Tag Archives: dedicated trucking

Best Trucking Songs

Ask any trucker, and he’ll tell you his all-time favorite trucking songs. Some bands sang about trucking in just one song, while other bands made it a constant theme in several albums. Some are old, and some are new. Whatever the tune, singing about trucking is a time-honored tradition in all genres of music. Here are just a few of our favorites:

  • CB Song by Legendary Shack Shakers.
  • Semi-Crazy by Junior Brown.
  • Independent Trucker by Brooks and Dunn.
  • Give Me the Highway by Vince Gill.
  • Diesel Diesel Diesel by Jim Lauderdale.
  • My Big Truck Drivin’ Man by Kitty Wells.
  • Widow Maker by Jimmy Martin.
  • Give Me 40 Acres to Turn This Rig Around by the Willis Brothers
  • Stone Cold Fingers by Leland Martin
  • Highway Junkie by Randy Travis
  • 18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses by Kathy Mattea
  • Drivin’ My Life Away by Eddie Rabbitt
  • White Line Fever by Merle Haggard
  • Teddy Bear by Red Sovine
  • Convoy by C.W. McCall
  • Six Days on the Road by Dave Dudley
  • Roll on 18 Wheeler by Alabama
  • I’ve Been Everywhere by Johnny Cash
  • East Bound and Down by Jerry Reed
  • Truckin’ by Grateful Dead
  • 40 Miles of Bad Road by Duane Eddy
  • The Bandit by Jerry Reed
  • Thank God for the Radio by Alan Jackson
  • I’m a Truck by Red Simpson
  • Truck Driving Man by Boxcar Willie
  • Little Pink Mack by Kay Adams
  • Looking at the World Through a Windshield by Del Reeves
  • Giddy Up Go Answer by Minnie Pearl
  • Long Lonesome Road by C.W. McCall
  • I’m a Road Hammer by the Road Hammers
  • 18 Wheels A Rollin’ by Betty Amos
  • Man Behind the Wheel by Charlie Floyd
  • Cowboy Boots by Dave Dudley

What are some of your favorites? Leave them in the comments!

Trucker Clothing Necessities

Truckers have a uniform, just like any other profession. But the trucking uniform is more about comfort and safety than looks. That doesn’t mean you can’t look great while sitting behind the wheel of your Peterbilt or Kenworth. We searched the web for some of the best trucker clothes. With these duds on, you’ll look sharp but also feel comfortable.

  • Herbert’s Lace-up Lynx Waterproof Boots. These beautiful black boots boast a hydroguard lining that blocks water molecules while still letting your feet breathe. They are made of full-grain leather and also have vibram rubber soles.
  • Athletic compression socks. These moisture-wicking socks are ideal for mild leg swelling and promote circulation and help prevent varicose veins. They are made from acrylic, nylon, and spandex.
  • Wrangler Work Horse jeans. These 100% cotton durashield denim jeans are roomy and comfortable, but can stand up to multiple washes and tough work conditions. The leg opening fits over any boot, while the back pockets are lined with 1000 Denier Cordura® and are reinforced at stress areas.
  • Duluth Trading all-leather work belt. This thick belt made of durable leather supposedly only gets better with age. It’s made from top grain aged bark leather with contrast saddle stitching and features a handcrafted nickel finished brass buckle.
  • Free-range cotton boxers from Duluth. Made from organic, lightweight soft cotton, these roomy boxers are comfortable and non-chafing with just enough stretch.
  • Everyday crew socks. For days that you don’t want compression socks, try these crew socks designed for work. They feature heel and toe cushioning and moisture-wicking acrylic and nylon.
  • Black merino wool blend two-layer shirt. Stay incredibly warm and dry in this layering shirt from Kombi. Comprised of polyester and merino wool, this sweater features two layers at once to create a comfortable fit.
  • Polar King thermal underwear shirt. Now that summer is coming to a close, prepare for winter with this inexpensive but warm thermal shirt. Made of a polyester and cotton circular knit, this shirt allows for breathability while keeping the wearer snug and warm on chilly days.
  • Luminox Men’s 3001 Navy Seal watch. This durable watch, commissioned by a Navy Seal, glows 100 times brighter than any other luminous watch and is water-resistant.

We couldn’t fit all of our favorites into one blog, so stay tuned for more recommendations. And tell us your favorite trucker clothing!

 

How to Stay Alert on the Road

Do you feel yourself nodding off after a long day of driving? It’s a scary feeling, but we’ve all been there. Every trucker has felt the weariness of the day tug his or her eyelids down. Driving can be hypnotic. The hum of the engine, the warm sun, and dotted white center lines can lull your brain into a dreamlike state. While you won’t be able to avoid fatigue all the time, here are several tips to keep you alert and focused on your long drives:

  • Crank up the AC. The colder the cab, the less likely you are to drift off. If the weather is cold, roll down that window. The blast of fresh air will revive you.
  • Avoid heavy, fatty meals. Rich meals laced with sugar and fats will sap all of your energy because it requires a lot to digest. You may feel so exhausted that it’s hard to keep your eyes open. Stick to lighter, healthier meals, such as grilled chicken sandwiches, salads, turkey burgers, and fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Listen to awful music (or infuriating talk radio). The more you hate the music, the more alert you’ll be. A new album can’t hurt, either. You’ll pay special attention to the lyrics.
  • Sit up straight and keep good posture. Having a nice alignment opens up your lungs and lifts your diaphragm off the organs in your middle, increasing lung capacity and helping along the flow of blood. This will help you stay focused and alert.
  • Avoid taking medications during driving hours that can make you drowsy. This sounds like a no-brainer, but some people aren’t aware of the side effects of their meds. Even blood pressure meds can make you feel extremely drowsy and dizzy. Some anti-depressants have a similar effect and should only be taken at bedtime. Consult with your doctor to learn the most effective times to take these meds.
  • Avoid too much caffeine. The inevitable crash later could make you doubly tired.
  • Pull over and exercise. If you find yourself unbearably tired, stop off at a truck or rest stop and do some light exercising to get the blood flowing. Jumping jacks, sit-ups, and running in place for 15-20 minutes can make you feel much more alert.
  • Pop in an audio book. Maybe try something scary. A good book can keep you focused for hours.
  • Stub out the cigarette. Nicotine and other chemicals inside cigarettes can lead to irritability, exhaustion, and mental fatigue.
  • Talk to yourself. Have an illuminating conversation and get to know yourself again.

What are some tips you have for staying awake? We’d love to hear it in the comments!

Tips for Truckers on Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking is one of the most difficult things a person can do. It takes constant commitment, 24 hours a day, perseverance, and a great attitude. But it will also be the best thing you’ll ever do for your health. Smoking doubles your risk of getting heart disease, increases your risk of getting lung cancer, and can triple your risk of a stroke. It damages nearly every organ of your body. But the good news is that as soon as you stub your last cigarette out, your body will start healing itself.

First, the hard part: quitting. Quitting can be especially hard for truckers, who rely on the nicotine to stay awake and remain focused. Without people around you with constant support, the strain can make things even more difficult. But hundreds of truckers quit every year. Here are some tips on quitting:

  1. Make a list of all the reasons why you want to quit. Fold it up and keep it with you at all times. Every time you feel the urge, pull out your list and read each item carefully.
  2. Substitute snacks for cigarettes. Fresh fruit, carrots, granola bars, and nuts can be healthy sources of nutrition that will help your body heal and keep your fingers busy doing something else.
  3. Skip the patch. It doesn’t make too much sense to quit using the very substance you are trying to stop using. The patch doesn’t have a very high success rate. Only 8% of people stopped smoking for 24 weeks or more after using the patch. It’s better to find another resource, such as Chantix, which is a pill that helps reduce cravings for nicotine. But the side effects on this drug can be potent, so talk to your doctor about any concerns you have.
  4. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is a strong trigger for nicotine and can often make the urge to smoke unbearable. Coffee can also trigger cravings. Try hot tea and drink plenty of fresh water instead.
  5. Toss out every single cigarette in the house, along with ashtrays.
  6. Try not to slip up. Quitting experts say it’s ok, but it can seriously damage your motivation and lead to a complete relapse. But if you do slip up and have one, don’t beat yourself up over it. Stub it out and start over.
  7. Take baby steps. Don’t think about a year from now. Think about tonight. And tomorrow morning. Take it slow. Focus on your small victories.
  8. Reward yourself.  A good movie, a book, a new shirt that doesn’t smell like smoke. Treat yourself to something for all your hard work.
  9. Put away all the money you save in a jar. Each time you know you would have been buying a pack, put that money aside. As the money piles up, you’ll realize how hard the habit was on your wallet.

 

HelpGuide.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people quit, has its own great advice on their website:

S = Set a quit date.

Choose a date within the next 2 weeks, so you have enough time to prepare without losing your motivation to quit. If you mainly smoke at work, quit on the weekend, so you have a few days to adjust to the change.

T = Tell family, friends, and co-workers that you plan to quit.

Let your friends and family in on your plan to quit smoking and tell them you need their support and encouragement to stop. Look for a quit buddy who wants to stop smoking as well. You can help each other get through the rough times.

A = Anticipate and plan for the challenges you’ll face while quitting.

Most people who begin smoking again do so within the first 3 months. You can help yourself make it through by preparing ahead for common challenges, such as nicotine withdrawal and cigarette cravings.

R = Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car, and work.

Throw away all of your cigarettes (no emergency pack!), lighters, ashtrays, and matches. Wash your clothes and freshen up anything that smells like smoke. Shampoo your car, clean your drapes and carpet, and steam clean your furniture.

T = Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit.

Your doctor can prescribe medication to help with withdrawal and suggest other alternatives. If you can’t see a doctor, you can get many products over the counter at your local pharmacy or grocery store, including the nicotine patch, nicotine lozenges, and nicotine gum.

Have you quit smoking recently? What is your advice? Let us know in the comments!

The Safest Way to Unload Your Truck

Truckers are most prone to musculoskeletal injuries while loading and unloading their truck; this is due to the strain that bending, lifting, and heavy items put on the body. Sprains, hernias, and even fractures can occur due to improper body mechanics. Other accidents can occur in and around the truck to bystanders and workers. Securing both the truck and the unloading area is crucial for safety reasons. Here are several ways you can improve your working body form and safely unload your truck each time:

  • Before unloading, perform a load risk assessment using your judgment. Check for items that aren’t secured or may be broken. Look for spillage or hazardous materials. Ensure the truck is parked in a safe place, and that you aren’t unloading in inclement weather.
  • Ensure the truck is on a level surface, parked, with the engine off. Keys should be out of the ignition.
  • Don your personal protective equipment, if necessary. These may include gloves, helmets, UV glasses, high visibility garments, wrist guards, steel-toed boots, long-sleeved shirts and pants, earplugs, and sunscreen.
  • Restrict personnel on foot from the loading zone to prevent accidents and confusion.
  • Ensure appropriate forklift and machinery equipment licensing and experience.
  • Check for adequate lighting and complete visibility. If possible, only work during daylight hours.
  • Use wheel chocks and other vehicle restraint devices.
  • Never lift anything heavier than 50 pounds without some kind of support or help. When lifting loads heavier than 50 pounds, use two or more people to lift the load.
  • Materials that must be manually lifted should be placed at “power zone” height, about mid-thigh to mid-chest.
  • Maintain neutral and straight spine alignment whenever possible. Usually, bending at the knees, not the waist, will help maintain proper spine alignment.
  • Move items close to your body and use your legs when lifting an item from a low location.
  • Avoid twisting, especially when bending forward while lifting. Turn by moving the feet, rather than twisting the torso.
  • Keep your elbows close to your body and keep the load as close to your body as possible.
  • Keep the vertical distance of lifts between mid-thigh and shoulder height. Do not start a lift below mid-thigh height nor end the lift above shoulder height. Lifting from below waist height puts stress on legs, knees, and back. Lifting above shoulder height puts stress on the upper back, shoulders, and arms.
  • Utilize proper handholds, including handles, slots, or holes, with enough room to accommodate gloved hands.
  • Break down loads into smaller units and carry one in each hand to equalize loads. Use buckets with handles, or similar devices, to carry loose items.
  • Use pallet jacks and hand trucks to transport heavy items.
  • Utilize load bars, vertical supports, and load straps to secure loads.
  • Take regular breaks and break tasks into shorter segments. This will give muscles adequate time to rest.

What are some tips that you have for unloading your truck safely? Let us know in the comments!

Top Five Health Concerns Truckers Should Know About

We all want to live long into our golden years to enjoy watching our kids and friends grow older. Longevity depends a little bit on genetics and a lot on several important factors, including diet, exercise, stress and disease prevention and management. To get a better handle on your health and understand the importance of regular checkups, we’ve listed five critical health concerns that all truckers should be concerned about now:

  1. Skin cancer. More than 90% of skin cancer is found on body parts that get too much sun exposure. Sunburns and prolonged exposure to the sun, moles, and a history of skin cancer in the female are all factors that predispose you to skin cancer. Because truck drivers get a lot of sun on one side of their face and arm, it’s important to be vigilant about applying sunscreen and wearing long-sleeved shirts. When riding in your truck or spending any amount of time under the sun, always apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more and get abnormal moles checked out about twice a year.
  2. Obesity. You are considered obese if you have a body mass index over 30, according to the CDC. Your heart has to work extremely hard to pump blood to all your organs if you are obese. Consuming a big meal means even more work, as the heart struggles to pump enough blood to the gut to break down such a heavy load. Obesity causes every household disease in the book – high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, joint problems, cancer, and depression. Truckers are at high risk for obesity because of a sedentary lifestyle and lack of healthy food options on the road. Doctors at Stanford Hospital recommend eating a low-calorie diet (1,500-1,800 calories per day) that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, along with a diet low in saturated fats. They also recommend exercising 30 minutes a day and joining a support group to provide encouragement and reinforcement.
  3. Sleep apnea. This deadly problem is often called a silent killer, because you may not even be aware that it’s happening. Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious disorder that occurs when your throat muscles relax and block your airway during your sleep, leading to several seconds of oxygen deprivation. Sleep apnea can cause sleep deprivation, chest pain, high blood pressure, headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness, according to the Mayo Clinic. Obesity and age are both high risk factors for developing the disorder. Smoking only makes this condition even more deadly. Treatments for sleep apnea may involve lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking or losing weight, or they can include being fitted for an oral mouthpiece or breathing device. A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) fits over your mouth and nose and gently blows air into your airway to keep it open at night.
  4. High blood pressure. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is also called a silent killer because many people aren’t even aware they have it. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. As it rises, it can turn into hypertension, which is blood pressure measuring 140/90 and above. High BP can lead to coronary artery disease, where the vessels around the heart can’t get enough blood to the most important organ in our body – the ticker. High blood pressure can also seriously damage kidneys, leading eventually to kidney failure, and if pressures get high enough, the risk of stroke climbs as well. If you have high blood pressure, you should take your blood pressure at least once a day using a manual device. Compliance with medication is essential, because even if you feel better, you should never stop taking your blood pressure pills. Many truckers report they have high blood pressure because of the quality of food they consume and a lack of areas to exercise. Get out of your truck and get your heart pumping for at least 30 minutes a day. Limit salt, alcohol, and caffeine in your diet, along with saturated fats. And always keep up with doctors’ appointments.
  5. Heart attacks. More than one million Americans have a heart attack each year. Their survival depends on how much damage to the heart has been done and if they were able to reach help in time. A heart attack occurs when clots or plaque block blood flow to the coronary arteries, which oxygenate your heart muscle. Symptoms of a heart attack include squeezing pain or pressure felt in the chest or arms, pain or discomfort radiating from the jaw down to the arms, sweating, nausea, shortness of breath, and pain that isn’t relieved by rest. You must keep your heart healthy to prevent heart attacks. That means eating fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of water. Always drink a full glass of water before bed and never go to bed after eating a full, rich meal. Stay away from saturated fats and alcohol, quit smoking, and manage your high blood pressure with medication, if you have this. Maintaining an ideal body weight and managing stress are two more ways you can help prevent heart attacks.

What are some ways you manage your health on the road? Let us know in the comments!

Trucking Image Gets a Makeover

Do you think the trucking industry needs to be revamped? That’s the impetus behind “Trucking Moves America Forward”  (TMAF), a movement funded by industry leaders to bolster the trucking image.

The mission of TMAF is to establish a long-term, industry-wide movement to create a positive image for the industry and ensure that the policymakers and the public understand the importance of the trucking industry to the nation’s economy. The movement was launched in March at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

Members behind the movement include Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), Peterbilt Motors Company, Castrol Heavy Duty Lubricants, and Love’s Travel Stops.

TMAF continues to pick up steam and garner press. Pilot Flying J’s founder James A. Haslam II just donated $1.25 million to the cause, the largest cash donation to date.

If you don’t think the impact of trucking is far-reaching and critical to the economy, consider these facts:

  • There are over 3 million truck drivers in the U.S.
  • Trucking makes up the largest portion of the American transportation industry – about 27 percent. Top goods that are hauled include clothes, food, furniture, and machinery.
  • Truckers use up to 50 billion gallons of gas each year, which accounts for about 12-13% of the nation’s fuel consumption.
  • About 84% of trucking-related accidents are the other driver’s fault (the car).
  • A truck’s engine is six times bigger than a car engine and can go up to one million miles.
  • One out of nine truckers is an independent driver.
  • Businesses choose trucks for 82 cents out of every dollar they spend on shipping.
  • A fully loaded truck weighs about 80,000 pounds.
  • Almost 62% of trucking hauls are 100 miles or less.
  • 78% of freight in America is driven by trucks.
  • The average daily run for a long-haul driver is 500 miles.
  • In 2015, the freight transportation industry is predicted to carry 18 billion tons of freight, generating $1.3 trillion in revenue.
  • Total tonnage volumes will grow by 32%.
  • Trucking exclusively serves over 80% of all communities in the U.S.

What do you think about TMAF? Are you excited to see the trucking industry get a makeover? Let us know in the comments!

New Hours of Service Rule in Limbo

The Senate Appropriations Committee has thrown a wrench into the 34-hour restart rule provision of the hours of service (HOS) rule by voting to suspend it last week. 

The Committee passed an amendment on June 9 suspending the rule while the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration examines if the rule is truly beneficial to all parties involved.

The rule required truck drivers who maximize their weekly work hours to take at least two nights’ rest when their 24-hour body clock demands sleep the most – from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. This rest requirement is part of the rule’s “34-hour restart” provision that allows drivers to restart the clock on their workweek by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty.

The rule stated that drivers can take a 30-minute break whenever they need rest during an eight-hour window. It retained the current 11-hour daily driving limit. It reduced by 12 hours the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week. Under the old rule, truck drivers could work on average up to 82 hours within a seven-day period. The new HOS final rule limits a driver’s workweek to 70 hours. In addition, truck drivers cannot drive after working eight hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes.

The rule limits the use of the “34-hour restart” to once a week, or 168 hours. If restarts are taken every 6 days, alternating 14 hours on-duty and 10 hours off, a driver would reach 70 hours in less than 5 full days. After a 34-hour break, the driver could then begin this same cycle again, totaling 70 hours on duty every 6 calendar days, for an average of almost 82 hours per calendar week. The purpose of the restart rule would be to limit excessive buildup of on-duty hours.

While the amendment is suspended, the old restart provision stands. Drivers are NOT required to be off between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on two straight nights during their restart.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) applauded the move. “Truckers have long pointed out the negative impacts of the 2013 changes on their ability to get rest, stay out of busy city traffic, spend time at home, and make a family-supporting income,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.

In addition, the amendment sets a deadline for the FMSCA to publish its electronic logging device mandate by the end of January 2015. The mandate requires drivers who use paper logs to now switch to electronic logs.

The Best Trucking Books

We’ve told you about our favorite songs about trucking, the best trucking movies, and our favorite trucking paraphernalia. But what about books? It turns out there are several amazing books about trucking, from fiction to nonfiction, to glossy spreads featuring beautiful trucks on display. We know that truckers love to learn more about their industry and the men and women within it; and delving into books is great entertainment, especially during those nights spent on the road. Here are several of our favorite books about trucking:

  • The Long Haul: American Trucking Companies. This 2008 novel pulls from trucking history and starts at the beginning. It describes how trucking companies got their start and how they grew their empires.
  • In The Driver’s Seat: Interstate Trucking – A Journey. This is a firsthand account about trucking from someone who lives it everyday. Marc Mayfield, a long-haul truck driver, uses anecdotes and real-world tips to describe the life of a trucker.
  • Bumper-to-Bumper: The Complete Guide to Tractor-Trailer Operations. This book is famous for its candid look into the life of a trucker. Its no-nonsense descriptions never demean the industry, but treat it with the respect it deserves. This book is great for drivers behind the wheel on a day-to-day basis.
  • The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger. How can a rectangular box make such a huge impact on global politics and the economy? Author Marc Levinson gives a fascinating account of how container shipping grew into a huge industry and how its adoption required huge sums of money from both private investors and ports.
  • Truck Driver Tom. This one is for the kiddos! It’s all about Tom, who drives a big rig across country and sees lots of different-sized trucks and beautiful scenery.
  • Truck Drivers: The Dietician’s Guide to Smart Eating and Healthy Living for Truckers. This book acknowledges the pitfalls of having a sedentary job in the driver’s seat and discusses smart solutions to choose better food at restaurants and how to get energized without pills and caffeine.
  • Mother Trucker. This incredible story is about a middle-aged couple who quit their lucrative white-collar jobs to become long-haul truckers. The couple’s refreshing take on team truck driving will leave you laughing out loud and rooting for the couple.
  • Spirit of the Road. This is the touching story about a man who embarks on a year-long journey with his cat to become a long-haul trucker. You follow Rick Huffman from CDL school to life on-the- road, and enjoy every twist and turn along with the narrator.

Which books about trucking have you read? Please let us know in the comments!

Tools to Make Trucking Easier

The life of a trucker is hard work. Days and sometimes nights on the road, always keeping vigil, remaining cognizant of erratic weather, distracted drivers, and unforgiving road conditions. Truckers must also be ready to perform heavy lifting, loading and unloading hauls at the end of a long day in extreme heat and cold. The best tools of a trucker are their hands, but there are other implements that can make this job easier and kinder on the body. Here are some of the necessities every trucker should carry:

  • Leather and rubber gloves. A good pair of work gloves will help you in many situations, including fueling, pulling tandems, opening the trailer, and unloading goods.
  • Tire pressure gauge. Check your tires daily to prevent flat tires and increase fuel efficiency.
  • Radiator or small engine belt. These will come in handy when pulling tandems and fifth wheels.
  • Kneepads. These are wonderful to cushion knees on hard surfaces if you need to crawl under the truck or adjust slack adjusters.
  • First aid kit. This should include bandaids, gauze, gloves, tape, ointment, eye care products, scissors, and cold packs.
  • Wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen. The combination of these two will help you buffer the sun’s harmful effects.
  • Screwdriver and hammer. These are excellent tools for a variety of jobs around the truck.
  • Wipes. Baby wipes or wet naps are essential for cleaning up spills or wiping your face and hands for refreshment.
  • Solid pair of work boots. A heavy-duty pair of boots, the expensive and comfortable kind, are well worth the investment. At the end of a long day, your feet will thank you.
  • Crescent wrenches, sockets, allen wrenches, channel locks, pliers – all of these make small maintenance jobs easier.
  • Caulk and caulking gun to patch small holes.
  • Spare light bulbs to change burnt out bulbs in a pinch.
  • WD-40, zip ties, electrical wire, spare fuses.
  • A good flashlight with spare batteries.
  • A utility knife to measure tread depth.
  • An adjustable spanner and socket set.
  • A breaker bar to loosen the toughest nuts.

What tools do you absolutely have to carry in your truck at all times? Let us know in the comments!