As a truck driver, you have a lot of audio options for the road. One form of audio to consider is a podcast. Podcasts are released with numerous topics, but one that relates directly to your career is a truck driver podcast. The form of entertainment is not just a way to pass the time but comes with many advantages.
There’s no question that, when it comes to roadway safety, properly functioning brakes are key. That’s why CVSA aims to remind drivers to keep up with their truck maintenance with Brake Safety Week.
This year’s Brake Safety Week is August 22-28. During this week, commercial vehicle inspectors will spread safety and education across the roadways. Inspectors will be conducting the North American Standard inspection, focusing heavily on vehicle brake systems and components. Any vehicle found with brake-related out-of-service violations will be removed from the roadways.
Kerri Wirachowsky, Director of CVSA’s Roadside Inspection Program, returned to the Successful Driver Podcast to tell us a little bit more about the event. “They may do Level 1 inspections, or they may only do inspections on the brake systems, so they’ll do a Level 4 inspection. They won’t really increase it unless they find something with the brakes.”
Data collected during these inspections will be used to determine any trends found with failing parts. Brake air hoses are one part that inspectors will be looking at closely, comparing the overall efficacy of rubber hoses versus thermal plastic hoses. They want to know what type of violations these air hoses are found with and how prevalent they are. The data won’t change your inspection, but it will be used to compile better information on the hoses themselves for future use.
It’s important to be proactive with servicing your vehicle, whether it’s commercial or passenger. CVSA announces the dates of its safety weeks in advance to encourage drivers to make the repairs before a surprise inspection occurs. The goal is to educate and promote safety, not to catch drivers unprepared. As Kerri said in her interview, “if you only maintain your truck right before Roadcheck, that’s better than never maintaining it at all.”
The entirety of August is Brake Safety Awareness Month. Law Enforcement will be working to promote brake safety with commercial drivers, mechanics, owner-operators, motor carriers, and others.
If you’ve been putting off getting your vehicle serviced, this is your sign to make that visit ASAP.
In the first season of our podcast, Arrow Truck Sales has been taking a closer look at what it takes to be a successful driver. We’ve met with various individuals throughout the industry, gleaning the wisdom and advice offered up in each interview. Recently we concluded our first series on the show, a collection of interviews with DEX Heavy Duty Parts.
We learned a great deal about DEX and the trucking industry in this five-part series. If you haven’t caught up on these episodes yet, check out our DEX Heavy Duty Parts playlist on YouTube. After discussing the topic with them over the last month, here’s a look at what it takes to be successful as a truck driver according to DEX.
Darin Redmon, Director of Operations
“It’s not just being a driver; you have to be a logistics manager, you have to be efficient, you have to be a business owner…you have to be that total package.” Efficiency and flexibility are a big key to success according to Darin. A driver isn’t just climbing into a truck and hitting the road, there are numerous other unique facets to the job that can make or break someone’s success.
Kyle Pruitt, Productions Manager
“Continuously learning and evolving, trucking is changing…” Timeliness, highway safety, continual learning, and owning a good truck are elements Kyle believes are important to any successful driver.
Sarah Newton, Marketing
“The main thing is taking pride in what you do day in and day out and having a passion for it.” While access to equipment and freight are two big factors that Sarah cites as important to success, she believes that the trait that truly separates a successful driver from the rest is pride and passion for the job.
Carey Hubbard, Site Manager
“In the age of same-day shipping, ‘got to have it now’, being calm under pressure has to make life tremendously easier.” Everyone at DEX agrees that the trucker’s role is as unique as it is diverse. There isn’t one simple way to describe the job, and similarly, there isn’t one simple way to be successful at it. Carey voiced this fact in his interview by providing a list of skills and traits he believes every driver needs to succeed. These 5 key skills are: patience, good time management, customer-first focus, dependability, and self-dependence.
Will Proctor, Sales
“You have to be mindful of the cars and other trucks, mindful of your equipment, mindful of your loads…” When Will asked his stepfather, a former trucker, what makes a driver successful, he narrowed his answer down to one simple word: mindfulness. Day-to-day a driver needs to stay mindful of a wide array of things to keep themselves, their load, and the drivers they share the road with safe.
Being prepared on the road is essential for a trucker. The right tools and products will prevent delays and ensure the trip goes smoothly. As you prepare your truck for long travels, one way to shop for items is through infomercials. Also referred to as “As Seen On TV” products, infomercial items include a wide range of gear, gadgets, and novelty items. Continue reading “A Trucker’s Guide to Infomercial Products & Their Uses”
Connectivity can be a key to success, especially in today’s world. BulkLoads.com utilizes this line of thought in their online community by virtually connecting those with materials in need of transport to truckers ready to haul. Jared Flinn, Operating Partner for Bulk Loads, spoke on the Successful Driver Podcast about how this network of shippers, brokers, and carriers can help a driver find success.
Jared shared the testimonial of a driver who had been on the verge of bankruptcy prior to finding BulkLoads.com.
“[He] found some freight, found some established contacts and now he’s having one of the best years he’s had in his business. For us, he went from one spectrum to the other in his business lifecycle.”
Operating within the bulk commodity niche, BulkLoads.com serves the industry by forming the connections needed to streamline business. To date, $4,087,252,260 worth of commodities have been moved through Bulks Loads in 2021. Jared says the difference is “that they’re finding connections, that they have more connections and that they even have more work than they ever need to do. That’s how we know that we’re doing our job.”
BulkLoads.com makes finding and maintaining these connections easy with their community-driven website. The site offers a variety of helpful tools, including (but not limited to); a load board, a truck board, and a forum. To make things even easier, Bulk Loads’ mobile app helps you find loads on the go.
Visit BulkLoads.com to explore their offerings, especially if you’re looking to haul grain, feed, fertilizer, aggregate, or any other bulk commodity. Interested in learning more? Listen to Episode 23 of the Successful Driver Podcast. Dive further into the conversation by checking out Bulk Loads’ Podcast, we suggest you start with Episode 155, featuring Arrow Truck Sales’ own Trae Viser.
There are three types of parts offered by DEX Heavy Duty Parts: renovated, recycled, and surplus. One of DEX’s main goals as a company is to eliminate as much down time for a trucker as possible when a breakdownn or accident occurs. It’s no secret that time spent waiting on repairs is money lost for a driver. That’s why DEX’s parts solutions can be so pivotal when a trucker is faced with time off the road.
Darin Redmon, Manager of Operations at DEX Heavy Duty Parts, spoke about this issue on the Successful Driver Podcast, saying, “in the event they do have down time, we’re focused on that solution to get them back up and going.” DEX understands that their success as a company is determined by the success of their customers and, in order to be successful, a trucker’s wheels have to be turning.
“If they’re not moving, they’re not making money,” Darin shared with us. Knowing this, DEX focuses on this company motto; “we don’t sell parts, we sell Dexperiences.” The Dexperience, according to Darin, leans heavily on efficiency. Since time is money for a trucker, the total repair experience goes well beyond a part. That’s why DEX wants to make sure the process they offer is as streamlined as possible.
Curious to learn more about what DEX Heavy Duty Parts has to offer? The Successful Driver Podcast is featuring them in a five-episode series. The series continues this week with our third installment. Check out our DEX series playlist now to catch up on our previous episodes and make sure to subscribe to Arrow Truck Sales’ YouTube channel to get updates when a new episode goes live.
As a trucker, you never know where you’ll end up needing a tool or assistance. Truck stops have limited resources and life on the road is made a lot easier when you have the tools you need. Along with big standard tools, plenty of pocket tools and quick options will make your life more manageable on the road.
A collection of pocket tools will not only provide you with repair options, but many of the tools will help with everyday tasks as you travel from stop to stop on the open road. Check out this guide to learn about some of your tool options and their uses on the road.
One of the quickest and most efficient tools to bring with you on the road is a multi-tool. The fold-up tools include a lot of compact options. Tools vary by design, but some of the more common options include scissors, knives, screwdrivers, and pliers. A multi-tool provides quick repairs options but also has everyday uses.
For example, if you purchase fresh fruit for the road, a multi-tool is ideal for peeling and slicing the fruit. After driving for a few months, you will have a good idea of what tools you use on a regular basis. From there, you can upgrade your multi-tool to include the exact tools you need for the road.
Credit Card-Sized Multi-Tools
An alternate version of the multi-tool is a credit card-sized multi-tool. A flat multi-tool includes different edges and flip-out options. Some of the edges may include sharp edges or jagged edges like a small saw blade. The tools are typically made of durable metal to provide strength. These tools also include cut-out shapes in common bolt sizes to help loosen and tighten various bolts.
The tool is easy to keep in a wallet and pull out in a pinch.
Air pressure is an essential part of operating a big truck. If your tires have low pressure, you run the risk of a tire popping or lowering your gas mileage and driving efficiency. One of the quickest ways to check the tire pressure on your truck is with a tire gauge. Pocket versions allow you to quickly check the air pressure without the need for a big rig or professional help.
Some of the more advanced pocket gauges include a digital screen. The digital reading takes the guesswork out of a tire gauge and will give you accurate results. Some of the screens feature backlit LCD screens that allow you to see pressure when you check in dark conditions.
When you need to make adjustments or remove bolts, you may run into frustrations when you do not have the proper size. A hex key tool includes a collection of the most sizes for hex bolts. When you use the properly sized tool, you can make adjustments easily and can avoid stripping bolts.
Each tool on a hex key can flip outwards to access the hex bolts one at a time. As you shop for hex keys, look for ones with at least ten different sizes. Some sets will include both metric and standard sizes for the hex key.
Advancements in LED lights have created small pocket lights that provide powerful beams and illumination. The lights come in handy when you need to inspect and check your truck at night. Choose from handheld lights or keychain lights you can quickly access.
A small LED headlamp provides a hands-free option when you have to crawl under the truck or need to use multiple tools. LED lights are also useful during the day. Many areas of the truck block out natural sunlight and create areas that are hard to see.
Along with the LED lights, consider an extra stash of backup batteries to help power the lights. You can also shop for LED lights with rechargeable batteries so you can charge the lights while you travel on the road.
Pocket tools are easy to lose. The last thing you want is to have a convenient tool get jammed in your seat or just go missing. When you purchase pocket tools, consider an easy way to organize all the tools in one place. If you want an enclosed space, shop for small plastic tackle boxes usually reserved for fishing.
A tackle box typically opens up to reveal multiple layers for easy storage. The clips to hold a tackle box shut will prevent the tools from falling out while you drive. If you purchase a truck with a sleeper cabin, then consider a make-up organizer. The open sections of the organizer are easy to place tools in. Keep the organizer inside a cabinet and grab a tool when needed.
For all of your truck needs, contact us at Arrow Truck Sales. We can help you find day trucks and sleeper cabs and give you tips on tools and accessories. The more prepared you are for the open road, the more easily you’ll be able to handle any situation.
CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week starts on Monday, July 11th! Throughout the week, law enforcement personnel will be on the lookout for commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers engaging in risky driving. Identified unsafe drivers will be pulled over and issued a citation or warning.
Data shows that traffic stops and interactions with law enforcement help reduce problematic driving behaviors. By making contact with drivers during Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement personnel aim to make our roadways safer by targeting high-risk driving behaviors.
The emphasis this year is on speeding. “When you look at the data, speeding has gone up,” said Kerry Wirachowsky, the Director of CVSA’s Roadside Inspection.
The event doesn’t just focus on trucks but any vehicle on the road. “Operation Safe Driver is a little different in that it doesn’t just take into consideration trucks, but also cars around large trucks,” said Wirachowsky. “When the police are out their patrolling they’re looking for cars cutting off trucks, it’s a lot of traffic enforcement.”
For more information on Operation Safe Driver Week you can check out the CVSA website: https://www.cvsa.org/programs/operation-safe-driver/operation-safe-driver-week/
We talked to Kerri Wirachowsky, the Director of CVSA Roadside Inspection about the event and so much more!
There are variables in a truck driver’s life that can affect his or her monthly income. A lot of successful drivers have found ways to navigate the variance in income with forward thinking. Some months may be more lean than others, but if you’re planning and budgeting for the future, it can help take some of the potential volatility out of it.
“Sometimes freight pay really well and you’re doing a lot of miles,” said Arrow Truck Sales’ Jason Church. “Setting money back is tough to do sometimes.”
“Planning for the future is a really big key and something that’s hard to do,” he said.
The intermingling of personal and truck finances can make things difficult at times, but planning ahead to maintain your unit is crucial, says Church. “When your tires are wearing thin, and the check engine light is on. You do need to keep up the equipment so you can lean on it. That’s what makes your money.”
Proactivity with maintenance can help save money – especially if you’ve purchased a used commercial vehicle. “Waiting too long to make a repair typically can snowball into something much worse – and very costly,” says Church. “Consistently putting a little money back (is important). A used truck will break. A used truck has used truck problems.”
You can watch the full episode of the Successful Driver podcast with Jason Church here:
Jason Church, a member of the purchasing department at Arrow Truck Sales, has seen a lot of trucks in his life. Whether it’s prior roles as a salesman and branch manager, or his role today, the man has done a lot of deals on used commercial vehicles.
When it comes to resale value, Church has some suggestions on how to get the most out of your used truck.
“Whether it’s a truck, a car, a bass boat, a house, people like to buy nice things,” said Church. “When you look at two different trucks, and they came from the same place, and two different people had control of its outcome. If one is clean, the bumper got scratched but they took care of it when they could, and the tires match.”
Beyond keeping things clean and consistent, Church also preaches proactivity. “Making sure there’s not oil leaks to the ground. If you get a simple oil leak today, just fix it. It becomes a massive leak down the road and sprays all over the truck.”
It can be tempting to collect insurance money on minor issues and not resolve issues with the truck, but Church cautions against that. “If you get dinged. Instead of taking the insurance money and saying ‘When things slow down, I’ll get it fixed’. Just get it fixed.”
Church mentions that if at all possible, resolving issues in a timely fashion is important. “I know there are bills to pay, there is a reality to everything, but if you can’t stop right make sure you do.”
A proactive approach to cleaning and maintaining your truck will help improve the resale value when it comes time to sell. “Keep it clean, keep it nice. It speaks volumes and pays more when you do it.”
Watch the full episode here: