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truck driver gear

For many truck drivers, especially those running OTR and regional, their cab is their home. This means that they need to keep it stocked with everything they could possibly need while on the road. We were able to talk to a few CDL drivers who shared what truck driver gear they always bring with them.  

What are CDL Drivers Bringing With Them?

For CDL Driver, Brandon C., it’s better to have some things you might not need, than to find yourself without the thing you really need.  

“I always make sure to have anything and everything I might need in my truck. Non-perishable food, like canned or dry goods is a must (and a can opener). Spare clothing as well, as truck drivers are called upon to traverse varied and unpredictable climates.

Basic hand tools are a must. Ex. multi-tool hammer, screw drivers, electrical tape, flashlight & batteries. Anything can happen out there. A burned-out bulb, poor electrical connection, a frozen padlock; the list goes on.  

If you keep a decent set of even the most basic tools to address these random bouts of misfortune, I promise you will be rewarded with extra money and home time by avoiding long delays at the service counters.

Also, a good old fashioned Rand McNally atlas comes in handy when (not if) our digital devices let us down. It also has a wealth of info beyond the cardinal rose, like weight limits lengths & GVW data.” 

Another CDL Driver, who goes by e18hteenwheelin shared his thoughts on what gear is essential, 

“The big three for me are headset, GPS, and Raincoat. Never get in my truck without them.”

Truck Driver Gear Checklist

Here’s a list of items that it might be good to bring with you on the road, if you’re not bringing these already.  

Cleaning

Studies show that living in a clean environment can have great effects on your productivity, stress level, and overall mood. That holds true for truck drivers and their cabs as well. 

  • Disinfectant Wipes 
  • All-Purpose Spray
  • Paper towels Truckers spill things too. The last thing you want to do is spill your soda and have to clean it up with your last good shirt.  
  • Handheld Vacuum/Dirt Devil
  • Broom & Dustpan
  • Garbage bag – It can be tempting to toss wrappers and empty cups onto the passenger seat and say “I’ll get it later”, but having a small garbage bag next to you is a much better option to avoid clutter and keep your cab nice and clean.  

Maintenance

While you won’t be able to fix everything on your truck, having the right tools to tighten, straighten, or replace something in a pinch can be the difference between waiting hours for roadside assistance and getting back on the road in a matter of minutes.  

  • Work Gloves 
  • Flashlight 
  • Tool Kit – Extremely important. Make sure you have everything you need in case something small happens with your truck that you’re able to fix. Hammer, screwdrivers (both Phillips and flat), vice grips, duct tape, adjustable wrench, etc. 
  • Replacement Bulbs
  • Extra fluids – Windshield Wiper Fluid, Oil, Coolant, etc. 
  • WD-40 

Toiletries/Personal Items

The importance of taking care of yourself on the road can’t be overstated. While most of the items on this list seem like common sense, it’s never a bad idea to double check to make sure you’re not missing anything important.  

  • Electric/Disposable Razor 
  • Shaving Cream 
  • Toothbrush 
  • Toothpaste 
  • Floss 
  • Kleenex 
  • Loofah/Washcloth 
  • Body wash 
  • Deodorant  
  • Shampoo 

Clothing

Getting stuck on the side of the road during winter isn’t fun. Getting stuck on the side of the road during winter without the proper clothes is even less fun. As a truck driver, having the right clothes can make all the difference, especially when you’re driving in the northeast or pacific northwest.  

  • Jacket 
  • Underwear 
  • Socks 
  • Thermal long sleeve shirt 
  • Steel Toe Boots 
  • Rain jacket 
  • Sunglasses – Aside from looking good, wearing sunglasses when needed can provide protection from harmful UV light and reduce the risk of developing certain eye conditions. 

Entertainment

For most drivers, their smartphone is all they need for entertainment when stopped for the night. But if you’re looking to spend less time on your phone, there are a number of options for entertainment that don’t involve your smartphone.  

  • Books/Magazines 
  • iPod – It may seem a bit old school at this point but having all your music without having to rely on streaming services and Wi-Fi/data is a great feeling. 
  • Portable DVD Player 
  • Nintendo Switch/DS/GameBoy – This is for the truckers who double as gamers. And if you’re not one, with the handheld systems that are out right now, it might be time to consider. 
  • Word Search, Crossword or Sudoku

Misc. Gear

Here are some other things you might want to add to your list.

  • First Aid Kit 
  • Canned or non-perishable food 
  • GPS – If not using your phone
  • Atlas – For when your phone or GPS doesn’t work
  • Headset
  • Cellphone charger 
  • Written list of important phone numbers 

 

two men in a truck

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truck driver safety

Truck driving is a dangerous profession. Getting behind the wheel of a 15-ton semi always presents risks, especially when the roads are crowded or there’s inclement weather. But, there are other parts of the on the road lifestyle that can present dangers as well.  

Stopping at truck stops and rest stops, especially at night, can lead to situations where drivers don’t feel safe. Almost every experienced driver has a story of when something went wrong or almost went wrong at one of these stops.  

For many of these drivers, taking precautions to protect themselves is what got them out of these situations safe and sound. Here are a few different ways to practice truck driver safety while stopping on the road. 

Limit Night Stops if Possible

While this isn’t always possible for OTR and regional drivers, limiting rest area stops at night is the best way to protect yourself on the road. When you do have to stop at a rest stop, avoid stopping at the nearest truck stop. Instead, do some research on the best ones on your route. 

Apps like Trucker Path can show you reviews of truck stops left by truckers before you. Before you hit the road, plan out where you’ll stop so you can avoid sketchy or poorly reviewed stops.  

If you do have to stop at a rest area, avoid leaving your cab unless you really need to. 

Watch for Dangerous Spots

The same rules that apply to parking garage and parking lot safety also apply to truck stops. If you need to get out of your cab at night, there’s a few different things you can do to be as safe as possible.  

The first is to avoid walking directly next to a trailer or between two trailers. These areas are the perfect spot for someone to lay in wait if they wanted to. Also, try and avoid walking directly next to corners if you can help it.  

Having a flashlight or even better, wearing a reflective piece of clothing while getting out of your truck could be the thing to dissuade would-be attackers. If something were to happen, you’d be much easier for a passerby to spot if you’re wearing something neon yellow as opposed to black or brown. 

Arm Yourself (Legally)

When people talk about protecting themselves, one thing usually comes to mind; firearms. While many drivers do prefer to carry while in their vehicle, there are some things you should be aware of if you plan on doing the same.  

To have a firearm in your cab, you’ll first need to obtain a concealed carry permit. This isn’t too hard for local drivers since they’re usually only driving intrastate, but for OTR or regional drivers, this is where carrying a firearm can be legally dicey.  

The issue is that since you’ll be crossing state lines, you need to make sure your concealed carry permit is valid from state to state. There isn’t nation-wide reciprocity, so the CC permit that you have in Missouri may not be valid the second you cross into Illinois. You can view this map to see which states a concealed carry permit is valid in.  

Aside from guns, there are any number of other things a truck driver could use to defend themselves if they needed. Think of things you probably have in your truck right now; wrenches, padlocks, hammers, tire iron, etc.  

Any one of these items could be used to defend yourself in a pinch. If you don’t have anything like those, doing something as simple as carrying your keys or some other sharp object between your fingers in a fist could be the difference between being a victim or not.  

Crime will always be a part of life, but that doesn’t mean that truck drivers have to be on the receiving end of it. Avoiding possibly dangerous situations, being aware of your surroundings, and staying prepared are your three best defenses as a truck driver on the road.

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truck driver workoutWorking out on the road is much easier said than done. Trucking isn’t a 9-5 job where you can find ample time to exercise during the evenings and on weekends. Truckers are out on the road for days, sometimes weeks at a time, which can make finding the time or ability to exercise very difficult.

That’s not to say that exercising while on the road is impossible. Just check Instagram or Tik Tok and you’ll see dozens of truck drivers sharing their workout tips. So how are these OTR and regional drivers able to work out while on the road? There are a few different options for truck driver workouts you can do.

Bodyweight Exercises

Becoming a master of your own body weight is one of the best feelings out there. These exercises center around using either no equipment or the equipment around you (or on your truck) for support.  

1. Pushups

Pushups are the most well-known bodyweight exercise and for good reason. They’ve been used for centuries to help people build up the muscles in their chest, shoulders, and arms.  

Pushups can easily be done in a parking lot or even in your sleeper berth. If you do plan on doing them in a parking lot, a rubber exercise or yoga mat is a good investment, so you’re not digging your hands into the asphalt.  

2. Bench Dip

Bench dips are great exercises for working out your triceps. This exercise involves placing a bench or stationary bar that can support your weight behind your back and holding on to it with your arms fully extended at shoulder width. Keep your legs extended forward as well and bent at the waist, so you’re in an “L” shape. Then, slowly lower your body by bending your elbow until your arms are close to 90 degrees. Using that same motion, bring yourself up again and repeat.  

In a gym setting, these can easily be done on a workout bench. For a truck driver on the road, bench dips can be done on the steps leading up to your cab or at a bench you find at a rest stop.

3. Planks

Planking is more than a short-lived internet fad from the late 2000’s. It’s a great exercise for burning fat and stabilizing your core and ab muscles.

You start by lying face down on the ground. Next, put your forearms and toes on the ground, while keeping your legs and torso in the air. Your body should be straight (like a plank). Now, you hold this position for a designated amount of time. You can start off by doing it for 15-20 seconds, and then work yourself up to a minute plus once you get the hang of it.  

Just like pushups, planks can easily be done in your sleeper berth or in a parking lot. You can even do a modified version called a “side plank” that works out your external obliques.

4. Shoulder Shrugs

Probably the easiest exercise on this list, shoulder shrugs are great for strengthening your neck and shoulder muscles while releasing tension. Lift your shoulders up to your ears as if you’re saying, “I don’t know.” Hold the position for a few seconds then release. Perform 10 to 15 reps and repeat for however many sets you want to do.  

Try this exercise while stopped at a red light, waiting on a shipper, or just taking a break.

5. Running/Jogging

If your goal is to burn calories, there’s no substitute for a good run or jog. The bad news is that this isn’t always an option while on the road, since most parking lots aren’t ideal for running in. But there are ways to get around this. Check your maps app to see if there’s a nearby park or trail that’s within walking distance of the stop you’re going to.  

While running is great for you, it’s not the easiest exercise to get into. If this is the case for you, practice high intensity interval training (HIIT) running. This is just a fancy way of saying that you run for a certain amount of time, maybe a minute or two, then you walk for a designated amount of time. You do this repeatedly until you’ve reached your time or distance goal.

As you get more comfortable, you can up the amount of time spent running and decrease the time spent walking. It’s a much easier way to start off than trying to run non-stop. 

Light Exercise Equipment

While bodyweight exercises are great, keeping a bit of spare room in your cab for some light exercise equipment will give you a whole new range of workouts to do.  

6. Grip Strength Trainer

Grip strength trainers are great for working out your forearms and increasing your hand dexterity. The awesome thing about grip strength trainers is that you can use them while you’re watching tv, looking at your phone, or just relaxing before bed.  

7. Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are the Swiss army knives of working out. They can be used in any number of exercises that work out your arms, legs, chest, abs and shoulders. Resistance bands come in a few different types that are usually color-coded, with red or black usually having the hardest resistance.  

While there’s dozens of exercises you can use resistance bands for, some of the most common are squats, triceps extensions and chest press.  

8. Dumbbells

While you probably won’t want to put an entire set of dumbbells from 5 to 100 pounds in your cab, just having one or two can be great for drivers looking to do some light strength training while on the road.  

Even better, consider getting a pair of adjustable dumbbells. These lock into a base, and you can move a notch to select your desired weight. You can find more information on these here.  

Bicep curls, triceps extensions, lawnmower pulls, and shoulder presses are just a few of the exercises you can do with a pair of dumbbells.  

9. Find a Gym

While most of the exercises you’ll see for truck drivers center around things you can do with your own bodyweight or equipment that can fit in your cab, it’s easier than you think to find a gym if you really want it.  

Take Planet Fitness for example. There are thousands of locations across the country, and with their black card membership, you can access any one of them. The great thing about these gyms is being able to use all the fancy exercise equipment like treadmills, circuit machines, and free weights.  

Now, the caveat with going to a gym is of course finding parking. If you’re going late at night, the staff may let you park in the lot, but that’s a very big maybe. Aside from that, you could keep a bike in your cab and bike from the nearest truck stop to the gym.  

As you can see, going to a gym as an OTR or Regional trucker isn’t the easiest thing to plan out. That’s why this option is usually better for local drivers, or drivers who have a dedicated route and have learned all the do’s and don’ts of their local gym.  

This doesn’t mean that OTR or regional drivers have to give up on the idea of going to a gym. There are some truck stops and rest stations that offer gyms specifically for truck drivers. Pilot Flying J and Travel Centers of America are two such companies. 

10. Bonus Tip – Healthy Eating

If you’re really looking to change your lifestyle and get in better shape, you can’t overstate the role healthy eating plays. You can have the best workout regimen around, but if you’re still eating poorly, getting fit is going to be an even bigger uphill battle.  

Simple changes like packing your own healthy lunches before hitting the road, and limiting the amount of sugar you take in will work hand in hand with exercising to help you see results quicker

While exercising as a truck driver isn’t the easiest thing to do, it’s by no means impossible. Whether you’re looking to get in better physical shape, lower your risk of disease, or just feel better about yourself, there’s nothing stopping you from doing it while on the road.

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The Iowa 80, located right off exit 284 on the I-80 is the world’s largest truck stop, and somewhere that almost every OTR truck driver has been to at least once. But do you know about all the unique services they offer or how it became the world’s largest truck stop? Here’s everything you need to know about the historic truck stop.  

What is the Iowa 80?

The Iowa 80 opened its doors for the first time in 1964, before Interstate 80 had completed construction. Bill Moon, founder of the Iowa 80 saw that the new highway was going to be a major freight corridor and truck drivers were going to need a place to refuel, refresh and relax from the road.

The Iowa 80 started out as a small gas station where drivers could get the necessities before heading back out on the road. It wasn’t until the early 1980’s that Bill was able to expand the services and offerings of the Iowa 80 and the rest stop began to resemble what it looks like today. 

We were able to speak with Heather DeBaillie, Vice President of Marketing with the Iowa 80. She talked to us about the stop’s history and what it has to offer for truck drivers. 

The Moon Family has always reinvested in Iowa 80. We talk to drivers and ask them what they need when on the road. What are their pain points? What could we provide that would make their lives easier?  We’ve added all of those things when feasible. A lot of what we build is around saving the driver time and providing them comfort. Our goal was always to be the best truck stop and along that journey we became the biggest too. Now, we strive to keep both titles.”

What Services Does the Iowa 80 Offer?

The Iowa 80 offers everything drivers expect from a traditional truck stop and much more. They have 16 diesel fuel lanes, two dozen private showers, 10 restaurants, and 900 parking spots. It’s all part of their ideology of building bigger so drivers don’t have to wait.  

We want to make drivers’ lives easier by having everything they need in on stop.  We also have a 7-bay Truck Service Center, dog wash, Fuel Center that in addition to 16 fuel lanes includes a small store and two food options; a CAT Scale and a 3-bay Truckomat Truck Wash. We’ve added these options to make our customer’s lives easier.”

Over the years, the Iowa 80 has continued to grow, thanks to the Moon family investing in the stop. It soon became the largest truck stop in the world, offering drivers luxury services like a movie theatre, barber shop, and on-site chiropractor.  

Here’s a list of some of the services the Iowa 80 offers: 

  • Fuel Center 
  • Truck Service Center 
  • CAT Scale 
  • Movie Theatre 
  • Chiropractor 
  • Dentist 
  • Barber Shop 
  • Self-Serve Dogomat Pet Wash 
  • Laundry Area 
  • Custom Printing Shop 

Does the Iowa 80 Hold Events?

Apart from the unique services, the Iowa 80 holds an annual event each summer known as the Walcott Trucker’s Jamboree. The event has taken place every year since 1979 and includes truck exhibits, an antique truck display, super truck beauty contest, trucker Olympics, pet contest, live music, food, and more. 

“The Walcott Trucker’s Jamboree is our way of saying thank you to the millions of drivers who work hard to deliver what we need and keep the economy rolling. The event is free to attend and also gives non-truckers a chance to come and see some really cool rigs and learn more about the industry we depend on to get us everything we use. It’s the biggest Trucking party in the country.”

This year’s Walcott Trucker’s Jamboree will be taking place July 14-16th.  

Iowa 80

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum Main Exhibit Hall

If you’re a history buff, The Iowa 80 has something for you as well. You can check out the Trucking Museum which features some of the earliest known trucks, petrolinia and vintage gas station collectables, and antique toy trucks. 

Heather finished with these thoughts, 

“Like many trucking companies, Iowa 80 is a family owned and operated business. We are family friendly and are now serving fourth and fifth generation driver customers. We reinvested a lot back into the truck stop to create a place we hope drivers enjoy and feel welcomed. There are no locks on our doors, as we’ve been open continuously since our first day of operation in 1964.”

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horse transportThis past May, 16 million people tuned in to watch one of the biggest upsets in Kentucky Derby history. Rich Strike, a horse who the day before, wasn’t even slated to race, did the unthinkable and won the 148th annual Kentucky Derby in a miraculous come from behind victory. Moments like these are what make horse racing such an unpredictable and exciting sport.  

While we only see the end product on the track, there are countless people working behind the scenes to make these races possible, including the people who transport the horses from place to place. They’re called horse transport truck drivers, and they’re the engine that makes the horse racing industry go.  

What is a Horse Transport Truck Driver?

A horse transport truck driver is a driver who transports horses from place to place. This could be from training facility, to racetrack, farm, or anywhere else they need to go. These positions are typically either Regional or OTR due to the amount of distance between these places. 

How do you Become a Horse Transport Truck Driver?

You’ll of course need to have your CDL A before becoming a horse transport truck driver. Aside from that, you’ll also need to learn how to load, unload, and handle the challenges of transporting large animals like horses. Luckily, most carriers that specialize in this work will train you on that. 

What is Being a Horse Transport Truck Driver Like?

We were able to talk with Bill, a CDL A Driver with Drive My Way client, Sallee Horse Vans. Bill talked to us about what it’s like to be a horse transport truck driver and why he enjoys it. 

How long have you been a driver with Sallee?

“I’ve worked as a horse transport driver with Sallee for 5 years.”

What does your average day look like?

“I start by checking in with dispatch, getting the trailer ready (bedding down) for the number of horses we’re planning to load. Then I drive to the farm, racetrack, or training facility. Next, we load the horses and start the trip to our final destination.”

What made you choose working with Sallee over other OTR jobs?

 “I like working as a horse transport driver because it’s something different other than bumping a dock.”

What’s one thing a driver who’s thinking about working in transporting horses should know?

“There’s never a dull day in this job. The horses will challenge you daily, and you’ll always be learning something new about the job, the horses, and yourself.”

What do you enjoy the most about working with Sallee?

 “I really enjoy the people I work with at Sallee. It’s like one big family.”

Just like with any OTR position, horse transport drivers will need to be comfortable spending extended time on the road. It’s not unusual for drivers to be out on the road for over three weeks at a time, especially during peak racing season.  

Also, be prepared for a lot of east coast driving. Since the majority of horse racing takes place in the eastern half of the country, that’s where horse transport truckers do the majority of their driving.  

How Much Do Horse Transport Truck Drivers Make?

Since horse transporting is a specialization in the trucking industry, these drivers tend to make more than your traditional OTR driver. The exact numbers depend on which company you drive for but can reach more than $100,000 annually. 

Why do horse transport drivers get paid so much? There are literally millions of dollars on the line when they get behind the wheel. This isn’t cattle or sheep you’ll be hauling. They’re thoroughbred race horses. 

This is also why horse transporting is usually a team driver job. Since the cargo is so valuable, it’s seen as a worthy investment to have an extra driver in the cab in case something goes wrong on the road or there’s an issue with one of the horses.  

Another reason these jobs are done in teams is to beat tight deadlines. The FMCSA states that one truck driver can driver for a maximum of 11 hours before needing a ten-hour break. Driving in teams means that while one driver sleeps and gets their 10 hours in, the other can drive their 11. Aside from stopping for gas and other necessities, team drivers (in theory) never need to stop.  

Horse transport jobs pay well, and there’s a good reason for that. It’s for drivers who enjoy working with animals and love being out on the road more often than they’re at home. If you check both of those boxes, then you might have a future as a horse transport driver.  

sallee horse vans

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cdl finishing programsEven after graduating from a CDL school, many drivers feel like they’re not ready for all of the challenges life on the road throws at them. This is understandable as there’s a lot to being a truck driver that isn’t included in CDL schools.  

Drivers who go straight from the CDL exam to months on the road are likely to feel unprepared, unsupported, and have bad experiences because of this. These bad experiences can even lead drivers to exit the industry altogether after a few short years or even months on the road. 

Trucking is an industry that’s stretched thin as is in terms of a workforce, so this phenomenon of drivers leaving almost as quickly as they came isn’t doing anyone any favors. Luckily, many carriers and the industry at large are recognizing this issue and coming up with a solution for it; CDL finishing programs.  

What is a CDL Finishing Program?

A CDL Finishing Program is an entry-level position where a driver is teamed up with an experienced driver trainer for their first few weeks on the road. The driver trainer will act as a supervisor and mentor to the new driver, helping them deal with any problems that come up or answer any questions they have.  

These programs have been around for a while but have gained popularity recently as an answer to low retention numbers across the industry.  

Finishing programs can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the company you’re working with.  

What Should Drivers Know Before Enrolling in a Finishing Program?

cdl finishing programsLike with anything in life, it’s important to understand the terms of what you’re agreeing to before you sign-on. Some companies may want you to work for them for a designated amount of time after the program is up, while others may not.  

There may be certain policies relating to pay and home time that you’ll want to be aware of as well. Just make sure to read the fine print and ask any and all questions before you enroll in a finishing program.  

Do Finishing Programs Cost Money?

safe truck stopNope. Finishing Programs aren’t like CDL schools. It’s an entry-level position where you’ll be working for the company you’re signed on with and earning a paycheck just like any other employee.  

What Companies Offer Finishing Programs?

Truck Driver Hiring Events: What to KnowMany large carriers offer finishing programs for new drivers.  

Josh Mecca is the Director of Recruiting with Drive My Way client, American Central Transport. ACT has recently launched their own finishing program, and they had this to say about it. 

We’ve recently started a driver finishing program with two CDL schools here in Kansas City. We were noticing that a lot of times in our industry, a driver would finish their CDL training and immediately be thrown to the wolves before they had a real chance to get their feet under them. This led to a lot of careers in trucking being thrown away before they began because these new drivers would have such bad experiences.

Companies didn’t want to invest in the training that these new drivers needed beyond the bare minimum, so we decided to take a different approach. Once they’ve finished CDL school, we help our new drivers by giving them the support and knowledge they need from an experienced trainer while increasing their pay every 90 days for that first year they’re with us.” 

Why do Drivers Enroll in CDL Finishing Programs?

Many drivers feel that while CDL training is great, it only gives you the bare minimum of what it’s like to drive a semi. There’s any number of things that could happen on the road that drivers who come straight from CDL school may feel unprepared for.  

That’s why finishing programs are a great alternative to jumping into an OTR or regional position. It’s a way for new drivers to learn the ropes so they feel ready for life on the road. 

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trucking routesWhat many OTR and Regional drivers love most about their job is the freedom they’re given. A big part of that freedom is hitting the open road and seeing the sights our country has to offer. We talked with a few drivers who’ve been all over the country and asked what their favorite trucking routes are and why. Here’s what they had to say. 

West

trucking routes

For a lot of drivers, out west, specifically Montana and the surrounding states, is their favorite region to drive in. The open air, mountains, forests, and rivers make for a beautiful and refreshing drive. The lack of congestion on these highways is another reason why so many drivers enjoy these trucking routes.

CDL driver, Jimmy had this to say about driving out west.  

“I enjoy I-90 through western Montana and into Idaho. There’s not a lot out there, but God’s handwork is amazing. The landscapes are unlike any other and really have to be seen in person. I’ve always told people that a lot of this country can’t be seen on tv or in pictures. You truly have to experience it. There’s not much traffic out there either, which is always nice, especially pulling oversize through the mountain passes.” 

CDL driver Matthew echoes the same sentiment,  

“Highway 200 across Montana is absolutely beautiful. Especially between Great Falls and Missoula. You go from plains and plateaus to mountains within minutes.”

Southwest

When most people hear the phrase, “road trip”, their mind probably goes to empty two lane roads dotted with mom-and-pop diners and motels, large rock structures, and huge sprawling deserts. There’s really no other place like it on earth. For many truck drivers, this is what makes the southwest their favorite region to drive through.   

CDL Driver Nick had this to say,  

“I’d definitely have to say, anything out in the southwest is my favorite. Every road out there is different, the views are never the same.”

CDL driver Christy is also a fan of the southwest.  

“New Mexico and Arizona are great. The scenery is beautiful️. Highway 15 through Nevada and Arizona too, really anywhere in the southwest.”

 

Here are a few photos that these CDL drivers sent in of their favorite routes. 

 

Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains are a huge mountain range that span throughout North Carolina and Tennessee. The Smokies get their name from the natural fog that hangs over much of the mountains. From a distance, this fog resembles smoke.  

The mountain range is home to lush forests, unique wildlife, and breathtaking sights. This makes it a popular tourist destination for hiking and camping, but truckers love driving through the Smokies as well for the same reason.  

OTR driver Shawn told us,  

“The Smoky mountains are my favorite! It’s beautiful and you can hear the sound of jake brakes echo in the air.” 

Aside from the great sights on these routes, there’s an economic reason for drivers liking these trucking routes as well. Most truckers are paid using a “per mile” model, so the more miles, the more money.  

Another reason these routes are loved is because you’re likely to see less congestion. A study back in 2014 found that for most truckers, their least favorite routes are around the rust belt and the major cities in the east, like New York and Chicago. There’s a higher population density in these areas so you’re more likely to see more traffic, which slows truckers down and eats up their fuel. 

Do you have a different favorite region that you like to drive through? Vote in our poll below and let us know! 

 

What’s Your Favorite Region to Drive Through?

Western Mountains
New England
Southern States
Southwest
Midwest
Other
Please Specify:

 

Created with SuperSurvey

 

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concert trucking

What is Concert Trucking?

Concert trucking is a specialization in the trucking industry. It’s an OTR position where drivers haul stage and lighting equipment, instruments, and anything else needed for concerts and shows. Drivers will go on tour with bands or acts for a few months at a time to support an entire tour or a leg of it. Most tours will need a full team of drivers to work it, so as a concert trucker, you’ll be spending a lot of time with your fellow drivers.

We were able to speak with Cid, a CDL A Driver with Drive My Way client, Upstaging. Cid has been with the company since January of 2021. He shared what his day-to-day looks like, what he enjoys about being a concert trucker, and what it takes to do it.

“My average day starts with loading in around 6 am till 10 am, then I go to catering for breakfast or lunch, take a walk, sleep from 1pm to 9pm, load out and continue on to the next show,” shared Cid.

What Skills Does a Concert Trucker Need?

Concert trucking is a great and well-paying job, but there are a number of skills that a concert trucker needs to have to be successful.

The first is comfort with late night driving. While most OTR drivers have some experience with driving at night, for a concert trucker, it’s your bread and butter. That’s because right after a show wraps up, everything needs to get loaded on the trailers and hauled to the next stop. This means starting your route at 11 PM, midnight, or even 2 AM if a show goes that long.

“This is not your average trucking job. We work hard and have plenty of downtime. Each venue is different, and you’ll learn something new every day. You’ll need to adjust your sleep schedule, but once you’re on tour, you get into the rhythm (no pun intended). The camaraderie on these tours is like no other, we are truly one team,” shared Cid.

Leadership and organization are also needed skills as a concert trucker. In addition to driving, concert truckers (specifically Upstaging drivers) supervise the loading and unloading of equipment in and out of the trailers before and after the shows. These skills come into play when you’re on a time crunch trying to get a trailer loaded so you can hit the road and make it to the next destination on time.

When it comes to concert trucking, drivers need to make sure they’re getting into it for the right reasons. If you just want to meet musicians and hang out on the road, concert trucking isn’t the job for you. It’s fun and rewarding, but also takes a serious, dedicated and experienced driver to do it.

Benefits of Concert Trucking with Upstaging

concert trucking“Salary, plus per diem, plus hotel buyout are a few of the perks of working with Upstaging. They lead the industry in driver pay as well. Plus, being a part of a moving project is very satisfying. These shows can’t make the next destination without us,” shared Cid.

There’s a number of benefits to working as a concert trucker, specifically with Upstaging. Here are just a few of them.

Paid by the Day

No more adding miles and calculating things like detention. Upstaging drivers are paid by the day. In other words, if you’re out on a 3-month tour, you’re getting paid for every day of that tour, even days off.

Designated Truck Parking

Also, there’s no need to worry about truck parking as a concert trucker. You won’t need to be parking overnight at a lot, you’ll be parking in an arena or outdoor venue where spots will already be reserved for drivers.

No Touch Freight

Upstaging drivers don’t load and unload their trailers themselves. Instead, they supervise while the crew does it.

Team Atmosphere

Working as a concert trucker means working with a team. You’ll be forming bonds with other drivers and workers you’re on tour with, which is much different from your typical OTR position. Doing your part to put on a show that thousands of people will enjoy is definitely a perk, and one that Cid enjoys.

“When you’re transporting entertainment for thousands and thousands of fans, it’s nice to be part of team working together to achieve a perfect outcome,” shared Cid. 

Additional Benefits

There’s many more quality-of-life benefits to being an Upstaging driver, including:

  • New Tractor Trailers (None older than 4 years)
  • Built-in Fridge
  • Custom Designed Sleeper for Extra Space
  • Catered Meals
  • 28 days PTO per year
  • Schedule-based hotel allowance

Upstaging is Hiring Drivers Nationwide

Drive for the premier transportation company in entertainment and make over $100,000 Yearly!

can truck drivers carry guns
Aside from what’s on the road, truck driving can be a dangerous profession even when drivers aren’t behind the wheel. That’s why many truck drivers choose to carry a firearm in their truck for their own personal protection. Drivers, especially those who run OTR and Regional, find themselves all over the place, and sometimes those places are less than reputable. Combine this with a lack of safe and available parking nationwide and you can see why many drivers choose to carry. 

But as important as it is for drivers to protect themselves, it’s equally important to understand the laws surrounding carrying firearms while on the road. This is especially important for drivers who travel across state lines, as they need to know the laws for every state they drive through. Here’s what to know about carrying as a truck driver. 

Can Truck Drivers Carry Guns?

Truck drivers are allowed to carry a firearm, but it needs to be unloaded and kept out of reach of both the driver and any passenger with the ammunition stored separately. This means that keeping your firearm in the glove box is not allowed since it’s easily accessible from your driver’s seat. The best bet is to keep it in a locked box.  

Can Truck Drivers Get Their Concealed Carry?

While some drivers may be fine with the above arrangement, it’s understandable that many drivers who carry aren’t. It’s unlikely that if you’re ever in a situation where a firearm is needed, you’ll have the time to unlock a box, retrieve your firearm, and load it. That’s why many drivers opt to have their concealed carry permit instead.  

A concealed carry permit allows drivers to carry a firearm on their person while in their truck. Every state can issue you a concealed carry, but the requirements are different state by state on how to obtain one. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the requirements before attempting to get your conceal carry. Plus, there are a number of states known as “may issue” states. This means that you could meet all the requirements to receive your concealed carry permit and still be denied, as the state works on a case-by-case basis. 

Can Truck Drivers Carry Across State Guidelines?

Even after you’ve received a concealed carry, it’s important to be aware of the laws and regulations surrounding  carrying; the most important being carrying across state lines. As of right now, legislation has been introduced to the House of Representatives that would make a concealed carry permit obtained in one state valid in all others. This is known as reciprocity. The bill would first need to pass the house and then be picked up by the senate and passed there.

A similar bill was introduced and passed the house in 2017, but the senate did not act on it. As of right now, it’s unclear when the legislation will pass, if at all. This is why drivers shouldn’t wait around for congress to act, and instead familiarize themselves with concealed carry laws state by state.  

You can view this map to see which states your concealed carry permit is valid in. Simply select the state that you have your concealed carry registered in and you’ll be shown all the states that honor your permit and the states that do not. This means that before you cross over into a state that doesn’t honor your concealed carry permit, you’ll need to unload the firearm and store it in a locked container away from the ammunition, just like you would if you didn’t have your permit. 

What About Carrier Rules and Guidelines?

Also, be aware that just because you’re legally allowed to carry a firearm in your cab, this doesn’t mean that your carrier allows it. This is no problem for Owner Operators, but company drivers should be aware of all company rules and guidelines regarding firearms before carrying in their truck.  

While carrying a firearm is a measure that many drivers choose to take, it doesn’t have to be the only thing that drivers do to stay safe on the road. Making sure to park only at safe and legal stops along with pre-planning your routes to avoid stopping in any dangerous areas are precautions that should also be taken by truck drivers. 

two men in a truck

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truck parking
If you were to ask truck drivers to list their biggest grievances about their job, there’s no doubt that parking would be at the top of that list. In fact, drivers were asked, and truck parking was number 5 on ATRI’s Top Industry Issue’s poll for 2021. It’s become such a pervasive issue in the industry that legislation has been introduced to congress urging them to act on the problem. While it may fly under the radar nationally, but the issue of truck parking is nothing new.  

What’s Causing the Truck Parking Issue?

Truck parking has been an issue for many years, but with the increased demand for freight and more trucks on the road than ever before, the situation is only getting worse. In short, there are just not enough safe and reliable places for drivers to stop while they’re on the road. 

How is it Affecting Drivers?

Although the issue of truck parking affects everyone, including management and customers, it’s the drivers who feel it worst of all. They’re often faced with the decision to either stay on the road well past when they should have turned in or park somewhere unsafe and possibly illegal. Aside from that, it’s also turning into a financial issue for drivers as well. All that time spent looking for parking is time that could be spent driving, which means less miles and less money at the end of the day. The issue is becoming so large that it’s beginning to turn some drivers off from the industry altogether.  

What’s Being Done to Stop it?

The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act was introduced to the House of Representatives in March of 2021. If passed, the act would authorize the Department of Transportation (DOT) to disburse funding for more truck parking throughout the US highway system. Unfortunately, the house hasn’t acted on the bill, and it now sits dormant in congress.   

Additionally, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act initially allotted over $1 billion in funds to truck parking, but that part of the bill was dropped before it was passed. In the private sector, companies that already offer truck parking try and expand their current offerings but are often met with resistance from state and local government red tape and citizen pushback.  

What Can Drivers Do to Combat it?

All these things unfortunately put the burden of figuring out truck parking on the drivers themselves. Drivers have been relying on parking apps like Trucker Path for the better part of 10 years to find available parking while on their route. Millions of drivers have downloaded the app and use it daily to try and find nearby parking. While it’s certainly not ideal, it’s much better than just winging it and hoping you’ll find a spot when it’s time to shut down for the night. 

truck parking

CDL A Owner Operator, Larry

But, as many drivers will tell you, the best thing you can do is to plan ahead for parking and get a start on it early. Just take it from Larry, a CDL A Owner Operator, 

“Plan where you’re going to stop, and pay for parking if necessary. Never park on the side of the road or on an on ramp. That’s very dangerous. Planning is a very big part of knowing where to park. Remember, if it seems sketchy, it probably is! Keep it moving,” shared Larry.

While the truck parking shortage looks to be here for a while, the good news is that it’s becoming more and more widely known outside of the trucking industry. As long as drivers, carriers, and all those affected continue to speak out against it, there’s hope that the parking shortage will become a thing of the past.  

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