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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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Kyle’s career path took quite a few different turns before arriving in his current role as the Apprenticeship Program Leader for Veriha Trucking. Kyle, 33 was born in LaCrosse, WI. He spent his high school years in Alma Center, WI.

Military Service

Right after he finished high school, Kyle enlisted in the U.S. Army. His 5 years in the service, took him around the world. He went from Wisconsin, through Germany, to Iraq and finally to Fort Hood, TX. As a Combat Engineer he spent his time “doing a little bit of everything—from security, dismounted patrols, route clearance, building bases.”

After leaving the military, he dabbled in a career in the medical field as respiratory therapist, though ultimately it wasn’t the right fit for him. “I loved learning” he said but didn’t like working in the hospital environment at all. From there, he dug into a 5 year stint in the mining industry.

“Loading rail cars, moving trains, in the actual pit.  I had a blast.” But ultimately when the oil industry took a turn, he took that opportunity to move on and decided to learn how to drive a truck.

He “picked a company with good on-the-job training, that fit me and my family. I got my CDL in 2 weeks, got my own truck and away I went for the next year”. Kyle noted that being an over-the-road truck driver gave him a great opportunity to see more of the United States. Driving through Tennessee was a route that he really enjoyed. Up to that point, he said he’d been in more different countries than states.

Veriha Trucking: Opportunities to Grow

veriha truckingBeing away from home for long stretches no longer best fit his family’s needs, and he looked for a new job that kept him closer to home. He found an opening at Veriha Trucking as a Yard Spotter and joined the team there 2 years ago.

From the yard, he moved on to being a coach in the Safety Department, and then ultimately to his current role as the Apprenticeship Program Leader. He’s been with that program “as part of the startup, from inception to today”.

When asked about the Apprenticeship Program, he talks about how it’s “unlike anything else. Instead of learning on a range, we get people out hauling freight with an actual trainer. Giving them the clear picture of what it’s like to be a driver.”

Kyle talks about what he thinks differentiates their program from others. “The big difference is we’re invested in these people from the beginning.”

Once candidates are identified, successfully interviewed and pass all background checks, “people are hired from day one.” The program boasts “accelerated results from drivers. People are out there doing great work, much faster than expected. It’s really paying off for them. If it’s good for the driver, it’s generally good for the company.”

At Veriha Trucking, “everybody in the company is encouraged to do personal development. Book clubs, networking. Everyone is encouraged to better themselves.”

Kyle is married and has twin 5-year old children, a daughter and son, who keep him very busy. Currently, they enjoy residing in northeastern WI. In addition, in his free time, he enjoys fishing, hunting, and woodworking.

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

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

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

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

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

Physical

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

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

Mental

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

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

Image via Pinterest

Social

Having your dog with you when you’re at a truck stop taking him for walk, makes for an easy conversation starter with other people. People love to talk about their dogs and ask about other people’s dogs. This ensures a few times each day you’ve got a built-in reason to strike up a conversation with someone, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

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

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

truck driving with a dog

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Edward “Eddie” Dalzell talked his way into his first truck driving job at age 19 in Massachusetts.

3 million accident-free miles and almost 50 years later, Eddie’s now retired from truck driving but still logging miles on foot as a hiker and lead CSR for Penske in San Antonio.

truck driver

As he tells the story, he got his first truck driving job through good old-fashioned persistence. And telling a little bit of a lie.

“The company I was working for went out of business. There were no other jobs around. The car I had ran out of gas, I had no money. So, I walked 3 miles down the road to a place that was supposedly hiring truck drivers. I had no clue how to drive a truck. I kept going back day after day until they finally hired me!”

From there, he had a friend teach him how to drive a truck.

Once he got his start with that first job in Massachusetts, Eddie moved south after a few years. There he got his first job as a tanker truck driver. He spent the next few decades with various jobs between Texas and Louisiana, driving tankers between refineries and operating other heavy equipment. He mentions that some of those were dangerous jobs, and that thankfully he got lucky a few times.

Living and working near the Gulf of Mexico, he saw his share of hurricanes and severe weather.

The memory of those storms still stand out to Eddie. “Dodging hurricanes, wasn’t fun. Everyone else was leaving, but we’d be heading into the storms with the plywood to help. Last hurricane I drove 27 hours straight because of all the road closures to get around it. Had to get right back up in 5 hours to go back into it.”

When asked about his time as a truck driver at Dupre Logistics, he said that they were big on safety, and provided great training.

dupre-logistics

He also fondly recalls having a great boss who became a life-long friend to this day.

“At Dupre, Leadership was very good. We had good drivers. We could laugh and have fun.  They are VERY fair. They also gave a nice safety bonus every 3 months which was nice”.

That bonus came with a safety meeting at a great local steakhouse. Eddie mentioned he never missed a bonus, or the steak dinners. Working for Dupre, he said that integrity was important.

“There’s lots of competition out there but the jobs kept coming back to us because they liked what we were doing.”

Over the years, he also spent time as a driving instructor and unofficial career and life coach.

“Taught people how to drive standard trucks. I enjoyed that. I also told students to follow your dreams. Listen to Mr. Eddie: Don’t do something you hate, you’ll be miserable your whole life.”

Now retired from driving, Eddie spends his days working as a hiker and lead Customer Service Representative for Penske.

truck driver

He says he logs over 52 miles a week on foot, 20,000 steps, walking around the facility. Quite a change from all of the hours and miles behind the wheel!

Eddie, 68, has a wife, 6 children and 10 grandkids. In his free time, he enjoys living close to 3 of those grandkids.

“I get to see them all the time. Grandma loves to keep them on the weekends – gives their moms a break”. He also enjoys fishing and keeping fit and active.

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For Tiffany Adams, being a truck driver runs in the family. “My dad was a truck driver, so it’s in the family blood”. Though she tried a few things prior to getting into the trucking business officially, since age 21, “trucking was the only way to go” for her.

Tiffany’s favorite route to drive is “I-24 going through Kentucky.

It’s the most beautiful run anyone could ever do.” The summertime bluegrass lined roads all around Paducah are her favorite.  She recommends a stop at Patti’s Settlement 1880’s restaurant if you’re in the neighborhood. A stop at Patti’s “definitely should be on your to-do list if you’re in the area”.

After a normal day of 10-11 hours, she mentions a struggle that she’s advocating for: MORE PARKING.


“The daily struggles today we have is parking. Parking is so limited to the truck stops that we have across the nation, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find parking after 5 pm. And it’s just getting worse. It’s getting to the point you can’t find parking, and you need to drive 20+ miles out of your route just to find a place park”.

She hopes that in the future there’s expanded parking available at truck stops and rest stops around the country.

Tiffany drives with her husband Weston.

You can find them passing the time “listening to a lot of country music while we’re riding down the highway”.

When they’re not out on the road or getting ready for their next long-haul, they enjoy spending time playing with their horses, their family and hanging out with friends. “We love what we do we provide for our states, building supplies, rail road supplies, your every day needs”.

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