Winter is a dangerous time of year for drivers. The reason is fairly obvious. Snow and ice can make some roads difficult to navigate, if not impassable. Throw some altitude into the mix and you have created a potentially fatal challenge that truck drivers often have no choice but to overcome.Continue reading Spring Driving Tips for Truckers
In dark and stormy conditions, driving can become a treacherous task. The ability of your vehicle to illuminate the road ahead is crucial in reaching your destination on time. When selecting semi truck lights, here are a few key features you should keep in mind.
Continue reading Guide to Choosing the Best Semi Truck Lights for Winter Driving
Maintaining traction on the road is of great importance to large trucks during the winter time. With delivery schedules to keep, it’s best to not let a snowy path cause significant delays. Both semi tire chains and tire socks offer different benefits to help you and your truck stay safe on even the most inclement roadways.
Continue reading Semi Tire Chains vs. Autosock: Which Is Better for Winter Traction?
Whether you or someone you know is a long haul driver, everyone knows it’s important for all drivers to stay alert and comfortable while on the road. Long haul drivers have a demanding job, so it’s only fair they have the comforts of home while they’re away from loved ones. The following are five products that might help.
Continue reading Five Products to Help Long Haul Truckers Stay Alert and Comfortable
Winter can bring a lot of hassles and dangers to truck drivers. As you prepare for winter, there are a few essentials that you should be buying to make trucking in the snow easier and safer. Beyond just reading up on and committing to memory winter driving tips for truckers, you also should consider buying the following items.
Continue reading Winter Driving Essentials for Truck Drivers
Just like almost everything in life, when it comes to tie-down straps you have a number of options. How wisely you choose can spell the difference between riding down the road with a secure load or watching your goods spilling out onto the highway. If you operate a big rig or a flatbed trailer or a moving van you will no doubt need to secure a valuable load from time to time. Fortunately, there are many excellent products out there to help you keep your items safe and secure. In short, using the best hardware for your cargo will give you the best chance for success.
Continue reading Cargo Securement: Which Tie Down Is Best for You?
You need the right trucker accessories to keep your rig in top shape, ensure your own comfort and handle unexpected situations. Before you hit the road again, make sure you stock up with these eight essential accessories.
Continue reading 8 Must-Have Accessories for Commercial Truck Drivers
With brutal winter conditions possible in many parts of the country, drivers need to be prepared. That goes double for commercial truck drivers powering through bad weather over both short and long distances., Snow tire chains have been a classic vehicle accessory for driving in ice and snow, but AutoSock is an innovative traction solution that prevents spinning tires, wheel slippage, fishtailing and other weather-related road hazards. AutoSocks for trucks is an efficient and safer alternative to tire chains, offering five unique benefits for owner-operators, drivers and fleet managers.
Continue reading 5 Benefits of Using AutoSock as Your Winter Traction Aid
Are You Ready?
By Larry Pruitt
With the FMCSA‘s Electronic Logging Device Mandate deadline quickly looming, Owner-Operators and small fleet owners alike are trying to wade through all of their options for the upcoming mandate deadline. They’re trying to decide what will work best for them. I know some companies have been testing different products on some select trucks in their fleet, while other operations are holding out hope that there will be a stay at the eleventh hour. In my opinion, Congress doesn’t seem to agree on anything these days and unable to get anything passed, so I seriously doubt that this will get stopped before December 18.
With that being said, there is a very large contingent of drivers that have made the statement that they are leaving the industry when this mandate takes effect. Some may leave and will probably move on to other careers, but most will continue on and adapt to the mandate. This upheaval in the industry will subside, and as my Mom would say, “This too shall pass”, and I agree with her, “This too will pass… it may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass”. I’m old enough to remember back in the late-eighties or early-nineties when the CDL License Program was being introduced into the Trucking Industry. There was a large number of drivers that were afraid that the CDL process would be so complicated that there was going to be a large shortage of drivers. Drivers were going to leave the industry in droves because of something that today is viewed as no big deal and just part of the process of the regulations that we are saddled with today.
I’m not going to try to change anybody’s mind here on whether you want ELDs or don’t want them. I’m just going to pass on my experiences, as I switched over to an ELD a little over a month ago.
To give you a little bit of background, I’ve been doing my logs on a tablet for the past 5 years or so using the Big Road app. I found that my logs were much easier to make sure that they were filled out completely and most of all, correctly. This helps ensure you have a lesser chance to fall victim to a form and matter violation at a roadside inspection. The app would not let you sign your log unless everything was filled out properly. I installed the connection to ECM back in September using the same app Big Road app. I chose this product for a couple of different reasons, one was that I already was familiar with the app and the other was that I had good luck with tech support previously. I wanted to get acclimated to using an ELD now versus trying to get compliant in the middle of December and having trouble.
The process of switching over has been pretty much uneventful so far. I haven’t been caught about to run out of hours in my day yet, but I’m sure that will happen eventually. I’m very fortunate that my operation allows me to be home every night. I will admit that e-logs make it easier to keep track of duty status changes, it automatically knows when you start driving and when you stop driving, so you don’t even have to look at it for the biggest part of the day. I will go back into it later and add notes to my stops whenever I have the time.
I think that ELDs are going to affect the industry over the foreseeable future. I think that changes are going to be just as hard on shippers and receivers. The truck lines are going to force shippers to get their trucks in and out and back on the road. Let’s face it, companies are not going to be able to let trucks sit at a shipper or receiver for roughly 8 hours and then only have 6 hours left for their day and still be able to make any profit whatsoever. Shippers will have to get better or their freight will lay on their dock, because no one will waste their time with that shipper. I can see more drop and hook freight in the future, in segments that have never before been drop and hook operations.
One thing is for sure, the small fleet folks may have to change how they do business. I think most small carriers will be able to adapt if they approach this from working within the system rather than trying to work around the system.
Well, that’s my opinion and experiences on the ELD mandate. There are folks that agree with me and most definitely some that do not agree with me but are very passionate about their opinion. No matter what anyone’s opinion is, let’s revisit this issue in about a year or so and see what the industry and it’s logging issues are at that time. To everyone involved, GOOD LUCK with the mandate!
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Larry Pruitt is an owner-operator with over 20 years of experience and has been involved in trucking for close to 40 years. He is a firefighter in North St. Louis County Missouri and resides with his wife, Jeanette, in Saint Clair, MO.
In Case of Emergency
By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm
It doesn’t matter if it’s winter, spring, summer or fall; you can find yourself in an emergency situation a long way from home. I think we have touched on this topic before, but it never hurts to have a little refresher because this one is so important! We are in the midst of the winter season once again, which is historically our most dangerous.
I doubt there is a driver out here that doesn’t have a cell phone with all their contacts saved. Just recently I put the letters ICE (In Case of Emergency) in front of those that I would want called if something were to happen to me and I wasn’t in a position to either make a call myself or tell others who to call.
There are also apps available that you can download onto your smartphone that will allow people you trust to track you. I have the “find my friends” app on my iPhone which will show my current location to anyone I have granted permission to, as well as showing me theirs, in real time. My sister, my best friend and my husband all use this app. It really is a blessing knowing that we can, and do, know where each other is anytime we need to. I LOVE sharing my location with my other close trucking friends and having them share theirs with me.
I send a text message each night letting my family and friends know where I’ve stopped for the evening. I see many of my friends checking in all sorts of places on Facebook when they stop to eat, shop, deliver or pickup and when they stop for the night. Facebook seems to me to be a double-edged sword though. I really would prefer y’all check in a much more private and secure place when you are planning on going to sleep!
It’s so much easier today to call home and talk to your family while using your hands free device. Back in the day you had to find a payphone and then you were tied to it while you were catching up on the day’s events back home. It’s so much easier to make miles and help those miles go by faster while talking to your loved ones or friends at the same time.
If you are running team, it’s not a bad idea to have something outside on the truck saying that you are. In case of an accident first responders know to look for the other person and or pets. If that is not possible, at least put something in the driver’s door that states you have a co-driver and/or a pet.
Winter seems to lead to more emergencies and it’s harder to get help to a driver if road conditions are bad. Be prepared to sit on a cold and snowy road for hours and maybe you can help other motorists who did not leave prepared. Carrying extra water and food & blankets in the winter is always a good idea. In the summer you are not going to freeze to death.
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Make sure that all the emergency equipment is in the truck and ready to go. Look at your fire extinguisher to make sure that the charge is still full. Check to see that your reflective triangles are in the box and in working condition. I think most drivers carry a reflective vest these days and it’s a good idea to wear it if you have to get out and set up your triangles when your truck breaks down.
Emergencies are always going to happen but if you are prepared for them and always give safety 100% of your attention hopefully you can have, or help someone else have, a good outcome. Depending on the situation, your preparedness just might save a life.
Be safe, be prepared and stay alert to the increasing dangers that go along with the job we do. This goes for parking lots, docks for pickups and deliveries, as well as going up and down the road…and don’t forget to put I-C-E in your phone!
Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!
Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.