Frequent Drivers Fatigue? 5 Tips to Increase Alertness on the Road

While most long-haul truck drivers experience drivers fatigue on occasion, no driver should feel fatigued every day they are on the road. If you experience frequent or chronic drivers fatigue, then you can help conquer this problem by changing just a few of your daily habits.

Read on to learn five tips for battling chronic drivers fatigue so you can keep yourself and others safer on the road.

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Now is the time for truck drivers to prepare for the next market dip

The trucking industry is flying (…or is it driving?) high right now and drivers across the country are finding phenomenal success. Rates are high and times are busy as the trucking industry helps push the country out of the final stages of a global pandemic.

We’re in good days right now, but what should truck drivers do to prepare for the next dip in the market? What should they do to prepare for leaner times? Start preparing now.

“I think of stories of the ants saving up for a dry season and hoarding their harvest undergroud so that they can eat long term. We’re no different,” ATBS President and CEO Todd Amen told us on the Successful Driver Podcast. “It’s a good time, but don’t and buy new toys like a Harley or bass boat, or a bunch of chrome for your truck. Save that money, because tough times will come and you’re going to need it to get through tough times. It’s nice to make money, it’s nice to have nice things but make sure you’re building your savings for when a tough time comes.”

People respond differently to the adversity that will inevitably hit when more difficult times for truck drivers come to fruition. Sometimes drivers make big decisions about equipment when times are tough. “People react differently,” said Amen. “A lot of times people freak out because what’s been going for a year or two isn’t there anymore. So they change segments of the market. Maybe going from dry van to flatbed, or flat bed to reefer. And that’s expensive. It’s hard to change.”

Amen says that will changing market segments isn’t always a bad thing, coming up with a long term plan for your business is essential. “You can change over time but when you change it costs money. You have to learn a whole new segment, learn new routes.”

Identifying a segment and become an expert driver in that space can go a long way toward short and long term success, and help you survive market dips. “Be consistent in what you’re doing. Pick something to be successful at,” said Amen. “Know it. Understand it. And ride out the storms, because the market will get good again. But we will have dips, there’s no doubt.”

Watch the full conversation with Amen here: https://youtu.be/bPvy56mb5W8

Safety is important to consider when choosing a fleet to work with

When you’re looking to sign on with a fleet, one of the first things to be considered when making such a decision must be safety. There are clearly a lot of valuable factors that play into your choice of who to work with, but it’s a red flag if the priority of the fleet isn’t on the safety and well being of a driver and those out on the road with them.

“Safety is our highest calling. There’s nothing more important than safety in our company,” Wilson Logistics President Darrel Wilson told us. “Everyone knows that we have to operate safe. If our drivers are out on the road and they tell us something is unsafe, it’s unsafe.”

Being able to be part of a culture that invites concerns on the road to be communicated is a valuable piece of a driver-fleet relationship that goes beyond simply the safety aspect. It’s a reflection of the entirety of the culture of the company if you are able to raise concerns.

Safety is baked into becoming a successful driver in so many ways. Be it equipment selection, equipment knowledge, driver health, compliance, so many elements of driver success have safety at the root of it.

We spoke with Wilson Logistics about safety and more in the latest episode of the Successful Drive Podcast.

5 Winter Driving Tips for Truckers to Stay Warm on the Road

Winter truck driving presents harsher conditions on the road than other times of the year. Not only do you drive in hazardous weather conditions like snow and ice, but you constantly deal with cold weather. A truck can only provide so much heat and comfort while on the open road.

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Technology has been a big disruptor in the trucking industry

Technological advancements have drastically changed society as a whole. The trucking industry is no different and it manifests itself in a variety of ways.

With trucks themselves, there has been a learning curve with emissions technology throughout the last twenty years – for everyone. Some manufacturers have experienced growing pains trying to perfect the technology required to help the trucking industry do their part in promoting a cleaner environment. Safety and aerodynamics have seen major strides in the last decade. Fleets, suppliers, leasing companies and drivers have had to constantly learn the nuances of trucks with emerging technology. The byproduct of all these changes and learning across the board has brought the quality of units to newer heights.

The trucking industry is a well educated industry – livelihood depends on knowing the ins and outs of your unit. The rise of social media has helped keep truck drivers connected to each other – and allowed for wisdom to be imparted on newer generations of truck drivers. Media specific to educating the truck market is available with video accessibility made easy on the likes of Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, and more. There are several options to help you gain knowledge and understanding of the hot button issues on the road.

The way trucks are advertised, bought and sold has changed significantly as well. Gone are the days where salesman would have to mail photos of a unit to a customer. Print media has changed significantly – with every major publication also having a digital wing to get maximum exposure. Information on trucks is now more accessible than it has ever been. Between the information available online from an education standpoint, truck data is more prominently displayed to help potential buyers enter a negotiation on a unit with confidence.

Though it hasn’t always been perfect, the resiliency of the trucking industry has shown itself in how it has adapted and grown over the last few decades. It will be ready for whatever significant technological disruptors come next.

How one flatbed trailer driver found success on the road

On the second episode of the Successful Driver podcast we talked with Nick Lombardo of Arrow’s purchasing and wholesale team. We asked him based on all the interactions he’s had with successful drivers, what he thought led to their business success?

He spoke about a flatbed trailer driver and how he approached his business.

“I’ll never forget Sammy Silvers. He came rolling in a 1980-something Kenworth K-100 cabover. He owned the truck, had it paid off, had his own flatbed trailer. Sammy was always looking not for the next load, but the load after that. He looked at it from a business standpoint. In the flatbed business he figured out that he could haul steel into Kansas City – and when he came into town he could put wooden spools from the electric company, put them on the steel and drop them off on the way to his next load. Drivers that think like that – looking to maximize their load and earning potential. The drivers looking to reduce their cost – the ones that know how much their truck was making them or the company – were finding success. I thought before I got in a truck industry the decision making behind buying a commercial truck would be more about business practices.”

Lombardo says sometimes there is more preference in the truck than there is about the business side of owning.

“When I got in I was surprised there was a lot more personal preference. You’re going to live in that truck a week at a time. There has to be some personal preferences met. Your main focus has to be on the business side or else you’re not going to make it. Those guys that taught me about how they were successful – approaching their business from a mindset. I think everyone in the business works hard – you can’t drive a truck without working hard. Especially some aspects of the industry – flatbed drivers. They’re climbing up and down, they’re strapping and tarping. The ones that could still approach it with a business mindset were the ones that found success. What they know, what they’re willing to learn, but already know enough business-wise to set themselves up in the right direction.”

Being creative and mindful of ways to maximize your load is certainly a pattern followed by successful drivers – not just in the flatbed aspect of the industry but in every element.

Truck Drivers Are Finally Getting the Recognition They Deserve

The last twelve months has been different for everyone. Our lives have changed drastically – including in the trucking industry.

Whether it was helping re-stock shelves across the country with toilet paper or supplying COVID-19 vaccines, the efforts of the most thankless job in America are being properly recognized. In difficult economic times, the trucking industry has actually helped keep some businesses afloat. Without truckers, times could be even more drastic. As long as there’s truck drivers on the road – we have a fighting chance as a country.

With every negative that happens there’s a positive. In the trucking industry, we’ve seen a group of hard working people get more recognition than they’ve received historically – and it’s so well deserved. Truck drivers have been an essential part of our country since trucks were invented – and now their efforts have been more appropriately brought to light.

In the midst of a devastating crisis in our country – opportunity arose for truckers to step up across America. They more than delivered. We relied on the trucking industry before the pandemic – we rely on it even more now. The efforts even earned presidential praise in early April 2020 at the start of the pandemic. Truck drivers been a critical pieces of our response to crisis – and the value of the men and women working hard to keep America moving are getting their recognition.

If you bought it, a truck driver brought it.

4 Ways Truckers Can Avoid Loneliness on the Road

With long hours and long distances, truck drivers can often go through lonely stages on the road. The key to happy and successful days on the road is to find methods to curb loneliness. Some proactive measures will help truck drivers not feel so lonely. Mental health is important for a successful trucking career.

Learn about four ways to reduce loneliness on the road and how to mix each method so you are comforted with every trip on the open road.

1. Unlimited Internet Plans

Thanks to modern technology, truck drivers have the opportunity to constantly connect with others over the internet. When you are not driving, you can rely on an unlimited mobile internet plan to talk to others through video chat. A cell phone or laptop with a webcam will provide direct connections to family members and friends.

Seeing the familiar faces and making social connections can help you feel better while on the road. You have multiple options for unlimited internet connections. For example, you can purchase a mobile hotspot connection that gives you unlimited internet data and can pair with devices like laptops or tablets.

If you frequently drive in areas with poor internet connections, then you can consider satellite internet for a truck. The satellite connection may offer more stable options as you travel near places without cell towers.

2. Rest Stop Options

When planning out your rest stops for your trip, some rest stop areas are a lot different than others. Smaller rest stops may only include a convenience store and bathrooms, while others feel like mini-malls. Seek out larger rest stops on the road, which may give you a chance to hang out away from your truck and socialize with others for an extended amount of time.

Even if you just sit at a table to enjoy a meal, you may meet other truck drivers who are at the same rest stop. The interaction outside of your truck can help quell loneliness and give you a little extra interaction before heading out on the road again.

As you find rest stops you enjoy, keep track of their location so you can revisit the locations in the future. As you plan trips early on, you may find some hit-or-miss rest stops, but the learning curve will ensure you have the best locations in the future.

3. Healthy Eating Options

If you feel lonely, you could make your symptoms worse with the consumption of junk food. A behavior known as hedonic consumption occurs when people seek out quick and fast junk food options to provide comfort for sad or lonely feelings. While the tastes may seem satisfying at first, you may end up feeling more sad or lonely.

Before a trucking trip even begins, make an effort to eat healthy and keep your body feeling good. Consider packing fruits and vegetables to consume as small snacks. Consider a truck cab with a mini-fridge. The refrigerator can hold healthy foods and keep the foods for the duration of the trip.

When you stop off at rest stops, look for healthier food options besides fast-food restaurants. If you are limited to quick eating options, look for some of their healthy menu choices like salads or grilled chicken.

When consuming drinks on the road, you should also consider simple and healthy options like water. Sugary drinks like soda or flavored fruit juices could have the same effect as junk food.

4. Ride Along Options

One of the most effective ways to reduce loneliness on the road is to have someone with you. However, there are specific rules for the road for a driving companion.

Many driving companies require written requests and formal permission to bring a passenger with you on the road. The passenger is typically limited to a married spouse and may not include a companion or long-term partner if you are not married.

If you have children, older kids may receive permission to ride along with you. In some cases, the child has to be at least 10 years old. No matter who rides along with you, no driving is allowed and you may have to pay extra insurance costs to cover the extra passenger.

The extra effort may take a little time to complete but could be one of the best ways to impact your loneliness on the road. You will have someone by your side for the duration of the trip and could turn a ride along option into a regular thing as you travel across the country.

As you plan out your days on the road, consider the used truck options we have at Arrow Truck Sales. We will help you pick a truck with extra features to help reduce loneliness while you drive. We look forward to seeing you and understanding your truck needs.

Security Basics for Truck Drivers

Every job comes with its own occupational hazards, and truck driving is no different. For instance, truck malfunctions can pose a health and safety risk. And just like a homeowner, a truck driver also has to take security precautions against vandalism, robbery, and similar criminal events.

Here are some of the basics of security concerns and precautions for truck drivers.

Why You Should Take Notice

Truck driving means that you’ll be isolated a lot of the time, and your truck will often be carrying valuable cargo. This can make criminals such as robbers consider you a worthwhile target. If thieves come after your cargo, you could sustain injuries in addition to suffering the financial loss of being robbed.

What Tools Can Help Improve Security

Improving your security on the road starts with awareness. According to the FBI, cargo theft incidents may cost up to a total of 30 billion dollars annually. Awareness of how cargo thieves and robbers operate can help you to keep your eyes open for any fishy scenarios and inform you of what to guard against.

Some tools to help you improve security include monitoring tools, locking tools, planning tools, and emergency tools. For example, GPS tracking is a monitoring tool that can help keep track of your truck at all times. It can be invaluable if your truck is ever stolen. You can also have GPS installed separately on the trailer of your truck in case thieves take just the trailer.

Other tools that can improve overall security include:

  • Camera systems that can catch video footage of traffic incidents or robbery, which could help apprehend criminals
  • Apps that provide community feedback on truck stops and parking locations, so you can choose the safest places to stop
  • Alarm systems for semitrucks that can provide sirens, panic buttons, starter kill switches, and other tools to fight truck theft

Combining several of these tools can provide a lot more options to not only prevent thefts but also help catch thieves if they do target your truck.

Which Precautions and Habits Can Thwart Criminals

Simple security precautions can help you avoid potentially dangerous situations and keep your truck from looking like easy pickings. In addition to using tools to enhance security, you can improve your situational awareness and establish habits that will help protect your truck from criminals.

Some examples of precautions and habits to use include:

  • Choosing only truck stops with a good reputation
  • Locking up securely every time you step out of the cab (including when you refuel)
  • Carrying plenty of insurance on your load
  • Parking your truck tail to tail with another truck so thieves can’t open the doors

Tandem driving may also help reduce vulnerabilities. When you have a second driver along, one of you can stay with the load at all times and thus avoid situations where your truck is unattended. In addition, you’ll be less isolated if you tandem drive.

Why Being Prepared for Emergency Situations Is Important

Your vehicle could be an easy target for cargo robbery if you end up stranded in an isolated location. Staying on top of emergency preparedness can help you avoid being stranded alone on the side of the road for long stretches of time.

The better prepared you are with tools and equipment, plus knowledge and technique to help you quickly get back on the road, the less likely you are to present an obvious target. So keep your toolbox well-stocked at all times in case your truck ever needs minor repairs, and make sure you have contact information ready for a reliable truck recovery company.

You should also be prepared for situations where someone else asks for emergency help. Never leave your truck to help someone out, since it could be a trap to lure you away from your cargo. Instead, offer to call 911 or a roadside assistance company. Criminals sometimes pose as stranded drivers in order to scam or even rob other drivers on the road.

What to Do if You Experience a Theft

Security advice often focuses solely on how to avoid being targeted for criminal activity. However, you should also prepare for the (hopefully very small) possibility of actually undergoing a robbery. If someone actually does target you and steal some of your cargo, your first priority should be personal safety: don’t do anything that would put you at risk of bodily harm.

However, if you ever do find yourself in this situation, there are several things you can do that could help bring the criminals to justice later. For example:

  • Watch and listen carefully so you can give the police a helpful statement later
  • If the criminals have a vehicle, check for a license plate number
  • Call 911 first, even before calling your dispatcher, as soon as the criminals leave

While truck driving will always come with some security risks, these steps can help you to bypass or minimize many of them, providing better protection for yourself and your truck. If you’re looking for a protection plan, get in touch with Arrow Truck Sales to discuss the extended warranties, roadside assistance plans, insurance, gap protection, and other plans we offer.