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This summer, Drive My Way client, NFI set out to celebrate their drivers who reached an amazing milestone. They inducted over 80 drivers into their One Million Miles club. But these aren’t just drivers who’ve driven one million miles, it’s drivers who have driven one million accident-free miles.  

NFI President, Bob Knowles had this to say,

“We are proud and honored to recognize these drivers as they join the elite Million Mile Accident Free Club. They represent the best of NFI and professional truck drivers throughout the industry. We truly appreciate everything they do for NFI and our customers on a daily basis.”

This is a huge accomplishment that not many drivers can say they’ve achieved. To commemorate the occasion, NFI held 6 events all across the country where these drivers and their families were honored. Here are their names. 

  • Arlington, TX – July 16th
  • Braden M.
  • Garry M.
  • Jerry T.
  • Kevin M.
  • Martin R.
  • Milton F.
  • Rickey H.
  • Sergio T.
  • Tim H.
  • Willie S.

 

  • Bethlehem, PA – July 22nd
  • Doron E.
  • Eric T.
  • Jesus S.
  • Joe E.
  • Joe W.
  • John C.
  • Johnny G.
  • Johnny H.
  • Kenneth N.
  • Mark S.
  • Melody S.
  • Paul O.
  • Robert K.
  • Sandra W.

 

  • Columbus, OH – July 29th
  • Ben W.
  • Bryan W.
  • Eric S.
  • Jerry B.
  • Loren G.
  • Mark W.
  • Randall Y.
  • Russell E.
  • Thomas L.
  • William G.

 

  • Cherokee, NC – August 6th
  • Anthony R.
  • Danny F.
  • Dearrell G.
  • Donald B.
  • George K.
  • Jeffrey D.
  • John L.
  • John R.
  • Johnnie S.
  • Joshua C.
  • Kimberly N.
  • Mark S.
  • Michael J.
  • Michael Jo.
  • Michael M.
  • Paul P.
  • Randall R.
  • Reginald E.
  • Richard J.
  • Shawn S.
  • Tommie B.
  • Tracy N.
  • William L.

 

  • New York, NY – August 12th
  • Albari N.
  • Anthony N.
  • Dean B.
  • Ernesto R.
  • Henry W.
  • James S.
  • Jeffrey H.
  • John G.
  • Jose G.
  • Jose P.
  • Mark L.
  • Phi T.
  • Tyler S.

 

  • Chicago, IL – August 20th
  • Cesar C.
  • Derrick R.
  • Greg D.
  • Jammie S.
  • John T.
  • Marlin F.
  • Mathew O.
  • Richard G.
  • Ron N.
  • Roodachus S.
  • Salvador S.
  • Wade C.

Congratulations to these drivers on this amazing accomplishment!

 

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PUP trailerFor CDL A truck drivers, there are dozens of skills and endorsements they can earn related to driving specialty trailers. Drivers with these skills and endorsements are highly sought after by trucking companies and tend to earn more than drivers without.  

One of the most common skills that drivers can learn is how to haul PUP trailers. Here’s everything you need to know about PUP trailers, including the endorsement(s) needed to haul them, advice for new drivers hauling PUP trailers, and companies that hire these drivers.  

What is a PUP Trailer?

PUPs are small trailers, usually between 26 and 28 feet that can be attached in doubles or triples on the back of a cab.  

What are PUP Trailers used for?

There’s a few different reasons that carriers use PUP trailers. The first being when they simply want to haul more without putting another truck on the road. PUPs are also used to haul multiple smaller loads that need to be dropped in different locations or cargo that needs to be separated from each other. 

Are There Different Types of PUP Trailers?

The most common types of PUP trailers are standard dry van 26′ or 28′. There are also specialized reefer PUPs as well, although these are less common. Aside from that, one of the most common types of PUP trailers are the ones used with dump trucks.

What Companies Hire PUP Drivers?

Large delivery and parcel companies like FedEx and UPS are the carriers who use PUPs the most. Aside from that, construction companies and building products carriers may also hire drivers to haul dump trucks with an added PUP on the back.  

Do I Need a Special Endorsement to Haul PUP Trailers?

If you’re hauling two or three PUPs at the same time then yes, you will need your doubles and triples endorsement, sometimes known the “T” endorsement. The good news is that all you need to do to get your T endorsement is to pass a written test, no road or skills test required.  

There’s a number of free sites out there that will provide practice materials for this test, but you may also be able to find them from your state’s DMV/BMV as well.  

Is it hard to drive PUP trailers?

Most drivers experienced with hauling PUP trailers say that aside from backing them up, hauling doubles is not much different than hauling a standard 53′. It can be daunting for new drivers who are pulling PUPs for the first time, but it’s more of a mental thing than anything. Once you get some miles under your belt, you’ll be as comfortable with doubles as you are with a 53′. 

Triples present a much bigger challenge for drivers. The extra trailer creates more opportunities for issues to arise, especially when it comes to turning and maneuvering the trailers. This is why a lot of states don’t even allow drivers to haul triples.  

What is Some Advice for Drivers Hauling PUP Trailers?

1. Be Diligent

 Since you’ll be hauling an extra trailer (or two), be extra diligent in your pre-trip inspection. You now have double (or triple) the number of things to check with your trailers.  

2. Don’t focus on the Wiggle

Another big piece of advice is to not constantly fixate on your back trailer while driving. It’ll move or wiggle around a little bit, but that’s normal. No need to overcorrect with your steering wheel. The worst thing you can do is pay so much attention to it that you’re not looking at what’s on the road in front of you. 

3. Avoid Backing Up

One thing to remember about PUPs is that they’re extremely difficult to back up and something only experienced drivers should attempt. Even then, these experienced PUP drivers try to never get themselves into a situation where they would have to back up.  

The easier way is to break down each trailer and back them up each individually. If you do want to practice backing up PUPs, do it in a large, empty space where you can afford to make a mistake or two. 

Whether you’re just starting your career in trucking, or you’ve been on the road for years, getting your “T” endorsement and learning how to haul PUP trailers is a great way to increase your value and earning potential as a truck driver.  

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detention payNobody likes detention. Not the carrier, not the shipper, and definitely not the truck driver. But, since detention is such a universally disliked part of the trucking industry, why does it happen so often? Here’s what truck drivers need to know about detention delays and detention pay.  

What is Detention Pay?

Detention Pay is what a driver earns after waiting at a shipper or receiver for an extended period of time. 

This detention pay will usually come out of the shipper’s end, with the carrier charging a detention fee for however long one of their drivers has to stay at a location. There is usually an agreed upon grace period (usually 2 hours), but anything over that and the shipper will have to pay.  

What’s the Point of Detention Pay?

If a truck driver’s not moving, they’re not earning. Without detention pay, a driver being stuck at a shipper or receiver for four hours means they’ve just lost four hours of income.

Aside from this financial aspect, no driver wants to be sitting around waiting for hours on end when they could be on the road getting to their next stop or getting home.  

Detention pay is a great step to help drivers mitigate some of the financial loss from waiting, but ideally the driver wouldn’t wait at all.  

Why Causes Detention Delays?

The biggest reason for detention delays is poor logistics on the part of the shipper. Everything from an inefficient process for loading and unloading, too few hands helping out in the yard, or lack of space for trucks can lead to long detention times. 

The ELD mandate has given carriers better data around driver detention time. According to a study done by Zipline Logistics, carriers are starting to become more selective in which shippers they do business with, and more and more are refusing to go to certain shippers that have a reputation for long load and unload times.  

But as we all know, the logistics chain is a long and messy one. Shippers can do everything right and there could still be some issue that leaves the driver waiting for an extra X hours.  

Having drop and hook appointments instead of live loads will generally mean less wait time for drivers, but this isn’t always the case.  

How Much Do Drivers Get Paid for Detention?

The amount paid for detention varies carrier to carrier but is usually around $20-30 per hour. Most companies start detention pay after two hours of waiting, but some start it as early as one hour. 

How Can Drivers Get Detention Pay?

It used to be that few carriers offered detention pay for drivers. But as carriers are finding it harder to hire and retain drivers, more and more are offering detention pay as a way to attract top driver talent to their company.  

If you’re looking for a new CDL job, always check the job description for any mention of detention pay. If there’s nothing in the description, ask the recruiter or HR manager when you talk and get a firm answer. Even if the job description does mention detention pay, still ask them about it just so there’s no confusion later on down the road.   

If you’re an owner operator, you’re able to get detention pay as well. Just make sure the contract specifies detention time, your rate, grace period and any other pertinent information before you sign it. If you don’t get it in writing, there’s a strong chance you won’t get detention pay.  

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types of truck drivers

 

The saying “everything gets moved on a truck” isn’t much of an exaggeration. Dry goods, farm animals, propane, ready-mix concrete, and just about anything else you can think of gets loaded onto a truck trailer at one point or another.  

Over time, people have figured out the best way to haul these different kinds of freight, and there are now specializations for each one. Each of these specializations have different CDL requirements and afford different home time for the driver. Here are the 13 main types of truck driver hauls along with the CDL needed for each one. 

The 3 Types of CDL

types of truck drivers

 

Before you get any type of trucking job, you’ll first need a CDL. Here are the three classes of CDL and what you can drive with each.  

CDL A

This is your standard CDL that lets you drive a semi-truck with a trailer in tow. Here’s the official definition from the FMCSA of what CDL A holders can drive, 

“Any combination of vehicles which has a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more) whichever is greater, inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) whichever is greater. “

This means that anyone with a CDL A can drive a truck with a GVWR greater than 26,000 pounds and a trailer weighing more than 10,000 pounds. CDL A drivers can drive any CMV, including class B and C vehicles, provided they have the appropriate endorsements.  

CDL B

A Class B CDL is a restricted license as you are not allowed to drive large tractors that tow 10,000 pounds or more. This eliminates the ability to drive your standard 53’ trailer. So, what can you drive with a CDL B? Think of dump trucks, delivery trucks, and city buses. Two huge benefits to CDL B jobs are that most positions will be local, and the age requirement is 18 since you won’t be moving freight between state lines.  

CDL C

A Class C is the most unique type of CDL and for good reason. Besides being able to drive a shuttle bus or limo, there’s very little someone can do with a CDL C without the necessary endorsements. Even with those endorsements, most drivers consider it better to just go ahead and get your CDL B or A instead.   

The 3 Types of Runs

 

OTR, local, and regional are the three main types of trucking runs you’ll encounter as a driver. Here are the differences between each one.  

OTR

OTR stands for “Over the Road”. OTR drivers go all across the country and are usually out for a few weeks at a time. This type of trucking is for someone who really loves the trucker life and doesn’t mind being away from home for long periods of time. Because of the nature of this work, OTR drivers, especially the more experienced ones, tend to make more than regional or local drivers. 

Local

As the name suggests, local drivers stay close to home and are usually off on the weekends. A few tradeoffs are that local drivers on average make less than regional or OTR drivers, and the work may be more physically demanding (think delivery and final mile jobs). But if you’re a driver with a family and are looking for steady pay and a set schedule, local jobs are hard to beat.  

Regional

Regional trucking is the midway point between OTR and local. Regional drivers will run routes across a specified region, usually a few states covering 1,000 miles. This means that regional drivers are home every few days. Just like with local jobs, there’s also a level of predictability with regional work, since you’ll likely have a set route you run.  

13 Types of Trucking Hauls

 

Auto Hauling  

Auto haulers are some of the most recognizable trucks on the road. As you could guess, auto haulers are responsible for transporting new and remarketed vehicles from manufacturing plants, ports, railheads and auctions to retail dealerships and auction sites. These jobs can be local, regional, or OTR and require a CDL A.  

Building Products  

Building products hauling is often a local position where drivers deliver roofing and other building products to customer’s homes and job sites.  

This type of work is for drivers who don’t mind splitting time between driving and doing manual labor like unloading and loading building products and working in the warehouse. The good news is that these positions are usually local and only require a CDL B.

Concert Trucking  

Concert truckers 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.  

Concert trucking jobs pay very well, and you build a level of camaraderie with other drivers you’re on tour with, but they’re definitely not for someone who needs a lot of home time. 

Dry Van  

Dry Van trucking is what you think about when you hear “semi-truck”. Dry van truckers haul a 53’ trailer filled with pallets or loose cargo. “Dry Van” can also mean a straight truck or PUP trailers, though that’s not what we usually think of with Dry Van. These jobs are usually OTR or Regional and require a CDL A. 

Final Mile  

Final mile is any time that all-important last step of the logistics chain is completed, when the product goes from the warehouse to the customer’s front door. Final mile drivers can drive anything from a straight truck down to a sprinter van. This means that to drive for some carriers, you won’t even need a CDL, and at most will need a CDL B.   

The biggest benefits to final mile driving are the home time and consistent shifts, since these positions are typically local. The downside is that final mile driving is fast-paced, with a lot being expected of these drivers. 

Flatbed  

Flatbed drivers are some of the most in-demand drivers in the trucking industry today. Why? Flatbed driving is a highly skilled position that not every trucker can do. Many times, these drivers carry oversized loads and need to know how to secure them properly and how to drive very carefully to avoid mishaps or accidents.  

Because of this, flatbed jobs tend to pay better than most CDL jobs. These positions are typically reserved for CDL A drivers but can be local, regional, or OTR.  

Hazmat  

Hazmat drivers haul any type of hazardous materials from one place to another. A hazardous material is anything that could harm a person, animal, or the environment when it mixes with other things like air, fire, water, or other chemicals.  

Because of this, these drivers need to have a special endorsement before they can start hauling hazmat. Like flatbed driving, hazmat jobs are in-demand right now, so it’s a great time to get your endorsement. These jobs can be local, regional, or OTR and typically require a CDL A.  

Livestock  

Livestock hauling is defined as hauling any freight that’s alive. While we usually think of cows, pigs, and chickens, livestock hauling encompasses everything from horses to bees.  

With livestock hauling positions, there’s more to it than just the driving. Drivers must completely sanitize trailers after every load, or they could infect the livestock in their next load. All this extra work does pay off though. Livestock hauling is considered a specialty position, so drivers are well compensated for their work. Livestock hauling can be local, regional, or OTR and typically requires a CDL A.  

Ready Mix  

Ready mix drivers work with concrete and spend most of their days outside. The main job of a ready mix driver is to deliver concrete or cement to a job site. In most cases, drivers will be responsible for loading and unloading, so this is a labor-intensive job, but don’t let that scare you away. 

Ready mix jobs typically pay well. This is particularly true considering that many positions are local and only ask for a CDL B license. One drawback is that this line of work is highly seasonal and dependent on weather. 

Reefer  

Refrigerated (or reefer) drivers haul a specialized trailer that keeps cargo at a certain temperature, like frozen food, produce, and medicine. Reefer jobs can be CDL B, but typically require a CDL A. They can also be local, regional, or OTR.  

Tanker  

Tanker drivers haul gasses or liquids. These positions are seen as more dangerous and skilled than your average CDL position, so the pay reflects that. If you’re driving a tanker, there’s a good chance you’ll be hauling hazmat, so it’s a good idea to get your necessary endorsements before looking into this kind of work.  

Tanker drivers are needed for all sorts of runs, so as long as you have your CDL A and the necessary endorsements and experience, you’ll be able to find local, regional, and OTR work as a tanker driver.

Team Driving  

Team driving is when two drivers share a cab and driving duties. Some special types of hauling require team drivers, usually when cargo is time sensitive or very valuable. But team drivers are more common with owner operators. Many times, a husband-and-wife team will be partners on the road, each taking a share of the driving.  

The biggest advantage of team driving is that you’re able to cover much more ground than you would as a solo driver, since team drivers can switch off between driving and sleeping. Just make sure you get along with your co-pilot, otherwise team driving can be more of a headache than it’s worth. Most team driving positions will be for CDL A drivers running OTR or regional.  

Waste Management  

Waste Management truck driver jobs can be a great fit for new and experienced drivers alike. They’re also good for drivers who like to stay on the move throughout the day. One thing to keep in mind is that these jobs require a lot of physical labor. Waste management jobs are typically local and only require a CDL B. 

Interested in any of these positions? Drive My Way has hundreds of open CDL positions with industry leading carriers in many of these categories. Make a free, secure profile below and find your next CDL job.  

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6 Types of CDL Class A Endorsements

There are three options when getting a commercial driver’s license (CDL): the CDL A, the CDL B or the CDL C. Each class has its own training requirements and testing procedures, and there are pros and cons to explore for each type. Your lifestyle and career plans dictate which license will be the best fit for you. The Class A CDL is the most widely obtained CDL, as it allows you to drive the most vehicles. On top of that, there are 6 types of additional endorsements you can get for it as well as 7 restrictions that can be placed on it.

The Basics of a Class A CDL

The Federal Motor Carrier Association defines CDL A trucks as, “Any combination of vehicles which has a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more) whichever is greater, inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) whichever is greater.”

6 Types of CDL Class A Endorsements

commuter bus passenger endorsement

Once you have your CDL A license, you can get additional endorsements to allow you drive more specialty vehicles. These endorsements require extra written and sometimes, skills testing to obtain the endorsements.

1. (H) Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT)

A HAZMAT endorsement opens the doors to hauling hazardous materials over the road. These jobs are often higher paying and there is usually a larger pool of jobs available. Once you have your CDL A, you can obtain a HAZMAT endorsement passing the required TSA background checks, written test, and medical exam by a DOT doctor. In many cases, having your HAZMAT license is a requirement for getting the X endorsement which will be described shortly.

2. (N) Tanker Vehicle

The tanker endorsement allows a driver to haul a tank or “tanker” full of liquid or gaseous materials. These jobs are often higher paying and usually are local or regional runs, so you’d have more home time than some other jobs. This endorsement does require an additional written test. A tanker truck driver needs to be able to adjust to having his cargo constantly moving around if the tank is not full. Dealing with the “surge” caused by the movement of the liquid in the tank while driving takes some practice and skill development.

3. (P) Passenger Transport

Passenger transport endorsement is pretty straightforward. It allows a licensed driver to drive a vehicle which carries more than 16 passengers, like a city commuter bus. This endorsement requires an added written and skills test to obtain. These jobs are great for people who want to drive a set schedule and be home every night, or for seeing the country driving for travel companies across country. One thing is certain, you will interact with passengers all day long, so this is not the job for someone who likes being alone. This endorsement is usually required to subsequently obtain the “S” endorsement to drive children in a school bus. Usually these two endorsements go hand-in-hand.

4. (S) School Bus/Passenger Transport

School bus endorsements are required to drive children in school busses. Like the “P” endorsement just discussed, this also requires an additional written and driving skills test. But for the “S” endorsement, there are also background checks, criminal history checks, physical fitness tests, and they usually require more frequent supplemental training and testing when the school bus rules change. And these drivers should have a little more patience and certainly must be able to tolerate driving boisterous children.

5. (T) Double/Triples

Double or triple trailers require their own endorsement. The “T” endorsement allows drivers to tow more than one trailer on the back of their truck. This endorsement requires an additional written test as well. The “T” endorsement is especially valuable, as it allows drivers to haul two or even three-times the amount of freight, while driving the same amount of time over the road as with a single trailer. These are often higher-paying trucking jobs, due to the added skills and driving ability the driver needs to have.

6. (X) Tanker and Hazardous Materials

Finally, the “X” endorsement allows a driver to haul large loads of any type of liquid or gaseous HAZMAT cargo inside of a tanker. Having this “X” endorsement even further separates these drivers and their skill sets. This endorsement requires an additional written test. If a driver has any plans to be in the gas and oil hauling business, an “X” endorsement will certainly be required.

7 Types of Class A Restrictions

doubles triples endorsement

Just like obtaining CDL A endorsements lets you legally operate more CMVs, restrictions limit the ones you can operate. The good news is that these restrictions can be lifted once you meet the necessary requirements. Here are the 7 types of CDL A restrictions.

1. (L) Air Brakes Restriction

This restriction is pretty straightforward. If you didn’t pass the air brakes portion of your CDL test, you’ll get an “L” restriction. This means that you won’t be able to operate any semi-truck that uses air brakes, which could be a problem since the majority of trucks do. The good news is that you can take this test as many times as needed to get that “L” lifted.  

2. (Z) Air Brakes Restriction

Just like an “L” restriction, a “Z” prohibits you from driving a truck with air brakes. It just means that instead of failing this portion of the test in a vehicle with air brakes, you passed it in a vehicle with hydraulic brakes. It’s the same process to get this restriction lifted as well; just take the test again in a vehicle with air brakes.  

3. (E) Manual Transmission Restriction

This restriction is placed on a CDL if the driver passed their test but took it in a vehicle with automatic transmission. This isn’t an issue if your current employer uses automatic transmission trucks, but you may want to take your test again in a manual if you plan on moving to a different carrier in the future.  

4. (K) Interstate Travel Restriction

The “K” restriction means that you’re not allowed to travel to other states while driving a CMV. This restriction is placed on drivers who are under 21 as they’re not allowed to haul freight across state lines, although that could be changing soon.

5. (O) Fifth-Wheel Connection Restriction

If you take your CDL test in a vehicle that doesn’t use a fifth-wheel connection, and instead uses a pintle hook or some other type of connection, you’ll get an “O restriction. How do you get this reversed? You guessed it. Just retake the exam with a truck that has a fifth-wheel connection.  

6. (M) Class A Passenger Vehicle Restriction

The “M” restriction is one of those very unique (and confusing) restrictions that you probably won’t run into during your trucking career. It means that you have your CDL A and can drive all CDL A vehicles but took your “P” or “S” endorsement test in a CDL B vehicle. You can drive all CDL B passenger vehicles (typically buses) but can’t drive any very large bus that falls under the Class A weight limits. 

7. (V) Medical Variance Restriction

The “V” restriction is put on your CDL if you have a medical issue that would somehow impact your ability to drive. These variances could include vision impairment or high blood pressure. Unlike the other restrictions, a “V” doesn’t affect your ability to drive certain types of vehicles.  

When it comes to CDL A restrictions, the best advice is to take your CDL A test in the appropriate vehicle so you can avoid getting any of these restrictions placed on your CDL in the first place.

If you’ve just got a new CDL endorsement or restriction lifted and are looking for a new CDL job, let Drive My Way help you out. Make a free, secure profile below and get matched with your next CDL job.

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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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dry van truckingDry Van hauling is without a doubt the most recognizable and common form of trucking. Just about every OTR or Regional trucker has driven dry van at some point in their career. Why? Almost everything gets transported on dry vans. If it’s not alive, won’t spoil, and isn’t oversized, there’s a good chance it’ll be on a dry van. Here are the need-to-know facts about dry van trucking.  

What is a Dry Van?

A Dry Van is a trailer that’s completely enclosed on all sides. They carry packaged goods and beverages, electronics, building materials, raw materials, and more.  

Are There Different Types?

Standard 53”

When we think of a dry van trailer, this is what probably comes to mind. These trailers are usually 53 feet long, though they can be as short as 48. They’re used to transport either pallets or loose cargo. Pallets are more common since it’s the most time and space efficient way to transport goods.  

Pup Trailers

Pup trailers are smaller trailers, usually between 26 and 28 feet that can be attached in doubles or triples. Pups are used to haul multiple smaller loads that need to be dropped in different locations or cargo that needs to be separated from each other.  

Pups are great for maneuvering through tight spaces like city streets. Though this gets more difficult when you’re hauling more than one pup. One thing to remember about pups is that they’re difficult to backup and something only experienced drivers should attempt. The easier (but more time consuming) way is to break them down and back up each pup individually.  

There are also pup trailers that can be pulled by dump trucks. These trailers have a similar design to the dump body and are used to save time by carrying two loads at once.  

Straight Trucks

Straight trucks, though not what we typically think of when we hear “dry van”, fall under that category as well. With straight trucks, the trailer and cab are one. These trucks are common in local hauling and delivery services. Since straight trucks weigh less than 26,000 pounds, only a CDL B is required to drive them.

What Do You Need to Drive Dry Van?

You’ll need your CDL A to drive a dry van trailer. The one exception mentioned above is straight trucks, which only require a CDL B to operate. If you plan on hauling pup trailers, you’ll need your doubles and triples endorsement as well.  

Where Do You Find Dry Van Jobs?

Dry van trucking is the most common form of trucking, so there are a lot of jobs out there. Most are OTR and Regional, but there are local dry van jobs as well for drivers who need to be home every night. 

Looking for a dry van job? Drive My Way has hundreds of open positions with carriers looking to hire. Create a free profile below and find your perfect job today. 

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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. Here’s what truck drivers should know about road rage and how to avoid it. 

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:

 

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