A Guide to Planning a Trucking Route Efficiently - Aug 4, 2020

As a truck driver, your most important job is to deliver your load on time. In order to do that, however, you need to plan your route meticulously and avoid common route-planning challenges. Here’s what you need to know.

What Are Some Common Route-Planning Challenges?

The Wrong Equipment

It’s common to have a job that you’re simply not equipped to handle. For example, your truck may not be able to deliver cool products if you don’t have a refrigerated compartment. It could also be difficult to access particular warehouses or areas that require you to drive through narrow streets. Finally, you may not speak the same language as the customer, which can make communication challenging.

Capacity Constraints

Since every truck has constraints in terms of weight and volume, drivers need to decide how many customers to serve in one trip. It can be difficult to save costs while overloading the truck.

Hazards & Traffic

Natural disasters, weather, construction, and old roads can all lead to dangerous situations for drivers. Being aware of these issues when planning your routes is crucial to staying safe. Additionally, drivers often encounter bottlenecks in metropolitan areas, leading to idling and poor fuel efficiency. 

How Can You Plan Your Route Efficiently?

Keep a laminated atlas in your truck so you always have a physical map to reference. While there are plenty of routing apps and tools on smartphones, having a paper option will ensure that you know where you’re going even when there’s no service. Replace the atlas every year to ensure it’s fully updated. You can deduct the expense on your taxes.

In addition to a physical map, there are a number of trucking apps to consider. While Google Maps® or Waze® are perfectly good options, applications made for truck drivers offer information on gas prices, truck stops, parking, weigh stations, and toll roads.

Finally, when planning a route, always include a back-up option. This will allow you to switch in case the road you’re driving on has major traffic or construction work on it.

If you’re looking to become a professional truck driver, we have the resources you need to enter this lucrative career. To speak to a member of our team about our programs and the 2020 class schedule, call (330) 239-2229.

  • OH Reg. #2057
  • ODPS License #1439-2369

What to Know About Trucker Etiquette - Jul 17, 2020

While understanding the basics of how to operate a truck, such as changing lanes and maintaining the tires, is important, it’s also essential to learn etiquette. The industry has its own set of unwritten rules, and knowing them will help you thrive as you begin your career. Here’s what you need to know as a new truck driver.

4 Trucking Etiquette Practices to Keep in Mind

1. Pass Other Trucks Quickly

Don’t try to pass other trucks while you’re driving up a hill, mountain, or another steep incline, especially if you’re carrying a heavy load. It’ll take a long time for you to pass the other vehicle, causing you to block traffic and create a bottleneck. Instead, only pass in flat, clear areas, when you know it’ll be quick and easy.

2. Use an Actual Parking Spot at Trucks Stops

When you go inside a truck stop to eat, do paperwork, or shower, never park at the fuel island. Instead, move your vehicle to an actual parking spot. This will allow other drivers to use the area properly.

3. Don’t Use the Passing Lane Unnecessarily

Unless you’re passing, avoid the left lane; this will help prevent traffic from building up behind you. If there’s a vehicle driving slowly in front of you, either pass them or increase your following distance. Also, avoid tailing other truck drivers or motorists, as this can come across as aggressive. 

4. Let Other Truck Drivers Merge Onto the Highway

While technically, truckers getting onto the freeway are supposed to yield, you should give them space to merge. It’s difficult for a semi-truck to easily get on the highway because they don’t go as fast as cars, so other truck drivers will appreciate it when you let them in. You can do this by slowing down or moving to a different lane, making sure to signal.

When you’re ready to get your CDL and begin a lucrative career in trucking, call our team at (330) 239-2229. We’ll help you pass the exam, get your first job, and master trucking etiquette.

  • OH Reg. #2057
  • ODPS License #1439-2369

3 Common Mistakes Students Make During CDL Training - Jun 24, 2020

Going to school to get your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is a big step. You’ll be starting a lucrative career that requires hard work and determination. While most students get through their training successfully, some make mistakes that prevent them from advancing in the field. Here are a few to avoid while you’re in truck driving school.

A Guide to Common CDL Training Mistakes

1. Not Preparing

Some students fail to maximize their training and don’t spend enough time preparing for truck driving school. However, studying beforehand will put you ahead of your peers and ensure that you’re ready when you take the CDL exams.

To prepare, go over the Ohio CDL manual and then take at least a few practice tests. This will help you determine which areas you need to work on and clue you into which skills and information are essential to master. As you tackle the questions, read each one over twice, and avoid second-guessing your answers. 

2. Panicking

Many students don’t realize that remaining calm during the driving test is crucial. Mistakes are common, such as hitting a cone while parking, but what matters is how you react. Points are awarded if you can get through a stressful situation with composure.

Get at least eight hours of sleep the night before to keep anxiety at bay and clear your head. Additionally, breathe deeply during the test, and wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t restrict movement. Finally, spend extra time driving before the exam; the more exposure you have, the easier it’ll be to remain clam.

3. Keeping Old Habits

The longer you’ve been driving a car, the harder it’ll be to break old habits. Handling a truck requires developing new ones, which isn’t always easy. For example, avoid cutting corners on windy roads, which is commonly done when driving a sedan. Also, the blind spots will be larger, so keep them in mind and signal earlier than normal when turning or switching lanes.

Leave extra distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, as trucks are larger and can’t brake as quickly as cars. Finally, handling a tractor-trailer requires more skill and attention than a sedan, so be extra careful to drive when you’re well-rested and alert.

Our truck driving school will give you the tools you need to avoid CDL mistakes and succeed in your career. To learn more about our 2020 class schedule, reach out at (330) 239-2229.

OH Reg. #2057

ODPS License #1439-2369

  

A Trucker’s Guide to the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act - Jun 16, 2020

Trucking is a lucrative career and has helped many Americans prosper financially. Unfortunately, many people who are interested in the industry are unable to get training because they’ve been laid off or don’t have the time to commit, as they’re already working full-time jobs. Luckily, the U.S. government passed the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA), which went into effect in 2015 and is designed to help in these situations. If you’re considering a career as a truck driver, here’s what you need to know. 

What Is the WIOA?

The WIOA was passed in 2014 to help people looking for jobs to find training, educational, and employment opportunities. Additionally, it was created to assist employers with finding skilled workers who can manage the work that needs to get done. The Act has helped countless individuals cover tuition to become truck drivers.  

Who Is Eligible?

To qualify for WIOA funding, one must be at least 18 years old and eligible for employment in the U.S. Once you meet those criteria, there are two groups that the Act aims to assist:

  • Dislocated Workers: This category includes workers who have been laid off due to a permanent closure or significant downsizing. Additionally, people who have received notice that their company will shut down within 180 days are eligible. Finally, displaced homemakers, military spouses, and self-employed individuals who can’t work due to economic conditions can receive funding.
  • Young Adults: People who are 14-24 can apply for funding, if, for example, they’re homeless, pregnant, learning English, or physically or mentally impaired. However, to become a truck driver in Ohio, you’ll need to be at least 18.  

What Are Some Common Training Programs Funded by the WIOA?

You can be funded for skills training that’s intended for careers with salaries or hourly rates. Commission-based jobs, such as real estate, don’t fall under the Act. Common industries that do include truck driving, industrial maintenance, and HVAC. Keep in mind that the program you apply to needs to be on the Eligible Provider List for you to receive funding, so make sure to speak to a staff member before selecting a school.

We recently added a new morning class for CDL Class A, which is designed for those who work 2nd and 3rd shifts. The program is 12 weeks long, and individuals who want to become truck drivers can use WIOA funding. To learn more, call (330) 239-2229.

  • OH Reg. #2057
  • ODPS License #1439-2369

How to Improve Fuel Efficiency as a Truck Driver - Jun 3, 2020

No matter the price of diesel, fuel costs play a major role in turning a profit as a truck driver. In fact, it’s one of the biggest expenses truckers have to manage, making up 39% of operating costs, according to research by Truckers Report. Fortunately, by understanding what factors affect efficiency, as well as industry best practices, you can save money and increase your bottom line. Here’s what you need to know.   

What Factors Affect Fuel Efficiency?

Driving Style

Aggressive drivers consume far more fuel than the average trucker. Even if you increase efficiency by installing better tires and a more effective engine, going above the speed limit and constantly changing lanes will negate your gains. 

Environmental Factors

The topography in the area you’re driving can impact fuel consumption. For example, driving on hills or mountains will require more diesel than flat lands. Additionally, the quality of the roads can have an impact; potholes and cracks in the asphalt or concrete can cause trucks to speed up and slow down frequently, reducing efficiency. Finally, weather conditions, such as rain, can cool the transmission and tires, which perform worse in cold temperatures.

Load Weight

The heavier a truck is, the more resistance there will be, increasing diesel consumption. For every 1,000 pounds you add to a load, you’ll see a 0.5% drop in fuel efficiency. Thus, it’s essential to reduce truck weight, without taking away from your profits.

How Can You Save Fuel?

Cut Down on Weight

Often, by replacing certain truck parts, you can cut down on weight. For example, wide-base single tires weigh around 70 pounds less than low-profile standard radials. Additionally, if your fuel tank is larger than what’s required for your needs, you could save by replacing it with a smaller one; you may need to stop to fill up more often, but the extra money you’ll hold onto will be worthwhile.

Perform Regular Maintenance

Check your tires regularly, as low pressure can decrease fuel efficiency. If they look worn, don’t replace them unless they need to be. Roll resistance decreases as they wear down, reducing fuel consumption. Additionally, put in new fuel injectors if they’re damaged, look for charge air cooler leaks, and make sure the trailer and drive axle are aligned to prevent tires from dragging. 

Avoid Stopping & Starting

When you drive in traffic, you waste a lot of fuel each time you stop for a car in front of you; it’s more efficient to drive slowly. Pay close attention to other vehicles so you can avoid heavy braking. Finally, avoid driving during rush hour and use smart navigation tools to stay out of traffic.

When you’re ready to dive into a lucrative career as a truck driver, we’ll help you succeed. To learn more about our programs and the 2020 class schedule, call (330) 239-2229.

  • OH Reg. #2057
  • ODPS License #1439-2369