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How to Easily Reduce Truck Driver Stress on the Job

Stress. Everyone has stress in their lives. But for a truck driver, when stress impacts their life, it can truly be dangerous. If a driver is stressed and it impacts their thinking or decision-making, it is something that needs to be addressed. Immediately. Because truckers are bombarded with distractions all day long while trying to concentrate and drive safely, it can be hard to find ways to reduce added stress from their lives. But we’ve found a few fundamental things that can help. Here are a few ways to easily reduce truck driver stress on the job.

Get Some Sleep

The best way to reduce your stress levels is to be proactive in getting enough sleep. Without the proper amount of sleep, your body struggles to function well. One of the first things affected is your thinking. Decision making is tougher, and your attention span may shorten. All these things will lead to additional stress over the course of the day.

Great advice for any trucker: be sure to get your required hours of shut-eye to maintain a healthy mind, and reduce stress during the day.

Get the best sleep by keeping up with your bedtime routine. Reduce lights and distractions once it’s bed time. Put away your electronics before you get into bed for the night. So that once your head hits the pillow, all you need to do is close your eyes and fall asleep.

Eat to Reduce Truck Driver Stress

Stress eating is a real thing. But what about eating to reduce stress? There are plenty of foods that are known to reduce stress. Foods chock full of vitamins and minerals are known to help fuel your body and help improve your mood. Counter to this, foods without any real nutritional value can have the opposite effect.

Eating sugar or high levels of caffeine might give you a short burst of energy, but leave you dragging later. That’s certain to cause additional stress, and make your day drag even worse.

Avoid foods with short-term effects, and stick with foods that will help you stay healthy for the long haul. Keeping a good balance of foods that taste good and are good for you is a great way to keep stress at bay on the road.

Clear Your Mind with a Story

Concentrating on the road and traffic all day can take a toll on your nerves. Many drivers like to listen to podcasts or stories during the day to help pass the time. Some drivers prefer to listen once the workday is done.

After a long day on the road, many truckers find listening to audiobooks a terrific way to unwind and relax.

Once you are parked for the night, get comfortable, close your eyes, and press play. Transport yourself into a story about history, science fiction, crime dramas, or something light and happy. You can find any number of apps for your phone or tablet to play the audiobooks.

Advice from a Trucker

We asked our Drive My Way Facebook followers to let us know what helps them reduce stress.

Tim Petruccio mentioned a few different things that help him:

  • Tim Petruccio

    Tim Petruccio

    Increase following distances

    3 to 4 mph less than traffic during volume times

  • Turn off the outside noise (radio, phone calls, etc…)
  • Remember you are in control. You have the final say when it comes to YOUR safety
  • Get rest! Don’t spend 3 of your 10 hours on break, watching TV or gaming. Have a good meal, shower and then hit the rack
  • Think about the things you love (family, places, pets, etc.). Then picture yourself returning safely to them

Keeping family and friends close in your mind really can help too. It’s always good to know that no matter how tough your day is, there’s always a way to make the next day better.

Let us know what you think. Sound off on our Facebook post and let us know what you do to help reduce your truck driver stress. We’d love to share your best ideas with our readers!

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

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

face masks

Cleaning supplies are hard to come by these days. Go to most grocery stores, and you’ll have a hard time finding disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, or protective face masks. For Americans staying home, that’s inconvenient, but soap, water, and some good old’ fashioned elbow grease will do the trick. For essential workers like truck drivers, going without these supplies is a significant health concern. Now, in some states, it’s also illegal. 

There is a lot of conflicting information being shared among the trucking community about face masks for truck drivers. When in doubt, the best thing you can do is to ask your company about their policies and what resources they offer. However, especially if you are driving OTR, it may be helpful to be familiar with the policies in multiple states. Here’s what you should know about face masks for truck drivers during COVID-19.

When to Wear a Face Mask

gas station

COVID-19 spreads most dramatically through person to person contact. Any time you are near other people, try to put 6 feet of distance between yourself and the other person. In any situation where it is difficult to maintain socially distancing practices, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends wearing a face mask.

For most truck drivers, that means that your risk when you’re alone in your cab is low, but a mask may still be required. Whenever you make contact with others, a mask is a must. That includes pumping fuel, going into a truck stop or gas station, picking up food, and being at a shipper/receiver.

Geographies with Specific Rules

There are some situations where you are required by law to wear a face mask. International border crossings are one of those times. If you are traveling between the United States and Canada or between the United States and Mexico, you are required to wear a mask for border crossings and while in transit. If you do not show any symptoms, you will typically be able to continue your route. However, if you display any symptoms, you may be required to stay in quarantine for 14 days. 

Similarly, in many of the states in hard-hit regions, truck drivers are required to wear a non-medical face mask. The penalties for failing to wear protective face equipment range from large fines to imprisonment.

As of April 24, the states that legally require truckers to wear a face mask include Connecticut, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. In addition, several states have cities or regions that require a face mask. 

States with at least one region requiring a face mask include North Carolina, California, Texas, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Massachusetts.

As we understand more about COVID-19 and ways to reduce spread, mask regulations are becoming stricter. The list of states who legally require a face mask is likely to grow. To be confident that you are always within regulations, follow the CDC recommendation to wear a mask at all times when you are in public. 

Types of Face Masks

When face mask regulations are passed for truckers, you don’t need a medical-grade face mask. In fact, you’re expected not to. The best types of face masks are N95 respirators and surgical masks. Both of these types of masks are currently in short supply and are reserved for medical professionals. As a driver, you have a few other options that will help keep you safe and healthy. 

Bandanna or Similar Face Coverings

This is a great quick-fix option for drivers. A bandanna is easily folded and tied to cover your mouth and nose. It’s not medical quality, but it’s better than nothing and will slow the virus transmission. 

DIY Masks

You’ve probably already seen people wearing DIY face masks in everything from plain colors to crazy patterns. The beauty of a DIY version is that there are many effective ways to make one, and most people already have the materials needed. 

Cotton is the recommended material for face masks because it is a tight-knit fabric that reduces virus transmission. You can get cotton fabric squares, but an old t-shirt will also do the trick. The key to a good mask is multiple layers. The face mask should fit snugly but allow breathability. You can make a no-sew mask following this video from the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams. The CDC also has recommendations and instructions for a sewn version of the mask.

Get the most out of your face mask

When used correctly, a cloth face mask can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. In order to make sure you get the maximum benefit, wash your mask regularly. A washing machine is effective in sterilizing the fabric. Wash your hands before and after you put on or take off a mask, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth in the process.

The Bottom Line

The regulations for face mask requirements are changing rapidly. At a minimum, the CDC recommends that all Americans wear a mask in public. As a truck driver who travels between several locations, it’s best to be prepared. Keep a mask in your cab and plan to wear it when you go outside.

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Truck drivers must be able to drive safely. For their sake, and the sake of all the other drivers on the road. So truck driver health and wellness is an important topic in the industry.

In the US, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, FMCSA, requires all commercial vehicle drivers to obtain a DOT medical card, showing they’re fit for the road. For drivers in good health, a 24-month card will usually be issued after the screening is complete. But for some drivers with new or pre existing medical conditions, temporary cards may be issued. These temporary cards give the driver time to properly correct or address the medical issue discovered.

For many drivers, this isn’t always that easy. The stress many drivers already have can compound with the added stress of a newly found medical problem. Factor in the sedentary nature of the job, and these medical issues might not be that easy to correct. Or correct in time to meet the deadline on the medical card. If you’re looking to improve your truck driver health and wellness, here are 10 tips from an expert to get you started.

Bob Perry, the Trucker Trainer, has worked to bring wellness expertise to the driver community for decades.

Bob brings a unique perspective to the transportation industry. He is the son and brother of career drivers⁠—both owner-operators for the last 75 years. He’s passionate about working with truckers on their health and wellness. Specifically as it relates to drivers losing their jobs as a result of health issues.

“We lose thousands of drivers every year from failing their Recertification Medical Exams. Many of these failures are due to elevated blood pressure, high glucose & BMI’s levels. Weight plays a significant factor in these cases. We need to support our drivers with the tools necessary to live and work healthy on the road”

Speaking with Bob, he’s provided these great tips to help drivers get and stay fit for the long haul.

Tip 1: Goal planning

Sit down and write out what exactly it is you want to achieve. The goal could range from weight loss, to building strength and endurance, or even to relieve depression.

Tip 2: Be honest with yourself and make your goals realistic

Everyone is made up differently. Never compare yourself to someone else; it’s genetically impossible!

Tip 3: Now that you have your goal, write down the steps you are going to take to get there

It’s impossible to reach that higher level without taking one step at a time. No time like the present to set a new goal! February is a good time as any other to make your new year’s resolutions stick. Goals can be as big or small as you need them to be. But be certain that they’re attainable. For each goal you set, break it down into bite-sized pieces. If you’ve got a goal to lose some weight, a good plan might start with simply cutting out one soda each day. Then work to do that every day. Eventually, it becomes a healthy habit.

Tip 4: Water, you need to flush out your system

Drinking enough water and eating healthy foods are so important! If you are dehydrated, it impacts almost every aspect of your body. You don’t think as clearly, your skin shows signs of stress, and it might even make you feel extra tired.

Tip 5: Protein, first thing in the AM

The same goes for eating a healthy diet. Starting the day with protein can help you feel full longer and keep the urge for unhealthy snacking at bay. These tips are good for any trucker looking to start some healthy habits over the road.

Tip 6: Be prepared

Have your protein ready for the next morning and snacks for the day.

Tip 7: Begin your workout routine slowly; two to three times a week is great

Your workout should consist of strength training and cardiovascular exercise.

Tip 8: Think ahead, plan your next workout

Getting into an exercise routine is great advice for any truck driver health and wellness plans. Like Bob mentioned earlier, be realistic and have a plan when starting. Short walks a few times a day, or even some quick exercises here and there, might work better than jumping into a plan to spend 2 hours in the gym every day. Bite-sized progress here is the best plan for long-term success.

Tip 9: Staying motivated

The key to long-term success in being healthy, know how to motivate yourself over and over again. If you do the same thing, you will stay the same.

Tip 10: Last but not least, never beat yourself up if you fall off the program

Avoid going down the unhealthy road two days in a row, it then becomes a habit. Nobody is perfect. Sometimes life gets in the way of any well thought out plan. When you try something new, there’s always a chance that you’re going to have good days and bad days. The key takeaway from Bob related to this is to know that each day is a new opportunity to be happy and successful. If your motivation wanes, have a plan to get yourself back on track. And at each stumble, know that you can dust yourself off and get back on the road to a healthier you!

If you’re looking for some additional information from Bob, and some help for getting healthier to pass your re-certification test, you can find out more here.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

Download the Guide Now

truck driver depression

Truck drivers spend a significant time away from home. They might not have much quality time with family and friends for long stretches of time. Truckers might spend most of their day without actually talking to anyone face-to-face. Compound this with an extremely high-stress job, and it’s probably not too difficult for a trucker to develop some feelings of loneliness and anxiety. If those feelings don’t get addressed properly, true depression can soon follow. Here are 3 ways to overcome truck driver depression.

What is Depression?

Almost everyone has days when they’re just not feeling 100% happy. Or maybe a mild stretch of feeling sad over something. But actual depression is different. It’s when these feeling last more than a few weeks. And the symptoms cause physical changes to a person’s everyday life. Symptoms can range from mild things like loss of sleep, mood swings, or lack of energy. Sometimes symptoms can be more severe, and result in someone not able to get out of bed or leave their house for days. Truck driver depression rates are almost 2 times that of the general population..

More than 17 million U.S. adults—over 7% of the population—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.  – National Alliance on Mental Illness

Tip 1: Recognize and React

Be receptive to your own thoughts and feelings. Also be accepting of others asking you if you’re doing ok. Once you’re aware that there’s an issue, you can work to make changes to help address it. Truck drivers usually have time in the evenings to do their research. Take that alone time and flip it from a negative to a positive. Listen to a good mental health podcast. Start to put together plans to begin to feel better, and stay ahead of things should symptoms arise again the future.

Tip 2: Don’t Make Things Worse

Rather than dealing with any type of problem, some people think that things will just get better or try to fix it themselves. Or some people prefer to not seek help when they don’t feel great, and just hope things go away. With depression, it’s not always just that easy. Thinking this way often leads people to try and mask systems by abusing alcohol or drugs. Or taking out anger and frustrations on friends or loved ones. Truck drivers already have a high rate of drug/alcohol abuse. Seek help as soon as you recognize symptoms. This is something that’s not just going to go away on it’s own if left untreated.

Tip 3: Plan to Stay Healthy

Once truck driver depression is being treated, it’s time to start planning ahead to make sure they stay healthy. There’s plenty of resources out there that help find ways to reduce stress. There’s plenty of ways to stay in touch with your family and friends while away from home. And lastly, there’s plenty of ways to keep your mind and body in shape with a good diet and plenty of exercise out on the road.

Changing Times

The stigma associated with mental disorders and illness continue to decrease. People with depression issues no longer need to hide in the shadows alone. There are more support organizations and resources available than there ever have been. Some trucking companies even offer mental health benefits and resources specifically to their drivers. Truck driver depression is something that can be identified, treated and overcome when the driver connects with the right resources.

If you or someone you know are struggling with depression, and need someone to talk to, please seek help. If you can’t get in touch with your doctor. a great place to seek help is through the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET. 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org.

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

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

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

Download the Guide Now

home timeTruck drivers have a tough job. Driving thousands of miles each week can mean many nights away from home. It can add up to hundreds of nights away from their own bed each year. Though the paychecks might be great, all those nights away can take a toll on mental health and overall stress levels.

Of the mental health concerns that truck drivers experience, loneliness tops the list. Nearly a third of drivers say being alone all day and away from their family is a “significant issue affecting their mental health. – Business Insider

For truckers looking to spend more time with their family and friends, here’s 4 ways to increase your home time.

1. Run the Same Short Routes

If you look for routes that are about 200 miles each way, you can run those daily and be home every night. The more you focus on finding those jobs, and being consistent in your work, it can lead to a highly predictable and efficient schedule. You’ll most likely find cost and time savings as well. If predictability and repeating routines are your cup of tea as a trucker, this is the best type of work to maximize your home time.

2. Be Flexible

If you keep an open mind on working weekends, it could lead to more time at home over the course of a year. Consider working holidays as well. If you can convince yourself that weekends and holiday are just like any other workday, you could find yourself being rewarded for working when others won’t. There could even be some bonus money in it for you depending on your carrier.

3. Put in Your Time

Driver schedules usually get better with time. The longer you stay with a carrier, the higher priority you get when choosing routes. Newbie drivers tend to have to grind out the least desirable routes while gaining seniority. This can translate to the most miles away from home. But if you can grind it out and put in the time, you could eventually find yourself first in line for the prime routes. And the most time at home as well. Stick with it!

4. Be Okay with Less Pay

Some carriers offer great options for drivers to increase their home time. You can find opportunities where you might work 7 days on, and then have the following 7 days at home. Find jobs that are setup with these unique types of schedules. Find ways to be okay with the trade-off in pay. You’ll find that you can certainly have plenty of time at home.

Truckers are always seeking ways to improve their work-life balance. Finding ways to spend more quality home time is usually at the top of the list. We’ve given you 4 tips to help you strike that balance, and increase your time spent with family and friends. Do you have a great tip for your fellow drivers? Drop them in the comment box at the bottom of this page.

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

Take care of yourself

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

Wash your hands

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

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

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

Know what to do if the flu strikes

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

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

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

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

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

Download the Guide Now

“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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Truckers must always be aware of their surroundings and changing road and weather conditions. However, summer trucking days can take those changing conditions to the extreme. More people on the road, extremes in the weather, and large construction projects can add time to your routes and impact deliveries. Here are 4 summer trucking tips to make your travel easier.

1. Extra Traffic

Once the kids are out of school, many families pack up the cars, campers, trailers, and RVs to head out on annual family vacations. Driving cross-country with overly-packed vehicles, and hauling extra gear in tow adds to the congestion on the road.

Being prepared to deal with these extra drivers, and to potentially reroute yourself away from tourist hotspots is a good way to keep your summer trucking travel on track. Keep alert for under-experienced drivers that are hauling over-sized boat trailers or campers. They might be out for the first time this season, so give them a little extra room.

2. Extreme Weather

Summer is a season of extreme weather conditions. Extreme heat, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes are just some of the types of weather that can impede your travel plans while summer trucking. Being prepared for these and the potential delays that might result, is an important part of summer trucking.

Make sure you’ve got a good weather app, and that notifications are setup when weather conditions are changing. If you do have to pull off for a while somewhere unexpectedly, be prepared. Have extra water and supplies in your truck just in case.

3. Construction

In some areas, summertime is also known as “major road construction” time. This is a great time to remember that double-checking routes for construction delays and planning alternates can save you both time and money. Prepare for road closures and traffic jams due to construction.

Be ready and aware of workers on the road. Keep an eye out for posted “Construction Zone” signs, and  watch your speed to avoid any unexpected fines. Do this and it will help keep you moving along and your deliveries on track.

4. Sun Protection

Though it’s a good practice to wear sunscreen daily, it’s a good reminder for summer trucking as well. The sun’s UV rays are coming through your windows all day, every day, even when it’s cloudy. Those UV rays are most potent during the summer months. Make it a habit to put on a good layer of SPF before you get in the driver’s seat for the day. Wear long sleeves, sunglasses, and a hat. Your skin will thank you later!

How to Protect Yourself from the Sun Over the Road

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Truck drivers have a tough job. Many long days driving on the road alone. Many long weeks away from home and family. This can sometimes lead to feelings of loneliness and stress.

A dog can help improve your physical, mental, and social well being.

If you’re seeking to increase your overall personal wellness, what can you do? First steps should be to look for ways to improve your physical, mental and/or social well being.

What better way to do all three than to bring your dog with you while you drive?

Truck driver Pete Kleckner and Snickers are practically inseparable both on and off the road. Source: Overdrive Online

Physical

Traveling with a dog gives you a great excuse to get out and walk around and get some exercise a few times each day.  When you make a pit stop, you can get out and take your pup for walk, throw a ball around with him or just enjoy some fresh air with your 4-legged buddy.

These walks and play time with your dog can add up to the daily steps you need to keep your heart healthy and your blood pressure well-managed.

Mental

Driving with any pet gives you instant company in the cab of the truck over the hours and miles with you every day. If the long hours by yourself make you feel lonely or even a little stir crazy, your dog can be just the ear you need to listen to you work out something that’s bothering you.

Or they just might lend that extra harmony needed when singing along to your favorite song on the radio.

Image via Pinterest

Social

Having your dog with you when you’re at a truck stop taking him for walk, makes for an easy conversation starter with other people. People love 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.

Lastly, know that it’s not just all about you. Once you make the decision to bring your dog with you, there are resources to help ensure you’ve got all the tools to make your dog’s experience on the road comfortable and safe.

The time you spend with your dog every day, taking good care of them, and providing them with stimulation and exercise, makes for a great life for any dog! When you treat them like family or even like a best friend, you’ll certainly get back all the love in return.

truck driving with a dog

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