many truckers were shocked by the new ELD mandate passed in late December of 2015. Even more became uncomfortable in their attempt to comply with it after the mandatory installation of ELD’s in each commercial truck just months ago.

No one enjoys having the government track their every move. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration felt that the ELD’s automatic documentation was far sufficient to the pen and paper many truckers had used previously.

Whether you’re a fan or not, every commercial carrier must have an ELD installed in the dashboard. In addition, the device replaces the need for individual Record of Duty Status (RODS). Also, it shares similar features with both electronic on-boarding devices (EOBRs) and automatic on-boarding devices (AOBRDs).

However, the benefit of many ELDs goes far beyond the data collected through EOBRs and AOBRDs.

While other logging devices only look at speed and time spent driving, ELDs also focuses on driver behavior such as hard braking or idling. Many devices also include mapping features for easier navigation as well as automatic updates on a driver’s status to dispatch.

As the leading provider in fleet mobility technology, PeopleNet always aims to deliver the highest quality devices for their customers. Their newest toy, the PD.5, is no exception. Made with truckers in mind, the electric logging device accomplishes everything on the road. Their mounted display was made specifically for the trials of trucking, while still incorporating everything you could ever need.

In the words of PeopleNet, “The ELD mandate is a complicated thing. Our electronic logging devices help you simplify it.”

The new PD.5 runs on the familiar Android LCD display, which makes navigating this device easier than ever.

It is super lightweight, allowing for easy use both inside and outside of your cab. Plus, a higher bandwidth of 20MHz will make sure every mile you drive is logged quickly.

No matter if you’re dropping off in the city or traveling through the rural countryside, you can ensure that your ELD is connected and secure.

In addition, the PD.5 includes other features, such as Bluetooth, a six-hour battery life, 16GBs, and a case.

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Music On The Road

Spending hours on the road every day leaves many truckers eager for a way to pass the time.

The radio is the most obvious solution, and music can make the drive far more enjoyable. However, changing the channels as you drive from state to state can get annoying.

But, with the increasing amount of streamable devices available, it has become easier and easier to find the best way to listen to your favorite artists.

Apps are easier to use than ever before, making them the obvious choice for music listeners on the go. This Tech Thursday, Drive My Way has compiled a list of the top three best music streaming applications to use on the road.

  1.  Spotify

    Image via Spotify

    Spotify has become one of the most popular music streaming devices in recent years. Boasting 70 million subscribers in January 2018 and climbing, They also have some of the most unique curated playlists of any music application, such as the ever popular “#ThrowbackThursday” featuring Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bruce Springsteen, as well as “Feelin’ Good” featuring Al Green and The Supremes. With music to match your every mood, its hard to not fall in love with this streaming service.

    Spotify offers both paid and free subscriptions. The free subscription offers full access to all their music with limited commercial interruption, and five song “skips” per hour. Spotify Premium, their paid version, offers a higher quality of music, no ads, and as many skips as you’d like. After a free 30-day trial, Premium is $9.99/month for an individual account, $14.99/month for a family account featuring up to 6 lines, or $4.99/month for students. Even better, Spotify is currently offering a deal featuring 3 months free for $0.99.

    Other features that Spotify offers include the ability to connect to family and friends through Facebook. This way, you can share what you’re listening to, see what your friends are into, and even get song suggestions based on who you follow. If you ever want to listen to your music in private, though, you can always use their “Private Session” feature to jam to your tunes in peace.

    Spotify is available for download on any smartphone, laptop, or other tablet via iTunes Store, Google Play or Microsoft Store.

  2.  Pandora

    Image via Pandora

    Another popular app available for download is Pandora. This streaming service has been around for years, and has only recently become popular once again. Much like Spotify, Pandora offers immediate access to over 30 million songs in both a free and “Premium” format. However, unlike other music players, Pandora curates music to play for you on their “radio” based on which songs you “like” or “dislike”. Though it does not have more specific playlists like Spotify does, Pandora allows you to create your own custom playlists based on songs you like.

    Much like its musical counterparts, Pandora’s free subscription offers limited commercial listening with 6 “skips” per hour. “Pandora Premium” permits ad-free listening, as well as the ability to search and play any song they offer, create your own playlists, download and listen to music offline, and much more. Though they do not offer any student discounts, their music streaming is $9.99/month for an individual account, and $14.99/month for up to 6 lines in a family plan.

    Pandora is also available for download on any smartphone, laptop, or other tablet via iTunes Store, Google Play or Microsoft Store.

  3. iHeart Radio

    Image via iHeart Radio

    Finally, iHeart Radio is an app that offers the best of custom music streaming alongside your favorite radio channels. Its main focus is free, live radio streams.

    For example, let’s say you really like listening to one of your local radio stations throughout your entire route. The problem is, some spots get patchy, making it hard to hear your station. iHeart Radio fixes that. This app allows you to listen to your favorite local stations, as well as stations all over the country. What’s more, you can even create your own stations based on a favorite artist or song.

    iHeart Radio boasts a 30-day free trial, and a low-cost $4.99/month subscription for iHeart Radio Plus after that. This includes unlimited “skips” and on-demand access to all your favorite channels. Their higher subscription, iHeart Radio All Access, goes for $9.99/month. This package includes everything that their Plus subscription does, along with offline playback and unlimited access to their millions of songs.

    iHeart Radio is available for download on any smartphone, laptop, or other tablet via iTunes Store, Google Play or Microsoft Store.

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Welcome to Tech Thursday, where we review the best technology has to offer for our favorite truckers. Here at Drive My Way, we’re just as concerned about our mental health as the next guy. So, when we ran across an app that claimed to improve moods, decrease stress and increase overall mental stability, we had to try it.

Image via Headspace

What is Headspace?

Headspace is an app in the mindfulness sector of health applications. Mindfulness and meditation have been at the forefront of health concerns for a while. Headspace offers meditation training through your phone or other mobile device. No matter where you are, if you take 10 minutes or so, Headspace can help you refocus on the tasks at hand.

Mindfulness

What’s “mindfulness”, anyways? Why is it so important? Mindfulness is the idea of bringing your attention to experiences occurring simultaneously in one moment. Whoa. OK, let’s unpack that. Being more mindful about your surroundings allows you to be more fully aware of your state and stay in the moment. It allows you to acknowledge and accept your feelings and thoughts, and can often be used as a therapeutic technique to calm anxiety.

Image via Headspace

The beauty of Headspace is that it brings any mindfulness session to wherever you happen to be when you need it. Stressful day on the road? Head to your Headspace app for a quick, three-minute “Burned Out” session that is sure to calm your nerves. Need help falling asleep in your cab? Headspace is chock full of sleepy sessions for you to ease your mind and fall deep asleep. The sessions, ranging in from motivation to eating and happiness, give you plenty of options to cover your anxiety-ridden bases. The best part? Nearly all of them are free.

Headspace is available for free both online and on your phone, through either Google Play or the Apple iTunes Store.

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The Rotella Shell Starship is finally coming home.

Image via Trailer Body Builders

The Shell AirFlow Starship ended its highly anticipated maiden voyage across the USA on June 5. The new electric cab began its journey in San Diego in March. From there, it was driven across the country, including stops in Georgia and Kentucky, before its final destination in Florida. Shell celebrated the truck’s successful expedition with a presentation that called attention to the highlights of the trip.

Read part one of this thread on our blog: Big Oil Enters the Electric Trucking Game.

The Starship took three years to design and construct, using the most sophisticated technology to build the “hyper-aerodynamic, super fuel-efficient” truck. It features a custom carbon-fiber cab with special add-ons that enhance its durability and efficiency. The aerodynamic design helps in reducing drag, and solar panels are used to power smaller features, such as windshield wipers. In addition, a “hybrid electric axle system and custom automatic tire inflation” allow for better fuel efficiency.

“Through perseverance and hard work…we arrived here today, not in Jacksonville, but at a crossroads of where we move going forward.”

While the average miles per gallon for a gas-fueled tractor trailer is around six miles, the Starship performed at 10.2 miles per gallon. The more important figure, though, was the ton-miles per gallon for freight-ton efficiency, which combines a cargo’s weight with the amount of fuel consumed.

According to Bob Mainwaring, Shell Lubricant’s technology manager for innovation, the Starship came in at 178.4 ton-miles per gallon. Compared to the national average of only 72 ton-miles per gallon, the Starship is making leaps in trucking technology. Furthermore, Shell estimates that through use of their truck, the industry would see close to 60% emission reduction in a few years.

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