Increase Your Earning Potential with a Career in Trucking

With a high demand for truck drivers and an ever-dwindling number of qualified drivers available, new truckers have boundless career opportunities. The pay is what attracts many drivers to the industry, and new drivers can quickly see their salaries increase as the demand for drivers far outpaces the supply. Even in this marketplace that is so beneficial to drivers, there are still things that you can do to increase your earning potential over the course of your career. Here are some of the strategies you can use to boost your salary and grow you income even more.

Build Up CDL Certifications

After you pass your CDL exam, you can quickly get on the path to adding additional certifications. There are nine different CDL classes, and each one allows you to carry a different kind of hazardous material, from explosives to flammable liquids, radioactive materials, and poisons. Drivers who haul these materials make more for these loads, so adding these endorsements will help you earn more. You can also add certifications for driving double and triple trailers, air brake vehicles and tanker vehicles, which all allow you to do higher paying work.

Boost Your IT Skills

With electronic logbooks and other requirements for drivers, trucking is becoming increasingly reliant on technology. Many drivers only know the basics about how to use tech in their trucks, but companies are looking for drivers with a higher degree of tech savvy. Being well versed in IT knowledge can make you a more in-demand driver, which will allow you to command higher pay.

Stay the Course

One of the best ways to earn more money as a trucker is to stay committed through your first two years of driving, when you are still considered a rookie. Don’t get distracted or cut your hours short because you’re frustrated at the starting pay rates. After two years, your earning power will increase dramatically, both in terms of salaries plus pay per mile and bonuses.

HDS Truck Driving Institute will give you all of the tools you need to succeed in your new career in trucking service. Find out how you can start training today by calling our CDL school in Tucson by calling (877) 205-2141.

Bringing Your Canine Companion on the Road

Who says being a truck driver means leaving your four-legged friends behind? Many truck drivers enjoy hitting the road with a canine for company. Both drivers and their pups can have fun on the adventure, and you’ll love having the companionship on long journeys away from home. Bringing your dog on the road may even help you become more fit, as you incorporate more walks into your stops. Could your dog join you on the open road? Keep this advice as your make your pup your co-pilot.

Check with Your Trucking Company

Most truck driving companies let drivers bring their dogs on the road, but it’s always a good idea to check the policies before you load up your pet for the trip. Some companies may have restrictions on the kinds or ages of dogs that are allowed on the road, while other may require drivers to have a certain amount of experience before driving with a pet companion. If you plan to drive with your pet as new driver, ask about company policies during your interview, so you can sign on with a team that will approve your plans.

Prepare Your Truck for Your Canine Companion

Just like you need to be comfortable in your cab, so does your dog. Have a designated space for your dog to relax that is comfortable and safe in both the front with you and in your sleeping quarters. Make sure anything that could be dangerous to your pup, such as medications, are out of reach. Teach your dog which parts of the truck are no-go areas, such as your clutch and brake.

Double-Check Your Packing List

Make sure to bring everything on the road your canine companion will need, including food, treats, and bowls for food and water. Bring toys that will help to keep boredom at bay as well as his or her leash for walks. It’s a good idea to have blankets to keep your dog comfortable, as well as everything you will need to clean up after him or her. Travel with your dog’s vaccination records and a travel crate to use as needed during deliveries.

Are you ready to launch your new career as a truck driver? HDS Truck Driving Institute can get you on the road in and earning in just a few weeks. Call our Tucson truck driving school at (877) 205-2141 to learn more.

Winter Trucking: What You Need to Prepare For

If you are planning to become a commercial truck driver, one of the major challenges you’re likely to face is learning to drive under difficult road conditions. In particular, you need to get ready for winter driving. This is an essential skill to learn, as you’ll need to adjust the way you drive in order to protect yourself and your vehicle from harm. If you’ve never tried to drive a truck during the cold weather season, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Reduce your speed

The single most important thing you can do when driving in winter weather is to slow down. Many wintertime accidents are caused by drivers who don’t adjust their speed to compensate for slick, icy roads. Keep a safe distance from other drivers, and don’t follow anyone too closely. Make sure to leave as early as possible on delivery trips so that you won’t have to hurry to meet your schedule.

Keep your truck ice-free

When you stop your truck, make sure that your trailer and tractor lights are free of ice and snow. If these lights become iced over or otherwise covered up, it means that other drivers will have difficulty seeing you—which means that you’re at higher risk of an accident. If your lights aren’t visible on the road, pull over as soon as it is safe to do so, so that you can resolve the issue.

When in doubt, don’t drive

A good truck driver eventually develops a knack for telling when it is simply not safe to drive. If the weather becomes so bad that you can’t see the road, or if the roads are so slick that you can’t safely drive on them, then it’s time to find a safe place to stop. If possible, look at the weather report and try to avoid roads that are experiencing particularly bad conditions.

Are you thinking of getting your CDL and becoming a professional truck driver? HDS Truck Driving Institute offers the path to an exciting new career. We are Tucson’s leading accredited school for commercial truck drivers, and we can help you find the perfect job. For more information about our truck driving training programs, call (877) 205-2141 today.

A Look at Modern Transportation Trends

A Look at Modern Transportation Trends that Are Influencing the Need for Truckers

The trucking industry has changed considerably over the last several decades, and still more changes are on the way. If you’re planning to become a commercial truck driver, you should be aware of how these changes may affect your career. These are some of the major trends in transportation that are affecting the demand for professional truckers.

The adoption of electronic logging devices

In 2018, a mandate requiring all truckers to use electronic logging devices (ELD) to record their time spent driving went into effect. By effectively limiting the amount of time that truckers can spend on the road, the mandate has made it harder for trucking companies to squeeze as much work out of their existing truckers as they once did. As a result, demand for new truckers remains high.

The rise of e-commerce

With more and more people choosing to make purchases over the internet, the way that products are delivered to customers is changing. Products that would once have been delivered by trucks are now being delivered via less-than-truckload (LTL) freight, which means that there is now a higher demand for qualified LTL truck drivers.

The obstacles to self-driving trucks

Despite all the talk about self-driving technology, resistance to use of self-driving trucks remains high both inside and outside the industry. Self-driving technology is not yet advanced enough to allow for safe highway driving by autonomous trucks, and it is not clear who would be liable for damages in the event of an accident. Thus, self-driving technology has yet to have a notable impact on the trucking industry.

If you are interested in learning more about truck driving and whether it’s the right job for you, it’s time to get in touch with HDS Truck Driving Institute. Our programs will provide you with everything you need to launch your new career as a professional truck driver. If you’re ready to start working toward obtaining your CDL in Tucson, call us today at (877) 205-2141.

Tips for Staying Alert During Long-Haul Trips

Long stretches of open road and unstable sleep schedules can often combine to make truck drivers feel sleepy behind the wheel. However, driving a truck requires your full attention, for your own safety and the safety of everyone on the road. How can you avoid being lulled into a state of drowsiness when the road is long and monotonous? These tips will help you stay alert.

Make Sleep a Priority

With the pressure of delivery deadlines, it can be easy to compromise on sleep. However, missing even a few hours of sleep can significantly impair your concentration. Several nights in a row of lost sleep can add up to a major sleep deficit that can make it dangerous for you to drive. Being well rested is the most powerful weapon you have in the fight against long-haul driving boredom and distractions. If you are having a difficult time getting the sleep you need, discuss your schedule with your dispatch and make adjustments that allow you to rest as needed.

Change Up Your Music

Listening to the same music on rotation will compound the monotony of highway driving. Keep things interesting by changing up your listening habits. Dabble in a new genre, check out a book on tape, or listen to a podcast. Some truck drivers use the time on the road to learn a new language with language tapes. Giving yourself something new to listen to will keep your brain engaged so you stay more alert.

Take a Break

If you feel yourself becoming too tired or distracted, pull over. Sometimes, a quick walk around a rest area or a catnap in the cab is all you need to feel refreshed. Recognize when it’s time to stop fighting the pull of fatigue and give in to the need for a break.

Get tips on succeeding as a trucker as well as the training you need to launch your new career at HDS Truck Driving Institute. We offer multiple beginner and refresher courses as well as assistance with job placement. Find out how to get your CDL in Tucson by calling (877) 205-2141.

Answering New Drivers’ Questions about Staying Healthy on the Road

Many new truck drivers plan meticulously for things like routing, keeping in touch with loved ones, and managing their paychecks, but they overlook another important part of trucking life: Staying healthy on the road. When you’re on the go and eating out of truck stops and fast-food restaurants, your health can quickly head south if you don’t make it a priority. The answers to these common questions from new truckers about staying healthy while working will help you make smart lifestyle choices on the road.

Is it really possible to eat healthy from truck stops?

Many truck stops have significantly expanded their selection of healthy items. Check the refrigerated section for cheese sticks, boiled eggs, bags of veggies, and pre-washed fruit. You can also likely find fruit near the counter, including apples and bananas, that are easy to grab and go. If you’re eating at the truck stop restaurant, opt for salads and grilled meats rather than burgers and fries. Drink plenty of water. Consider getting a small refrigerator for your truck and keep it stocked with healthy items for snacking while driving.

What should I do if I get sick on the road?

The first thing you should do if you get sick is pull over someplace safe. If you think you’re experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 911. If not, call your dispatch and let them know what is going on. Take the time you need to rest, even if it means rescheduling some of your deliveries. Your dispatch can help you make the necessary arrangements.

Are there any places to exercise on the road?

Truck drivers can benefit from taking advantage of portable exercise options, such as weights and folding bikes. Many truckers only need a pair of running shoes to get some exercise. Bike or jog around the truck stop or rest area. Some rest areas have trails that are perfect for getting some activity. Make sure you do something daily to counteract the effects of sitting for such long stretches of time.

At HDS Truck Driving Institute, you’ll get all of the tools you need to succeed on the road in our CDL training program. Find out how you could start your new career as a driver in as little as four weeks at our truck driving school in Tucson by calling (877) 205-2141.

Signs that Trucking Is the Right Career Choice for You

The trucking industry is growing, and it is expected to keep expanding in the coming years, with demands for new drivers steadily rising. If you’re looking for a new career, driving a truck offers plenty of job security and opportunity for advancement, but life on the road is not right for everyone. Should you consider launching a career as a truck driver? These are some of the signs that trucking is the right fit for you.

You hate sitting behind a desk.

Does the idea of spending your days sitting behind a desk send you into a panic? Do you hate the thought of staring at the same four walls every day? If so, then trucking could be the perfect career for you. As a truck driver, you’ll spend your days crossing the country, seeing new people and places with every mile. If you want to make sure your career comes with plenty of adventure, then trucking could be the answer.

You prefer to work independently.

Although some truckers operate as a team, many drive independently. Although you will have backup from the dispatch team, when you’re a truck driver, you get to be your own boss most of the time. This facet of the industry works well for people who prefer to work independently.

You have discussed the idea with your family.

Trucking is a family commitment, since it means long periods of time apart. It’s best for families to make the decision together and discuss how to manage the separation. Some couples choose to drive together if there are not kids at home.

Find out more about whether truck driving is right for you by contacting HDS Truck Driving Institute. We offer a variety of programs designed to help you launch a new career in the trucking industry. Learn more about getting your CDL in Tucson by calling (877) 205-2141.

Beating Truck-Driver Burnout on the Road

Driving a truck is a fulfilling and profitable career for many, but as with any industry, burnout can happen. Truck drivers may be more prone to burnout than people working in other fields because of the nature of their work. Long hours often spent in solitude and long stretches away from home can take a toll in addition to the demands of the workload most truckers are juggling. Add in the potential for working non-traditional hours, such as overnight driving, and the chances of burnout are real. If you’re enrolled in truck driving school and ready to start your career as a trucker, don’t let the risk of burnout keep you from pursuing your new role. Instead, simply be prepared to fight back against burnout with this advice.

Commit to a Healthy Lifestyle

A major risk factor for burnout is not taking proper care of your health when on the road. Start by banning packaged gas station food and opt for healthy choices, such as salads, fruit, veggies, and lean protein. Protein bars a good choice when you’re pressed for time—be sure to pick a variety that isn’t loaded with sugar. Limit your caffeine intake and keep added sugar and salt in the food you eat to a minimum. Pull over and stretch regularly and get some exercise when you can. Most importantly, don’t drive for longer than federal regulations recommend. Rest is an essential part of doing your job and preventing work-related burnout.

Use Vacation Time

It’s easy to feel like taking vacation is bad for your career, but recharging is critical to stay on top of your work. Take your vacation time every year and use that time to fully disconnect from work. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to focus.

Speak Up About Scheduling

Your dispatch wants you to get to your destination efficiently and safely. If they are scheduling departure times that are taking too much of a toll on your wellbeing, speak up. Your schedule needs to work for you to ensure a long, successful career.

Learn the tools you need to succeed in your career as truck driver with HDS Truck Driving Institute. Contact our truck driving school in Tucson today at (877) 205-2141 for more information about our CDL programs.

 

Spotlight on Women in the Trucking Industry

If you think trucking is an industry for men, think again. Women get behind the wheel and run their own loads, and they are doing so in ever-increasing numbers. If you’re a woman who is considering trucking, don’t let stereotypes keep you from finding your place in the field. At HDS Truck Driving Institute, our program is designed to help drivers from all different walks of life and backgrounds launch their careers. Here is what you need to know about women in the trucking industry.

The right training environment is everything.

Some women are dissuaded from training as truckers because of the training environment that they encounter. Because trucking has been a male-dominated industry, some truck driving schools and training facilities have been slower to update their processes than others. This creates an environment in which women who are interested in trucking get discouraged when they seek training and give it up for a different career. In reality, the right school for you is out there. Don’t let an outdated approach to trucking education keep you from pursuing your new career.

Women represent the future of trucking.

As an industry, trucking is facing a declining number of drivers at a time when the demand for their services is increasing. Women are the solution. The trucking industry actively wants more women to get behind the wheel to boost the number of truckers on the road and solve problems with labor shortages.

The confidence gap holds some female truckers back.

Confidence gaps between men and women in the workplace bridge all industries, but they can be particularly problematic in trucking. Since men have traditionally dominated trucking, women sometimes let concerns about their place in the industry make them feel less confident about their jobs. This is another area in which the right training can make a big difference.

Let HDS Truck Driving Institute help you launch your career in trucking with the skills and confidence you need to tackle the road. Find out how you can get behind the wheel at our truck driving school in Tucson by calling (877) 205-2141.

Preparing Yourself for Your First Long-Haul Trucking Job

Your first long-haul trucking job may be exciting and anxiety provoking at the same time. Despite careful training and education, it’s natural to have some nervousness about going out on the road for extended periods, hauling large loads and navigating tight loading docks. Preparation is key to having the best possible experience on your first long-haul trucking job. These suggestions will help.

Talk to Your Loved Ones

One easy mistake for new truckers to make is to forget to talk to their loved ones about what it will be like when they are out on the road. Because long-haul truckers can sometimes be away for weeks at a time, the distance is something that can have an impact on relationships, particularly if you are married or have kids. Making a plan for how you will keep in touch and making sure the lines of communication stay open are both critical to settling into a routine that works for you and your family.

Save Time for Staying Healthy

When you’re a trucker, your job is to sit down all day, which can easily take a toll on your health. From the start of your career, make time in your schedule for exercising every day, so you get an adequate amount of physical activity to stay fit and reduce back pain and joint stiffness. You will get sick of eating fast food quickly, so fill your cab with healthy food in a well-stocked cooler to get you through the day.

Be Ready to Make Mistakes

The first long-haul trucking job is hard on every driver. You will make mistakes, as all of the other drivers have before you. Embrace it as both a job and learning experience, and your skill will continue to grow with every trip.

HDL Truck Driving Institute gives you the tools you need to be confident and successful as you build your career as a truck driver. Call our truck driving school in Tucson today at (877) 205-2141 to learn more about enrollment and our training programs.

What Does It Take to Get Hired As a Professional Trucker?

Trucking is a great choice for people who are concerned about job security. The country runs on big rigs. Without an army of truckers working across the country every day, food wouldn’t reach supermarkets, medicine wouldn’t reach hospitals, and online shoppers wouldn’t get their purchases. Although there is always a high demand for qualified drivers in this industry, you do have to meet some requirements before you can land a job. You should also embrace the following characteristics.

A Great Work Ethic

In any industry, one’s work ethic is the key to success. You’ll have no problem getting hired as a professional trucker if you demonstrate a great work ethic. Successful truck drivers are reliable. When they say they’ll be somewhere, the employer can bet on it. Successful truckers are also self-reliant. Even though you can radio for assistance whenever you need it, you’ll be counting on yourself out there on the open roads. Professional truckers keep their skills sharp so that they can easily handle any problems that arise.

An Enduring Commitment to Safety and Compliance

Professional truck drivers absolutely must follow the regulations. You’ll succeed in this industry if you have an abiding commitment to honesty and integrity. Know the regulations inside and out, and don’t skimp on the documentation whenever it’s required. Successful truckers are also committed to staying alert at all times behind the wheel. They know that it only takes a split second for an accident to occur, and that accident might seriously injure or claim the life of a fellow traveler on the road. It’s a lot of responsibility, but if you’re a safety-minded type of guy (or gal!), you’ll do fine.

When you enroll at HDS Truck Driving Institute in Tucson, you’ll have access to our world-class job placement and career planning program. In fact, we’ll help you get the job application process started while you’re still in school so you can hit the ground running. Call our truck driving school at (877) 205-2141.

Spotlight on Hazmat Certification

Every aspiring big rig operator needs to earn a commercial driving license (CDL). With a CDL, you’ll be qualified to drive most of the big vehicles out there. But some drivers specialize, which gives them even more options. A specialization is known as an endorsement, and one of the endorsements you could earn is your hazmat certification.

Background Check

The U.S. PATRIOT Act requires potential CDL drivers to undergo a background check. This applies to you if you plan to apply for the hazmat endorsement. To complete the background check, you’ll need to visit an application center of the Transportation Security Administration. Bring the required paperwork, and a current U.S. passport or your birth certificate and driver’s license. You can also expect to pay a fee and have your fingerprints taken.

Qualifications

Not everyone is qualified to earn the hazmat endorsement. You can apply if you’re a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or naturalized citizen. If you have a CDL issued in the U.S., you can also apply if you’re a nonimmigrant alien, asylee, or refugee with lawful status. Note that some criminal convictions will disqualify you from seeking a hazmat endorsement.

Written Exam

Before you’re qualified to transport hazardous materials, you must pass a written exam. The specifics can vary from state to state, so if you’re taking the exam in Arizona, make sure you study the manual for that state. Before taking the exam, you should understand these main concept areas:

  • Hazardous material classes and types
  • Hazmat signage, package labels, and documentation
  • Specific hazards (inhalation, etc.)
  • The Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest
  • Identifying risks
  • Environmental risk management (not allowing smoking near cargo, etc.)
  • Identifying leaks
  • Route restrictions
  • Loading guidelines

You should also understand emergency protocols before you sit for the written exam.

Choose from multiple program options at HDS Truck Driving Institute, including a comprehensive training program that includes the Hazmat endorsement. Get started building your new career today! Call our office in Tucson at (877) 205-2141.