Lifestyle

rookie truck driver

Top Tips For New Truck Drivers: What Every Rookie Should Know 

rookie truck driver

There’s a reason over 1.4 million truck drivers work in the U.S.—truck driving is one of the most lucrative careers available. To help you succeed in this field, we’ve compiled the top tips for new truck drivers. With a positive attitude, the right mindset, and essential skills, you can take advantage of the substantial financial rewards and numerous opportunities for growth, quickly advancing in your career.

If you’re a new truck driver looking to set yourself up for long-term success in the trucking industry, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn how to navigate the challenges you might face during your first few months and thrive in your new role.

Driving Techniques

Mastering the correct truck-driving techniques will make it easier for you to perform your duties. Some key areas to focus on to ensuring you have the right skills for the job include:

Understanding the Vehicle

Know your vehicle and how to handle it, especially in tight spaces. What type of truck are you driving? How long is it, and how much does it weigh?

Some combination vehicles are long and heavy, making them difficult to turn. Many new truck drivers overlook this and get frustrated during their first few months. To get accustomed to driving or parking large trucks, keep these tips in mind:

  • Swing wide when making a turn to avoid hitting street signs, power poles, or ending up in a ditch.
  • Pay close attention to low clearance and weight warnings. A wrong turn could lead you to a bridge that’s too weak or too low for your vehicle. If this happens, stop, turn on your flashers, and call local law enforcement for guidance.
  • Practice backing up, especially at truck stops. If unsure, always get out and look (G.O.A.L). Take your time and don’t worry about other drivers waiting. This will help you avoid backing into other vehicles or people and the liabilities that come with such incidents.

Also, having a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) may not be enough. Some types of trucking require additional certifications. Ensure you always have the correct CDL training and certifications needed for the job.

route planning

Efficient Route Planning

Proper trip planning is key to becoming an efficient truck driver, which directly affects your earnings. Learn to use your truck’s GPS and navigation tools effectively. Know the locations of truck and rest stops along your routes, and plan refueling to maximize driving time.

Always check the road and weather before your trip and adjust your route if needed.

Handling Different Road Conditions

A major stressor you’ll encounter in your career as a truck driver is changing road conditions. To manage stress effectively, familiarize yourself with the skills necessary to navigate various weather conditions, such as rain, snow, and fog.

A few crucial tips to keep at the back of your mind when navigating winter conditions include:

  • Increase the following distance significantly.
  • Apply brake pressure evenly and steadily.
  • Always carry chains
  • Except in emergencies, keep off the shoulder – other drivers might think you’re on the road, even if you’re well parked with your taillights on, because of low visibility.

Vehicle Maintenance

Part of your truck driving job involves routine vehicle inspections and maintenance, such as:

Daily Pre-Trip Inspections

A proper pre-trip inspection helps you catch and deal with minor issues before they become significant problems. This should include:

  • Conducting a walk-around inspection to ensure all tires and wheels are in good condition
  • Confirming that the headlights, auxiliary lights, plus four-way flashers are operational and not broken
  • Checking the turn signals and stop lights
  • Inspect the engine compartment. Be keen to check the fluid levels and look for signs of leaks. This is crucial to avoid damages, which are often costly to repair.
  • Inspect the interior compartment and adjust the seat plus mirrors to minimize blind spots and maximize visibility.
  • Air-brake system check

truck maintenance regular

Routine Maintenance

Stay on top of your truck’s routine preventative maintenance schedule. This includes regular oil changes, filter replacements, tire rotation, and brake inspections.

Also, don’t ignore seasonal maintenance to factor in changing climatic conditions. During hot weather, ensure your air condition, coolant, electrical system, and tire pressure are well-maintained. And in cold weather, ensure your defrosters, braking system, and tire treads are up to par.

Remember to keep up-to-date records of all maintenance activities. They’ll come in handy if you ever need to provide proof of your truck’s condition during a claim.

Emergency Repairs

Because of the unpredictable nature of the open road, it’s wise to have some tools for handling minor repairs while you’re on the road. Veteran truckers always carry a toolkit with a combination of essential truck repair tools.

Safety Practices

Always put safety first throughout your truck driving career. You can do so in the following ways.

Adhering to Traffic Laws

Adhering to traffic laws is crucial for success in your trucking career. Understand and follow truck-specific speed limits and regulations to avoid tickets that can harm your driving record.

Pay attention to road signs, use turn signals and hazard lights properly, and always wear your seat belt for safety.

Load Securement

Improperly secured cargo is dangerous to you and other motorists as it can cause the tractor-trailer unit to jackknife or roll over. Be keen to use load securement devices fit for your truck and cargo to secure your load firmly. Also, perform regular checks on load stability during the trip to ensure all is well.

driver fatigue

Fatigue Management

Get enough sleep between shifts and take adequate breaks while on the road to stay alert and avoid driving when tired. Staying alert behind the wheel is essential for your safety and the safety of other road users. FMCSA provides strict hours of service regulations all truck drivers must follow to ensure they get enough rest.

Defensive Driving

Most experienced truck drivers practice defensive driving for enhanced safety. Some essential defensive truck driving techniques you should consider as a new truck driver include:

  • Maintaining a safe following distance
  • Being aware of other drivers’ actions
  • Avoiding sudden or unnecessary lane changes
  • Avoiding distracted driving and keep your eyes on the road to remain alert for any emergencies that may develop

Practice Work Zone Safety

Exercise extra caution in work zones, which pose hazards like moving workers, equipment, sudden stops, lane shifts, and uneven surfaces. Slow down, maintain extra following distance, adhere to work zone signals, watch for flag crews and workers, and scan ahead for shifting traffic patterns.

Health and Wellness

Prioritize your health and wellness while on the road by following the tips below

Healthy Eating on the Road

To succeed as a truck driver long-term, prioritize your health. Avoid fast food and sugary drinks; opt for meals rich in iron, omega-3s, protein, and fiber. Stay hydrated to prevent mental fatigue and maintain a focus on the road.

exercise

Exercise Routines

Sitting behind the wheel for long hours causes several physical health issues, including chronic back pain and other musculoskeletal problems. Exercise regularly to keep fit and avoid these problems. Simple exercises in or around the truck will do as long as you’re consistent.

Mental Health

Being away from friends and family for an extended period can take a toll on your mental health. Avoid isolating yourself and socialize with other drivers to cope with loneliness and other on-the-road stressors. Also, stay connected with family and friends through regular video chats or phone calls to promote your mental health.

Sleep Hygiene

Your cab is your second home. Keep it clean and create a comfortable sleep environment to enhance sleep quality. Consider getting warm sleeping gear, including a weighted blanket, nice sheets, and a high-density mattress.

Conclusion

Like all new jobs, truck driving requires a learning curve.

The tips we’ve shared are insights from experienced company drivers and owner-operators who were once new truckers in a similar position to yours. If you follow them correctly, you’ll have a smooth start and can achieve the career goals you’ve set.

One last tip – be selective of the trucking company you work for, and don’t job-hop during your early days. It will prevent you from getting better jobs later on.

If you’re starting as an owner-operator and need help purchasing your first truck, reach out to Mission Financial Services. We offer flexible commercial vehicle loans for first-time buyers and can help you start your trucking business without breaking the bank.

dog and trucks

The Benefits Of Having A Dog Companion For Truck Drivers

dog and trucks

Life on the road can be emotionally taxing for long-haul truck drivers. Being away from family and friends for extended periods often leaves many feeling isolated. To address this challenge, nearly 50% of truck drivers bring their pets along for the ride. This article explores the benefits of having a dog companion for truck drivers, discussing how it can enhance their overall well-being.

Additionally, it highlights relevant policies for traveling with pets and provides tips for safely driving with a dog.

Dog Companion Benefits for Truck Drivers

Pets help improve a trucker’s on-the-road lifestyle. Having a dog, in particular, can offer the following benefits:

Emotional Support

Bringing a dog on your trips, especially one you’re close to can feel like traveling with a close friend. They provide non-judgmental, unconditional love and companionship throughout the long stretches, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation. Dogs can also make your truck more homely, creating a sense of comfort.

Mental Health Benefits

Studies indicate that spending enough time with pets – a dog or cat – lowers cortisone levels and boosts the production of oxytocin in the body. Cortisone is a stress-inducing hormone. When its levels are low, you become less stressed and less anxious.

Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for happiness. High oxytocin levels boost your mood, improving your mental well-being.

Physical Health Benefits

Besides helping to reduce stress, having a dog as your trucking companion offers several physical health benefits. Dogs necessitate regular walks. This leads to increased physical activity, helping you keep fit and avoid various musculoskeletal issues caused by sitting for long hours while driving.

Spending time with pets also lowers blood pressure and reduces your risk for cardiovascular diseases.

dog guard

Increased Security

Dogs provide a sense of safety and protection. They’re also a deterrent for potential theft or harm, especially when parked at rest areas or at night.

Routine and Structure

When you have a pet, you’re fully responsible for their well-being. You’ll have to establish and stick to a daily routine to tend to its needs. This makes your life on the road more purposeful and allows you to prioritize your own health.

Travel Enjoyment

Pets provide entertainment and companionship during downtime. You can play with your dog during your rest breaks, making the long trips more enjoyable and less monotonous.

Legislation and Company Policies

Most trucking companies and industry stakeholders recognize the benefits of emotional support animals for long-haul truckers. However, to ensure safety, several regulations and policies must be followed.

These include adhering to state veterinary health regulations, which typically require a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) and proof of current vaccinations, especially for rabies.

Trucking companies that allow pets have varying policies, often focusing on the type, size, weight, and number of pets a trucker can bring. Some policies are more restrictive than others.

A trucking company’s pet policy can change with time. Always double-check to ensure you don’t violate your company’s pet policies and jeopardize your job.

Tips for Truck Driving with a Dog

Here are a few tips for trucking with your four-legged friend safely:

Preparing your truck

Get your truck pet ready by creating a comfortable and safe space for your dog. Keep all essential supplies on hand, including enough food and water to keep your dog well-fed and hydrated throughout your trips. Also, bring extra clean bedding and toys, among other comfort items your furry companion enjoys.

dog training (1)

Training and Socialization

Most pets take time to adjust to new environments. Take enough time to train and socialize your dog to the trucking lifestyle. Be patient as you do this, as some pets can’t handle the on-the-road lifestyle, and you may have to adjust accordingly.

Health and Safety

Keep up with your pet’s vaccinations and veterinary care. You may also want to bring preventive medication for parasites with you.

Routine and Breaks

Find pet-friendly rest stops and parks where you can take your dog out for routine bathroom breaks and walks. Also, consider establishing a consistent feeding routine to keep your dog healthy.

Safety while driving

Pets respond to changing road conditions differently. Some get startled by loud noises and charge. Ensure your dog is well-secured in the truck during the trip for enhanced safety while driving. Also, keep loose items in your truck secured so your dog doesn’t get injured by loose items knocking around as you drive.

Dealing with Emergencies

Be prepared for potential emergencies on the road. Besides being ready for unexpected expenses, know the locations of pet care facilities and emergency veterinary services along the routes you plan to cover. Always have their contact information at hand.

Travel Etiquette

Be respectful of other drivers and rest-stop users. Ensure your dog is on a leash any time it leaves the truck. Also, cleaning up after your dog and maintaining good hygiene at truck stops and other rest areas.

dog mood

Best Dog Breeds for Truck Drivers

When choosing a dog breed for life on the road with a trucker, consider the following points:

  • Size and Space Needs: Choose a breed that fits comfortably in the limited space of a truck cab. Smaller to medium-sized breeds are often more suitable.
  • Energy Level: Opt for a breed with moderate energy levels that can adapt to the long periods of inactivity during driving and be content with periodic exercise breaks.
  • Temperament: Look for a breed with a calm and friendly temperament that can handle the various environments and situations encountered on the road.
  • Trainability: Select a breed that is easy to train and can quickly learn commands and routines, making it easier to manage the dog in different settings.
  • Health and Grooming Needs: Consider a breed with minimal grooming requirements and good overall health to avoid frequent vet visits and maintenance issues on the road.
  • Adaptability: Choose a breed that is adaptable to changing environments, weather, and varying schedules, ensuring the dog remains comfortable and stress-free.

Conclusion

Many truck drivers choose dogs for their protective instincts and heightened sense of security, making them brilliant companions for nighttime trucking.

Choosing the right breed is crucial to ensure your pet enhances your travels without disrupting your job. Our tips can help you find the perfect companion to keep you safe and healthy on the road.

Remember to stay current with your pet’s vaccinations and your company’s pet policies to ensure a smooth and successful journey.

If you’re considering starting a trucking business or financing a truck, contact us at Mission Financial Services

mental health truckers

Mental Health Challenges Of Truck Drivers

mental health truckers
Truck drivers disproportionately face numerous mental and physical health challenges throughout their careers.

Recent research indicates that they experience higher levels of psychological distress and health issues compared to the general population. The nature of their job often requires long hours of sitting behind the wheel, extended periods away from home, and limited social support, all of which contribute to these difficulties.

This article explores the common mental health challenges faced by truck drivers, delves into their underlying causes, and offers practical strategies for managing and improving mental health on the road.

Whether you’re a seasoned truck driver or new to the profession, these insights can help you navigate the unique demands of your job while prioritizing your well-being.

Common Mental Health Issues Among Truck Drivers

Truck driving, particularly long-haul trucking, leaves drivers vulnerable to various mental health conditions. A study conducted by the National Library of Medicine reveals that the most common mental health disorders among truck drivers include depression, anxiety, loneliness, and chronic sleep disturbances.

Loneliness and depression are the most prevalent, affecting 27.9% and 26.9% of surveyed truck drivers, respectively. 20.6% of drivers report chronic sleep disturbances, 14.5% experience anxiety, and 13% face other emotional problems.

These mental health challenges often occur together, with one issue potentially triggering another. For instance, prolonged sleep disorders and feelings of loneliness can lead to depression. Similarly, irregular sleep patterns can increase irritability, making it harder to cope with stress and subsequently heightening anxiety.

lonely truck driver

Causes of Mental Health Issues in Truck Drivers

There are several causes of mental health challenges in truck drivers. Some of the most well-known causes include:

Long Hours and Irregular Schedules

Many truck drivers work long hours, including nights, leading to irregular sleep patterns and chronic fatigue. This lack of quality sleep affects their physical and mental health, causing constant stress and significantly affecting their well-being.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Regular exercise boosts both physical and mental health. However, the sedentary lifestyle of long-haul trucking makes it difficult for many drivers to find the time for physical activity on the road. This increases their chances of experiencing mental health challenges.

Stress and Job Pressure

Usually, truck drivers operate under strict delivery schedules. That’s in addition to several federal and state regulations they must follow to avoid losing their licenses or hefty fines. These job demands and regulatory pressures can take a toll on most drivers’ mental health, causing burnout and anxiety.

Social Isolation

Long-haul truckers spend several consecutive days or weeks on the road. These long periods away from family members and other social support systems can lead to loneliness. And because most human beings are social creatures, such social isolation can affect mental health.

Work Environment

Unpredictable working conditions are a norm in the trucking industry. As a result, truckers experience high-stress levels almost all the time. Constant stress builds up to chronic levels over time and might lead to severe mental health problems.

truck driver safety

Impact of Mental Health Issues on the Job

If left untreated, mental health challenges affect the overall well-being of truck drivers, including their job, in several ways, such as:

Safety Concerns

Mental health challenges undermine safe driving by reducing concentration, impairing judgment, and increasing reaction times. These factors elevate the risk of driver error, which is a leading cause of fatal accidents in the trucking industry.

Job Performance

Poor mental health can demotivate a truck driver, affecting their efficiency. Truckers facing mental health challenges often lack enthusiasm for meeting schedules, maintaining their vehicles, and following guidelines. This reduces their productivity and negatively affects the company’s output.

Employee Retention

A truck driver with DOT-disqualifying mental health conditions risks losing their license and missing out on other employment opportunities in the trucking industry. This leads to financial hardship for the driver and high turnover rates for trucking companies. Both parties suffer, as turnover costs are often higher than those of employee retention.

Health Care Costs

Poor mental and physical health among truck drivers can be costly. High healthcare expenses, potential liabilities from related traffic accidents, and increased insurance rates because of poor driving records all contribute to financial losses for employers.

Addressing Mental Health Challenges

Addressing mental health challenges effectively requires a collaborative effort from all stakeholders in the trucking industry. Here are a few practical strategies and tips for maintaining mental health and well-being that employers and truck drivers should consider:

Awareness and Education

Mental health awareness and education are the first steps to minimize mental health challenges and promote better health among truck drivers. Employers can provide mental health education by providing mental health resources, such as pamphlets and videos, or holding in-person training.

trucker connection 2

Support Systems

Establish reliable support systems as a long-haul trucker and stay connected with your close friends and family while on the road. You can schedule regular video calls and chats to avoid loneliness and maintain positive social relationships. Also, consider joining trucker communities and support groups online or offline.

Health and Wellness Programs

Employers can support truck drivers by providing access to professional help through programs like employee health and wellness assistance. These programs allow truckers to seek help early, preventing mental health disorders. Facilitating access to counseling services on the road, such as telehealth, helps drivers manage stress and maintain their health.

Regulatory and Policy Changes

Regulatory and policy changes are essential to de-stigmatize mental health issues among truck drivers and normalize seeking professional help. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is addressing this by setting up on-site family clinics at various distribution centers, providing comprehensive physical and mental health support. Truckers should take advantage of these resources to maintain their well-being and safety on the road.

Conclusion

The impact of poor mental health on truck drivers extends beyond the individual, affecting job performance, physical safety, and the safety of other road users. Recognizing signs of mental health challenges is crucial for timely treatment and maintaining road safety.

Remember, your physical and mental health are interconnected. Avoid poor eating habits, including excessive fast food. Instead, adopt healthy practices such as maintaining a balanced diet, a regular sleep schedule and carving out some time for exercise.

For more tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle while on the road, visit our blog. If you’re considering starting a trucking business or financing a truck, contact us at Mission Financial Services

stressed truck driver

13 Stress Management Techniques for Truck Drivers

stressed truck driver

Seventy five percent of truck drivers say their job is mentally and physically stressful. While stress is almost a given for any truck driver, knowing how to manage it effectively is essential for a happy and healthy career.

Follow this guide for some of the best stress management tips for truck drivers.

Signs of Stress in Truck Drivers

As a truck driver, it’s important to spot common signs of chronic stress. Here are some of the main truck driver stress symptoms to keep an eye out for.

Physical Signs

Stressed truck drivers might have frequent headaches and feel tired all the time.

Sleep disturbances are common if you feel stressed, making it hard to get a good night’s rest. Muscle tension, especially in the neck and shoulders, is another sign of stress.

Emotional Signs

Stressed drivers might be easily irritated and feel unnecessarily anxious. Depression is another concern, with drivers feeling down or hopeless when they have high stress levels.

Behavioral Signs

Stressed truck drivers often change their eating habits, either eating too much or too little.

Some stressed drivers turn to alcohol or drugs more frequently. Social withdrawal is another sign of stress, as drivers avoid interacting with others.

Needless to say, stress can lead to decreased job performance, affecting your quality of work and safety on the road.

Cognitive Signs

Truck drivers who can’t manage stress might have difficulty concentrating on tasks. Memory problems could occur, and negative thinking becomes more frequent.

long driving hours

Causes of Stress in Truck Drivers

Ask any mental health professional, and they can confidently say that truck driving is a high-stress profession. Here are some of the main reasons.

Long Hours and Tight Deadlines

Truck drivers often face long hours on the road and strict delivery deadlines.

The long driving hours can be exhausting and stressful, especially when there’s the added pressure to meet tight schedules.

Isolation

Being away from family and friends for long periods is always a big cause of stress.

Isolation can lead to loneliness and disconnection. Missing things like family events and daily interactions adds to the emotional weight.

Traffic and Road Conditions

Dealing with congested traffic is a major stressor for truck drivers. Poor road conditions make driving even more challenging and frustrating.

Health Concerns

As a truck driver, you’ve got limited access to healthy food and hardly any time for regular exercise.

If you don’t stay healthy and , you’ll start slipping into a more stressed state.

Regulatory and Compliance Issues

Sticking to regulations and maintaining compliance is a constant source of stress for truck drivers, especially owner-operators.

Truck drivers need to keep up with changing laws and ensure their paperwork is always in order.

Financial Pressures

When it comes to truck driver stress levels, concerns about money and job security are common. The fluctuating nature of the industry can also lead to financial instability.

truck driver exercise

13 Stress Management Techniques for Truck Drivers

While you can’t always avoid stress, knowing how to relieve stress is essential in this fast-paced environment.

Here are some of our best tips for reducing stress as a truck driver.

1. Regular Exercise

Regular physical activity can greatly reduce stress for truck drivers.

You can do simple exercises when on the road, like stretching, walking, or using resistance bands. This can seriously improve your mood, boost your energy, and maintain your overall mental and physical health.

2. Healthy Eating Habits

Sticking to a balanced diet is crucial for managing stress.

Truck drivers should aim to eat more fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins while on the road. Avoiding fast food and sugary snacks can go a long way in managing stress.

3. Adequate Sleep

Quality sleep is essential for stress management.

Truck drivers should create a sleep-friendly environment in their trucks, using blackout curtains and comfortable bedding. Sticking to a regular sleep schedule is vital – no matter how tight your deadlines are.

4. Mindfulness and Meditation

Consider doing simple meditation techniques, like deep breathing and focusing on the present moment, to help manage stress. You can easily practice this during breaks to reduce anxiety and improve mental clarity.

5. Time Management

Good time management skills can significantly reduce stress as a truck driver.

Plan your routes and schedules carefully to avoid last-minute rushes, and always allow time for breaks.

6. Stay Connected

Use technology to stay in touch with family and friends through video calls and social media. Regular communication is important for keeping your spirits up on lonely routes.

7. Listening to Music or Audiobooks

Listening to music or audiobooks can have a calming effect. This is a simple way to unwind and stay mentally engaged during long drives.

truck driver resting

8. Regular Breaks

Taking regular breaks is crucial for rest and recharging. Use these breaks to stretch, walk, or simply relax.

9. Professional Support

If you struggle with your mental well-being, then getting help from mental health professionals is important to help cope with the stress.

10. Hobbies and Interests

Having hobbies and interests you can focus on during downtime can be a great stress reliever. Try to find activities that help you relax and recharge between journeys.

11. Deep Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to relieve stress.

Inhaling deeply through the nose, holding for a few seconds, and exhaling slowly can calm the mind and reduce physical tension. This can be done while driving.

12. Positive Thinking

Keeping a positive mindset is important for stress management.

Practice reframing negative thoughts and focus on positive aspects of your job. Even a small shift in thinking can make a big difference to your overall outlook and mood.

13. Hydration

Drink plenty of water throughout the day and avoid excessive caffeine. This helps maintain energy levels and can boost your emotional well being.

Conclusion

If you feel stress levels rising, be sure to practice some of these techniques. They may be simple, but they can make an enormous difference to your overall mental state – which is essential for a happy and fulfilling career.

Looking to purchase a new truck but struggling to get started? Get in touch with us at Mission Financial for the most stress-free solution to commercial truck financing.

sleeping truck driver

Where Do Truck Drivers Sleep

sleeping truck driver

If you’re an aspiring or new truck driver wondering where truck drivers sleep, read on to learn more.

For truck drivers, quality sleep isn’t about good health only. It’s an essential safety requirement by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

FMCSA requires all truck drivers to follow strict hours of service regulations to ensure they get enough sleep between trips, so they can stay alert and safe when behind the wheel.

Where Do Truck Drivers Sleep In A Semi Truck?

Where truckers sleep depends on the type of truck driving they engage in (over-the-road, regional, or local trucking) and the type of semi-truck they drive (whether it’s a sleeper truck or a day cab).

Local drivers drive day cabs and cover short routes. They’re usually home at the end of each workday and get to sleep on their own bed.

Local truck drivers cannot legally sleep inside their day cabs due to the hours of service regulations related to required rest and sleeper berth provisions.

Over-the-road and regional drivers drive sleeper cab trucks and cover long distances. They spend multiple days on the road and usually sleep in their semi trucks in the sleeper cab.

What is a Sleeper Cab?

Also known as a sleeper berth or truck sleeper, a sleeper cab is a small room behind the driver’s seat of some trucks. It varies in size depending on a truck’s model, but it’s often large enough to accommodate a comfy bed and mattress for the truck driver to sleep on.

sleeper cabin

Sleeper berths are also well-equipped with basic amenities and extra household comforts that can make the truck a second home for you, including

  • Cabinets and shelves for storing personal items
  • A bunk heater for additional warmth during cold weather
  • Electrical outlets, including a power inverter or an auxiliary power unit to boost the truck’s electrical system
  • Electrical appliances, such as a TV, microwave, refrigerator, slow cooker, entertainment systems.
  • Some expensive, custom-built trucks have a powder room. But this is rare. Most times, you’ll have to stop at a truck stop, rest area to tend to your hygiene and bathroom needs.

Where Do Truckers Park Their Semi Trucks When They Need To Sleep?

To use the sleeper cab, long-haul truck drivers must find a secure parking space and park their semi trucks. Common places where most drivers park when they need to sleep include:

  • Truck stops: Truck stops are the best places to pull over and sleep because they’re designed as rest areas for large commercial vehicles. As a truck driver, you’ll find enough parking space and more services, such as well-functioning showers in most modern truck stops.
  • Client sites: some clients allow truck drivers to park in their parking lots to sleep before heading out again.
  • Company facilities: a few trucking companies offer dedicated company facilities where truck drivers can park and sleep.

Long-haul truckers can also sleep in hotels if they want to. Some drivers do this occasionally to switch things and spice up their routines. But, most stay away from this sleeping arrangement because it’s expensive and unsustainable long-term.

truck stop

When parking to sleep in a semi-truck at night as a truck driver, you’ll need to observe the following safety procedures to keep safe:

  • Pay Attention to Area: Certain areas, particularly during nighttime, can pose safety risks. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with locations that other truckers have identified as unsafe parking spots and actively avoid them to ensure your safety.

 

  • Use Designated Truck Stops or Rest Areas: Avoid pulling over to rest by the roadside, on interstate ramps, or on the shoulder. You’ll put yourself and other road users at risk of fatal accidents. Doing this is also against the law in most jurisdictions, and you’ll get penalized.
  • Familiarize yourself with your route: Familiarize yourself with the route you plan to take and identify the truck stops and other areas where you can park your truck if you need to take a quick nap before completing your trip.
  • Lock your doors: Even though most truck stops have enough security, lock your doors as an additional safety measure.

Tips for Getting Better Sleep in a Truck

Sleeping in your semi-truck will not be the same as sleeping in your bed at home. But you can take a few measures to ensure you get high-quality, uninterrupted sleep through the night and wake up just as refreshed.

Pick a Good Parking Spot

With a sleeper truck, you can sleep anywhere. But you want to find a safe and quiet parking spot away from other trucks to enjoy rest at a rest stop. Avoid parking near the pumps, entrance, or exit, as these areas are often the noisiest.

Customize Your Bed

Make your sleeper cab a home away from home by customizing it to match your style. Get a high-quality mattress, nice sheets, a weighted blanket, and other warm sleeping gear to make your cab look and feel cozy.

Block Out Light

Sometimes, you’ll need to catch some sleep during the day or in brightly lit areas. Invest in blackout curtains, sleep masks, and sun shields to block out light. You’ll fall asleep faster in a dark room.

ear plugs

Reduce Noise

Trucks and other rest stops are never quiet, especially during the day. Consider purchasing noise-reducing earplugs or headphones to prevent the noise from interrupting your sleep. You can also buy a white noise machine or use a white noise sleep app to ensure quality sleep.

Try to Stick to a Sleep Routine

Despite the irregularity of delivery schedules and other trucking activities, try to create a sleep routine and stick to it. A sleep routine will make it easy to fall asleep when you need to rest. Your body will naturally recognize it’s time to sleep at the right time and stay alert when it’s time to work.

Final Thoughts

Getting enough sleep is not only crucial for your physical and mental health, but it also plays a role in the success of your career in trucking.

As a company truck driver, you’ll get paid based on mileage. When you rest well, you can stay alert, operate efficiently, and maximize your working hours. The more efficiently you work, the more miles you’ll cover and the more you’ll earn. .

If you’re looking to purchase your first semi-truck to kick-start your career as an owner-operator, reach out to us. We offer tailored commercial vehicle loans to new and seasoned commercial truck business owners. And can finance your first truck purchase to help you start your trucking venture smoothly, setting it up for success.

 

group of truck drivers

How Many Semi-Truck Drivers in the US?

group of truck drivers

Trucking is the backbone of the American supply chain, but just how big is the industry?

In short, the trucking industry is massive, and growing steadily.. Despite rising fuel costs and alternative transport networks, there is an enormous demand for truck drivers. Between the short-distance and the long-distance industry, truck driving forms an essential part of how the US operates. 

Let’s explore some trucking industry statistics and insights in the guide below.

How Many Truck Drivers Are There in the US?

Right now, there are 3.5 million truck drivers operating in the US. This includes both employed truck drivers and owner-operators. 

Of all these drivers in the US trucking industry, approximately 1.98 million employee truck drivers operate heavy and tractor-trailer vehicles. There are also around 57,500 light or delivery service truck drivers operating in the US.

The trucking transportation industry is an enormous part of the USA’s economy, and truck driving is one of the most popular jobs in the country. Between self-employed truck drivers, specialized trucking businesses, regular tractor-trailer truck drivers, and smaller trucking carriers, there is a wide range of job opportunities available as a truck driver in the US.

What Percentage of Truck Drivers are Owner Operators?

When looking at trucking industry statistics, approximately 10% to 15% of commercial trucks are driven by owner-operators. This means the vast majority of truck drivers in the US are employees of a trucking business. 

Full-time trucking employment is appealing, as jobs are more stable and it’s easier to get into. You also don’t have to go through the process of purchasing your own semi-truck, marketing your business, and managing business finances and operations. Company drivers also get various perks, like health insurance.

truck driver

However, being an owner-operator also has its perks, like the freedom of being your own boss, and the option to make more money than standard driver wages. Being an owner-operator also means you can be more specific about the truck driving jobs and clients you want your business to focus on.

How Many Trucking Companies Are There in the US?

Approximately 1.2 million companies operate in the trucking industry in the US right now. Needless to say, this is one of the country’s major industries.

American trucking associations and companies cover a wide range of trucking variations and are responsible for a massive amount of transport across the country. In fact, about 80% of the US heavily relies on and depends on trucking companies to transport their goods. As a truck driver, this is good news.

Is the Trucking Industry Growing?

The trucking sector in the US is expected to see a consistent growth rate of 6% from 2020 to 2030.

The US’s gross freight revenue was $940.8 billion, with the freight trucking market size estimated at $532.7 billion. This means trucking was responsible for 72.6% of America’s overland freight movement. 

Are Truckers in Demand in the USA?

America is in major demand for truck drivers. In fact, there is a significant driver shortage across the country.

Right now, the country has a truck driver shortage of about 80,000 drivers, a number that is expected to reach around 160,000 by the year 2030. If this driver shortage continues, then fewer trucks will end up on the roads than what the industry predicts. 

As long as there is a need for goods transportation in the US, there will be a strong demand for long-distance truckers. And with the growth of the trucking industry, there will be an increasing demand for drivers in the upcoming years.

woman truck driver

How Many Truck Drivers Are Women?

Women in trucking represent 13.7% of the industry. While this is a low number, it is a definite improvement from previous years. Female truck drivers are also on the rise, with more women getting into the industry year after year.

This could be because of the truck driver shortage, an increasing number of owner-operator truckers, or because the industry is getting safer.

How Long Would it Take Someone to Become a Semi-Truck Driver in America?

Becoming a semi-truck driver in America typically involves several steps, and the time it takes to become a driver for a motor carrier can vary. Overall, becoming a semi-truck driver in America can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more, depending on your circumstances and employer requirements.

Here’s a general outline of the process:

  • Meet Requirements: To become a semi-truck driver in the US, you must typically be at least 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license, and have a clean driving record. 
  • CDL Training: Aspiring truck drivers must enroll in a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training program. These programs vary in length but often last between 4 to 8 weeks. During CDL training, students learn about the operation of commercial vehicles, safety regulations, and driving techniques.
  • CDL Exam: After completing training, students must pass a written knowledge test and a skills test administered by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or a third-party testing facility to obtain their CDL. This includes passing the necessary health requirements.
  • Entry-Level Driving Experience: Many trucking companies require newly licensed drivers to gain experience before hiring them for long-haul routes. This often involves working as a local or regional driver for a few months at least.
  • Specialized Training (Optional): Some companies may require or provide specialized training for certain types of freight or equipment, such as tanker trucks, refrigerated trailers, or hazardous materials transport.

happy truck driver

Final Thoughts

The trucking industry is an enormous and essential part of the US economy. Without it, the country would struggle to transport goods across the country. The trucking industry is also incredibly diverse, with various types of trucking businesses and truck-driving formats in operation. This makes it an exciting industry for aspiring truck drivers to get into.

Are you considering starting a trucking business? Then you’ll need to get yourself the right semi-truck. Get in touch with us at Mission Financial Services, where we can help you get easy financing for your vehicle. 

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