5 Things You Need To Become A Truck Driver

What do you need to become a truck driver?

 

If you are looking into driving a truck as a career and are wondering what you need to become a truck driver, then you are in the right place. I’m going to share with you 5 basic things you need to consider if you are even going to be considered a candidate for the career.

Let me start off by saying that becoming a truck driver is not hard. There may be a few challenges some people have to overcome but, compared to other career choices, becoming a truck driver is easy.

Here are the 5 basic things you need to help you clear the first step of starting your trucking career.

 

1. Your Age

truck driver ageEven though you can become a truck driver before you are 21yrs old, you will find it very difficult to find a company that will hire you. If you find one, it will most likely be like farm work, oil field work etc and you will not be allowed to drive across state lines.

As of this writing, to become an interstate truck driver (meaning you drive across different states), you need to be at least 21 years old. There is a bill in Congress where they are talking about lowering that age requirement to 18 years. Maybe things will change in the future.

 

2. Your criminal record

As a truck driver, you will be moving thousands, sometimes millions worth of merchandise. Trucking companies want to know that they are hiring someone they can trust with that kind of freight.

Your criminal record is one of the ways to help them identify the kind of person they are hiring.

If you have a criminal record, it may be hard for you to become a truck driver but, it doesn’t mean they won’t consider you. Depending on the type of crime and how long ago the crime was committed, some trucking companies will give you a chance.

What you may need in this case are strong references and a good work history to help improve your chances of being considered.

 

3. Your driving record.

This one shouldn’t surprise you because trucking companies are in the business of moving freight and the autonomous trucks being talked about haven’t yet taken over the truck driver jobs.

Just because you can drive doesn’t mean you can get a trucking job. The trucking industry wants or should I even say needs safe drivers.

They want to move that freight safely and on time. That’s where truck drivers have to shine. When it comes to driving, we (truck drivers) are mostly judged by two factors.

1. Are we safe drivers?
2. Are we reliable drivers?

Too many accidents, speeding tickets, and moving violations make it hard for you to get a trucking job. This is because it tells the trucking companies that you are a reckless driver and you may be hard to insure you.

If you have an accident or a moving violation on your record, trucking companies will still hire you. But, that will depend on the company and how long the violation was.

So, make sure your driving record is good or isn’t too bad.

 

4. Your work history

Your work history helps to show the company what kind of person you are as an employee.

Do you keep jumping around from one company to another, or are you one that is stable? Having a good work history will help to separate you from the crowd and also speed up your application.

Also, keep in mind that most trucking companies don’t want to see a lapse in employment. If you do have a lapse, you will have to account for it.

 

5. Your Health

Trucking companies want to know that you are healthy enough to be driving a truck.

Believe it or not, there are many drivers that have failed to make it through orientation because of their health. the big issue that takes drivers out is high blood pressure.

Before being hired on with a trucking company, you will need to go through a medical and physical exam. And you will need to do that exam every 2 years or every year if you have a health issue that needs to be kept under control.

 

Why do you want to become a truck driver?

 

When I got into trucking I did not have a specific goal of what I wanted to achieve as a truck driver. I guess I just assumed that there was a way of “climbing the career ladder.”

I don’t want you to waste your life like I did. Time in trucking flies. I don’t want you to look back one morning and realize ten years have passed and you haven’t climbed any ladder.

If you don’t set a goal of what you want to accomplish in trucking. You may have nothing to show for the years you spend driving trucks.

So, if you choose to become a truck driver, think hard about what you want to make of your trucking career. Write it down and make a workable plan towards it.

If you chose to become a truck driver, this bonus step alone will put you in the 20% of truck drivers that have a great trucking career.

Until next time,

Stay Safe.

4 things You Should Do To Stay Healthy As A Truck Driver

One of the biggest challenges truck drivers face is staying healthy while on the road. There are more drivers leaving trucking because of health challenges now than in the past.

With the health requirements that are demanded from truck drivers, you can not afford to keep living the unhealthy life style most truck drivers live.

The trick to succeeding in becoming a healthy truck driver is to decide that you want it, then set your mind to get it. There is no short cut about it. You are going to have to put your mind to it to achieve it.

There are four things you need to focus on.

I’m sure you already know these four things but, I’m writing them to remind you. To encourage you because we all need a friend to support us in our endeavors.

1.Do your best to eat healthy every day.

You need to research and find out what kind of healthy foods you can stock up to eat while on the road.

This will help you to avoid buying junk foods on the road and even save you a lot of money. If you have a refrigerator in your truck, every time you have an opportunity to stop by a grocery store like Walmart, stock up on some fruits and vegetables (especially those you can eat raw).

If you do your research right, you can also find good canned foods and packed snacks that are way healthier than the “junk” foods truckers usually eat at truck stops.

The reason I tell you to do some research is that eating healthy has something to do with your body type too. So it will be good if you know the kinds of foods that are better for your body type and taste good for you.

2.Determine to exercise at least 4-6 days every week.

Nearly as important as determining to eat healthy every day, becoming a healthy truck driver will require you to exercise at least 4-6 days every week.

Trust me you really don’t want to slack in this area. It’ll help you to get to your desired health goal faster. And that is something every person involved with becoming healthy wants and wishes for.

Most truck drivers make excuses that they don’t have time, or that they don’t have a place to work out from. Those are just excuses. I have personally been able to find a way to overcome both of those excuses and work out ON THE ROAD (before I started driving locally).

The best time to work out should be in the morning before you start driving.

First, it will help get that workout off your to do list.

Second, you will feel energized through the day and, it will keep you alert as you drive.

If you can’t do it in the morning, then do it right after you are done with driving. I have also done it at shipper’s and receiver’s facilities if I find out that am going to be there for a while and there is enough space for me to put in my workouts.

As for where to do the exercises, I have done them in truck stop parking lots, running around the lot, using spaces in between trucks and in the shower rooms before I take my shower.

Believe it or not, I have even done them on the side of the freeway or on off ramps when there is enough space. That is the kind of commitment it takes.

3.Avoid the sugar drinks and drink lots of water.

The other important thing for you to succeed at becoming a healthy truck driver, you need to make sure that you drink lots of water.

I always see truck drivers filling their large refill containers in truck stops with sodas from the soda machines. Sitting and driving for hours while filling your body with large amounts of sugary drinks is a very bad health habit.

By the way, let me admit to you something. My weakness when it comes to sugar is drinking tea. I love hot tea. I drink lots of it and I add sugar to it. But, even though I’m not a fan of drinking pure water, I know it is good for me. So, I make the effort to drink as much as I can so that it can help dilute and flush out the tea and sugar.

When we don’t drink water, it may result in poor digestion, weariness, dehydration, fatigue and other health issues which could be unfortunate, and not a positive thing in any way…again, as I said before if you plan on becoming a healthy truck driver, you need to be determined.

4. Get enough sleep

We work long hours. Our job can sometimes be stressful. We need to get enough rest. And not just rest. But SLEEP.

For those of you fellow truck drivers that are over the road, I know how hard it can be having a set schedule. I know that you only make money when those wheels are rolling.

But, if becoming a healthy truck driver is your goal, you need to make sleep one of your priorities and it needs to be up there close to the top.

Not only will sleep help accelerate your health goals, it will also help keep you safe on the road. Many of our fellow truck drivers have got into accidents and some even passed away just because of a lack of sleep. Don’t be part of those statistics.

Remember, you have chosen to make truck driving your career. Don’t make health mistakes you can avoid, particularly those that could leave you unhealthy in the long run or even unemployed.

Your ultimate goal should be to be a successful, healthy truck driver. And you can start towards that goal by following the few tips I have given you here.

until next time,

Stay Safe

In Trucking News Today

Here are some of the trucking stories in today’s news.

Investigators Say Truck Driver Was Driving For 21 Consecutive Hours Before Fatal Crash

http://www.livetrucking.com/investigators-say-truck-driver-involved-fatal-crash-driving-21-hours-straight/PCP and marijuana were also found in his system. Investigators Say Truck Driver Was Driving For 21 Consecutive Hours Before Fatal Crash

 

Autonomous Trucks That Drive in Packs Could Save Time, Fuel, According to MIT

We look at those same metrics, versus sustainability such as cost, energy and environmental impact. This line of research might really turn transportation on its head. Autonomous Trucks That Drive in Packs Could Save Time, Fuel, According to MIT

Truckers Rely on the Pusher to Get Over California’s Donner Summit

http://www.ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=44341With drought-defying snowstorms romping through the Sierra on a weekly basis, truckers once again are discovering how tough California’s Interstate 80 Donner Pass can be. Truckers Rely on the Pusher to Get Over California’s Donner Summit

 

Trucking makes Montana holidays possible – The Missoulian

http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/columnists/trucking-makes-montana-holidays-possible/article_a0dda56c-2a10-5fc8-a053-790f2a33ed98.htmlTrucking makes Montana holidays possibleWhen more than 100 million drivers are on the road this season – as AAA forecasted for year-end holidays last year – they’ll be driving alongside nearly 3.5 million professional truck drivers, with 6,210 drivers in Montana alone. Trucking makes Montana holidays possible – The Missoulian

Online Courses May Benefit Drivers and Truck Stop Employees

http://www.gobytrucknews.com/online-courses-benefit/123You can access them here. On the truck driving side, Carrier’s Edge is a technology company that offers online training designed to translate complex regulations into real-world context that drivers understand. Online Courses May Benefit Drivers and Truck Stop Employees

Fleet Owner’s Top 10 photo galleries of 2016

http://fleetowner.com/fleet-management/fleet-owner-s-top-10-photo-galleries-2016Throughout the year, Fleet Owner has the opportunity to attend various events, visit manufacturers and fleets, and witness the unveiling of the newest trucks and technologies. Oftentimes, these opportunities produce some great photographs that our editors turn into galleries. Here is a look at the 10 most popular photo galleries appearing on the Fleet Owner website in 2016. To see the individual galleries, click the link in the caption. Fleet Owner’s Top 10 photo galleries of 2016

Hours-of-service moves into #2 in the ATRI list

http://bulktransporter.com/regulations/hours-service-moves-2-atri-listSignificant negative impacts on the industry have been documented by numerous sources due to the 34-hour restart provisions first implemented in July 2013. In 2013, ATRI found that 80% of motor carriers indicated a loss of productivity directly attributable to the now-suspended rules, and driver pay impacts were estimated to range from $1.6 billion to $3.9 billion annually. Hours-of-service moves into #2 in the ATRI list

 

The Perfect Gift For A Truck Driver’s Family

The holiday season is here.

It’s the season we all want to give and get gifts. You may or may not already know what gift you plan to give to your loved ones. Either way, I want to suggest a gift I believe your family and friends will love.

Since you know your family and friends better than I do, it will be up to you to tailor the gift and make it perfect in your own way.

As truck drivers, one of the challenges we face is, getting quality time with the people we love.

For over the road truck drivers, you are away for days or even weeks from home at a time. For us who do local work, we put in a lot of hours. Most of us, work sees us more than home.

So, what is the perfect gift we can give to our family and friends?

THE GIFT OF EXPERIENCE

Giving material presents is good. If you can, please do give them.

BUT, I’m going to ask that you only give them in addition to the gift of experience. Since time with our loved ones is a challenge in this career, l challenge you to invest more in planning to spend A LOT of time with them this holiday season.

Don’t just spend time with them.

Invest in making the time spent with them memorable. That is what I’m referring to as the gift of experience. For the time to be an experience, it doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to be memorable.

And, for it to be memorable, you are going to have to think hard about how to make it happen. You can (and should) even think about it in different aspects.

Think about;

  • Things you can do with your spouse.
  • Things you can do with your children
  • Things you can do together as a family

What are the things you can do with your spouse (alone) this holiday season that you haven’t been able to do?

What can you do with your children (especially if they are still young) that will leave them talking about the experience till next holiday?

Do you get the idea?

It’s amazing to me how much “small” things can mean a lot and make an impact.

One of the ways I come up with ideas of things to do with my family is by always listening to what my wife says (my daughter is still young to tell me what she likes) during conversations.

These may be things she wishes for or things we have done in the past that she remembers. The way she talks about them can give me clues on what she likes and what to plan for.

As men (most truck drivers are) we tend to think logically. We want things to make sense. We buy stuff for our wives and children assuming these will communicate our love for them. And to some extent they do.

But, love is mostly communicated through totally availing ourselves to them NOT things. Through creating memorable experiences with them NOT things.

The memories we have about our loved ones are the experiences we shared with them NOT the things we had with them.

So, I’m asking you to take some time and plan for the GIFT OF EXPERIENCE. Because if it’s going to be memorable, it’s going to take some thought and planning.

I wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY HOLIDAY EXPERIENCE with your loved ones.

If you take my suggestion, I would love to hear about your experience after the holidays.

Until next time,

Stay Safe!

Winter Driving Tips For Truck Drivers

Winter is almost here and driving a truck is not for the faint hearted. It needs a person of character, strength and prime physical fitness to sit behind the steering wheel of an 18 wheeler.

Driving a truck during winter weather can be a real challenge. It needs 100% alertness, courage, experience and above all professionalism. This is because, it is not only your life that is at stake, but so many other drivers and passengers on the road.

Prior to getting on the road especially during winter, it would be appropriate to call upon your experience and professionalism as a truck driver to ensure that you reach your destination safely.

You want to be satisfied that in no way has your actions been responsible for the unfortunate actions of others on the road. You are the professional driver. Others on the road with you may not be displaying the kind of professionalism expected from you.

So, here are a few tips to help you.

Check the weather conditions

Prior to starting your trip, it is important that you check with the relevant authorities, radio and weather reports, so that you know what sort of weather you could expect between your departure point and destination.

Check your truck

A thorough check of your truck should be executed by none other than yourself. This is because you will be the one behind the steering wheel with the responsibility to reach your intended destination safely.

Every documentation and accessories (like chains) you would need to keep your truck within the laws of the State and safely on the road should be with you without any wanting.

Keep your truck clean and visible.

Windows, mirrors, headlights and rear lights should all be well cleaned and in perfect working order. Because with visibility down in winter, it is not only you who should be able to see the road ahead, but other drivers should be able to see you too.

Also, keep in mind that driving with your lights on even during the day time, helps others see you.

Wear appropriate clothing.

Carry appropriate clothing that you would require if you have to stay an extended period of time on the road between the two points of your intended trip. It is not unusual for emergencies that lead to road closures to occur during the winter.

Keep your fuel tank full.

Try to keep your fuel tank filled up as much as possible. This will help to ensure that if you get stranded on the road due to an emergency, you will have enough fuel to keep your engine running to provide you with the heat to keep you warm.

Also, Keep a good supply of water, beverages and snacks in your truck for such emergencies.

Driving on slippery roads

Driving on slippery roads requires defensive slow driving and careful maneuvering.

Keep your truck in the right slow lane.

Drive without making sudden lane changes or quick braking stops.

Keep a very safe distance between you and the vehicles in front of you.

Driving at a moderate speed will make you a safe driver and get you to your destination safe and sound.

Stay Safe!