One man’s journey to becoming a hotshot truck driver.
Thinking about becoming a truck driver. These are the requirements if you want to become a heavy truck and tractor-trailer driver.
Education: High school diploma + completion of professional truck driver training program (recommended)
Licensure: Commercial driver’s license (CDL)
Job responsibilities: Move cargo over long distances + load and unload cargo + maintain equipment + log activities
Job outlook: 5% growth
Average salary: $42,500
Truck drivers who can’t keep their cool in traffic won’t last long in the profession. It’s a must-have for every professional driver. To help you out, we compiled a list of 5 tricks for staying calm in traffic.
5 Tips for Staying Calm in Traffic
1. Listen to calming music
It may not be very wise to turn up Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All CD, when you’re bumper-to-bumper on the highway. Try to listen to some smooth jazz or country and sing along.
2. Get zen
You may be in proximity of thousands of other vehicles over the course of a day driving. You can’t control what other drivers do. Don’t let them affect you and drive as professionally as possible.
3. It’s not personal
A car that cuts you off probably doesn’t do that simply to bother you; it’s just driven by a bad driver.
4. Keep a lovely picture in the cab
Whether it’s your family, dog, or a beach, as long as it keeps you calm you should keep it in the cab of the truck.
5. Listen to a good book
A good book can take you places far away from the horrible traffic jam in which you’re stuck. Find some great title and see horrible traffic as a way to listen to another chapter.
Gas is an important and unavoidable aspect of the trucking industry. Although all truckers eventually has to refuel, the price you pay for fuel can differ quite a bit depending on your operating state. Truckers in the states mentioned below are out of luck: they can expect to pay up at the next gas stop.
Top 25 States with the Most Expensive Gas
- Hawaii: 3.419
- Alaska: 3.232
- California: 3.225
- Washington: 2.969
- Oregon: 2.823
- Nevada: 2.784
- Pennsylvania: 2.776
- Connecticut: 2.719
- New York: 2.696
- Montana: 2.630
- Colorado: 2.602
- Rhode Island: 2.600
- Idaho: 2.598
- Vermont: 2.564
- Utah: 2.559
- New Jersey: 2.557
- West Virginia: 2.549
- Massachusetts: 2.542
- Maine: 2.540
- North Dakota: 2.535
- Nebraska: 2.521
- Iowa: 2.516
- Wisconsin: 2.503
- South Dakota: 2.502
- New Hampshire: 2.495
Let’s be real, your truck is your home away from home, so shouldn’t it feel like it? One way to to avoid missing home as much is to make your cab as much like your real home as possible. A lot of these items will be one-time purchases, so invest in yourself a little bit! Since you probably don’t do a lot of spending on other home supplies, getting yourself a few nice things for your cab can make all the difference.
A few easy things you can get to spruce up your cab are
- Good quality bedding!
- The best part of being home is getting to lay in your own bed, so treat yourself a little bit and buy yourself some high-thread count sheets, nice pillows, and soft blankets.
- Now, before you say that “decorating is waste of time and money,” think about if you walked into your house and saw no pictures of loved ones or completely blank walls. It would be weird, right? Spend a little bit getting some pictures printed, or a cool poster to brighten up the place.
- Whether you measure out the dimensions of the flooring in your cab and get something that fits perfectly or you find some 1’x2’ carpet samples, your cab will go from industrial to comfortable with little to no effort. On a long trip you may be tempted to take your shoes off for a little while, and stepping down onto the floor feeling soft carpeting will make you forget you’re in your truck at all!
Ever check your phone while driving? The consequences can be a lot greater than you think they’d be. Listen to Brad Gorski’s personal story about distracted driving to gain insight about the risks of texting and driving.
For the first time since 2011, driver turnover rates for large truckload fleets has decreased by 16 percent. Trucking companies that bring in more than $30 million per year typical face a high turnover rate. Due to concerns with driver shortages, however, these companies have avoided turning over employees. Experts predict a similar trend in upcoming years.
Proper brake maintenance is vital to a safe fleet. Whether you’re an owner-operator, or part of a fleet, checking your brakes helps avoid any accidents or lawsuits. Follow these tips to make sure your brakes are all top-shape.
- Replace Parts: during your brake exam, make sure you check for any worn parts in need of replacing. These parts include brake pads (which should be replaced regularly), linings, hoses, and s cams. All these parts work together to make the truck stop, so it is imperative that they are up to date.
- Check the Air Compression Pressure Gauge: make sure your air compression pressure gauge runs between 100 psi and 125 psi. This is the ideal amount of pressure for your brakes to work properly. If your gauge is below 60 psi, it should not be driven. Make sure you check your gauge before you hit the road to avoid any accidents.
- Grease Up: a couple parts on your brakes should be greased. The first is the slack adjusters, which keep the brakes in alignment when they are in use. The second are the S Cams, which push the brake shoe into the wheel drum to stop the truck. While they do not have to be greased regularly, they should be checked that they are properly greased to keep them working well and prevent your brakes from seizing up.
Thinking about becoming a driver? Or, maybe you’re new and need a little guidance? Check out these tips from a fellow truck driver, who talks about some potential problems new drivers might face, and how to combat them.
From last month to now, diesel prices dropped $0.03. While we may think that’s a nice little discount, think about last year at this time. Diesel prices were $0.30 more expensive! I think we can all remember how much of a strain filling-up was on our wallets. Don’t worry though, prices are expected to drop more as the tax on oil decreases. You’ll be able to drive your truck with peace of mind knowing you won’t owe an arm and a leg every time you go to fill up your tank.