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truck driver safety

Truck driving is a dangerous profession. Getting behind the wheel of a 15-ton semi always presents risks, especially when the roads are crowded or there’s inclement weather. But, there are other parts of the on the road lifestyle that can present dangers as well.  

Stopping at truck stops and rest stops, especially at night, can lead to situations where drivers don’t feel safe. Almost every experienced driver has a story of when something went wrong or almost went wrong at one of these stops.  

For many of these drivers, taking precautions to protect themselves is what got them out of these situations safe and sound. Here are a few different ways to practice truck driver safety while stopping on the road. 

Limit Night Stops if Possible

While this isn’t always possible for OTR and regional drivers, limiting rest area stops at night is the best way to protect yourself on the road. When you do have to stop at a rest stop, avoid stopping at the nearest truck stop. Instead, do some research on the best ones on your route. 

Apps like Trucker Path can show you reviews of truck stops left by truckers before you. Before you hit the road, plan out where you’ll stop so you can avoid sketchy or poorly reviewed stops.  

If you do have to stop at a rest area, avoid leaving your cab unless you really need to. 

Watch for Dangerous Spots

The same rules that apply to parking garage and parking lot safety also apply to truck stops. If you need to get out of your cab at night, there’s a few different things you can do to be as safe as possible.  

The first is to avoid walking directly next to a trailer or between two trailers. These areas are the perfect spot for someone to lay in wait if they wanted to. Also, try and avoid walking directly next to corners if you can help it.  

Having a flashlight or even better, wearing a reflective piece of clothing while getting out of your truck could be the thing to dissuade would-be attackers. If something were to happen, you’d be much easier for a passerby to spot if you’re wearing something neon yellow as opposed to black or brown. 

Arm Yourself (Legally)

When people talk about protecting themselves, one thing usually comes to mind; firearms. While many drivers do prefer to carry while in their vehicle, there are some things you should be aware of if you plan on doing the same.  

To have a firearm in your cab, you’ll first need to obtain a concealed carry permit. This isn’t too hard for local drivers since they’re usually only driving intrastate, but for OTR or regional drivers, this is where carrying a firearm can be legally dicey.  

The issue is that since you’ll be crossing state lines, you need to make sure your concealed carry permit is valid from state to state. There isn’t nation-wide reciprocity, so the CC permit that you have in Missouri may not be valid the second you cross into Illinois. You can view this map to see which states a concealed carry permit is valid in.  

Aside from guns, there are any number of other things a truck driver could use to defend themselves if they needed. Think of things you probably have in your truck right now; wrenches, padlocks, hammers, tire iron, etc.  

Any one of these items could be used to defend yourself in a pinch. If you don’t have anything like those, doing something as simple as carrying your keys or some other sharp object between your fingers in a fist could be the difference between being a victim or not.  

Crime will always be a part of life, but that doesn’t mean that truck drivers have to be on the receiving end of it. Avoiding possibly dangerous situations, being aware of your surroundings, and staying prepared are your three best defenses as a truck driver on the road.

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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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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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can truck drivers carry guns
Aside from what’s on the road, truck driving can be a dangerous profession even when drivers aren’t behind the wheel. That’s why many truck drivers choose to carry a firearm in their truck for their own personal protection. Drivers, especially those who run OTR and Regional, find themselves all over the place, and sometimes those places are less than reputable. Combine this with a lack of safe and available parking nationwide and you can see why many drivers choose to carry. 

But as important as it is for drivers to protect themselves, it’s equally important to understand the laws surrounding carrying firearms while on the road. This is especially important for drivers who travel across state lines, as they need to know the laws for every state they drive through. Here’s what to know about carrying as a truck driver. 

Can Truck Drivers Carry Guns?

Truck drivers are allowed to carry a firearm, but it needs to be unloaded and kept out of reach of both the driver and any passenger with the ammunition stored separately. This means that keeping your firearm in the glove box is not allowed since it’s easily accessible from your driver’s seat. The best bet is to keep it in a locked box.  

Can Truck Drivers Get Their Concealed Carry?

While some drivers may be fine with the above arrangement, it’s understandable that many drivers who carry aren’t. It’s unlikely that if you’re ever in a situation where a firearm is needed, you’ll have the time to unlock a box, retrieve your firearm, and load it. That’s why many drivers opt to have their concealed carry permit instead.  

A concealed carry permit allows drivers to carry a firearm on their person while in their truck. Every state can issue you a concealed carry, but the requirements are different state by state on how to obtain one. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the requirements before attempting to get your conceal carry. Plus, there are a number of states known as “may issue” states. This means that you could meet all the requirements to receive your concealed carry permit and still be denied, as the state works on a case-by-case basis. 

Can Truck Drivers Carry Across State Guidelines?

Even after you’ve received a concealed carry, it’s important to be aware of the laws and regulations surrounding  carrying; the most important being carrying across state lines. As of right now, legislation has been introduced to the House of Representatives that would make a concealed carry permit obtained in one state valid in all others. This is known as reciprocity. The bill would first need to pass the house and then be picked up by the senate and passed there.

A similar bill was introduced and passed the house in 2017, but the senate did not act on it. As of right now, it’s unclear when the legislation will pass, if at all. This is why drivers shouldn’t wait around for congress to act, and instead familiarize themselves with concealed carry laws state by state.  

You can view this map to see which states your concealed carry permit is valid in. Simply select the state that you have your concealed carry registered in and you’ll be shown all the states that honor your permit and the states that do not. This means that before you cross over into a state that doesn’t honor your concealed carry permit, you’ll need to unload the firearm and store it in a locked container away from the ammunition, just like you would if you didn’t have your permit. 

What About Carrier Rules and Guidelines?

Also, be aware that just because you’re legally allowed to carry a firearm in your cab, this doesn’t mean that your carrier allows it. This is no problem for Owner Operators, but company drivers should be aware of all company rules and guidelines regarding firearms before carrying in their truck.  

While carrying a firearm is a measure that many drivers choose to take, it doesn’t have to be the only thing that drivers do to stay safe on the road. Making sure to park only at safe and legal stops along with pre-planning your routes to avoid stopping in any dangerous areas are precautions that should also be taken by truck drivers. 

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

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

1. Less Idling

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

2. Rolling Resistance Tires

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

3. Side Skirts

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

4. Maintenance

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

5. Recycle

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

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

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time management tips
Most truck drivers enjoy the freedom that the job and lifestyle gives them. But this freedom comes at the cost of being able to manage your own time. For experienced truckers who have been on the road for years, this isn’t a problem. But for new drivers, who have come from different workplaces, like restaurants or offices, this can be a bit of a culture shock. 

New drivers, not versed in the best practices of the road, can have difficulty getting shipments delivered on time. This can lead to stress, unhappy customers, and even disciplinary action from their employer if if it keeps happening. The good news for new drivers is that time management skills will come in time. But to help jumpstart the process, here’s a couple of tips from current CDL drivers on how to manage your time effectively while on the road. 

1. Avoid Unnecessary Stops

This can be the biggest problem that new drivers face. You have 14 hours total in your day, 11 to drive, three to do with as you please. While three hours seems like a ton of time for breaks and stops, ask any trucker and they’ll tell you that it adds up quickly when you factor in trying to find parking, long lines and other time drains.  

Jimmy’s Kenworth

“Use your time wisely. Always remember that as soon as your clock starts for the day, you only have a total of 14 hours to work and 11 to drive. Don’t spend any more time at shippers/receivers or truck stops than necessary while your clock is running. Just be diligent in utilizing your time wisely,” shared Jimmy, a Flatbed Driver in PA. 

The best way to combat this is to limit the stops you make for food and drinks. Try stocking up your truck on the essentials while you’re at home so you’ll have to make fewer stops while driving. Another tip is to monitor your gas as well. Instead of stopping once for food and once again for gas, get them both done in one stop. 

2. Plan Your Parking

Over the past few years, there’s been more of a light shone of the lack of legal and safe parking available for truck drivers. So much so that some drivers stop driving earlier than they need to, just to guarantee they’ll have a good place to park.  

“Having a place to park that is safe and has amenities is important for all drivers, whether you’re a veteran or a rookie. New drivers always need to have a plan B, or even a plan C when it comes to parking,” shared Jimmy. 

While this still continues to be an issue for truckers, technology is on your side when it comes to parking. There are a number of great apps that help drivers find the closest and best parking spots, rest areas, and even weigh stations. Try and plan out where you’ll be stopping for the night by checking these apps early. Always have a plan B or C as well in case there’s no space at the first spot. 

3. Try to Avoid Traffic

This tip is of course, much easier said than done. Even if you do everything right, sometimes traffic will be unavoidable. But there are a few things you can do to avoid getting caught in it. 

Angel, CDL A Driver

“From my experience, I always add an extra 1.5 hours to my ETA to accommodate for stops, traffic, etc. Always plan for the worst but expect the best. Strive to be early for your appointment times and use trucker apps to check for parking. Most importantly, have your CB radio on and use it,” shared Angel, a CDL A Driver.

Try and strategize your routes so that you avoid driving through busy streets or stretches of highway during peak rush hour traffic and use that time for your breaks and stops instead. Also, just like with parking, there’s a number of apps, like Waze that can help you avoid heavy traffic and plan your route.  

“Pre-plan your route. Know where you’ll need to fuel up. Know at what time you’ll hit major cities. That’s crucial if you want to avoid traffic jams. I’ll just say don’t go through Chicago during rush hour if you can help it,” shared Uros, a CDL A Driver.

4. Avoid Going Too Hard

Uros, CDL A Driver

Having great time management skills is essential for any driver. Experienced drivers can get so savvy that they’re actually able to take a full day off their routes at certain times. But the flip side to that is knowing when too much is too much. 

“Get your sleep—seriously. Rest is an important element of trucking. After all, you’re operating heavy machinery and need to be alert at all times,” shared Uros.

While optimizing your time is great, it should never come at the expense of rest. It’s essential that drivers get an adequate amount of sleep each night, for both their safety and the safety of others. It may seem like a good idea to try and get some extra miles in when you should be sleeping, but the risk is never worth it, and you may end up costing yourself more time if you end up getting into an accident because of it. 

If you’re a new driver worried about time management, you’re not alone. Even the most experienced drivers were rookies at some point. Just keep driving, follow these tips and you’ll be a time management expert in no time.  

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Driving any motor vehicle during icy and snowy conditions brings an inherent risk. When that motor vehicle is a 25-ton semi-truck, that risk becomes amplified. Drivers need all the help they can get when out on the road in these conditions. That’s where snow chains come in. Snow chains have been used for over 100 years to help drivers of all vehicle types gain traction and avoid wheel spin on snowy and icy roads.  Aside from the obvious safety aspect here, most states have chain laws that you’ll need to follow as well during icy and snowy conditions. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to chain up your semi-truck tires for the snowy months ahead.  

Step 1: Lay Down Chains and Inspect

Lay your chains out flat on the ground and look them over for any damage or twists/knots that you’ll need to undo. Once you’ve ensured they’re in good working order, check that the chain hooks are facing up as well. This will be important later.

We talked to CDL Driver, Kirstie about how she chains up her tires for winter,

“The most important thing is to check your chains, especially if you’re not very familiar with the ones you’ve been assigned. Lay them out flat on the ground and inspect the cams, hooks, links and be sure they are not twisted. If possible, I always tried to put them on a drive axle directly below the fifth wheel for maximum weight and better traction,” shared Kirstie 

Step 2: Attach Chains

Place the chains over the top of your tire. They should hang or drape down over each side. Make sure they’re evenly distributed on both sides with the hooks facing out, away from the tire. Next, you’ll need to physically attach the chains to each other.

For this part, it’s always best to do the inside of the tire first. This can be difficult given that you’ll need to get under your truck, so some drivers prefer to use a tool like a rod as opposed to their hands. Either way, you’ll need to loosely attach the chain links to each other at the bottom of the tire. Repeat this step on the outside of the tire as well. The goal here isn’t to get them as tight as you can, just connecting the links from one side to the other is fine. 

You’ll also need to make sure that you have the same number of excess links on the front and back side of the tire. If you have three extra links on the back side, then you should have three extra links on the front side. If the front and back are different, that will cause the chain to rotate unevenly when you’re driving.  

 

“Lay them out flat on the ground and drive onto them, then begin the arduous task of actually connecting them, a good chaining key, or cam key is a must! Once they are on properly, they should be quite tight over the wheel. It’s a good idea to stop, check, and even retighten them. I always kept my windows open a crack while running chains as well. It’s important to hear what’s going on, and should anything come loose, you will be aware,” shared Kirstie.

After this, you’ll need to get into your truck, and drive forward just a few feet so that you can get the connection points of the chain in a safe area for you to tighten them.

Step 3: Tighten Links and Cams

Now that the chains are attached to the tire, they’ll need to be tightened. By hand, connect the chain to the closest possible link. You’ll want to pull in the most slack that you can manage. After you’ve done this, you’ll want to use your adjusting wrench to physically turn the cams on the chain. 

This will tighten the chains even more. It’s ok if you’re not able to give each cam a full turn, you may only be able to get one or two of them to one full turn, but that’s fine. The goal here isn’t to get the chains as tight as possible. The general rule is to get them tight enough that you can get a few fingers in between the chain and the tire comfortably.

Step 4: The Extra Mile

To make your semi-truck tires even more secure, add bungee cords across the chains. The bungees will attach from one end of the chains to the other. Three or four bungees will do the trick.

The key here is when attaching the bungees, make sure the hook is facing away from the tire. You don’t want it rubbing up against the tire, causing damage to the outside wall of the tire. Also make sure not to attach the bungee cords directly to the cams.

As a truck driver, taking your rig out in snowy and icy conditions is never ideal. If you do have to go out in the elements, safety is key. While it’s a big one, chaining up your semi-truck tires is only one part of winter driving safety. There’s a number of other ways to make sure you’re doing everything you can to stay safe in difficult conditions.  

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Ergon Trucking

Today’s job of the day comes from Ergon Trucking

Ergon Trucking is a company that works. We’re family owned and operated, brought together more than six decades ago in the petroleum industry’s service sectors. Driven by the values of hard work, customer service, reliable supply, and quality products, we’ve grown steadily and strategically over the years to become a well-diversified organization.

We specialize in the transport of products with rigorous handling requirements, sensitive temperature requirements, critical delivery timing, and crucial safety precautions. The company transports a diversity of products, including crude oil; lube oils; asphalt and emulsions; as well as specialty oils, caustics, and chemicals. Must have valid CDL with Tank and Hazmat endorsements to qualify.

We are a liquid tank carrier looking for OTR Hazmat/Tanker company drivers and independent contractors in multiple locations across the United States.

Company drivers are being hired in Houston, TX | Pittsburgh, PA | Baton Rouge, LA | Shreveport, LA | Marietta, OH | Sulphur, LA | Vicksburg, MS

Perks and Highlights:

  • 401(k) and profit sharing
  • Paid holiday & vacation time (two weeks after first year)
  • Health and dental care
  • Uniforms provided

We offer excellent pay and benefits that include:

  • 24% of load pay (75K – 90K annually)
  • Direct Deposit
  • $1,000 sign-on bonus
  • Safety bonus up to $2,000 per year
  • Home time – Out and back freight so we try to get you home weekly if possible but no guarantee depending on freight movement and time of year.
  • Late model Peterbilt and Kenworth with manual transmissions

Independent Contractors are being hired in Newell, WV | Vicksburg, MS | Shreveport, LA

Perks and Highlights:

  • 100% of fuel surcharge
  • Fuel discounts with various vendors
  • Free truck washes
  • Frequent home time, don’t require multiple weeks on the road
  • Electronic logging at no cost
  • Paid tolls and EZ Pass
  • Roadside assistance
  • Most loads are out and back with flexible schedules

We offer excellent pay and benefits that include:

  • $2,500 sign-on bonus
  • Up to $6,600 in Safety/Operations bonuses
  • Average 200-300k gross yearly
  • 65% of load pay
  • 85% of demurrage pay (paid weekly with loads)
  • Permits paid
  • Offer insurance options if needed

Interested in applying?

Learn more about the job requirements, benefits, pay and more.

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5 Top Trucking Movies to WatchTrucker drivers are an interesting bunch. And for good reason—they have an interesting job! Hollywood has paid attention to the trucker life over the years, and made many movies about trucking, truckers, or the over the road lifestyle. For all the movies made about trucking, we’ve narrowed things down to our favorites, and our drivers’ favorites. Here are 5 top trucking movies to watch.

1. Smokey and the Bandit


Let’s start with a true classic. Burt Reynolds and Jerry Reed star in Smokey and Bandit. It was a box office smash in 1977 and was the 2nd highest grossing movies of the year. The movie came in 2nd, only behind the original Star Wars movie. This classic trucking movie brought the life of some extreme highway antics to the big screen, and added a lot of drama and laughs along the way. The plot starts with some guys needing to bootleg cases of Coors beer across state lines, at a time where doing that was very illegal. Add to the mix a runaway bride, an angry sheriff and sweet, sweet Trans Am, it’s a very entertaining watch.

2. Black Dog


Black dog came out in 1998 and stars the late Patrick Swayze. Though it was never a box office hit, it is consistently noted as a truck driver favorite. It’s full of action, drama and many action-packed driving scenes. Swayze’s character, Jack Crews, is a truck driver who served time for vehicular manslaughter. Once out of prison, he’s putting his life back together, and struggling to make ends meet. So, he takes a somewhat sketchy job back on the road. The job was supposed to be an easy run. And it was easy, until Crews realizes he’s hauling illegal firearms and there’s people out there set on hijacking the load. Watch this one for the jam-packed action scenes, and the drama of man trying to get back to work to save his family.

3. Duel


Another film from the 1970s is Duel. It was notably Steven Spielberg’s feature-length debut as a director. Starring Dennis Weaver, this movie is a take on a classic cat and mouse chase between a traveling salesman and a mysterious tanker truck driver. And the unseen trucker really seems intent on making the salesman’s drive one he’ll never forget. Full of suspense, the car and truck keep meeting up at every turn. And each meetup it seems the crazed trucker gets increasingly aggressive and menacing to the salesman. Road rage is one thing. But this trucker’s gone way beyond that.

4. Convoy


Another true classic trucking movie from the late 1970’s is Convoy. The movie stars Kris Kristofferson as Rubber Duck and was inspired by the classic trucker tune “Convoy” by C.W. McCall. Taking all of the excitement and colorful CB-radio language that is the backdrop of the song, the movie centers around truckers banding together in a convoy to protect Rubber Duck from a sheriff out to get him. A song turned into a movie, that centers around the solid loyalty that exists within the trucking community – that is Convoy. It’s action packed. And it also has some laughs and plenty of drama for any trucker who feels a bond with their fellow truckers on the road.

5. Big Rig


Switching gears from over-the-top action, adventure and Hollywood stunts, let’s look at a small scale trucking movie. Made in 2007, Big Rig is documentary film centered around the reality of  truck driving. It takes a real life look at the life on the road. The stars of the movie are the drivers that agreed to allow the crew to tag along and see what they see, and experience what it’s like to be a trucker. It about the drivers, their lives, and why they do what they do. Big Rig is about the perspective of a diverse group of drivers. And it provides several interesting viewpoints over the course of the film. If someone needs a real look inside of 18-wheeler, this trucking movie should be on your short-list to watch soon.

Knowing that truck drivers usually have plenty of free time when they’re away from home and done driving for the day, movies can be a great escape before bedtime. We know many drivers keep a tablet or other device on the truck, why not use them to watch a movie? Let us know what your favorite movie is. Click on the link below and let us know what you think.

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The 3 Perks of Intermodal Trucking
Specialty truck drivers have a great opportunity within the trucking industry. And certainly, a specialty is intermodal. Intermodal trucking can be a great option for truckers looking for a new gig over the road. And for those drivers looking to change up their schedules and find some additional work/life balance, and potentially a little less wear and tear physically, here are 3 perks in the life of an intermodal trucker.

Intermodal: What is It?

Before we talk about the perks of intermodal trucking, we first need to discuss what intermodal transportation means. Intermodal transportation is moving cargo in specially designed containers, using a combination of shipping methods to get the cargo from point A to point B.

The containers are weather-hardy and fit securely on several types of transport. A sample intermodal delivery might start with overseas freight shipping to a US port on a cargo ship. Trains pick up the containers from the ports and deliver to a rail station. And from there, a truck driver picks up the container. This is one example, but it really is any combination of moving these containers by air, sea, rail or over the road. Now that we have discussed what it is, let’s take a look at the perks for someone considering a job as an intermodal driver.

1. Consistent Schedule

If a healthy work/life balance is important to you and your lifestyle, intermodal trucking might be a good choice for you.

We spoke with an intermodal truck driver, David, and he shared his experience on the road:

David Day Day Hayes“Intermodal provides the ability to make great money and be home daily. But the tradeoff is a lot of frustration and hold ups in the railyards,” shares David.

Driving from shipyards and railyards usually works on the same schedule of those workers, so a steady 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and sleeping at home daily isn’t out of the question. In this case, the containers are dependable and so are the work hours.

2. Less Labor and Packing

The shipping containers move from transport vehicle to transport vehicle. They stay packed as is and sealed from the time they leave, until they get to their destination. This means the truck drivers don’t need to do too much work for pickup and delivery, and they certainly don’t need to load and unload like what might be necessary with a trailer.

At each stop the container moves to, there’s specialty equipment there to pick up the containers and place them on the trucks. It’s usually no touch for the drivers, which means less wear and tear on your body, and more time moving down the road.

3. Flexibility

Some drivers find a real perk to be the flexibility that intermodal trucking provides to a driver. We talked to another intermodal truck driver, Ritsuko, and she shared what she loves about intermodal trucking, including seeing the country and making money.

Ritsuko Ishigaki“I enjoy the independence and peace of being on the road and being able to take off when needed and having more flexibility in my schedule,” shares Ritsuko.

If you’re looking for an new opportunity, or a job with the intermodal trucking perks we mention here, let us help.  At Drive My Way we can help you find a new job, perfect for you. We’ve got plenty of intermodal opportunities, and one might be a great fit for you.

truck driver at loading dock

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