Tag Archives: safe driving

Storytellin’ Truck Drivers

By Larry Pruitt

One thing that is as sure as death and taxes; if you talk to any truck driver for any length of time, you will eventually hear some story about the truckin’ life or some load they have hauled.  Before we go any farther here, let’s just say upfront that some stories are probably pretty much true, but we have all heard stories that have you saying to yourself, “Ain’t no freakin’ way.”  I have been known on certain occasions to not only say it to myself, but also say it out loud – and I should know better, but to no one’s surprise, that doesn’t stop me.
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ELDs

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!

Iowa80.com offers a variety of e-log devices, shop here.


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.


 

18 Reasons Why You Need 3-In-1 AirPower Lines on Your Rig

By: 

Tired of tangled, kinked, leaking air lines? Upgrade your rig from nylon coiled air lines to Tectran 3-in-1 AirPower Lines. We promise you won’t regret it! Here are 18 reasons why you should make the switch:

  • No tangling or snagging like you have with coiled air lines
  • Improved appearance on the truck

18 Reasons Why You Need 3-In-1 AirPower Lines on Your Rig | Trucker Tips Blog

  • Tectran AirPower Lines last years longer than nylon air lines
  • Flex Grip prevents inadvertent crimping of air lines at the glad-hand connection 18 Reasons Why You Need 3-In-1 AirPower Lines on Your Rig | Trucker Tips Blog
  • Spiral Wrap has beveled edge which protects lines from damage and abrasion
  • Spoon-cut spiral wrap eliminate sharp ends than can damage hoses and cable
  • Tectran LIFESwivel at the tractor connection eases installation and extends life
  • Coiled air lines break down quickly due to UV light deterioration
  • AirPower Lines remain more flexible in cold weather
  • Easier and faster hookup saves time and money
  • WeatherSeal sleeves on plugs provide superior corrosion protection18 Reasons Why You Need 3-In-1 AirPower Lines on Your Rig | Trucker Tips Blog
  • Greater strength and flexibility than coiled lines
  • APL Tec-Clamp makes installation fast and easy with No Tools Needed
  • Designed for operating pressures up to 225 psi
  • Available with red and blue hoses, as well as with black hoses
  • Tractor-side bend restrictors are non-corrosive, and prevent kinking in turns18 Reasons Why You Need 3-In-1 AirPower Lines on Your Rig | Trucker Tips Blog
  • Available in various lengths to meet the needs of your application
  • Best of all, it’s made in the USA!

18 Reasons Why You Need 3-In-1 AirPower Lines on Your Rig | Trucker Tips Blog

I-C-E

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.

Check Sleeper Decal available at Iowa80.com

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.

More vinyl decals available at Iowa80.com.

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.


 

Chain Up!

Chain Up! Winter Driving Tips for Semi Trucks | Trucker Tips Blog

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Ready or not, winter is here! If you run out west you had better be prepared to meet the requirements of the western states when it comes to snow chains. Even if you are stopped on a nice sunny day with no hint of snow in the forecast, you could still be at risk of getting a ticket for not carrying the proper amount of chains for the truck you are driving. It is extremely important that you familiarize yourself with the requirements for EACH state law regarding chains BEFORE you enter that state. Unfortunately, the laws are not the same from state to state, so getting the information ahead of time is crucial.

We recommend finding out which state has the strictest law and carry the maximum chains you will need, weight allowing. This way you will always be compliant. Another thing to check on, and be sure of, are the dates of requirement which can differ from state to state. For instance, Georgia now has a chain law as a result of all of the wrecks they’ve had in recent winter storms. Again, it’s important to look at the law in ALL states where you run.

When the chain law signs go up, you had better be prepared to hang “iron” or hire some of the people who sit at chain up areas to hang chains for you. If you don’t, you certainly aren’t going anywhere! Make sure that you know your company’s policy about chaining up or parking when the road conditions get to this point. Many companies will allow you to run around a severe winter storm or blizzard, which is the ideal situation. However if they don’t, you need to have the knowledge to keep yourself safe.

Before you find yourself in a situation where you need to put chains on your tires, it would be a good idea to find a place and practice putting them on your wheels. Standing in the cold and snow with drivers splashing you with yuck off the road is not the time to be figuring this out.

Make sure that you have plenty of bungee cords or spider bungees to help secure the chains once they are on. Time and travel on rough snowy roads can and will loosen them, so pay attention in your mirrors. It’s nice if you have a chain hanger under your trailer or on the frame of your truck so that you can hang wet sloppy chains up and not let them freeze in a big lump inside your tool box.

It’s a good idea to check your tires after running chains. Even if your chains didn’t break, other trucks will probably have one break and a broken link in a tire means a trip to the tire shop for repair. I would never have guessed this if a friend hadn’t told me (after learning the hard way).

Sometimes chains can help you even if there isn’t a chain law in effect. For instance, if the road is icy and you have to stop for an accident on an incline, chains might be the only way you are going to be able to get going again. Sometimes after a really big snow it can take truck stops awhile to get everything plowed, especially with all of the trucks in the lot. In a case like that chains or a shovel are going to be your only way out. Another good idea, one we ALWAYS do during winter months, is to carry a bag of sand, salt or kitty litter to help you get enough traction to get going. Be prepared – it may just save your life one winter day!

Remember to SLOW DOWN in inclement weather. Nothing will help you avoid disaster better than a slower speed! We have to keep a sharp eye out at all times for new drivers; 4-wheeler and 18-wheeler alike. For some, this could very well be their first ever winter driving experience. We need to be driving our trucks for them, as well as for ourselves, to keep everyone safe. It is our responsibility as the professionals out here to stay calm and behave as such. We can lead by example and do our best to keep the accident statistics down this winter.

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.


 

Signs

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

When we hit the road, there are a plethora of signs we need to recognize and understand. Some are suggestive, some are required, some are cautionary, and some are informational. It is SO important that we know which is which so that we can always obey the law.

We all know and recognize the red octagon, the famous STOP sign, STOP is NOT a suggestion! People running these, along with their electric counterpart, the red light, kill or maim innocent people every day. It is for our personal safety as well as the safety of everyone else that these signs are put in place to protect us.

Speed Limit signs that are white and black are law, but they also represent ideal conditions, if the weather conditions are bad you could be cited for traveling the posted speed limit so you always need to use good judgement as well. There are a lot of new electronic signs erected all over the country that will post adjusted speed limits or alert drivers to accidents or bad weather and all kinds of useful information that needs to be communicated to the motoring public that are very helpful.  There are a few states such as Wyoming and Georgia that have speed limit signs that will change with the weather or traffic conditions.

Signs- When we hit the road, there are a plethora of signs we need to recognize and understand. Some are suggestive, some are required, some are cautionary, and some are informational. It is SO important that we know which is which so that we can always obey the law.

There have been several accidents lately involving low overpasses and weight limits on certain roads.  In one instance, a woman destroyed a historic bridge in a town she was familiar with,  after the damage was done she said that she didn’t know how much a ton was.  A ton is 2000 pounds and many roads and bridges are marked with Weight Limit signs telling a driver what is allowable.  If you are over this weight and something as catastrophic as tearing the bridge down occurs you or/and your company just became responsible for that bridge.   Most but not all trailers are 13’6” high which is a standard in the industry, height over that in many states require you to have permits and depending on how high you are they will also require pilot cars.  Each state differs so you should know before you go.  If you approach an overpass that says the clearance is 13’6” slow down!  Some states will pave and not change the signs.  Slowing down could save you the damage and enormous expense of such an accident.

Railroad Crossing Signs warn you of tracks that you are about to cross and you need to heed them. When it comes to truck VS train the truck will lose every time! This sign is even more important to trucks who carry Haz Mat or who pull trailers with low clearance. Getting stuck or hung up on a track could become a major disaster!

Orange signs are used to warn us of upcoming construction, they could tell us there is a flag person ahead or workers and equipment on the roadway. Whatever they tell us, take them seriously, road construction is a necessary part of life and the people who perform it have a very dangerous occupation already, let’s do our part to help keep them safe! Let them do their job and we will reap the rewards of safer smoother roads.

Then there are the blue signs, the service related signs, those telling you where the rest areas are, hospitals and gas stations. All kinds of things we need, restaurants, hotels, motels and other services motorists will need at any given time, that’s when we need to look for those blue signs. We both remember all too well when those signs weren’t around, it was much more difficult to locate necessary places back then, almost a guessing game if you had never run that lane before. Believe me, blue is better! We are grateful for those blue signs!

Another helpful tip is to know that the brown signs out there are used to designate historic places such as National Parks, Zoos, Museums, Visitor Centers and various tourist destinations such as campgrounds, picnic sites, theme parks and such. All in all, we have a very significant and helpful series of signs to help guide us along our travels for all types of purposes. You can joke about that old 60’s song with the chorus that goes “signs, signs, everywhere a sign, blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind” by Five Man Electrical Band. But in all honesty? I’d hate to think where we’d be without them today!

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.


 

Our Interstate System

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Our Interstate System- We have a truly magnificent Interstate Highway System here in America that connects states to one another almost seamlessly today. It hasn’t always been so, in fact we remember when we began driving big trucks there were a lot of unfinished roads all across the country.

We have a truly magnificent Interstate Highway System here in America that connects states to one another almost seamlessly today. It hasn’t always been so, in fact we remember when we began driving big trucks there were a lot of unfinished roads all across the country. It is a very intricate system, like a circulatory system (that’s why they call them arteries) of roads, highways, bridges, and tunnels. There are a few basic tools you may already be using, but if you don’t know them, there’s no time like the present to learn them.

When our Interstate System was developed, the engineers and their counterparts came up with some rules that are still being used to this day. East/West interstates are numbered with even numbers, Southern mostly being smaller numbers working their way bigger as they go North (the idea originally was to avoid conflict with the numbered US Highways already in use, but in reverse). The North/South interstates are numbered with odd numbers, low to high, from West Coast to East Coast. This system makes it simple to locate any interstate, anywhere in the country, on any map at any time. (This is why, in ALMOST every state, mile markers are numbered West to East and North to South as well.)

Once a road is determined to become a part of the Interstate System and the funding for that road is approved, it is assigned a number. That number is based on what type of relationship the new road has to the existing highway. If the new road is going to branch off the existing road and not rejoin it, it’s called a “spur”. If it leaves the main interstate, but will rejoin it at another point further down the road, it’s called a “loop”. A spur will be numbered with an odd number attached to the main interstate number and a loop will be numbered with an even number. This is important to know because if you find yourself in an unfamiliar place, lost and wondering whether or not you’ll be able to get back onto the main interstate from where you are, this knowledge can help you figure it out.

A good example of this is in southern California where I-10 runs East and West through Los Angeles area. Some time ago, the federal government agreed to include the 7, 11, & 210 local freeways in the Interstate System so they changed their designations to the I-710, the I-110 & the I-210. Both the I-710 & the I-110 are spurs, they leave the I-10 and head South but the I-210 leaves I-10 at the base of the grapevine and runs along the foothills all the way to Redlands where it rejoins I-10. If you are on the I-210 and want to get out of town just continue heading East, eventually you will rejoin I-10 on the other side of all the traffic! This is also good information to keep in mind anytime you are in a new location and need to travel off the main highway.  Remember, if you are on a spur you’ll probably need to make plans to retrace your steps to get back onto the major interstate when you’re all finished with your load that day. I can’t tell you how many times just knowing this has helped me during my 40 year career!

Another useful tip we can share with you about signs on interstates, is to pay attention to the placement of the exit number, is it on the right side or the left? Depending on the answer, this will tell you which side your exit will be on, right or left side.

We understand that many of you use a GPS these days, heck we do too. But, we thought you might want to know these facts just in case you are in a situation where you need to revert back to using an atlas.


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.


 

What’s Your Parking Plan

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

The planning stage of your trip is getting to be so much more important when it comes to parking. Due to increased regulations that require drivers to rest more frequently and for longer periods of time, combined with the shortage of safe places to park, it has become necessary to plan well in advance where and when you are going to be stopping for your 10 hour break. Places to park are easier to find in the middle of the day, yet, when the sun goes down (or your 14 hour clock has run out) the places get tougher and tougher to find.  When you need to stop you don’t want to be unable to park and go to sleep.

It doesn’t hurt to call a shipper or receiver to see if they have staging areas available and how long before your appointment you might be able to check in. Or,  if there is a place close by that you can park.  I always ask two questions “is there a place to park” and “is it safe to park there”? I’ve found that people are usually very honest when it comes to this. If you get a reply like “I wouldn’t park here at night” that tells me everything I need to know.

Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to get a little creative. Late one night the truck stop was full and I saw a large facility just down the street. I found an employee outside and asked if it was alright if I parked out of the way. I got his name when he told me that would be fine. It was not fine 20 minutes later when a local police officer came by to tell me that he had gotten a report about my being there. I told him that I had asked permission and he said that didn’t matter, the company didn’t allow overnight parking. When I asked him where a safe place might be he was very nice and gave me directions to a street just across the Interstate that was not technically within city limits and where he could not cite me for being. He added that it was patrolled all night long and I wouldn’t be bothered.

 What's Your Parking Plan-  Due to increased regulations that require drivers to rest more frequently and for longer periods of time, combined with the shortage of safe places to park, it has become necessary to plan well in advance where and when you are going to be stopping for your 10 hour break.
900 truck parking spots to choose from at Iowa 80 The World’s Largest Truckstop in Walcott, IA

The local authorities are familiar with the area and it’s their job to keep the public safe, so it’s a source that many drivers probably wouldn’t think of utilizing. Another night I was at a different truck stop and not too far from there was a company where I load at occasionally I asked the security guard who happened to be behind the fuel desk about going there. He said that they were getting funny about that, but directed me to a lot close by that the company lets them use on the weekends. It was clean, quiet and there were only three of us there. The need for more safe parking is real. There are a few Wal-Mart stores that still allow us to park but many will not let you stay overnight. It’s not hard to Google search and call to ask if they allow overnight truck parking.

We have been noticing lately many more than ever big trucks on off-ramps sleeping. This is a dangerous situation, PLEASE, don’t get into this terrible habit! If you absolutely have to stop on a ramp, at the very least, make it an ON-ramp. The chances of being involved in an accident are significantly reduced on an on-ramp than on an off-ramp. The off ramp side has speeding traffic coming down the ramp. Sure, it’s slowing down from highway speed, but it’s still much faster than traffic just turning onto an on-ramp. Also, the chances of being rear ended are much less on and on-ramp than if you were on the off-ramp.

Above all, wherever you park, PLEASE, be SAFE! Remember Jason’s Law? It was passed in 2012 as part of MAP-21 (the then two-year reauthorization of the highway bill) and in memory of driver Jason Rivenburg who was murdered in 2009 while parked at an abandoned gas station in SC while waiting to deliver a load of milk. Stay safe and use your head when you plan your trip. Many truck stops even have reserved parking these days. You can call ahead or use an app to reserve a spot. There are options available for us, we just need to learn what they are and how to use them.

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.


 

5 Tips to Make Team-Driving Work

By Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm

Running team is favored by many companies. Husband and wife teams became highly desired in the early 1980’s. Having a couple together on a truck not only cuts back on the need for home time, it also provides stability and security that companies would otherwise be lacking.

Back in the days before cell hone and everything technological, there were many funny stories where one driver would leave their co-driver in a variety of places. A rest area was a common place for a driver to go in and, not knowing that their co-driver had done the same, and after doing their business would leave without verifying their co-driver was in the sleeper so they were accidentally left there.

5 Tips to Make Team-Driving Work- Running team is favored by many companies. Husband and wife teams became highly desired in the early 1980's. Having a couple together on a truck not only cuts back on the need for home time, it also provides stability and security that companies would otherwise be lacking.
Heather & Roger

Thankfully this never happened to us, even though we came close once! We have heard so many stories about another driver giving the one left behind a ride; then catching up to their truck and passing them while the driver who is supposed to be in the bunk is waving like a crazy person. The puzzled look on the faces of those drivers when they turned around to look in the bunk, and sure enough nobody was home, must have been priceless!

We said all of that to say this: It’s imperative that when running as a team, whether it be with a spouse, significant other or simply a co-driver, you must have a system in place to notify one another anytime one of you is out of the truck.

Today it’s probably less likely to happen than when we were dependent on payphones. However, if you phone is in the truck and you are not, there are a few things you can do to prevent this from happening. (Also keep in mind that these days it’s less likely another driver will let an unauthorized passenger in their truck and catching up to the other truck may be harder to do!)

DEVELOP A SYSTEM and put it to use EVERY time you get out. Leave a pillow on the steering wheel or set something specific in your seat so your co-driver knows that you are out of the truck. Pick anything that is obvious and will make sure your co-driver is aware that you are not there! In addition, ALWAYS leave the curtain open when you are supposed to be occupying the bunk but have left for whatever reason. This can also help ensure that you don’t get left behind. Make sure you take your mobile phone with you as well, JUST IN CASE!

BE CONSIDERATE of your co-driver when it’s their turn to sleep. Some people can’t sleep with the radio too loud and some like quiet radio noise to help muffle conversations the other driver may be having on their headset. Work out the details with your partner so everyone gets the rest they need and you are both safe at all times.

Talking on a mobile phone has replaced running with friends on the CB, so the noise can actually be quieter now than it was back in the day of scratchy CB noise. Conversations with others via your mobile phone can help keep you more alert, especially when you have to run the night shift. Remember to always use hands-free when you are driving. Not only is it safer, it’s the law!

Running team in such close quarters will also try any relationship at times. If you company allows, get out of the truck when you are sitting someplace interesting and go SEE THE LOCAL SIGHTS. If you are driving with your spouse or significant other, have a fun date on the road. Go to a movie; many huge theaters allow truck parking. Always make sure the truck and trailer are secure before going on an adventure!

Many people think that when you are running as a team you see each other all the time because you are together 24/7. In reality it’s not as much as you would think, one of you is driving while the other one is sleeping. So while running hard, as teams do, you oftentimes see each other as you pass through the curtain; one to driver and the other to bed.

We really advise that BOTH OF YOU DO EVERYTHING, load, unload, drive in all weather conditions, forward, back-up, big city, two-lanes. If something happens to “the main driver” who back into docks, drivers in the bad weather or through the big cities, the other driver could be in a tight spot if they don’t have any experience.

It takes effort and commitment from both drivers to run a successful team operation. COMMUNICATION is the key when working so closely together, and trust is mandatory to be able to sleep when the other is driving. If done right, team driving can be a great experience; one we have both had and been successful at. It just takes work. But the work is worth it, especially when you find the right partner.

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.


 

Winter Wellness

Winter Wellness- The cold, dry air of winter is hard, not only on your truck, but on you and on your skin as well. You need to bundle up when the cold temperatures are hovering outdoors! Staying warm; keeping your core temperature up becomes a priority.

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

The cold, dry air of winter is hard, not only on your truck, but on you and on your skin as well. You need to bundle up when the cold temperatures are hovering outdoors! Staying warm; keeping your core temperature up becomes a priority.

It’s important to remember to wear gloves or mittens to protect your fingers and hands and to wrap a winter scarf around your neck and face. When it’s very cold outside having a scarf covering your nose and mouth will help tremendously because it will filter the air you breathe in,  warming it before it enters your airways.

Whenever you are going to be out in the cold for any length of time wearing a stocking hat that keeps your head and ears covered is a necessity since we lose most of our body heat through our heads.

It doesn’t take long to get frostbite on fingers and toes, and, if it’s extreme enough, you could lose some of those digits. So, make sure you have heavy socks and good winter boots, along with a pair of warm insulated coveralls included with your regular wardrobe during the winter months.

As our dear friend Bette Garber always used to tell us, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Keeping your skin hydrated is important, using a good moisturizer is a necessity for men and women, especially at this time of year when cold temperatures cause all of the moisture to disappear from the atmosphere. Get, and use, a good ChapStick for your lips as they are almost always exposed and dry out easily.

You still need to use sunscreen, just like it was summer, maybe even more so. In winter the UV rays have less contaminants in the atmosphere to block them, so even though the days are shorter, the harmful rays are still shining down and the reflective effect off the snow is dangerous.

Another winter tip we use but often forget to mention is saline spray for nasal passages. Doing what we do, traveling through climate changes and altitude differences daily, one of the things we can experience is sinus pressure. We have found that carrying a bottle of saline spray mist is a very useful tool that helps tremendously to relieve the pressure buildup and headache that oftentimes accompanies the pressure. The problem is created due to the drying out of the nasal passages, using the saline mist puts moisture back into those areas.

We have also noticed that there are even snow chains available that you can get to “chain up” your shoes. These studded shoe covers can be a lifesaver when it gets icy out! A slip on the ice could be devastating to you physically, emotionally, as well as financially if it resulted in an injury that prevented you from working for weeks or months. The recovery time for an event like that could crush a family, so take care!

The basic winter checklist should still apply here:

  • Winter clothing: coats, boots, hats, gloves, extra clothing
  • Sweatshirts, insulated pants, thermals, layer clothing
  • Extra blankets or comforters/throws
  • Food, peanut butter & crackers, tuna fish packets, granola bars
  • Bottle water!!
  • Fresh batteries & flashlight
  • Rock salt to help if you get stuck to the road surface
  • Pet Parents – Remember to pack plenty of food & bottle water for your fur baby!

Speaking of pets, don’t forget them when the temperatures plummet! Have a coat and boots for them and use a warm, dry towel to dry them off as soon as they get back in the truck. Be sure to carry plenty of bottled water for them so you can be sure of what they’re drinking. Keep plenty of food onboard, you never know when or where you might get snowed in.

Lastly, always keep your fuel tanks at half full or higher whenever the weather forecast looks ugly! You never know when you may need that extra fuel to last due to a road closure! It’s ALWAYS better to be prepared and safe.

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.