Change in Hours of Service

change-in-hours-of-service

 

As of September 29, 2020, there have been four major updates to the hours-of-service rules for commercial truck drivers. These rules include changing how long-haul truck drivers are required to take breaks, lengthening how far short-haul drivers can travel in one day, unfavorable driving conditions, and the sleeper berth provision. The rules remain focused on highway safety but give more flexibility for drivers.

The four main Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) updates to Hours of Service Rules (HOS) include:

  • The expansion of the short-haul exception from 100 air-miles to 150 air-miles this change also extends the permitted work hours from 12 hours to 14 hours. The motor carrier is still required to keep track of the driver’s time in, time out, and total hours per day.

    The record must also include how many hours the driver has worked for the previous seven days. The carrier must keep these records for six months. Although records are not required to be kept  in  the truck, it is recommended in case the driver were to get pulled over and law enforcement requested them.

  • An increase in the driving window during unfavorable driving conditions by up to two hours. This updated rule allows the driver to have discretion and has focused on the fact that the driver must make the assessment after their last qualifying break.

    Unfavorable driving conditions include snow, ice, fog, sleet, etc. along with unusual road or traffic conditions that were not known or could not have reasonably been known to a driver before the start of the duty day or before starting to drive after a qualifying rest break or sleeper berth period, as well as a motor carrier before they dispatched the driver. Drivers must also make notes that include details about the unfavorable driving conditions in their log or ELD.

  • A requirement of a 30-minute break after driving a cumulative eight hours instead of on-duty time, this rule also allows anon-duty/not driving period to qualify as the required break.
  • Changing the sleeper berth exception allowing drivers to meet the 10-hour minimum of off-duty requirement by spending 7 of those 10 hours, instead of 8, in the berth, and a minimum off-duty period of no less than 2 hours spent inside or outside of the berth, provided the two periods equal at least 10 hours neither qualifying period counts against the 14-hour driving window.

Keeping up-to-date on the Hours of Services changes is very important. These changes allow you to comply with current regulations . The HOS rules are created to keep drivers safe and have been revised to focus on the input that was given from drivers and carriers. It is your job as a driver to read and understand the new, revised rules, so you can be at your best on the road.

Winter Driving Safety Tips

winter-safety-driving-tips

Winter months are upon us and it is time to make sure you double down on making sure safety is your number one priority while traveling. When you have a deadline to make a delivery, it’s easy to rush and not pay enough attention to your surroundings In addition, winter brings along extra stress, cold temperatures, ice, and snow, all of which can make driving even more dangerous.

It takes a lot of skill as a truck driver to maneuver in winter weather conditions. Having the knowledge to implement preventative safety skills is what differentiates a professional driver from the rest. They know how to make good decisions, when it is not safe to drive, and when to take it slow. Here are some tips for winter driving that can be valuable to the professional truck driver.

Driving Tips

  1. Slow down. Many accidents happen due to excessive speed. It may be legal to drive the speed limit, but when there are snow and ice covered roads, it is usually too fast. Take your time and slow down.
  2. Leave plenty of space. Make sure there is enough space between you and the vehicle in front of and beside you when possible.
  3. Do not travel as part of a pack. Many times traffic moves in packs on the highway. Try to find a way to move away from the pack safely, so you can travel alone with your goal being to make sure there is plenty of room around your truck.
  4. Never push beyond the limits of your equipment. Make sure you understand what your equipment can handle. It is one of the best ways to stay safe.
  5. Stay parked. Being nervous while driving in bad weather is normal. If you feel nervous, stay parked, call your dispatch, and reschedule your delivery appointment.
  6. Keep a bag of kitty litter in your truck. When your tires are warm, they can change the snow you parked on into ice. If you find yourself stuck, kitty litter under your tires can give you the extra traction needed to get going.
  7. Warm up the windshield. Turn your defroster on high for about one minute to get the glass warmed up prior to cleaning it with fluid.
  8. Check the tail lights. Check your tail lights and license plate when you make a stop and make sure they are clean. Something as simple as a tail wind or draft can cause them to be covered.
  9. Use good, solid judgment. If the weather gets so bad that you need to get off the road, try to find someplace to get off the road safely and wait to get back on the road until the conditions have improved.
  10. Do not pull off onto the shoulder of the road. Stopping on the side of the road in low visibility situations can be dangerous. Other drivers might mistake your reason for being on the shoulder, which could result in them slamming into the back of your truck.
  11. Make sure everything is ready to go. Check to make sure your defroster and heater are working properly. Also check the wipers, wiper motor, and lights. Top off the washer fluid, drain moisture from the air tanks, and make sure your brakes are adjusted. Clean all windows and mirrors before leaving.
  12. Keep fuel tanks full.  Full tanks provide extra weight/traction for your drive tires.  Having a full tank also reduces the amount of condensation that can form on the inside of your tank, this reduces the likelihood of accumulating ice in your fuel system.  Lastly in the event you are stranded those full tanks could save your life by providing you with heat for several days.

It may seem like a hassle and time consuming to follow these tips for driving safely during the winter months, but they will help keep you and fellow travelers safe. . Direct Freight Services want to make sure you and your load are safe at all times. Check out the truck stop locations on our website to see if there is a stop on your route that will benefit you on your travels.

A Guide to Truck Wheel Polishing

a-guide-to-wheel-polishing

As a truck driver you are proud of your big rig and you have every right to be. You spend most of your days and nights in it like it is your home. Just like your home, you want your truck to look spectacular with the latest gadgets and for it to outshine all the others. However, you may find it hard to find a time to have a professional clean it up after it has been on the road for a while. It may take days or weeks before someone else could do it, and with your schedule, you may not know the next time you will be home. Therefore, you may want to think about purchasing your own equipment to make your truck look shiny and presentable.

One area of your truck that may need more attention than other areas are the wheels. Your wheels go through a lot out on the road. They encounter rocks, mud, water, snow, ice, etc., all of which can cause them to become dirty with scratches. Zephyr is a well-known company that sells custom polishing products. They have been around for 30 years and are the leading, globally trusted brand name in the Heavy Duty truck market. Zephyr has all the tools you will need to keep your truck’s wheels up to par. Visit them at www.zephyrpro40.com to check out all of the products you will need.

Here is a go-to guide on how to polish your wheels when they need some tender loving care.

Safety First

– The first thing you will want to do is make sure you have all of the protective equipment and gear. You will be using airway buffing wheels which requires the use of safety flanges. These flanges are molded from high-density composite nylon and are lightweight but as strong as aluminum. They must be secured to each side of the buffing wheel and are mandatory when using airway buffing wheels.

– Your personal protective gear needs to consist of ear protection, hand protection, eye protection, and most importantly, respiratory protection.

Supplies Needed

  • Variable speed sander/grinder 0-6,000 rpm
  • Safety flanges and personal protective gear
  • Airway buffing wheels: yellow, green, and white
  • Compound/Rouge: tripoli, moss green, and blue moon
  • Zephyr Pro 40
  • Microfiber towels
  • Zephyr Pro 50 Eliminator

 Primary Cutting: 3200rpm

First you will use the 8 yellow mill treated buffing wheel and tripoli compound. To begin, you will need to break in the buffing wheel by raking it and fraying the edges. This also allows it to more easily take the compound. Don’t forget, the buffer spins counter clockwise so be careful when applying the compound. Next, hold the bar of rouge on the buffing wheel working it from one edge to the other for about 3 seconds. Now, break your wheel down into sections. Begin with the face of the wheel and work your way out to the edge. Go left to right, bottom to top, with nice even passes. Don’t apply too much pressure. Instead, let the grinder spin freely and take your time, making sure you make even passes and overlapping each previous pass. Move up slowly and push your black line of compound gradually forward. Once the black line starts to fade, you will need to take all of the old burnt-on compound off of the pad and reapply more, then repeat. This is the most important step in the polishing process. If done right, you will have laid the groundwork for a striking mirror finish and the rest is easy.

Secondary Cutting: 3200rpm

You should now have a shiny surface with a light haze and what looks like hash marks. Don’t worry, this is normal. Now it is time to get the green buffing wheel and green moss compound. Rake your wheel just like before and apply compound to the wheel. Once again, start from the inside and work your way to the edge. The green moss rouge will give your wheels that high luster, show quality shine. In between steps, take a microfiber towel and apply some Pro 50 Eliminator on to the wheels. This will take away any leftover compound from around the holes. Leave the Pro 50 Eliminator on after the secondary stage. This will let you see exactly where your polishing line is as well as cleaning all of the green rouge off before moving on to the final step.

Final Finish: 1600-1800rpm

Finally, grab the white buffing wheel and the blue moon compound. Just like before, start from the inside and work your way out to the edges. This will break down any buffing lines left and blend it all together. If you do all three steps just like this, then the result should be a metal, flawless mirror.

Sealing in the Shine

Now it’s time to highlight that super shine you just created by sealing and protecting it. Using a microfiber towel and the Zephyr Pro 40, fold the towel into quarters and apply about a half-dollar size amount on it. Wipe down the wheel by going with the grain, applying it nice and evenly over the entire wheel. Let it dry and use a fresh microfiber towel to remove it. This repels water and road grime that your wheels may catch out on the road. Use the Pro 40 metal polish for maintenance thereafter.

It may not always be easy for you to find time to polish your own wheels or other parts of your truck, so running through a truck wash may be a good idea to hold you over until you can find time. Direct Freight Services provides helpful trucking links, including truck washes, that you can checkout under the more services tab.

The Best Top Stacks for Your Exhaust

the-best-top-stacks-for-your-exhaust

Making your truck look good sometimes means you will have to add on aftermarket parts. A lot of trucks do not come with all of the nice chrome accessories or high-quality parts. Replacing existing parts and customizing your truck can make it look and operate better. Choosing the best accessories for your truck should be something you take into serious consideration. You want the best so you do not have to continuously replace them. You want high-quality products from a manufacturer that you can trust and come back to time and time again. One of those accessories that you should spend time researching in order to pick the right one for your needs is a top stack. According to sales and reviews, there are two companies that consumers believe carry the best truck exhaust stacks and who are known for their high-quality products-Dynaflex and Lincoln Chrome. Before doing any type of research or shopping, you need to measure your exhaust so you can properly fit the top stacks. Then it will be time to choose your stack.

Measuring Your Exhaust

You will need to measure the internal and external diameter of your exhaust. The internal diameter is the inside of the pipe, which gives you the measurement for the other pipe you would fit into it. The external diameter gives you the measurement for another pipe that you would fit around it and measures the pipe itself. Here is a simple how-to guide.

  • Internal: measure the pipe opening from edge to edge, not including the pipe, just the hole.
  • External: measure the pipe opening from edge to edge, including the pipe.

Choosing Top Stacks

Choosing a top stack may be more overwhelming and difficult than you think. There are so many options and variances between each one. Make sure you think about the overall look you are wanting along with the current look of your truck. For instance, if you are gradually adding new parts, then you will want some unity between old and new so your truck still looks good throughout the process.

Company #1: Dynaflex

Dynaflex manufactures products that are made in the USA. They are also known for being the manufacturers of the Original Monster Stacks and have been in business since 1972. Their focus is to produce exhaust systems for heavy duty vehicles. Dynaflex is known for having a deluxe, unique line up of products featuring nine styles and being of very high-quality. Customers believe that Dynaflex produces consistent products, is top in innovation, and agree that by using a Dynaflex part, you will grab attention and turn heads. The only downside to Dynaflex is that their products are some of the most expensive on the market. However, sometimes you get what you pay for, and if lasting, high-quality products are what you want, then Dynaflex may be the brand for you.

Company #2: Lincoln Chrome

Lincoln Chrome is known for their high-quality chrome exhaust systems and accessories. They have been in business since 1952 and consider chrome to be their specialty. Lincoln Chrome also focuses on the heavy duty truck market and makes seven different styles of part. They are known as a premium product brand who makes high quality products and produces long-lasting durable products that look good. All of their products are made in Nebraska and are slightly less expensive than Dynaflex, many are a plus for many consumers.

Choosing the right top stack for your truck may be overwhelming but it should also be a fun time for you. Afterall, your truck is like your home, spending many hours driving in it, so you want it to reflect who you are. You really can’t go wrong with either brand. It’s all about finding the right part that suits your needs and your truck. Once you have your truck the way you want it and are ready to get out on the road, contact Direct Freight Services so we can help you find the next load to haul.

Corona Virus Updates

coronavirus-updates-for-truckers

It’s safe to say that 2020, the year of perfect vision, has not gone as expected- we have entered a new world of masks, medicine, and isolation. The rise of COVID-19 cases worldwide in the early Spring put much of us in between a rock and a hard place, but it is important to remember that there is still hope, and that we are going to get through this together.

COVID-19 In The United States

COVID-19 is a disease caused by just one type of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), dubbed the novel coronavirus, meaning it is the newest one discovered. Coronaviruses have been responsible for epidemics in the past including, SARS and MERS, but none have spread to this global scale before. This is because this strain of coronavirus is quite infective, meaning it’s very good at spreading from person to person- it is spread through airborne droplets.

It came as a shock to everyone when countries began rapidly shutting down as COVID-19 cases multiplied after the discovery of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States occurred in January when travelers arrived from Wuhan, but it didn’t really start gaining ground until March when a nationwide call for isolation was released.

Since then, the United States has been locked down, but some states are working on slowly reopening to return to normalcy without causing a huge influx of cases. Soon we will be able to return to the lives we had before COVID-19, and we will return stronger and wiser for the wear.

Staying Healthy

Staying healthy during a pandemic such as this is not limited to avoiding contracting the virus, it encompasses all areas of health. Taking care of yourself and your loved ones is crucial during such stressful times.

The most-reported way of keeping yourself and everyone else safe is by socially distancing by at least 6 feet from others and wearing masks. Social distancing keeps you away from people who may be carrying diseases, and masks block particles that might contain the virus from blowing into the air and infecting others. Masks and social distancing are inconvenient, but they are what research has shown to be effective right now.

Now that masks are out of the way, it is crucial that you pay attention to your mental health. Stress and isolation are not a good combination for the mental health of anyone, especially those who are predisposed to mental illness. However, there are things you can do to alleviate the ill-effects of quarantine: picking up a new hobby such as learning an instrument, woodworking, reading, or painting can all be a good place to start to combat boredom and increase your productivity!

Physical health is also extremely important, so make sure that you are exercising regularly to the best of your ability. You can accomplish this by taking walks, hiking, fishing, or playing golf! If these options are not available to you, then you can work out at home using your own plans or finding resources online. 10-minute High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts are a fun and low-impact way to stay healthy that have recently gained popularity!

Staying Connected

Staying connected is one of the most important ways to stay healthy during this pandemic- it’s so important that it has its own heading. We can have an incredible reach with the technology that is right at the edge of our fingertips- people love being connected, and it’ll make you happier as well. Staying connected is easy once you start, call your family, text your friends and coworkers, and you could even video chat with all of them!

Final Thoughts

2020 may still be the year of perfect vision as we learn more about ourselves and the world which we live in. As we return to normalcy, we should remember to be kinder, more compassionate, and more optimistic than ever before because we have the power to make the best of our situations if we try.

We will beat this pandemic, but right now the best thing you can do is make sure that you and the important people in your life are happy and healthy. Try to learn all that you can about yourself and others so that you can emerge from this time as an even better person than you were before!

Tips for Passing Roadside Inspections

 

tips-for-passing-roadside-inspections

No matter how long you have been a truck driver and no matter how new or old your truck is, there will come a time when you will have to encounter a roadside inspection. It is easy for some individuals to become worked up and panic; however, there is no need for that to happen. Just remember, you are not the only one who gets inspected. Everyone will be inspected at some point during the year, so take a deep breath and try to remember the following tips to help get through it, get back on the road quickly, and without a citation.

  1. Always Perform a DVIR. Performing pre-trip inspections before you hit the road is always a good idea. Following a Driver’s Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) can help you check off all the right boxes on your truck. This report includes checking your battery, brakes, clutch, defrost, exhaust, horn, lights, mirrors, safety equipment, tires, and windows. These items are just a few of the things you should check. Make sure you also pay close attention during your own inspection. Attention to detail will pay off during a roadside inspection and it’s also a safer way to drive. 
  2. Review the Annual Vehicle Inspection Report. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Annual Vehicle Inspection Report outlines all of the same things that will be checked if you have to go through a Level I Roadside Inspection. It is a good idea to review this report before your area’s Department of Transportation inspection period every summer. 
  3. Keep Your Truck Clean. Make sure your truck, tires, wheels, and interior are as clean as possible. Doing this may be the key to a fast inspection, as it lets the inspectors know that you are a responsible and detail-oriented driver. It also keeps everything visible to the inspectors for a fast walk-a-around.
  4. Know Where Your Emergency Supplies Are. Make sure you always know where your roadside emergency warning triangles and fire extinguisher are. Knowing where these items are at all times will not only help you pass a roadside inspection, but it will also help you in different situations. 
  5. Don’t Rush. If for some reason you get waved in for a closer look during an inspection, don’t be in a hurry. If you decide to rush the inspection, you could make the inspector angry. Instead, pull in slowly, follow the signs, and watch out for foot traffic in the inspection area. 
  6. No Radar Detectors. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not allow radar detectors; therefore, it would be wise not to have one in your cab. 
  7. Make Sure Your Dog is Secure. If your dog is traveling with you, make sure the first thing you do after you get parked is to put them in a secure dog carrier, especially if they are aggressive or nervous. This will not only help the inspector do their job, but it will also keep your dog safe from traffic. 
  8. Admit to Any Known Problems. Tell the truth about any problems you may know about and could cause further inspection. It is possible the inspector might waive the citations if you have shown that you know about the issue, discovered it recently, and are working toward getting it fixed. 
  9. Know How to Work Your ELD. The inspector will ask to look at your Electronic Logging Device (ELD), so be sure you understand how to email your e-logs to the inspector. This will help speed up the inspection process so you can get back on the road. 
  10. Have Your Documents in Order. Make sure you have your documentation organized, in order, and easily accessible in a binder or folder. You will need to have your driver’s license, registration, vehicle insurance, Medical Examiner’s Certificate, Record of Duty Status, annual inspection records, hazardous materials paperwork, IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) card, and permit credentials. 
  11. Carry Extra Equipment. It is important to carry plenty of equipment for securing loads. Loads that are not secured correctly are one of the most notorious reported problems during inspections. You’ll never be sorry that you packed extra tarps and straps. 

 

The best advice any truck driver could get for passing an FMCSA Roadside Inspection is to simply be prepared. Making sure you create a habit of prioritizing the following items every day could save you from getting citations or causing delays and Out-of-Service Orders.

  • Brakes that are out of adjustment or other brake issues
  • Tires that are under-inflated or too worn
  • Securing of loads
  • Damage to lights
  • Windshield damage or obstruction
  • Oil leaks

Direct Freight wants to make sure that your trips are worth the drive and you and your load stay safe. Here at Direct Freight Services, we can help you find the right load for you. We also offer services that can make your drives easier, such as truck stop locations, mileage calculator, and trucking links. To learn more about our services, visit us at directfreight.com. 

Appreciating the American Trucker

appreciating-the-american-trucker

The United States is a huge country, there are literally millions of miles of roadways all totaled, and around 50,000 of those miles are interstates. This land of highways and byways is navigated constantly by commuters, families, and the unmistakable American icons, Big Rigs.

We live in a highly commercial nation that requires goods to be shipped from sea to shining sea, up North, and Down south. This is an incredibly large job with a complex infrastructure that is maintained by silent heroes who put in long hours to keep the United States up and running.

Logistical Logic

The United States is filled with innovators and makers who produce everything from agricultural to electronic products. Each of these sources needs a means of delivering to their customers, and the most effective way to do that on a large scale is by truck. With an increase in transit services needed, trucking is an in-demand career with over 3.5 million truckers employed in the United States according to Census data.

Almost half of America’s truckers work over 40 hours per week when driving all over the nation. This is an incredible time investment, and it is completely necessary for the United States to continue functioning and growing.

America’s Most Important People

Everything commercially produced that we buy at stores was on a truck at some point before it reached the shelves. It is impossible to go anywhere in the United States without seeing the effects of trucking.

Truckers are a diverse group of men and women representing all ages and races- these people are the true nurturers of the American economy. Without truckers, it would be impossible to accomplish the feats of economic success that the United States has been able to lavish in.

America’s most important people are not celebrities, politicians, or pop stars- they are not the people that work hard every day to keep the store shelves full, the companies supplied, and ensure that Americans are able to access what they need. Truckers are most certainly some of America’s most important people, and they deserve to be recognized as such.

Why Truckers Deserve Recognition

Next time you pick up a box of cereal at the grocery store; call someone on your phone; or put your clothes on, think about the complex steps taken for you to be able to do that. Truckers are the bridge from production to consumption, and it is their hard work that allows you to be clothed, fed, and entertained.

It is a great thing to live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, so make sure you remember to show your appreciation for those who make your life better. Truckers are brave to face the harsh driving conditions and long hours required to do the job right, in addition to this around 10% of truckers are veterans who protected our freedom!

Final Thoughts

Truckers deserve our thanks and appreciation as they are true champions of the American dream. They provide us with an incredible service every day, working hard so that we can rest easy knowing we can access the things we need. With this, we want to say thank you to all the American truckers, we appreciate what you do for us!

Celebrating Women in Trucking

celebrating-women-in-trucking

 

When it comes to driving big semi-trucks, what do you think of? Many people automatically think of blue jeans, flannel shirts, ball caps and beards. All trademarks of a trucker, right? Not hardly. There is more to being a truck driver than those things, and women today are making 

headway in the trucking industry! Women truck drivers are becoming the future of big rig truck driving. 

As of April 2019, there were 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States, and of those, 7.89% were women. This may be a low percentage due to a variety of factors, one being the fact that many women have a family to raise and would therefore be sacrificing their time away from them. However, that does not mean that truck driving is a men only profession. Not only are some companies encouraging and recruiting women to become truck drivers, but women themselves want to get behind the big wheel. 

Benefits 

Women make contributions to the trucking industry, including being 20% less likely than men to be involved in a crash. According to Ellen Voie, the CEO and founder of the nonprofit Women

in Trucking Association (WIT), carriers often tell her that women take better care of their equipment, are easier to train, and have outstanding customer service and paperwork skills. Women are also statistically 45% less likely to participate in logbook violations and 60% less likely to commit hours of service violations. There are many positive benefits for women truckers. One major benefit is equal pay. Trucking companies do not pay their employees based on their gender, age, or ethnicity, but rather on mileage or the load of the percentage. Therefore, women receive competitive pay and benefits that trucking companies offer to their male counterparts. The mean wage for a commercial truck driver is $42,500 and women have more opportunity for advancement into management positions in the trucking industry than others. Female truckers also have a community of other women who are in the trucking industry to connect with. Besides WIT, which encourages the employment of women in trucking, promotes their accomplishments, and decreases obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry, REAL Women in Trucking is also a huge advocate. This organization provides their community of readers with information and support to educate women who want to have a career in trucking and to improve the lives of those who are already truckers. Family passes are also becoming popular among trucking companies. These family passes allow truckers to bring their spouses, children, or pets on the road with them. 

Challenges 

Being a truck driver isn’t easy for women. They have to face hardships such as leaving their family behind at home, sexism, lack of female accommodated truck stops, and safety issues. Safety concerns are one of the most common issues, and not just for women. Some of these 

concerns include poorly lit loading docks and being pushed to drive in inclement weather. Organizations such as WIT are working with truck stops to improve safety and recommending changes such as improved lighting and additional security guards. WIT also hosts self-defense classes and works with truck manufacturers to install safety alarms and ergonomic additions for female truck drivers in their cabs. Many trucks are designed and built for someone of a larger stature than the average woman. This can make for an uncomfortable drive which can prove to be a challenge when you are on the road for 10 hours or more. It is also likely that women truck drivers may encounter harassment due to this being a male-dominated field. To help with this, truck driving schools are providing female-led training for women who are new to the profession. 

Other Titles 

Not all women who are in the trucking industry are drivers. There are many women who are behind the scenes that work to make sure female drivers are being advocated for and who make sure their female drivers are safe out on the road. Women who work behind the scenes have careers in management and are trainers and advocates. There are even women who own their own trucking companies. No matter what type of career a female has in the trucking industry, it is an important one in order to encourage women to become truck drivers. 

The staff here at Direct Freight Services knows the importance of having women drivers and the things they can offer the trucking industry. Even though there is a shortage of female truck

drivers and it is a male-dominated field, that doesn’t mean women shouldn’t be celebrated. Whether it is driving a big rig across the country or working behind the scenes, women who work in the trucking industry care deeply about their job. They work hard, encounter many hardships, and sacrifice their time away from their family. Now that’s something worth celebrating!

Great Trucker Movies

great-trucker-movies

The movie industry has long had a love affair with the trucking industry and why not?  The idea of freedom that comes with life on the road lends itself well to storytelling, whether it’s adventure, horror, comedy, or even romantic comedies.  It can be dangerous, the scenery beautiful, and you never know what’s coming around the bend.

Trucking movies became hugely popular in the 1970s when truck drivers were seen as cowboy heroes and the use of CB radios became popular but by the late ‘80s, trucking culture began to fade, and a new form of trucker movie was ushered in:  trucker horror movies.  In these, the drivers or the trucks themselves were the bad guys, usually ruthless killers with an ax to grind, so to speak, with some unsuspecting motorist.  

Being a truck driver in real life may not have chases or serial killers, but trucker movies are always a good time! 

Convoy (1978)

When you think of trucker movies, often the one that first comes to mind, at least for the older generation, is Convoy.  It was inspired by the country song of the same name by C.W. McCall.  It didn’t fare well at the box office but became a cult classic for truckers everywhere.  

Every Which Way But Loose (1978)

Another classic from the ‘70s.  Clint Eastwood stars as Philo Beddoe in this comedy as a truck driver and his buddy who always steals the show, an orangutan named Clyde.  Beddoe is a former trucker-turned-prize-fighter who falls for a country singer played by Sondra Locke.  When she feels he’s getting too serious, she flees, making it a romantic comedy/trucker/pursuit movie.

Flatbed Annie and Sweetiepie: Lady Truckers (1979)

The abundance of trucker movies in the ‘70s didn’t forget female drivers.  This one stars Annie Potts and Kim Darby as friends who take up the driving reigns after Sweetiepie’s husband is injured.  Between a repo man and hijackers, the two have their hands full.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

This is one of the most popular trucker movies to date.  Burt Reynolds and Jerry Reed star as drivers who have to make a strict deadline across the south.  Sally Field joins them as a hitchhiker who left her groom at the altar and they’re pursued across the country by the father of the groom, Sheriff Buford T. Justice, played by Jackie Gleason.

White Line Fever (1975)

Jan Michael Vincent plays a man who returns home from the Air Force to try and make it as a long-haul produce driver.  He finds the business rife with corruption and must fight it to survive.

Joy Ride (2001)

Paul Walker and Steve Zahn star as brothers in this cross-country thriller.  The two play brothers on a road trip when one taunts a mysterious truck driver known only as Rusty Nail who turns out to be a psychotic murderer seeking revenge.  Two sequels followed in 2008 and 2014.  

Maximum Overdrive (1986)

In this fun Stephen King thriller, the machines come to life after Earth passes near a mysterious comet and all the machines begin killing people.  The story centers around a group of people who are trapped at a truck stop and are being hunted by murderous trucks.

Trucker (2008)

This drama stars Michelle Monaghan as a truck driver whose 11-year-old son who she had abandoned years ago is left on her doorstep by his cancer-stricken father.  She does the only thing she can, takes him out on the road.  It also stars Nathan Fillion. 

Real-life driving is more professional than the average trucker movie but you can join in on the fun and enjoy some of these movies while you’re on the road.

At Direct Freight Services, our load board is one of the most comprehensive in the industry.  We provide a thorough, easy-to-use and up-to-date load board for shippers to post loads and for drivers to find them. Sign up today at Directfreight.com and see if Direct Freight can work for you!

Sources:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077369/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077523/

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079159/

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076729/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073896/?ref_=nv_sr_1

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0206314/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091499/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1087527/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2

How To Avoid Truck Driver Burnout

how-to-avoid-truck-driver-burnout

Driver burnout is a real problem that many drivers don’t want to admit experiencing.  The long hours, loneliness,  stress,  traffic, all of it can get to a driver and make him want to leave a job that he once enjoyed.

Causes of Driver Burnout

Usually, it’s not the job itself that leads to driver burnout but rather, specific aspects of it.  

Lack of Real Downtime.  Instead of being able to do something relaxing during downtime at home, time off is usually spent in the cab of the truck or in truckstops.  A day off on the road is not the same as a day off at home.  

Drivers Are Overworked.  Because drivers are paid by the mile, they need to be constantly moving to make money.  Even with HOS restrictions, drivers spend long hours without breaks to meet strict deadlines.

Lack of Sleep.  Sleeping on the road can be tough.  Truck stops can be noisy and sleep schedules irregular.  Often a driver’s sleep habits are just sleeping whenever they can.  Not getting a full 8 hours a night can lead to problems with both mental and physical health.

Signs of Driver Burnout

Signs of driver burnout may be brushed off as being tired and needing a vacation but it can be more serious than that.  Some signs include irritability, insomnia, getting sick frequently, exhaustion, obesity, and signs of depression.  One of the most obvious signs of driver burnout is not wanting to drive anymore.  A burnt-out driver may dread getting behind the wheel of their truck, a job they used to love.  Once they do get in the truck, they may take frequent breaks or spend lots of time at truck stops, not for rest but as a way of avoiding the job.  The next step is quitting altogether.  

How To Get Over It

Driving a truck is not an easy lifestyle.  If there was a time that the job made you happy and you’d like to get that feeling back, you may be able to overcome your burnout and enjoy driving again.

Take regular days off each week.  This may not be easy but if you can swing it, having regular days off at home will give you something to look forward to each week and your mind and body will get used to the routine.

While on the road, take breaks.  Again, it may not always be easy, but it’s important for your mind and body to relax during a hectic day.

Try a regular route.  Having a regular route with regular stops can help your body get into a regular pattern of sleep.  

Take time off.  A vacation, even if it’s spent at home can recharge your batteries and give you something to look forward to.   It’s better than being forced to take time off because you’ve burned out and made yourself sick.

Make time for exercise.  Regular exercise will help fight obesity, depression, and a whole bunch of other health problems.

Eat healthy foods.  A healthy diet goes hand-in-hand with exercise to make your mind and body strong and healthy.  

Get a hobby.  Nourishing your interests will give you something to think about instead of only the job.  If it’s one that can be done in your truck, even better!  

Occupy your mind.  Listen to something stimulating like audiobooks or podcasts.  They’ll pass the time while entertaining you or teaching you something.    

Get help.  A therapist can help you work through your issues that may be causing your burnout and help you find the right path forward.

Driver burnout can ruin your driving career.  By taking a proactive approach and keeping some of the usual causes of driver burnout in check, you may be able to have a long and rewarding driving career without burnout.  

Direct Freight Services is a web-based load board that 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 Driver app, Direct Freight helps you find the right loads. Go to DirectFreight.com and start searching for loads.  We’re always here to bring you the high-quality loads you need!