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How to Beat the Heat as a Truck Driver

As the heat of the summer rolls in and you are in the road you might be asking yourself, how can I stay productive and safe while beating the heat? Unfortunately, truck drivers do not typically get the summer off so it is best to find ways to work through the heat and still get the job done. Here you find a number of tips and trick that will hopefully help while you are on the road.

Stay Hydrated

This might seem like an obvious one but it is one of the most important one. With extreme heat, it is so easy to get dehydrated. When your body is dehydrated, you become tired, sluggish and in some extreme cases it can cause headaches and vomiting. When you are properly hydrated you will be much more alert while driving. Along with drinking at least 3 litres or 12 cups of water a day, you should eat as much fresh food as you can. This will also help to fuel your body and keep you mentally and physically capable while you drive your truck on hot days.

Truck Maintenance

It is always important to keep your tires inflated but with high temperatures the chances of blowouts increase fairly significantly. Be sure to be check your tire pressure frequently as the heat can change tire pressure quickly if it is not monitored.

The same can be said about the brakes on a truck, when the temperature increases it can result in a loss of friction on your brake parts. They are more likely to fail when they can’t absorb any more heat.

You should already be checking your fluids regularly but in the heat, it is best to be checking your antifreeze level every day. If your antifreeze is not at an appropriate level then it could slow your air conditioner down allowing it to not work to the best of its ability.

Keeping Protected and Cool

There are a few tips to try to help stay cool and alert while you are on the road. Carry a blanket to put on your seat. Whether your seat is vinyl or leather, when it is exposed to direct sunlight it can become very hot. Throwing a blanket over it will keep it much cooler and more comfortable to sit in.

Keep ice packs, ice cubes or a cooling towel in your truck. There are several different brands of cooling towels these days. A cheaper option is to have ice packs or cubes that you can wrap in a towel or bandanna.

Even though you are sitting in an air-conditioned cab all day, you still need to protect yourself from the sun. It is a good idea to use sunscreen. The sun will be shining down on you through your windows. Even though the sunshine is not directly shining on you, it can still lead to diseases such as skin cancer.

Take Breaks

When you are making long-haul trips, it is important that you take regular breaks. If you can walk a couple circles around your truck, it is good to check on things anyways. If the heat is too much, walk around the convenience store or building at the truck stop. Taking regular breaks can help you to stay alert on the road and gives you a chance to make sure your truck is in safe working order. 

RESOURCES

https://www.finditparts.com/blog/trucking-in-hot-weather-10-tips-to-beat-the-heat-and-drive-safely-this-summerh

ttps://www.coverwallet.com/business-tips/trucker-life-hacks

You might be thinking of starting a career in the trucking industry but you are not sure where to start. You could be feeling especially lost if you have no experience. Starting your career in the trucking industry can be difficult but not impossible. The one advantage that you have is that there is always a shortage of truck drivers.

First step is to make sure you are properly licensed, a good place to start that journey is at an accredited driving school. By obtaining your license through a school, it could help to be placed in a job but it is no guarantee.

Once you are licensed be sure to apply to numerous carriers, big or small! This might seem like an obvious step but every carrier you apply to increases your chances of getting hired. If you are not having luck getting hired to drive a truck and trailer rig, apply to other trucking jobs to help strengthen your application. This could include dump trucks with construction companies, gravel trucks, service trucks or even delivery trucks. No matter what the truck looks like if you can gain experience behind the wheel with no accidents, you will be much more appealing to recruiters who are looking to hire professionals.

Another option would be to look into apprenticeship programs that larger carriers have. This may include doing additional schooling through their company. Usually, this additional education that the company would provide would be to show you how they do things within their company so you have a better understanding once you hit the road.

The trucking industry can be a tough industry to get started in but it is important to not get discouraged. Keep banging on doors, networking can be a critical step in finding opportunities. Your first offer might not be your dream job but it could be one step closer to that job you dream of.

RESOURCES

https://schneiderjobs.com/truck-driving-jobs/inexperienced

https://schneiderjobs.com/truck-driving-jobs/inexperienced/become-truck-driver

https://www.smart-trucking.com/truck-driving-jobs-with-no-experience/

Securing your load is an incredibly important part of being a safe and responsible truck driver. There are so many risks involved when it comes to transporting a load that is not properly secured on or in your trailer. Commercial truck drivers can carry a wide variety of cargo in an assortment of trailer types. No matter what type of trailer it is one of the most important things you can do before you move the vehicle is to make your load is secure.

Imagine you are out on the road and suddenly you feel your load shift and something slip off. If this happens, there are so many problems that can follow. Someone could be traveling behind you and could cause serious damage to the person or vehicle. It could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, it will most likely cause damage to the cargo which means you aren’t delivering what you agreed to in the time you did. This is going to cause a financial penalty to the company you work for, you personally or both.

Before you hit the road, make sure your tie-downs have a combined rating equal to at least half of the loads weight. Make sure you know what your load weighs. You will need this information for a number of reasons. Depending on your load, tie-down straps are required to be in certain places, you can find out this exact information from the regional or federal laws. They vary from province to province and state to state so make sure you fully understand the laws where you are traveling.

If it is possible, double checking your load after you have traveled a certain distance is a good idea. Around 50 miles down the road, check that the vibrations or something unpredictable hasn’t shifted your load. Making sure your load’s weight is evenly distributed can also help if you do have an incident on the road. For example, if you loose control and veer off the road and your load is top heavy it could increase your chances of rolling the vehicle.

At the end of the day, there are a few key steps you can take to make sure you and your load are safe before you hit the road:

  • Check that your load is properly secured, then check again and then maybe one more time!
  • Understand the laws and rules around load securement in the region that you will be driving
  • Know the weight of the cargo you are carrying and work with your supplier and your employers to make sure you have properly secured your load

Just remember, not properly securing your load poses a safety risk for you and everyone else on the road. On top of that, it can be extremely financially damaging between broken cargo and the hefty fines that come along with not fastening your load correctly.

RESOURCES

http://lenduboistrucking.com/blog/safety-rules-to-ensure-your-freight-is-secure/

https://www.valleydrivingschool.com/blog/main/properly-securing-your-load#:~:text=Solid%20items%20should%20always%20be,your%20trailer%20on%20the%20road)

https://www.truckinginfo.com/157252/cargo-securement-what-you-need-to-know

It is no secret that truck driving can be a very dangerous career. There is so much to keep in mind while you are trying to keep yourself safe. This list will hopefully help as you take your journey out on the road.

Wear Your Seatbelts

This one might seem obvious but it is so important. It is going to decrease your risk of bodily injury if something is to happen on the road. Whether it is a minor or major accident your seatbelt really could save your life.

Taking Breaks

Frequent breaks on the road are beneficial for a number of reasons. They give your mind and body a chance to rest, even if you don’t feel tired it gives you a chance to regroup and stretch your muscles. It may feel like you are wasting time but in the long run it will keep you on the road longer. It will help to avoid mistakes later and looking after your body will keep you in the truck longer where you and your employer can make a profit.

Weather

Be aware of what the weather is going to do. Weather can change quickly, especially if you are in the mountains. Be prepared with all of the proper equipment for whatever weather you might run into. Know what lies ahead of you and plan accordingly.

Cell Phone

This is a subject that comes up often and it is a notable one. Cell phones contribute to distracted driving every day. It is a valuable tool that most people can’t imagine living without now. Of course, they need to be used by truck drivers. The important thing to remember is to use it wisely and safely. If you need to use the phone and do not have access to a hands-free system, find a safe place where you can pull over to use your phone.

Speed

As a general tip, when in doubt slow down. It takes longer to stop when you are driving a truck especially if you are loaded. If traffic is getting heavy, the weather conditions are not good or there is road construction just slow down and do not use your cruise control. Cruise control should be used when road and weather conditions are ideal. When you drive slower it could help to prevent an accident or at the very least help to decrease the effects of an accident.

Inspections

Pre-trip and post-trip inspections are critical. They will increase your safety ensuring all parts of your truck are in ideal running condition. It could help to avoid something going wrong on the road when the vehicle is at full speed. There are apps on your phone you can use to be sure all aspects of your inspections are done. It can even be set up with your to send the report directly to your employer.

There is never a guarantee of safety on the road, every time you go out there are risks that go along with it. There are many steps you can take to decrease the chance of an accident happening. The most important thing is to stay calm on the road and take your time.

RESOURCES

https://www.samsara.com/ca/guides/truck-driver-safety-tips

It’s no secret that truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road. Hours delivering important goods can add up quickly, but what happens when a truck driver does not get enough proper rest? It can be life-threating for the driver and other people on the road. It is crucial that drivers, especially truck drivers stay alert on the road. We have gathered up some tips to help when sleepiness sets in on the road.

Don’t Fight It

If you can, start your journey well rested. When you are on the road and are feeling drowsy, find a safe place to pull over and take a short rest. Research shows a power nap of less than an hour will provide your body with plenty of energy to keep moving forward for hours.

Eating Right

Sugar can provide you with temporary energy but what happens when the crash comes? Eating healthy food on the road can help you to continue moving and meeting those critical deadlines. Maybe instead of candy or a donut consider easy finger food that will keep you chewing and alert and provide you with last energy. Some of examples of that would be carrots, celery, trail mix or almonds. Some other options that won’t keep your stomach full but will keep you busy are sunflower seeds or gum.

What to Drink?

We all know that coffee is sold as an energy burst, which is true but too much coffee can cause a caffeine crash. When you are on the road it is best to drink small amounts of coffee with larger amounts of water. Avoid sugary drinks that could cause an upset stomach or a sugar crash.

Phone a friend

If you have cell service and can safely make a handsfree phone call then the perfect time to catch up with loved ones is on the road. If your mouth is moving then you will be alert, keep that in mind. Try to schedule calls while you are on the road so that you can keep your mind active while driving. The plus to this is, it’s good for the soul to talk to loved ones!

Temperature Settings

For a short amount of time, cranking the AC or cracking a window can help you to stay alert. But please note, this is not a long-term solution. If you are feeling drowsy enough to open a window or crank the AC it might be time to start looking for a safe place to pull over and take one of those power naps.

Plan Ahead

Before you start out on your trip, know where you are going, how long it is going to take, where you are going to stop for bathroom breaks, food breaks and overnight stops. This may help with avoid driving into awkward lighting like sunrise or sunsets which will make for a much easier and safer drive.

Take ‘Energy’ Breaks

If anyone sat in the same spot for too long, they would become tired and not as alert as they could be. When you are ready to stop, think about doing some jumping jacks or quickly walk around your truck 10 times. This can help to kick start your energy levels and keep you alert for hours.

We know there are many other ways to keep alert on the road. Some of it is trial and error when you are on the road since every individual is different. The main thing is to find out what works best for you.

Is there any advice you would pass on to fellow truck drivers or travelers?

RESOURCES
https://semitruckdriver.com/awake/2/

https://www.alltrucking.com/faq/tips-staying-awake-truck-drivers/

https://www.truckingtruth.com/trucking_blogs/Article-3823/12-tips-to-help-drivers-stay-awake-longer

Today, technology can be overwhelming. There are many options on the market, it can be a difficult decision figuring out what type of technology your fleet or truck could use and whether the return on investment will be worth it.

The other tricky thing about technology is that it is constantly changing. You always risk adding something to your truck and finding out a couple years or even months later that it is obsolete or needs constant updates that can be money or time consuming.

That all being said, technology has major advantages on the road. It can be time-saving, accident preventing and can save money if used properly.

Electronic logging devices are now mandatory in Canada and the United States. These devices electronically log commercial trucks hours of service to ensure drivers operating these vehicles are within the legal requirements of driving and resting. Some people who own smaller owner-operator businesses believe that e-logs make them less competitive, that the only way for them to keep up is to ‘stretch the truth’ when they log their hours of service. But owners who have been in the business for years can see the advantage of using them. One owner said that it took nearly two years to change over the whole fleet but once he did, he found that it contributed to his fleet doubling and it improved the drivers work life drastically.

A technology that has been evolving in the past 15 years or so is driver’s scorecards. When they were first introduced, they got a bad reputation for being the tool that could help ‘shame’ drivers into doing better on the road. They have since evolved into a great tool on the road that is more accurate and takes into considerations far more factors such as load type and transmission shifting data. The information is now a great tool for driver coaches to share with trainees and is a valuable training tool.

A forward-looking camera system more familiarly known as a ‘dash cam’ have been around for years but like most technology has improved immensely in quality. They are getting smaller in size and larger in functionality such as storage space, nighttime vision and high-definition imagery. These camera systems are a great way to protect the driver of the truck. It can be a way to defend the driver in a false insurance claim, for example, if someone is looking for an easy way to cash in on their vehicle by making a false claim the camera can capture the accident to prove the innocence of the driver.

There are many different ways to let technology help you on the road that we have not listed here. You have to find what suits your operation best. Whether you are an owner-operator or own a large fleet technology is something to consider. It will be an investment and take time to install and learn but at the end of the day it could be a real positive factor on your bottom line, safety of your drivers and efficiency on the road.

RESOURCES


https://www.fleetowner.com/technology/article/21701619/7-truck-technologies-you-need-and-why

https://haulhound.com/blog/best-tech-truck-drivers/

There is no doubt the effects of COVID-19 are vast and will be felt for a long time to come in a variety of ways. Believe it or not, this virus is also affecting animals. You might be asking yourself how COVID-19 could do that.

With some cities in Canada reporting up to a 50% decrease in perimeter traffic, animals are feeling less restricted. They are feeling brave enough to roam into cities and cross roads with less risk. With less traffic and noise, animals have less fear. The combination of these two things are increasing the risk of animal collisions for the people that are still on the road, including trucker drivers.

Outside of major cities, the same thing is happening. People are traveling less which means there is less traffic resulting in animals quickly adapting to new migration patterns and seeing the road as their road and not a thing to fear.

Lytx has reported a 64% increase in animal strikes from the same time period in 2019. Which increases trucker driver’s possibility of hitting wildlife 2.5 times. The majority of animal strikes have always happened early morning hours, from about 3AM – 7AM.

Click here for this photos origin

In the United States, Lytx reports that in the past six weeks there has been a 19% increase in speed and a 10% decrease in travel time on frequently travelled routes. And ultimately, for the bottom line this is great for the trucking industry but with higher speeds and more frequent animal sightings and strikes it could result in injury, downtime and repair expenses.

Wildlife will never be completely avoided while on the road, so it is the responsibility of the driver to take precautions such as staying alert, maintaining a reasonable speed and slowing down during peak hours. Truck drivers should consider getting a bumper which will help to avoid downtime and damage to their truck if an animal is hit.

Ali Arc bumpers have proved, over the past 30 years, that they prevent downtime and damage to your truck.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at sales@aliarc.com or call 1-877-725-4272.

This time of the year there is a lot of wildlife traveling. This means you are sharing the road with them. They don’t understand what a crosswalk is or ‘waiting till it is clear’ to cross the road. That means more caution needs to be used. Especially in ‘high traffic’ areas. Most highways do a good job of marking the more common areas but animals can come out anytime from anywhere. In Canada, an average of 20 people are killed each year because of this type of collision. Almost 2000 humans are injured and over 30,000 animals are killed each year.

It is important to know that animals are the most active at dawn and dusk or about 7pm to midnight. Although running into animals is not completely unavoidable there are steps you can take to decrease your chances of running into them and causing damage to yourself, others and your truck.

When possible, avoid driving at the highest risk times, when visibility is low such as dawn and dusk. If you must drive during these times pay special attention to the road and slow down.

When you do see animals on the side of road, slow down their behavior is always unpredictable. Many animals, such as deer, travel in herds. If there is one, there could be many more.

When you are on a wide road with little traffic, drive in the middle of the road when possible. Keep your high beams on and watch for forest areas and water sources where it might be more likely for animals to be.

If you are out on the road and an animal comes out without you seeing it be sure you know what to do, being prepared mentally can go a long way for your safety and the safety of the ones around you. First of all, do your best not to panic. If you have time, flash your lights and hit the horn this might scare the animal enough to get out of your way. If you cannot avoid hitting the animal, do not swerve suddenly, hit the animal head on if you have to hit it. Swerving suddenly while going a high speed could cause you to roll your vehicle or hit another vehicle around you. Hit the brakes as hard as you can and release them just before you make contact with the animal. This method could help to be sure the animal does not roll up your hood and through your windshield.

Although hitting on the animals is not completely unavoidable, there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk. Slow down and pay attention to the signs on the road.

RESOURCES
https://www.nsds.ca/b/tips-for-safe-trucking-in-wildlife-areas

https://www.wildlifecollisions.ca/hints.htm

https://blog.bisontransport.com/2014/12/6-must-know-winter-wildlife-driving-tips/

Maintaining a clean truck is always important, it keeps you productive and healthy, both mentally and physically, as you live your life in a small space. Along with having a clean truck, keeping up with your personal hygiene should always be a priority on the road. Now, more than ever, it is a critical key to sustaining life on the road.

Interior of your truck

There are obvious steps you can take to keep the interior of your truck clean but here we thought we would break down small steps you can take so that it doesn’t become a time consuming and overwhelming job.

  1. Clean out the garbage daily. Take any coffee cups, food wrappers or bottles out before you sleep every night. When you do this, you will avoid it piling up. After all, this is your workspace and home for the next number of weeks.
  2. About once a week spend 15 minutes vacuuming out the dirtiest spots of your truck. You can use your vacuum for the dashboards and any curtains you have in the truck.
  3. Depending on the weather, it is important to wash your windows at once a week. Most of the time the exterior of your front windshield will need to be cleaned at least once a day, if not more.
  4. Once a week, take your mats out of your truck and give them a good wipe down. Also, when you are getting into your truck, take a few seconds and get rid of any visible dirt on your footwear.

With the current COVID-19 pandemic happening, it would be wise to keep an alcohol spray (at least 70%) in the cab of your truck. Spraying the surfaces of your truck frequently will help to protect you and anyone else you may come in contact with on the road.

Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene while you are on the road can help you in many ways. It will help with first impressions, mental health and overall physical health. When you are packing to hit the road keep these tips in mind.

  1. You don’t know when you will have access to a shower. Pack everything you might need to keep you clean and feeling fresh. This includes items such as: a towel, facecloth, shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, razor and shaving cream
  2. Don’t forget to wash your clothes! There is no sense spending time keeping your body clean if your clothes are dirty. If you know you will not have access to a washing machine you could pack enough clean clothes to get you through your entire tour.
  3. If you will not have access to running water, alternatively, you could use baby wipes to replace a shower and hand sanitizer to ‘wash your hands.’ But it is important to remember that nothing will replace a warm shower with soap and clean running water and soap to wash your hands.

Making sure you and your truck clean on the road can help in so many ways. Feeling your best will allow you to stay alert on the road and sleep better at night. Keeping your truck clean will keep you healthy on the road. Be sure to make cleanliness a priority when you are on the road!

While no one knows the future of the trucking industry for sure, there is a lot of information that shows that the trucking industry will continue to grow in North America.

One of the biggest subjects industry members talk about is the automation of drivers. There are large corporations who have already been testing this, most industry experts do not think a truck will be on the road with no human inside. The title and tasks may just change. According to truckingnews.com, new possible titles could include logistics manager or freight engineer. The person’s role may not be to drive the truck but to oversee the systems that control the truck and load. The same blog proposes that the update in systems may make a career in the trucking industry more appealing to younger people due to the technical aspect of the updated position. The new tasks are being compared to what a pilot does for a plane.

As said by the American Trucking Association, an estimated 160,000 trucking positions will go unfilled in the next decade. That is why the industry is looking to automation to fill those positions. With increased demands for quick delivery from the likes of retail giants Amazon, the pressure has never been higher in the trucking industry. If there are no drivers to move freight then a more cost-effective way has to be found. This is why now, more than ever automation is in the near future.

In 2015, a company called Tu-Simple, started testing and driving autonomous trucks. They have been hauling day and night for companies like UPS and the United States Postal Service.  By late 2019, there were 37 trucks running in the state of Arizona. As said by Tu-Simple’s Director of Public Affairs, ‘it’s been nothing but positives, productivity and efficiency on the road have significantly increased.’ 

In late 2019, Uber announced Uber Frieght would launch in Canada. The service has been available in the United States for the past couple years. Uber Frieght has the same concept as Uber for passengers; it connects users with service providers but will transport goods instead of people. Uber Frieght facilitates both domestic and cross-border loads. Uber is not the only service provider, Covey also offers a digital marketplace for matching carriers to shippers as well as C.H. Robinson who are still working on digitalizing their process.  

With over 181,000 tractor-trailer drivers in Canada alone, there is no doubt that the trucking industry will not be going anywhere soon. In fact, it is believed that the automation of trucks will create more jobs within the trucking industry. It is not a matter of if the trucking industry becomes automated anymore it is a matter of when.

RESOURCES:

https://www.abc57.com/news/the-future-of-trucking-how-self-driving-trucks-will-change-the-industry

https://www.gigabitmagazine.com/cloud-computing/future-trucking-uber-freight-expands-canada

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