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cvsa safe driver week

Safe Driver Week is almost here! Coronavirus can’t keep trucks off the road, and it isn’t stopping the CVSA Safe Driver Week either. Mark your calendar for July 12-18, 2020. During the second full week of July, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is hosting a week to turn a spotlight to safe driving practices. Each year, the CVSA picks an area of focus. This year, it’s speeding. Clearly, CMV safety is important every week of the year, but CVSA is using this week to nationally highlight safety in trucking.

Why is there a CVSA Safe Driver Week?

If you’re a truck driver hauling essential goods, you may be on the roads almost non-stop. You also might have noticed that most people aren’t driving as frequently. During COVID-19, roads have seen a lot less traffic than usual. It might seem like the roads should be safer during stay-at-home orders, but studies have shown that isn’t the case. There are fewer vehicles on the road, but unfortunately, some drivers are getting too relaxed with safety regulations on the open highways. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA), many regions are seeing a big spike in speeding. 

Here are just a few of the numbers from the GHSA:

  • Colorado, Indiana, Utah, and Nebraska have all recorded highway speeds over 100 mph
  • In Minnesota, motor vehicle crashes and fatalities are up more than 2X from a similar period last year. Half of those deaths were related to speeding or negligence
  • New York City has nearly doubled its number of speeding tickets issued in March compared to February of this year

It’s tempting to meet the open roads with an open throttle. Especially when the pressure to meet deadlines is high, a few extra miles per hour might not seem like a problem. But we also know that you care about your safety and your loved ones. The most important thing is to get home safely to them.

During safe driver week as well as the rest of the year, stay safe by practicing defensive driving. That includes regulating your speed and being proactive in poor weather conditions. Similarly, staying alert and well-rested, especially in work zones and other high activity areas helps keep you on the road. 

What Safe Driver Week Means for You

Throughout the week of July 12-18, law enforcement officials will be particularly watchful for drivers engaging in unsafe behavior.

The focus is on speeding, but there will be an increased awareness of other unsafe habits as well.

If officials identify a driver as engaging in unsafe behavior, they may issue a citation. Safe driver week is a national effort, so truckers should be aware whether you’re local, regional, or OTR. Pay close attention to changing speed limits as you drive between states or in and out of cities. 

How to Avoid Citations

The CVSA Safe driver week is focused on speeding this year, but enforcement officers will also have a sharp eye for other violations. Avoid following other vehicles too closely, improper lane changes, and follow traffic signs carefully.

Some of the most obvious reasons to pull someone over are visual ones.

Keep your smartphone away and your eyes on the road. It’s easy to notice when someone is texting or talking on a handheld phone while driving. Both are illegal in many states. Another easily spotted violation? Seatbelt use. Belt up while you’re on the road and you’ll be safer and less likely to get pulled over. 

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How to Easily Reduce Truck Driver Stress on the Job

Stress. Everyone has stress in their lives. But for a truck driver, when stress impacts their life, it can truly be dangerous. If a driver is stressed and it impacts their thinking or decision-making, it is something that needs to be addressed. Immediately. Because truckers are bombarded with distractions all day long while trying to concentrate and drive safely, it can be hard to find ways to reduce added stress from their lives. But we’ve found a few fundamental things that can help. Here are a few ways to easily reduce truck driver stress on the job.

Get Some Sleep

The best way to reduce your stress levels is to be proactive in getting enough sleep. Without the proper amount of sleep, your body struggles to function well. One of the first things affected is your thinking. Decision making is tougher, and your attention span may shorten. All these things will lead to additional stress over the course of the day.

Great advice for any trucker: be sure to get your required hours of shut-eye to maintain a healthy mind, and reduce stress during the day.

Get the best sleep by keeping up with your bedtime routine. Reduce lights and distractions once it’s bed time. Put away your electronics before you get into bed for the night. So that once your head hits the pillow, all you need to do is close your eyes and fall asleep.

Eat to Reduce Truck Driver Stress

Stress eating is a real thing. But what about eating to reduce stress? There are plenty of foods that are known to reduce stress. Foods chock full of vitamins and minerals are known to help fuel your body and help improve your mood. Counter to this, foods without any real nutritional value can have the opposite effect.

Eating sugar or high levels of caffeine might give you a short burst of energy, but leave you dragging later. That’s certain to cause additional stress, and make your day drag even worse.

Avoid foods with short-term effects, and stick with foods that will help you stay healthy for the long haul. Keeping a good balance of foods that taste good and are good for you is a great way to keep stress at bay on the road.

Clear Your Mind with a Story

Concentrating on the road and traffic all day can take a toll on your nerves. Many drivers like to listen to podcasts or stories during the day to help pass the time. Some drivers prefer to listen once the workday is done.

After a long day on the road, many truckers find listening to audiobooks a terrific way to unwind and relax.

Once you are parked for the night, get comfortable, close your eyes, and press play. Transport yourself into a story about history, science fiction, crime dramas, or something light and happy. You can find any number of apps for your phone or tablet to play the audiobooks.

Advice from a Trucker

We asked our Drive My Way Facebook followers to let us know what helps them reduce stress.

Tim Petruccio mentioned a few different things that help him:

  • Tim Petruccio

    Tim Petruccio

    Increase following distances

    3 to 4 mph less than traffic during volume times

  • Turn off the outside noise (radio, phone calls, etc…)
  • Remember you are in control. You have the final say when it comes to YOUR safety
  • Get rest! Don’t spend 3 of your 10 hours on break, watching TV or gaming. Have a good meal, shower and then hit the rack
  • Think about the things you love (family, places, pets, etc.). Then picture yourself returning safely to them

Keeping family and friends close in your mind really can help too. It’s always good to know that no matter how tough your day is, there’s always a way to make the next day better.

Let us know what you think. Sound off on our Facebook post and let us know what you do to help reduce your truck driver stress. We’d love to share your best ideas with our readers!

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The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

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Night Driving

Most drivers will put in their fair share of night truck driving at some point in their careers. Depending on what you drive, night shifts might be your normal routine, or you might drive them only once in a while.

There are several perks to night driving, but it also can be more dangerous. Three times more crashes happen at night than during the day. If you’re headed out for a late shift, here are 7 things you need to know about night truck driving.

1. Your body’s natural rhythms are at a lull in the middle of the night.

Typically, your energy and alertness will drop in the early morning hours. This is particularly true for drivers who don’t typically drive at night.

Consistency along with a good diet and exercise helps your body adjust to a night driving schedule and helps you get the good sleep you need during the day.

If you need a good audiobook to keep you alert on the road, check out our top 10 list.

2. Your visibility is weakened at night.

Unfortunately, humans just don’t have amazing night vision. At night, your peripheral vision will not be as good, and you can’t see as far ahead of you on the road. That makes it hard to see animals who jump out at the last minute. It also means your response time to other drivers and events on the road is likely to be a little slower. Leave yourself extra space whenever possible.

3. Traffic is usually lighter.

Much of the world works a 9-5 job, so if you’re night driving, you will rarely have a problem with traffic. Even congested urban areas are often not a problem when you’re night driving. That said, the other drivers who are out are also at a low point of alertness. Keep your distance and drive defensively. You never know what other kinds of drivers are on the road.

4. Deliveries can be more dangerous.

At night, there are fewer people around, and you’re more likely to run into bad characters. Some drivers say this is especially true in urban areas when you’re making a delivery. Use your street smarts and if you’re traveling to a new area, try to learn what you can about the drop before you go. 

5. You’re on your own when night truck driving.

Most dispatchers and customers aren’t operating 24/7. Typically, that means less after-hours assistance if you run into trouble or need last minute directions to your client.

If you’re an independent driver who loves being self-reliant, you’ll love the self-sufficiency.

It’s on you to solve your own problems and get the job done. Keep a few essential tools in your cab, and you’ll be good to go.

6. Parking options are better.

Night drivers aren’t competing for parking in the same way that other drivers have to in the day. Most of the time, you won’t need to dock early or plan your route around the places you know you can stop. That can be a huge time saver (not to mention the headache you avoid!). If you do need to look for parking or gas, try TruckerPath or GasBuddy to get you where you need to go.

7. Keep your windshield, headlights, and mirrors clean.

Glare can be a big problem for night truck driving. Luckily, a little glass cleaner and elbow grease usually does the trick.

Reducing glare from your mirrors and windshield will go a long way toward keeping your night vision.

Similarly, try not to look closely at oncoming traffic. The bright white lights will temporarily impair your vision. Look slightly down and to the right (or at the white road line) to avoid the negative effects.

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defensive driving

The best offense is a good defense⁠—and when it comes to being a safe truck driver, this old sports saying certainly holds true. Keeping you, your truck, other motorists, and your cargo safe is how truckers win on the road. There are many ways to improve your skills and reduce your risks while on the road. Here are 5 defensive driving tips for truckers everywhere.

1. Minimize distractions

Every driver needs to be connected, but not to the point where connections are distractions. Phones beeping with notifications too often, or non-critical calls coming in too frequently should be minimized. If you have something going on at home that’s distracting you, do your best to put it out of your mind until you’re done working. Many of these things are easier said than done for a truck driver with hours of time alone each day.

You don’t want to fall into bad habits while driving. So it’s smart to work on minimizing your distractions and being a safe driver.

2. Keep yourself healthy

Wearing your seat belt every day helps keep you secure in the cab of your truck. Getting enough sleep helps you pay better attention while driving. Eating right and exercising keeps you in better shape to have stamina for long days over the road. Keeping yourself safe also means you should take a break if and when you start to feel tired. Doing what you need to keep yourself in your best mental and physical condition is as important as honing and developing your driving skills and experience.

3. Expect the unexpected

Be aware of motorists around you and know your space cushion in relationship to those motorists. Anticipate what other drivers around you are going to do as they’re going to do something that could impact your driving.

Being prepared and making the correct defensive driving adjustments are key to your ability to remain safe while working.

4. Anticipate changing conditions

Truck drivers who are prepared for changing weather and road conditions will usually be better drivers. A little bit of extra care and planning when trucking through construction zones will ensure that you and the road workers make it home safely. The same goes for planning for specific times of day, especially rush hours. Anticipating construction zones, potential snow, and morning or afternoon rush hour traffic helps you be prepared for it, or better yet, helps you avoid it altogether.

5. Know your space cushion

Knowing your stopping distance is extremely important for a truck driver. A normal car can stop much quicker than a truck and it can stop within a lot less traveled distance.

According to the FMCSA, “A fully loaded truck traveling in good road conditions at highway speeds needs a distance of nearly two football fields to stop.”

That means a truck driver always needs to be aware of keeping enough space around their truck to stop quickly if demanded.

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Tips for Women Truck DriversBeing a woman driver in the male-dominated trucking industry comes with a unique set of challenges. Driving provides women truckers with many of the same advantages as it does to men—independence, flexibility, and the opportunity to travel across the country.

But the obstacles don’t affect men and women truckers equally. Women truck drivers have to think about the job, safety, and hygiene differently. While the industry is starting to change to become more friendly toward women, there’s still much work to be done. Until then, here are 7 tips for women truck drivers.

work life balance women truck drivers1. Work-life balance

While work-life balance should be important for all truckers, it’s sometimes not as important to men. Carriers may become used to offering insufficient home time and opportunities for balance simply because men aren’t as vocal about these concerns as women. Women truck drivers may find themselves on the short end of the stick simply because their male counterparts aren’t asking for more!

We spoke to Heather, a truck driver with 2 years of experience. She said, “I did OTR just long enough to get a little experience to find a local job. I have 3 boys so I wanted to be local as soon as possible. Was a VERY LONG 7 months, and I learned everything in the winter months in the snow and ice.”

Communication with your fleet manager or leader is essential to ensuring that you get the work-life balance you deserve. In fact, women drivers shouldn’t be waiting that long to start discussions around home time. Communicating with recruiters that this is a priority for you will set you on the right path to achieving the kind of balanced lifestyle you’re looking for.

2. Safety in your truck

The trucking industry can be tough on women for reasons of safety simply because they are on the road. There’s no predicting what kinds of characters you can run into across the country and in truck stops. Solo drivers may feel particularly uncomfortable if shady characters become aware that they are driving alone.

We spoke to Michele, a truck driver with a few months of experience so far in the industry. She suggests that solo drivers keep their bunk curtains closed at all times. “Let people think there [is] someone sleeping in the back even while you’re driving,” she advises.

Michele also notes that placing a team driving sticker on your truck will also create the impression that you are not traveling alone, and she highly recommends this trick to other women drivers.

truck stop safety tips3. Safety at a truck stop

Truck stops are notorious for being minefields for women truck drivers. Although many truck stops are taking measures to improve conditions and become more woman-friendly, they can’t control the behavior of the characters who lurk around.

We encourage women to know precautions to take to stay safe at truck stops.

Heather said, “When walking through the truck stop at night, have something handy in case you need to protect yourself.”

Although violence at truck stops is rare, there are always safety precautions people can take.

4. Behind the wheel

Some of the women truck drivers we spoke to had specific advice about staying behind the wheel. Road conditions can become dangerous during nighttime or the winter season.

Michele recommends that women truck drivers pre-plan and keep checking their routes, especially in the winter. She states, “Just because it was open 2 hours ago, doesn’t mean it’s open later.”

Heather listens to forensic files and chews gum to help keep her awake during night driving. She encourages women drivers to pull over if needed and states, “If road conditions become too treacherous, just stop! Freight can wait!”

5. Hygiene

Women truck drivers will have specific concerns about hygiene that male drivers won’t. And unfortunately, sometimes male drivers, fleet managers, or truck stop employees may be unaware or unsympathetic to these issues.

Heather said that one of the biggest lessons she learned from her OTR driving days is to always have baby wipes handy. She also recommends to “keep an empty big gulp cup because they are the easiest to pee into.”

Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but with OTR driving, the stops can be few and far between, so it’s better to be prepared in the case of emergencies!

women truck drivers6. Reach out to other women drivers

While it may seem easy to understand the concerns of women drivers, or imagine what the job will be like, there’s no way to know until someone has done it. We recommend completing some research about what to expect, but there’s no substitute for speaking with other women truck drivers who’ve been there themselves.

Reaching out to other women truck drivers will give you an inside look at what issues they’ve been facing and how they’ve handled them. As you speak to more women drivers, you’ll build a network of colleagues who have each others’ back and can work together. You may also want to connect with organizations like Women in Trucking, which focus on addressing these obstacles.

7. Find the right carrier

While women drivers can take certain measures themselves, they can’t do it all alone. It takes a community that values women’s issues and concerns in the trucking industry.

Before signing with your next carrier, do some research and find out which carriers value their women drivers.

Some carriers will do more to promote career opportunities, improve conditions, and deliver resources needed to address women’s issues in trucking. A company’s culture can have a large impact on a woman truck driver’s sense of belonging, identity, and purpose. Finding a carrier that aligns with your own values will help you feel comfortable and secure in a male-dominated industry.

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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

Porapak Apichodilok

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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Nicer weather usually means that road construction season is about switch into high gear. Though driving safely is always a best practice, there are some additional things to be aware of when it comes to driving in a construction zone. A little bit of extra care and planning when trucking through construction zones will ensure that you AND the road workers make it home safely. Here are 3 work zone safety tips to focus on this time of year.

1. Always Be Alert

Expect the Unexpected. Be alert for work zone signage along the side of the road, and the overhead digital signage as well. Watch for workers or flaggers helping to direct traffic. Be prepared for the changes in speed limits and lane closures. Give yourself plenty of time to react and keep an eye out for those that aren’t reacting correctly.

Using your height advantage to see signage and changing traffic patterns ahead gives you an advantage when it comes to work zone safety.

And be sure to stay alert if you drive the same routes daily. A long-term construction project might have daily lane shifts or different road closures.

2. Exercise Defensive Driving Skills

Apply the best driver training and experience here. Quick stops from other drivers ahead often lead to rear-end collisions. Using good defensive driving practices allow truckers to avoid accidents and have plenty of time to stop safely.

In construction zones it’s recommended to use extra caution to prevent accidents that most commonly occur due to road work.

Give a little bit of extra braking room to allow for late mergers or someone reacting poorly to changes in the road.

3. Plan in Advance

An ounce of prevention applies here. Plan routes and timing according to what your GPS app or travel websites indicates are the best. Many times this will be to avoid road work if possible. These often will be a little bit longer but will keep you moving and not stuck in traffic jams due to construction work. And everyone arrives safely at the end of the day.

U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration

U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, almost 30 percent of all work zone crashes involve large trucks.

The number of people killed in work zone crashes involving large trucks has been increasing. Over 1,000 fatalities and over 18,000 injuries have occurred during the last 5 years.

Work Zones might be temporary, and some might be multi-year projects in the same area. A one-day closure for minor repairs or lane painting and a 3-year interchange overhaul should demand the same amount of safety precautions from those using the roads. The construction team is out there working, sometimes around the clock, to keep the roads in good repair and improving for the future of all drivers. Be sure to continue to reference these work zone safety tips and “GIVE ‘EM A BRAKE” as the saying goes!

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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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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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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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.

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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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