Helpful Information About Potential Welding Careers & Trucking Jobs
Safe Driving Techniques for Professional Truck DriversTire maintenance is vital because it can help improve fuel economy in your truck as well as reduce the possibility of roadside emergencies. Check out these 3 easy tips to keep your load running smooth and efficiently.
Take Advantage of Pre-Trip InspectionPrior to beginning every route, truckers holding a California CDL should perform a pre-trip inspection. A pre-trip inspection includes ensuring your tires are in good condition and are working properly. At this time, truck drivers should focus on inflation and inspection of their tires. It is crucial to monitor tire pressure. When tires are overinflated, less of the tire touches the ground resulting in reduced traction, which negatively affects stopping distances. However, underinflated tires result in increased friction between the tires and the ground causing them to wear prematurely. Low tire pressure may also cause tires to overheat, which could potentially lead to an accident. Tires preform best when the truck’s recommended tire pressure is maintained. Tires are created to hold a certain amount of air to efficiently carry the load. It is advised to avoid fluctuating from the recommended tire pressure.
Clean Tires & WheelsNot only are clean tires necessary for a trucks visual aesthetics, but they ensure durability. Washing wheel and tires should be a key component in every truck driver’s maintenance routine because brake dust and other elements on the road including salt can eat away at the rubber causing them to crack and deteriorate. The next time your tasked with cleaning your truck, ensure your wheels are squeaky clean.
Pay Attention to Driving HabitsLast but not least, poor driving habits are a leading issue in tread wear. Habits to break include speeding, last minute braking and excessive tire spinning in snow and ice. These habits often result in curbing and the creation of flat spots. An easy way to break these poor driving habits is to consider brushing up on your truck driver education through a CDL Refresher Course. Advanced Career Institute offers hands-on Class A CDL Training and CDL Refresher Courses to brush up your California CDL skills. ACI offers a variety of options for Professional Truck Driver Training. To learn more about brushing up your California CDL skills, head over to our CDL Refresher Course page!
Factors to Consider When Establishing Your Trucking ScheduleWhether you decide to drive your truck during the daytime or nighttime is dependent on a variety of factors: your pick-up and delivery schedule, traffic, available parking, and your personal preferences. Adjusting to new work and sleep schedules can be challenging for professional truck drivers, so it’s important to consider these factors when setting your game plan for transporting each load. Continue reading to learn more about creating a schedule that works for you!
Pick-Up & DeliveryThe freight you’re hauling has a lot to do with the schedule your truck must follow. Refrigerated and dry goods oftentimes follow different schedules. This means that if your freight is refrigerated, you typically have a specific time that your load must be delivered. You will need to work on strict deadlines. Therefore, your truck will need to be running both during the day and at night. However, sometimes if you are delivering dry goods, you will be given a range of time, such as 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., to which the load must be delivered to the customer. This allows you to create a schedule that runs mostly during the day. It is important to remain flexible because your schedule and loads may change at any time causing you to adjust your sleep and driving routines.
Potential Traffic JamsAnother factor that may affect your driving schedule are potential traffic jams. If you are set to drive through major cities such as Los Angeles or Atlanta during peak driving hours, you can expect to be sitting in your truck for extended periods of time. Time is valuable in the trucking industry. Truck driving is a competitive field, so you always want to keep your truck moving. Ultimately, time is money. To avoid sitting in traffic, it is important to plan out your routes ahead of time. If you know you will need to travel through major cities, it is vital to plan your route accordingly, so you hit these areas at low driving times which typically are during the nighttime. Again, be flexible and willing to adapt to necessary schedule changes.
Available ParkingOftentimes, parking is the last thing on your mind during your delivery. However, parking is a major factor that affects the schedules of many truckers. Typically, all professional truck drivers would love to run a 9 to 5 route, and then turn in for the night. However, this cannot be the case because when you go to park your truck at a truck stop, you will be stuck in a congested area attempting to find a spot. Many times there will not be a safe place for you to park, so you will be left parking on a wide area on a shoulder or an off-ramp. To avoid the hassle of parking, many professional truck drivers recommend that you begin your route early and finish at an earlier time to ensure you always have a place to park. If this is not a viable option, many truckers often recommend parking in the customer’s lot. If you’re considering this option, it is crucial that you contact the customer to ensure they have room for you to park your truck overnight.
Personal PreferencesThe final factor affecting your trucking schedule are your personal preferences. Maybe, you thrive during the nighttime, or consider yourself to be a morning person. You may also choose to drive during the daytime, so that you are on a similar schedule to your loved ones so communicating will be easier. Whichever you choose, remember to remain flexible, but also choose the schedule that best fits your lifestyle. Ultimately, a successful freight delivery is dependent on how healthy, dedicated and well-rested you are. Want to learn more about the truck driving industry? Advanced Career Institute offers training courses to assist you in earning your Class A CDL or Class B CDL. ACI has three campus locations throughout the California area in Merced, Visalia and Fresno. To learn more about earning your California CDL, head over to our Truck Driver Training Programs page!
How to Master the Art of Long Haul TruckingTruck driver fatigue can lead to unsafe road conditions and increase the possibility for accidents. As a professional truck driver, it is your responsibility to maintain your health and sleep schedule in order to ensure safety on the road. Read on to learn more about how truckers can master to art of the long haul trucking!
1. Keep It CoolWhen nightfall or cold weather hits, we have the tendency to crank up the heat because the warmth reminds us of our cozy beds. This is the opposite of what truckers should be doing and thinking during the final hours of the long haul. Turn the heat off! By keeping the temperature down in your truck, you will be more alert and concentrated on the road.
2. Sing Along to The RadioThe hum of quiet music can actually put you to sleep. So, pass yourself the aux cord, and crank up your favorite tunes. No one can hear you, so don’t be afraid to sing along!
3. Swap Coffee for High Energy, Healthy FoodsWe suggest that truck drivers avoid inhaling large amounts of caffeine. Too much coffee can be unhealthy, and coffee is not a sustainable source of energy. Eventually, you will crash as some point during the night. We recommend that truckers swap at least one cup of coffee for a high energy, healthy snack such as fruit, almonds or protein bars.
4. Take Mini NapsOn top of maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, California truck drivers should also take power naps throughout the day. If you feel yourself becoming drowsy, pull over and rest. Additionally, taking short naps can actually give your body the extra boost of energy that it needs. So give in to your body, and take a little snooze before you get back on the road!
5. Open the WindowLet the oxygen and cold air flood into your cab. The cold air will shock your senses, and give you additional energy. This only works temporarily, so make sure to stop at the next rest stop to rest up.
6. Stay HydratedWater is your new best friend. We understand that drinking lots of water can result in numerous bathroom breaks during your drives. However, becoming dehydrated is a major cause of fatigue. Not only will drinking water keep you alert, but it will help you to maintain your health as well.
7. Listen to AudiobooksListening to an audiobook or podcast will help keep your mind active during the long haul. Take this opportunity to learn something new, possibly even a new language! This will help keep you interested and engaged during your drive.
8. Stretch Your LegsWhen you start feeling tired, get out of your truck and move around. Getting the blood flowing will give your body the extra energy that it needs. You can use your truck and trailer inspection as an opportunity to get your body moving.
9. Don’t Exhaust YourselfThis tip is crucial. Truckers must listen to their bodies! If you begin feeling tired, don’t hesitate to pull over. Ultimately, safety is the most important factor will inside your truck. Making sure you are in prime condition to navigate the roads not only ensures your safety, but the safety of all other drivers. Are you interesting in becoming a professional truck driver? Advanced Career Institute offers California CDL Training Programs to help aspiring truckers receive their Class A CDL. Professional Truck Driver Training is held at three locations in Merced, Visalia and Fresno. To learn more about Long Haul Trucking, head over to our Class A CDL Training Program page.
A Truck Driver’s Guide to Being Away from HomeAfter the completion of CDL Training, most drivers begin their truck driving careers as over-the-road (OTR) drivers. Long haul trucking does not revolve around a set schedule. Drivers can practically be anywhere, at any time, on any day of the week. Oftentimes, drivers have the choice of driving for months, weeks or only a few days at a time. This often depends on how long a driver is willing to be away from their family. Ultimately, trucking takes a toll on both the driver and their family. One of the first questions every aspiring trucker has is, “How do I find balance between my family and my career as a truck driver?” Keep reading to learn how to find work-life balance during your trucking career.
How Will the Long Haul Affect You and Your Family?The time spent away as an OTR driver affects both you and your family. Firstly, while you are driving, you are unable to see your family or communicate on a regular basis. Sometimes, you may miss your kid’s soccer games, dance recitals, birthdays and tucking them in at night. This may take a toll on you while you are over-the-road because you may miss important events at home. Not only does being away for extended periods of time affect truckers, but it also affects their family. Oftentimes, the spouse left at home is responsible for all domestic duties such as paying bills, household chores, and acting similar to a single parent. Many times, the spouse at home will choose not to work, and dedicate all of their time to taking care of the children.
How to Find Work-Life Balance
Entertain & Educate YourselfBeing away from home may depress a driver. In order to stay concentrated on the job at hand, try entertaining yourself to take your mind off of being away from home. Consider educating yourself by listening to podcasts or audio books. Jamming out to your favorite band also helps to lighten your mood and free your mind.
Communicate RegularlyAlso while over-the-road, make a point to communicate regularly with your spouse and family. Try creating a set schedule of when you will contact them. If time allows, try to call in the morning before beginning your route and at night before you fall asleep. It’s okay not to always stick to the schedule. The occasional call at lunchtime will surely be a pleasant surprise and make your spouse and family happy!
Plan Ahead for Quality TimeLastly, make the most of the time you have at home. Some drivers may take off a few days or weeks at a time. Dedicate this time not only to resting and relaxing, but to catching up with your family. Say yes to that extra game of catch in the yard or to the movie date-night your spouse so eagerly desires. However, don’t stretch yourself too thin trying to cram every missed event into that short period at home. Try creating a schedule to balance the time you spend with family, help around the house, and catch up on your sleep. Contrary to popular belief, you can still have a family and be a truck driver! You don’t have to sacrifice a good relationship with your spouse and children during the long haul. There is no set guidelines to follow to find the perfect balance between your life and your career. However, making an effort to stay in contact and planning ahead will surely help strengthen your relationships. Are you considering long haul trucking? Before you can begin your trucking career, you must complete truck driver training! Advanced Career Institute offers hands-on Class A CDL Training. ACI campuses are located in Fresno, Visalia and Merced. Head over to Our Programs to learn more about earning your California CDL!
3 Things Bus Drivers Can Do Between RoutesNow that you’ve completed Bus Driver Training, I’m sure you’re wondering, “What exactly do bus drivers do during the day?” School bus drivers have an extensive break during their morning and afternoon routes. However, this break isn’t long enough for drivers to get a part-time, so they must find an alternative way to spend their time. Keep reading to find out what many bus drivers tend to do during their downtime.
Drive Multiple School Bus RoutesOftentimes, school bus drivers will choose to drive a variety of routes for the school system. Typically, high school students start earlier than middle school and elementary students. Many drivers will run their first high school route, and then proceed to run a second route to pick up middle school or elementary students depending on the start times of the different schools. This helps to shorten the downtime between their morning and afternoon routes. Sometimes, school bus drivers will choose to drive for school field trips, sporting events and other extracurricular activities to make an extra buck and to lessen the downtime during the day.
Work Additional Jobs Within the School SystemMany drivers tend to work in other areas in the school system. The most common jobs for school bus drivers to work are either in the school cafeteria or as a janitor. Most times, a bus driver's break between their routes aligns perfectly with the school’s lunchtimes, making a cafeteria worker seem like an ideal option to not only earn additional money, but to fill their time during the day. Also, some bus drivers work as mechanics in the bus garages or barns. Usually, bus drivers take their buses back to the garage after their morning routes which makes it easy for them to work directly in the same garage on other buses that need maintenance.
Take Advantage of DowntimeLastly, some bus drivers take full advantage of their downtime. Many bus drivers run side businesses during this time and on their own free time to earn additional wages. However, some school bus drivers use this time to run errands, do household chores, spend time with family, eat lunch, and even take a quick nap. Despite the extensive downtime, school bus drivers take on a huge responsibility. Not only are they responsible for navigating the road while behind the wheel of a huge vehicle, but they are also responsible for safely transporting 40+ kids to school and back home. Although it comes with huge responsibilities, a bus driving career is extremely rewarding. Are you interested in becoming a school bus driver? Advanced Career Institute offers Professional Bus Driver Training in California. ACI campus locations can be found in Fresno, Merced and Visalia. To learn more, check out our Class B CDL Training Program!
Everything ACI Graduates Need to Know About Being Pulled Over in Their TruckCan a truck driver be pulled over? Yes, at some point in your trucking career, you could see blue and red flashing lights behind you indicating you to pull over. Being pulled over in your truck is extremely nerve-racking, but the following tips will help ease the process.
What to Do When You See the Flashing LightsIf you are being pulled over, don’t just whip the big rig anywhere on the side of the road. You need to look for a place to pull over that ensures safety for both your truck and the officer. Try not to stop the flow of traffic. The best areas to pull over are typically off-ramps or paved areas. Additionally, avoid stopping on soft-shoulders because your truck may get stuck. However, remember your main responsibility is to look out for your safety and the safety of other drivers even when being pulled over.
Necessary Documentation to Have On HandAfter being pulled over, the following documents may be requested by the officer: CDL, registration, logbook, and bill of lading. A bill of lading is a receipt detailing what is being shipped, how much, where it is going, and when it should be there. It is typically signed by the shipper, receiver and carrier representative. However, only present the documents that the officer requests. Additionally, your documentation should be located in an easy to reach place in your truck. You don’t want to have to get up to get your documents because this could cause the officer to question their safety because they may be unsure of what exactly you may bring back.
Important Things to Remember While Being Pulled OverFirst, do not remove your seatbelt before the officer sees you wearing it. This helps to avoid possible additional violations the officer may ticket you for. Second, when the officer asks why you think you were pulled over, don’t say anything that could be taken as an admission of guilt. Give brief, but honest answers. Also, it is vital for you to be polite to the officer regardless of whether you believe you should have been pulled over or not. Lastly, always remember to thank the officer for doing their job whether they gave you a ticket or a verbal warning. Although being pulled over may be overwhelming, it is important to park your truck in a safe location. Be prepared with the correct documentation. And always be polite to the officer! If you have received a ticket, check out this blog for what to do next! Interested in becoming a truck driver? Advanced Career Institute offers hands-on truck driver training in California. ACI campuses are located in Merced, Visalia and Fresno. For more information on earning your California CDL, head over to our Class A CDL Training!