Ask The Trucker

Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry


Truck Driving Schools and Trucking Companies: Post Your Comments about Them Here

Feb
22,
2008
310

First, I want to thank you for your trust and support in helping to make  Truth About Trucking the best selling  CDL Trucking Book for Students and New Drivers.   Allen Smith

Best Seller for CDL Training and New Drivers

A Must Read for CDL Students and New Drivers

Many of you have been writing me and voicing your opinions about specific trucking companies and trucking schools. Here is the place to write about them!

Every time you have a legitimate comment, you could be helping  fellow truckers  (or future truckers)  avoid a bad experience.

Know a good or bad company? Write about them.   Know a good or bad trucking school?  Write about them.

Whatever your experience,  just feel free to share it here.

Please note: There is a delay upon posting. All comments are moderated to avoid spammers.  Sorry.

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Truck Stop Directory

Feb
20,
2008
6

A professional truck driver gets to know the best places to stop for a meal or rest during their time over the road. Normally based on what services are available, ease of parking, safety, etc., each driver has their own “favorite” spots to stop along the way during their travels. These are mine:

ALABAMA:

Bucksville: Petro, I-20/59 @ exit 100

Cullman: Jack’s Truck Stop, I-65 @ exit 304

Grand Bay: T/A, I-10 @ exit 4

Robertsdale: Oasis Travel Center, I-10 @ exit 53

ARIZONA:

Eloy: T/A, I-10 @ exit 203

Kingman: Petro, I-40 @ exit 66

Tonopah: Rip Griffin, I-10 @ exit 103

ARKANSAS:

Earle: T/A, I-40 @ exit 260

Prescott: Rip Griffin, I-30 @ exit 44

Russellville: Flying J, I-40 @ exit 84

West Memphis: Petro, I-40 @ exit 280

CALIFORNIA:

Buttonwillow: T/A, I-5 @ exit 257

Coachella: T/A, I-10 @ exit 146

Corning: Petro, I-5 @ exit 630

Lodi: 3 B’s Truck Plaza, I-5 @ exit 485

Madera: Pilot Travel Center, Hwy. 99 @ exit 159

Ontario: T/A, I-10 @ exit 57

COLORADO:

Cameo: Gay Johnson’sA/T Stop, I-70 @ exit 47

Fountain: Tomahawk A/T Plaza, I-25 @ exit 128

Limon: Rip Griffin, I-70 @ exit 359

Loveland: Johnson’s Corner, I-25 @ exit 254

CONNECTICUT:

Branford: T/A, I-95 @ exit 56

DELAWARE:

Middletown: 301 Plaza, US 301 South

FLORIDA:

Jacksonville: T/A, I-95 @ exit 329

Lake Panasoffkee: Spirit Travel Center, I-75 @ exit 321

Mossy Head: Lucky 13, I-10 @ exit 70

Reddick: Petro, I-75 @ exit 368

Vero Beach: T/A, I-95 @ exit 147

GEORGIA:

Carnesville: Petro, I-85 @ exit 160

Richmond Hill: T/A, I-95 @ exit 87

Tallapoosa: Noble A/T Plaza, I-20 @ exit 5

Unadilla: All State Truck Stop, I-75 @ exit 121

IDAHO:

Boise: Boise Stage Stop, I-84 @ exit 71

Eden: Travelers Oasis, I-84 @ exit 182

Idaho Falls: Yellowstone T/S, I-15 @ exit 113

Post Falls: Flying J, I-90 @ exit 2

Twin Falls: Flying J, I-84 @ exit 173

ILLINOIS:

Effingham: Dixie Travel Plaza, I-57-70 @ exit 159

McLean: Dixie Truckers Plaza, I-55 @ exit 145

Peru: Crazy D’s, I-80 @ exit 75

Russell: T/A, I-94 @ exit 1

Troy: St. Louis East Truck Plaza, I-55-70 @ exit 18

INDIANA:

Brazil: Brazil 70 T/S, I-70 @ exit 23

Fort Wayne: Fort Wayne Truck Plaza, I-69 @ exit 109A

Memphis: Country Style Plaza, I-65 @ exit 16

Remington: Hoosier Heartland Travel Center, I-65 @ exit 201

IOWA:

Ainsworth: Four Corners, US 218 & Rt. 92

Altoona: Bosselman Travel Center, I-80 @ exit 142A

Denison: Ampride Truck Plaza, US 59N & Rt. 141

Elk Run Heights: Road Ranger, I-380 @ exit 68

Sioux City: Truck Haven, I-29 @ exit 143

Walcott: Iowa 80 T/A, I-80 @ exit 284

Williams: Boondock’s USA, I-35 @ exit 144

KANSAS:

Beto Junction: T/A, I-35 @ exit 155

Garden City: Garden City Travel Plaza, Hwy. 50 & 83

Newton: Newell Truck Plaza, I-135 @ exit 31

Oakley: Mitten Truck Stop, I-70 @ exit 76

KENTUCKY:

Corbin: Corbin Travel Plaza, I-75 @ exit 29

Paducah: Southern Pride, I-24 @ exit 16

Richwood: T/A, I-71-75 @ exit 175

Smiths Grove: Smiths Grove BP, I-65 @ exit 38

Sonora: Davis Brothers Travel Plaza, I-65 @ exit 81

Waddy: Waddy Travel Center, I-64 @ exit 43

LOUISIANA:

Bayou Vista: Bayou Vista T/P & Casino, US 90

Crowley: Exit 80 Travel Plaza, I-10 @ exit 80

Greenwood: Kelly’s Travel Plaza, I-20 @ exit 5

Grosse Tete: Tiger Truck Stop, I-10 @ exit 139

Hammond: Petro, I-12 @ exit 40

Tallulah: T/A, I-20 @ exit 171

MAINE:

Fairfield: Truckers International, I-95 @ exit 132

MARYLAND:

Elkton: Petro, I-95 @ exit 109A

Hancock: Little Sandy’s Truck Stop, I-70 @ exit 3

Newburg: One Stop Travel Plaza, Hwy. 301 S @ MM 3

MASSACHUSETTS:

Chicopee: Pride Travel Center, I-90 @ exit 6

Whately: Whately Truck Stop, I-91 @ exit 24

MICHIGAN:

Battle Creek: Te-Khi Travel Court, I-94 @ exit 104

Bridgeport: T/A, I-75 @ exit 144B

Dexter: T/A, I-94 @ exit 167

Dimondale: Windmill Truck Stop, I-96 @ exit 98A, I-69 @ exit 70

MINNESOTA:

Albert Lea: T/A, I-35 @ exit 11

Cannon Falls: Cannonball A/T Plaza, Hwy. 52 S & Rt. 24 E

Fergus Falls: Big Chief Truck Stop, I-94 @ exit 61

Sauk Centre: Trucker’s Inn, I-94 @ exit 127

MISSISSIPPI:

Escatawpa: Cone A/T Plaza, I-10 @ exit 69

Hattiesburg: Dan’s Truck Stop, US 49 S

Hickory Flat: New Mart, Hwy. 78 & 178

Jackson: Petro, I-20-55 @ exit 45

Winona: High Point Travel Center, I-55 @ exit 185

MISSOURI:

Cuba: Voss Truck Port, I-44 @ exit 208

Columbia: Midway A/T Plaza, I-70 @ exit 121

Matthews: T/A, I-55 @ exit 58

Oak Grove: Petro, I-70 @ exit 28

Strafford: T/A, I-44 @ exit 88

MONTANA:

Belgrade: Flying J, I-90 @ exit 298

Laurel: Pelican Truck Plaza, I-90 @ exit 437

Missoula: Muralt’s Travel Plaza, I-90 @ exit 96

Shelby: Town Pump Travel Plaza, I-15 @ exit 363

NEBRASKA:

Big Springs: Bosselman Travel Center, I-80 @ exit 107

Grand Island: Bosselman Travel Center, I-80 @ exit 312

Lincoln: Shoemaker’s Travel Plaza, I-80 @ exit 395

Ogallala: T/A, I-80 @ exit 126

York: Petro, I-80 @ exit 353

NEVADA:

Las Vegas: Petro, I-15 @ exit 54

Sparks: Petro, I-80 @ exit 20 EB or exit 21 WB

Wells: Flying J, I-80 @ exit 352

Winnemucca: Flying J Fuel Stop, I-80 @ exit 176

NEW HAMPSHIRE:

Lebanon: Exit 18 Truck Stop, I-89 @ exit 18

NEW JERSEY:

Carney’s Point: Flying J, I-295 @ exit 2C

Columbia: T/A, I-80 @ exit 4

Paulsboro: T/A, I-295 @ exit 18

NEW MEXICO:

Alamogordo: Timeout Travel Center, US 82 N

Casa Blanca: Dancing Eagle Travel Center, I-40 @ exit 108

Las Cruces: T/A, I-10 @ exit 139

Moriarty: Rip Griffin, I-40 @ exit 194

Santa Rosa: T/A, I-40 @ exit 277

Socorro: Santa Fe Diner & Truck Stop, I-25 @ exit 115

Springer: Russell Truck & Travel, I-25 @ exit 419

NEW YORK:

Binghamton: T/A, I-81 @ exit 2 W NB or exit 3 SB

Buffalo: Jim’s Truck Plaza, I-90 @ exit 52E

Dansville: T/A, I-390 @ exit 5

Fultonville: T/A, I-90 @ exit 28

Kanona: Wilson Farms AmBest, I-86 @ exit 37

Maybrook: T/A, I-84 @ exit 5

Mexico: Sun-Up A/T Plaza, I-81 @ exit 34

Waterloo: Petro, I-90 @ exit 41

NORTH CAROLINA:

Candler: T/A, I-40 @ exit 37

Dunn: Sadler Travel Plaza, I-95 @ exit 75

Mebane: Petro, I-40-85 @ exit 157

Salisbury: Derrick Travel Plaza, I-85 @ exit 71

Whitsett: T/A, I-40-85 @ exit 138

NORTH DAKOTA:

Bismarck: StaMart Travel Center, I-94 @ exit 161

Fargo: Petro, I-94 @ exit 348

Grand Forks: Big Sioux Travel Plaza, I-29 @ exit 138

Jamestown: Jamestown Truck Plaza, I-94 @ exit 260

Minot: Econo Stop, US 2-52 Bypass (EB) & US 83

OHIO:

Beaverdam: Flying J, I-75 @ exit 135

Hebron: T/A, I-70 @ exit 126

Leavittsburg: Short Stop Truck Plaza, I-80 @ exit 209 – 2.5 miles East

London: T/A, I-70 @ exit 79

Seville: T/A, I-71 @ exit 209

Stony Ridge: T/A, I-80-90 @ exit 71

OKLAHOMA:

Big Cabin: Big Cabin Truck Plaza, I-44 @ exit 283

Oklahoma City: Petro, I-35-40 @ exit 127

Sallisaw: Ed’s Truck Stop, I-40 @ exit 311

Sayre: Flying J, I-40 @ exit 20

OREGON:

Baker City: Baker Truck Corral, I-84 @ exit 304

Canyonville: Seven Feathers Travel Center, I-5 @ exit 99

La Pine: Gordys Truck Stop, Located on Whitney Road

Phoenix: Petro, I-5 @ exit 24

Troutdale: T/A, I-84 @ exit 17

PENNSYLVANIA:

Barkeyville: T/A, I-80 @ exit 29

Breezewood: Petro, I-76 @ exit 161 or I-70 @ exit 147

Duncannon: Clarks Ferry All American, 1/4 mile EAST of Hwy. 11-15

Frystown: Frystown All American Plaza, I-78 @ exit 10

Hickory Run: Hickory Run Travel Plaza, I-80 @ exit 274

Milton: Petro, I-80 @ exit 215

RHODE ISLAND:

West Greenwich: RI’s Only 24 Hr A/T Plaza, I-95 @ exit 5B

SOUTH CAROLINA:

Blacksburg: Mr. Waffle, I-85 @ exit 104

Columbia: Columbia 20 Travel Center, I-20 @ exit 71

Cowpens: Mr. Waffle Auto/Truck Plaza, I-85 @ exit 83

Duncan: T/A, I-85 @ exit 63

Florence: Petro, I-95 @ exit 169

Manning: T/A, I-95 @ exit 119

SOUTH DAKOTA:

Mitchell: I-90 Travel Center, I-90 @ exit 332

Rapid City: Windmill Truck Stop, I-90 @ exit 55

Watertown: Stone’s Truck Stop, I-29 @ exit 177

TENNESSEE:

Denmark: T/A, I-40 @ exit 68

Franklin: T/A, I-65 @ exit 61

Kingston Springs: Petro, I-40 @ exit 188

Lebanon: Uncle Pete’s Truck Stop, I-40 @ exit 239A

Monteagle: Monteagle Truck Plaza, I-24 @ exit 135

Niota: Crazy Ed’s, I-75 @ exit 56

TEXAS:

Amarillo: Petro, I-40 @ exit 75

Baytown: T/A, I-10 @ exit 789

Beaumont: Petro, I-10 @ exit 848

Big Spring: Rip Griffin, I-20 @ exit 177

Buda: Dorsett’s 221 Truck Stop, I-35 @ exit 221

Denton: T/A, I-35 @ exit 471

Edinburg: T/A, US 281, 5 miles North of Town

El Paso: Petro, I-10 @ exit 37

Gainesville: Hitchin’ Post Truck Stop, I-35 @ exit 500

Huntsville: Hitchin’ Post Truck Terminal, I-45 @ exit 118

Marshall: Pony Express Travel Center, I-20 @ exit 617

Ozona: Circle Bar A/T Plaza, I-10 @ exit 372

San Antonio: Petro, I-10 @ exit 582

Victoria: Big Vic Truck Stop, US 87 & 59

Weatherford: Petro, I-20 @ exit 409

UTAH:

Green River: West Winds Truck Stop, I-70 @ exit 158

Lake Point: T/A, I-80 @ exit 99

Ogden: Flying J, I-15-84 @ exit 346

VERMONT:

Wells River: P&H Truck Stop, I-91 @ exit 17

VIRGINIA:

Ashland: T/A, I-95 @ exit 92

Emporia: Sadler Travel Plaza, I-95 @ exit 11B

Raphine: White’s Truck Stop, I-64-81 @ exit 205

Ruther Glen: Petro, I-95 @ exit 104

Troutville: T/A, I-81 @ exit 150

Wytheville: T/A, I-77 @ exit 41 or I-81 @ exit 72

WASHINGTON:

Ellensburg: Flying J, I-90 @ exit 109

Kalama: Rebel Truck Stop, I-5 @ exit 27

Tacoma: Flying J, I-5 @ exit 136

Union Gap: Gearjammer Truck Plaza, I-82 @ exit 36

WEST VIRGINIA:

Jane Lew: Jane Lew Truck Stop, I-79 @ exit 105

Mineral Wells: Liberty Truck Stop, I-77 @ exit 170

Mount Nebo: U-Save Travel Plaza, Hwy. 19 & Rt. 129

Valley Grove: T/A, I-70 @ exit 11

WISCONSIN:

Black River Falls: Flying J, I-94 @ exit 116

Cadott: River Country Plaza, Hwy. 27 & 29

Curtiss: Abbyland Travel Center, Hwy. 29 @ Exit 127

DeForest: T/A, I-90-94 @ exit 132

Edgerton: Edgerton Shell Oasis, I-90 @ exit 160

Fond du Lac: Stretch Truck Stop, Hwy. 41 & CR OO

Green Bay: Country Express A/T Stop, I-43 @ exit 180

Hudson: T/A, I-94 @ exit 4

Janesville: T/A, I-90 @ exit 171C

Johnson Creek: Pine Cone Travel Plaza, I-94 @ exit 267

Oshkosh: Planeview Travel Plaza, US 41 @ exit 113

Racine: Petro, I-94 @ exit 333

Richfield: Richfield Truck Stop, US 41-45 & Rt. 167

WYOMING:

Cheyenne: Flying J, I-25 @ exit 7

Douglas: Broken Wheel Truck Stop, I-25 @ exit 135

Fort Bridger: T/A, I-80 @ exit 30

Lander: Stub’s Truck Stop, On Rt. 789

Laramie: Petro, I-80 @ exit 310

Lusk: Outpost Truck Stop, On US 85, 3 blocks S of Rt. 18-20

Rawlins: Rip Griffin, I-80 @ exit 214

Rock Springs: Flying J, I-80 @ exit 104

Aubrey Allen Smith is a veteran OTR driver with over 3 million safe miles. He is the author of the first and original Truth About Trucking.

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The Importance of Communication

Feb
12,
2008
3

Technorati Profile

Truck Drivers and the “Recession”

Feb
8,
2008
8

I want to start out by saying that this whole so called recession thing is getting slightly on my nerves. Do you think, that just possibly, it could be a little bit of election propaganda set up by our trusted media? You know, the people we depend on for the “news”, like ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN, just to name a few.

I am a believer in thinking that if you start to believe in something, you can make it happen. Now, that can go for both GOOD and BAD.  If we start believing that there really is a recession, what do you think we will start doing? Well, the first thing is, we will stop spending money.  What do you think that will do to the economy?  Now, I’m not saying we should go out and spend money like a bunch of drunken sailors, but to totally put the brakes on normal everyday spending can put a drastic impact on our economy.  ( That would be quite impressive for election day, right?)

Well, “what does all that have to do with Truck Drivers?” you are thinking. First, no matter what kind of “recession” we are in, there will ALWAYS be trucks and freight. Period. The American economy might as well just fold up and die if trucking ever came to a halt. That one’s a “no brainer”. So, if you are in trucking right now, ( and loving it) you are in a good position,  no matter what the economy looks like.  Sure, with more competition and low freight costs, you could feel somewhat of a slow-down, but trucking and freight will always continue.

This brings me to my next topic. Lately, I have been getting much more e-mail from people looking into trucking OUT of FEAR.  It seems that they want to get into trucking  as a career change because they feel they may lose their job ( you know, this “recession” we’re having).  I want to address this to those of you who fit this category.

Let me say that trucking is not for everybody. I have written quite a few articles describing the kind of life you will lead as a trucker.  There are many people who absolutely love their trucking career, but I will tell you that there are almost as many who hate it, and find themselves “stuck” in the career because of a decision they made years ago, soley based on the security of having a “job”.  You must realize that this is not a 9-5 life,  holidays with the family, visiting the grand kids, and so forth. It is a life of driving and destinations, one after the other.  Even the local trucking jobs which I discuss in my book are not without sacrifice. Although many of them boast of 50-80 thousand per year salaries ( which is true, I may add) they also include 10-12 hour days with physical labor involved.  If you’re not in shape, these jobs are not for you. You must be realistic when you are looking at Trucking as a career, whether it be OTR trucking or working for a trucking company locally.  Make your decision wisely and with much thought, because not only will you spend time and money on training, but you will be spending many years behind the wheel of that Freightliner ( my personal favorite).

I’m not trying to discourage anyone from being in the trucking industry, but rather encourage them to research and investigate if this type of career would match their personality.  It’s what you need to do with ANY career choice. For example:  You wouldn’t be a first grade teacher if you couldn’t stand being around small children all day, right? And you certainly would not want to work on skyscrapers if you had a fear of heights.  It’s the same thing with trucking.  So don’t let FEAR of not having a job,  be your only motive for a trucking career.  However, if you do decide that  trucking is a lifelstyle that will fit your personality and desires, then welcome aboard!

Aubrey “Allen” Smith

 Original Author of “The Truth About Trucking”

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Tax Exempt Truckers

Feb
3,
2008
5

Tax Exempt Truckers
By Suzanne Roquemore 

Trucking and taxes go hand-in-hand. But trucking companies and owner operators in trucking who have an ICC number or who are leased to a carrier that has an ICC number can save on sales tax in some states.

Some states, like Oregon, Montana and New Hampshire, have no sales tax at all for any retail purchases.

Other states, like Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania, will provide a form to fill out and sign. If a trucking owner operator or the trucking company he is leased to have an ICC number, the owner operator (or trucking company) does not have to pay sales tax in those states for the items bought for their trucks.

Good luck trying to get out of paying sales tax at Wal-Mart, but at the truck stop shop, they’ll know what you’re talking about. Consider that if you are buying a full set of drives you may be paying retail prices in the $3,000 range. At 6% sales tax, you will save $180. That is certainly worth the time to fill out a tax form.

Most retailers in the trucking industry won’t suggest to owner operators that they may be tax exempt. The owner operator will have to ask if the shop or supply store will honor that provision. Tax exemption forms create more paperwork for the retailers, so they tend to keep the uninformed truckers in the dark about it.

An owner operator who wants to save on sales tax would be wise to buy his supplies in one of these states. Whatever state you are in, if you get repairs, maintenance or supplies, always ask if they have a tax exempt form you can fill out. They may or they may not, but it is certainly worth enduring an occasional blank stare in order to double check.

States that should allow tax exempt status in addition to those already mentioned are Kansas, Missouri, and Washington. PDFs for many state sales tax exemption forms can be found online.

CoopsAreOpen.com is the only comprehensive online resource for over 1100 truck weigh stations and scales as well as state DOT weight regulations and policies. Knowledge of the varying policies and the ability to manage or avoid most weigh stations can save truckers thousands of dollars in ticket fines. For further information, contact Suzanne at information@coopsareopen.com or view Truck Weigh Station, Scales and State DOT Information at http://www.CoopsAreOpen.com

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Truck Drivers Need Fun Too; Take a Ride on a Harley

Feb
1,
2008
1

After a tough week in trucking, it’s always great anticipation to know you can enjoy a ride on your bike.

Take a ride with us and enjoy the “not so typical” biker background music. Has a pretty cool ending too.

There something about the words, Truck Driver and Harley Davidson , that just seem to go together well.

If anyone has a video they’d like to submit, feel free to leave a comment and the link to your video.

Remember, to leave a comment, you must click on the title of the Post you want to comment on first. This will open the comment/ reply box at the end of the post.

There is a delay in posting, so please be patient.

We look forward to viewing your videos.

Here’s Allen and Donna on “The Harley”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tg63m-4nids

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Emily Discovered “Motionless” by Donna: Off to a Better Place

Jan
29,
2008
26

Today was one of my rare days off.  I was glad, because today Donna found her  beloved pet cockateil “Emily” motionless on the bottom of her cage.  I don’t even need to say how terribly upset Donna was, and those of you who know Donna, know what a compassionate and kind hearted person she is also.

 I’m gone much of the time, and when Donna would come home at night, Emily was the one to greet her “hello” when she walked in the door.  I know the silence now will be very difficult.

If you would like, you can leave an uplifting message, and although it won’t bring Emily Back, it will be encouraging to know that her friends do care and don’t think she’s being silly. 

Thanks,

Allen

Hours of Service to Change Again?

Jan
20,
2008
5

After a long, hard battle advocates finally accomplished their goal in having the hours of service for truck drivers changed to the current 14/10 rule with the 34-hour restart thrown in for support. Remember all the news this was making back then? It was going to be so much better for the general public safety and concerns.

Entering into effect on October 1st, 2005, the trucking industry began operating under the new rules, which to this day, many drivers still do not agree with. And now . . . change may be coming again. Last July, the court ruled to vacate the current rule and change it BACK to the way it was before! The ruling will not become effective until September 12, 2008. Some parties such as ATA, et al are or will be asking for a stay of the current ruling.

If the court does not grant a stay, then on September 12, drivers will be going back to the 10-hour driving rule, and will no longer use the 34-hour restart rule. Rules that will be staying in place are the 14-hour on-duty time, the 10 hours off duty, the 2/8 hours split sleeper berth time and the 60/70 rule.

So for now, the trucking industry will have to wait and see. Are we in for another hours of service rule change? It is highly possible. I stand behind the old adage as I did in 2005 . . . “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

About the Author:

Aubrey Allen Smith is a veteran trucker and author of the first and original Truth About Trucking. An expert in transportation, his book has helped thousands of new, inexperienced drivers understand the scams of the trucking industry. Please visit http://www.truthabouttrucking.com today, to learn more.

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Winter Driving Tips

Nov
4,
2007
3

On December 21st at precisely 7:42 A.M. EST, the sun’s rays will strike one of the two tropical latitude lines, and thus winter will officially begin for the Northern Hemisphere. This will also be the official beginning of “winter driving” for the millions of truck drivers across our country. This is a time when your driving skills can be put to the ultimate test, especially for the over the road trucker.

 

For the lucky drivers dedicated to running the southern states, etc., winter will not create too many problems. Those long haulers running all 48 states finding themselves in the northern region, New England states and beyond . . . they know they are in for a ride!

For years I ran all 48 states plus parts of Canada and found myself fighting freezing rain, ice and snow on many occasions. In the Midwest, you will do battle with the snow and ice and the howling winds that can toss your rig around like a rag doll. I have seen too many rigs laid over on their sides or simply stuck in the winter conditions, unable to move. Not only is this a very frustrating time, but it can also be a deadly one when we fail to make the right choices.

Truck drivers must prepare accordingly for the winter driving period. Here are some winter driving tips that not only will make this time of year more comfortable, but could end up saving your life:

• Have your rig “winterized” by a professional technician.

• Carry a few gallons of a fuel treatment product to prevent the diesel from gelling.

• Carry extra blankets . . . enough to keep you warm in case you get stranded.

• Carry a supply of “energy food” such as energy bars, etc., and water.

• Keep the fuel tanks as full as possible, especially before crossing a mountain pass or similar object.

• Allow extra distance between you and the vehicles ahead of you.

• SLOW DOWN. Adjust your speed appropriately for the road conditions.

• Check the weather forecast ahead of you BEFORE you head out.

• Avoid using cruise control.

• PLAN AHEAD. Know where truck stops are ahead of you on your planned trip, so you can make the appropriate stop should the weather turn really bad.

• If the time comes where tire chains are needed . . . STOP!

Having the right equipment and supplies can make the difference between life and death. Should you find yourself stranded on the side of the road in -30 degree temperatures, you will discover that even if the rig keeps running, very little heat, if any, will blow out! It is very important to carry extra blankets and energy food and water. Keep the rig in tip-top shape and by taking extra precautions, you can survive a difficult situation.
There are plenty of tricks and tips to get a car unstuck from the ice and snow, many of which can be applied to trucks too. Know before you go!

The best way to prevent being caught in a life and death situation during winter time, is having the right state of mind in making the GO-NO-GO decision. Even if other drivers are heading out in what to you, seems like a bad idea . . . then stick with your intuition. Make the NO-GO decision to stay put until the weather clears. Make the right decision. The freight can wait.

About the Author:

Aubrey Allen Smith is the author of the Truth About Trucking and host of AskTheTrucker “Live” on Blog Talk Radio.
With over 30 years years in the transportation industry, and 21 years as an OTR driver, he utilizes his time by helping new drivers to the industry. By exposing the scams of the trucking industry, he has helped thousands and is considered an expert in motor carrier transportation.

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Depression and the Long Haul Trucker

Oct
22,
2007
1

A long haul trucker is no stranger to sleep deprivation. Even local truck drivers deal with the problem of little rest, many working 70 hour weeks. Sleep deprivation is the leading cause of serious truck related accidents, resulting in as high as 40% of all crashes. The constant attitude of many motor carriers of “you’ve got to get the freight there,” is an enormous stress on the long haul trucker. Even though Federal Regulations require a driver to take a 10-hour break after 14 hours of on duty time, these 10 hours often work out to be only 5-6 hours of actual sleep per day.

Several years ago, I decided to keep a log of the actual sleep time I received each day. Over a six-week period, it showed that I was only actually “sleeping” an average of 4 hours per day. Twenty eight hours of sleep in an entire week . . . and to add to the problem, a great deal of long haul trucking is done at night.

Sleep deprivation can lead to many other health problems, including depression. Adding the lack of sleep on top of endless hours alone and away from family, increases the risk of “the invisible illness,” depression. Though statistics vary, it is believed that depression in long haul truck drivers is as high as 30-40 percent.

Signs of depression include:

Feeling of hopelessness

Loss of interest in daily activities

Change in appetite or weight

Sleep disturbances

Loss of energy or fatigue

Aches and pains

Low self esteem

Less interest in sex

Feeling of sadness and crying spells

Thoughts of suicide

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above on a regular basis, you may be battling “the invisible illness.” See your doctor. Depression is treatable and you DO NOT have to live that way! The first step is recognizing the signs and the second step is doing something about it. Go to your doctor and get the help that will change your life. As your friend in trucking . . . don’t think about it . . . DO IT.

About the Author:

Aubrey Allen Smith is the author of the Truth About Trucking and How to Guarantee a “Perfect” Move.

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