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October 1, 2019 truck driving tips

Autumn Truck Driving Tips

As the seasons change, so should the way drivers navigate the roads. So, we’ve put together a few truck driving tips to help truckers transition from summer driving to trucking in the fall.

While it may seem like an easy transition, some truckers, especially rookie drivers will quickly learn of the many road challenges presented with the change in weather. Particularly those who haven’t yet experienced a “true winter.” Here are our top five truck driving tips to keep you safe this fall season and through the winter.

#1. Familiarize Yourself with the Area

Knowledge is power! The more you know about the area you are set to haul in, the better. This way you can prepare yourself ahead of time. While it might be cold in one region, it could be hot in another. Be aware of climate-related issues too. For instance, fall weather in California may be pleasant, while states in the Midwest could already be receiving snowfall. Two different regions which require different planning.

#2. Rest Properly

This goes without saying, but we’re saying it anyway…get proper sleep! While this tip rings true, no matter the season, keep in mind that Daylight Savings could impact a driver’s sleep pattern. Therefore, it’s important for truckers to establish a new sleep schedule as the weather and time changes.

#3. Use the Right Equipment

Furthermore, your truck should be outfitted with the right set of tools to combat various weather conditions. In addition, items like space heaters, advanced GPS systems, and weather-related mobile apps also come in handy.

#4. Be Mindful of Increased Traffic

Moreover, truck drivers should know that this time of year brings increased traffic. Therefore, truckers must operate to the best of their capability. Apart from this, a great driver also understands that he or she is not the only one on the road, and they need to navigate as so.

#5. Pay Attention to The Signs

Lastly, warning signs are there for a reason. With the autumn season comes piles of leaves on the road. They are one of the greatest hazards. Because leaves scatter, they tend to hide important markers, such as turn lanes, highway dividers, and double yellow lines, so it is important to pay close attention to the signals. Not to mention, leaves are also a slippery hazard come rainfall. So, be careful!

Got any other helpful autumn truck driving tips? Share below.
August 28, 2019 hot shot loads

Hot Shot Loads: Worth It?

Driving hot shot loads is one of the simpler ways to start your own trucking company. The reason being is, the cost of equipment is much lower. Where big rigs are costly, hot shot loads typically consist of sprinter vans, straight trucks, 4×4 pickups with goosenecks, and other smaller vehicles. Additionally, hot shot truckers haul lighter loads, therefore lighter equipment is used.

The Advantages

Moreover, when determining whether hot shot trucking is right for you, the advantages must be considered. In particular, it can save you money. As you may already know, obtaining a CDL can be expensive. Training schools and CDL fees can amount over $5,000. However, there are still many hot shot carriers that hold a CDL as well.

Furthermore, smaller freight that needs to be moved quickly can fit onto a removable gooseneck or in a box truck. This alone appeals to many businesses. Additionally, most hot shot loads come from construction and oil field industries where equipment needs to be transported quickly.

Keep in Mind

On the other hand, while it’s less of a hassle and much cheaper to operate a hot shot trucking company, it’s also less profitable. One of the drawbacks of hot shot loads is that they don’t pay as high as other flatbed loads.

At the same time, if you’re going to cross state lines, then you’re going to also need an MC number. Therefore, while the cost of equipment is low, startup expenses, such as obtaining your operating authority, and the likes are the same. In addition, you will also have to ensure the proper insurance coverage for your vehicle. Also, if you choose to transport across state lines, then you will need to file IFTA fuel taxes as well.  

Any hot shot truckers? What has your experience been like? Comment below.
July 23, 2019

Survival Advice for New Truck Drivers

There are many obstacles that come with being a new truck driver. The days are long. The territory is unfamiliar. And, let’s face it, the road can get lonely too. So, here is a bit of advice for new drivers to help make your first six months on the road a lot easier to bear,
#1: Relax!

Sure, it sounds simple, and easier said than done. But the truth of the matter is, challenges will come up, and panicking won’t solve them. There’s also a chance you will get lost. A lot. However, stressing out will only make matters worse. Simply pull over, take a breath, and figure out where you went wrong. It might just be an easy mistake. If not, call the shipper for directions. Furthermore, if you have a CB Radio, call out to a local driver for help. More importantly, relax and regroup.

#2: Sleep is Your Friend

So, get plenty of it! Whenever you have time, rest. Power naps are good too. A little rest is better than none. When the sleep overpowers you, pull over in a safe place and get out and take a walk. A good stretch will help get the blood flowing. Try not to overload on too much caffeine or energy drinks. There is a difference between being awake and staying alert. If you need to pull over and rest, do so. If this causes you to be late, call the company. Being late is better than getting into an accident, or worse.

#3: Communication is Key

Furthermore, as a new driver you will quickly learn that things don’t always go as planned. Loading times may take longer, traffic may slow you down, or your tires might blow. The possibilities are endless. So, communication is important when on the road. Keep your cool, be honest, and let your company know what’s going on. But, don’t complain! Be as professional and develop good relationships too.

What is some advice or survival tips you can give to new truckers? Comment below.
June 18, 2019

How to Conquer Road Rage

A common problem among drivers across the globe is road rage. As a professional truck driver, it is your responsibility to keep your emotions and your anger in check while on the road. If you are prone to having road rages, especially if you are a truck driver, try using these seven useful tips on how to conquer road rage.

Rest Up

The lack of sleep on the driver’s behalf is the root of most road rage incidents. If you are scheduled for a long road trip, make sure to get plenty of rest before departing on your trip.

Plan Ahead

If the route you are taking typically experiences heavy traffic, plan ahead and leave a few minutes early so that you can arrive to your destination on time and in a calmly matter.

Turn Down Your Music

Permitted that you are listening to calm and soothing music, lowering the volume on your music will assist you in reducing your chances of road rages. For example, listening to specific genres of music can influence your emotions, mood level and how you react towards other drivers.

Laughing It Off

This coping mechanism relieves the pressure of road rage building. Laughing is known for increasing endorphins related to happiness. Give it a try next time you feel a road rage building up.

Avoid Negative Body Language

Road rage buildup gives us the temptation to shout, ‘flip the bird’, and other obscene gestures, it is important to avoid this kind of body language at all costs. For instance, not only will your road rage increase more but will also enrage others on the road and lead to undesirable situations.

Practicing Safe Driving Techniques

The best alternative to control your road rage is by practicing safe driving techniques such as:

  • Going the speed limit
  • Stay in the travel lane unless passing
  • Coming to a complete stop
  • Provide merging vehicles with the proper space

Take a Deep Breath

Taking deep breathing exercises will assist in controlling and managing your road rage. Starting to feel frustrated? Taking a few deep breaths and understand that the situation cannot be solved with anger.

Do you have other methods on how to conquer your road rage? Let us know in the comments below!

May 16, 2019

Sick on the road? Tips to Get Through It

Being a truck driver is already stressful and hectic enough on a daily basis. However, it only gets worse if you ever get sick on the road!

Unfortunately, it makes sense that getting sick is an inevitable part of the job of trucking. After all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time on the road. Furthermore, there are all kinds of ways to pick up germs and sickness out on the open road and at truck stops. Fortunately, you can keep reading here to learn more about easy ways you can get through sickness, or even prevent it entirely!

Basic rules for acute sickness

Maybe that gas station hot dog isn’t sitting right in your stomach. You feel like you’re going to get sick, soon. Problem is, you’re driving a truck. What should you do?

First, you should always value your safety, and the safety of others on the road, above everything else. Pull over your truck immediately. Any decent logistics company will understand a delay if you need to pull over due to sickness. If you think you’ll need assistance or even medical attention, let your dispatch know right away.

What about the common cold?

It’s no fun to feel sick on the road, but there are ways you can get through even the crummiest of symptoms. An easy thing you can do is drink plenty of hot fluids, such as tea. Even hot water with honey can help soothe a sore throat or upset stomach!

Also, be sure to rest whenever you can! That’s the best way to help the body recover. You can always call your doctor for additional advice!

Easy prevention tips

Of course, the best option is to never get sick at all! Wash your hands often, especially before eating. Drink plenty of water, eat healthy, and rest as much as you can!

If you have any further wellness tips, let us know in the comments below!

April 15, 2019

3 Quick Tips for truckers struggling to get enough sleep

If you liked reading these tips, make sure to click here to read about Conquering Road Rage while on the road.

Trucking is a job that comes with many hazards, including a lack of proper sleep. Health professionals will tell you that the recommended amount of sleep is 7-9 hours every night. However, anyone in the trucking business can tell you that their job doesn’t allow for this type of schedule.

Additionally, different freight divisions will place different expectations on their drivers. Some deliveries are able to provide more downtime than others. Generally speaking, truckers are allotted a 10 hour break each day. Consequently, those who are new to the trucking world may think they can use this time period to catch up on their sleep. However, many new truckers fail to take other important tasks into consideration. This 10 hour break window also accounts for eating, showering, doing laundry, and getting groceries — all in addition to sleeping. When it comes down to it, you may be getting less time to sleep than you initially anticipated. Read on to find out more about how you can get the rest you need and still put your best foot forward while on the road.

1. Research Which Policies Work Best For You

When researching a company to work for, look into when they schedule their customer’s load times. Some customers may be flexible, while others may require loading to occur between 10am to 3pm only.

2. Understand Your Personal Body Clock

If you’ve never really stopped to consider at what point during the day you’re most productive, it’s a good idea to start learning about that facet of yourself. For instance, if you sleep better during the day, you’ll want to work for a company that has you driving at night.

3. Grab Sleep When You Can

For example, some customers may take enough time to load that you may be able to squeeze a nap in. Take advantage of moments like this.

Do you have any tips and tricks for getting sleep while on the road? Drop your advice in the comments below.

March 18, 2019 felon drivers

Felons the New Talent Pool for Truck Driver Openings?

The trucking industry has been suffering from a driver shortage for some time. And, despite the fact, that they’ve made a concerted effort to search for solutions, there remain thousands of truck driving openings. Whether it’s been trying to recruit women drivers or discussions about lowering the minimum age, the problem has largely gone unaddressed.

Recently, however, companies are tapping into an unlikely demographic, convicted felons. That’s right. Currently, over 40 large truck driving operators opened the door to this employee pool.

John Lauria is one of these felons benefiting from this new willingness to hire those with criminal records. The 49-year-old Rosemead man spent 30 years toggling in and out of prison for various drug and robbery crimes.

Upon his release three years ago, he struggled to get a solid job. However, in February, with little hope left, he was hired as a truck driver for Haralambos Beverage Co. in the City of Industry. According to Lauria, he was totally honest about his past when applying for the job. Nevertheless, he was selected and now earns $17 an hour.

According to the American Trucking Associations, the trucking industry needs over 50,000 drivers just to keep up with increased shipping demands from Amazon, Walmart, and other massive retailers.

A New Way to Deal with the Shortage

What does this all mean? Well, it means trucking companies are no longer dismissing felons outright. In fact, more and more companies are giving non-violent, ex-offenders a hard look to fill these openings.

Naturally, it’s no easy transition to flip from ex-con to employee. There’s training both in prison and after release that allows this rebirth to happen.

Even better, a lot of truck driving schools welcome non-violent offenders. They understand that this demographic is eager for work and that companies are simultaneously hungry for drivers.

Most of the companies hiring these ex-felons are mindful that there’s a line to draw in the sand. Almost all make a point to say they wouldn’t hired people with a violent arrest in their past. Though they are definitely open to those with drug convictions from long ago.

While hiring felons hasn’t solved the truck driver shortage, it’s certainly a new pool of talent worth investigating. It just takes a little faith and due diligence.

So, what do you all think of tapping into this group of candidates? Good idea?

February 26, 2019 register

Californians Soon to Make One Less DMV Visit

A newly proposed bill would permit Californians to register their cars with the Department of Motor Vehicles every other year.

Senator Beall put forth a bill, Senate Bill 460, that would enable the DMV to create a biennial registration period for cars on or after January 1, 2020. Going forward, renewals would be mandatory at biennial stretches after the bill is passed.

Senate Bill 460 isn’t the only DMV related bill being proposed this session. Additionally, Assembly Bill 867, if passed requires the DMV accept credit cards in 2020. This change would start on July 1 of that year.

Proposal of Bill 867 is a direct result of Governor Gavin Newsom criticizing the DMV for some of its questionable practices. Also included among his complaints was the DMV’s refusal to let people pay with plastic.

Another piece of legislation meant to impact DMV related practices is AB 317. This bill makes it illegal to sell, or even offer to sell, an appointment at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Furthermore, if this law passes it would apply to individuals, firms, corporations, or associations.

Authorities will charge anybody guilty of selling or offering to sell scheduled visits at the DMV with a misdemeanor. They face a possible fine of up to $2,500. Furthermore, all money accrued from enforcement of this crime would be deposited into the State Transportation Fund.

Governor Newsom calls for swift change to the department because public criticism of the DMV has been so widespread. In fact, after calling the DMV, “chronically mismanaged”, he created a task force to deal with several issues. These include the inflated wait times at all walk-in locations.

What do you guys think? Would registering only once every two years make life easier?

January 23, 2019 retirement rules

Trucking Industry Frustrated by Retirement Rules

If you’re starting out in the Trucking Industry, read this first.

There are new rules for retirement savings plans in California… which may cause some issues in the trucking industry.

So, what’s the latest? In November, California began the first phase of the CalSavers program. While it is not yet mandatory for businesses to sign up, it will be in about a year and a half. Companies with more than 100 employees are required to sign up by then. But, two years after that, all trucking companies and business with just five employees or more need to follow the new protocol.

How will this impact the trucking industry?

With the new policies, trucking companies must spend a lot of time processing new-employee paperwork. The problem? Many motor carriers tend to have a high driver turnover rate. As Ron Falkner, the president of Faulkner Trucking in Tulare, stated: “If people stuck around, it would be a no-brainer. But it’s going to be cumbersome and worthless.”

And, this won’t just impact the industry in California. Trucking companies in other states have new rules for retirement plans, too. Some require an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan. Others require employees to participate in a state-run retirement plan.

Basically, the plans are in place to address smaller companies. Low and middle-income workers at these companies often don’t receive workplace retirement savings plans. Since workers are more likely to sign up for a plan through work than on their own, these new policies are in place to help.

But, does it help everyone? In November, California officials stated: “Inadequate retirement savings affects not only the quality of life and physical health of individuals, but also significantly increases the burden on the state’s retirement income support programs.”

Perhaps the overall goal of the retirement savings plan laws is a good one… but will it just cause an unnecessary headache in the trucking industry? What do you think about the CalSavers program?

December 24, 2018 holiday events

San Jose Holiday Events

Looking for interesting holiday events in the San Jose area this week? There is fun for all ages.

If you’re into ice shows, Kristi Yamaguchi will be performing through January 27th in Kristi Yamaguchi’s Downtown Ice. The show will be at downtown San Jose’s outdoor ice rink and is only $15 to $17 dollars.

Trying to find a great Christmas light display? Plaza de Cesar Chavez will once again put on its Christmas in the Park celebration. There are over 40 musical and animated exhibits, lights, and a huge 60-foot tree. Hurry, this only lasts through tomorrow, December 25th, on Market Street in downtown San Jose.

For those who are interested in adopting a pet this holiday season, the WeCare Alliance is offering $20 adoption fees for all adult cats and dogs through December 31st. WeCare is made up of the Human Society Silicon Valley plus five other Santa Clara County shelters. The event takes place is several locations.

Theater Productions

There are a couple fun theater productions in town for anyone seeking a thespian experience this holiday season. Guggenheim Entertainment is presenting an adults-only comedy, Who’s Holiday, through December 30th at 3Below Theaters and Lounge. The show follows a grown up Cindy Lou Who, who now lives in a trailer on top of Mount Crumpit. And if you want to take the whole family to a show, there’s Santastic at the same theater. The show features youthful performers doing Motown, big band, and rock ‘n’ roll versions of holiday songs in a 45-minute one-act musical. After each show, the cast leads fun activities for kids, including card-making and holiday cookie decorating. There is, of course, also a meet-and-greet with Santa and his elves.

For more information about some excellent San Jose holiday events for citizens of all ages, visit here.

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