What Would Happen If Trucks Stopped

Why are truckers so important?

Trucking is the beating heart of the U.S. economy. Truck drivers deliver 10 billion tons of every commodity consumed and transport over 671 billion dollars’ worth of goods every year. In fact, 70 percent of all freight moved in the U.S. ranging from the food industry to healthcare is done by trucks.

Many people may not think twice about a truck passing them on the highway, but that truck could be delivering essential medical supplies to save someone’s life. If trucks stopped, the economy and life as we know it would fall apart.

If this were to happen, Americans would be in life-threatening situations from major delivery shortages in no time. Due to their time-sensitivity, there are seven industries that would suffer immediately if trucks stopped moving. These industries include food, healthcare, transportation, retail, manufacturing, waste removal, and banking.

With increasing truck driver shortages, you can only be left to wonder what would happen without truckers? That’s why we compiled an exact timeline of events if trucks stopped today.

One Month without Trucks

Within the first 12 hours

  • Fuel becomes scarce
  • Manufacturing delays an product component shortages
  • Hospitals and nursing homes begin to run out of food and medical supplies
  • U.S. mail and other package delivery services come to a halt

Within 1 day

  • Fuel availability will decrease, which leads to skyrocketing prices and long lines at the gas station
  • Manufacturing comes to a halt and thousands are out of work
  • Food shortages start to develop

Within 2 to 3 days

  • Gas stations are completely out of fuel
  • Without fuel, police, fire, rescue, and other public service vehicles are unable to perform duties, which further endangers public safety
  • Container ships and rail transport is disrupted and comes to a standstill
  • Food shortages escalate, leading to consumer panic and hoarding
  • Essential supplies – such as bottled water, canned meat, and powdered milk – will disappear at major retailers
  • Garbage starts to pile up, which creates breeding grounds for insects and bacteria
  • Medical waste and hazardous material start to release toxins and infectious diseases into living environments
  • ATMs run out of cash and banks are unable to process transactions

Within a week of trucks no longer operating

  • Automobile travel will come to a full halt
  • Hospitals start to lack oxygen supplies

Within 2 weeks

  • Sources of clean water run dry

Within 4 weeks

  • The clean water supply is exhausted and water will only be safe for consumption after boiling
  • The number of gastrointestinal illnesses increases due to lack of clean water, which further exhausts the already weakened health care system

However scary it may sound, this timeline of a world without trucks only shows the direct effects of a freeze in the trucking industry. Secondary effects of a trucker shutdown can also be taken into consideration, such as reduced law enforcement, increased crime, inability to use telecommunications, increased illness and injury, higher death rates, and civil unrest.

When trucks stop running, it will only be a matter of time before all our nation’s regular functions stop, which would trigger a series of events that will change the way we live.

Hopefully, this timeline gives you some newfound appreciation for truck drivers. The country truly wouldn’t be the same without their dedicated efforts. If you’re a truck driver, you should pat yourself on the back. You provide a very important service to this country.

Since we know the consequences would be great if trucks stopped, make sure that you keep yours on the road. Thankfully, freight factoring is a straightforward way for truck drivers to get paid sooner. Give us a call today to boost your cash flow, in order to keep performing your important work. After all, when trucks stop, America stops.

How to Battle Homesickness on the Road

Dealing with homesickness as a truck driver

A truck driver’s life sounds like a country song: open roads, working hard, deadlines to meet, lone soul getting it done. The reality is that while trucking is a great career, it often comes with long days away from home.

Even the most seasoned truck driver will feel pangs of homesickness from time to time. How do you cope with missing home when your job is, by definition, away from home?

Homesickness for truck drivers can present itself in many forms, such as being irritable, anxious, tense, or just constantly thinking about home. Whereas these feelings may just be an annoyance to other professionals, they can present a serious risk to a truck driver’s quality of work. Any type of distraction can impact the overall experience very easily and significantly in a job that requires vigilance, long hours, and technical precision. Consequently, attending to your wandering mind is in your best interest as well as those around you. Don’t become a distracted driver!

Trucking should be a career you enjoy, so hopefully our 10 tips will help you deal with homesickness on the road.

10 Tips for Truck Drivers who are Homesick

1. Take your feelings seriously

Downplaying your homesickness is just as ineffective as ignoring it all together. Without proper attention, these feelings could linger around for days instead of hours. It may feel silly to acknowledge that you’re homesick when you’re trying to focus on work, but remember that many truckers have to cope with homesickness.

Humans are naturally drawn to routine and breaking from that can be stressful. Truck driving, by nature, is breaking from routine and overcoming that is impressive, whether you’re a newbie or a veteran.

2. Skype and call daily

Call your family or friends daily and ask them how their day is going. When possible, hit the free Wi-Fi spots on the road, so you’re not only talking but also seeing each other. Try to make these daily calls a family thing, for instance by reading stories to your children over Skype. If you each have the same books, you can even read together. Nothing beats homesickness for truck drivers than a little bit of quality time with your family.

3. Send pictures to family and friends

If you or your family can’t schedule a time to call, keep in touch by sending each other pictures throughout the day. It will make you feel like you’re right there even when you’re miles apart.

4. Send postcards to your kids from different states

Children hardly ever get mail with their name on it. Fighting homesickness becomes easier by imagining their faces light up when they get a postcard from their mom or dad from a totally different state! Moreover, this is a great learning tool to teach your children all the states and capitals.

5. Carry pictures of your family in the truck

Not only can you show off to other truck drivers with photos of your beautiful family, but looking at these pictures from time to time while driving will also put you in a better mood. It’s a good reminder of who you’re doing this work for and that every mile driven is one closer to them.

6. Make your cab feel like home

Because you’re spending a lot of time in the cab of your truck, try to make it as cozy as possible. A nice mattress and bedding already goes a long way. Fight homesickness by bringing your favorite pillow or blanket that smells like home or your spouse. Additionally, these items will give you a good night’s sleep, which will make you feel a lot better the next day.

You can also make your cab more fun by hanging up some curtains and placing a few posters of your favorite movies or sports team. You can also bring a coffee pot or crockpot to brew coffee or cook meals.

7. Be kind to your body

Feeling great physically can help fend off even the worst pangs of homesickness, whereas feeling sluggish or sick can magnify them exponentially. Drink water, eat balanced meals, snack when you’re feeling lightheaded, and sleep as much as possible. Don’t skip meals, but try to avoid the cheeseburger and fries at fast food restaurants.

Furthermore, physical activity releases endorphins, which helps improve your mood and release negative emotions. It may be challenging to find time to work out on the road, so stop at rest areas when possible and stretch your legs by walking for 15 minutes or so. Stay healthy for your wellbeing and to help overcome your homesickness!

8. Get a hobby

Take your mind off missing home by listening to a fun podcast or watching the newest movies and shows on Netflix. You can even channel the secret bookworm hiding inside of you by picking up a book.

9. Bring someone along

Homesickness for truck drivers is made worse by the long hours spent alone. Thankfully, some trucking companies allow for drivers to bring their significant others, close friend or even pet. A little one on one quality time with a person you care about works wonders for your relationship and homesickness.

10. Talk to other truck drivers at stops

You’re all in the same boat, so why not talk to the other truckers at the stops or even reach out over the CB for a quick chat with fellow drivers. A work family can be almost as great as your family waiting at home.

The independence and open road are major rewards that come with the trucking profession. There is good reason for why truckers are so proud of what they do. It may be impossible to never feel homesick, but hopefully these tips can make it a little easier.

While there are many challenges to working in the trucking industry, finances should not be one of them. Thankfully, freight factoring is a straightforward way to boost your cash flow. Let us take a load of your shoulders, so you can focus hauling your loads.

How to Become A Hot Shot Truck Driver

hot shot driver driving his truck

Becoming a hot shot truck driver has plenty of benefits for truckers; the main one being that you are your own boss. If you’re considering becoming a hot shot driver, the process is similar to going into business with a Class 8. The difference? Since hot shot trucking often involves only one destination and can be on a tight time schedule, companies will hire contract drivers to complete one run at a time. Hot shot loads are usually expedited in a flatbed truck so load is usually industrial material. Most of the time, the work is local or regional so if you’re looking for a type of trucking where you get to spend a lot of time at home, this may be the right choice for you. Your hot shot income should look similar to a Class 8 trucker’s wage.

Steps to Becoming a Hot Shot Driver:

  1. Apply for USDOT and MC Numbers

Your DOT number serves as a unique identifier for your company when dealing with safety reports, crash investigations, inspections, reviews and audit. To apply for a USDOT number, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website.

The process of getting your DOT number from the FMCSA differs for first time applicants and applicants who have already registered for a USDOT number, or looking for additional authorities. Read through the FMCSA steps to ensure you’re filling out the right application.

In addition to a DOT number, if you’re planning on crossing state lines you’ll need an MC number as well. You can apply for your operating authority, also known as your MC number, here. There are some filing fees, so you’ll want to be aware of those before you start the process.

  1. Purchase Insurance

Arguably the biggest initial cost when starting your hot shot business is buying at least $750,000 worth of liability insurance coverage. According to Overdrive, you’re out of pocket costs are estimated to be around $5,500 for the liability insurance.

To receive the proper amount of coverage, you’ll also need your DOT number, a membership in a drug and alcohol testing group, required driver qualification filings and observance of the hours of service regulations.

  1. Purchase Equipment

The equipment costs for hot shot businesses are far less than those of a Class 8 trucking business. The two main purchases include a truck, usually a pickup, and a flatbed trailer. There may be other small pieces of equipment needed such as bungee cords, chains and anything else you need to secure your load down.

The type of truck you buy is up to you. Most drivers start with a Ford F450 or F550 or a similar model from a different automaker, like Chevy. Smaller trucks such as a F250 or F350 would also work, but the wear and tear on your truck would obviously be greater because lighter duty trucks are often pushed to the max while carrying hot shot loads.

Carefully weigh your options and budget to decide which type of truck will work best for your business. Depending on what type of truck you purchase, if you add in the cost of supplies and insurance, you may be able to begin hauling hot shot loads for as little as $50,000.

  1. Find Loads

You can use load boards such as DAT TruckersEdge to find hot shot loads to haul. Load boards can help you to develop relationships with customers you often purchase loads from. 123 Loadboard is another solution to finding freight. Many load boards have apps and mobile sites, so you’ll be able to have access to loads 24/7.

Starting your own hot shot trucking business has many benefits. In addition to staying close to home and low equipment costs, hot shot truckers make a better wage than Class 8 truckers and have a lot of independence to create their own schedules and free time. If you need extra cash to fund your startup hot shot business, invoice factoring is a great solution. EZ Freight can help you secure low-cost funding to ensure your company’s success.

 

Ways for Trucking Companies to Reduce Operating Costs

trucking industry

One of the most significant challenges for small trucking companies is keeping up with constant operating expenses. From truck repairs and maintenance to fuel costs, being an owner operator is no easy task. Business owners have to be organized and take budgeting seriously when planning for their financial future. Overspending can be detrimental to trucking companies because you never know when you may need a large amount of money for a major repair. Below are some ways truckers can cut operating expenses to save money for times of difficulty or simply to maintain a strong cashflow.

  1. Maintain a tight budget

Before you can cut costs, you must understand where you’re spending the bulk of your money. Every time you deliver a load or dispatch a truck, you should know how much money you made. Along with your budget, create a profit and loss statement every month to be aware of the profit your trucking business is turning.  By creating a budget and PL statement, you will easily be able to track expenses and make decisions on where you can make changes. For example, if you see that your spending a ton of money on an accountant maybe you could look into accounting software to do your businesses bookkeeping in-house.

  1. Eliminate intangible costs

Intangible costs are those that would not be found in your profit and loss statement. These psychological and physiological costs include poor attitude, poor heath and poor communication. Poor attitude in the workplace can bring the mood down for everyone, not just the person with the bad attitude. Intangible costs such as these should be stopped immediately. Whether you need to have conversations with employees about staying motivated and communicating effectively or if you have to potentially let go of an employee with a poor attitude, it will be best for the future of your trucking business.

  1. Outsource

Focus on your niche and outsource the rest. This will help you stay in control of your business. When trying to do a ton of things at once you’ll become burnt out and lose focus on what you love. For example, if you have a dump truck business stick it to, don’t try to get involved with other types of trucking businesses or if you must, designate someone else to run it.

  1. Perform regular maintenance on your trucks

Upkeep on your trucks can get expensive. It’s a good idea to perform regular maintenance rather than wait until something breaks down. Regular maintenance costs a lot less and is proven to be more effective. If you wait until repairs are absolutely needed, your truck could be out of commission for days or even weeks, which would really affect your cash flow.

Following these tips will help truckers to be financially conscious while running their businesses. Maintaining a budget and keeping track of spending will ensure your businesses success. If you need additional help maintaining a strong cash flow for your trucking business, checkout invoice factoring. Invoice factoring gives you instant cash and allows you to factor loads on your own terms. There are no minimums or long-term contracts. Call us today for your free quote!

Most Expensive Toll Roads in the United States

hot shot driver driving his truck

It’s another day at work and you’re hauling a load down the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Traffic is moving at a steady pace, you’re listening to your favorite trucking podcast and basking in the warm sunlight that’s hitting your windshield. Suddenly, there’s flashing sign, “35 mph. Slow down. TOLL PLAZA AHEAD.” A maze of brake lights flickers in the distance. Expensive toll roads can really ruin the moment, can’t they?

You think to yourself, “Again?! I just paid a toll 15 minutes ago!”

Highway tolls are an expensive nuisance for any owner-operator or truck driver in the United States. But, like fuel, taxes and tires, highway tolls are another unavoidable cost of trucking. Toll charges average around $2500 per year for truckers. Different states have drastically different tolls which may make hauling a load even more expensive for you (or not).

It’s important to have all the toll road information available before you start driving, so you won’t face any unpleasant surprises at toll crossings. Be aware of the costly routes and calculate them into your cost per mile before you hit the road.

Which toll roads can truckers expect to hit their wallet the hardest?

The 11 Most Expensive Toll Roads in America by the Mile

  1. Chesapeake Expressway (Virginia): $1.05
  2. 17-Mile Drive (California): 54.4 cents
  3. Ford Bend Parkway (Houston, Texas): 53.3 cents
  4. Chicago Skyway: 51.2 cents
  5. Delaware Turnpike: 36 cents
  6. E-470 (Denver, Colorado): 33 cents
  7. SR-73 (Orange County, California): 25 cents
  8. Texas State Highway 130: 14.6 cents
  9. Triangle Expressway (Raleigh, North Carolina): 14.5 cents
  10. Florida State Road 417: 14.3 cents
  11. New Jersey Turnpike: 11.4 cents

Can expensive toll roads be avoided? Not always. As a small business owner, you may have to bite the bullet and use the expensive highway routes. Sometimes there is no sensible alternative. Toll costs aren’t the only expense to consider. Forget about the short-term financial gain and think about your operating costs in the long run. When factoring in fuel for alternative routes, truck and tire deteriorations, delays and extra time, sticking with pricey tolls on highways and turnpikes may be the better option.

Your shipping routes may not align with the most expensive highway tolls listed above, but that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. While certain state highway tolls are more expensive per mile, other states hit you with more toll road mileage overall, making it even more expensive for truckers to haul and deliver loads. You’re now aware of expensive tolls in the United States, but what states have the most miles of toll roads? If you’re a long-haul trucker, this list will not surprise you.

The 11 States with the Most Toll Road Mileage

  1. Florida: 657 miles
  2. Oklahoma: 596.7 miles
  3. New York: 574.6 miles
  4. Pennsylvania: 508.2 miles
  5. Ohio: 392.2 miles
  6. New Jersey: 356 miles
  7. Illinois: 282.1 miles
  8. Kentucky: 248.5 miles
  9. Kansas: 236.1 miles
  10. Indiana: 156.8 miles
  11. Texas: 145.6 miles

Truckers passing through these 11 states are out of luck. The bad luck doubles in states such as Florida and Texas, who made our list for the most toll mileage AND house the most expensive toll roads. With so much road wrapped up in tolls, it’s tough to find a reasonable workaround. Then again, do you really want to drive down 1-95 in Miami during rush hour when you could just stick to the turnpike?

Thankfully, not every state charges insane highway tolls. As a matter of fact, almost half of U.S. states don’t include any toll roads in their infrastructure.

States Without Toll Roads

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

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If toll-free driving sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Although these states don’t have any toll roads, roughly half still operate toll bridges, toll tunnels and toll ferries. You may never fully avoid paying highway tolls in America, but we hope our US highway toll overview map helps guide your route planning.

And if you’re not already enrolled in a toll program, Florida’s SunPass or East Coast’s E-Z Pass, you should get on that.

Expensive toll roads, vehicle maintenance, fuel and tire costs are all part of what makes being a trucker a pricey profession. Fortunately, freight factoring helps truckers get paid sooner – within 24 hours of delivery. What’s even better? Factoring companies provide fuel advances (up to 50% of the load amount) to help cover costs before delivery like fuel and road tolls. Factoring helps you get right back on the road, whether it be the most expensive or cheapest one out there.

The Pros and Cons of Dump Truck Driving

dump truck pros and cons

Truck driving can be extremely rewarding but like any occupation, it’s not for everyone. A lot of careful thought goes into choosing a profession, especially with trucking because it’s a lifestyle choice, not just a career. There are tons of benefits to driving a dump truck and also a few downfalls. For example, someone driving a dump truck must have great driving skills and be able to load and unload the materials safely. The drop-off locations are often situated on rough terrains as they are usually construction sites. If you’re thinking about becoming a dump truck driver make sure to do a fair amount of researching the pros and cons of trucking to ensure it’s the right profession for you.

The Upsides to Becoming a Dump Truck Driver

1. High Pay Rate
Dump truck drivers have a chance to earn a higher wage then other types of trucking jobs because dump trucking requires the presence of drivers during drop off. It’s the driver’s responsibility to unload the materials at the drop-off location. Dump truck drivers are estimated to receive a 10 percent higher salary on an annual basis than other types of truck drivers. In addition to their yearly wage, dump truck drivers are also eligible for bonuses and other incentives due to high demand.

2. Low Mileage
Dump truck driver’s routes are local and close to home. Unlike other types of trucking, dump truckers have the luxury to sleep in their own beds every night and be at home with their families.

3. Opportunity
There is no shortage of opportunity for truckers these days. If you have a few years of experience, there’s even higher demand for drivers like you. If you’re just starting out, don’t worry, if you do great work you’ll move up fast. The driver shortage has forced trucking companies to change their standards regarding years of experience required for dump truck drivers.

The Downsides to Dump Truck Driving

1. Repetition
Dump truck driving can become repetitive because local routes are often the same every day. Most truck drivers see local driving as a perk because of how close they are to home, but some can get bored easily. To avoid repetition, try to switch up your route if possible, even if your headed to the same destination. It also helps to take breaks and get out of your truck.

2. Seasonal
Since dump truckers are often driving to construction sites, the work can be seasonal depending on what state you live in and what seasons you experience. If you’re on the east coast and have bad winters, you may be out of a job during this time of year.

3. Loneliness
While being lonely is a much bigger problem for long haul truckers, dump truck driving can still be an isolated job. Working long hours and constantly being inside your truck can be difficult, to make it a little easier on yourself, try preparing your family members by telling them what to expect. Plan out times that you’ll call and check in daily so they don’t worry too much.

Truck driving is a tough job and takes a huge commitment but like another other job, it has its pros and cons. Researching the benefits and downfalls of dump truck driving can help you decide if it will work with your lifestyle. If you decide the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, then welcome to the world of dump trucking!

FMCSA Suspends Hours of Service Regs for Harvey Relief and Irma Prep

Disaster Relief Trucking

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has suspended the hours of service regulations for truckers in 26 states until the emergency situation in Texas and Louisiana has been declared over or until September 24, whichever comes first. The hours of service rule for truck drivers was first published in 2011 to ensure drivers of commercial or motor vehicles are taking breaks after 11-14 consecutive hours of driving.

Truckers who are hauling gasoline, propane, jet fuel, diesel and any other disaster relief loads can now provide these items to those in need without worrying about the typical regulations. The FMCSA stated the suspension applies to anyone hauling or providing direct assistance to the emergency efforts in Texas and Louisiana. Along with fuel, types of loads truckers are delivering to these areas consist of FEMA mobile homes, emergency equipment, supplies and personnel. Some of the states affected by the suspension include:

  • Florida
  • Ohio
  • Indiana
  • Illinois
  • Georgia
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee

FMCSA has declared this regional emergency, “in anticipation of a regional shortage of fuel products” directly related to Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Harvey has disrupted about 20 to 25 percent of the country’s oil refineries and pipelines, causing gas prices to rise. While some of these pipelines have partially reopened, it could be months before operations return to normal at some of the refineries hit hardest by the hurricane. In addition to those affected by Harvey, the threat of Hurricane Irma could wipe out gasoline demand if it impacts Florida this weekend as projected.

Besides for the hours of regulation, Florida has also suspended registration requirements for commercial and motor vehicles as well as waived the size and weight requirements for any vehicle transporting emergency equipment, services and supplies.

It’s important for truckers to be patient when delivering loads to these areas. The delivery locations may be crowded and unorganized, but helping out those in need by providing them with crucial supplies during tough times is rewarding. With potential victims in mind, the authorities are trying to be as prepared as possible when getting supplies to these areas affect by disaster.

A Guide to Purchasing a Pre-Owned Freight Truck

Semi Truck

The 5 Steps to Follow when Buying a Used Semi Truck

Purchasing a used truck can be a much trickier process than simply buying a new one; because a pre-owned big rig already has a history on the road, it is much more important to know the value and specifics of what you are buying before your money changes hands. With this in mind, a wise buyer can get a great deal on a used tractor-trailer so long as they follow the proper procedures for making their decision. Here is a guide to buying a used big rig that will help you get the best deal possible.

 

1. Decide what you need

Just like a house in the suburbs has comparative advantages and disadvantages to a condo in the city, different sizes and builds of trucks can serve entirely different purposes. Regardless of the value, size, or nature of what you intend to be carrying, buying the wrong truck can not only cost you money but also prove completely useless to your business. If you already own a truck and are clear on what you need, further research may not be necessary. On the other hand, owner-operators who are just starting a freight business or trucking companies looking to add another type of truck to their fleet should spend however much time it takes for them to be confident that they know what they must buy.

2. Do your research

Buying a used semi-truck does not just involve understanding the various types of vehicles available for secondhand purchase; once you have determined what kind of truck you need, the next step is finding businesses selling what you aim to buy. Along with simply viewing the trucks online, it is important to actually go to the dealership where the truck waits to be purchased so that you can take a closer look at what you are about to get. Inspecting a used semi tractor-trailer can be a tedious process, as it involves actually looking at the inside and outside of the vehicle along with checking out the specs on paper. Regardless, pre-owned commercial trucks can be very expensive and it is important to avoid bad surprises – know the history of the truck to ensure that you aren’t buying a vehicle that has been in 20 accidents and is knocking on death’s door.

3. Don’t just listen to what the salespeople say

As is the case with most automobile sales businesses, customers should be wary of the fact that the salespeople get commission off of every sale they make. This means that they will often be driven to make a sale even when the product does not necessarily fit the consumer as well as the buyer would hope. This does not mean that buying used big rigs from a dealership is a bad idea, but it does strengthen the argument to be made for doing personal research. Some of the best trucks to buy used can come from pre-owned vehicle dealers, but the high cost of buying a used tractor trailer means that a few hours of learning about the details of a truck that might become yours is well worth the effort.

4. Ensure that your needed specs are met

Just like a family of 6 probably shouldn’t have a Mazda Miata as their primary car, buying a used tractor-trailer that you want instead of one that you need can end up being a mistake that becomes very costly over time. If a cheaper or newer truck is smaller than you would like, you will miss out on lots of opportunities to haul lucrative loads due to your lack of cargo space. If the bigger semi looks more comfortable on the inside but guzzles more gas than a small nation, your loads might not be big enough to cover the cost of maintaining and fueling such a monstrosity. Purchasing a used freight truck requires a good business sense and a willingness to keep things objective so that the decisions you are making are those that are best for your business long-term and not impulsive buys that you will come to regret.

5. Look into the reviews/history of the current owner

Deciding where to buy a used semi-truck is just as important as deciding what used-semi truck to buy; if the person that is selling it to you is sleazy, dishonest, or a crook, you are likely not getting your money’s worth (or anything close to it) out of the purchase. As a result, taking advantage of services like Yelp that will inform you as to the history of the seller will undoubtedly help you decide whether or not to buy from them. There is always the chance that the truck has issues that aren’t clear until it actually hits the road, and although there isn’t really a way to prevent this possibility (even when a contract is in place to attempt to dissuade sellers from making false claims), looking at reviews can be a great way to gauge the trustworthiness and quality of the seller from whom you are looking to buy a used semi-truck. The transition of businesses into the digital age has made it increasingly easier to know a great deal about companies and their services, so a smart trucker looking into buying a used tractor trailer will utilize these simple and fast resources.

Although the prices on a used truck can be far lower than they would be on a new vehicle, big rig trucks are very expensive regardless. Accumulating enough cash to buy a used semi-truck can be difficult, and taking out loans can put the business owner at risk. If you’re already hauling loads and are ready to buy another big rig, freight factoring can get you the cash you need to help with your down payment. For more information on freight factoring, call Easy Freight Factoring today. We will connect you with a truck factoring company that can put money in your hands within 24 hours of making a deal.

10 Ways for Truck Drivers to Stay Healthy While on the Road

Trucker's Healthy Lifestyle

In addition to their safety, truck drivers should be concerned about health and fitness. While taking weeks or even months long trips, there are lifestyle changes that truckers need to follow and make to stay fit. It’s important for truck drivers to ask themselves “How do I stay healthy on the road?” For some, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be challenging because they may not have the resources that people in other professions have, but that’s not to say that living a healthy life isn’t possible. Follow these 10 tips and tricks to keeping a healthy truck driver diet.

Tips for Truck Drivers to Stay Healthy

  1. Eat breakfast everyday

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, whether you’re a trucker or not. According to a study done by Consumer Reports, people who eat breakfast regularly tend to have better diets overall, consuming more fruit, vegetables, milk and whole grains. Eating breakfast increases your blood sugar which gives you energy to start your day. It also prolongs your need to eat lunch and keeps you moving throughout the day, which is important for truck drivers taking long trips.

Some healthy and simple breakfast ideas for truck drivers include oatmeal, fresh fruit, protein bars, or a mixture of different breakfast foods. Some OTR drivers suggest eating a larger breakfast, and then smaller portions throughout the rest of the day to stay healthy, while avoiding hunger.

  1. Snack on healthy foods to reduce meal portions

Snacking on healthy foods throughout the day will help you cut down on meal portions. Healthy snack options that truckers can take on the road with them include:

  • Hummus and veggies
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Dried fruits
  • Mixed nuts
  • Jerky
  • String cheese
  • Dark chocolate
  • Yogurt
  1. Eat more salad and leafy greens

Eating leafy greens two times per day will increase your focus on the road. Leafy greens are a good source of Vitamin K which prevents certain age related conditions. They also help lower cholesterol and preserve your vision, an important aspect for truckers.

  1. Drink a lot of water

Not drinking enough water can affect a driver’s alertness on the road. Drivers should be drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day to make sure their bodies are functioning to their full potential.

  1. Don’t consume more than 2 cups of coffee per day

Coffee may help truckers stay awake, but consuming too much caffeine isn’t good for anyone. Following all of these other steps while getting an adequate amount of sleep should reduce the need for a lot of coffee. However, two cups of coffee per day is acceptable for drivers to take in.

  1. Cut pop out of your diet

Soda dehydrates the body and is bad for your teeth. There are so many healthier beverage options including water, juice and tea. Not only is water the best option for hauling loads because it keep you hydrated, water keeps you feeling full longer. If you feel full while you’re driving, you won’t need to stop for food as frequently, saving you time.

  1. Get enough sleep

Truck drivers should sleep for at least 7 hours per day in a dark and quiet place. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1 in 5 deaths on the roadway are caused by drivers who fell asleep while driving. Sleep is the key to health and safety, especially if you’re working long hours as a truck driver.

  1. Take time to rest every two hours

To avoid restlessness while driving, take a short break every two hours. Pull to a rest stop and grab a snack or just stretch your legs and do some simple exercises. Small breaks every two hours can revamp your drive and give you more energy. You can take a few minutes to just touch your toes, roll out your neck or even do some jumping jacks to get your blood flow circulating properly.

  1. Avoid fast food

Truck drivers are often temped with fast food because of its convenience. Try to avoid this unhealthy option at all costs. If you must go through a drive-thru, make a healthier food choice such as a salad or simply avoid the salty condiments and sides.

  1. Exercise

Drivers should exercise at least three times per week to avoid obesity. 52 percent of drivers have an issue with obesity which is more than double the 21 percent of the general population. There are tons of workouts that truck drivers can participate in while on the road. While stopping for rest, drivers can take a short, 15-minute jog or fast pace walk. These exercises do not require any equipment and can be done anywhere. If you need some direction, there are tons of workout routines on YouTube. Some more exercises drivers can do include:

  • 5 minute sprints
  • 4 sets of 10 squats
  • 4 sets of 10 heel rises
  • 2 sets of 12 pushups
  • 4 sets of 15 crunches
  • 2 planks for 30 seconds each
  • 4 sets of 12 abs—touch your feet with your chest
  • 15-minute walk to cooldown

No matter how important a load, truck drivers shouldn’t neglect their health and fitness. Following these tips and health guidelines should be an easy way for truckers to contribute to healthy living.

 

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TCA Urges Congress to Keep 80,000 Pound Weight Limit

The Battle over Trucking Weight Limits

In September of 2015, U.S. Representative Reid Ribble (R-Wisc.) sparked controversy within the trucking industry as he proposed an increased weight limit for six axle trucks on American federal interstate highways, suggesting that the current 80,000 lbs. limit be raised to 91,000 lbs.

The proposal was introduced in a version of his proposed Safe Trucking Act. Ribble believed that raising the federal weight limit would increase industry-wide productivity and improve highway safety, overall, as fewer trucks would be on the road. Today, Ribble and others are still calling for the weight limit increase.

Why do Ribble and others want the change? Supporters of the movement point out the numerous safety benefits of having less semi-trucks on the road. Commercial actors are excited about the increased efficiency in transportation. Practical proponents also point out that, in most states, it is commonplace for trucks to surpass the 80,000 lbs. standard while on local and state-operated roads, and that upping the weight in the average truck would come at no cost to the government— the Department of Transportation has confirmed that such an increase would not place any additional stress/wear and tear on the interstate highway, giving the initiative additional credibility.

Who Wants the Change?

Since 2015, the issue has been raised repeatedly in Congress. It has the backing of several interest groups in the transportation industry, such as the Coalition for Transportation Productivity. The American Trucking Associations also backs the bill, while other prominent groups, such as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), do not.

Why Does the TCA Oppose the Increase?

The TCA is opposed to the bill because, as they see it, changing the maximum weight of six axel trucks would essentially cause a de-facto mandate for all fleets to update their equipment—any truck with fewer than six axels will become instantly obsolete, inefficient.

Retrofitting current fleets that aren’t capable of hauling 91,000 lbs. would be an expensive undertaking. Many small trucking fleets don’t have the cash to drop everything and make the upgrades. Why is this a problem? In not upgrading their fleets, they would hardly be able to keep pace with their competitors that can retrofit their fleets and haul more freight—after all, which business wouldn’t chose the fleet that can haul 91,000 lbs. of cargo? The six axel trucks, which could carry an additional 13.75% of a typical truckload, would totally wipe out all of their less efficient competitors. Companies would have to hire less trucks in order to transport more freight, and those that cannot keep with the times would quickly go out of business.

The TCA has recently written Congressmen/women, imploring them to table the conversation of raising the weight maximum for interstate trucking. So far, it is unclear how the entire drama will play out. Anyhow—if you do not have a six axle truck, you may be facing an upgrade, if legislation raising the weight maximum passes. Do you have the cash flow on hand to cope with the changes that will become necessary? Do you currently have the cash flow to shoulder unexpected expenses? If not, give us a call—we offer a score of services that are intended to help small trucking fleets/owner-operators like yours increase their cash flow, avoid debt and expand.