Helpful Information About Potential Welding Careers & Trucking Jobs
A Truck Driver’s Guide to Being Away from HomeAfter the completion of CDL Training, most drivers begin their truck driving careers as over-the-road (OTR) drivers. Long haul trucking does not revolve around a set schedule. Drivers can practically be anywhere, at any time, on any day of the week. Oftentimes, drivers have the choice of driving for months, weeks or only a few days at a time. This often depends on how long a driver is willing to be away from their family. Ultimately, trucking takes a toll on both the driver and their family. One of the first questions every aspiring trucker has is, “How do I find balance between my family and my career as a truck driver?” Keep reading to learn how to find work-life balance during your trucking career.
How Will the Long Haul Affect You and Your Family?The time spent away as an OTR driver affects both you and your family. Firstly, while you are driving, you are unable to see your family or communicate on a regular basis. Sometimes, you may miss your kid’s soccer games, dance recitals, birthdays and tucking them in at night. This may take a toll on you while you are over-the-road because you may miss important events at home. Not only does being away for extended periods of time affect truckers, but it also affects their family. Oftentimes, the spouse left at home is responsible for all domestic duties such as paying bills, household chores, and acting similar to a single parent. Many times, the spouse at home will choose not to work, and dedicate all of their time to taking care of the children.
How to Find Work-Life Balance
Entertain & Educate YourselfBeing away from home may depress a driver. In order to stay concentrated on the job at hand, try entertaining yourself to take your mind off of being away from home. Consider educating yourself by listening to podcasts or audio books. Jamming out to your favorite band also helps to lighten your mood and free your mind.
Communicate RegularlyAlso while over-the-road, make a point to communicate regularly with your spouse and family. Try creating a set schedule of when you will contact them. If time allows, try to call in the morning before beginning your route and at night before you fall asleep. It’s okay not to always stick to the schedule. The occasional call at lunchtime will surely be a pleasant surprise and make your spouse and family happy!
Plan Ahead for Quality TimeLastly, make the most of the time you have at home. Some drivers may take off a few days or weeks at a time. Dedicate this time not only to resting and relaxing, but to catching up with your family. Say yes to that extra game of catch in the yard or to the movie date-night your spouse so eagerly desires. However, don’t stretch yourself too thin trying to cram every missed event into that short period at home. Try creating a schedule to balance the time you spend with family, help around the house, and catch up on your sleep. Contrary to popular belief, you can still have a family and be a truck driver! You don’t have to sacrifice a good relationship with your spouse and children during the long haul. There is no set guidelines to follow to find the perfect balance between your life and your career. However, making an effort to stay in contact and planning ahead will surely help strengthen your relationships. Are you considering long haul trucking? Before you can begin your trucking career, you must complete truck driver training! Advanced Career Institute offers hands-on Class A CDL Training. ACI campuses are located in Fresno, Visalia and Merced. Head over to Our Programs to learn more about earning your California CDL!
3 Things Bus Drivers Can Do Between RoutesNow that you’ve completed Bus Driver Training, I’m sure you’re wondering, “What exactly do bus drivers do during the day?” School bus drivers have an extensive break during their morning and afternoon routes. However, this break isn’t long enough for drivers to get a part-time, so they must find an alternative way to spend their time. Keep reading to find out what many bus drivers tend to do during their downtime.
Drive Multiple School Bus RoutesOftentimes, school bus drivers will choose to drive a variety of routes for the school system. Typically, high school students start earlier than middle school and elementary students. Many drivers will run their first high school route, and then proceed to run a second route to pick up middle school or elementary students depending on the start times of the different schools. This helps to shorten the downtime between their morning and afternoon routes. Sometimes, school bus drivers will choose to drive for school field trips, sporting events and other extracurricular activities to make an extra buck and to lessen the downtime during the day.
Work Additional Jobs Within the School SystemMany drivers tend to work in other areas in the school system. The most common jobs for school bus drivers to work are either in the school cafeteria or as a janitor. Most times, a bus driver's break between their routes aligns perfectly with the school’s lunchtimes, making a cafeteria worker seem like an ideal option to not only earn additional money, but to fill their time during the day. Also, some bus drivers work as mechanics in the bus garages or barns. Usually, bus drivers take their buses back to the garage after their morning routes which makes it easy for them to work directly in the same garage on other buses that need maintenance.
Take Advantage of DowntimeLastly, some bus drivers take full advantage of their downtime. Many bus drivers run side businesses during this time and on their own free time to earn additional wages. However, some school bus drivers use this time to run errands, do household chores, spend time with family, eat lunch, and even take a quick nap. Despite the extensive downtime, school bus drivers take on a huge responsibility. Not only are they responsible for navigating the road while behind the wheel of a huge vehicle, but they are also responsible for safely transporting 40+ kids to school and back home. Although it comes with huge responsibilities, a bus driving career is extremely rewarding. Are you interested in becoming a school bus driver? Advanced Career Institute offers Professional Bus Driver Training in California. ACI campus locations can be found in Fresno, Merced and Visalia. To learn more, check out our Class B CDL Training Program!
Everything ACI Graduates Need to Know About Being Pulled Over in Their TruckCan a truck driver be pulled over? Yes, at some point in your trucking career, you could see blue and red flashing lights behind you indicating you to pull over. Being pulled over in your truck is extremely nerve-racking, but the following tips will help ease the process.
What to Do When You See the Flashing LightsIf you are being pulled over, don’t just whip the big rig anywhere on the side of the road. You need to look for a place to pull over that ensures safety for both your truck and the officer. Try not to stop the flow of traffic. The best areas to pull over are typically off-ramps or paved areas. Additionally, avoid stopping on soft-shoulders because your truck may get stuck. However, remember your main responsibility is to look out for your safety and the safety of other drivers even when being pulled over.
Necessary Documentation to Have On HandAfter being pulled over, the following documents may be requested by the officer: CDL, registration, logbook, and bill of lading. A bill of lading is a receipt detailing what is being shipped, how much, where it is going, and when it should be there. It is typically signed by the shipper, receiver and carrier representative. However, only present the documents that the officer requests. Additionally, your documentation should be located in an easy to reach place in your truck. You don’t want to have to get up to get your documents because this could cause the officer to question their safety because they may be unsure of what exactly you may bring back.
Important Things to Remember While Being Pulled OverFirst, do not remove your seatbelt before the officer sees you wearing it. This helps to avoid possible additional violations the officer may ticket you for. Second, when the officer asks why you think you were pulled over, don’t say anything that could be taken as an admission of guilt. Give brief, but honest answers. Also, it is vital for you to be polite to the officer regardless of whether you believe you should have been pulled over or not. Lastly, always remember to thank the officer for doing their job whether they gave you a ticket or a verbal warning. Although being pulled over may be overwhelming, it is important to park your truck in a safe location. Be prepared with the correct documentation. And always be polite to the officer! If you have received a ticket, check out this blog for what to do next! Interested in becoming a truck driver? Advanced Career Institute offers hands-on truck driver training in California. ACI campuses are located in Merced, Visalia and Fresno. For more information on earning your California CDL, head over to our Class A CDL Training!
Everything ACI Graduates Need to Know About The DOT ExamThere are a variety of steps to take in order to become a professional truck driver. First, you must complete CDL Training. After graduation, you must also pass a DOT (Department of Transportation) Physical Exam. Truckers must meet certain health standards set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in order to be eligible to drive. Continue reading to learn more about the DOT Exam!
What Is the DOT Exam?All truck drivers are required by law to pass the DOT Physical Exam before getting behind the wheel of a big rig. The FMCSA has set a variety of mental and physical health regulations that truckers must meet in order to fulfill the demands of a truck driving career. All professional truck drivers must hold an up-to-date physical certification at all times. Typically, drivers are required to get physicals every 1-2 years. It is important to meet the standards of the DOT physical to ensure both the truck driver’s safety on the road as well as the safety of other motorists.
What Can I Expect During the DOT Exam?The DOT Physical conducts a variety of mental and physical examinations. In addition to a drug screening, drivers can expect to be examined in the following areas:
- - Vision
- - Hearing
- - Blood Pressure
- - Pulse Rate
- - Heart & Lungs
- - Coordination
What Happens if I Fail?Failing the DOT Exam does not necessarily mean that you are incapable of driving a truck. If you have a condition that can be treated, consult your doctor for further treatment. If your condition has improved, consider taking the exam again. Additionally, the FMCSA offers exemptions for certain impairments. Refer to your doctor to see if you qualify. Are you considering a career as a professional truck driver? Advanced Career Institute offers hands-on training to earn your California CDL. ACI campuses are located in Merced, Fresno and Visalia. To learn more about truck driver training, head over to our Class A CDL Training Program!
Tips for Living a Healthy Lifestyle Over-The-RoadObesity is a rising issue in the truck driving industry. According to a study conducted by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), nearly 69% of long-haul truckers are considered to be obese. To avoid obesity and potential health risks, truckers should be well rested, eat healthy snacks throughout the day and exercise at least 15 minutes each day. Check out these simple, effective workouts you can do over-the-road!
Workouts in Your CabinNo equipment? No problem! The following workouts can be completed without equipment from the comfort of your sleeper.
- - Pushups – Pushups only require body weight and minimal space which makes them the perfect exercise for truckers. In addition to increasing your strength, push-ups can improve your posture and flexibly, and can help prevent injury.
- - Planks – Similar to pushups, planks only need minimal space to complete. Planks work to strengthen your abdominal and back muscles.
- - Sit-ups – As a staple in many fitness routines, sit-ups are a great workout to strength your core. It only takes a few minutes to crank out a few sets of sit-ups. You can easily complete this exercise before beginning your morning routine.
- - Tricep Dips – Lastly, another easy, effective arm workout to do in your cabin is tricep dips. You can do them on the ground or by using your bunk as support to lower your body by bending at the elbow.
Exercises from the Driver’s SeatStretching is extremely important to reduce stress and to avoid injury. The following stretches can be done from the driver’s seat.
- - Shoulder Stretches – Shoulder shrugs are a great way to reduce tension and stress from your shoulder area. When stopped, raise your shoulders up to your ears. Hold for 10 seconds, release and repeat.
- - Hand Stretches – Long-haul truckers spend a significant amount of time gripping the steering wheel causing their hands to cramp up and feel stiff. Overtime, this could lead to arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome. To reduce the risk of these illnesses, truckers can perform hand stretches. Try rolling your wrists in a circle or gently pulling your fingers toward your body. Check out this blog for more stretches!
Stretch Your LegsA final exercise to add to your daily routine is either walking or running. This is a great way to stay in shape. Cardio helps to strengthen your lungs and lose weight. We understand it may be difficult to find time to do cardio during your busy routes. However, walking or running is an easy exercise to complete while waiting to pick up your loads. Plus, it allows you to stretch your legs and no longer be cooped up in your cab! Whichever exercises you choose to complete, it is essential to add physical activity to your everyday routine. It will help you to look better, feel better and live a healthier life. Interested in becoming a truck driver? Advanced Career Institute offers California Truck Driver Training. ACI campuses are located in Fresno, Merced and Visalia. Head over to Our Programs to learn more about our Class A Truck Driving!
How to Improve Fuel Economy in Your TruckOur nation and economy depends heavily on the trucking industry. Trucks transport an assortment of goods that we rely on in order to maintain our every day way of life. Trucking is the only efficient way of transporting goods across the country. That being said, we must also take into consideration the carbon footprint of the trucking industry. Many trucking companies have began to shift their focus towards environmental consciousness. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, transportation accounts for nearly 27% of greenhouse gas emissions. When released in high concentrations, greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere which essentially warms our planet. As the planet warms, there is a ripple effect that negatively affects various aspects of the climate and overall environment. This may include: creating more severe natural disasters, melting sea ice and receding coastal lines. As a trucker, you cannot solely rely on your carrier to make all of the environmentally conscious adjustments. There are a variety of simple ways to reduce your truck emissions and improve the fuel economy in your truck (which saves you and the company money!) Read on to learn 3 easy tips for sustainable trucking!
Control Speed & Minimize Idling TimeYou play a major part in controlling the fuel economy in your truck. Improving the fuel economy in your truck can reduce your personal carbon footprint. A study conducted by the American Trucking Association showed a 35 percent difference in the most and least fuel efficient drivers. Here are a few of ways to improve your truck's fuel economy:
- - Maintain an average speed (ideally around 55 mph)
- - Use cruise control when possible
- - Minimize idling time
- - Reduce the amount of times you accelerate and decelerate
Create Efficient RoutinesThe fuel efficiency in your truck is only partially controlled by your actual driving and gear shifting. A lot of it has to do with the weather, routes you choose to take, truck maintenance and aerodynamics. Luckily for you, you can semi-control some of these elements. Develop fuel efficient routines by:
- - Fueling in the morning
- - Driving routes with less traffic and stop lights
- - Plan routes with efficient drop offs and rest stops
- - Maximize your time at rest stops