Truck drivers have been essential to our nation since the end of the 19th Century. They work tirelessly to transport approximately 10 billion tons of freight every year safely, securely, and on time while also keeping our roads safe. We depend on these unsung heroes to fuel our economy, for without professional truck drivers, our tables, closets, and stores would be empty.
Every year, we take an entire week to pay respect to and thank the country’s 3.6 million truck drivers for their hard work and dedication to one of our nation’s most demanding jobs. We call this week: National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.
America observes National Truck Driver Appreciation Week during the second whole week in September. This year’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is from September 11th to the 17th, and we’ve compiled the top eight ways to celebrate.
8 Ways to Celebrate National Truck Driver Appreciation Week
1. Take advantage of parts and service deals.
Many companies are offering access to exclusive discounts, including Convoy, through their National Account at Goodyear. You can receive discounts on new tires, retread services, 24/7 roadside assistance, and more. Other companies, including Love’s Travel Stops and Pilot Flying J, will also offer promotional deals during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.
2. Host giveaways all week long.
If you’re a fleet owner and operator, you can celebrate your drivers by hosting daily giveaways for items like iPhones, CB radios, or other things that drivers could find helpful. Daily drawings will keep everyone excited throughout the week. But to build more enthusiasm, why not raffle off a grand prize at the end of the week? A special grand prize could be a weekend getaway for two or a high-value tech item! Now’s the time to be creative (and generous).
3. Give a thoughtful gift.
Are you a family or friend celebrating your favorite truck driver? Do so by giving them a thoughtful gift.
Top-notch gifts for truck drivers include:
- A new truck mattress
- A Sirius XM subscription
- Audiobooks or an Audible account
- A Bluetooth headset
- A 12V cooler
- Their very own merch (shirts, hats, cups, etc.)
Browse other thoughtful gift ideas here.
4. Treat yourself to some lunch.
Some favorite food spots offer discounts to truck drivers on National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, including:
Denny’s – Truck drivers can receive a 10% discount key tag that is good to use at any Denny’s travel center location.
Love’s Travel Stops – Drivers can get a free Hot to Go sandwich or a Fresh to Go salad with an oil change purchase at any Speedco or Love’s Truck Care. Love’s will also offer daily specials on fresh food, snacks, and drinks.
Pilot Flying J – Freight haulers can get daily discounts on food and drinks, like a free drink on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
5. Host a family and friends event.
Truck drivers spend long hours (sometimes even days) on the road and away from those they love. If you’re a fleet owner-operator, you could celebrate your drivers by throwing a family and friends event. This event could be as simple as a backyard barbeque or as fancy as a catered, sit-down dinner. You can incorporate raffle prizes, games, and other festivities into your event or hire vendors like traveling photo booths or local entertainers, giving everyone a chance to mingle and let loose. An appreciation event could also strengthen your relationship with your employees and their loved ones.
If schedules can’t align for an appreciation event, reward your drivers with experience vouchers they can share with their families, such as movie tickets, concerts, sporting events, etc. A gift certificate to a local restaurant would also make a perfect gift to show your appreciation.
6. Write a thank you letter.
Nothing says “I appreciate all you do” like a handwritten thank you card to your favorite driver. Whether you’re an owner-operator, a family member, a friend, or even a fellow driver, a simple card expressing gratitude and admiration goes a long way.
7. Give your favorite driver a radio shout out.
What could be cooler than telling your favorite truck driver how you feel? Maybe their favorite radio host giving them a personalized shoutout! Call one (or all) of your dearest driver’s favorite radio stations and request to give a shoutout. This could make a driver’s week or maybe their entire year.
8. Go beyond the week.
Above all else, the best way to show appreciation for truck drivers is to show your appreciation all year round. And using any of the options listed above are great ways to do just that. After all, I think we can all agree that our nation’s truck drivers deserve more than just a week of special treatment.
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Father’s Day is right around the corner! Have you gotten something for your trucker dad? Well, if you aren’t sure what to get for your truck-driving dad, we have some ideas that will make his life on the road more enjoyable.
Whether your goal is to keep dad comfortable or entertained or just make his life a little more convenient, these gifts are sure to impress. After all, he works hard all-year-long and deserves to be treated extra special on his special day.
Here are our top 10 picks for your favorite truck driver.
1. A Model of His Truck
Truck drivers are incredibly proud of their rigs and the work they put into them. Some even go as far as to customize them with bold paint jobs. So, if your dad’s truck is his pride and joy, then a model of his rig would be the perfect gift. You could even customize your model to feature your dad’s name or go for a replica. Either way, your trucker dad is sure to display his gift with pride.
2. A New Truck Seat
Drivers spend a lot of time on the road. Some can spend up to 12 hours a day or more hauling freight. And with so many hours spent in the same old seat, your dad could experience persistent back pain or chronic leg problems. That said, a new seat could be a nice upgrade for dad. Be sure to choose a seat that is on a suspension system with ergonomic support. A good seat will not only be comfortable, but it will also be good for dad’s health.
3. A Wireless Headset
Truckers rely heavily on their headsets. If your dad’s headset is on the older side, consider upgrading it for Father’s Day. Today’s headsets often have noise-canceling capabilities and crisp, clear sound quality. Some headsets even offer mute capabilities, speed dial, and more.
4. Audio Books
Nothing helps pass the time quite like a good audiobook—gift dad with a subscription to an audiobook site. He can browse through the hundreds of titles and genres and choose what he likes. He can also search through a list of audiobooks where truck drivers share their stories.
5. A GPS
Traveling to an unfamiliar place can be stressful, even more so when hauling a larger rig. Help dad stay on the right path with a trucker-friendly GPS. A GPS specially built for truck drivers offers trucking routes that help commercial drivers navigate complex city streets and new locations.
6. A Thermoelectric Cooler
An iceless cooler is a perfect gift for a trucker who’s always on the go. They keep refrigerator items nice and chilled and are powered by a power cord that plugs directly into the dash. And while they come in a few different sizes, some are large enough to hold up to 44 cans.
7. A Heavy-Duty Phone Case
Life on the road is filled with tough surfaces and hard knocks. Save your dad from a cracked screen or broken phone by gifting him with a phone case that can keep up with his lifestyle. A heavy-duty phone case can be the difference between your dad having a working, damage-free lifeline.
8. A SiriusXM Radio Subscription
Any truck driver will tell you there’s nothing quite like driving on the open road with your favorite tunes filling your cab. This Father’s Day, give your dad the ultimate music-lover gift, a subscription to SiriusXM Radio. There are over 175 channels to choose from, so your dad is sure to find a station he likes. They also offer several different subscription options so that you won’t break the bank.
9. A Power Inverter
When your dad is on the road, he shouldn’t have to worry about one of his devices being out of juice. A mobile power supply would ensure that all of his devices remained charged and ready to use! Be sure to find one that offers charging options for several different devices and is usable on and off of the truck.
10. A Sentimental Keychain
And finally, if your dad is the type that has it all, a sentimental keychain is sure to be his favorite. Go for one that says “#1 Dad” or “Drive Safe, Dad.” Whatever message you choose, he’ll think of you and how much you care every time he gets on the road.
Any of these items would make for a perfect gift and show your trucker dad just how much you care. And you can bet that any time he uses his gift, he’s sure to think of you and smile.
More Like This
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-> How to Stay Safe Behind the Wheel
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Tips for Avoiding Distracted Driving
It’s officially Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Throughout the month of April, different organizations unite to help drivers safely reach their destinations by encouraging them to remain focused behind the wheel. According to a recent study by the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA), 3,142 people were fatally injured due to distracted driving.
Distracted driving affects hundreds of people every single day. And what many people don’t know is how it can impact heavy-duty truck drivers. This Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we encourage you to put down your phone, follow the speed limit, and eliminate distractions. In this blog, we will tell you everything you need to know about distracted driving and tips on how to eliminate distractions from your daily commute.
Facts about distracted driving
While answering the phone, eating a quick snack, or jamming to your favorite song may seem harmless, they can have critical consequences when done behind the wheel. When studied, researchers found that reading a text message for five seconds while traveling at a speed of 55 mph is equivalent to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Need more reasons to eliminate distractions from your drivetime?
Here are a few facts about distracted driving:
- A 2020 study done by the NHTSA found that 7% of all fatal crashes in 2019 were caused by or related to distracted driving.
- Another NHTSA study found that 8% of fatal crashes, 15% of injury crashes, and 14% of all police-reported traffic accidents were distraction-affected crashes. Overall, approximately 400,000 people were injured, and 2,841 people died.
- The NHTSA reported that 1 out of every 5 people killed by a distracted driver was not in a vehicle (walking, jogging, biking, etc.) at the time of the accident.
- The CDC found that drivers between 15 and 19 were more likely to drive distracted than drivers 20 years of age and older. And 9% of all teen drivers who died in vehicular accidents were involved in distraction-affected crashes.
- According to the IIHS, the fatal crash rate is three times greater for teen drivers.
- The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that driver distraction is the cause of more than 58% of crashes involving teen drivers.
- A research study from Cambridge Mobile Telematics showed that distracted driving habits occurred in more than 36% of all trips across the United States.
The risks are even higher when a truck driver is distracted at the wheel. In fact, “distracted truck driving is more likely to result in fatalities than other types of automotive accidents.” This is because the weight and force of heavy-duty vehicles are much greater than that of a standard passenger vehicle, making them more dangerous in the event of a collision. That is why truck drivers must do their part in eliminating distractions from their drive.
3 types of distracted driving
Over the years, experts in traffic safety have classified distractions into three main categories: Cognitive, Manual, and Visual. If you’ve ever been driving and started thinking about a conversation you had earlier that day or your mental to-do list, you’ve had a cognitive distraction. By definition, a cognitive distraction is when your thoughts distract you from the task of driving. A manual distraction is when you remove your hands from the steering wheel. For example, eating a sandwich or rummaging through your bag is considered a manual distraction. A visual distraction happens when your eyes are not on the road. For instance, if you apply makeup or search for something in your vehicle, you are driving while visually distracted.
Using your phone while driving, including texting or reading messages, combines all three categories of distractions. The University of Utah found that those who use their phones while driving are 5.36 times more likely to get into an accident than undistracted drivers. The university also found that those who text and drive are comparable to people who drive with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08%. For truckers, texting while driving increases your risk of crashing by 23 times, according to Virginia Technical Transportation Institute.
Tips for avoiding distractions
Now that you have all the information about distracted driving, it’s time to help put an end to it. Putting a stop to distracted driving starts with you.
Here are some tips for remaining focused while driving:
- Don’t eat and drive. Eating will take your hands off the steering wheel and your attention away from driving. If you’re traveling and want a quick bite to eat, find somewhere safe to park and enjoy your break from driving.
- Put your phone away. Use ‘Do Not Disturb’ or ‘Driving Mode’ to disable incoming messages, calls, and notifications. Placing your phone in your bag or glove box will also help eliminate your temptation to use it.
- Just focus. Avoid multitasking by setting your GPS, picking out your music, and making calls or sending texts before you start driving.
- Keep your music low. Loud music could prevent you from hearing emergency vehicles and CB warnings.
- Properly secure your belongings. Items falling throughout the vehicle could distract you from the road ahead. Before you take off, secure loose objects and belongings properly.
- Get plenty of rest. Being tired could cause you to be unalert or fall asleep behind the wheel.
Observe Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Observe Distracted Driving Awareness Month by:
- Taking the pledge to end distracted driving.
- Supporting campaigns developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Safety Council, as well as state, county, and local law enforcement agencies.
Using the hashtag #DistractedDrivingAwarenessMonth when posting on social media this month.
For more articles about driver safety, click here!
It’s officially Women’s History Month! And while women in the trucking industry is nothing new, there has definitely been an increase in the number of females entering the field that has traditionally been male-dominated.
So, in honor of this month, and International Women’s Day on March 8, we have developed the ultimate trucking guide for women to encourage and aid the industry’s future drivers. This guide will go over how to get started, why more women should enter the field, and why “hiring women drivers is a viable and responsible option for reducing the driver shortage and boosting profitability.”
How to get started as a truck driver
Before starting your career as a truck driver, you will need to obtain proper training and necessary certifications, including a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) license and certificate. To acquire these licenses, you’ll need to complete driving school. However, each state is different, so it’s essential to research your state’s requirements for certification.
Trucking education and coaching/mentor programs are designed to prepare you for the road ahead and assist you in finding the right job within the industry. Some resources that will help you begin your journey to becoming a driver include:
- LeadHERtrucking from Women in Trucking (WIT);
- Engage Mentor Match through WIT;
- The Women in Trucking Foundation (WITF) Scholarship
- WIT Professional Development Certification Training
Once you’ve completed your education and training, it’s time to look for opportunities at companies that are reputable and a good fit for you.
When it comes to finding a job in the trucking industry, your mentor or trainer may be able to place you in a position that is right for you. However, if you find yourself searching on your own, you can try browsing job boards, bulletins, or company career sites. When vetting these potential workplaces, it’s vital to look for female-specific training options, positive reviews on sites like Glassdoor, a clean track record, and pictures of female drivers on their website.
What makes truck driving a great career for women?
Being a truck driver comes with its fair share of perks that make it a great career choice for women looking to be financially secure and independent, including:
- Accessible opportunities
- Competitive salaries
- Flexible scheduling
- Full employer benefits
- Professional training opportunities
- Thriving freelance market
- Variety of available jobs and career paths to choose from
Unlike most jobs, truck driving offers reliable income. Plus, it gives drivers the chance to work in an environment free of micromanagement with plenty of opportunities to use unique problem-solving skills. Being a truck driver also allows you to avoid the highly repetitive workforce that most women are corralled into.
Why do women make great truck drivers?
Not only are more and more women becoming interested in truck driving jobs, but recruiters are noticing studies and statistics that prove just how essential women truck drivers are to the industry.
Here are just 3 of the reasons why women make excellent drivers:
1. Lower driver turnover
Driver turnover for large fleets typically runs in the 90th percentile, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA). However, the driver retention rate for women is much higher, meaning women are more likely to remain with one trucking company for a longer period of time than men. The ability to retain truck drivers allows carriers to avoid turnover and retraining costs, which can be quite expensive and time-consuming.
2. Fewer accidents
Despite the stereotypes, women truck drivers, statistically, are involved in fewer accidents, including rollovers and rear-end collisions. Carriers looking to “boost their profits by curtailing insurance and litigation costs should take note of the reliability and safety records being compiled by women in the truck driving workforce.”
3. Higher mileage
On average, women in trucking tend to log more miles than men. When drivers are able to keep their wheels turning for longer periods of time, they are able to earn more money for themselves and their employer.
4 tips for women truck drivers
1. Network, Network, Network.
One of the many beauties of being a truck driver is gaining access to the large and strong community of fellow drivers. This network of people is always willing to guide and support new drivers, so take full advantage of the wealth of knowledge and experience they offer. Who knows, networking could even help advance your career.
2. Plan your routes.
Planning your routes is a vital component of being a successful truck driver. Not only does it make your job easier by eliminating unnecessary stress, but it also keeps you safer and on time. Need help creating a schedule? Try using scheduling apps and online templates.
3. Find and maintain your support system.
Having a network of fellow professionals is as crucial to your success as having a personal support system when you come home. As a truck driver, you will spend a lot of time on the road, so it is helpful to have people who can handle things at home. This will offer you peace of mind while you are away.
4. Install a CB radio
CB radios have been an essential communication tool for truck drivers and show no signs of disappearing any time soon. Why? Compared to cell phones, CBs are more reliable in areas with poor reception, which can be vital when trying to contact someone for help. Drivers also use them to warn other drivers of upcoming road hazards, traffic, and more.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Spreading Heart-Health Awareness This American Heart Month
Question: What’s the leading cause of death in the United States of America and claims more than 650,000 lives each year? The answer: heart disease.
Luckily, research and new technology have given medical professionals the tools to know more about the condition, prevent it, and treat it quicker than ever before. Despite the extraordinary progress that’s been made, there’s still more that can be done.
This American Heart Month, we celebrate by sharing information regarding the prevention of heart disease to eradicate the illness further. In this article, we will go over heart disease and discuss the top five ways truck drivers can avoid it.
What are the different types of heart disease?
Heart disease is a general term referring to any condition that affects one’s cardiovascular system. Overall, the disease comes in several variations, and they all can have severe impacts on the body.
Different types of heart disease include:
- Coronary Artery Disease: Coronary artery disease (also known as coronary heart disease) develops when the blood supply to the heart becomes clogged. It is known as the most common type of heart disease.
- Congenital Heart Defects: Those with a congenital heart defect are born with it. There are three main types of defects, including atypical heart valves, septal defects, and atresia.
- Arrhythmia: An arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat that occurs when the electrical impulses controlling one’s heartbeat make it beat incorrectly. The variations of arrhythmias include tachycardia, bradycardia, premature contractions, and atrial fibrillation.
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy: A dilated cardiomyopathy is when the heart chambers become enlarged, and it is often caused by arrhythmias, genetics, past heart attacks, and toxins.
- Myocardial Infarction: A myocardial infarction (also known as a heart attack) is caused by an interruption of blood flow to the heart, which in turn causes damage to the muscle.
- Heart Failure: Heart failure is the slow deterioration of one’s heart due to untreated arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and other health conditions.
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: This condition affects the heart muscle by thickening the walls of the heart and making regular contractions more difficult, thus affecting the heart’s ability to circulate blood to the body. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy commonly develops from inherited genetic issues and conditions.
- Mitral Valve Regurgitation: Mitral valve regurgitation happens when the heart’s mitral valve does not close properly, and blood flows back into the heart.
- Mitral Valve Prolapse: A mitral valve prolapse is caused by the heart’s valve flaps not closing correctly and pushing into the left atrium.
- Aortic Stenosis: An aortic stenosis happens when the pulmonary valve becomes thick or fuses, preventing it from opening correctly making it harder for the heart to pump blood.
5 Ways Truck Drivers Can Avoid Heart Disease
It’s no secret that most truck drivers are forced into a lifestyle that puts them at a greater risk for health conditions, including heart disease. The main factors contributing to this high risk for heart disease are poor sleep, smoking, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, and high-stress levels.
Luckily, truck drivers can significantly reduce their risk and live long and prosperous lives by implementing a few healthy habits.
Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to your well-being, especially your heart health. Unfortunately, a full eight hours is not always possible for America’s truck drivers. However, science has proven that adults who regularly get less than seven hours of sleep per night are at a greater risk for conditions such as heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.
To help truck drivers get the best sleep possible, we recommend:
- Parking your rig in a safe and quiet area
- Blocking out as much light as possible with curtains or shades
- Use an eye mask and earplugs to help block out irritants
For years, we’ve seen numerous warnings about smoking and the damaging effects it can have on one’s health. A recent study showed that 51% of truck drivers smoke cigarettes, thus increasing their risk for heart disease by four times. Smoking cigarettes also increases the chances of dying from heart disease by three times. Fortunately, there are many ways to help break this unhealthy habit, including nicotine replacement therapy and smoking cessation hypnosis, and all can be done while on the road.
Working as a truck driver means long hours on the road with few opportunities for a healthy meal. You can make subtle changes to your diet by stocking your rig with healthy snack options.
These options include:
- Granola bars
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Hummus with veggies or crackers
When you stop at a fast-food restaurant for a full meal, opt for one of the healthier options, including salads, protein wraps, or sandwiches.
A lack of exercise can increase your risk of severe health conditions, including diabetes, weight gain, certain cancers, and heart disease. To avoid these health concerns, try to exercise several times a day for three to 10 minutes. This can be done before you start your day, during your breaks, or after you’ve finished your day. It’s essential not to overexert yourself and to start slow. In the beginning, stretch, squat, and walk your way to health for at least 12 minutes a day.
As many can imagine, stress and anxiety can put a strain on your mind, body, and soul. Those who experience frequent high levels of stress are more likely to experience heart disease.
To reduce stress, try these techniques:
- Breathing exercises
For more information on American Heart Month and heart disease, visit heart.org!
It’s officially the first week of December, which means it’s Older Driver Safety Awareness Week! This national celebration was initiated in 2009 by the American Occupational Therapy Association to start a conversation around older driver safety. According to the CDC, there are currently 45 million motorists over the age of 65. In one year alone, approximately 250,000 of those older drivers were involved in vehicular accidents that resulted in severe injuries, and another 7,700 tragically died in traffic accidents.
This week of awareness sheds light on those driving for personal reasons as well as our nation’s truck drivers. When long hours on the road are combined with harsh winter weather or age-related medical conditions, heavy-duty hauling can be dangerous to you and those around you. For these reasons, it is vital to recognize when the risks of driving outweigh the benefits and to learn different ways to stay safe in the meantime.
6 Safety Tips for Older Drivers
Older drivers are not only twice as likely to suffer from medical conditions that impair their driving skills, but they are also at a higher risk of getting injured or even dying in a car accident. However, these numbers don’t mean that those 65 and older have to fear getting behind the wheel; they just need to drive more cautiously, practice good judgment, and follow the CDC’s tips for older driver safety.
These CDC safety tips include:
1. Obey all traffic laws.
Follow speed limits and traffic signs, wear your seatbelt, and never drive under the influence. This is important for drivers of ALL ages.
2. Only drive under favorable conditions.
If feasible, only operate your vehicle during the daytime and when the weather is decent.
3. Keep an open line of communication with your doctor.
Discuss any medical concerns or issues with your healthcare provider and determine if they could have an adverse effect on your driving. In terms of medication, determine if any potential side effects, such as dizziness or drowsiness, could interfere with your driving.
4. Have your vision and hearing checked at least once a year.
If either is impaired, be sure to obtain the proper prescription for your eyewear or hearing aids. It is imperative that you wear your glasses at all times when operating your semi truck.
5. Plan your route in detail.
Before hitting the road, make sure you know exactly where you are going, what alternative routes there are, and where rest stops are along the way. It is always a good idea to have an up-to-date map with you as well.
6. Adapt your truck to fit your needs.
If allowed and/or feasible, add installable features or adaptive devices to your vehicle to help with proper vehicle maintenance.
By following these tips and regularly assessing your driving habits for any concerning shifts, you can continue driving safely and avoid at-fault accidents. However, if you notice any changes in your reflexes, vision, hearing, or physical or mental well-being, it’s essential that you stop driving and talk with your doctor.
Click here to learn more about medical conditions that may affect your driving.
Observe Older Driver Safety Awareness Week
This week celebrates the role that transportation plays for older drivers and their communities. To celebrate Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, reach out to your favorite, experienced driver and start a dialogue about their safety and others. Drivers can observe this week by following the top six safety tips as recommended by the CDC.
Pro tip: Use the hashtag #OlderDriverSafetyAwarenessWeek when posting on social media this week!