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How to Decide if Being a Team Driver is Right for You

Team driving is a great option to explore for some professional truck drivers. Having a partner to navigate thousands of miles of highways can be a real benefit to a single driver. Two sets of eyes, ears, and hands can make most jobs easier and runs completed faster. Sounds pretty great, right? But there’s also some aspects of team driving that might not be as great. So if you’re looking into becoming a team driver, you need to find out if team driving is right for you.

What is a Team Driver?

What is a team driver? Well, it’s pretty much exactly how it sounds: two professional drivers who work together, sharing miles in the same truck. Team drivers share the responsibilities equally, and while one sleeps, the other drives. This type of driving can be very beneficial for both new and seasoned drivers. Many companies prefer hiring teams as they can guarantee their customers faster delivery times, as teams have less downtime than a single driver.

Pros and Cons

The best thing to do when making a decision like this, is usually to weigh out the pros and cons. Create a list of all of the things that make team driving an attractive proposition. Someone to help with the work. The load keeps moving even when you’re sleeping. More runs completed faster, usually equals more money.

But the flip-side of that, is that there’s someone always with you—all day, every day. When you’re trying to sleep, you have to contend with all the normal road noise. And no matter what you get paid, it’s always going to be split right down the middle. There’s a lot more to consider, but these a few things to think about early in your decision making process.

Finding the Right Partner

Having the right partner is the most important part of team driving. You need to be compatible, share similar priorities, understand each others needs, and most importantly, you need to feel safe knowing they’re driving while you’re asleep. Many times, carriers can help successfully pair drivers for a team. But in many cases, team drivers come to the company already as a team. One of the most common types of driver teams is a married couple.

PJ and Mike Team Driving Couple

PJ and Mike

PJ and Mike, a USA Team Trucking Couple, have been team driving for years. They shared the following for anyone considering team truck driving:

“The insight we can give is that team driving is not for everyone. It’s a hard career. Most driving schools and companies don’t teach team drivers on how to work and drive together. So for most team drivers, there is a big learning curve. Team drivers need to learn each others’ driving strengths and weaknesses,” shared PJ and Mike.

Have you considered driving as part of team? Do you currently drive as part of a team? We’d love to hear your stories. Drop us a note on our Facebook page here.

truck driver at loading dock

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25 Trucking Questions Drivers Should Ask Their Recruiter

Truck drivers need to consider many factors before deciding on a trucking job. Pay, home time, type of runs, and company policies all make a difference. Ideally, the recruiter is forthcoming about all the information a trucker needs to make their decision. In the case that recruiters aren’t being as transparent as you’d like, truck drivers need to ask the right questions. You don’t want to be blindsided, or worse, tricked, into accepting a job which doesn’t work for you. We put together 25 trucking questions drivers should ask their recruiter before taking a job with their company. We’ve organized these into different categories: about pay, operations, equipment, and the company. All of these are important, but some drivers will find some questions more important than others.

Questions about compensation and pay

One of the most important considerations for drivers are issues around pay and benefits. You want to make sure the company is offering a pay package fulfills your needs. Find out all the details about pay rates, bonuses, and expected raises. Companies have different ways of offering home time and vacation time too, so you want to make sure you understand the details.

Finally, you’ll likely end up negotiating on some of these factors. Have a list of non-negotiable items, so the company knows they are important to you.

Truck driver Tamera Sturgis shared this recommendation with us, “Have a non-negotiable list and negotiable one. Don’t defer from your non-negotiable list or you won’t be happy down the road. Once the list is prioritized they can begin to ask questions and make notes. Make sure the items that are verbally agreed to are legit. Wouldn’t hurt to get it in writing. If the recruiting department balks on giving you anything in writing then chances are they are over-promising and will under-deliver.”

Here are trucking questions on compensation and pay you should ask your recruiter:

  • How does the company pay? What is the max rate of pay for drivers?
  • How does the company handle raises? When and how can I expect a raise?
  • What types of benefits do you offer? When do they kick in?
  • Are there any bonuses for safety, fuel, sign-on, performance, driver referral, etc?
  • What are the details of your home time policy? And PTO?
  • Can you guarantee all the things on my non-negotiable list?

Questions about operations

Many truck drivers’ concerns are over nitty-gritty operational details. The type of freight they haul and the runs they make. Are the regional or local? Dedicated? Truckers need to know how many miles they should be expected to drive. Some drivers want to make sure they have no touch freight, while others don’t mind unloading. Many drivers despise forced dispatch, while some others appreciate the constant support. Knowing the company’s terminals will also give you an idea of their operational reach and effectiveness. Here are trucking questions about operations you should ask your recruiter:

  • What kind of freight do you haul?
  • In which states do you operate? What kind of runs do you have?
  • How do you calculate driver miles?
  • What is the average length of load? What is the average number of miles per tractor?
  • How many terminals does the company have and where are they located?
  • How much of your freight is drop and hook? Are drivers required to physically unload freight?
  • Is there forced dispatch?
  • How are you managing the ELD mandate?

Questions about equipment

One of the biggest drivers’ concerns is over equipment. If carriers possess newer models, it makes life easier for truckers. Many truck drivers don’t want to be left with the responsibility of maintenance for the truck in addition to their regular duties. Make sure the carrier doesn’t have outdated equipment which is falling apart. Since a driver’s truck is like a home away from home, it is important to feel comfortable in the cabin. Inquiring about truck amenities, especially regarding sleeping and meals, will give you valuable information. Here are trucking questions about equipment to ask your recruiter:

  • What types of truck does the company use? How old are they?
  • Am I expected to take care of truck maintenance?
  • Are drivers able to take equipment home with them during home time?
  • What amenities do the trucks come with? Refrigerators? Single or double bunks?

Questions about the company

Besides important questions about the operations and benefits, drivers should ask general questions about the company to get a sense of who they will be working for. Many drivers say they are looking for a family-oriented company, which will respect them as a person and not just a disposable number. If the company’s culture is strong, it can help drivers feel a sense of belonging and give more fulfillment to the job. If turnover is high, or there are many trucks sitting idle, it doesn’t reflect strongly on the company. Here are trucking questions about the company to ask the recruiter:

  • How many employees does the company have? How many drivers?
  • What is the ratio of driver managers or load planners to drivers?
  • What is the company’s turnover rate?
  • How many empty or idle trucks do you have right now?
  • How long has the average driver been with the company?
  • What is the passenger policy? The pet policy?
  • How would you describe the company’s culture? What do your current drivers say about it?

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What to Do if You Lose Your Trucking Job

In an industry where drivers are in high demand, drivers can and will be laid off. Companies can still have financial problems and end up closing. Smaller carriers might be bought by larger outfits, and then ultimately downsized. Any number of things can happen, and unfortunately you might find yourself left out in the cold. So if this happens, do you know what do if you lose your trucking job?

Don’t panic and take the first job you find. This is a great opportunity to take stock about what you liked and possibly didn’t like about your job. Take the time to weigh out your options, because you’re in a great position to make a change for the better.

Consider the following if you lose you trucking job:

  • Do you want to spend more weeknights at home?
  • Do you want to spend as much time on the road to maximize your paycheck for the next year?
  • Do you want more shorter runs that make the day go by faster?
  • Do you want better overall benefits?
  • Do you want your dog to ride along with you?

No matter what your preferences might be, if you lose your trucking job, sign-up for an account with Drive My Way. With the ability to add 20+ personal driving preferences, it’s the best place to find that next perfect fit job for you! Take a look at what Lawrence Kilgore says about his experience using Drive My Way.

At Drive My Way, we’ve made it quick and easy to complete a profile. And we have a team of experts available to help you along the way. Best of all – it’s free!

So if you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation of losing your trucking job, please let us help. We can be a great resource to get you back on the road in your perfect fit trucking job.

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Recruiting and hanging onto good truck drivers is a major concern for most trucking companies. The driver shortage is something that’s been talked about for years, and it’s not going away any time soon.

With driver salaries and bonuses continuing to climb, many companies are taking a hard look at what that means for their truck driver recruitment efforts. And what they need to do to attract and retain good drivers.

We asked our Facebook driver network to vote on what’s more important to them when looking for a new truck driving job: a good salary or a large sign-on bonus?

Our results were overwhelmingly in favor of a good salary with 95% of the votes!

Focus on Salary

As it turns out, that’s the direction some hiring managers are now taking. Some companies are moving forward with plans to cease sign-on bonus add-ons in favor of putting together a solid long-term salary package. By not offering sign-on bonuses, they’re seeking to avoid attracting job-hoppers, and keep everything clear and up-front on take-home pay expectations.

They’re planning that in the long-haul it will be good for both the company and the truck drivers if drivers’ checks are predictable and the calculations are clear.

You may have had offers that were a great starting salary, but no bonus. Or an low-to-average starting salary with a 5-figure signing bonus. Or that rare unicorn with a high salary and a great bonus to start. In any case, you need to be certain you understand what you’re agreeing to.

Make sure you read all of the fine print, both with your salary offer and / or your sign-on bonus. The fine print might make all the difference to your paycheck and ultimately your future career with that trucking company.

We know that money isn’t the only deciding factor when selecting your new company.  But when it come to salary vs. sign-on bonus, what do you think? Let us know your opinion on our Facebook Page. Share your story and you could be featured in an upcoming post!

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“I’m trained to deal with any type of situation. I thought about it the rest of the day, but it didn’t affect my job. I don’t feel like it was anything special. It was just a natural instinct for me. I try to be a good person.”

A Dupré Logistics driver is being named nothing short of a hero after saving a family of seven. In June of 2017, Fernandez Garner was traveling down I-45 N. He witnessed a large SUV cut off by a tanker, and consequentially, tumble off the road.

Garner saw one of the passengers, a little girl, had been thrown from the car to the middle of the highway. He instantly braked and blocked the road to protect her from incoming cars. Then, after examining her for any wounds, he ran down the side of the road to help the rest of the family.

Inside the vehicle, he found a boy, two girls, and their mother, frantically reaching for her baby. In addition, the driver, presumably the father, seemed to be injured. Garner moved the children back towards the road. He then calmed the mother down, assuring the safety of her children.

For this act of heroism, the Truckload Carriers Association named Garner a Highway Angel. In addition, Dupré Logistics expressed gratitude and pride in Garner for taking such steps to ensure the safety of all drivers.

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Now that the holiday season is here, more and more vehicles are clogging the nation’s roadways, presenting an even tougher job for truck drivers on the road.  Zonar, a producer of smart fleet management technology, has compiled a list of the 10 most dangerous roads you should consider avoiding this time of year – and even the rest the year.

During the holiday season, there are about 36% more vehicles on the road, according to Zonar. Most of the increased traffic is made up of passenger cars (23%), delivery fleets (10%), and people-carriers, such as buses (3%), according to Zonar.  Winter weather and decreased daylight add to the stress of holiday travel. All this makes it even more dangerous for truck drivers.

Knowing which stretches of road are the most dangerous for trucks can help potentially decrease your chances of getting into an accident and help keep other drivers safe – by adjusting routes or schedules, varying driving times and loads, or increasing inspections and checkpoints.  And, you might be surprised to find that that there are roads list from every region of the country

According to the DOT, here’s a list based on total accident volume between 2013 -2016:

  1. I-10 in Alabama
  2. I-95 in Florida
  3. HWY-75 in Idaho
  4. I-40 in Arkansas
  5. US-1 in Florida
  6. M-20 in Michigan
  7. I-80 Nebraska
  8. HWY-5 in Colorado
  9. I-70 in Maryland
  10. SC-35 South Carolina

For more great articles like this and to get matched with jobs that fit your lifestyle, create a free driver profile on our site.

Image from Zonar.

 

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A man who ran towards a fire to save a trucker stuck in his burning rig last month says God put him there to rescue the driver. The wreck happened last month in Albany, Oregon, but the two still visit each other frequently as the truck driver continues to recover.

According to Statesman Journal, truck driver Terence Jay Shaw was driving on northbound Interstate 5 on the morning of September 1st when he lost control and crashed into an overpass. The force of the impact set his rig on fire and the truck erupted into flames.

As the truck burned with Shaw still inside, Chuck Zeitler came upon the wreck from the southbound side of I-5. Zeitler saw the flames and heard someone screaming for help, so he laid down his motorcycle and rushed to the scene of the fire, pushing through a crowd of people videoing the incident on their phones.

Zeitler ran up to the truck and pulled Shaw out of the burning wreckage and away from the fire. The truck then exploded.

A Lasting Friendship is Formed

Since then, Shaw has been recovering in the burn unit at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, where Zeitler visits him frequently.

Image from livetrucking.com.

“We’re best friends now, only because my relief was stuck in traffic, so I had to wait for him to arrive.  If I’d have left at the regular time, I never would have happened upon the wreck.”

– Zeitler humbly explains how circumstances led him to rescue the trucker and gain a best friend.

 

Despite the praises from the Shaw family, Zeitler shared God put him in the right place at the right time. He simply acted on his instincts after 24 years as a Navy boiler operator.

Zeitler is an elder member of Fusion Faith Center in Albany and recently became a pastor.  He plans on opening a church for bikers soon, as he believes it is his “calling.”

Shaw is still recovering from the wreck. He has had multiple skin grafts on his right arm and side and currently has 23 stitches.

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worldAcross the United States, you can find a cure for on-the-road boredom as you come upon an eclectic assortment of some of the most hilarious and interesting roadside attractions – some of the world’s largest objects of random items.

Huffington Post created this awesome slideshow to highlight the “world’s largest” attractions.

One of them is right in Drive My Way’s hometown. Near the famous Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you’ll find the world’s largest rubber stamp. Created in the ’80s, the stamp has the word “free” on the front of it.

In Cuba, Mo., a rocking chair for giants rests. Though not the world’s largest, the rocker is so incredibly tall that your semi couldn’t reach the seat.

If you’re feeling patriotic in New York, taking a trip to Lake George to see the world’s largest Uncle Sam.

Though it’s not the title character from “James and the Giant Peach ,” the “peachoid water tank” in Gaffney, S.C., owns claims to the world’s largest peach. Painted to match the state fruit, the construction required 10 million pounds of concrete.

Other favorites include the tallest filing cabinet in Burlington, Vermont, the largest Rubik’s Cube in Knoxville, Tenn., and the largest frying pan in Brandon, Iowa.

Now, go get some cool photos or video of your own by these interesting landmarks and share with us!

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Matt Blattel loves the outdoors. Hunting, fishing, camping, he loves it all.

In fact, Blattel’s love of the outdoors goes back to his childhood on a 3,000-acre farm in southeast Missouri. His family raised 1,000 hogs and 1,000 cattle.

“That’s where I began to learn about building,” says Blattel, a regional driver for Baldwin Express who was matched to his job through Drive My Way and absolutely loves what he’s doing.

“I got exactly what I wanted,” he says. “I wanted to be home every weekend, good pay, good miles, newer trucks. And then, I got all of that. I’m ecstatic about it. Once I put in my criteria of what I wanted, Drive My Way started matching me. It was a godsend.”

In addition, Blattel said that Baldwin Express takes care of him, so he finally is able to enjoy the work-life balance he sought for so long.

trucker house

The house Matt Blattel built. He also made the name plate in front and designed the landscaping.

Handy Man

Blattel has had a CDL driver job for 21 years. But, when he’s not trucking, he’s a talented builder.

“I’ve always been somebody who works with my hands,” he says. “I can see something and then go make it. I’ve built things since I was a teenager.”

Blattel, now 46, figures he’s been building things for 30 years. He carves decorative logs for his friends at the holidays. But he’s proudest of his masterpiece: his mother-in-law’s house.

A Strong Foundation

Blattel built the house from the ground up eight years ago, saving his mother-in-law $40,000 in the process.

“I built it completely by myself from start to finish,” Blattel says. “From the foundation and the landscaping to the woodworking, wiring and insulation, you name it, I did it. Also, I even laid hardwood floors throughout the whole house. It makes me feel good to know my mother-in-law has a house that’s exactly what she wants, and I built it from top to bottom.”

It took Blattel a mere seven months to build the house in his spare time. Now his wife wants him to construct a new house for them. “Whatever she wants,” he says. And he means it.

A Talent Deeply Rooted

So where did Blattel learn to do all of this? Building “has always come to me naturally,” he says. “There’s not a whole lot I can’t do. If you tell me I can’t do it, then I’m going to do it anyway just to prove you wrong.”

Blattel picked up his talent for building just by growing up around it. He learned by paying attention.

To other truckers who would like to try their hand at building, Blattel has sage advice: “Overall, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and do it right the first time.”

In summary, it all takes patience, organization and most of all, a clear vision.

“It always starts with that vision, in every aspect of my life,” Blattel says. “I don’t use blueprints. They are all in my head. I research it and see what I gotta do to get it done—and then I do it.”

In addition, the same goes for his job at Baldwin Express. “I couldn’t be happier,” he says.

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livetrucking.comSometimes an average day on the job turns into something quite a bit more. That happened to four truckers when their paths crossed in fateful fashion.

Live Trucking wrote about the act of truck driving heroism that is definitely one to remember:

Early on the morning of November 21, a trucker in Michigan found his life in peril when his gasoline tanker crashed and burst into flames. Luckily there were three truckers passing by who were able to help and have been credited with saving his life.

It happened on a northbound Interstate 196 off-ramp, just north of South Haven, Mich..

The truck was carrying 8,000 gallons of gasoline at the time that the driver Michael Bennett lost control and overturned the truck. He was ejected from the cab at the moment of impact, and the fire started spreading quickly.

The three truckers who saved his life happened to be driving by at the time and all pulled over to help.

They successfully pulled Michael away from the burning wreckage, and he was then taken to the hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.

The helpful truckers identified as Jeff Hunter, Shawn Crittendon and Chad Edgington. Michael’s family has expressed their desire to take the good Samaritans out to dinner.

Sometimes being a truck driver involves a lot more than getting from Point A to Point B. Connect with us here to learn about truck drivers who are out there making a difference every day.

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