Dangers of being a Truck Driver

Truck driving, like any profession, has risks. There are steps you can take to reduce the dangers of being a truck driver. The best rule of thumb? Think it through before you take action. Sounds simple, but taking an extra moment to slow down often makes a big difference. Even pausing for a few seconds can be enough to clear your head and really think through your choices. Here are the top 8 dangers of being a truck driver.

1. Driving tired or distracted

In 2007, the FMCSA did a study to determine causation of CDL Accidents. The number one cause? Driving tired or distracted. These two categories made up 40% of accidents that were labeled with a critical reason. Nearly half of the large truck accidents may have been preventable by extra sleep or improved focus. Need more convincing to get your sleep? As you’ve likely experienced, driving tired often leads to more distracted driving. Even 1 extra hour or a few 20 minute power naps can have a big impact on your ability to calmly make decisions on the road or to notice all the details of the road conditions

The FMCSA is exploring changes to HOS rules that would allow drivers flexibility to split their 10 hours in the sleeping berth however they want (within reason). The FMCSA is expected to share additional information as soon as the next six months.

As a driver, the best thing you can do is prioritize your sleep. Know your limits, and pull off when you need to. If you’re feeling sleepy, drink water and take a short break if you can. A short slow down will let you keep driving safely in the long run and reduce one of the biggest dangers of being a truck driver.

2. Driving too fast for conditions

All professional drivers know that the weather and road conditions can have a big impact on your route. There is a lot of pressure to meet drop times and make the most of your miles. It’s easy to tell yourself that going a little faster won’t be a problem. It’s much harder to convince yourself to slow down and carefully evaluate the conditions.

Road conditions are one of the dangers of being a truck driver that you can’t control. But, you can control how you react.

More experience and time on the road will sharpen your ability to assess the roads and traffic to make safe driving decisions. 

3. Avoid unsafe areas at bad times and stay alert in truck yards and loading docks

As any seasoned driver knows, there are some places you just don’t want to visit outside of daylight hours. Of course, as a seasoned driver also knows, you don’t always know where those areas are, especially when you’re driving new routes. As a general rule, spending nights at the shipper or consignees lots is safer than most truck stops. If you are driving somewhere new or you don’t know the area, call ahead by a few hours. The receivers can tell you if it’s safe to park and sleep there or if it’s a “daylight only” situation. If the area isn’t safe enough for a sleep stop, calling ahead should give you enough time to find somewhere nearby that is safe to rest.

4. Always do a circle check

Circle checks are a small step that can save a lot of time and energy later. Sure, spending 20 minutes on a walk around every time might seem like a pain, but it’s saving you much larger headaches down the road. A circle check is meant to inspect your rig for any damage or issues that need attention before departure. Want to make sure you’re covering all the steps? Smart Trucking has a good basic guide to the D.O.T. pre-trip inspection to make sure you get where you need to go without any surprise maintenance issues. 

5. Use the buddy system for some repairs

Getting pinned under a rig is enough to give any cdl driver second thoughts about the job. Luckily, it’s preventable.

If you have repairs to make under the trailer, bring a partner. They can immediately assist if something goes wrong.

Be particularly careful when pinning up. Now, there are some repairs you may feel comfortable taking on by yourself. A word to the wise. Unless you’re a properly trained mechanic, don’t mess with the brake chambers. Let a professional mechanic take care of any problems with the brake chambers, and you’ll thank yourself later. 

6. Use caution on trailer decks and loads

It’s tempting to climb up the back of your rig. You might just be going up for a quick fix after all. It’s easy to use that logic, but the consequences can be terrible. One slip or fall from your rig can lead to serious injuries.

Instead, carry a ladder with you when possible or wait to climb until you have the proper equipment. Use extra caution on trailer decks and if you’re standing on a load, especially for with a flatbed truck. 

7. Open your doors one at a time in case your load has shifted

moving truck with white boxes in a garage

Even when you have checked your load before departure, things may shift while you’re driving. The vast majority of the time, you could open both doors of your trailer at once and there would be no problem. But, Murphy’s law says that the one time your load will shift is when you have the heaviest haul.

Save yourself the problem. Open doors one door at a time. That guarantees that your load won’t fall out if things have shifted in transit.

8. Other drivers

In a perfect world, we would all be responsible for our own safe driving. Unfortunately, the world is far from perfect and we all share the road with a lot of other drivers.

Other drivers are one of the big dangers of being a truck driver. Be alert to your surroundings and the other vehicles around you.

As a professional driver, you’re much more aware of passenger vehicles than most of them are of you. That said, these drivers (and other cdl drivers) can be a danger to you on the road. While there are likely more than a few driving tips you’d like to give to passenger vehicles on sharing the road, you have to watch out for yourself. Pay attention to your surroundings and leave plenty of space between vehicles. 

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Experienced designer and marketer brings strategy to Drive My Way as Marketing Demand Generation Manager.

Drive My Way announced that Kerry Marinchick has joined its team as the Marketing Demand Generation Manager. Drive My Way matches CDL truck drivers and owner operators with jobs based on their qualifications and lifestyle preferences.

Marinchick brings over 5 years of experience in digital marketing, graphic design, and lead generation to Drive My Way. As an innovative expert in the field, Marinchick is entrepreneurial and dedicated to continuous learning. In her last role, Marinchick oversaw the organization’s digital marketing practice and technology, driving growth and revenue for the company. In addition, outside of her corporate positions, Marinchick developed profitable e-commerce and marketing side-businesses.

“Kerry’s digital marketing experience supports our aggressive growth plan for 2019,” said Beth Potratz, President and Founder of Drive My Way. “We’re thrilled to have her on our team and look forward to see the impact of her marketing initiatives.”

“I’m honored to join a highly-motivated team and look forward to implementing a digital marketing strategy to facilitate growth,” said Marinchick. “Drive My Way changed the way drivers find jobs, and our technology will continue to shake up the industry.”

About Drive My Way

Drive My Way™ is a unique, personalized recruiting marketplace powered by a platform that matches CDL drivers and owner operators with jobs based on their professional qualifications and personal lifestyle preferences, such as schedule, type of haul, benefits and more. Drive My Way matches drivers with jobs that allow them to live the lives that they want and matches carriers with talent that is both qualified and engaged. Drive My Way’s driver-centric technology lets both the driver and recruiter know how well they match to each job before entering the hiring process; shifting the focus from quantity and volume to quality and best fit.

deliver christmas gifts

Image via @billweavermusic

Owner-operator and songwriter Bill Weaver released a holiday song about how Santa calls on truckers to help deliver Christmas gifts.

His song, How the Truckers Saved Christmas, tells of how Santa was pulled over by the DOT, and called on “a thousand long-haul drivers” to cover his run that night. Then, the tune goes on to tell how hard all truck drivers worked hard to deliver Christmas gifts.

They receive a special “thank you” gift from Santa in the form of a thermos of coffee, “the keys to a brand new Pete and special set of studded snow tires.” However, the DOT got a different kind of gift.

In addition, Weaver released his last hit last song, “Burnin’ the Old School Down”, this past summer.

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The truckers have spoken.

Truck Path, an app that utilizes crowd-sourcing technology to view information about truck stops throughout the country, has released its own list of the top ten best truck stops.

In addition to showing parking space availability, the app gives truckers the ability to rate travel centers on a scale of 0-5, based on qualities like best food, fuel prices, cleanliness and other amenities. Currently, the app supports over 50,000 truck stops in both the United States and Canada.

Stops with things like showers, free Wi-Fi, and laundry facilities were most highly ranked by drivers. Overall, independently owned truck stops ranked far better than corporate-owned facilities.

Here are the top 6 truck stops of 2018, according to Truck Path, that each tied for a perfect 5.0 rating:

  1. Big Horn Travel Center in Fort Worth TX
    No automatic alt text available.
    Image via Facebook
  2. Highway 51 Truck Stop in Merrill WI

    Image result for Highway 51 Truck Stop in Merrill WI

    Image via Foursquare

  3. 19 AND 75 Filling Station in Ivanhoe MN

    Image via Facebook

  4. Coffee Cup Fuel Stop in Summit SD


    Image via Coffee Cup Fuel Stop

  5. Williston Truck Facility in Williston ND

  6. Roady’s Carlisle Plaza in Carlisle PA

    Image via Roady’s

  7. 115 Truck Stop-PTP Stop in Marshall MI

    Image via Food Mart

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Two Wisconsin truckers have discovered that a professional relationship is not the only thing they share: they’re actually father and son.

Image via Daily Mail

Nathan Boos has always known that he was adopted, but never asked his adoptive parents who his birth parents were.

According to Eyewitness News, Boos’ adoptive mother was looking at his Facebook one day, and happened to notice that Nathan was friends with his birth father, Robert Degaro. Shocked, she brought it to Boos’ attention. Only then did they realize the most ironic piece of the puzzle: Degaro and Boos have been co-workers for two years as CDL drivers at the same trucking firm.

“It’s still kind of a shock, and there are days I’m not sure exactly what to say or how to act. I mean, he is my son, but we didn’t have that father-son relationship growing up. And then we became working partners before we knew who we really were,” says Degaro told Eyewitness News.

“We’re just taking one day at a time, one mile at a time as we say,” says Boos.

“Back then I wasn’t much of a dad,” Degaro stated. According to Daily Mail, Degaro didn’t have much of a say when Boos’ birth mother gave him up for adoption. “His biological mom had chosen the adoptive parents because they were somewhat related — distant cousins, I believe. But I didn’t know that,” Degaro said.

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Photo courtesy of KRIS TV

A university in Corpus Christi, Texas, developed a free training program for vets exiting the service.

The Skills for Transition Program, a part of the Texas Operation Welcome Home Program, focuses on reintegrating military members into their communities post-deployment. For example, one of its most recent projects is a training program through Del Mar College to help recent veterans become CDL truck drivers.

According to recent findings, the trucking industry has become a good fit for many military personnel after their discharge.

Also, according to Department of Motor Vehicles, their dependability, sense of teamwork, and situational awareness make veterans ideal driving employees. In addition, driving jobs offer some much needed financial and lifestyle consistency that many vets crave after being overseas.

Also, the course consists of four weeks of daytime classes or 10 weeks of night classes. Overall, the goal is to create the marketable students who can be hired upon completion of the course. For example, U.S. Express Inc. offers jobs to veterans who complete this training through their apprenticeship program. In addition, with this training and apprentice opportunity, veterans earn both their CDL A license and make money within weeks of returning home.

Interested in applying?

Learn more about the job requirements, benefits, pay and more.

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Image via LiveTrucking.com

“My life was not a waste. I can see good that has come from my life whether it is at the end or whether I’m just at a bump in the road.”

A 40-year career trucker who has inspired millions over the past few months through his now-viral video has died.

After discovering he had stage four colon cancer in May, Tulsa, Okla., CDL driver Delvin Simmons recorded his last trip and shared it on social media.

“If I had had a colonoscopy five years ago, this may have all been different,” Simmons told News On 6. Simmons said he was devastated to hear the diagnosis after his first colonoscopy. His doctors believe they could have detected and treated the cancer if Simmons had the procedure 10 years prior.

Simmons spent his remaining days focused on family, music, and promotion of the importance of colonoscopies. “I wanted to make that video for my kids in case I did not make the journey through this cancer,” Simmons said.

To share his story, he took to the road as his son, Justin, recorded the trip. They blasted Simmons’ favorite song “The Old Man Is Dead” by Del Way. The video has over 4 million views on Facebook.

“I have sat in this hospital and I have cried. Not for sadness but because I am overwhelmed at what God is doing with that song,” said Simmons.

Read more about Simmons’ story at News On 6.

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A CDL truck driver and his dog are alive and well after narrowly escaping from a crash.

Tractor trailer crash.

Photo via WWNY TV

As reported by WWNY, the unnamed driver was traveling down New York Route 37 outside Theresa, when a deer ran into the road. The driver swerved, overturning his cab and trailer. And then, both the driver and his dog were trapped for nearly 45 minutes before rescue teams could get to the crash.

Theresa Fire Chief Mark Savage told WWNYC he was surprised that both the driver and the dog sustained minor injuries. Also, he said the driver seemed to be in good spirits as he walked away from the truck. “Lots of cuts and bruises, a little sore,” Savage told the station, “…but other than that, [the driver] is alive and doing well.”

Both the driver and his dog were taken to a local hospital and animal clinic respectively.

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A California high school may be the first in the country to offer a commercial driver training program to its students.

Dave Dein, a teacher in Patterson, California, has helped establish a student driver-training course. As a former truck driver, Dein believes that the training he received early in his career gave him confidence. Therefore, he wanted to offer a similar benefit to current high school students showing an interest in the driver field.

While he also operates an adult driver-training program, Dein focuses on younger students who may need a non-traditional outlet for learning aimed at “[those] that needed to find something they could connect with,” according to the March 29th issue of Fleet Owner.

The students undergo 180 hours of classroom instruction before spending 20 hours in a truck simulator. After completing the program, students may obtain free behind-the-wheel training with Morning Star Trucking or enroll in Dein’s adult education driving training program.

Also, Morning Star, a former employer of Dein, is additionally offering students summer employment transporting tomatoes. The graduates of the high school program can earn more than $10,000.

Other program participants are Penske Logistics and Worklete, which teach ergonomics and injury-prevention skills. For more details on this junior training program, please click here.

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A solid wall of trucks formed to help prevent an attempted suicide in Detroit early Tuesday morning, and it worked.

The Michigan State Police flagged the trucks between one and three a.m. The police requested that the driver form a line beneath the I-696 overpass in both directions.

The intent was to prevent the potential jumper from hitting the ground, or a passing vehicle, should he have leaped.

In addition, with the trucks in place, the police managed to talk the man down from the overpass.

And then, a member of the police force thanked each driver personally with a handshake for having contributed to the joint effort. Truly, such a positive result could not have been achieved without the wall of trucks.

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