It is no secret that the trucking industry is male dominated, especially when it comes to driving a truck. It is rare to see a woman driving a truck out on the road but they are out there. In Canada and the United States, the percentage of professional women truck drivers is between 3.5% and 7.8%. Keep in mind, there are millions of professional truck drivers between these two countries.
If you are considering a career as a truck driver, there are many advantages flexibility, the opportunity to travel and good compensation. The industry, as a whole, is starting to evolve but there is still a long way to go. Women have to think more about safety out on the road but it doesn’t make the job impossible.
So, what can you do out on the road to help keep yourself safe? We have gathered some tips from women drivers out on the road:
Be aware of your surroundings and be alert
Pick a rest/truck stop that is well lit with lots of trucks and people around
If you walk around the truck stop alone at night, make sure you have something in your hand to protect yourself in the unlikely event you get attacked
Check-in frequently with a family member or friend and let them know where you are and when you will check in again
Avoid leaving your truck at night and sleep with your windows covered
Lock your doors at all time when you are inside, as well as, secure them with the seatbelt in your truck
Both Canada and the United States have federal trucking organizations which are specifically for women. If you are thinking about truck driving, or if you are already doing it, then those organizations could be a great resource. The Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada is a non-profit, membership-based organization focused on empowering women in the industry, helping to find employment and connect mentors to inexperienced drivers. In the United States, there is a non-profit organization called Women in Trucking similar to Canada’s organization, they have a mission to encourage employment, promote women in the industry and minimize obstacles that women face in the trucking industry. No matter where you are located, a great first step would be to take advantage of these organizations and find out how they can help you.
Although you do not need a degree to become a truck driver, you will need to study and successfully pass your commercial drivers license (CDL). This should not cost tens of thousands of dollars to study and challenge. There are many schools that can help you for between $3000-$8000. Be sure to do your research and make sure it is a reputable education program.
Once you successfully complete your CDL test, choose the right freight carrier. There are a few carriers out there that are proactive with women’s concerns in the trucking industry and take care to make sure you have a positive experience. Do your research speak to other female counterparts in the industry to find out which carriers that might be.
At the end of the day, do your research before you decide to take the journey of becoming a professional truck driver as a woman. There are many advantages and disadvantages but that is no different than any other career.
Whether you drive truck in Canada or the United States, there are laws that are put in place that truck drivers must follow. These rules are put in place to keep truck drivers safe as well as other drivers on the road. The laws are different in Canada and United States, they have recently been updated in the United States. Here we will break down what those laws, and changes, are in each country.
On June 1, 2020, in the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a revision in the HOS (Hours of Service) rules.
With the old rule, drivers had to take a 30-minute break consecutively after 8 hours of being on duty, driving or not. The biggest modification that came to the rule in June 2020 is that drivers have to take a 30-minute break after driving for 8 hours. This change gives drivers more flexibility.
For example, if a driver has arrived at their destination to load/unload and have been driving for 8 hours and it takes them 30 minutes or more to organize the load then they can continue driving right after the load in ready. So, it is considered a break as long as you are not driving. Previously, you would have to take an off-duty break.
Canada has some of the strictest HOS rules in the trucking driving industry. They are closely monitored to help protect truck drivers and other drivers on the road. Canada has recently transitioned to Electric Log Devices (ELD) which comes with benefits such as automated reporting, saving time for drivers and clerical staff, saving money and helping to reduce the environmental impact of the trucking industry.
Drivers are not allowed to log more than 13 hours on duty in a 24-hour cycle. Drivers who log 13 hours of driving in a 24-hour cycle must take 8 consecutive hours off duty.
Canadian drivers can follow either of the two duty cycles indicated in the HOS rules. For Cycle 1, drivers cannot log more than 70 hours, driving or not driving, in 7 days. When a driver is following Cycle 2, they cannot drive after logging 120 hours in 14 days, driving or not.
In both cycles, drivers must have at least 24 hours off in the previous 14 days.
Because Canada is such a vast country and sometimes driving long distances is unavoidable, especially north of latitude 60°N so the regulations have been slightly modified for those cases. If a driver is north of latitude 60°N they can drive up to 15 hours and work up to 20 hours. Drivers should stop after being on duty for 18 hours. After this, drivers should have at least 8 consecutive hours off-duty.
The bottom line is, no matter where you are driving, it is important to know and understand what regulations you must follow. This will help to avoid fine for you and/or the company you work for as well as keeping you and other drivers safe on the road.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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.