Category: travel

Best Cities for Truck Drivers

best-cities-for-truck-drivers

Maneuvering your car around during rush hour traffic can be a real test of patience and self-control. Now imagine what it’s like for a truck driver towing a trailer through city streets. Challenging at best, driving a truck through a city full of vehicles driving every which-way is like walking through a maze of anthills without stepping on any ants.
In some cities, drivers can get much better pay for having the driving skills to deliver goods safely, on-schedule, with traffic, limited parking, and loading docks that are seemingly impossible to back into. It’s really no wonder drivers can demand higher pay.

Best Cities for Trucking Jobs

Advisorsmith looked at small (<150,000), medium (150,000-500,000), and large (500,000+) cities to determine the best cities for truck drivers who are looking for jobs.
Joplin, MO came it at the #1 mid-sized city (although its population is roughly 50,000 people, Advisorsmith included Joplin’s surrounding counties that give it a metropolitan area of 210,000). It’s located right on Route 66 and the proximity to railways and major trucking routes, number of trucking lines headquartered there, and a 21% below-average cost of living rate makes Joplin an ideal home for truck drivers. The average salary for drivers in Joplin is $42,060.

Danville, IL was #1 for small cities. Danville sits between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis and is at the center of 4 railways and several major trucking routes. With its low cost-of-living (27% below average) and high average driver salary ($54,770), Danville is perfect for drivers looking for jobs.

Fayetteville, AR, the 3rd largest city in Arkansas, is #1 on the list for big cities. It’s within 30 minutes of Walmart’s HQ, close to busy trucking routes, and offers 3x the number of trucking jobs than the U.S. average. The cost of living is low (13% below average) and salaries for truck drivers average $48,790.

While some major cities may have a higher average income such as New York City with the average driver earning $56,346, the expense of living there uses up a lot of that higher salary.

Best Cities for Traffic

Traffic congestion is not just a huge headache for truck drivers, it’s costly, adding $74.5 billion in operational costs to the trucking industry annually. Every minute that a truck sits in traffic is lost productivity. Some cities are better than others when it comes to traffic congestion. According to the Fiscal Times, the three cities with the least traffic are Dayton, OH with 10 extra minutes of travel time per day due to traffic, Knoxville, TN with 11 extra minutes, and Omaha, NE with 13 minutes of extra driving time.

Best Cities for Driving

As most truck drivers know, older cities like Boston, MA, New York City, and Philadelphia have narrow streets that were built for horses and carriages. Although they have charm, they’re notoriously difficult for drivers to maneuver. Cities that saw later growth generally have wider streets that are easier to traverse.

Wallethub ranked the 100 biggest U.S. cities to drive in by looking at traffic, infrastructure, and safety and other factors. Their list ranks cities for drivability for all vehicles, and Raleigh, NC, Orlando, FL, and Lincoln, NE topped the list.

Direct Freight Services is a full-service load board that allows truckers to find loads and companies to post their loads. The Direct Freight website also has many useful features such as a mobile app, mile calculators, fuel price data, weather conditions, turn-by-turn truck-specific routing and more.

To see how Direct Freight can work for you, go to DirectFreight.com today!

Sources:
http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Media/Slideshow/2016/04/11/10-US-Cities-Least-Traffic?page=9

Best Cities for Truck Drivers


https://www.salary.com/research/salary/benchmark/truck-driver-tractor-trailer-salary/ny
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-cities-to-drive-in/13964/

Trucking Industry Congestion Costs Now Top $74 Billion Annually

Winter Blend Fuel, What You Need To Know

winter-blend-fuel-what-you-need-to-know

As the colder temperatures set in, most chain truck stops begin adjusting their fuel mix to protect engines from seizing when it gets so cold that fuel begins to gel.  The cold causes the paraffin wax in diesel to form crystals that won’t go through the fuel system―the tanks, fuel lines, or the fuel filter. The truck won’t run, nor will it be able to heat your cab which could be dangerous if you’re in the middle of nowhere when things begin to freeze.

Summer and Winter Blends

Diesel comes in winter blend and summer blend.  Summer blend is straight diesel or 2-D which is what most trucks use under normal conditions.  Winter blend or 1-D should be used in the winter. Its ingredients keep it from becoming gel during colder temps but it has a lower butane content which causes it to not perform as well as 2-D.  This, and the fact that it’s more expensive than summer blend (as much as 50¢ per gallon more) is why it’s only used when necessary.   

In very cold weather, drivers use as high as 80% 1-D but usually a 75/25 mix is used in colder temps and a 50/50 blend for near-freezing areas but usually, you won’t know what you’re buying at the truck stops as they mix it for the area where they’re located.

Additives

There are fuel additives that can be used instead of 1-D that help reduce freezing in the fuel line in and in the fuel filter and they’re also cheaper than winter blend, costing 1.5¢-3¢ per gallon.  Some additives can be used year-round and can also improve the truck’s fuel efficiency which can save money but generally, the colder the weather, the more additive is used.  

Additives can thaw your diesel after it has begun to gel but by the time you start to feel like your truck’s fuel might be gelling as it begins to cough and sputter, the gelling has already begun in the fuel line and fuel filter too.  Putting in additives at this time means you need to remove the fuel filter to do it, sometimes changing it more than once, which can be difficult to do in freezing temperatures(especially if you’re broken down on the side of the highway).  Many of the bigger chain truck stops in colder regions winterize their own fuel as the season gets colder, and in some places fleet owners supply their drivers with an anti-gel agent to use on the road. If you’re going to travel in colder regions, carry additives with you before going into colder regions in case of an emergency.   

Additives can have their problems as well.  If additives are overused, the fuel lines can become clogged.  This is why truck engine manufacturers put out recommendations on additives and trucking companies may have their own policies on fuel additives so be sure you know what they are in advance.  A winter blend of diesel is the most effective and safest treatment against gelling.   

Other Options

Truck manufacturers have been looking for ways to protect their trucks against gelling such as systems that prevent gelling like recirculating the fuel, fuel filters with an electric heat option, and in-tank fuel heaters.  These options can keep you from breaking down in dangerous, freezing temperatures and keep your load on schedule.  

Direct Freight Services allows truckers to find loads and allows shippers and brokers to post their loads.  The Direct Freight website also has many useful features such as mile calculators, fuel price data, turn-by-turn truck-specific routing, and the latest weather conditions so you can be prepared for cold weather conditions. 

To see how Direct Freight  can work for you, go to DirectFreight.com today!

 

Sources:  

https://www.acuity.com/acuity-focus/2015/trucker-focus/changing-weather-calls-for-changes-in-diesel-fuel

https://www.ttnews.com/articles/fleets-fight-fuel-gelling-winters-chill-tricks-truck-maintenance-trade

Managing Finances While On The Road

managing-finances-on-the-road

One of the biggest difficulties that drivers face when they’re on the road for extended periods is keeping on top of finances.  Drivers have to watch their spending on the road on meals and other necessities that pop up. While out on the road, bills still pile up at home that need to be paid like rent/mortgage, utilities, phone, and vehicle loan payments.

Banking at Your Fingertips

Before the internet, it was more difficult for drivers to stay on top of finances and they had to rely on finding a branch of their bank wherever the road had taken them or did their banking over the phone.  Fortunately, most banks now offer their own secure mobile apps so you can connect and view your account or do transactions from anywhere. You can do things like pay bills, transfer money, and track your balance and payments directly with your bank.

Other useful apps for drivers include:

Acorns 

Acorns makes it easy to save money for a rainy day.  Acorns can transfer money automatically from your bank account to your Acorns account so you don’t have to remember to do it.  It’s round-up feature automatically rounds up the change from every transaction and deposits it into your Acorns account for painless savings.

Mint

Mint is a popular app that allows you to track your expenses in all of your accounts―checking, savings, credit card, and investment accounts.  Mint also lets you set financial goals and shows you a path to get there through budgeting.

Concur

Concur tracks travel and business expenses and capture receipts on your phone’s camera.

Cutting Expenses

If you’re going to stick to a budget, you’ve got to cut unnecessary spending.  With a little planning ahead, you can rein in your spending and stay on track.

 Food

Food is one of the ways that drivers overspend the most.  Plan your meals ahead of time. If you buy food from a grocery store and keep it in your truck, you can save money and have healthier food options that may be missing at truck stops and fast food restaurants.  A small fridge and microwave or hot plate for the cab of your truck will help you save on food costs. If you’re going to be cooking or storing food in your cab, make sure you have cleaning supplies to keep everything sanitary and don’t forget the storage containers!

Fees

If you set up automatic payments for all your bills with your lenders, phone company, and utility companies, you can avoid accumulating fees for late payments.  However, it’s important to carefully monitor these transactions for accuracy and to also make sure you always have enough money in the account to cover your bills as overdraft fees from banks can be hefty.  

Avoid fees from traffic tickets.  Have all the right permits if you’re hauling hazmat, don’t speed, keep your truck’s weight under the limit, and make sure your elogs are always accurate.

Use free wifi whenever you can.  Unless you have unlimited data, you’re going to use up those data minutes fast and be charged fees for additional data.    

Your Truck

Don’t skip the preventative maintenance.  Tire checks, oil and other fluid changes, and general maintenance will save you from costly breakdowns and repairs. 

Stay in Shape

 Save money by keeping fit.  Obesity is a risk for drivers who spend the majority of their time sedentary behind the wheel.  By eating a healthy diet and getting regular brisk exercise, you can save a lot of money on medical bills.

Owner/Operators

Owner/operators need to track their expenses carefully.  Truck expenses include truck payments, fuel charges, repairs, and maintenance.  Keep your business and personal accounts separate by using two different bank accounts and keep a close eye on what you’re writing checks for and inspect canceled checks so you know they were processed correctly. 

Taxes

Make sure your taxes are done correctly.  Keep all documentation and receipts and go see a tax professional, preferably one that specializes in truck drivers’ taxes.  It’ll be worth it. 

 

By tracking spending, sticking to a budget and lowering expenses, you can maximize your earnings and achieve financial independence.  A career in trucking can be a lucrative one but not if you’re spending all your money on the road.  

Direct Freight Services is a web-based load board that allows users to search for loads or post trucks.  It has many helpful features like full credit reports, load filtering, payment expectations, and broker authority information.  Whether accessed online or now through our easy-to-use Direct Freight app, Direct Freight helps you find the loads that will earn you the most money. Go to DirectFreight.com and start searching today!

 

Sources:

https://www.acorns.com

https://www.mint.com

https://www.concur.com/app-center/listings/550353cc99066b13221bcded

DF: Top 7 Scenic Routes For Truckers

top-7-scenic-routes-for-truckers

Driving a truck is a popular occupation for many reasons.  Some come for the good pay with job security and high demand for drivers.  Others choose the driver’s life because the road calls to them.  The vastness and the ability to see this beautiful country of ours every single day draws them in.  

Whether driving long hauls or short routes, drivers get to see it all.  Here are some of the most scenic routes for truckers:

  1. US Route 89

This road stretches from Canada to Mexico, taking drivers through Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Arizona and through an abundance of national parks, monuments, and heritage areas.  Taking this route will bring you across the Rockies, through the wild Yellowstone National Park, and the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon.

  1. Pacific Coast Highway

Running along the coast from Northern California to Southern California, the Pacific Coast Highway shows some of the best views that California has to offer.  If you’re looking for an interesting place to stop, this route has Venice Beach, the Queen Mary, the Bixby Bridge, Hearst Castle, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Glass Beach to name a few.  Your big rig may not fit through a redwood tree but a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway is a must-drive, especially if you’ve got time for a little fun.  

  1. US Route 2

If your route takes you into NH in the fall, you’re in for a treat.  New England is awash in reds, yellows, and oranges as the trees burst with vibrant colors.  US Route 2 goes from Northern Maine through the White Mountain National Forest in NH, home to Mount Washington which boasts the second coldest temperature ever recorded anywhere in the world, and through quaint towns in Vermont.  After popping up through Canada, Route 2 picks up in the U.S. again in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and continues across the upper U.S. through Montana and ending in Washington.    

  1. Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway

Also known as the “Appian Way of America”, the PP-OO highway is a historical gem.  It was built before the national highway system was put in to bypass small towns.  This road takes you through farmlands, hills, and nearly-forgotten towns.

  1. Interstate 77

This route travels from Cleveland, Ohio to Charlotte, South Carolina.  It takes you through the dramatic Blue Ridge Mountains and into downtown Charlotte where you can take a break and check out the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

  1. Scenic Byway 163

Traveling along this scenic route through Monument Valley on the Utah and Arizona border, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the set of a movie about the Old West with a huge rock formation backdrop.  You’ll definitely want to stop for photos on this one.

  1. The Swiss Alps of Texas

 

Yes, The Swiss Alps.  Of Texas. If you can squeeze part of this loop that spans Highways 337, 187, and 470 into your route, you will be rewarded with picturesque hills and deep canyons and rivers.  It may not be exactly like the real Swiss Alps but it’s a beautiful drive just the same.

Incorporating a scenic route into your drive can make any ride more enjoyable and can break the monotony that sometimes comes with driving a regular route.  If you’re looking for loads that may take you along some of the more scenic routes of the U.S., Direct Freight Services can help. Our full-service load board can help you find loads all over the country and has numerous useful features such as full credit reports, credit scores, load filtering, payment expectations, and broker authority information as well.  Check out the Direct Freight website to find out more. 

 

Sources:

https://usroute89.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_101

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/us2.cfm

https://www.wmur.com/article/mt-washington-tied-for-second-coldest-place-on-earth-saturday/14769919

http://www.ppoo.org

https://utah.com/scenic-drive/monument-valley

https://www.texasoutside.com/texas-scenic-drives/