Category: essential workers

How the Suez Canal crisis may affect trucking

The story of the quarter mile-long Ever Given cargo ship becoming beached in the Suez Canal has been all over the media recently. Blocking one of the world’s most important shipping routes for 6 days, the stalling of the Ever Given has created a crisis that has cost billions in trade and has slowed down shipping for weeks due to the backlog of ships. So, what does this have to do with the transportation of goods on trucks in the United States?

It may have a considerable impact. Even though domestic goods can be shipped as scheduled, international imports may be severely delayed, leading to disrupted routes and a lull in transportation, until the effects of the crisis are mitigated. There are many benefits to participating in a globalized economy of the 21st century including decreased costs of importing and exporting goods, but when a major crisis occurs such as in the Suez Canal, almost every industry whether international or domestic can expect to take a hit.

Suez Canal

The Suez Canal is the largest canal in the World without locks (locks are mechanically operated dams that change the water levels of an area allowing them to be raised and lowered to accommodate the change in topography between two bodies of water). The canal was first constructed in 1869 by French Investors taking advantage of the thin stretch of land between mainland Egypt and the Isthmus of Suez to provide a more expedient trade route from Asia to Europe.

Since then, it has provided a major international shipping lane which reduces the duration of transit by an average of 10 days from alternative routes. Other major blockages include the Suez Crisis in 1956 and a blockage by a Russian ship in 2004. Each blockage of the canal has reinforced the appreciation of the importance of this trade route in international commerce.

Sticky Situation

A few weeks ago the Ever Given, a Taiwanese cargo ship, was grounded as it was pushed into the shallows of the Suez Canal by strong winds. This colossal ship blocked the canal off and required a large team of engineers and tugboats to free the ship, 6 days after it had been stuck. This sticky situation caused over 400 ships to be backlogged at the canal, and countless others to be delayed as they were redirected to go around the Cape of Good Hope at the bottom of the African continent, which adds another 10 days on average to the journey.

The cost of goods being delayed because of this crisis is estimated to be around $9.6 billion, or around $6.7 million per minute of the blockage. This has a major economic impact on industries around the globe as this is a large amount of goods that are delayed. 

The Domestic Economic Issue with the Crisis

The Suez Canal incident may have serious domestic implications, especially when imported goods are expected to arrive at a specific time. It is likely that the supply chain will be slowed for a long time until returning to normal due to the huge impact of the blockage. In addition to the slow down, some goods may not be able to be transported as perishable shipments may have to be discarded because of their time-sensitive nature. Imported food shipments may be reduced during this time because of the perishable goods being thrown out.

Even with the devastating effect on the economy and effectiveness of the supply chain through the Suez Canal, the global market will recover soon. The people that maintain the canal now know how to resolve blockages more rapidly in the future. The trucking industry will likely take a small financial hit, especially in the imported goods sector, but huge losses and delays are unlikely.

Sources:
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-56559073
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/25/world/middleeast/suez-canal-container-ship.html
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/03/29/world/suez-canal-stuck-ship

Tips to extend the life of your DPF and keep filters running cleaner

If you’re like most people, breathing is probably one of your favorite activities. It’s definitely an important function for remaining alive, and breathing clean air makes the experience all the more positive. For this reason, alongside the societal health benefits of reducing pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated in 2007 that DPFs (Diesel Particulate Filters) be installed in vehicles that use diesel as a fuel source to keep excess soot out of the air we breathe.

DPFs are great for the environment and the health and safety of people that live near heavily driven roads, but they can be expensive when not properly maintained. Allowing your DPF to regenerate often, keeping track of the miles you have traveled, and paying attention to any warning lights can help ensure your DPF is functional and effective for as long as possible, which can save you time and money. 

A Little Particulate

DPFs filter the emissions from the engine and collect the fine particulates that come from burning diesel fuel and residual engine oil before releasing the filtered air into the environment. These filters catch soot and ash that tend to build up in the DPF until a process called regeneration takes place. The regeneration process is where the real magic happens when it comes to prolonging the life of your DPF. This occurs when the temperature of the exhaust is high enough to burn off the soot and ash. 

Keeping Your DPF Healthy

There are some actions you can take to keep your DPF cleaner for longer, preventing the need for regeneration or costly repairs that come from avoidable mistakes. The three main things to pay attention to when watching out for the health of your DPF are: engine cleanliness, engine heat at startup, and the type of fuel you use. Making sure to follow these tips will prolong the life of your DPF, which will save you time and money in the future.

Having clean cylinders (meaning free of residual oil) will ensure that fewer particles will enter your DPF.  This is because most of the soot and ash particles are caused by the combustion of engine oil that contains additives, which promote the health of your engine, but create particulates when burned. Watching the consumption of your engine oil and keeping track of it can help to show how clean your cylinders are and if there is an issue that needs to be addressed to reduce particulate buildup.

In extreme cold warming up the engine using a coolant heater is an effective way of promoting the efficiency of your vehicle while reducing the amount of soot and ash created. Allowing the engine time to become thoroughly warmed will keep your truck from idling too long and is easier on your engine than the cold-start method. The final measure you can take is monitoring what kind of fuel you use in your truck. Traditional petroleum diesel can have many particulate-causing compounds, but biodiesel burns more cleanly and efficiently. If possible, opt for biodiesel to extend the life of your DPF.

Final Thoughts

Promoting the health of your DPF by following these simple steps can help you save money from costly repairs and replacements. It will also help protect the environment from harmful emissions. Keeping your DPF from being overloaded with particulates is truly a win-win for everyone. 

Sources:
https://www.overdriveonline.com/equipment/article/15064706/3-tips-to-extend-dpf-life-and-keep-filters-running-clean
https://www.uti.edu/blog/diesel/diesel-particulate-filters

Trucking Industry Role in Distributing the Covid Vaccinations

covid-vaccinations-trucking-industry

Tackling the pandemic has been on the minds of drivers since the beginning. From distributing daily essentials to ensuring vaccines will make it to their administration locations on time, truck drivers have provided a means for all of this to happen effectively. With the return to an almost pre-pandemic volume of trucks on the road, there is a new aspect of the industry to be explored and that is the logistical demands of vaccine transport and delivery.

Logistical Legends

While many transportation vehicles, of all varieties, will be used to ensure that vaccines are being transported throughout the country and worldwide, trucks are the most prevalent means of getting vaccines to where they are needed. Even after a vaccine shipment leaves a boat or plane, a truck will then transport it to its destination. Speed is crucial in the vaccination process, as of right now, due to the need throughout the nation and the requirement that the vaccines be kept cold to remain effective.

Many trucks have been fitted with new equipment to preserve the extremely cold temperatures necessary for the vaccine to be properly stored. Some companies have created specially designed containers to keep everything cool as well. According to CNBC, the only companies shipping vaccinations throughout the nation are the largest logistical organizations in the country, UPS and FedEx. They have decided to divide the states into groups that each respective company will ship the vaccines to in a “divide and conquer” strategy.

A Major Role

Huge shipments of vaccines are currently being transported all over the nation, and this will likely continue until most people have received vaccinations and there is no longer a need. This will likely take a while as vaccines can only be produced so fast. Even with one of the best logistical systems in the world working as quickly as possible, there are still limitations. However, it is truly incredible to think of the speed at which even the smallest of towns and largest of cities are receiving vaccinations to keep their populations safe.

Truck drivers play a crucial role in the supply chain as they are the bridge between producer and consumer. Without the bridge, the entire system would collapse. With the increase in vaccine production and need, truck drivers across the nation have stepped up to ensure that the bridge is strong and wide enough for adequate numbers of vaccinations to be provided. This is a difficult and stressful undertaking, and we would like to thank every driver that has taken part in distributing vaccines.

Unsung Heroes

Truck drivers across the nation, from those who have transported vaccines to those who ensure the store shelves are filled are the unsung heroes of the pandemic. They have transported these items everywhere that they have been needed, even when times were uncertain. Even though many drivers will likely not be a part of the vaccine distribution process, all drivers are important to the health and safety of all people in our nation and beyond.

Truck driving is a difficult, yet rewarding career, and there is definitely no greater reward than knowing that you are keeping thousands of people safe just by doing your job. Thank you to all drivers who have worked during this pandemic. Without you, things would have been much worse. With your hard work and dedication, we are on the path to rebuilding and becoming better than ever before!

Reducing Stress while Truck Driving

“That stresses me out!” This is a phrase that we hear often about a variety of subjects. Stress is something that all people deal with to some degree, as it is a biological response to a stimulus that is perceived as being dangerous or concerning. Stress is a feeling of physical tension and anxiety and cortisol, the primary hormone associated with stress, is known to raise blood pressure and increase heart rates in those with higher-than-normal levels.

The Wear of the Road

Truck driving can be a very rewarding career with the ability to travel across the nation and solid pay after a few years of experience. However, this can also be a very stressful career as it is fast-paced, full of responsibility, and hugely schedule-dependent. Managing the safety of your cargo while providing expedient transport is a big responsibility, and can be very anxiety-inducing when it seems like you cannot make it to your destination on time.

These worries, coupled with long hours, can lead to a lot of stress which can be unhealthy for extended periods of time. This keeps your body running in survival mode which can lead to many ill effects on your health like, an increased risk of heart attack and stroke (According to the American Psychological Association). The good news is that stress is manageable with some effort and this means that you can remain calm and secure even in the worst situations.

Stress Management Tips

Stress seems like an insurmountable wall when you experience it firsthand, but it is possible to overcome the anxiety of the moment. One of the best things to remember when facing a stressful situation is that it will not last forever, and you will be free from it soon. If you find yourself experiencing stress, try to breathe slowly and evenly to lower your heart rate and blood pressure to reduce the panic response your body is producing. It may help to go to a quiet room or pull off at a truck stop to walk around for a minute or two. After you have initially calmed down, it is important to address the stress.

The best way to keep stress under control is by being aware of the things that cause you stress and learning how to better approach them before they upset you. Writing down things that cause you stress, and attempting to remove your exposure to them can be one strategy of reducing the number of stressors you are exposed to. If you cannot avoid the things that are stressing you out, it may be a good idea to find ways to better cope with them- this may take time and some compromise. For example, if you find yourself worrying about time, it can be a good idea to write down a schedule and try to stick to it. Simply writing down tasks you need to complete or times you need to arrive at various destinations can help you reduce the load on your brain and keep your thoughts organized.

A Note of Encouragement

Stress can be difficult and unhealthy, but it is possible to reduce the amount of stressful thoughts. Getting organized and giving yourself mental breaks, while trying to maintain regular breathing, goes a long way in reducing the stress you may experience. There are plenty of resources, with a wide array of strategies, available to help keep your stress at bay. Some may work better than others, so it is important to explore and find the strategy that is best for you. 

Tax Season For Truck Drivers: What Can I Write Off?

 

tax-season

Tax season is right around the corner! For truck drivers, this can be a daunting process. What items can you write off on your taxes and what items can you not write off? While a professional tax preparer is the best and safest way to do your taxes, you can do a lot of the tax preparation yourself. There are, however, a few guidelines that you need to be aware of if you’re going to do your taxes yourself.

A recent change that could affect you is that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has changed how some truck drivers can do their taxes if they receive a W-2. The Job-Related Travel Expenses (Form 2106) is no longer available due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Truck drivers that receive a W-2 cannot deduct certain items from their taxes anymore such as mileage and travel expenses.

If you do not receive a W-2, and fall under the independent contractor category for tax purposes, you can still claim business expenses on your tax return. Truck drivers who are independent contractors can claim a variety of tax deductions that relate to the expenses that arise from being a truck driver. We have compiled a list of all the work and travel related expenses that you can write off on your taxes as an independent contractor truck driver.

Your deductible items that you could report to the IRS at tax time include:

Accounting Fees
Administrative Fees
Air Freshener
Alarm Clocks
Antennas
ArmorAll
Atlas
Bank/ATM Fees
Batteries
Briefcase
Brokerage/Factoring Fees
Broom/Dust Pan
Bunk Heater
Cab Curtains
Cab/Bus Fare & Car Rental
Calculator
Camera
CB Radio
CDL
Cell Phone Bill
Check Cashing Fee
Cigarette Plug-in
Circuit Tester
Cleaning Supplies
Clipboard
ComCheck Fees
Computer Expense
Copies
Crowbar
?De-Icer
Disinfectant
Duct Tape
Electrical Tape
Fax
First Aid Supplies
Flashlight
Floor Mats
Form 2290 Tax PD
Fuel Expense
Fuel Paid
Fumigate Trailer
Gloves-work
GPS
Hand Cleaner
Hangers
Hard Hat
Insurance – Health
Insurance – Trailer
Insurance – Truck
Insurance – W/C
Internet Fees
?Jack Strap
Lap Desk
Laundry Bag
Laundry Expense
?Lease Equip
Legal Expense (not fines)
License Plates
?Log Book/Cover
Lumper Fees
Magnifying Glass
Map Light
Maps
Meals & Entertainment
Medical
Money Order Exp.
Motel/Hotel Expense
Office Supplies
Oil and/or Additives
Paper Towels
Parking
Payroll Expense
Permits
Physical (DOT)
Pillow
Postage
Power Booster
Power Cord
PrePass
Professional Fees
Qualcomm
Radio (Sirius, XM)
Rain Gear
Receipt Book
Safety Boots
Safety Clothing
Safety Glasses
Scale Tickets
Seat Covers
Security
Sheets
Shift Grip
Showers
Sleeping bag
Sleeping Fan
Sunglasses
Thermal Underwear
Tie Downs
Toiletries
Tolls
Tools/Equipment
Towels
Towing
Trailer Lease Payment
Trash Bags
Travel Expense
Travel Bags
Trip Charges
Truck Cables
Truck Lease Payment
Truck Magazine
Truck Repair & Maintenance
Truck Parts
Truck Tires
Truck/Trailer Storage
Truck Washes
Uniforms (if required)
Vacuum (portable)
WD-40
Window Screen

With a list of deductible items like this, you can go back through your travel and work expenses to find items, such as these, to write off on your taxes. If you haven’t kept an accurate record of your work-related expenses, this list can also help you know which receipts to hold onto for next year’s taxes.

Truck Driver Mask Mandate?

truck-driver-mandate

Due to recent events, there are many questions swirling around asking if truck drivers need to wear masks while driving. The President has issued executive orders that require facial coverings to be worn on federal lands and during interstate travel. Does this apply to you? We break it down below.

On January 21 2021, President Biden issued this executive order and there’s been some confusion about it ever since. What is clear is that masks are now required for interstate travel on commercial aircrafts, trains, public maritime vessels, and any kind of hub or facility where people gather to use these modes of transportation.

Since this news broke, truck drivers everywhere have been questioning if this new mandate applied to them.

The short answer is that truck drivers are not mandated to wear a mask while operating their vehicle under this executive order from the President.

There is more to unpack however, so we’re offering a longer answer below.

Since the executive order, there has been an additional order that helps clarify what this new mask mandate means for truck drivers. The follow up order that came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on January 29 added helpful information as it pertains to commercial motor vehicles (CMV) operators engaged in interstate travel.

Like everyone else, all CMV operators are required to wear a facial covering at transportation hubs. Put simply, where people are out of their vehicles and crossing paths with one another, you have to wear a mask. These places include private facilities, such as shipping and receiving stations, as well as public places such as truck stops.

Here’s what you really might be wondering about: the CDC order specifically exempts truck drivers from wearing a mask if they are the “sole occupant of the truck.”

What does that mean for team truck drivers? What if they are from the same household? Are they exempt?

These are issues that are left unclear from the CDC follow up to the executive mask mandate.

However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicates that team truck drivers are indeed required to wear masks inside the vehicle while traveling. Whether or not the drivers are from the same household.

From the guidance there are, however, some exceptions to the mask requirements. These exceptions include the following:

  • Team truck drivers can take their masks off inside the vehicle for brief periods of time when eating, drinking, or taking medications.
  • They can also take off their mask if they are communicating with someone who is hearing impaired and the ability to see mouth movement is essential for communication.
  • A mask can be removed from another team truck driver is they are found unconscious, incapacitated, unable to be awakened, or cannot remove their own mask for a given reason.
  • If a law enforcement officer needs to verify a truck driver’s identity during a traffic stop, the mask can be removed for a short period of time.
  • Additional exceptions for removing one’s mask include if a truck driver is experiencing shortness of breath or is sick and vomiting.

Strategies to Reduce Stress on the Road

strategies-to-reduce-stress-on-the-road

As an over-the-road truck driver there are many enjoyable aspects of the job. You have the chance to see sights that other people can only dream of, you interact with people from different places and stages of life and there is time to catch up on your favorite podcast or audiobooks, all from the seat of your cab. Even though driving can be very enjoyable we are all aware that it can also be stressful.  As you are driving for extended periods of time to make sure you get to your destination on time many things can cause stress to build. Tight schedules, weather conditions and road construction are just a few of the everyday stresses drivers deal with. It is important to practice stress reducing techniques while you are on the open road for your overall well-being. Follow some or all of the following tips in order to be less stressed while you are out on the road.

  • Take deep breaths. When you start to feel stress and tension building, take a few deep breaths. Diaphragmatic breathing with inhaling and exhaling is a very powerful way to relax in order to calm the mind and body. Start by taking a deep breath in through your nose, making sure your diaphragm inflates with lots of air, helping your lungs to stretch. Hold your breath for about seven or eight seconds then exhale on count nine or ten. Repeat this five to 10 times in a row.
  • Adjust your position. Just by adjusting the way you are sitting and keeping your body loose can help decrease stress. When you find yourself gripping the steering wheel too tightly, loosen your hands and fingers. If you are hunching over the wheel, lean back or adjust the seat to become more comfortable. When stopped at a stoplight, stretch your arms in the air or stretch your neck from side to side to relieve any muscle tension.
  • Listen to music. Music can go a long way, especially when you are stressed while driving. Music can elevate your mood, lower stress, and calm the body. So create a playlist of your favorite stress reducing music so you can turn it on when needed.
  • Leave extra space. Knowing that another vehicle is right beside you, in front of you, or behind you can cause unwanted stress. Leaving extra space between you and that other vehicle can help ease the fear of getting into a wreck prepare you for the unexpected. When driving on the highway, allow room for cars to merge, and if you are driving at night or during bad weather, give yourself more room if you have to stop quickly.
  • Allow extra time. If you are feeling stressed even before you head out onto the road, allow yourself some extra time to drive. If you are driving to someplace new, give yourself some extra time to find the place or in case you get lost. Also, try planning your route ahead of time to avoid traffic or construction delays.
  • Pull over. If you start feeling overwhelmed and stressed, pull off to the side when it is safe or at a rest stop, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Stress can most likely affect your driving abilities, so for your safety and for others, it is best to be cautious and take a break to calm down, allowing yourself to clear your head.
  • Get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep is never any good and can lead to higher stress levels. Getting enough sleep is very important for your health and allows your body to refresh and prepare for the next day. If you are drowsy or groggy, your reaction time could be compromised, you might begin driving recklessly, or you might even fall asleep. All of these could put you and others in danger.
  • Eat Healthy. Although it may be difficult to eat healthy while on the road, good nutrition has been proven to reduce stress. Not only will healthy eating help reduce your stress, but it will help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

There can be many things that cause stress while driving, including other drivers, weather, and construction. However, stress shouldn’t hold you back from getting to your destination on time and safely. Consider bringing a copy of this list with you the next time you are out on the road. When you are experiencing a stressful situation, pull it out and try one or more of these tips to help relieve any tension you may have.

 

Healthy Meals You Can Have in Your Truck

healthy-meals-you-can-have-in-your-truck


Obesity has long been associated with driving a truck.  It’s a mainly sedentary job and despite the lack of physical activity, it can be exhausting. After a long stretch behind the wheel, drivers want to relax and rest up for the next shift.  Fitting in adequate exercise can be difficult so maintaining a healthy weight can be challenging.  

It doesn’t have to be that way.  With effort and planning, it is possible to make healthy meals while you’re out on the road.  One of the keys to healthy eating on the road is to keep your truck well-stocked with healthy choices.  If you don’t have them on hand, it’ll be harder to resist picking up truck stop food.     

Start by using the right equipment.  Space in a truck is always limited so think about the foods you’d like to make in your truck.  There are numerous cooking options such as a hot pot, microwave, toaster, small slow cooker, portable stove, and two-burner stovetop.  A fridge is a necessity and one with a freezer is best.    

When you make your own meals, you are in total control.  How many calories, how much salt, and  fat are entirely up to you.  Processed foods tend to be higher in all of these things, especially sodium, and if you are overweight and have heart issues or high blood pressure, it’s important to watch your salt intake.  

Breakfast

Protein helps you feel fuller for longer. Having a protein-packed breakfast will help keep you from reaching for snacks.  Some delicious ideas to start the day are:

  • Whole wheat toast with peanut butter (lots of protein)
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Cottage cheese with fresh fruit
  • Whole-grain cereal 
  • Low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit
  • Omelets (throw in your favorite protein, cheeses, and veggies)

Lunch

  • Wraps are great for lunch because you can eat with one hand and fill them with anything you like.  Use lean meats like sliced turkey, or tuna, and add tons of fresh veggies.  Use a low-carb or whole wheat wrap to make it even healthier.
  • Soups (pick the non-creamy, low-sodium varieties)
  • Veggie pasta salad

Snacks

If you have a freezer (you should), stock it with healthy treats like frozen yogurt or fruit bars.  Other handy snacks: 

  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Cheese and whole-grain crackers
  • Dried fruit (great snack that doesn’t need to be refrigerated)
  • Unsalted mixed nuts

Dinner

Meal prep is your friend.  Many websites show you how to make a week’s worth of meals in one day.  Make them the day before your trip and pack them in reusable plastic containers.  Meal prep often involves cooking a protein, like chicken, and then adding rice or noodles, various veggies and sauces and spices, varying them so each meal is different.  It’s an inexpensive way to give yourself some variety in your healthy dinners. 

Rotisserie chicken can be thrown in with some pre-cooked rice and veggies and a little soy sauce, made into a delicious chicken salad wrap, or tossed on a salad. 

Tuna casserole can be cooked on a stovetop or in a slow cooker.  Egg noodles, tuna, cream of mushroom soup, cheese, and frozen peas, and you’ve got a hardy meal.

Mac-n-cheese can be made in a crockpot with cheese, macaroni, milk, butter, and eggs.  It’s not the healthiest, but you’ve got to indulge every now and then.  

When you do eat out on the road, try for healthier options like food that is grilled instead of fried, skip the hamburger bun, and drink water instead of soda.

By planning and prepping your meals before you head out on the road, it’ll be easier to maintain a healthy weight, you’ll have more energy, and you’ll feel better about yourself.  

If you’re looking to start a career in the trucking industry, Trucker Search can help. Connecting truck drivers and employers is what we do.  It’s quick, easy, and it can get you that dream job on the open road. Get started today at TruckerSearch.com or call us at (888)254-3712.    

Truck Drivers: How You Can Avoid Back Pain

truck-drivers-how-you-can-avoid-back-pain

Spending hours upon hours behind the wheel of a truck can be physically and mentally exhausting and dealing with back pain seems to be part of the territory.  Along with the long hours sitting there’s also the lifting that is often involved as well as the constant vibration of the truck. The movement may not seem that bad but when your entire body is vibrating for more than 8 hours every day, you’re bound to eventually have some injuries.  Sitting in the same position, sedentary for hours, causes poor circulation and your muscles and joints stiffen.  But you don’t have to accept it!  Back pain doesn’t have to be “part of the job”!  With some adjustments and changes, you can avoid back pain from driving a truck.

Look At Your Seat

Adjust your seat so you’re not only comfortable but that you also don’t have to strain to reach things.  Depending on your seat, it may be beneficial to get some added support in the seat area as well as good lumbar support for the lower back.  While driving, changing your position, even just a little, can prevent some of the pain that comes with sitting in the same position.     

Be Mindful of Your Posture 

Incorrect posture is terrible for the back.  Sit up straight, don’t slouch, and keep your chin parallel to the ground.  Letting your body relax in the seat all the time is only going to cause spinal problems.  If you keep your wallet in your back pocket, take it out when you drive.  It can cause you to sit with your hips higher on one side than the other.     

Stay at a Healthy Weight

Because driving a truck involves inactivity and unhealthy food options, truck drivers are often overweight.  In fact, a recent study appearing in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that 69% of truck drivers were obese.  Whether sitting or standing, carrying around excess  weight is extremely damaging to your musculoskeletal system that wasn’t built for it.  

Quit Smoking

The same study of obesity in drivers found that more than half (51%) smoked which is more than twice that of other occupations (19%).  People who smoke have higher rates of osteoporosis, lumbar disc diseases, and slower bone healing which can lead to chronic pain.  

Take Breaks

Because of strict schedules, it’s not always easy for drivers to get enough breaks throughout the day but it’s important to try to do so.  Get out and stretch your hamstrings.  Move around and get a little exercise if you can.    

Stretch

Find time to stretch while out on the road.  When you’re driving, stretch each leg, reach each arm out to the side and over your head, and move your head from side to side to stretch your neck.  When you stop for a break, bend over and touch those toes and reach up to the sky for a full-body stretch.  Do some more stretching in bed.  When you don’t use your muscles, they shorten.  Stretching actually elongates them, increasing your range of motion, and increases the blood supply and brings nutrients to your muscles.  

Get the Right Mattress

If you’re sleeping in your truck, it needs to have a good mattress, just like you have at home.  When it comes to a mattress for back pain relief, you have to be like Goldilocks?not too firm and not too soft.  You need back support but not rigidity that will prevent good sleep.  It’s also important to find the right sleep position that works for you.  Some tips on how to sleep to alleviate back pain can be found here.    

Get Help

Applying ice to your lower back for 15-20 minutes can calm nerves and provide short-term relief and a chiropractor may help as well.  Because of the prevalence of back pain in drivers, some truck stops have begun opening chiropractic offices with their other driver amenities.  

Driving a truck doesn’t have to destroy your back but it does take some mindfulness and extra steps to keep those back problems at bay.  

If you’re a driver looking for opportunities in the trucking industry, look no further than Trucker Search. At www.truckersearch.com, you can post your résumé (which is a short form application) as well as search the ever-expanding database of companies looking for drivers and job postings.  It’s a great resource for any driver starting in the trucking industry or looking for a new opportunity.

Sources:  

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ajim.22293

https://health.usnews.com/health-care/patient-advice/articles/smoking-and-chronic-back-pain

https://chiropractorofstlouis.com/blog-post/the-health-benefits-of-a-good-stretch

https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/best-sleeping-position-for-lower-back-pain#pillow-under-your-abdomen

https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/what-helps-with-lower-back-pain#2

 

Driving a Truck In The Era of Social Distancing

driving-a-truck-in-the-era-of-social-distancing
If there’s a phrase that best describes our current situation, it’s “social distancing”.  It’s an easy enough concept to grasp:  by staying home and remaining at least 6 feet from others when we go out for necessities, the coronavirus won’t be able to make the jump from one person to the next, stopping the spread of the virus over time.

In practice, however, it’s not so easy.  Not everyone follows the rules and some people forget so navigating a grocery store and maintaining a 6-ft buffer is a bit like walking through a field of land mines with none of the explosions but all of the anxiety.

For essential workers, this is an all-day stress-fest.  Truck drivers are used to some solitude but during the pandemic have lost those usual welcomed times of human interactions along their routes.  Some truck stops have been forced to close their doors while others only offer drive-thru services which most trucks can’t maneuver through and won’t serve people who walk up to the drive-thru window.  Some drivers now have to pack their own foods and eat in their trucks.

Safety for drivers as well as anyone around them is most important during these difficult times.

Social Distancing Tips for Drivers

  • Stay 6 feet away from everyone even in truck stops, gas stations and points of delivery.
  • Use disposable gloves when you’re pumping gas and dispose of them in a garbage receptacle at the pump immediately after.
  • Use debit/credit cards instead of cash.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Use hand sanitizer often.
  • If you develop symptoms, seek assistance where you are.  Don’t try to stick it out until you’re home.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Wear a mask when you’re in public places.  N95 masks are the best if you have one but they’re needed by medical staff and are in short supply in many areas so the CDC is recommending that they are left for them.  A cloth mask will do, or a bandana or scarf folded in layers.  Continue to maintain your 6-ft. distancing even when wearing a mask.
  • Use your phone to communicate with customers to avoid as much face-to-face time as you can.
  • Disinfect your vehicle often.  Keep disinfectant wipes in your truck so you can use them to wipe down door handles, the steering wheel, gear shift, and pay particular attention to shared items like clipboards, pens, and dollies.
  • Be mindful of what you’re touching when you use a public bathroom.  Once you’ve washed your hands thoroughly, don’t touch anything else.  Use a paper towel to open the door.

More guidelines for protecting yourself during the coronavirus pandemic can be found on the CDC’s website.

By following guidelines and taking appropriate precautions, drivers can be safe and minimize their chances of getting the virus or passing it on and be more prepared in the future.

If you’re looking to start a career behind the wheel of a big rig, Trucker Search can help. Connecting truck drivers and employers is what we do.  It’s quick, it’s easy, and it can get you that dream job on the open road. Get started today at TruckerSearch.com or call us at (888)254-3712.  Stay safe!