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.

Why the US Economy Relies on Truckers

When you decide to enter truck driving school, you aren’t just entering a career that supports your family—you’re also working within the backbone of the entire US economy. As a truck driver, you will be responsible for getting goods to every corner of the country, and businesses and communities would crumble in days without your contribution. Why do truckers drive the country’s economy? You may be surprised what would happen in a world without truck drivers.

What would happen if every truck stopped driving?

If all of the truck drivers in the US simultaneously stayed off the road, it wouldn’t take long for chaos to ensue. Some of the effects of no trucks on the road would be:

  • ATMs would be out of cash within a two or three days
  • Hospitals would be out of food in 24 hours
  • Communities would have perishable food shortages within three days
  • There would be no drinking water within two to four weeks

These impacts don’t include the costs to businesses. Almost every industry relies on truckers to bring them the materials they need to make their goods, to distribute their goods, or to bring the items they need to do business. None of these things would happen, driving virtually every company out of business.

Will the demand for truck drivers decrease?

Although many industries have seen declines as technology has changed the way people do business, the need for truckers seems to be only increasing. Even lower cost shipping options like rail do not serve the needs of businesses adequately. By 2026, the tonnage of goods being shipped via trucks is expected to increase by 28%. No other form of shipping and transportation so effectively manages the supply needs of business and communities.

Start a career that makes an impact with the help of HDS Truck Driving Institute. Our school is nationally accredited, and you can start driving in as little as four weeks. For more information about our truck driving school in Tucson, call (877) 205-2141.  

How Much Do Truck Drivers Really Make?

If you are considering a career as a truck driver, it’s natural to wonder what your earning potential could be. Many different factors impact how much a truck driver makes, and your earnings will be influenced by things like the kind of runs you make, how long you’re away from home, and where you drive. Here is what you need to know about your ability to make a living as a truck driver.

Median Income

In 2014, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median salary for truckers driving heavy trucks and tractor-trailers was $39,520. This salary is a pay rate of $19 per hour. Keep in mind that a wide range of factors can influence this median figure. Some states have higher median incomes than others, and of course, the median income can vary drastically between different segments of the trucking industry.

Additional Earnings

In addition to their base incomes, truckers often receive other benefits. Because there is a worsening shortage of drivers nationwide, many companies offer sign-on bonuses that can be substantial. Most trucking companies also offer annual salary increases and many offer performance bonuses. Truckers also frequently have very generous health and dental insurance benefits for themselves and their families, which can also make a compensation package more attractive.

Increasing Earnings

There are a number of different things that drivers can do to increase their earning potential. This includes things like specializing a certain kind of driving, such as driving oversized loads, and taking long-haul jobs. Having a CDL is essential for increasing your income. There are pros and cons to becoming an owner-operator, but many drivers find that they can significantly increase their income that way.

 

The road to making the living you want as a truck driver starts with HDS Truck Driving Institute. Our trucking school in Tucson can have you behind the wheel and earning in as little as four weeks. Find out more about our trucking programs by calling (877) 205-2141.

Meet the Truckers Who Helped Save a Life

In their roles traveling across the country, truck drivers are on the front lines of things many Americans never encounter. Law enforcement relies on them heavily to spot signs of drug trafficking, human trafficking, and prostitution, and they are the eyes and ears on the road during Amber Alerts. Truckers showed their importance to society once again when a group of drivers came together to prevent a man from committing suicide. Here is a look at the incident and how the drivers worked together to save a life.

I-696 Overpass in Detroit

In April 2018, a man contemplating suicide climbed onto an overpass on I-696 in Detroit, Michigan, near the Coolidge exit. He intended to jump onto the highway. People noticed the man on the overpass and called the police, who closed the highway in order to try to talk the man down. While they negotiated with the suicidal man, they called on truckers in the area for a hand.

Wall of Trucks

Police asked the truck drivers to line up their vehicles under the overpass. With the trucks in place, if the man jumped, the vehicles would break his fall, and he would likely survive. Thirteen truck drivers who were in the area heeded the call and parked their vehicles underneath the man. They waited there for two hours while the police talked to the man. Eventually, the police were able to convince the man not to jump and to seek help instead.

All in a Day’s Work

Photos of the trucks parked under the overpass went viral when trucker Chris Harrison, and the drivers were lauded as heroes. However, the public was surprised to learn that the police officers in the Detroit area had been relying on truckers in this capacity for over 20 years. They simply had never received any attention before.

 

With a career as a truck driver, you earn a good living while seeing the country and making a difference. Let HDS Truck Driving School help you earn your CDL in Tucson and start your new career. For more information, call (877) 205-2141.

How the Current Trucker Shortage Is Affecting the Price and Availability of Consumer Goods

If you are considering a career as a truck driver, you can expect to be in high demand. There is a significant shortage of truckers on the road, and the dearth of drivers is only expected to get worse in the years to come. Not only is this shortage impacting businesses, but consumers are seeing higher prices on the store shelves as well. Here is a look at the link between truck drivers and consumer pricing.

Low numbers of drivers means high prices on the shelves.

Truck drivers play a critical role in the economy that few people realize. They are responsible for delivering every item that is bought or sold to its retail location. Without truckers, manufacturers can’t ship their products and stores can’t get them out on the shelves. This situation creates product shortages, and shortages lead to higher prices. A lack of drivers also leads to production delays, since manufacturers can’t get the raw materials that they need. As production grinds to a halt, supply falls even further behind demand, and prices increase even more.

Truck driver shortages are projected to intensify.

The shortage of drivers is only expected to get worse in the coming years. By 2022, the American Trucking Association projects a shortage of 106,245 truckers, which could have a significant impact on the pricing and availability of consumer goods. The decrease in truck drivers is linked to several factors, including mass retirements of Baby Boomer drivers, a decrease in the number of young drivers entering the industry, and new requirements for electronic monitoring equipment in trucks that are making drivers leave the business.

The trucking industry has never been more primed for new drivers. Take advantage of the demand for truckers and launch your new career as a driver with training from HDS Truck Driving Institute. Learn more about becoming a driver by calling our truck driving school in Tucson at (877) 205-2141.

What New Truckers Need to Know About Severe Weather Driving

CDL programs are like boot camps for future truck drivers. At truck driving school, you’ll learn everything you need to know about safely maneuvering huge big rigs. Pay particular attention when your instructors discuss driving in severe weather. As a truck driver, you may encounter weather conditions you’re unaccustomed to. This is especially important if you’ve lived in a southern state your whole life and you plan to become an LTR trucker who ventures north into snowbound states.

Weather Updates

Although it’s important to drive distraction-free, you’ll need to monitor the latest weather reports on your radio. You should also pay attention to your CB radio. Other truckers may alert listeners to bad weather conditions on the road ahead. Additionally, remember to check the latest weather forecast before getting back on the road after taking a break.

Snow and Ice

Never become overly confident about your ability to drive in snowy and icy conditions, no matter how much experience you have. Always reduce your speed more than you think you’ll need to. Don’t engage your Jake brake if the road is icy. Do leave extra space between your truck and every other vehicle on the road, and don’t be afraid to find a safe place to pull over if conditions become too dangerous.

Strong Winds

High winds are more dangerous for big rigs than they are for passenger cars because of the surface area of the trailer. Reduce your speed. If you’re hauling an empty trailer, know that the wind will be more dangerous for you. It’s smart to simply pull over and wait out the wind storm.

Lightning

CDL drivers often underestimate the potential danger of lightning. Remember that it’s quite likely you’ll be driving the tallest metal object in your area. This makes your truck a de facto lightning rod. Pull over at a rest stop to wait out the storm but stay away from the fuel pumps.

HDS Truck Driving Institute prides itself on our world-class instructors and comprehensive curriculum. Call (877) 205-2141 to ask about enrolling in our CDL training program. We welcome military families!

Understanding Your Truck Driving Career Options

Earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL) will open up a whole world of career possibilities. Even before you graduate from truck driving school, you can dive right in and explore your career options. Truck driving careers can be categorized based on how far the trucker is traveling, what type of freight he or she is hauling, and whether he or she is driving solo or as part of a team.

Local

Just as the name suggests, local driving gigs will let you stick close to home. Most of the time, you can expect to be back at home each night, though there are exceptions. This is a great opportunity for people who want to earn their CDL, but are concerned about being away from their family for long periods of time.

Regional

Regional truck drivers haul freight over a broader area than local routes, but they still tend to stay within a few hundred miles of home. The specific amount of time spent on the road will vary, depending on the trucking company. Some regional drivers are home every two to three days, but it’s also possible to be out on the road for two to three weeks at a time.

Over-the-Road

Over-the-road (OTR) truckers, also known as long-haul truckers, go anywhere within the contiguous states, and they may also venture into Alaska and Canada. OTR drivers may be out on the road for two to five weeks at a time. OTR jobs aren’t as popular with drivers who have families, but they’re a great option for people who genuinely love to drive big rigs.

Solo or Team

OTR driving is also ideal for team drivers. There are lots of spouses and partners who decide to earn their CDLs together and start team driving. The other option is solo driving.

 

HDS Truck Driving Institute in Tucson, Arizona features a world-class job placement and career planning program. We strongly encourage every student and graduate to take advantage of our job placement services. Interested in earning your CDL? Call (877) 205-2141 today!

What to Expect When You Interview for a Truck Driving Job

After you complete your truck driver training in CDL school, the next step in starting your career is landing an interview for a job. Many new drivers are unsure what to expect during a trucking job interview, since so much of the work is done independently. Here is a look at some common questions asked during these interviews, so you can be prepared to impress the company and close the deal on your first job.

Why did you decide to become a truck driver?
This question is an important one for many companies, because they want to be sure that you’re ready for life on the road. If you decided to become a driver simply for a paycheck, then you may burn out quickly when you’re faced with being away from your family or driving for long stretches. Talking about your love of driving, enthusiasm for the industry, and excitement about seeing the country will show the company that you chose truck driver training carefully.

How would you handle a breakdown or other unexpected difficulty?
Even with the most careful planning, life out on the road can be unpredictable. The company wants to know if you have strategies and coping skills for adapting when things don’t go as expected. It could be helpful to talk about the way you’ve dealt with issues that have arisen on past jobs or talk about some of the training or planning you’ve done to handle unexpected problems on the road.

What are your career goals?
With this question, the company is trying to gauge the kind of role you want to have in the trucking industry. Your answer will tell them what motivates you and how ambitious you are about building your career and moving beyond entry-level positions.

HDS Truck Driving Institute is here to help you achieve your goals in your trucking career. Contact our CDL truck driving school in Tucson today for more information about our programs by calling (877) 205-2141.