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CDL Training: Before You Start…

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

The Basics

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.

Driving 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.

Employment History

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.

Drug/Alcohol History

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.

Criminal History

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.

Staying Healthy on Long Hauls

When traveling long distance, it’s difficult to maintain a healthy diet. Because of the ease of fast food and pre-packaged food, eating healthy seems to become a chore. Perhaps you are looking to make a lifestyle change on the road. Or maybe you’re starting your trucking career and have a concern about staying healthy on the road.

Staying Healthy: Tips for Long Hauls

Snacking

If you eat out of habit, make sure the foods you are putting into your body are doing more good than they are bad. Snacks like nuts, trail mix, and granola are great and easy to keep in reach. Staying healthy, for you, could mean snacking in moderation, or changing your go-to road snack!

Eating

Try to eat three meals within the day. This adds to your goal of staying healthy because it prevents you from over-eating after missing a meal. If you eat regular meals throughout the day, the weight will be easier to keep off.

Not Just Eating

Exercise! Try taking a small walk during a stop. Staying healthy will be easier for you if you’re doing more than just eating better. You can start small and gradually add to your walks/runs. Your body will begin to notice the difference, and this small boost of activity will increase your energy, as well! Your walk can be as short as 10 minutes or as long as you would like!

After your outdoor activities, you can work out on the road, too! You can do things like shoulder shrugs (bringing your shoulders to your ears and holding for a few seconds). This will release tension in your neck and shoulders. Staying healthy isn’t difficult, you just need to consciously make the choice! Also, you can try abdominal crunches. Squeezing your abs and holding it for a period of time (think, 2 minutes or the length of a song).

Keep Track

If you can, start a journal of what you’re eating and when. In addition, log what kind of exercise you did for the day. By nothing this, you’ll be able to see your progress and potentially be able to spot problem areas if you’re not seeing results.

Truck Driving Difficulties

Marriage and relationships can be difficult as is. However, when you add a career into the mix which takes one partner away for extended periods of time? Times can be even more trying. There are many different career paths that might lead to these types of relationships. Maybe your spouse is in the military, you’re taking a job in a different city, or maybe you’re in the truck-driving industry… While each for these fields are inherently different, they have one thing in common: long-distance relationships. Today, we want to focus in on truck driving difficulties in terms of relationships. Furthermore, we want to help you learn how to manage them, and maybe even grow a bit within the process… 

Truck Driving Difficulties: Managing Intimate Relationships 

Give yourselves something to look forward to during the week 

Let’s face it, depending on your spouse’s schedule, you might only see each other for a few hours a week. Therefore, it’s important to find ways to make the most of that time. Whether you dedicate two hours of that time towards having a lunch out together, or maybe just taking two hours behind closed doors… every couple is different. Furthermore, the ways in which you connect will vary too.

When facing truck driving difficulties from either side of the relationship, you might take to online forums that will remind you that you’re not alone. However, when looking for advice on how to cope and spend your time, remember to customize your experience. We all have our own means of bonding and connecting, don’t rule that out because of what works for DriversWife123.

Manage expectations 

We encourage having activities to explore with each other on those long-awaited days off. However, we also encourage managing your expectations in terms of what that time off looks like for your partner. You miss them and they absolutely miss you. But, at the same time, their job is exhausting. Both mentally and physically, your partner needs to relax and decompress in preparation of their next journey.

Arguably one of the largest truck driving difficulties for the stay-at-home partner, is to not hit the ground running when their partner gets home. Give them a bit of time to rest up, relax, and enjoy the comfort of their own home. As we’ve mentioned, you miss them and they miss you. However, they also miss the comfort of their own home. 

Don’t belittle each other’s roles 

As your partner gets started out on the road, there will be a few growing pains. You see it all the time in couples who are figuring this thing out: that issue of managing expectations. As a driver, you have a lot of time on the road to yourself. This can lead to some resentments in terms of how hard you’re working, and how difficult the job can be. However, on the flip side, your spouse is taking care of everything at home. 

From school drop offs, practices, lunches, tending to the home, and also making sure everything is squared away for when you get home. Therefore, on both sides, there might be some feelings of ill-will in terms of how hard you’re working. Truck driving difficulties come in many different forms, and are not limited to the driver. Your chosen career path is not for the faint of heart, and we commend you for that. We also encourage you to follow these steps, and create your own, for avoiding common issues that arise for trucking industry families. 

Trip Planning for Truckers

Trip planning is a crucial skill for all truck drivers. Properly planning ahead can make your trip much more smoother. That way, you can be prepared for anything which might come your way…

Trip Planning: Prepare For Your Drive

Check your route

Your trip planning, of course, will probably begin with you plotting out your route. Now, you’ll want to make sure you plan the best route you can. This means using multiple resources to check the road ahead, even if you have a “favorite”. A new one might give you a time advantage that you would’ve never known about otherwise.

A GPS will be your best friend in this situation. These can help you plot out the best route before you begin driving. Plus, apps like Google Maps or Waze let you turn your smartphone into a quick and efficient GPS. These apps also have a nice advantage, as they will update in real-time and alert you to accidents, detours, or faster routes. 

Plan for breaks

It’s also important to make room for brakes in your trip planning. Some drivers think that they can just push through their drives and don’t need to take breaks. However, this can lead to increased fatigue and burnout, which can impact the trucker’s driving ability. This kind of risk isn’t worth any potential time-saving you think you might get.

A generally rule of thumb is to plan for both longer and shorter breaks. Longer breaks can be ones where you take some time to stop and get something to eat. Shorter breaks can be for when you stop for fuel, to use the bathroom, or to just stretch. Make sure you plan these breaks in safe places, and have backups in mind just in case.

Watch the weather

The weather might get overlooked when you do your initial trip planning. After all, if you’re in your truck, then it won’t matter if the sky is clear, right? However, the biggest thing is to look for when the weather is being not-so-pleasant.

Inclement weather like heavy rain or snow can really get in the way of your trip. You can expect not only a tougher time driving, but also a lot more traffic than usual. Plus, some roads might be in so poor shape that you can’t drive on them. As a result, it always helps to double-check before you head out and have a backup just in case. 

Summer Traffic: Seasonal Driver Woes

Truck driving in the summer can already be difficult thanks to the hotter temperatures. Throw in the extra summer traffic, and it can become nearly unbearable. Since a trucker has to drive so often, this traffic can be a major inconvenience. However, there are still some ways for you to handle and survive this kind of traffic…

Summer Traffic: How To Handle It

Schedule properly

It’s important to schedule your drive properly in order to avoid as much summer traffic as you can. While this traffic can be inconsistent, there are some times which will be less likely to have a lot of traffic. For example, driving very early or late at night can help minimize the traffic you encounter.

The days you drive on also can be important. It’s a good idea to avoid driving on the weekends, as that’s when most people will be leaving for trips. Also, you can plan on taking breaks when traffic might be high. That way, you can avoid rush hour traffic while giving yourself time to eat or rest.

Practice defensive driving

Defensive driving is a good way to keep safe on the road. However, when dealing with summer traffic, it becomes especially effective. During the summer, you might have to deal with more carefree drivers, or lost tourists who don’t know which way they’re going. That means you’ll want to make sure you keep yourself safe and avoid any accidents. 

It helps to always be looking ahead for any possible hazards while driving. Keep an eye out for any drivers who appear to be dangerous, like ones who are swerving, speeding, or aren’t paying attention. That way, you can give them plenty of distance. The more you’re able to avoid these drivers, the less stressful your trip will be.

Be prepared

Still, even if you’re as careful as you can be, there will be some times where you get caught in summer traffic. That’s why it’s important to be prepared for when that happens. For example, it helps to bring some extra food and water for those long traffic jams. An emergency kit is also useful in case your truck experiences problems while in traffic.

Remember to bring some things that’ll help shield you from the sun. This can mean packing some sunblock, sunglasses, and some hats as well. Sitting in traffic with the summer sun blaring down can cause you to get sunburn if you’re not careful. 

Runaway Ramps: Truck Driving Safety

A CDL endorsement provides truck drivers with a specific license that allows them to drive a semi-truck. Furthermore, it ensures that they’re up to the task. While driving through the mountains remains a breeze for some people, accidents are still likely to happen on occasion. Due to the fact that semi-truck accidents offer more consequences than a two car accident might, there are runaway ramps alongside mountain ranges.

Runaway Ramps: A Life-Saving Tool

No doubt, just like all vehicles, semi-trucks can lose control. However, when this happens, it causes a bit more chaos than your average incident. We all want to keep ourselves and others from injury on the roadway. However, we know that accidents happen. 

Anyone who has driven a tractor trailer knowsthat a runaway ramp is there for emergencies only. In fact, the danger of runaway ramps can often lead endangered drivers to avoid them at all costs. Most runaway ramps look quite similar. A steep incline of dirt, speed bumps, and caution signs to alert drivers of it’s purpose. 

What happens when 18 wheelers lose control? 

When a semi-truck cannot stop in time, everyone on the road is in danger. Because semi-trucks are quite large, an accident can cause issue on both sides of the road. Brakes fail, a truck is moving at full speed, and next thing you know— you’re part of a massive collision. This is where those runaway ramps come in. 

As any truck driver knows, runaway ramps are notsomething to use lightly. In fact, they will ruin a vehicle, potentially cause injury to the driver, and lead to one stranded, injured driver. Runaway ramps are a safety feature that should only be used in dire circumstances. However, when needed, they can be a life-saving tool. 

A Life-Saving Tool

While we warn against the potential impact of runaway ramps, please understand that they could be the thing that saves your life as a truck driver. When your vehicle’s brakes go out— you have to figure out a means of saving yourself, and also those around you. In this case, a runaway ramp might be your only option. And in that scenario, you’re saving yourself and countless others from danger.