Driving in an unfamiliar area is never an easy task for anyone. However, truck drivers must be on time to the right location to unload their trailers no matter the area. At any rate, truck drivers can speed to meet those deadlines, putting others on the road at risk. In other words, we cannot rely on truck drivers to always drive safely, especially when driving in unfamiliar areas.
Trucks Speeding in Unfamiliar Area: Taking an Uncalculated Risk
No one can ever predict what will happen on the roadways. But, knowing what’s what can do a great deal for helping you get from point A to point B more easily and quickly. Unfamiliar areas can be dangerous if you’re speeding. Think about it: you’re over the speed limit, you’re unfamiliar with your surroundings, and you never know when a large curve might come out of nowhere. So, risk is higher if you’re going faster.
Take for example, a truck driver who is speeding down a back road to make their delivery. If there is a sharp turn coming, the truck driver could flip if they do not know where it is. By speeding, they can easily miss signs warning drivers of sharp turns or bridges with weight limits. In short, when speeding in unfamiliar places, truck drivers are less aware of potentially dangerous roads.
We must depend on ourselves for safety, and hope for the best
You cannot depend on anyone to drive safely. Ultimately, it is up to every driver to do their part in being a safe driver. Truck drivers have deadlines, and will sometimes get ahead of themselves when it comes to speed. This is not every driver, and likely only happens on occasion. So, increase your following distance always. You never know when they’re in an unfamiliar area, so prepare for worst case scenario. Speeding is dangerous already, but speeding in an unfamiliar area increases the risk of a serious accident. So, drive safe, drive smart, and follow at a safe distance!
Anyone who has driven on the interstate before is familiar with the concept of a weigh station for tractor trailers. While truck weigh stations serve to make a safe road, not all commercial trucks are required to go through them. You might think that a weigh station doesn’t serve too much of a purpose, but in reality, they keep our roadways safer for a number of reasons. And, ultimately, if a truck that is required to go through it does not, it can be a pretty serious issue…
Weigh Stations: What’s Their Purpose?
Just as the name hints, weigh stations check a commercial truck’s weight to make sure it is not over the required maximum. If a truck weighs too much, it can become problematic for plenty of different reasons. Take for example, an overweight truck passing through a small bridge. All bridges are different, and can handle different amounts of weight. But, if that bridge is not equip to handle the weight of that overloaded truck, the bridge could potentially collapse. So, while a weigh station might seem unnecessary, or for truckers— a bit of a headache, those weigh stations serve a larger purpose.
Hoping for the best
In any event, we cannot control whether or not a truck will perform the stop. So, if the officers at the weigh station do not catch on, it can mean serious hazard for the roadway. Ultimately, catastrophe will not occur every time someone skips a weigh station, but the potential is much higher than it would have been. At any rate, our safety relies on commercial trucks’ complying with the law and regulations.
Any good driver knows that more distance between vehicles means more safety. When a truck passes right by a weigh station, it doesn’t mean we should panic. Not all trucks have a requirement to pull through the weigh station. So, the key for maintaining your own safety is to maintain a safe following distance. Leave yourself room to react to what may come. You cannot control the actions of anyone but yourself. So, protect yourself by maintaining a safe following distance in case of emergency!
If a car is attempting to turn when a commercial truck is making a U-turn, there can be some pretty serious consequences. Most people generally know, executing a U-turn requires more time than turning right or left for any vehicle. But when it comes to commercial trucks, those U-turns not only require more time, but much more space than for a typical passenger vehicle. Because of this, it’s important to be aware and cautious if you run into a commercial truck that is performing this action. Doing so, will ensure that you avoid a major collision and potential serious injury. Driving a tractor trailer is extremely difficult, especially when you have to perform a maneuver such as this. So, do what you can to adjust!
Commercial Trucks and U-Turns: Being Safe in Your Passenger Vehicle
For one, commercial trucks have a trailer that they must keep within the lane. Because trailers of trucks are large in length and weight, they require extra attention. For instance, a truck driver could slam their brakes suddenly when making a U-turn. Unfortunately, it can create a potential threat to any vehicles nearby. For that reason, we must approach u-turning commercial trucks safely. There is no predicting the roads or behavior of other drivers, so approach difficult situations with as much caution as possible. Watch them turn, adjust where you need to, and be observant of potential dangers or changes. Truck drivers are incredible drivers, but, they cannot account of every little thing that might happen.
Take safety measures ahead of time
Driving has an unpredictable nature to it. So, when commercial trucks U-turn, it is important we give them enough space to execute it safely and easily. The more cushion between a car and a truck, the more time there is to react to potential dangers. In short, if there is less room between a car and truck, there is less room for safety. If a truck is u-turning, try and be patient.
Being a safe driver means making choices that might occasionally slow you down. But, it is up to you to decide what is more important: shaving three minutes off of your travel time, or making it there safely and without incident. Driving is, as we’ve said, unpredictable sometimes. So, it’s important to take precaution when given the chance.
There was a day and age where truck drivers were revered. But, it seems that in the past ten to fifteen years, that sentiment has faded and given way to a different view. It seems that, for most, the image that comes to mind is an uneducated, cat-calling, killer-type. It’s harsh, but, for many— the image that your mind crafts is overall unflattering. But where did the stereotype go south? When did the hardworking and driven men and women of the trucking industry lose all their street cred?
Truck Drivers: When Did the Stereotype Go South?
It begins in and around the ‘90s, when movies such as “Joy ride” and “Maximum Overdrive” came out; diving fear into the hearts of mass America. The characters were fictional, and the director— surely didn’t have a vendetta against hardworking truck drivers. However, in Reefer Madness fashion, the sentiment began to shift until the majority opinion was changed.
If you think of any movies you see with a tractor trailer driver in it, they’re typically not the lead. Usually, you see them calling to ladies from a parking lot, or flashing grins from the window to our heroine in the convertible. Ultimately, they have a long-standing portrayal of being flesh hungry, and easily distractible.
The All-Male Cast
Another thing you might notice about any portrayal of a truck driver (or that image in your head) is that they are never women. It seems like a man’s world, which can keep women form considering the career path. However, there are about an approximate 200,000 female long-haul drivers!! The career path is great for women. Plus, you get to make a difference within a career where you are underrepresented. Sounds pretty good, if you ask me.
Many people consider truckers uneducated because you don’t need a college degree to get into the field. But, the career path is a pretty smart one to take! You have job security, a flexible schedule, a steady and livable income… Becoming a truck driver has been a life-changing move for many, and you have to be pretty smart to do it. If you don’t think so— consider navigating, driving, and adapting to conditions in an eighteen-wheeler. Doesn’t sound so easy, does it?
Not all truck drivers are upstanding citizens…
This is a given. But, if you think about it: bankers, car salesmen, mothers, cashiers… there are bad eggs all around us. When it comes down to it, a stereotype is simply that… a generalization made by people with a misunderstanding. Sure, there might be some truck drivers out there that fit this mold, however, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.
If you’re new to the discipline of truck driving, you have plenty to learn as you go. Life might be different now, and getting out on the road has it’s own set of challenges. Ultimately, everything besides how to drive and your route— is pretty learn as you go. But luckily, a great set of drivers has put together a list to help. Following, you’ll find a set of new truck driver tips. From who to befriend, how to eat, and what’s so rewarding about being a truck driver. You have a lot to learn, but we hope with this— you’ll be a little ahead of the curve.
New Truck Driver Tips: Getting Ahead of the Curve
Make your own food, diet plans, and exercise regimen
This is one of the most difficult parts about getting on the road for the first time. Many drivers don’t think about creating a regimen for themselves, but doing so can go a long way. Think about it, you’re going from a (presumably) somewhat active lifestyle, to sitting on your butt for days at a time.
So, keep it light on the carbs most of the time and make sure you’re getting up and about to stretch your legs and get a little exercise. 15 minutes a day, at minimum, is a good rule of thumb. One suggestion we ran into too, was to keep a crockpot handy. You can pull together some meat, veggies, or whatever you please, and put it into an oven-safe roasting bag— put that into a crockpot, and add a little hot water. Easy as that, with time, you should have a hot and ready meal that isn’t as heavy as your typical fast food.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not being on time. Ultimately, doing so will make sure that the carrier is happy, you continue to get loads, and everyone is meeting their marks. Remember that you are a link in the chain, and your failure to deliver in a timely matter can effect every other one of those links. So, call ahead— keep the customer and your carrier in the loop, and you’ll continue to be a strong asset to the team. Plus, being a dependable part of the team— could get you the better, more critical jobs that pay better.
Make friends of dispatchers
It’s important to understand that your dispatchers are the glue that holds you and your jobs together. Making a friend of them could ultimately affect your paycheck. They schedule the loads, deliveries, and ultimately, you. So, treat them well and get to know them. While they have a job to do, and they will do it— if they know your face and name they might be a bit more likely to put you on a good route than another nameless, faceless (to them, obviously) employee. Treat them like people, instead of a link in your chain of command. I guarantee, you’ll make out better for it.
We could go on all day with these new truck driver tips, but ultimately— much is learn as you go. So, follow these bits of advice, learn along the way, and pass on your tricks of the trade! Being a trucker has a ton of advantages that many overlook because the job seems trying— and it is. But, the payoff and job security is second to none. We wish you luck in your newest career endeavor!
If you’re considering the trucking industry, you might have begun to do some research. Or, this might be where you start. In either case, you’re in good hands. But, it’s important that you begin to familiarize yourself with the field. So, we’ve prepared some fun facts, or statistics, that will help you learn a little more about the discipline. That way, no matter which route you take, you’ll know a bit more about it and whether or not the field is right for you.
Trucking Industry Fun Facts and Stats
The engine on a big rig is approximately six times the size of a passenger vehicle, with twice the horsepower. Which makes sense if you consider how big the vehicles really are. Also, while the average passenger vehicle engine typically lasts about 200,000 miles, a tractor trailer engine can typically last go for up to one million miles.
75% of all American communities receive their goods and services solely from tractor trailers and truck drivers. So, if you think it’s a low impact job— you’re very wrong.
There are an estimated 400,000 commercial trucking companies within the U.S. There are also around 5 million commercial trucks on the roadways, which puts truck drivers at a pretty high demand when it comes to jobs. So, if you’re looking for an industry with job security, this one is pretty high up there.
Not to mention, wages are increasing
There’s a shortage of qualified drivers out there, which means that incentives grow. By incentives, I mean the wages. So, while it’s difficult to say what exactly you’ll be making, the average annual salary according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is around $39,500. Not too shabby.
Also, you might not realize it— but there are plenty of women in the field as well. When it comes to female drivers, there are an approximate 200,000 long-haul drivers out there on the roads. So, don’t let your gender limit you!
When it comes to U-turns, it’s best if a tractor trailer does not have to make them. On average, it takes about 55 feet for a tractor trailer to make a U-turn— your average passenger vehicle settles in around 30-35. This means that you should probably get yourself quite familiar with your route ahead of time.
Ultimately, the tractor trailer industry has some pretty great aspects
These fun facts really just scratch the surface when it comes to what you need to know as a driver. But, what you should take away from it is this: job security is high, the pay is pretty great, and it’s a diverse field— open to any and all. Plus, the need for drivers is never ending. So, if you’re job searching and this has come up on your list— give it a strong consideration. Your CDL is one test away, and you can be out on the open road in no time. We wish you luck in your job hunt!