From the Experts
Hear from the Experts on all things Trucking and Welding
Tips to Staying on Schedule While on the RoadNow that you have your CDL license and an exciting new career on the road, you will want to learn some time management techniques so that you can do your best job and be as safe and efficient as possible. Like any job, there is a learning curve to driving trucks. You will learn little tricks as you gain more experience, but here are a few time-saving tips that may help you out quite a bit as you hit the road!
TrafficTraffic is out of your control, but you can plan your route with the intention of avoiding the biggest cities and roads when they will be the most densely populated and traffic will be at it's worst. We all know that rush hour is the worst time to be driving in and around any large city. The best thing you can do to manage your time is to work your routes around this knowledge and make sure you aren't driving into LA, Houston, Atlanta, etc. during the peak traffic hours. This will save you a lot of time sitting in your truck.
Load and UnloadA part of route planning is loading and unloading your cargo. If you can plan your routes with the intention of dropping off and loading your cargo as early as possible, you will save time and make your customers very very happy. The more consistent you are in pleasing customers, suppliers, dispatchers in this way, the more likely they are to give you better jobs in the future and it can lead to more money earned for you.
RestJust because you are trying to work ahead of schedule does not mean that you get to forget about rest. You need to sleep every night in order to provide the best service and be the most efficient driver that you can be. The key to time management is planning. Plan your sleep times and rest periods as stringently as you plan your routes and your load and unload times. Planning is the key to time management, there are apps like Apple's calendar on iOS and Google calendars that are great organizers. These apps will buzz and make a noise like an alarm clock if you set them. Ultimately, you need to be in control of yourself. Calendar tools will help you stay organized and remind you when to stop resting or driving etc, but at the end of the day, you will be as organized as you want to be. Planning and organization are the cornerstones of time management. What time management tips do you have for truck drivers? At Advanced Career Institute, we don't just prepare students for CDL Training, but all aspects of trucking. Interested in entering this in-demand industry? Contact us to learn more about our training programs.
How Welding Has Changed Through the YearsWelding all started centuries ago, yet many people still wonder what welding is all about. This quick snapshot will walk you through everything you need to know about the history of welding.
What is Welding?Welding is the process of joining or melting two or more pieces of metal together. This process is also used for plastic, but the term "welding" often refers specifically to the use of metal. The process of welding creates strength and reinforcement for structures, ships, and modern machinery.
Welding's Ancient RootsThe practice of welding dates back to the Bronze Age, the era in human history when people began to use metal. People living during this time created small gold boxes using pressure welding on lap joints. As welding techniques became more refined in the Iron Age, this gave people the opportunity to build things using iron. During this time, Ancient Egyptians and other cultures used the skill for welding tools, among other necessities. While useful, this trade was limited by the tools used to perform the welding function.
Advancements in WeldingThe 19th century saw great advancements in welding and its capabilities for modern applications. In 1800, Englishman Sir Humphry Davy introduced the arc to welding, a form made between two carbon electrodes using a battery. In 1836, Edmund Davy discovered acetylene, a gas capable of producing the hottest flame. This discovery led to a rise in popularity for gas cutting in 1850. While there were other notable welding innovations, the next major advancements came in the 20th century.
The Creation of Modern WeldingThe 20th century saw many exciting advancements in the welding field. These advancements were, in large part, due to electrical power companies figuring out how to generate and distribute power. This accomplishment motivated scientists to find a way to use electrical power for welding. In 1920, General Electric's P.O. Nobel invented automatic welding thanks to his use of a bare wire electrode guided by a direct electrical current using arc voltage. From here, further research led to the discovery of various types of electrodes as well as alternate forms of gas welding and resistance welding. Work to refine welding techniques continued into the 1950s and 60s. In 1954, the Dualshield process gave welders a more efficient, portable option by using an external supply of shielding gas. This process was later abandoned for Innershield welding, which left the shielding gas behind and eliminated the need for welders to lug heavy containers around the job site. This improved process also made it possible for welders to work in outdoor conditions without having to worry about the wind blowing the shielding gas away and contaminating the weld. Since then, welding processes have become modernized, leading to the use of friction welding and laser welding. Welding techniques are sure to evolve as technologies advance. Scientists and inventors continue to look for more precise, safe, and environmentally friendly ways to build the products and infrastructure needed. The future for welding is bright. If you're looking for an opportunity to move the world forward, welding could be a great fit for you. We offer welding training at our Visalia and Fresno campuses. Learn more about our welder training program today.
Safety Starts With The Pre-Trip InspectionThe Department of Transportation (DOT) inspection is one of the most important aspects truck driving safety. Knowing your truck is safe and sound and ready for action gives you peace of mind, but also is a reassurance to everyone else on the road that your truck is fit for duty. Inspections are conducted annually and are a comprehensive look at the truck both inside and out. They are subject to the strict regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). You can read those regulations here. All truck drivers should be interested and involved in the DOT Inspection. While the regulations state that the motor carrier is responsible for the maintenance of the truck, you should be aware that your neck is on the line if you don't pass the inspection. Do you trust the trucking company’s inspectors to find everything wrong with the truck? As the driver, no one knows the rig better than you. You'll be able to tell when there is a problem with the truck. You can tell by the feel of the truck whether the brakes are off, or many times by the sound of the truck whether there could be a problem with the motor. Be sure in the weeks and days leading up to the inspection that you are up front and vocal about any issues with the truck. Any small problem can cause issues with the inspection report. Make sure you are proactive—write down a list of issues so you don’t forget or overlook something. Remember that your truck is your livelihood. You and the truck form a symbiotic pair—two entities that rely on each other. The proper operation of the truck determines your safety and ability to make a living. If you're ready to take the next step towards a career in the truck driving industry, the right training makes all the difference. Learn how ACI can help you reach your career goals! Fill out the form you see on this page, or give us a call at 1-877-649-9614. If you'd like more information on the Training Programs available at Advanced Career Institute, please visit www.advanced.edu/programs
What Makes A Good Truck Driver?There are many truck drivers out there — more than 2 million at last count. So how do you tell the good ones from the not so good ones? It’s not too difficult, as it turns out. While all truck drivers have certain strengths and weaknesses, the best drivers all share certain traits. Once you learn these qualities, work on mastering them, and they will serve you as a trucker like nothing else. Here are the 4 traits we believe make a good truck driver:
PatienceWhether you’re sitting in traffic or waiting for your truck to be unloaded, staying cool under pressure is important. Losing your head in rush-hour traffic, or an otherwise inopportune time, can spell disaster for you - and possibly for others.
Time-Management SkillsKnowing how to spend your time out on the road is a necessity. Pre-planning your route and staying on schedule will get you to your destination and back on time. Be sure to plan out when you are going to make stops before beginning your trip. If you have good time management, employers will be stepping on themselves to hire you.
DisciplineSticking to your schedule and being disciplined is key. Be professional about when you do (or don’t) make stops. Try to multitask on those stops. Additionally, being able to successfully maneuver around traffic accidents will keep you chugging toward your destination. This also works for staying in position when the truck is leaving.
ConcentrationBeing on the road means spending a lot of time driving. This isn’t always the most exciting activity in the world. If you want to thrive as a trucker, it’s important to maintain that control as you are driving, and keep your mind from wandering too much. Did we miss anything you think is an important trait to have a truck driver? What trait or quality sets you apart from others? Share your comments with us (and other drivers!) on our Facebook page! Ready to take the next step towards a career in the truck driving industry? The right training makes all the difference. Learn how our ACI training programs can help you reach your career goals!
Advice from Trucking ProfessionalsBy now, you realize the Internet isn’t merely a fad and has become an indispensable part of our lives. Websites have gone from something that only professionals are able to create and are now created and maintained by “regular people,” most of whom have merely taken the initiative to learn how to create a site to share their feelings, experiences and expertise, many times in the form of blogs. And of course there are blogs for all situations and industries, and trucking is no different. To be certain truck drivers have more than their share of tremendous, insightful and knowledgeable bloggers who offer their readers an inside look at the business they are in, how they cope, and how they find success behind the wheel of their big rigs. If you are a truck driver, or seriously want to be, you should have integrated into your daily rituals checking into some of these sites and checking out what they have to say. Of course, you can’t read all of them (do a Google search for “trucking blogs” and you’ll get about 1.1 million results; no, that’s not an exaggeration). So which blogs should you make part of your daily Web reading routine? The real answer to that question is that you should read the trucking blogger whose content you find entertaining and informative. To that end, here are a few recommendations for your off-duty reading pleasure: One Girl Trucking: Yes, guys, we’re starting off with a “girl” trucking blog. If you haven’t gotten off of the sexism train, it’s time to do so now, as women are in the business and are here to stay. And believe it or not, they have something meaningful to offer as well. Bethany drives a “long and low, flat-top Peterbilt” and offers the female perspective. Yes, she offers “Quick Truck Meal Ideas,” recipes that can get you guys out of those greasy spoon diners and putting something good in your stomachs, and she offers updates on her prized ducks, and tips for driving in the winter. Trucking Truth: A no-frills, down-and-dirty blog for hardcore truckers, Trucking Truth’s Bret Aquila isn’t afraid to accompany articles about health concerns, pay questions, and distracted driving warnings with missives like “Is Trucking Worth It Anymore?” If you’re looking for digital bells and whistles, you’re likely to surf away disappointed. If you, on the other hand, want tremendous, authoritative content, you’re in the right place. Ask the Trucker: Allen Smith is one of the big boys of the trucking industry. As host of a popular trucking radio show, Smith has achieved a level of fame among truck drivers, but still devotes some time to his blog. He offers news stories as his site’s backbone, as well as promoting his industry-leading radio show. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone as knowledgeable about the trucking lifestyle as Smith, which makes his blog a must-visit. Daniel S. Bridger’s Trucking Blog: A 30-year trucking veteran, Bridger knows that collaboration is the best way to maximize the amount of knowledge you can share. To that end, he employs a slate of guest bloggers to contribute their thoughts in addition to that he offers on his own. As a result, readers hear a variety of opinions from industry leaders as well as the expertise Bridger himself offers. The Healthy Trucker: Ah yes, that most neglected of truck driver skills: staying healthy. The Healthy Trucker can help you maintain your figure while keeping yourself in tip-top shape, even when much of your employment centers on sitting in a vehicle driving. Truckers suffering from back pain (which is to say most of them), truckers who are running into problems eating right, and those who just want to prevent problems like that from occurring should check out this fantastic blog.
Questions and Answers from the Trucking CommunityWelcome to the Message Board. This page is a collection of messages posted by drivers in the trucking community, who have shared Questions and Answers on trucking forums across the internet. Updated regularly, please check back often. “Moving from driver to O/O [Owner/Operator] is more business sense than it is driver skill. Go talk to S.C.O.R.E or the local office listed at the bottom of this page. Microloan Program | The U.S. Small Business Administration | SBA.gov The folks in the "Participating Intermediary Microlenders Report" link They will work with you to help figure out how to get into a truck etc, write a business plan (it can be as simple as a napkin or more complicated). Financial statements etc. In short, they will give you a quick lesson in business management.” --User “mndriver,” offering advice (and reference links) to a driver with five years of Class A experience who is asking for advice on starting his own trucking company, at Truckers Forum.net.
“Read everything. Speed limits, restrictions, routing instructions, Bill of landings, owner’s manual to your truck, messages from dispatch, I mean everything…it’s usually al there somewhere.” --Oldman49, responding to a user requesting advice on making their trucking career as smooth as possible, on a thread at The Truckers Report.
“1. Keep paper towels on the truck 2. Keep wet wipes on the truck 3. Keep some canned food on the truck 4. Keep some water / soft drinks on the truck 5. On hot days offer water/soft drinks to the guards or unloader/loader. You may get better treatment (especially if you have their favorite.) 6. Expect everyone in front of you to do something stupid and plan accordingly. 7. Don't be lax in your duty, but don't stress either 8. Promptly get your paperwork in 9. Present a professional image to the customer (you represent your company.) 10. Practice trip planning every day.” --Forum user “Salad,” in response to the thread “Any tips for a new driver?” on The Truckers Report,
“I want to be a trucker driver because..... It's time for me to do something I've always wanted to do. I've worked good jobs that I hated for all of my married life. It served me and my family well, and I was happy to do it, and have always been proud of the life my wife and kids enjoyed because I worked hard, even if I didn't like the work. But I've always wanted to drive long haul OTR, it's just that married life and two beautiful children sort of put that choice on hold. But those responsibilities have ended and now I can work at something that I think will suite [sic] me well. I enjoy the solitude of the road, while I wouldn't say I'm loner. I've always strived to have a minimal lifestyle. For me simple was always better. I'm going to enjoy not being in the same place every day, even if it looks the same (if you've seen 1 truck stop....) --User “BeanDip,” responding to a thread asking “Why do you want to be a truck driver?”
“You are going to need a year of driving, to just adapt to the lifestyle. Also, to develop your driving skills, and work relationship with your dispatcher, and learning how your company does business. None of this comes quickly, and your attitude is being closely watched. Remember...you are responsible for much of the business success or failure. Tremendous amount of money goes into that rig, freight, and contract with the client....and you are the backbone of it all.” User “Roadhog,” in a thread titled “The Driver and The Employer, Basic Job Hunting Skills,” on the Class A Drivers Message Board.
“Hello guys its been a week since I graduated cdl school, and I have already been offered a job…with a local milk delivery company driving Class B trucks (I have my Class A). I start tomorrow morning. For all the people asking if it’s possible to find a local job with no experience its possible you just have to put in some work. I…found out these companies’ contact information and office location and either called or just showed up with a simple resume and told them I’m looking for a Class A or B driving position and was straightforward about being straight outta CDL school (with) no experience I…went to a CDL staffing agency, where I was told that I would need at least a year experience and no one would hire me local I would need to go OTR. If you want a local job without experience, go out there and get it. Don’t just call or put an application in online, go down to the company and tell ‘em you want to work for them (they love this kind of initiative). Bring a resume with you, bring a copy of your driving abstract cdl & medical card.” --User “RedTheTrucker,” on the post “How to Find a Local Job with No Experience??” at The Truckers Report.
“Holding a CDL has made me a substantially better driver. Its corrected a lot of bad habits I never realized I had. I've acquired a lot of patience and no longer feel the need to speed in my car... I no longer feel the need to tailgate... I've garnered a great deal of tolerance for traffic... I love having the ability to decipher when a car or truck is about to do something stupid. I also read every single sign on the road now out of habit. My CDL has turned me from a decent driver to a professional driver.” --User “KiLLaZiLLa93,” responding to the question “Has your CDL made you a better driver?” on The Truckers Report.
“If it were me, would stay there another 6 months. Looks better on your home loan application also that you’re not a job hopper.” --User Chinatown, in response to a user who asked for advice on leaving his first trucking job six months after earning his CDL, at The Truckers Report.