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For emergencies, it’s better to be overly prepared than to be caught unprepared. This rings especially true for truck drivers. Drivers find themselves in all kinds of weather and road conditions, at all times of the day, and quite often in remote areas. It’s not practical to have everything you might ever need with you. But to make a truck driver’s life a little bit easier, here’s a list of 19 items to keep in your truck. Better to be safe than sorry!

Personal Items

1. Water & Food: This should go without saying, but any driver should have water and non-perishable foods available in their trucks. Even if you don’t have any cooling or cooking tools, keep at least a few days’ worth of water and food in the truck with you.

2. Medications: Have enough of each required prescription for the length of your trip. Probably even a few extras of each medication just in case. Best idea is to have them sorted out by day in a daily pill organizer, so that it’s convenient for you to know what to take and when.

3. First Aid Kit: Have a well-stocked first aid kit to treat minor injuries over the course of any trip. Band-Aids, pain relief medication, antibiotic ointment, and some basic bug bite creams are must haves for anyone spending time on the road.

4. Earplugs: Earplugs are a great idea for anyone working in a loud environment. Or anyone that might need to catch a good night’s sleep away from home.

5. Hygiene Items: A well-stocked shower caddy is a must have for anyone needing to grab a shower at a truck stop. Keep everything you need to stay clean, plus a pair of good flip-flops are necessary items to keep in your truck. For days when a shower stop just can’t happen, keep a package of personal wipes handy to stay fresh.

6. Good Blanket: For sleeping, and also in case of a breakdown in a colder area, a good blanket is a required item for any trucker. Find a good blanket that’s warm, and easy to roll-up and store during the day.

7. Winter Boots & Jacket: Being prepared for snowy weather is important for anyone travelling through areas where snow is a possibility. You might be the first one into the truck stops before the plows get there, or in case you get stuck and must walk somewhere in the snow. Good boots and a warm winter jacket are great to keep in your truck.

Safety and Basic Maintenance Tools

8. Toolbox: A small toolbox with all of the basics should be a staple for any truck driver. Be sure to check on the contents from time-to-time to make sure everything is in there, and in good working order. Consider keeping a folding shovel in with your other tools too!

9. Flashlight: A good basic safety item to keep in your truck. Whether you need it to look around once you’re in your cab for the night, or if you have to walk around in an unfamiliar area after dark, a flashlight with fresh batteries should be available at all times.

10. Headlamp: One step better than a flashlight, is a headlamp. When you want to have your hands free when walking around outside at night, or performing a basic repair, a headlamp with fresh batteries should be in your truck.

11. Work Gloves: Protect your hands when working on a repair, or moving around cargo. Keep a pair of gloves handy for working on or off of the truck.

12. Flares: In case of a breakdown, or if you stop to help someone who needs it, setting flares is a good idea to help other drivers be aware of trouble ahead.

13. Fire Extinguisher: At the first sign of a fire, be sure you can easily get to full fire extinguisher. Be sure to have them well maintained to ensure that they will work when you need them.

14. Printed List of Phone Numbers: Just in case your mobile phone malfunctions, have a list of important phone numbers printed somewhere. You can keep them on a small card in your wallet or somewhere easy to get to in your truck.

Entertainment and Electronics

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15. Tablet: A smart phone loaded with basic trucker apps goes without saying. A tablet is a real video upgrade for your non-driving time in the truck. A subscription to a streaming movie channel will help make the hours go by faster before you’re asleep for the night.

16. Mounts: Having mounts for your portable electronics can help you better navigate during the day, and have a more relaxing experience watching a movie at night. Have one mount for each device or an adjustable one that can work with everything.

17. Chargers & Batteries: All of your tools and electronics should be well-charged or have a fresh set of batteries. Keep your chargers handy, and spare batteries available for any long-haul trip.

18. Hobbies: Are you an amateur photographer? Or a budding musician? Bring along the things you need to keep up with your hobbies or passions while you’re out on the road.

19. Duct Tape: We’ll mention this one last, as it’s the all-purpose, universal item that comes in handy for just about anything! Keep this in your tool kit along with plenty of blinker fluid and you’ll be ready for any needed repairs that come your way.

Let us know the one unique thing that you always keep with you in your truck. Or something that’s saved you in a pickle at some point. Our readers are always looking for a new idea to make their lives just a little bit easier. Drop a note in the comments below, or on our Facebook page here. We’d be happy to share your great ideas!

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“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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Truck drivers are required to get a tanker endorsement (Type N or X) in order to haul large loads of liquid cargo.

N endorsement is required if you plan to haul 1,000 gallons+ of liquid or gas cargo.

X endorsement combines tanker endorsement with HAZMAT endorsement, allowing drivers to haul large quantities of liquid hazardous materials.

Getting this endorsement takes some extra time and money to complete the process. There is a written test that you must pass as part of the process. Drivers also need to gain the skills required to handle large volumes of liquid cargo. And of course, you already need to possess a CDL truck driver’s license. However, deciding to get a tanker endorsement along with your CDL license can be very beneficial. Here are 3 key reasons CDL truck drivers get a tanker endorsement.

More Opportunities

Companies that ship any type of large quantities of liquids or gasses, require drivers that have tanker endorsements. By going through the process to get this endorsement, truckers automatically make their applications more attractive than drivers that aren’t endorsed. This opens doors to jobs that require drivers to have a tanker endorsement. And gives those truckers an advantage when someone is scanning through job applications seeking tanker drivers.

More Money

Drivers with any additional skills and endorsements often find that they are paid more than drivers without additional endorsements. Driving a tanker requires additional safety skills due to the unstable nature of hauling liquids. Therefore, drivers with tanker endorsements many times are some of the highest paid truckers on the road. So, the payoff of seeing those paychecks increase certainly outweigh the up-front costs to pay for a tanker endorsement and training.

Required for Additional Endorsements

Getting a tanker endorsement sometimes requires the CDL truck driver also get a HAZMAT endorsement at the same time. Having this X endorsement even further separates a driver from other applicants when filling out a job application. Having tanker and HAZMAT can further highlight your application, and dedication to your career. And give those drivers access to some of the highest paying jobs.

Getting your tanker license can be very beneficial to any CDL truck driver. Regardless of what stage you are in your career. With a tanker endorsement the job pools is bigger, the pay is likely higher, and overall earning potential as a trucker increases.

If you’re looking for tanker truck driving jobs, complete your driver profile here, and be sure to include that you have that endorsement. We can match you to a great new job that best fits your lifestyle and driving preferences!

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trucking jobs no experience

Truck drivers are currently in high demand just about everywhere. But what if you’ve just gotten your CDL and you’re lacking in the actual required driving time? Though most driving schools offer help finding your first job, some don’t. Searching on your own, you could easily find yourself in the vicious circle of needing experience, but not being able to land a job because you don’t have enough experience. To try and help you better navigate this new driver pitfall, here are some helpful tips for landing truck driving jobs with no experience.

Be Open to Options

Consider driving trucks other than tractor-trailers at first. Your CDL gives you license to drive many other types of trucks. There are plenty of local jobs driving truck that could put you in a position to be home every night, earn a decent wage, and still gain that necessary experience you need. Delivery trucks, passenger transit vans, construction equipment, or other heavy commercial vehicles are all good truck driving jobs with no experience. It’s worthwhile to look into other options while you’re working on logging miles.

Apply Everywhere

It’s easy to set your sights on a “dream job” and not look anywhere else. But be cautious that you don’t get tunnel vision and limit yourself. Look into apprenticeship programs. Leverage the resources available from your training school. There might be carriers that have great opportunities for a new driver. Look for companies that offer finishing schools or ride-along programs. You can always plan to go back to focusing on that dream job once you’ve got years of driving time under your belt.

Read ALL of the Fine Print

Some companies might offer you a trucking job with no experience. But in exchange for that, they might require you to stay for a certain number of years. Or offer bonuses that only pay off after you’ve worked there for quite a while. Though these jobs are a great opportunity for a new driver to learn and rack up miles, it could impact your ability to seek other opportunities if things don’t work out, or if you need to move to another city. No matter the reason, be 100% sure you understand all the fine print associated with these jobs. You don’t want to feel that you’re stuck somewhere if that’s what you actually agreed to do. The details in the fine print might make all of the difference between a job and long-term career.

Keep Your Record Clean

Most importantly, it’s key to keep your record clean while you’re working on gaining experience. Those years of working something other than your dream job could be useless if you’re racking up safety or other violations along the way. Use all the resources at your disposal to learn and improve. Keep your eye on the prize while working trucking jobs with no experience. You’ll be able to broaden your net and grab your dream job in no time.

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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

Download the complete guide for 5 easy tips for sun protection while on the road.

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

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

Consider the following if you lose you trucking job:

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

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

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

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

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5 Money Saving Tips for Truck Drivers

As a truck driver, your job is stressful. You spend long hours driving every day. You work hard and certainly look to maximize your earnings once they hit your bank account.

Here are 5 helpful tips for saving money as a truck driver.

1. Keep a Budget

The best way to keep track of your money, is to actually keep track of it somewhere. Use a fancy online program, a free smartphone app or just a good old-fashioned notebook. No matter which way you choose to do it, just make sure 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. 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. Be Efficient

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

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 can also be a great way to save money as a truck driver. Doing what you can to prevent breakdowns will help your bottom line.

3. Plan Well & Be Prepared

As much as possible, avoid buying things at truck stops or convenience stores. Food can be a BIG daily expense. If you can pack and bring food with you, you will eat healthier and save money daily. Plan your laundry out well, and you can save time and money by avoiding lines and costs of using coin operated machines.

Have a well-stocked first aid kit and personal care kit vs. having to buy these things on the road at convenience stores. Though emergencies do arise, everything you can buy at home instead of on the road will save money.

4. Participate in Loyalty Programs

If you do love a certain brand of coffee or slice of pizza on the go, join their loyalty program. It’s usually quite easy to sign-up for a loyalty card 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

Whenever possible, use free Wi-Fi when you’re stopped for a break, or for the night. Data plans on your phone can be expensive. Spending a lot of time away from home can help you blow through your monthly data allowance. Using free Wi-Fi at truck stops, restaurants, coffee stops to take care of things on your smartphone 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 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.

If you’ve got some great tips for other truck drivers, please share them on our Facebook page here.

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Truck driver salaries are a hot topic, and one of the most important considerations to a driver when taking a job. Industry statistics show that average truck driver salaries are on the rise. Mostly due to the driver shortage. But what if you want to make more money without compromising your driving preferences? Once you’ve established yourself as a qualified driver, let’s look at ways to make more money in trucking.

“The salary scale typically begins around $28,000 and can go as high as $68,000 for new drivers”, according to www.truckdriverssalary.com. For experienced drivers, that range can move from there up to $80,000+ per year, some pushing up into six-figures.

You’ve done everything to ensure you’re being as efficient as possible. You’re not leaving any money on the table in your current role. So where can you look to find incremental dollars? As a driver there are usually 3 main areas to explore when you want to make more money in trucking.

Adding Additional Endorsements

Once you’re an established CDL driver, you can seek to add additional endorsements that will give you access to larger range of truck driving jobs. Double/Triple Trailer endorsements allows a driver to haul twice or three-times more freight, while driving the same amount of time as with a single trailer.

A HAZMAT, or hazardous materials endorsement, will open doors to new opportunities with companies that might specialize in the transportation of flammable or otherwise dangerous materials.

Tanker endorsements allow you to haul large gaseous or liquid loads and are mandatory if you want to work hauling gas and oil. A full list of these endorsements and requirements can be found here.

Maximizing Available Bonuses

Bonuses are a great way to make more money in trucking. Most carriers likely have their own bonus structure, and you should have a copy of the payout information available to you. Outside of a sign on bonus, your carrier might offer various additional bonus options based on performance, safety or longevity.

Planning well and using proper driving techniques could qualify you for a Fuel Efficiency Bonus.

Having a track record that shows you’re a safe driver who follows the rules, you could be in line for a Safety Bonus. Being consistently prompt with your deliveries, you might qualify for an On-Time Delivery Bonus. Be sure you’re aware of all of your available bonuses, and work to achieve them regularly.

Keep Your Skills Sharp and Your Reputation Safe

  • Every mile under your belt might have a lesson that went along with it. Keep a focus on what you’ve learned and experienced as a truck driver. Do this and you’ll likely have a long and safe career. And the additional pay that comes along with it.
  • Technology is always changing so make sure you’re doing your part to keep up with the necessary tools and systems that can benefit you in the future. Something that’s optional now, might become mandatory to use in the future. Lean it now, and you’ll have an advantage later.
  • Your reputation in the industry might be just as important as your driving record. Be sure to always keep things professional and respectful whenever you’re working. You never know when you’ll run into a former dispatcher or another driving down the road.

All of these things can be considered when you look to make more money in trucking. Though there’s been a trend with truck driver salaries continuing to rise you can also use these ways to add to your bank account. The amount of effort you put into it now, will be rewarded with a bigger paycheck in the future.

If you’re looking for a great trucking job that pays well and meet your needs, sign up here for a profile and see what matches we’ve got for you.

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truck driver dispatcher

As a driver, your primary contact with your company and your daily workload is with your truck driver dispatcher. You need them to set your schedule, find the best routes and keep you moving down the road.

They need you to meet deadlines, work well with customers, and most importantly be safe, efficient and prepared for navigating the roads. So we were wondering: How is your relationship with your truck driver dispatcher?

In a recent Facebook poll we found that 75% of you said you DO have a good relationship with your dispatcher. That’s great news!  In the past, we’ve had drivers mention specifically that their favorite part about their job was the relationship with their dispatcher. But what about the 25% of truck drivers that are struggling?

What can help improve your relationship with your dispatcher?

In life, any relationship worth having, takes effort to grow and prosper. That’s true in both personal and professional relationships. To help your working relationship thrive, here are 3 things to keep in mind when working to improve your relationship with your dispatcher.

1. KEEP THINGS PROFESSIONAL

Every relationship deserves mutual respect. In a business relationship, respect is a must. Ensure each  conversation is suitable for a business relationship. Always use appropriate language with any co-worker, even when there’s a heated issue. You and your dispatcher are a team, and you both want to be successful.

2. KEEP LINES OF COMMUNICATION OPEN

When communicating with your dispatcher, be clear, honest and to the point. Respect their time and respond to messages and calls promptly. As soon as there’s an issue or a potential problem, let them know. They are working to get you the best information they can in a timely fashion. Be sure to do your part as well.

3. UNDERSTAND THEIR POINT OF VIEW

You certainly have tough job. Navigating every kind of traffic and weather conditions for long hours each day is stressful. But what about your dispatcher?

Though they’re not in the cab with you, they are dealing with a lot back at the office.  Dispatchers have to manage every driver’s current situations.  Add to that: conflicting timelines, ever-changing logistics, multiple customer expectations, management’s expectations, as well as what’s going on in their own life, and they just might be willing to trade for your road closures or horrific traffic jams. When you’re having a bad day, remember that they might be as well. In any relationship, a little bit of empathy can go a long way.

Even for those truck drivers that enjoy a great working relationship with their dispatcher, it’s worth the extra effort to keep that relationship solid. Keeping your conversations professional, ensuring there’s good lines of communications in place, and having a good understanding of each other’s perspective are crucial for your team’s success.

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Finding great gift ideas for truck drivers might seem tough. If they didn’t provide you with a wish list, how do you know what they need? Or what they already have packed into the cab of their truck? Don’t worry, we’ve come up with some great suggestions for anyone who spends a lot of time on the road.

These gift ideas for truck drivers should help you when it comes to their next birthday, anniversary or any special occasion.

HELP PASS THE TIME

Give the gift of music!

Whether your driver is a serious rock-n-roller or a country music fanatic, a gift card for a subscription music service could be a perfect gift. No more memorizing the best stations in every city from Dallas to Des Moines. Streaming stations keep the music going without interruption! Snag some SiriusXM or Spotify gift cards to get them started. In addition, you could renew their subscription for another year. Or, buy them some iTunes or Google Play gift cards for other online music apps that they enjoy. Any driver who spends long hours on the road with only their radio to keep them company would welcome these.

MEMORIES FROM HOME

Remind your trucker that they’re loved and missed.

Portable picture frames are a great gift idea. Find frames that can easily suction onto the dashboard, or attach to the sun visor. Pictures of the kids, their house, the family dog, or their beloved motorcycle are perfect to frame and take with them. Other ideas might be to engrave something with a personal message for them. A keychain, necklace or charm bracelet with sentimental thoughts from home will let her know that you miss her while she’s gone.

SNACKS

Fill a gift box with tasty treats and your trucker will thank you!

You can choose healthy or sweet, or a little bit of both. The key is to make sure that everything you’re packing is non-perishable and convenient to grab-and-go over the course of the day. Think about adding sports drinks and bottles of water too for those times when they’re finally done with their last cup of coffee. Your truck driver will appreciate the time you took to pack up a box of their favorites to keep them fueled up for the day!

If you’ve got additional great gift ideas for truck drivers that we didn’t mention, please share your ideas on our Facebook page. We might feature you or your ideas in an upcoming story.

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