On their own, tractor trailers can be difficult to handle. This becomes especially apparent if they go over their normal load limits. An overloaded truck can make tractor trailer driving even more dangerous. It’s important to be aware of the risks that come with overloading and improperly loading your truck…
Overloaded Truck: Understanding the Issue
Federal law caps the weight limit for commercial vehicles at 80,000 pounds. However, that doesn’t mean that all trucks can carry that weight. That’s why it’s important to know how much your truck can handle to avoid having an overloaded truck.
Your truck’s total capacity is determined by a number of things. These include it’s braking system, drive train, axles, and wheels just to name a few. However, each truck should have a sticker letting you know what its capacity is. Exceeding this capacity could cause your truck components to wear down and break.
Damaged components are not the only risk that comes with an overloaded truck. These vehicles also are much harder to handle than usual. The added weight makes your truck less responsive and more likely to have the heavier trailer swing out of control.
Rollovers and Jackknifing
Rollovers and jackknifing are also more common on overloaded trucks. So is losing control over your truck, especially when going downhill. These all can increase the risk of accidents to both you and other drivers. That’s why it’s much safer to drive with a properly loaded truck.
Your truck doesn’t have to be over its weight limit to be overloaded. In fact, sometimes you can have an overloaded truck due to improper loading. Improper loading can cause one side of your truck to be heavier than another, causing issues for you when driving.
For example, a truck with too much weight on the left side will struggle to turn right. This unbalanced load will also increase the chance of rollovers during left turns. That’s why it’s important to make sure your cargo is loaded safely and balanced.
Overloaded trucks might seem like a way to move a bit more cargo each trip. However, the risks far outweigh the benefits. Everyone on the road is much safer when trucks carry loads within their weight limits.
Driving a truck means long periods of sitting and remaining cooped up in the truck’s cabin. Over time, all of that driving could lead to injury and stress buildup. That’s why it’s helpful to know some trucker exercise techniques. These techniques can help you remain limber and healthy despite all that long driving…
Trucker Exercise: Stretches And More
The first kind of trucker exercise to consider are back stretches. A good stretch is very useful for decompressing your spine and loosening your muscles. Plus, they’ll also help reduce back pains and make those long drives a lot more tolerable.
For example, a good stretch to try is the backbend. All you have to do is place your hands behind your back, and lean as far back as you can. Repeat this 5-10 times, and then do the same in the front. Also, when doing these front bends, try to put your hands on your hips, as this will help stretch your legs too.
The next trucker exercise technique to try is walking or running. Much like stretches, walking or running can be done anywhere with practically no equipment. For instance, you could do some walking around a rest stop before you get back in your truck. In fact, truckers can actually use their trucks to their advantage.
It’s not a bad idea to walk or run around your truck when you have the chance. 32 laps around a truck with a trailer is equal to about one mile. Plus, 30 minutes of walking or running tends to burn about 200-300 calories. Therefore, this is a great way to get some exercise while also stretching those muscles.
Another good form of trucker exercise to consider are bodyweight exercises. These exercises include things like push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, etc. These exercises are great because much like the previous examples, you need little to no extra equipment for them. Although, it might be a good idea to bring a workout mat so you don’t have to directly touch the ground!
It’s a good idea to first start with a handful of exercises and then do a few repeating reps of each whenever you have the chance. Then, switch it up and add some new ones in the mix. Not only will that keep some variety, it’ll also let you add in other exercises into the mix as well!
You might have a lot of questions when you have to get some work done on your truck. From handling a breakdown to costs, you can feel pretty lost, especially if you need new parts. Some common truck part questions tend to throw many drivers for a loop. Knowing the answers to these questions can help you make the best decision for your truck’s needs…
Common Truck Part Questions: Tractor Trailer Safety
Are more expensive parts better?
Everyone knows of the age-old saying “you get what you pay for”. However, sometimes this isn’t always the case. This explains why wondering if the more expensive parts are always better is one of the common truck part questions.
The answer is that more pricey parts don’t always mean better performance. Sometimes, these parts will be more intricate, and end up being more likely to break down the line. This means that future repairs will also be more costly. Ultimately, it’s a good idea to do some research and asking around for what parts will give you the most bang for your buck.
Are aftermarket parts safe?
Another one of the common truck part questions is in regards to aftermarket parts. Aftermarket parts can be an appealing option, as they tend to be cheaper than manufacturer parts. However, this raises concerns over what kind of “catch” might come with that.
Aftermarket parts usually enter the market without going under safety tests. This means that their quality could be sub-par at best. These parts are often stand-alone, meaning they might not properly fit or work with the rest of your truck’s systems. Overall, manufacturer parts are usually a better, safer option.
Rebuilt vs. re-manufactured
One of the common truck part questions which is similar to the previous is the difference between rebuilt and re-manufactured parts. On the surface, the two terms appear to mean similar, if not the same thing. However, there is a quite distinct difference between them.
Re-manufactured parts are completely taken apart to fix whatever issue they had. Rebuilt parts only fix the main issue with them. This could mean that the rebuilt parts might still have issues which aren’t immediately noticeable.
Life as a truck driver can get expensive when you’re on the road. Your truck is like a second home, so you’ll have to pay for some essentials. However, there are means of saving money while on a trip. These trips can help you keep more money in your wallet without sacrificing a comfortable ride…
Saving Money: Budgeting On The Road
Figure out your budget
A budget is a major part of saving money. Figuring out a budget will let you see what it is you’re spending money on and how much you’d like to save. A budget is basically your financial saving plan: once you have it figured out, sticking to it will help you continuously save money.
These days, there are plenty of budgeting apps and guides you can use to your advantage. This will allow you to create and stick to your budget even while you’re on the road. It can be hard to stick to a budget at first, but once you see the savings come in, you’ll realize how helpful it is.
Pack your own food
Buying food is one of the most common expenses for truck drivers. It also quickly adds up and becomes quite pricey. For example, just buying an $8 lunch every day means you spend $40 every work week, and almost $3,000 a year! That’s why cutting back on buying food is a great way to start saving money.
Instead of buying food, try to pack your own instead. Buying groceries is considerably cheaper and can last you longer, especially if your truck has a fridge or microwave. Not only that, but you’ll find it easier to eat healthier too! While you can still stop for food every now and then, you’ll quickly see how much money you can save.
Bring more clothes
Another common expense for truck drivers is laundry. Having to pay for laundry can become a big part of your budget. Paying for it constantly week after week, sometimes more than once, can give your wallet a huge dent.
While doing your laundry is important, there are some ways you can work on saving money. Bringing more clothes can help you cut down on your trips to the laundromat. So will bringing more sheets or towels. While you can’t remove the cost completely, you’ll end up saving more than you used too.
Like most industries that are predominately male, women in truck driving are automatically labeled female truckers, and not just truckers. Women face this in plumbing, in medicine, and all over other sorts of careers. But is that gender label the only adversity women face in trucking?
Female Truckers: Combatting Struggles
Breaking the Stereotype
Since the Baby Boomers have all retired, there has been a need for truck drivers. Women have began filling the open spots, taking advantage of the lucrative career choice that is trucking. Some companies have also began recruiting female truckers! These campaigns are a great way for women to feel welcome in this new field.
Additionally, women are notoriously better drivers! Safety wise, there are less accidents or issues with female truckers. Whether driving in teams or solo, women are proving there is a place for them in the trucking industry.
While women should be able to do any job without fear, sometimes female truckers face trouble because they are simply that: women. While safety is an issue for all women, regardless of industry, female truckers should be aware of their surroundings. It is best to not stop at night in unfamiliar or unlit areas. You should also not roll down your window for anyone other than law enforcement or people you know.
Bad attitudes clutter every stop and dock. Do not let the bad attitudes of these few ruin the amazing career path that is trucking. female truckers are strong, independent, and awesome. If you face criticism from some, don’t let it get to you. If you focus on your work, you will become more efficient and your employer will notice!
For anyone in trucking, creating a balance between home and work is difficult. For men and women in trucking, using technology like Skype and FaceTime makes it easier to stay connected with your family and friends.
As trucking becomes more and more popular, you might not be the only woman at the truck stop for long! Female truckers are growing in popularity, and hopefully soon they’ll simply be labeled as “truckers”… Just like the rest of them.
The trucking industry is evolving with the development of new technology. Therefore, many companies are facing an issue they never have before: driver shortages. Perhaps you know about all the benefits companies are offering their drivers now. In order to maintain competitive, companies are offering paid time off, 401k’s, benefits, and dedicated home time. If all of these things sound good and you are ready to get a new start, here’s what you need to know about CDL training.
CDL Training: What to Know
In order for you to begin your CDL training, you will need a few different things. For starters, you will need a reasonably clean driving and criminal record, a clean drug/alcohol history, a clean bill of health, and a recent & verifiable work history.
Before you begin your CDL training, make sure you’ll be able to continue. Moving violations, along with tickets regarding insurance and registration, all add up to be big red flags for trucking companies. If you know about tickets on your record, make sure you be upfront about them.
Your employment history is important for future employers. This record is an indication of the type of employee you are. Especially if you are pursuing a paid CDL training program, employers will want to make sure the investment is worth it.
You might have had problems with drugs and alcohol recently. Therefore, a CDL training program might not be the best idea for you right now. When driving is involved, drugs and alcohol can become major safety concerns.
Past criminal offenses should be taken into consideration before beginning CDL training. Someone who has an assault charge might have a short fuse and get irrationally angry. Others might have a theft charge, making them unlikely to be trustworthy with company equipment. It’s important that if you do have minor charges on your record that you are transparent during the application process.
If you feel like you have a clean history and have an interest in starting a career in trucking, that’s great! Before you begin a CDL training program, you should ask yourself if the trucking lifestyle is one you are willing to lead. It isn’t easy, and there’s a lot of time spent on the road.