25 Reasons Why Trucking is Better Than it Used to Be

Posted: August 1, 2014 Today’s Trucking

By David K. Henry

I was an eagle swooping down from the mountain top, the wind rustling my feathers as I flew lower. Truth be told, I was in a Jimmy cabover with a full load of eggs in my reefer and what my eagle eyes saw was a light at the bottom of the Pennsylvania hill that was probably going to change, and not for the ­better. As I flew downhill I realized it was going to be hard to stop in time…

That was 25 years ago. You’ll have to read on to find out how that episode ends but a: At least I’m here to talk about it; and b: Experiences like that have given me pause; time to reflect on ways trucking is a far better place to work now than it was in 1987. The list was easier to compile than you might think.

25. Quieter Cabs
The few times I ran team, by the end of the trip my wife thought I had a bad throat infection. Just trying to talk to your partner required shouting. Especially when you had a 2/50 air conditioner (two open windows and 50 mph). All radios had to have high output or you had to guess at what you were listening to. Today I can actually hear what a passenger is saying.

24. Radials
Early in my working life on the farm, in fact even before I had a truck license, we had stacks of tires. That was important because you never made it very far before you had to change one. In the late ’80s my goal was to make it a whole week without tire trouble. Now if I get a flat before I have 300,000 kms on my rubber shoes I’m very unhappy. Today, many tires last the tread life and beyond with no trouble.

23. Air Conditioning that Actually Cools, and Heat that Actually Heats.
The ­seasons were always upside down in trucks. The trucks pumped hot air in summer and frigid air in winter. Today I have climate control that adjusts without my help.

22. Air Ride
My back can tell you stories, none of them good. Originally dismissed as not being up to the task, air bags are everywhere now. “Can’t feel the road” was a common snort by some. Last I checked… no road feels good.

21. Cleaner-burning Engines for a Better Environmental Future
In the old days, many times you knew there was a truck ahead, you just couldn’t see it. Drivers would turn up their fuel pumps which produced immense clouds of black smoke and shortened the lives of their engines. Insects died in a four-mile radius and people ran for cover, thinking an explosion was about to happen. Today we only see steam when it’s lower than minus 15C and yet they still keep putting more restrictions on our engines. Truck exhaust today is cleaner than California air. Maybe we need to cut back on the number of politicians…

20. PARS/ACE/FAST Border Clearances
Anyone who did the trek in winter from Canada Customs to the broker buildings at Emerson, MB., loves this improvement. Years later I think I’m just now getting feeling back in my toes and cheeks.

19. The Comforts of Home
Not only bigger sleepers but comfortable, well-appointed areas built with drivers in mind. After years of crawl-in “coffin” bunks I wanted a bigger opening so when I finally got a truck with a large opening and six inches of floor space I was ecstatic. I need to slap myself sometimes when I start to complain as I’m watching TV, eating microwave-heated food from my fridge, as I put my table away.

18. GPS
These days, with GPS I can quickly get into a really bad spot. I trust my GPS and so without watching signs, I effortlessly manage to find truck-unfriendly places while being oblivious until it is too late. On the other hand, with GPS, I can see my total miles and know exactly if I am going to be late and by how many minutes.

17. Cell Phones, Skype, Twitter, Facebook, Texting
Today I get notifications on my phone regarding weather and traffic problems or road closures. I used to rely on the CB. The problem is what is good for one driver is not always good for another. Or a dispatcher; “Radar shows that the snow is ending just past you.” Yeah, like 500 kms ahead.

16. Budd Wheels
It used to drive me nuts when a tire man didn’t care how your Dayton wheels were installed. I’m sure it was hard on your tires to wobble down the road, but some were convinced it wasn’t.

15. More Horsepower
It was flat out embarrassing to be passed by a hippie in a VW bus going up a hill. Meantime, we were doing zero to 60 in six miles.

14. Auto Slack Adjusters
They don’t solve all braking issues but they help.

13. Single-stick Transmissions
Two-stick transmissions took skill to shift smoothly. Done right it was good, but lose your spot and accidentally put both sticks in neutral and you were forced to stop and try again.

12. Improved and Clearer Log-book Rules
Some will not agree, but how often did we hear… “We really need you to get that load there by tomorrow morning”? What was STRONGLY implied was “Use logbooks B and C, sleep tomorrow… maybe… and don’t be a wuss. You slept at least four hours last night.”

11. Satellite Radio
In the back of my mileage book I used to list all my favorite radio station frequencies for as many cities as possible. With the old dial radios, finding a station was an art. Some places didn’t have my kind of music and so I resorted to cassettes. Today, I still carry some CDs but now I can listen to whatever music I want on the satellite radio and when I tire of that, I plug in the MP3/iPod player.

10. More Four-lane Highways
But why do we still have some two-lane Trans Canada? Never made sense to me. Nothing like getting behind a Saskatchewan farmer on a two-laner with nothing but time on his hands as he runs 60-70 kph looking at his neighbor’s crops on the way to the coffee shop. Today, you have many more passing lanes and four-lane roads.

9. Fully Automated Manual Transmissions
I have really no idea how many gear changes I’ve made over 25-plus years in farm trucks and highway tractors, but two million changes is not unbelievable. Probably even more if you ask my right wrist. I even considered going to drive in England or Australia to give my right wrist a breather. There are quirks to the new transmissions but I’m sure they’ll get much better. Mine is an early generation and most days I really like it.

8. Larger Adjustable Mirrors
Makes blind-side backing not quite so blind. I admit that on occasion I forget to adjust them back so next time I look in the mirror I scare myself, wondering why the truck 4 four lanes over looks like it is beside me.

7. Truck-stop Restaurants with Healthier Choices and Better Food
In some of those old greasy spoons, they had to keep the music cranked up loud to drown out the sound of your arteries hardening and closing up.

6. Newer Warehouses with Easier truck Access
Fortunately for us, people don’t want 53-ft rigs running downtown all the time so the trend has been to site warehouse developments closer to suburbs and four-lane roads. Yes!

5. Satellite Dispatch that Provides all the Information a Driver Needs
In the past, we were expected to know what the dispatcher was thinking as we called in on pay phones from beside a busy highway. “Go to… crackle… Great… sczzz… Company in Elksczzz and pickup sczzz….”. “WHAT????”. “Why aren’t you ­listening!!!! D@#* drivers!!!” (that last part always came through clearly).

4. Female Trailers
A female trailer is one with side skirts. It’s no surprise I like this. I get better fuel economy and a nice clean skirt looks cute!

3. Better Truckstops, Cleaner Showers, More Efficient Pumps
In Canada we still haven’t mastered the art of having both sides pumping at the same time and don’t give me the BS about our weather. North Dakota does it and it works fine. But all-in-all, our truckstops are much nicer. Showers get cleaned. (I know they do… I actually saw a cleaner once.) Sometimes you can see the pavement and if your day ends at 3:00 p.m., you may be able to find a parking spot.

2. Auxiliary Power Units
They just make sense. Ask any mechanic and he or she will tell you most damage happens during idling. I never made any money idling in a truckstop. Still baffles me why some idle their trucks when the weather is so nice. I guess they have more money to waste than me.

Number-ONE Reason I say Trucking is Better Now Than it Used to Be was That First Incident in Pennsylvania
I’m still around and trucking. The only thing that happened was a cop saw me blow the light with brakes smoking.

Over the years, I had good veteran drivers who took me under their wings to show me what it meant to be a trucker. I try to pass that wisdom on to rookies today.

Trucking is constantly undergoing changes that would be too big  a challenge for other industries. While we are often quite unhappy with what we need to change, we continue to adapt and then thrive while doing so.

I am optimistic that as an industry we will continue improving what we haul, what we do it with, and for whom we do it.

Since I am ‘just’  a trucker I can’t always count so here are other things that have improved our trucking careers:

Drivers get better training today. They’re not just given a key, a pair of cowboy boots and told to “have at ‘er son!”

Improved brake drums and shoes mean better stopping. Disc brakes, well as engine brakes that work, help. Sensors prevent most major engine failures. Customers understand logistics. Improved fuel and oil improve fuel economy. Heaters and refers keep product at the required temperature. Other big improvements include nitrogen in tubeless tires, better recaps that stay capped, low-rolling-resistance tires, LED lights, brighter, whiter headlights and last but certainly not least – companies, like the one I drive for , that have the willingness to run legal.

Family owned and operated, Newcom Business Media is Canada’s premier B2B publisher delivering information and marketing services to the trucking industry.

The Beginning… Far from the End

May 15

   May 15 has been an important date for me for the last 27 years.

   In 1991 around 5 pm my life changed in a drastic way. At 23 years old I got injured in a farm accident and at the second hospital I was given no chance to be anything more than a vegetable. Working in my favor was that I was very strong, young, and always up for a challenge. Head injuries are complex. Compounded by a health system that as yet, was not very good at providing real meaningful help.

   I went back to work several months later, after my own rehab program of pain killers and pushing consistently beyond my limits. While I did improve somewhat, I was hurting bad for the next 10 years. Physically and mentally. I wasn’t honest with myself. I didn’t need help. I didn’t have mental issues. I looked fine.

   So I won’t let myself forget the mistakes I made in that decade. Not to beat myself up, but to be a help to others who are struggling, thinking they’re fine, but dealing with hidden injuries. I won’t forget my inability to talk about my issues. Stumbling through my wilderness, alone.

   My story doesn’t end there. In 2001 another trucker ran over my truck in a truckstop near Tallahassee Florida. My third major head injury (first was sports related as a teen) but this time the medical system started to help me. I realized I needed help. That phase of life was learning about myself and my injuries. Being painfully honest with myself.

   My interesting journey began 27 years ago today. My goal is to help others, to show that speaking out will free you to make improvements to your quality of life. I will continue to get my message out to anyone who will listen.

   You are worth it.

   #SurviveToDrive

 

March 23 – Reflecting back to my Ice Trucker Days

I haven’t been on the ice for 2 years now but I’m still always in contact with my buddies from up there. The environment is harsh, but the drivers are tough.

Check out the article I wrote for Today’s Trucking last year. Enjoy!

https://dev-todaystrucking.pantheonsite.io/in-print-on-thick-ice-inside-the-real-world-of-ice-road-trucking/

2017 Part 2

Part 2

I’d had my eye on a company for several years. I did some hotshot work for them in the early 90’s and watched them grow in size. I never applied for work there because I loved the coast to coast type of trucking, plus running the Ice Roads in NWT and they were mainly in the upper midwest USA and prairie provinces in Canada. I knew the second generation was now running the business and many of the older drivers were still there, which was a good sign.

I walked in, resume and driving abstract in hand, hoping to talk to someone but not expecting it. I was shown to a board room and to my surprise I spent the next 2 hours talking to the President of the company. I was floored that he would spend that much time interviewing a driver.

Over the next few days I applied at another company as well and prepared to get back to work. My motto is to work where I want to work, not just where I can get hired. Not everyone can do that but I have enough experience and a clean driving record to be able to make that choice.

I did my research and decided to come to work for that first company and I’ve been so thankful for such a great place to work. I was interviewed for that length of time because the owners are really particular on getting people that fit into their company.

It’s been an amazing 8 months. Physically and mentally it’s been very hard but I have put my focus on continuing to recover. Some things have suffered as I continue this journey such as keeping my website updated, some projects at home or visiting friends. If it hasn’t paid my bills, or involved my family, it’s probably been delayed. Learning, and staying within my limits is important for good health.   

I knew between Christmas and New Years I would take time to rest so I just kept turning the miles under my tires. I didn’t look at the numbers, just did what I could and I was surprised in the end.

I couldn’t have been as successful as I have been without the company, family and friends behind me .

Now I’ve had several days of just R&R and it’s been wonderful.

I don’t know if it’s a very compelling story, but I’m proud to be here. I’m thankful. It’s been another year of gritty determination.

Never give up. Maybe it’s easier to quit but I don’t know about that. What I do know is that in my 50 years I should’ve died a couple times. I’ve had serious injuries and severe depression that has threatened my life. I’ll deal with issues as long as I live.

I have learned many things in my journey. I’m a better man because of the hardships.

Thank you for reading.

2017 Part 1

Hard to believe we’re almost ready to turn the page on 2017!

I think I can safely say that almost every year, especially the last 30 or so, have been … interesting. Injuries, rehab programs, return to work, all while raising a large family

2017 started off with me in a Return to Work rehab program at the Wellness Institute in Winnipeg, MB. I was to spend the first three months of the year trying, and ultimately succeeding, in rehabbing from my latest head, neck and back injury. 2016 had closed out with me thinking I would never be able to work again so graduating from the program was exciting, and nerve-wracking. I feel better, but will I be able to sustain the gains I made while I go back to work in a tough environment? The last part of rehab is re-entering the workforce. You can get to match the physical requirements of the job in a return to work program but there’s nothing like the real life test of working day in and day out.

 

Driving a truck with oversize loads isn’t an easy job physically or mentally. Long periods of sitting, eating properly is a challenge (and expensive), times of intense action when loading or unloading, plus the stress of maneuvering a larger load through traffic and under bridges. I’ll write more on this at a later date.

What got me through life to this point is my ability to focus on the task at hand. Overlaying everything is the responsibility I feel to provide for my family and to be an example of perseverance in the face of hardship.

The joy I felt at the completion of my work rehab program was tested when I returned to my employer, only to be told that I was no longer wanted. For the 11 months post accident I was told by employer that “get to 100% and I’ll welcome you back”. What became apparent later was that he didn’t like me going on Workers Compensation. I don’t think he ever thought he would have to face that I would recover and want to work again. Every obstacle he threw at me to “prove” I wasn’t 100% was shown to be incorrect.

April 3rd, my first day ready to work was crazy. The boss had left town after refusing to meet me, or talk to me, and texted me my dismissal. I walked away, spent some time composing myself, and then started my quest for a new job. I loved doing heavy haul, and working for that boss, but that door was now closed.

To be continued…

Unwrapped

A tribute to Sylvia!

Living can appear to be a chore

Struggles. Hardships. Health issues.

Heart broken.

Time passes by. We battle within. A choice needs to be made.

Do we want life? Do we wish to die?

Before we make the decision

We wrap ourselves

Getting hurt isn’t fun.

We wrap a layer around our heart.

Afraid of more pain.

Withdrawing. Secluding. Sensitive to any perceived change.

Then comes a miracle. Walks on two legs.

Someone who finds a crack in your armour.

Peers inside. Recognizes danger. Takes action.

“Hello!” echoes inside through the chink.

How did you let this happen? Scary.

Can’t let anyone in! But…

The “Hello!” is like a refreshing drink in the desert.

Feels nice. Soothing. Maybe we won’t die.

Words follow the “Hello!” No idea what they were. Caring. Motivating.

Still awed by the “Hello!”. Drinking in the calming effect.

Slowly the growth of that goodness keeps cracking the wrap.

You emerge a little at a time.

Blinking in the sunshine. Tentative. Are you sure you won’t be hurt?

Life begins to happen again.

You see beauty once more. Happiness regains the upper hand.

How do you thank the unwrapper?

Unwrap others yourself.

Look for the crack in a person.

You be the “Hello” into their dark, deep chaos.

Maybe you can be a help.

One more brought back from the brink.

All because one saw the tight wrap, the hurt in you,

And drew you out. Saved your life.

David K. Henry June 2017

Special Olympics and Injury

photo_2016-08-30_21-43-15

 

Another week is coming to a close and I have some time to reflect on a couple different topics.

Saturday Sept. 10th is the annual World’s Largest Truck Convoy benefitting Special Olympics. Truckers across North America get together for the Convoy in their own jurisdictions on the same day. Manitoba is usually one of the largest in North America with over 200 trucks. The spectacle of them lined up and then parading around the Winnipeg Perimeter is amazing. Police and Law Enforcement block off the route so we can travel without interference. As a long time driver, this is lots of fun! There’s lots of air horns blowing, shiny chrome, cool paint jobs and kids of all ages watching.

The connections we make with the athletes is what it’s all about. One of them who I took on the Convoy a few years ago, texts me almost every day. She’s amazing and I love helping support her and her fellow competitors. They love what they do and really appreciate our help.

I have many T-shirts from different functions and the Convoy shirts and hoodies are ones that get many comments and interest from people who see it. They’re also the ones I have the most pride in wearing.

Contact me if you want to help with any size of donation to a worthy cause.   

 

Summer is almost over! Seems like only yesterday I was planting corn and hoping for good weather. Kids are back in school, nights are getting cooler and it’s time to prepare the ground for next year’s crop. Wait, I have no kids in high school this year! Crazy, it’s not just the summer flying by I guess.

Every year we lose more of our older generation, but this year I’ve seen more people I know, who are younger, or close in age to me, who are no longer with us.

I haven’t said much about this, but I thought May 10th was going to be my last day. I fell off a load in the rain and landed on the back of my head. I don’t recommend it. It was my 4th major concussion and I had no idea why I survived. I’ve had some injuries in my lifetime and the worst by far is a head injury. Head injuries aren’t easy to talk about and here I am 4 months later just going public now. I still won’t say much though, except this; There’s never a time to give up. We get stronger, more resilient, caring and empathetic when we battle through what we’ve been handed. Life isn’t easy. Some deal with injuries, others with sickness, whatever the case, don’t give up. Train yourself to keep moving forward so when bad situations arise you only know how to keep forging ahead.

I don’t know any other way but forward. It’s what I’ve been taught and learned in my life. I’m thankful for my family and friends and for my boss at LCG Equipment who care that I heal properly. Week by week the fogginess in my brain is clearing. I’ll also give a special shout out to John G, Editor at Today’s Trucking for being patient as I continue to try to write coherent sentences for him.

I’m alive. I’ve avoided death once more. Here’s why I’m still alive; To give hope to others in tough places. To be here for my family who need me, warts and all. To prove that giving up is no way to live.
Off like a herd of turtles…

Ice Roads in Reality

 

  • Ice gets thicker the more you drive on it. As you drive over the ice, it’s pushed down into the water through the air pocket. After you pass and the ice flexes back up the water freezes to the ice, creating a thicker ice road. Hence we start out with light loads and work up to very heavy loads as the ice thickens. It’s also not like testing ice when you were kids… “Randy, go out on the ice, I’m sure its ok”. If Randy disappears we know it’s not good enough. He was expendable anyway. (just kidding, we all made it home… sometimes we were still dry)
  • Different coloured ice. I never really noticed ice having so many vivid colours. My favourite was a very bright blue. Some of the transitions to another colour were as abrupt as a 3 year old getting his toy taken away.
  • It was easy on my truck. Yeah, I know, how can -40 be easy on my truck? Obviously my brain didn’t get close enough to a heat source right? Let me explain. I drive the Canadian Prairies in the winter where -40, especially this year, is not uncommon. On a regular highway I bounce along like Tigger at 100kph pulling up to 137,500 pounds. Canadian roads are not smooth (bet you didn’t know that! ;-(  ). North of Yellowknife on the territorial highway, the fastest I went was 70 kph. Loaded, on the lakes, the max was 30 kph. The road was usually glassy smooth. So, slower speeds + smoother roads = happier “Honk Honk”.
  • Give a guy a radio and lead spot in the convoy and suddenly he becomes a play by play announcer. “Watch out for the hill… rock beside the trail… 4 wheeler coming atcha… speed changes to 10 kph here…” Good gracious Nellie! I can read signs that say “Hill ahead, increase speed”. I also drive with my eyes open and I can spot rocks, speed signs and sometimes even other vehicles! Take your hand off the mic button… PLEASE!!!
  • They “freeze” the gravel roads. Silly me, I thought the roads were already frozen. Pretty tough roads eh? It’s -40 and the roads aren’t frozen? What they mean is they water all of the gravel roads to make them a sheet of ice which can be maintained better. Actually works great. Unlike Torontonians, they know how to drive on ice. A little sand or stone chips is all they need. No one is in a big hurry to go anywhere anyway.
  • I’m in awe of the natural beauty up there. It’s a very harsh climate, and surprisingly, it really impressed me. It’s a different kind if beauty than the mountains, trees and rivers that I’m normally attracted to. Watching caribou graze above the treeline, ravens floating effortlessly through the air beside your truck and little foxes scurrying around the scrub brush was simply amazing. How they survive is beyond my comprehension.

It would take too much time to describe being on the Ice Roads (Tibbitt to Contwoyto), but the most surprising thing to me was that it wasn’t all about working hard in a tough environment… I enjoyed it more than I expected! I can better understand why people work, and stay up there.

Rookie Lady places Third!

I watched Kelly weave her way through the serpentine, not with ease but with a competence that impressed me.

Every year there’s usually a rookie or two in the Manitoba Truck Driving Championships. This year there was 9. Almost a third of the field was made up of rookies. Unless they’ve had great instruction and read the rules package very closely, it’s tough being a rookie. The course is designed to make inches cost you your shot at a podium finish. It can be quite daunting to see the course for the first time. We are led on a walk through before competition but it looks very different from behind the windshield.

I try to take time to talk to some of the rookies before the day starts as well as during it to try and help them. Those that I’ve talked to I watch with great interest to see how they perform under pressure.

I didn’t meet Kelly M. before she was on the track but I knew that she was a rookie and she had a great mentor who was competing in my class. I had a couple minutes to watch so I got to see her in the serpentine. The serpentine is made of 3 barrels in a row. You drive past all barrels and then reverse through them, weaving in and out. You have to back up far enough so when you go forward again you can weave through them again, just on the opposite side. Sound easy? Not so much! Why was I impressed with Kelly? Firstly, she was a rookie. Backing up and weaving around obstacles is not part of your daily recommended routine. Secondly, she wasn’t in her own truck (you never drive your own, trucks are supplied and everyone in your class uses the same truck, or a twin to it). Thirdly, she was driving a straight truck (a city type truck with a box on the back, only 2 axles total, no hitches) which reacts very differently from her normal semi. Fourthly, it was a tight course and a judge told me later that no one made it through without some sort of issue.

I wasn’t able to see her on the rest of the course but I had a good feeling that she would perform well. At lunch time I looked for her and told her that I was impressed with her serpentine. She was surprised, thinking that she hadn’t done that well but I assured her that she had.

After the competition we go to a semi-formal banquet where awards for first to third in each class, grand champion, team winners, as well as other industry awards are given out.

I wasn’t surprised that Kelly won third place in Straight Truck Class.

Let me emphasize how huge this was. Kelly, a rookie, woman driver won third place! This is the FIRST time in Manitoba history that a woman has made it into the top three in ANY class.

To say I was excited was an understatement. I was so happy for her.

She is a huge credit to her employer, Bison Transport. She’s exactly who we need more of in our industry.

Congrats Kelly!  

Typist to Trucker!

Daniel
Daniel (Strubes) Strubhar

Here’s an example of busting the image of a regular truck driver!

I have known Daniel (Strubes) Strubhar for decades. When I heard he was going to become a truck driver I thought I had heard wrong. Throughout his training and early driving career I still wondered if it was all a dream. I knew he liked driving and I had no worries about his skill; I just had a hard time picturing him fitting in with most drivers. Apparently it was a dream, his dream.

Here’s his story in his own words. Enjoy!

“After working in offices for give-or-take 25 years, I have been driving truck now for the last 3 years – took my driver training at 59 years old. I still think of myself as an office person who drives a truck, don’t actually feel like a “trucker,” and apparently – as I’ve been told several times – I don’t look like a trucker! Yet – much of the time I do enjoy driving, and it is nice getting to see, and get a feel for, areas of the US and Canada that otherwise would be unknowns.

Why did I switch to trucking? In all honesty, it was that I needed more income – that proverbial “bottom line.” Even though I have a bit of the explorer in me, I also have no problem with a 7′ x 7′ office cubicle, so it wasn’t “to get out of the office!” But the reason will be different for different people – that was mine.

How did I find the learning curve and the adjustment to trucking life? It was not easy, actually – the trucking world can have the stereotypical rough, harsh side.  However – there’s no reason anyone has to become anything other than what they are! Most of the time you are by yourself, so you are free to set the tone and tenor of your job however you wish.

What pointers would I have for anyone going into trucking? Here are a few, just based on my limited experience so far:

1) Treat the job with professional respect. Don’t think it’s just getting behind the wheel of the truck and driving into the sunset! It is actually a skilled profession – and treating it like that will allow you to be successful as a driver. Do a good job. And don’t think you’re going to get away from computers! My truck’s onboard computer is an essential part of my job. Learn to use it properly.

2) Don’t get discouraged with the learning curve. I read that it takes 5 years before the job has thrown you pretty much all the curves it has! Every mistake you make, every time you bump something, bend something – and nobody gets by without any errors – should be considered as just steps in the learning process. Try not to make mistakes of course – be teachable – but above all, try not to make the same mistake twice!

3) Never be in a hurry. You’re not in any marathon, it’s more important to be safe than anything else. (Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.)

4) Always keep a good attitude – toward your fellow drivers and your company (including your dispatch). It’s a job with many aspects that are going to be totally beyond your control. Find something useful to do with down-time – there will be some, and sometimes a lot! Learn to sit back and be a bit philosophical and/or see the humor in the situation, instead of getting uptight! Being uptight and stressed accomplishes nothing, and can make your job miserable unnecessarily.

5) Don’t let yourself be pushed by anyone into doing anything that you feel is unsafe, and don’t feel that you have to work and work with no break! Ask for regular home time – the truck is not your life, give your family, your friends and yourself the time that all of you need. Despite a truck driver’s often erratic schedule, he/she needs a life independent of the job, as much like everyone else as possible. Use technology, get a good unlimited phone/text/data plan, and keep in contact – just keep it hands-free!

Good success!”