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trucker road rage

Every truck driver has been there before. Minding your own business in the right lane, when a car races up from behind you, gets right in front of you then slows down to 5 below the speed limit. These situations, along with countless others can lead to the all-too-common problem of truck driver road rage.  

Road rage causes a number of problems on its own, but for truck drivers, these problems get amplified due to the nature of their work. We love trucks for their size and beauty, but that truck becomes 10 tons of danger when you add in a frustrated driver and a congested highway.

What is Road Rage? 

Road rage is any angry or overly aggressive act performed by a driver while on the road. It can take a number of forms, but road rage is most commonly yelling, tailgating, matching speeds with the offending party, and honking.  

Surprisingly, road rage among drivers is much more common than you would think. It’s not just a small group of angry drivers who are honking their horns, making rude gestures, and cutting people off. A recent study found that 82% of respondents admitted to committing an act of road rage at some point over the past year.  

Consequences of Road Rage 

Being a truck driver can be an exhausting profession even when a driver is in the best of moods. When they’re not, it can make that 10 hours of driving feel like 20. Anger and other intense emotions have been shown to lead to exhaustion, meaning you’ll be burnt out much quicker and not at your sharpest while on the road.  

Being pulled over is another possible consequence of road rage. If you’re letting it get the better of you on a regular basis, expect to eventually be pulled over and given a traffic violation because of it. Enough traffic violations on your CDL and it could eventually get suspended anywhere from two to four months. This might not seem like a lot at first, but that’s two to four months where truck driving won’t be a source of income.  

But the biggest consequence of truck driver road rage is the chance of accident and injury. Driving angry means you’re not thinking rationally. You’re more likely to drive faster and do risky maneuvers that could put you or other drivers in serious danger. 

How to Deal with Road Rage 

The first step in dealing with road rage is to recognize when it’s coming on. Once you start to feel those emotions begin to surface, don’t fall into the same routine of acting on them. After you’ve recognized it, you can do a few different things to help keep your cool.  

The first is to think about how much you have to lose. Aside from your truck and your job, your life and the lives of others could be at risk. Nothing in the world is worth that.  

The second thing to think about is that in the grand scheme of things, this moment really doesn’t matter. Odds are that in a few minutes you won’t even be able to remember the color of the vehicle that offended you. Even if you’re completely justified in your anger, the best thing you can do is move on.  

All drivers are at their best when they’re not overly emotional, and that’s especially true for truck drivers. Every day you’re on the road, you’ll likely encounter something that you could get angry about. You’ll be cut off, beeped at, or tailgated by an impatient driver for not going 80 in the right lane.  

These things are bound to happen, and there’s not much you can do to control them. The only thing you can control is your reaction to them. Once you’ve mastered that, road rage won’t be a problem in your career as a professional truck driver.  

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budgeting tips

The effects of inflation are hitting everyone, especially truck drivers. Along with the price of everything rising, diesel gas prices are at a record high right now. With all this extra strain on driver’s wallets, it’s more important now than ever to find different ways to save money. Here are 5 budgeting tips for truck drivers to save money while on the road. 

1. Keep a Budget

budgeting tips

The first and best budgeting tip is to keep track of your money. You can use an excel sheet, a free smartphone app, or just a good old-fashioned notebook. No matter which way you do it, just make sure that every dollar in and out is planned and tracked. Get started now if you haven’t already, and you can always adjust as you go.

  • Create a separate account just for driving to help streamline budgeting. Bonus, use a credit card that pays a reward on all purchases.
  • Pay all bills and taxes promptly to avoid penalties and late fees.
  • Set up reminders on your phone to go off a few days before each bill is due.
  • Go paperless and use auto-pay options whenever possible.
  • Keep all receipts in a designated place to avoid losing them. Make it a habit to put receipts away as soon as you get them.

2. Plan Efficient Routes

This can go a long way to saving money as a truck driver. Planning the most efficient routes can save you money on both gas and tolls. Using your cruise-control consistently and effectively will save on gas consumption as well.

Cruise-control can also keep you from exceeding the speed limit and racking up unwanted tickets and speeding penalties. Keeping up with all maintenance on your truck is also be a great way to save money as a truck driver. Paying a little here and there for preventative maintenance is always better than waiting until there’s a major issue with your truck.

3. Plan Well & Be Prepared

budgeting tips

As much as possible, avoid buying things at truck stops or convenience stores. For truck drivers, food is often their biggest daily expense. Packing and bringing food with you has two benefits, since you’ll be eating healthier while saving money daily. Plan the laundry you’ll need before you hit the road as well. You can save time and money by not using coin operated machines while on the road.

Having a well-stocked first aid kit and personal care items is much better for your budget than having to buy these things one at a time while on the road. Though emergencies do arise, everything you can buy at home instead of on the road will save money.

4. Participate in Loyalty Programs

This is an often overlooked budgeting tip, but the benefits can really add up if you stick with it. If you do love a certain brand of coffee or slice of pizza on the go, join that company’s loyalty program. It’s usually quite easy to sign-up for them at restaurants, truck stops, gas stations, and even hotels.

Your purchases could turn into a future free cup of coffee, sub sandwich, a shower, or even a night’s stay in a hotel as points accumulate. Additionally, ask any local restaurants, hotels or even insurance companies if they offer CDL discounts. Even a 5% savings a few times per year will help keep money in your bank account.

5. Use Free WiFi

budgeting tips

Whenever possible, use free Wi-Fi when you’re stopped for a break, or for the night. The overage charges that cell phone companies charge can be expensive. Spending a lot of time away from home can help you blow through your monthly data allowance and rack up fees. Using free Wi-Fi at truck stops, restaurants, and coffee stops can shave off time against your monthly data and help avoid overage charges over time. Just look for a sign and ask for the password.

Some of these budgeting tips might seem obvious, but it can’t hurt to check and see if you’re really maximizing the savings that are available to you. Take a look at your last few trips and review your biggest expenses or where you were over budget. Tightening up on your trip preparation routines, personal efficiencies, and budgeting skills can turn into big savings at the end of the year.

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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

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class c cdlIn the trucking industry, we hear a lot about Class A and Class B CDLs. What some people may not know is that there’s a third Class of CDL as well, called a Class C. This is the lowest rank of CDL a driver can hold. While it can be a great steppingstone to a CDL A or B, a Class C on its own is very limited. If you’re a Class C driver, the good news is that upgrading your CDL isn’t that difficult.  

What is a Class C CDL?

The FMCSA defines a Class C vehicle as, 

“Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or is transporting material that has been designated as hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and is required to be placarded under subpart F of 49 CFR Part 172 or is transporting any quantity of a material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR Part 73.”

In layman’s terms, this means that Class C holders can transport passengers and HAZMAT in any vehicle under 26,000 pounds. Most commonly this means school buses and other smaller passenger vehicles, like a shuttle bus or limo. Class C does not cover large city buses, since those on average weigh more than 26,000 pounds. 

Since Class C is the lowest rank of CDL a person can hold, it’s also the most limited in terms of what you can drive with it. CDL B drivers can drive dump trucks, straight trucks, and more in addition to Class C vehicles. CDL A drivers are allowed to drive just about any CMV, as long as they have the necessary endorsements. 

These endorsements are crucial, as there are virtually no jobs available for class C drivers who don’t have their “H”, “P”, or “S” endorsements. This is why many drivers find it advantageous to skip getting their C altogether and jump right into a CDL Class B or A. 

Should I Upgrade My Class C CDL?

The answer to this question really depends on what you plan on doing with your driving career. If you don’t ever see yourself driving larger vehicles, like straight trucks, dump trucks, or even a semi, then your CDL Class C is a fine option.  

If you do have any interest in doing those jobs somewhere down the line, it may be in your best interest to get a CDL A or B license instead of a CDL C. When you think about all the available jobs for CDL A and B drivers right now, it’s worth your consideration to jump up to one of those levels. You can still get all the same endorsements that allow you to drive a school bus or HAZMAT vehicle, you’ll just be able to drive bigger CMVs as well.  

How Do You Upgrade a Class C CDL?

If you already have your Class C, the good news is that you can upgrade it to an A or B whenever you’re ready.  

To upgrade to a B, you’ll need to pass the written air brakes exam, then retake your on the road skills test in a CDL class B vehicle. Keep in mind that you’ll need to bring your own Class B vehicle to the testing site, and it will need to have air brakes. 

The process for upgrading to your Class A is very similar. The only difference is that in addition to airbrakes, you’ll need to take the combination vehicle test as well. You’ll also need to retake your road test in a Class A vehicle too.  

While the number of jobs available to Class C CDL holders is more limited than Class A or B, it’s a fine option for those who are only interested in the unique driving jobs mentioned above. But, most drivers might find it worth their time to invest in a Class A or B CDL instead.  

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mountain trucking

Aside from Ice Road Trucking, the mountains are generally seen as the most dangerous terrain to drive through. The steep downgrades, sometimes rocky terrain, and sharp curves can give even experienced drivers headaches. While it can definitely be a challenge if you’re a new driver, there are things you can do to prepare yourself for driving in either the Rockies or Appalachian Mountains. 

We had the chance to talk with Travis, a CDL A driver out of Colorado. He gave us some great tips for truckers who are running routes through the mountains.  

1. Brake, Brake, Brake

mountain trucking

Travis’ Kenworth

“First and most importantly, slow down. Especially when dropping off of a pass. 90% of brake failures are caused by driving too fast off a grade. When you drop off a grade, you should pick a gear where your truck’s engine brakes will hold you back. You should drive slower in general because there’s always other things like wildlife, rocks, and tourists in the road,” shared Travis.

Any trucker who has driven in the Rockies can tell you about the “Truckers, Steep Grades Ahead” and “Truckers, Don’t Be Fooled” signs all over the region’s highways. The signs are warnings to truckers that steep grade changes are a constant.  

Always look at posted grade signs and brake well before the downgrade begins. Never try to eyeball a grade. That’s how you end up over-relying on your brakes and causing them to overheat and possibly catch fire. 

2. Stay Prepared

mountain trucking

Travis’ Kenworth

“Second, carry extra clothes and food to stay warm. Have enough food and water to last a couple days if you get stranded. Carry tools and know your equipment as well. If you do break down in sub-zero temperatures, waiting 3 or 4 hours on a service truck isn’t a good option. I carry tools like an alternator housing, coolant, oil, fan belts, and fuel filters in my truck,” shared Travis.  

Knowing how to do quick fixes on your truck, like priming the fuel system or changing out a headlight can be the difference between a 20-minute wait and a 4 hour wait. If you have the know-how and your company allows it, keep necessary replacement parts in the cab with you in case something happens. 

In the worst-case scenario where your truck breaks down and it’s not a quick fix, you’ll want to have everything you need to hunker down for a while. This includes plenty of water and dry, packaged food. A change of clothes is something that goes overlooked but can be a lifesaver if you’re dealing with rain or sleet.  

Also, keep a CB radio if you don’t already. Since these work via radio waves, you’ll be able to communicate in the event you don’t have any cell service.  

3. Pay Attention to the Weather

Something as simple as listening to hourly weather reports can save you a lot of trouble in the mountains. If weather is bad enough, there’s nothing wrong with waiting until conditions clear up. No run is worth your safety or the safety of drivers around you.  

Also, always abide by all chain signs. You can check out the step-by-step guide on how to chain up your tires here 

4. Use Runaway Ramps as a Last Resort

If you’re on a downgrade and can’t get your speed under control or are having brake problems, the very last resort is to use a runaway ramp. These ramps are usually located at the bottom of a steep downgrade, right before the road flattens out.  

There are a few different types of runaway ramps, but all are designed to stop a truck that can’t stop on its own. Out in the mountains, you may see gravity escape ramps that make use of natural hills, but sand piles are common as well.  

Don’t be afraid to use a runaway ramp if you need it, but it’s a last resort for a reason. There’s a possibility they’ll cause you some bodily harm and will almost definitely lead to the truck being damaged. 

5. Relax

“Other than that, all I can say is don’t be nervous and just relax. Drive slowly and take in the views. The mountains are beautiful and should be enjoyed,” shared Travis. 

While it can be dangerous, there are thousands of truckers, just like Travis, who make their living doing runs out west in the Rockies and in the Appalachian Mountains. Being attentive, cautious, and reading all posted signs is the number one way to avoid mistakes and accidents while driving in the mountains. 

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dot inspection

What is a DOT Inspection?

A DOT inspection is an inspection of a driver and a CMV conducted by the Department of Transportation. The purpose of the inspection is to make sure that the driver of any CMV 10,000 pounds or more is complying with all DOT rules and the CMV itself is in working order and safe to use. There are 6 levels to a DOT inspection, but the most common one is Level One, also known as the North American Standard Inspection. 

How Often Do DOT Inspections Happen?

DOT inspections are required every 12 months for all operating CMVs. There can also be surprise roadside inspections that can happen with no warning at any time while a driver is on the road. This is why it’s so important for drivers to be pre-emptive in doing everything they can to be ready for a DOT inspection. 

What is the DOT Looking For?

Specifically, a DOT inspector is looking for the following items: 

Driver

  • Driver Documents 
  • Driver’s License 
  • Medical Documents clearing you to driver 
  • Hours of Service (HOS) logs 
  • ELD 
  • Carrier ID and Status 
  • Record of Duty Status (ROS) 

Aside from this, the inspector may ask for additional documents as well as checking for proper seat belt use and that the driver is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  

Truck

  • Tires 
  • Brakes 
  • Suspension 
  • Brake Lights 
  • Turn Signals 
  • Fuel Systems 
  • Steering 
  • Windshield Wipers 
  • More 

Who Conducts DOT Inspections?

For annual inspections, it will most likely be a DOT certified inspector. State Troopers are also licensed to conduct DOT inspections as well. If you get stopped for a surprise inspection on the road, you may be dealing with them. 

What Happens at the End of a DOT Inspection?

After the inspector is finished, they’ll hand the driver a report, detailing any violations or defects they found. The driver will need to hand this form to someone who works at their carrier’s terminal, most likely their fleet manager.  

If no violations or defects were found, then the driver will get a decal that the inspector will place on their truck. The decal means that the truck doesn’t need to be inspected again for 3 months. If there are violations or defects, but none serious enough to warrant an “Out of Service” designation, then the driver will be informed, and they will need to have the issue(s) corrected within 15 days.  

Can You Fail a DOT Inspection?

Yes, drivers can fail a DOT inspection. If a violation is severe enough, the DOT inspector can consider either the CMV, the driver, or both Out of Service or OOS. The driver will need to rectify the violation(s) or defect(s) before they can get back on the road again.

The consequences for driving while the driver of CMV have been considered “OOS” are severe. If a driver has multiple violations of driving OOS vehicles or driving while they’re considered OOS, it can lead to them being disqualified for up to 5 years. 

Tips on Passing a DOT Inspection

Organization

The rule of thumb for documentation is, “if you think you might possibly need it, keep it in the truck.” This includes any of the documentation we listed above as well as anything else that you feel is important to have in your cab. A best practice here is to keep everything in a binder or folder for easy access.  

The other side of organization is your cab itself. It’s never a bad idea to keep a clean and organized cab at all times, especially if you know a DOT Inspection is coming.  

Maintenance Before It Becomes a Problem

Preventative maintenance is key in preparing for an inspection. DOT Inspectors look at almost every part and piece of your truck during an inspection. While it’s almost impossible and impractical to run a full body check every time you’re about to drive, you should be checking what you can, like the lights, windshield, tires and anything else you can see with the naked eye. Checking under the hood is never a bad idea either.  

Good Attitude

It’s natural for drivers to not be huge fans of DOT inspectors. After all, they’re the person going through their documents and truck with a fine-tooth comb, deciding whether they can stay on the road or not. But it’s important to remember that just like drivers, DOT inspectors are only doing their jobs. When it comes to interacting with them during an inspection, think of it as talking to a police officer after you’ve gotten pulled over for speeding. 

Don’t do or anything that can possibly make the situation more difficult than it needs to be. If the inspector lets you know about a violation, it’s never a good idea to argue and dispute it with them on the spot. This could lead to them being a little more “thorough” with the rest of the inspection, when they otherwise wouldn’t have been. If you really do feel that a violation or defect was given in error, the best thing to do is to be polite with the inspector and let your fleet manager or supervisor know about the issue when you get back to the terminal. They can handle it from there. 

Many drivers may understandably feel nervous about DOT inspections, especially surprise ones if they’ve never experienced them before. But, as long as you’ve followed the three rules above, the chances of the DOT finding any major violations with you or your truck are very low. 

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eco-friendly trucking
The pressure to become more eco-friendly and “go green” has been stressed in almost every industry over the past 20 years. Trucking has especially taken the brunt of the pressure, as the industry accounts for over 50% of NOx emissions in the U.S.  The EPA estimates that as freight activity increases across the world, the impact that semi-trucks have on the environment will grow as well.  

That’s not to say that all is lost. Many larger trucking companies are moving towards sustainability in a number of different ways. These include the widespread use of electric vehicles and alternative fuel sources aside from gasoline. But as a trucker, are there any ways you can help lessen your carbon footprint? Whether you’re a company driver or an owner operator, here are 5 ways you can practice eco-friendly trucking.

1. Less Idling

When it comes to eco-friendly trucking, less is always more. The biggest way to cut down on your emissions while driving is to stop idling. Aside from wasting fuel and money, you’re also not doing the environment any favors by keeping your truck running while parked. Some states even have laws against idling that can lead to hefty fines. But, it’s understandable why some drivers idle. They may need to run the A/C or heat while parked at a stop. The good news is that having an APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) installed gives drivers the best of both worlds by letting them run their HVAC while not burning any unnecessary fuel. 

2. Rolling Resistance Tires

The right tires go a long way in making your truck more fuel efficient and eco-friendly. Rolling resistance is what makes the big difference when it comes to tires. Investing in low-rolling resistance tires can save you up to 2% in fuel consumption per year. While that might not sound like a lot, when you add up how much fuel a truck uses in a year, it’s easy to see that it’s an investment worth making. 

3. Side Skirts

Aside from tires, aerodynamic devices like trailer side skirts can reduce fuel consumption as well. Side skirts are long pieces of material (usually rubber or aluminum) that are installed between the front and back tires of a trailer. Their purpose of a side skirt is to reduce wind resistance and drag that wastes fuel, making trucks more eco-friendly and fuel efficient. A 2012 study by the SAE found that trucks that have side skirts saved up to 5% on fuel economy per year.  

4. Maintenance

The value of regular truck maintenance can’t be overstated, especially if you’re trying to become more eco friendly on the road. Just like with rolling resistance tires and side skirts, the main goal here is to limit your fuel consumption. It’s been shown that regular maintenance on engines, air compressors, fuel filters, electrical systems, and A/C can increase a truck’s fuel economy up to 10% 

5. Recycle

While this tip doesn’t just pertain to truck drivers, it’s still an important way to become more eco-friendly. While on the road, practice organizing your trash into what’s recyclable and what’s not, then hold on to it until you get to somewhere that recycles, like a truck stop or gas station.  

You can also meal prep with reusable containers at home before you hit the road. Aside from cutting down on the amount of plastic you’re using, you’ll be saving money as well. It’s a simple tip, but every little bit makes a big difference when it comes to being eco-friendly. 

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A Yard Jockey is a driver who moves trailers within a cargo yard, terminal or warehouse. Though it may not seem like it, yard jockeys are the life force of any yard. Their job is to keep everything moving smoothly and help to avoid congestion. Without them, the smooth operation of the yard would cease to exist. 

We spoke with Pete, a CDL A yard jockey out of New York. He talked to us about what it’s like to be a yard jockey.   

CDL A Yard Jockey, Pete

“I wanted to become a yard Jockey to help other truck drivers be ready for the road. My job entails filling up diesel gas tanks and making sure that everything on the truck is working in proper condition. I also wash trucks, and make sure they’re safe to the fill up for the next delivery. I enjoy the repetitive exercises and keeping the yard in order. Being a yard jockey also gives me the opportunity to sharpen my skills as a driver for when I get on the road,” Shared Pete.

What are a Yard Jockey’s Responsibilities?

The job goes by many names, including yard jockey, yard spotter, or yard dog, but the job description is the same. While their main ones are moving trailers around the yard and loading and unloading them, there’s a lot of other things they’re responsible for as well. They take on duties like cleaning trailers, fueling reefers, inspecting and maintaining equipment, and filling out paperwork as need be. 

Do Yard Jockeys Need a CDL?

The short answer is no. According to federal law, since yard jockeys don’t leave the carrier’s private property, they aren’t required to hold a CDL. That’s not to say that every company will hire someone without a CDL for a yard jockey position. While yard jockeys won’t be driving a trailer down the highway, they’ll still be doing it in the yard and will need to know the basics of how to maneuver it to be successful in the role. 

What Do Yard Jockeys Drive on the Job?

Instead of driving a cab attached to a trailer like a typical CDL driver, yard jockeys use what’s called a terminal tractor to move the trailers throughout the yard. Terminal tractors are smaller than cabs and are built specifically to maneuver trailers and hook or unhook them quickly. They even have a sliding door in the back for easy access to the trailer. This increases overall yard efficiency along with saving carriers money on gas, since terminal tractors are more fuel efficient. Aside from tractor trailers, yard jockeys use other standard warehouse equipment, including forklifts and pallet jacks. 

“An average day for me isn’t set in stone. It’s all dependent on the routing schedule and how many drivers are coming back to base on a given day. On busier days, my job is much more active, both mentally and physically, which can make it a bit stressful at times. But, there are also the lighter days, when trucks come in spread out. Then, I’m able to organize my train of thought and have a plan of how to work ahead for the next driver that comes into the yard,” Shared Pete.

Why Should I Be a Yard Jockey Instead of a CDL Driver?

While the choice is always up to the person, there’s a number of reasons why someone would choose to be a Yard jockey. The first reason is that a CDL isn’t always necessary. It’s up to the company’s discretion at the end of the day, but there are some carriers who will hire jockeys who don’t have their CDL. This is great for people who are interested in driving as a career, but don’t have the money for CDL school at the moment or want to see the industry first-hand before they decide to go to CDL school.  Some carriers will also pay the tuition for a yard jockey who expresses interest in going to CDL school, so it’s a win-win.  

The second reason is the set hours and predictable pay. While some may enjoy the trucker lifestyle of making their own hours and being on the road, it isn’t a life for everyone. As a yard jockey, you’ll have a set schedule, work predictable hours, get predictable pay, and be able to come home every night. Depending on the company, yard jockey can also get the same company benefits drivers do, including medical, dental, and vision insurance along with a 401K.  

“My advice to those who want to become a yard jockey is to simply do it! It not only pays a hefty paycheck each week, but it also sharpens your skills as a driver.  You get to learn the ins and outs of different trucks, as well as backing, fueling, coupling and uncoupling. You’ll learn pretty much all the basics of truck driving you’ll need before you get out there as a full-time CDL A or B driver,” Shared Pete. 

While yard jockeying may not pay as much as CDL driving, it’s a great position for anyone who is interested in taking their first steps into a career in trucking, or just wants to earn honest, reliable pay.

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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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