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Owner-operators know, your truck is your livelihood. That’s why on-going maintenance is so important to the success of your trucking business. It’s also why quality semi-truck tires are the best investment to keep your truck running at peak performance. Will you be buying semi truck tires in the near future?

Eventually, even with regular maintenance, all truck tires need to be replaced. Although it can be tempting to go for the lowest-priced option, keep these 7 factors in mind when making your next purchase:

#1 Product Quality

Not all semi-truck tires are the same. There are many new tire companies, several from China, offering cheap tires. Beware of rock bottom prices for new tires as many come into the country with no DOT codes. The EPA’s SmartWay publishes a list of tires. Keep in mind the EPA has a disclaimer that it doesn’t guarantee manufacturer claims. It accepts manufacturer’s test data and does none of its own testing. The saying, “You get what you pay for,” is famous for a reason!

#2 Grip and Performance

The surface of a semi-truck tire can result in performance quality. Harder tires are designed for durability and endurance. They also provide better fuel efficiency. However, in certain conditions, there may be a decrease in traction. They may also affect comfort.

Softer semi-truck tires grip the road better by design.  They provide a smoother ride compared to harder tires, but they also tend to wear down faster. Fuel efficiency is generally lower with softer semi-truck tires as well.

#3 Fuel Efficiency and Resistance

When semi-truck tires aren’t inflated properly, the engine must work harder, adversely affecting the fuel economy. More friction is created when the tire pressure is too low because more of the tire surface comes into contact with the road. Overheating, blowouts and tread separation can be the result of underinflated semi-truck tires.

#4 Stability and Braking

It is estimated that 80 percent of today’s new Class 8 trucks are equipped with auxiliary engine brakes. Aggressive use of these brakes can increase overall tire wear. Typically, twice the tread depth of trailer tires is found on high-mileage drive tires.

Additionally, fewer instances of abusive, brake-induced tire wear will be seen due to electronic braking controls which account for more consistent stopping distances.

#5 Cost and Tire Life

The average semi-truck tire price is in the $500 range. Some are offered for as little as $150. The cheapest semi-truck tire is not necessarily the most cost-effective tire. Keep that in mind when buying semi truck tires!

Factoring in the cost per mile is important when making a purchasing decision. Take into consideration the typical life of a tire. Depending on the brand, a manufacturer’s warranty can extend up to 10 years. In most cases you should consider replacing tires once they reach the six-year mark to avoid accidents or breakdowns.

#6 Warranty and Adjustment Policy

Reputable semi-truck tire manufacturers will clearly define their warranty terms. Warranties can cover time ranges (4 to 7 years average) and may also cover a certain number of miles. Some will offer an adjustment policy based on tread wear.

Cheap tires from an off brand may seem like a good deal but some companies may not stand behind the warranties they offer. Be sure to read through the warranty for your tires. Consider the value of the warranty offered when calculating your cost per tire.

#7 Brand Faith and Delivery Time

Michelin is the No. 1 semi-truck tire brand across the board. Goodyear and Yokohama consistently rate in the top 10 brands according to data gathered from several tire dealers as well as Modern Tire Dealer’s list of 2017 U.S. Replacement…Tire Brand Shares. Other brands with high rankings are Bridgestone, Firestone, and BF Goodrich.

Extend the Life of Your Tires

On-going maintenance specific to tires can help extend the life of your semi-truck tires.

  • Check Tire Pressure

Almost 90 percent of semi-truck tire blowouts can be traced to underinflation. This is the single best way to reduce roadside repairs and reduce needless fuel waste!

  • Signs of Wear and Tear

Worn tread is a sign that your semi-truck tires need replacement. Though knowing how a mechanical condition affects a tire is important as well.  Worn tires are often a symptom of poor alignment or bad bearings. Replacing worn tires without addressing underlying issues simply means a shorter life for the next tire. Tires say a lot about how a truck is treated, keep yours in good condition!

  • Rotation Schedule

Though there is no exact science for semi-truck tire rotation, they should be rotated at least once during the expected life of the tire.  Some drivers prefer to rotate one quarter to halfway through the expected mileage of the tire. Performing regular inspections and rotate when there is a difference of 3/32 or more in the tread is another option.

The key is to make a schedule for rotating your tires and having it done when your truck is already in for service, like scheduling it with every-other oil change. This tip alone could keep you from buying semi truck tires more often!

  • Trucking Routes

The driving conditions expected are a factor to consider when purchasing semi-truck tires.  Softer tires are designed to expand and contract with temperature fluctuations. If you frequently have routes through regions with ever-changing weather conditions, softer tires may be a wise choice.

  • Load Capacity

Tires are a big investment for your semi-truck. Making sure they properly support your vehicle is critical. Be sure to verify the maximum load limits for each wheel as listed by the manufacturer.  This important step will ensure that your new set of tires can sustain your top carrying capacity – and protect your investment!

What is a Retread & Is It a Good Option When Buying Semi Truck Tires?

Retreading is the process where semi-truck tire casings receive a new tread. Worn tires are carefully inspected and only sound tire casings are used for retreading. The process is very similar to the manufacture of a new tire. Heat, time, and pressure applications are used to affix a new tread.

Safety of a Retread

Most retread plants are franchised, licensed by or affiliated with major brand suppliers and adhere to stringent industry recommended practices. Many trucking fleets plan on having their worn tire casings retreaded at least two times and factor that into their tire budgets. Other industries use retreaded tires as well. In the United States, 80 percent of all aircraft tires are retreads. School buses, fire engines and military vehicles are just a few more examples of retread users.

Initial Cost vs. Ongoing Replacement Costs

Retreads cost less than a new tire – somewhere between 30-50 percent of the new tire price. It is reported that retreading truck tires saves over $3 billion each year in the trucking industry! Retreading can lower your initial costs too, but what are the ongoing costs?  If you are replacing your retread tires every two years, is that a better investment than buying semi-truck tires new?

Truck, Van & Trailer Service in and Around Utah

Semi Service, Inc. is a family owned business that was started in a small, two-bay trailer service and repair facility servicing the Salt Lake Valley in 1972. Since that time, we’ve expanded to offer two locations in the Salt Lake City area! Our certified & experienced Semi Service mechanics can help you with:

  • Maintenance & Parts – We specialize in truck equipment installation and repair, heavy-duty equipment repair, fabrication, all types of trailer repairs, selling new and used trailers, and in CNG conversions.
  • Repairs – Truck, trailer, and snow equipment repair services in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming!
  • Upfit Equipment – Choose from the top brands for your truck or van!

Are you thinking of buying semi-truck tires or other equipment?

Contact Semi Service for All Your Truck Needs

We service, repair, install, and upfit all types of trucks, vans, and trailers. Don’t know where to start? We can answer your questions and help you find what you need.

Contact us online or give us a call at (801) 895-4419 to get started today!

Connect with us on social media:

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The post 7 Areas to Consider When Buying Semi Truck Tires appeared first on Semi Services Blog.

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Safety is one of the key concerns for anyone operating a semi-trailer. Most drivers, and those that share the road with them, focus on safe driving – but that’s not the only thing that matters. In addition to proper trailer maintenance and the driver’s personal health, cargo securement is one of the most critical parts of the job. Properly securing loads on trailers isn’t as straightforward as you may think, and for newer drivers, it’s important to understand the laws and guidelines to prevent a catastrophe.

The Dangers of Shifting Cargo

Proper cargo management is more than just being thorough. It can prevent everything from lost cargo to bodily injury. In some cases, catastrophic failures when securing loads on trailers have lead to death. No matter what type of cargo you’re moving, high speeds and momentum can turn anything into a danger.

Securing Cargo Loads to Your Trailer Flatbed Trailers

Every type of trailer requires you to secure your cargo, but flatbeds offer a unique challenge. They have no sides or tops to help keep your load in position. This makes it easier to load and offload cargo, but much more difficult to keep it on the bed while you’re traveling.

Unsecured cargo is also at greater risk on a flatbed. In other trailers, poorly-secured cargo may get damaged – in a flatbed, it will immediately scatter on the roads. The result is typically lost goods, fees or fines and potentially even harm to near-by motorists.

Securing loads on cargo trailers involves the use of various tools to tie the objects down:

  • Cables
  • Winches
  • Webbing Straps
  • Chains & Load Binders

It’s important to use the right type of tie-down for the job. Chains may work for bigger objects, but you’ll need webbing straps for others. If you do use chains, don’t try to get them tight by hand alone. You need to use load binders to properly secure the cargo.

Because tie-downs need to be tight to keep your cargo from moving, you may need to invest in “V boards.” These help prevent strap damage to your cargo when the load you’re carrying would be easily damaged from the tight straps. They will also reduce wear on your straps, which will extend their lifetime of use.

The last major difference when securing loads to a flatbed trailer is whether you need a tarp. Some cargo requires a tarp to prevent the high-speeds of highway travel from sending loose bits all over the road. Other times, you may need to protect your goods from rain or other weather damage.

Don’t consider the tarp part of cargo securement! It should always be saved for last, after your cargo is already strapped and secured. A tarp isn’t a safe option for holding down a load – one tiny rip could spill your entire payload!

Dry Vans & Reefers

Loading the box of a dry van or reefer trailer is easier than a flatbed, but there are some important considerations:

Shifting Cargo

It’s unlikely that your cargo will fall loose on the road due to the sides and roof of the trailer. But that doesn’t mean cargo won’t move. Movement on the road can cause anything stored in your trailer to move. Too much movement can easily damage the shipping boxes or anything contained inside.

Even if your cargo isn’t likely to be damaged, shifting cargo can significantly impact your ability to drive. If your load slides into the side of your trailer during a turn, it could tip over! Therefore it’s just as important in a dry van to secure any loose cargo to prevent as much movement as possible.

Uneven Distribution

Proper weight distribution is critical. That’s why weigh stations look at the weight load of each axel in addition to the overall weight. Traveling with unsafe weight distribution can even result in your trailer being stopped until it’s corrected.

Poorly loading your vehicle can also increase the wear-and-tear on the vehicle itself. This will eventually raise the costs of trailer maintenance and lead to a decrease in profits for yourself or your company.

Weight-Based Stacking

When loading your trailer, it’s important to get an overview of the entire haul. Items should be loaded based on weight, with heavier cargo being placed on the bottom. In addition to being easier to load, this helps for a variety of reasons:

  • A lower center of gravity aids stability
  • It reduces the risk of a trailer roll-over from shifting cargo
  • It reduces your chances of crushing cargo

Like uneven distribution, overloading a trailer can lead to damage that may leave you stuck on the roadside.

Driving Safely with Cargo Plan Your Drive

Where you go will impact the safety of your cargo – certain states and highways are more difficult to drive with cargo than others. You can’t know the best ways to secure loads to your trailer if you don’t know the type of driving conditions to expect.

Modern tools have made it easier than ever to plan your trip. Mapping tools can show you the route, speed and time you’ll be taking on your drive – and instant weather forecasts are available on your mobile device all day.

There are certain types of roads you should be paying attention to:

  • Heavy or frequent curves
  • Steep grades
  • Heavy traffic areas

All of these types of routes will play a big role in how you operate your vehicle. Knowing what to expect can prevent a dangerous surprise.

Starting & Stopping Your Vehicle

It’s critical that you understand the impact your cargo has on acceleration and deceleration for your trailer. Even a light load will make a difference in how quickly you can start or stop. No matter how well you know your vehicle, every job will have a different effect on how your truck and trailer respond.

Cargo distribution plays a role in this too! Uneven cargo can cause issues with your tires losing contact with the road. Any time you lose contact with the road dramatically increases your risks and lowers your control over your vehicle. When making a sudden stop, this can be a life or death difference!

Inspect Your Cargo Regularly

On long trips, it may seem like a poor use of time to check your haul frequently. But constant shifting or sliding can cause your cargo to get loose from your initial attempts at securing it. The sooner you catch these issues, the less likely they are to lead to any damage. A few minutes here or there on your trip is well worth it to avoid showing up at your stop with broken cargo!

Contact Semi Service for Trailer Parts & Accessories

If you’re thinking of buying your first trailer and don’t know where to start, we can help answer your questions and guide you to finding the right trailer.

Contact us online or give us a call at (801) 895-4419 to get started today!

Connect with us on social media:

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The post Tips for Safely Securing Loads on Trailers appeared first on Semi Services Blog.

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Snow-covered roads can be a major threat to drivers of any type of vehicle. But semi-trailer operators spend a large portion of their time on the road, subjecting them to the worst of the winter’s effects on highways and backroads. It’s important to stay safe, which is why many drivers use tire chains in Utah and other states prone to heavy snows. But do you know the laws and regulations surrounding snow chains in Utah?

Utah’s Tire Chain Laws

Utah, like other states, has specific laws citing the usage of snow tires or tire chains during the winter periods of the year. However, due to the specific nature of Utah’s laws, they can be difficult for newer semi-trailer operators to understand. The most important thing to know is that in certain areas, it’s required to have tire chains for vehicles with four drive wheels or more.

According to Utah statue UCA 41-6a-1636, all drivers must use steel link or cable chains on their tires or use snow tires with an M+S rating during severe winter weather. If you fail to abide by this law, you can find yourself paying up to $1,000 in fines, or even up to six months in jail!

The laws are different for every type of vehicle. If you’re operating a truck for snow plowing, you only need to have two of your tires prepped for winter. Even if your vehicle is all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. However, it’s far safer to chain all your tires versus just the drive tires. Winter weather isn’t the time to limit yourself to just the minimum legal obligation!

Any commercial vehicle with four or more drive wheels are required to have chains. There are also some high-traffic highways in Utah that require them.

Tips for Using Snow Tire Chains You Still Need to Drive Slowly

Tire chains aren’t a miracle for snow driving. While they will help you maneuver on snowy roads, they won’t prevent you from every slip. It goes without saying that a driver should take winter road safety seriously, so don’t overestimate the effect of your tire chains.

Durability is also a concern for you and your organization. Tire chains are designed to handle rugged conditions, but at high-speeds, the chains can suffer catastrophic damage from the impact of the road. If you’re traveling over roads that necessitate snow chains in the first place, stay under the recommended speed of your chain’s manufacturer. Typically, this isn’t much faster than 30 or 40 miles per hour.

Take Off Your Tire Chains on Clear Roads

While you may have heard about the damage snow chains can do to dry roads, you many not be aware that dry roads can do damage to your chains as well! Pay attention to the roads and keep an eye open for clear stretches of road.

Driving on these roads with your tire chains is a sure-fire way to destroy the chains. You’ll be left with the cost of replacing them, as well as being stuck on the road without chains for your vehicle. Roadside repairs are inevitable, but you should still do everything in your power to avoid them.

Inspect Them Regularly

Tire chains take quite a beating every time you use them. The more you drive, the more likely it is that they’ve worn down too far for safety. If your tire chains fail while you’re on the road, you may not even notice until you lose enough traction to cause an accident.

Whenever you use snow chains, take any opportunity you can to stop and inspect them. Just a few minutes spent looking over your chains every stop can be the difference between staying on schedule and getting stuck on the side of the road.

During your inspection, keep an eye out for any potential issues with your trailer. You can always contact us for prompt semi-trailer service!

Know the State Regulations Before You Go

If you travel locally, you’ll only need to know the tire chain laws in Utah. But if you’re a long-haul trucker, it’s important that you understand your obligations wherever you go. The last thing you need is to suffer heavy fines or even time lost in a traffic stop due to a misunderstanding.

In the past, this may have been a huge annoyance. But modern technology makes it easy enough to learn common traffic laws of any state. Most states have very active websites for their Department of Transportation, allowing you to get your information in just a few clicks. There’s no excuse to drive over a border without knowing the legal requirements for semi-trailers!

Contact Semi Service for Trailer Parts & Accessories

Semi Service specializes in all types of trailer repairs, maintenance and sales. If you have questions or need a new or used semi-trailer, we can help!

Contact us online or give us a call at (801) 895-4419 to get started today!

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The post Does a Semi-Trailer Operator Need Tire Chains in Utah? appeared first on Semi Services Blog.

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There’s nothing more frustrating than having your whole day disrupted due to an unexpected vehicle malfunction. Whether it’s big or small, it can leave a major dent in your bottom line. When you need roadside trailer repairs, it’s not uncommon to feel completely blindsided. You can prevent yourself from panicking by avoiding these common roadside maintenance mistakes.

Ignoring Regular Maintenance

The longer you work as a driver, the more likely you’ll need roadside trailer repair. But that doesn’t mean you can’t prevent a majority of the cases of mid-trip breakdowns. The best way to keep your truck and trailer operating smoothly on the road? Preventative maintenance.

There’s no excuse for a poorly maintained vehicle. Your truck travels many miles each year and your trailer experiences wear-and-tear from heavy use. It’s guaranteed that you’ll need maintenance. Be proactive!

A malfunction on the road is more than an inconvenience. It can completely disrupt your schedule and cost you more than just the repair bill. Even small issues can be a massive safety risk if left unchecked.

Take your rig in for regular maintenance and be quick to have minor issues serviced. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By taking care of problems before you even need roadside trailer repair, you can save hundreds or thousands.

Semi Service specializes in trailer repairs, so contact us now before you need breakdown service!

Not Having a Breakdown Service Before a Breakdown

What’s worse than having a roadside breakdown? Trying to find a repair service for your truck or fleet when you’re already stressed out on the shoulder of a highway! If you operate a fleet or are an owner-operator of your own semi-trailer, start building a relationship with a breakdown service before you need it.

Primarily, you need to know that you have a partner when something goes wrong. Trying to find emergency service when you need it can steal precious hours from your schedule. Negotiating services and costs isn’t always quick, which means you don’t want to do it while you or one of your drivers are stranded.

Additionally, the earlier you seek out a roadside repair provider, the more time you have to decide on the best offer. Any repair can be costly, but roadside trailer repair is often more expensive than regular maintenance. If you want to keep operational expenses low, you’ll want to take your time to find the right service well before you need it.

Certain types of trailers, like reefers, aren’t well-suited for significant disruptions. Losing your cargo to spoilage from a surprise breakdown because you were stuck on the phone finding a repair service won’t do you any favors.

Focusing on Price Over Quality

Speaking of price, don’t forget that a roadside breakdown can have repercussions that extend well past the downtime of a disabled vehicle. The cheapest service available isn’t always the best. High-quality repairs can last for a long time, instead of a quick fix that only gets your vehicle to another repair shop.

If you go with the cheapest offer, you might end up paying more in the long-run for repeat repairs. An inexperienced technician will likely charge less, but could cost you more in time spent diagnosing and repairing the problem.

This ties into planning. When you’re sorting through your available options, consider one with the best reviews and a history of quality work. You’ll always be better off with proper in-shop maintenance, but when a situation requires you to call for roadside repairs, you’ll want service you can rely on.

Not Tracking Breakdown Details

It doesn’t matter if you manage a fleet or simply operate your own vehicle, you should track every time you need service. Over time, you might start to notice recurring issues with your truck or trailer. Chances are, based on your runs, your vehicle experiences repeat wear-and-tear on specific parts.

If you don’t keep track of these repairs, you’ll be left in the dark. However, clear tracking will give you the opportunity to preemptively spot issues or notify your truck service company so that they can pay extra attention to problem spots. In some cases, you can prepare by investing in replacement trailer parts that you’re sure to need in the future, saving you time and money.

Giving Vague Information to Your Breakdown Service

No service can help you if they can’t find you or understand the problem. When you call for help, make sure to be clear and give as many details as you can:

  • Where you are
  • What problem you’re experiencing
  • Any issues you’ve identified with your vehicle

Since you likely know your truck well, you may be able to give a good guess of what you think the problem is. Even if you’re not sure, pointing a technician in the right direction can help save precious minutes diagnosing the breakdown. Once you know what’s wrong with your vehicle, they can give you an estimate and you can start planning your return to the road.

Tips for Dealing with Roadside Trailer Repair

Because it’s inevitable that you’ll have a roadside breakdown, make sure you’re prepared:

#1. Move to a Safe Place

If you can, get your rig as far from active traffic as you can. If you can’t get off the road, get on the shoulder. If you can’t get on the shoulder, get to the right-most lane. The less you obstruct traffic, the lower your chances for causing a serious accident.

#2. Be Visible

Do you have emergency visibility equipment? Reflectors, road flares and your hazards can all help you stay visible. Without them, you increase the risk of an accident – which will be far more expensive than a few roadside repairs. Especially at night, take care to ensure visibility. It will also help your repair service know where to find you.

#3. Inspect Your Vehicle

Before the technician arrives, look over your vehicle quickly. If you can find the source of the problem, you can dramatically speed up your repairs by telling the technician. While they should still do their own inspection, it will help them narrow down the problem and start thinking of a solution immediately instead of after 20 minutes of diagnostics.

Contact Semi Service for Trailer Maintenance & Repair

Semi Service specializes in all types of trailer repairs, maintenance and sales. If you have questions or need a new or used semi-trailer, we can help!

Contact us online or give us a call at (801) 895-4419 to get started today!

Facebook | Google +

The post Don’t Make These Roadside Trailer Repair Mistakes! appeared first on Semi Services Blog.

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When you operate a snow plowing business, the last thing you want to do is get surprised by a blizzard. With the snowy season upon us, it’s up to you to have a plan of action ready. Snow plowing can be a large portion of your income, so it’s critical to prepare now so you can be on the road when the snow falls. Read on for a roadmap to success with your snow plowing business.

Prepare for the Blizzard

With your eyes on the weather report, it can be easy to lose sight of the other important parts of making the most of an upcoming snowfall. Before the clouds loom overhead, make sure you’ve taken care of these important steps:

Maintenance

Your job is to clear the roads to keep them safe to drive. If your truck or a truck in your fleet isn’t properly maintained, it can become another hazard for motorists to avoid. There’s no excuse for poor maintenance when managing a snow plowing business.

Pay attention to the key parts of your vehicles to ensure a safe and efficient winter season:

  • Engines
  • Fuel
  • Batteries
  • Tires

You’ll also want to have an emergency kit packed and ready with every truck in your fleet. If a breakdown occurs, it’s best to be able to handle it yourself where possible. Even though it’s often out of your control, a breakdown at a bad time can impact your ability for repeat contracts.

Read more of our tips that detail winter vehicle maintenance for your truck.

Hiring

Is snow plowing season the busiest time of year for your business? Then you may need some additional help. Hiring seasonal employees can be an efficient way to expand your business when you need them most, without paying a team to sit around during your off-season.

Depending on your business, you may have a handful of resources available to you that can help you find the help you need. Make use of your website, professional contacts and current employees to find potential hires.

Remember that any employee working for you, even temporarily, is a reflection of your business. Don’t relax your hiring processes for seasonal workers! The earlier you start your hiring process, the more thoroughly you’ll be able to find the right talent.

Equipment

Suitable equipment for the jobs you plan to accept is paramount. If you think old plows and worn blades will impress professionals and earn you consistent business, you’re mistaken. During maintenance, do a thorough assessment of the equipment your trucks are using. Do they need to be upgraded or replaced?

It’s not a savvy business maneuver to use equipment until it breaks. An unexpected replacement during a job can cost you an entire night’s worth of work. Some things can’t be repaired – be ready with new equipment when you need it.

We can help you find the right snow removal equipment for your business. Contact Semi Service to meet with one of our snow removal equipment experts.

Know Your Market

Skills and equipment can only get you so far. You need customers – and that’s the hardest part of any business. Where do you find new customers, and how do you keep current ones?

Reach Out to Your Summer Clients

What does your business do when it’s too hot for snow? Regardless of your summer work, you have existing clients that know and trust you. Use them as a starting point. The groundwork is already done on establishing their business and it can help you ensure more work in the future from them.

Additionally, these repeat clients will be your best sources of referrals. Any service business depends on glowing reviews to grow. The more you interact with a business or family, the more likely they are to pass your information to their contacts too. Never underestimate the power of your customers to help your snow plowing business!

Map Your Region

You can’t grow without new business. But you can’t just accept every job and expect to profit. Every inch your vehicle drives between jobs is money wasted. Think about where you want to work and try to find clusters of property that think you can profit from:

  • Do you know any residential areas where you can expand your current operation?
  • Are your professional contacts able to help you land larger, commercial jobs?
  • How can you best split your fleet to minimize wasted mileage?

All of these things are basic, but important. If you find yourself driving long distances between jobs, you may need to rethink your business strategy. You could also look into converting your vehicles to a more efficient fuel, like CNG.

Can You Sub-Contract or Be Sub-Contracted?

Sub-contracting is a necessary part of the job. Don’t forget this possibility during the height of the season. It can be the difference between achieving the income you want or having to tighten your belt for a few months.

Sub-contract to keep up with your competition

Over-scheduling happens. If it does, don’t panic. The key to making it work is not overworking your crew. If you need to sub-contract your schedule, it’s always an option. It can help you in a pinch and prevent you from disappointing your customers.

Over time, if you find yourself needing sub-contractors too frequently, take it as a sign that you may need to expand your permanent workforce. Just remember to take things slow and not over-hire.

Consider working for larger businesses if you’re having a slow season

Are you running a smaller operation or are you new to the area? Then consider the other side of the sub-contracting coin: taking jobs from bigger companies. Many seasonal businesses rely on sub-contractors as part of their business plan to complete their contracted work. There’s no reason you can’t take advantage of this if business is slow.

In addition to bringing you more income, it helps you establish facetime with customers in the area. You’ll learn the region and it can help you next season when temperatures drop again.

Planning for a Busy Snow Plowing Season?

Winter is here – if you have questions or are looking for a new plow, we can help! Colder weather is still ahead, so now is a great time to stop in and let our experts help you.

Contact us online or give us a call at (801) 895-4419 to get started today!

Connect with us on social media:

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The post Turn the Next Blizzard into Profits for Your Snow Plowing Business appeared first on Semi Services Blog.

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Semi-truck operators have an occupation with higher than average health risks, so truck driver health is big concern. The biggest obstacle to overcome is a lack of knowledge inside and outside the community. Together, we can focus on spreading awareness of the issues that increase risk while promoting general men’s health too.

Have You Heard of Movember?

Since its beginning in 1999, Movember has grown from a small fundraising movement in Australia to a global phenomenon. In recent years, participants in the United States have succeeded in raising millions of dollars for the Movember Foundation.

Movember focuses on three primary issues: prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s mental health. A surprising percentage of cases of cancer and mental illnesses go unidentified every year, largely due to a lack of awareness and testing. While they can be often treated when caught early, thousands suffer or pass away from them every year unknowingly.

However, Movember also about general men’s health awareness. Some of the most important concerns are:

  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Reluctance to visit doctors
Let’s Support Truck Drivers World Wide

It’s no secret that sitting down for long periods of time, eating fast food and inconsistent sleep schedules are bad for your health. Because of this, trucker drivers are more likely to develop health issues related to obesity and heart disease.

How much time do you spend maintaining your vehicle to keep it in tip-top shape? You should be doing the same for yourself!

In part, the awareness and focus on men’s health in recent years is the perfect chance to promote wellness and active health goals in the trucking industry. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy, and the most important part of the battle is awareness.

What Factors Impact Truck Driver Health the Most?

In addition to the health concerns that all men face, truck operators face their own unique issues.

Sleep Deprivation

Long hours on the road and tight deadlines can put drivers behind-the-wheel when they should be resting on a pillow. Many operators push themselves far past their reasonable limits to get extra miles in to make more money.

Sleep deprivation impacts your alertness and ability to react. For most professions, this can have a noticeable decrease in your productivity. For those that work on the road, it can create a safety hazard for themselves and many others. There are plenty of examples available of semi-truck crashes that can be attributed to lack of sleep.

The only solution is to plan your schedule to include enough sleep.

Poor Diet

Healthy eating on the road isn’t easy. This translates to a diet that frequently includes fast food and other convenience options that don’t offer much in the way of nutritional value.

While obesity and heart health are major concerns that tie into your diet, remember there are other serious consequences to consider. Your risk of cancers related to your digestive system increase with diets high in red meats and low in fiber. That doesn’t mean you need to eat a salad every day, but it is key to find a way to balance out your meals even when you’re on the road.

Take control of your diet by packing foods that meet your dietary needs. A small cooler with fruits and vegetables makes a perfect start. For long hauls, consider trying to pack sandwiches or other meals that use store-bought ingredients versus the fried food you would find at stops.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Trucker operators do get some exercise when loading or unloading their trailers. But it’s undeniable that they spend a significant portion of their day sitting down. Research continues to show the major health risks associated with excessive sitting.

There’s little you can do to combat sitting during long hauls. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t work exercise and activity into your daily life. Plan your stops to include any physical activity that you can. Whether you want to incorporate strength training or cardio into your day is up to you, as long as you do something!

It’s not as hard as you may think to bring along some small exercise equipment with you on the job.

High Blood Pressure

A combination of many factors all lead to hypertension, a very concerning issue for truckers and men in general. Sedentary lifestyles, obesity and poor diets all raise your risk of chronic high blood pressure. Known as the silent killer, hypertension can lead to heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular disease.

Because of the dangers of hypertension, the Department of Transportation physical even has medical guidelines that limit the certification of drivers that are at high risk of blood pressure-related illnesses.

Any steps toward lowering your blood pressure will be a benefit to your overall health.

Semi Service Encourages You to Take an Active Role in Your Health

Awareness is only effective if it spurs action. Make sure that you use time wisely to evaluate your personal health and take steps to improve it. Even health-conscious drivers can strive to eat better, exercise more or visit their doctor for regular checkups.

Do You Have Questions? Contact Semi Service Today!

If you’re thinking of buying a new or used trailer, plow or other truck equipment and don’t know where to start, we can help answer your questions and guide you to finding what you need.

Contact us online or give us a call at (801) 895-4419 to get started today!

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The post Help Spread Truck Driver Health Awareness appeared first on Semi Services Blog.

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Winter is just around the corner. If you live in the Utah, Nevada, Idaho or Wyoming area, that means snow – and a lot of it. For snow plow operators, things are about to get busy. Before the inches start piling up, does your business have the manpower to take every job offered to you? Like many companies, you probably need to start hiring seasonal employees.

But where do you start? And how do you find the best candidates? Read on to find some of our top tips for hiring winter help so you have enough hands on deck when the phone starts ringing.

How to Spread Your Message

One of the most difficult parts of hiring seasonal employees is getting the word out. In the old days, your options were limited. Today, it’s much easier – and often free – to get your job listings in front of potential candidates.

Social Media

Are you using social media? If not, you should be – and recruiting is a perfect example why. Even small businesses can quickly build a minor following. One post can quickly spread through a handful of followers until hundreds of people see your job posting. And it’s all completely free!

In addition to posting on Facebook or Twitter, you can also use a platform like LinkedIn. It offers deeper insights into the employment history of users. LinkedIn also has tools for employers to share jobs and find candidates.

Use Your Website

Another powerful tool for hiring seasonal employees is your website. There are a lot of advantages to using your site for recruiting:

It’s Essentially Free – While there are on-going costs to maintain your website, you can often update content on an existing page or add a new page for no or very little additional money.

It’s Relevant – Many of the users of your websites have an interest in your field already. Unlike general candidates, if they see a job posting, they may already have some experience doing what you do. This can make it easier to train and ultimately save you time and money down the road.

It Showcases Your Business – Even seasonal candidates want to work for companies that share similar values. Your website reflects your company; by bringing job seekers to your site, you introduce them to your company as well.

Ask Your Current Employees

Your best employees are also one of your best resources. Hard workers often know other hard workers. If you can, ask your employees about any potential family members or friends that would be interested in seasonal work. Not only could they save you time hunting for candidates, but it saves you the money you would have spent posting ads online or in local publications.

Most data shows that employee referral hires tend to be more reliable, faster to hire and faster to train. Surprisingly, small businesses were also shown to use employee referrals the least when it comes to recruiting. For businesses that need employees fast and without a lot of overhead, it’s a fantastic option you should consider.

Referral programs are popular options to help find more winter help. Rewards can be anything from cash to other incentives for referring reliable candidates. Find out what motivates your staff the most and run with it.

Tips for Hiring Seasonal Employees Effectively #1. Don’t Skip the Vetting Process

Hiring seasonal employees can feel like a mad rush. But that’s no excuse to relax your vetting process. Even temporary help will reflect on your business’s name. Whether it’s the friend of your best employee or a flawless resume from your job listings, thoroughly vet every potential candidate.

It may seem like a headache to operate your winter business a man down for an extra week or two. But a bad employee can cost you your reputation. You can teach anyone the best practices of snow or ice removal, but it doesn’t mean they’ll listen!

#2. Start the Hiring Process Early

Competition for seasonal work can be fierce, especially around here in Salt Lake City, Utah. You know you’ll need the help. For snow plow businesses, don’t wait until a blizzard is dumping snow on your city to put out your ads.

You may not know exactly how much winter help you’ll need. Start by working some key hires, and possibly keep a few extra candidates on the backburner. Just remember that the longer it’s been since you interviewed a potential hire, the more likely it is that they found other work.

#3. Advertise in the Right Places

Advertising your position in more traditional ways? Make sure you only promote your seasonal work where it makes sense. For winter snow plow businesses, spread the word where experienced drivers might see it. It’s better to have a small list of qualified candidates that understand how to use and maintain their snow plow than a big stack of applicants that have never operated one before!

#4.  Be Clear with Your Job Description

Hiring seasonal employees is like any form of advertising: be clear and succinct. An accurate, easy-to-read job listing will produce fewer irrelevant applicants. Again, you want your winter help to be great representatives of your business too. It’s not easy to find the best people, and it’s much harder if you don’t put in the effort to find them.

Planning for a Busy Snow Plowing Season?

Before winter officially arrives, read our tips on getting your snow plow ready this year! If you have questions or are looking for a new plow, we can help! Colder weather is still ahead, so now is a great time to stop in and let our experts help you.

Contact us online or give us a call at (801) 895-4419 to get started today!

Connect with us on social media:

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The post Hiring Seasonal Employees for Your Winter Business appeared first on Semi Services Blog.

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If you’re considering buying a snow plow truck attachment, you probably have some questions. It’s not a simple process to find the right snow plow for your vehicle, but it is an important one. There is a lot you need to keep in mind to make the most of your snow and ice removal service. Is the plow you’re purchasing right for you and your truck? Before you buy a snow plow, make sure you review these three important facts:

#1. Not All Plows Work the Same

How you plan to use your plow will be a major factor in choosing the best suited plow for your vehicle. There’s a big difference between the type of plow you should use for home plowing versus commercial plowing:

Home Plowing

When you invest in a plow for home use, you won’t go too high-tech. A comfortably-sized straight plow should be all you need. Straight plows are less expensive, making them far more cost-efficient for easy jobs. While they lack any distinctive features, they’re more than effective for clearing driveways for your family and neighbors.

Likewise, you won’t need a particularly large blade. This is helpful for smaller pickup trucks, as heavier blades won’t work well on lighter trucks. If you aren’t planning to sell snow plowing services, you can stick to lightweight, straight blades with no problem at all.

Commercial Plowing

For those that want to purchase a plow as part of a commercial business, a V-shaped plow or adjustable wing plow is more than worth the extra investment. For starters, these plows offer you greater control. Straight plows can’t effectively direct, angle or scoop snow as well as V-shaped plows can. Adjustable wing plows offer you even more versatility. Clients can have specifics requests regarding how you plow their snow, so extra control can go a long way to keeping your clients happy.

V-shaped plows are also powerhouses when it comes to plowing difficult snow. Overnight freezes leave snow much more difficult to move than when it’s fresh. While a straight plow can handle this type of snow too, a V-shaped plow will do it with less stress on the plow and your truck.

Size also matters for commercial plowing. Time is money, and larger plows equal less time. When you’re scouting out the best plow for your commercial plowing business, go with a larger model. Just remember that ultimately you need to make your decision based on the second most important thing to know…

#2. Your Plow Must Fit Your Truck

The type of snow plow truck attachment you buy will depend heavily on the type of truck you own. Larger, heavy-duty trucks will be able to equip bulkier plows. To give you an idea of the difference between some plows, their weights can range anywhere from around 300 pounds to almost 1,000 pounds. Your truck needs to not only be able to properly equip the plow, but also not fail when pushing the additional weight of the snow. Check your vehicle’s front gross axle weight rating (FGAWR) to get an idea of the maximum weight for the plow.

Another consideration is whether or not you plan to incorporate a salt-spreader. For commercial operators, they’re great if your truck can support them. Like your plow, you’ll want to pay attention to your vehicle’s gross weight axle rating to make sure you won’t cause any damage. If you can profit from operating a fully-equipped snow and de-icing vehicle, it’s not always a bad idea to upgrade to a larger truck. If you’re already managing a fleet, consider getting a heavy-duty truck next time you want to expand.

#3. Snow Plow Material Makes a Significant Difference

Not all snow plows are built the same. There are three major materials used in snow plows. Each one comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. Pick the one that’s right for you based on their unique traits:

Mild Steel

Steel is the most common type of material used for snow plows. They’ve been around for decades and are reliable, lasting for years. Plows made of steel are often cheaper than the alternatives, which make them more desirable for small businesses to large fleets. It’s hard to go wrong with a standard steel snow plow.

They do have some drawbacks. Steel is heavy and noisy – expect to hear them rattling as you drive. And while steel is incredibly resilient, it’s not impervious to rust. With all the weather you put a snow plow through, it’s inevitable to find rust eventually. However, there’s a reason they’re one of the most common types of plows out there: they just work.

Stainless Steel

If you’re able to invest a bit more into your plow, stainless steel is a great option. Plows made with stainless steel carry many of the benefits of standard steel plows. In addition to being tough and reliable, they’re far more resistant to rust and corrosion. That makes your winter vehicle maintenance  easier – not to mention how a good, simple cleaning can make stainless steel look brand new. Many operators find that stainless steel has a “slick” feel to it, which helps keep snow moving instead of sticking to your plow.

The drawbacks of stainless steel are straightforward. For starters, they’re more expensive pound for pound. It’s a significant investment over cheaper options. Though, like anything else, you get what you pay for. Stainless steel is also prone to denting and those dings will add up over the years.

Polyethylene

More commonly referred to as simply “poly,” these plows are a modern option that have seen increased popularity over the recent years. Unlike steel, poly snow plows are resilient against scratches and dents. Due to its slick surface, snow rarely sticks to a polyethylene plow, which significantly improves your ability to get the job done. On the aesthetic side, poly snow plows also resist wear better – the color is retained all the way through, so regular wear-and-tear doesn’t show as easily.

One common mistake that operators make is buying poly snow plows to cut down on weight. Poly plows are typically heavier than steel. The simple reason why is that the plastic needs to be reinforced, and that reinforcement adds extra weight. On top of that, poly is even more expensive than the steel options. However, for commercial operators, the investment can pay off by saving you time and effort.

Why Picking the Right Plow Matters

The snow plow you choose is important. It doesn’t matter if you’re purchasing a snow plow for personal or commercial use. A bad snow plow will make your job harder and cost more – but most importantly, it can impact the safety of your snow plowing service. If you’re not experienced on the subject, trust those that are. Semi Service has snow plow experts that can help, from snow plow truck equipment to municipal plows. It’s better to ask the important questions now than get stuck in a few inches of snow with a broken truck later!

Do You Have Questions About Snow Plow Truck Attachments?

If you’re wondering which snow plow is best for you, we can help answer your questions! The snowy season is just around the corner, so now is a great time to stop in and let our experts help you today.

Contact us online or give us a call at (801) 895-4419 to get started today!

Connect with us on social media:

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The post 3 Things You Must Know Before Buying a Snow Plow Truck Attachment appeared first on Semi Services Blog.

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Leasing a commercial vehicle is a big commitment. If you’re operating a fleet, starting a new business, or looking to get into the trucking industry, make sure you do your research before signing on the dotted line. There are many types of vehicles available from tractor trailers to specialized vans and trucks. Each have their own benefits and drawbacks. It’s important to know what you need before making a decision. Trucking is a business – so you must understand the relationship between your lease and your income. Before you start leasing a commercial vehicle, ask yourself these three questions.

#1. What Are the Restrictions on Your Lease?

For fleet managers looking for a cost-effective way to add a vehicle or two to their fleet, leasing a commercial vehicle can seem like a no-brainer. The lower upfront cost helps smaller businesses or solo operations get the equipment they need to operate without spending all of their capital on day one.

But it’s important to run the numbers and make sure that a lease agreement makes sense for the business you’re operating. Certain small businesses, such as landscapers or snow plowing, often don’t need to worry about restrictions such as mileage limits, but you might! If your business has you traveling across large areas, it can cause your lease to be much more expensive than you planned.

Likewise, wear-and-tear is unavoidable as you work. When leasing a commercial vehicle, the dealer expects you to return the truck or van back in a condition that makes it easy to lease again. While you may think a tiny dent or spilled coffee is nothing to worry about, your dealer will disagree. Like mileage overages, these small surprises can add up and make your lease more expensive than buying outright.

Before you sign any lease, make sure you understand the things for which you’re responsible. At the end of the lease, you want to know that you profited from the contract. Short-term savings can turn into long-term lost profit.

#2. How Long Will You Need It?

If you run a seasonal business, you need to plan your lease based around your best months of operation. A 6-month lease may seem like a good deal, but for a snow plow business that only operates maximally for a few months out of the year, it’s likely a net loss. Find a lessor that can help you plan a lease that will give you flexibility during your busy season.

Sometimes, businesses can get a sudden influx of new jobs all at once. It may be tempting to invest in a lease to help combat the increase in work – but for small businesses, this can be a huge pitfall. The typical ups-and-downs can trick you into overestimating your future income, and a longer-term lease may end up costing you.

In those situations, consider a short-term rental over a lease. While the per-month costs may seem higher, you can save a fortune by not having a surplus of vehicles if your business slows down again. Short-term rentals aren’t just helpful for busy schedules, either! When your primary vehicles are in the shop, or if you need a vehicle upfitted with modern equipment, they can help fill the gaps in your fleet without too much risk.

#3. Would It Make More Sense to Buy?

The most critical question you can ask yourself before signing a lease for a commercial vehicle is whether or not it’s better to buy. There are pros and cons to leasing and purchasing, and you’re the only one that can decide which is the better option.

The benefits of leasing are very straight-forward:

Low Upfront Cost – Other than a deposit, a lease is only as expensive as the monthly costs. This can make it the only option for smaller businesses trying to get started or grow.

No Commitment – When you lease a vehicle, you know exactly how long you’ll be using it without having to worry about resale or long-term maintenance.

Leasing Company Benefits – When you work with a reputable lessor, they can offer you unique benefits in terms of structuring a lease and a vehicle specifically for your needs. This varies from company to company, so make sure that you work with a reputable commercial vehicle dealer to get the most out of your lease.

However, it’s worth considering these drawbacks:

Lost Equity – Money spent on a lease is money that you could have spent on a payment. While leases can be cheaper in the short-term, if you frequently lease commercial vehicles, you’ll lose long-term profits.

No Ownership – Ownership of a vehicle is more than just permanent access. When you own a vehicle, it lets you make upgrades and repair decisions that otherwise would be exclusively the rights of the leasing company.

Tax Benefits – When you own a vehicle, you’re eligible for tax benefits such as those associated with depreciation. While state laws differ, in many cases, you lose more tax benefits than you gain from leasing a vehicle instead of owning it.

Ultimately, the question of whether to lease or buy comes down to which one will make the most sense for your business’s goals. Do the math and find out the breakpoint where ownership would save you more. If your company is likely to hit that breakpoint, consider if you can find a better option through purchasing instead of leasing a commercial vehicle.

Do You Have Leasing Questions? Contact Semi Service Today!

If you’re wondering if leasing a commercial vehicle is right for your business, we can help answer your questions! From leases to rentals to buying, we can help you find the right truck or trailer.

Contact us online or give us a call at (801) 895-4419 to get started today!

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The post 3 Questions to Ask Before Leasing a Commercial Vehicle appeared first on Semi Services Blog.

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As a truck driver, you spend a lot of your day sitting down for hours at a time. When you’re focused on the job and logging as many miles as you can, it’s easy to forget about your long-term health. This is even more true for new truck drivers. However, there are several easy steps you can take to improve your physical and mental health during those long stretches of travel. Read our seven health tips for truck drivers and start working your way to a clean bill of health today.

#1. Get Adequate Sleep

Our first health tip for truck drivers is to get the sleep you need. We know it’s not always easy, but it’s by far the most important. If you’re sleep deprived, your body won’t be able to perform many of its important “maintenance” routines. This will affect your mental health, physical health and can lead to weight gain and high-blood pressure.

The best way to do this is to create an ideal sleeping setup. Make sure you have a fan or heater – depending on the weather – and if you can, invest in a high-quality mattress for your sleeper berth. Many people swear by a white noise machine too, though the actual devices can be expensive. Another option is finding a good white noise app for your smartphone, many of which are free.

In addition to being crucial for your health, sleep is also a necessity to safely drive your vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving was a contributing factor to an estimated 83,000 crashes between 2005 and 2009. During the hours between 9PM and 6AM, 48% of drivers reported feeling drowsy enough to nod off. Don’t risk it! Planning for proper sleep should be a priority for every driver to improve their health and to stay safe on the road.

#2. Find Time to Exercise

Exercise doesn’t have to be a major event. If you’re on the road, even just 15 minutes of solid exercise can help you stay conditioned and improve your health. There are a few different avenues for productive exercise when you don’t have access to a gym:

  • Bring a Folding Bicycle – There are plenty of places on the road to take a quick ride. A folding bike can easily fit in your sleeper berth, and you can move it out to the cab when you plan to sleep.
  • Walk or Jog – It doesn’t matter where you are, there’s always an option to walk or jog. Even if you just do laps around your trailer, it shouldn’t be hard
  • Bring Weights – Kettlebells or dumbbells are all it takes for a good lightweight lifting routine. Keep in mind that they must be secured when you’re driving. Make sure you have a place to put them that they can’t move, as they would be a safety hazard.
  • Body Weight Exercises – Squats, lunges and push-ups are all easy exercises to do anywhere, at any time. If you can’t bring any equipment and don’t want to just do cardio, plan a bodyweight routine and stick to it!

You should also try to incorporate stretching into your routine. You can even do it while driving! Rotate and stretch your ankles, wrists and shoulders to keep them activated and improve blood flow. You’ll appreciate the extra muscle during the physical parts of the job, like manually coupling dollies to your trailer. Just remember that no matter what you do for exercise, it’s always better than doing nothing at all.

#3. Choose Healthy Foods

Eating on the road is full of challenges. But if you do your part, you can help keep your diet clean and healthy. Pre-pack as many healthy foods as you can. Vegetables, fruits and unprocessed foods are easier to digest and won’t contribute to that afternoon sluggish-feeling. Plus, these foods offer higher satiety that will leave you feeling full longer, which helps you avoid unhealthy choices like fast food or snacks.

Everyone has different dietary requirements, so eat what feels right for you. But don’t rely on the road to provide what you need. If you stock your supplies well enough, you can save time and money while improving your overall health! If sleeping is the most important health tip for truck drivers, eating right is the second most important.

#4. Stick to Water

Eating healthy is only half the battle. You maintain your truck with proper fluids, but you need them too! Try to drink more water every day. It will go a long way to improving your health. When you’re dehydrated, you can start to suffer painful headaches, become fatigued or even experience cramps. Proper hydration improves your energy, making those longer trips easier to handle.

One major issue with drivers is a propensity for drinking caffeine. There are some health benefits attributed to drinking coffee, but it’s important not to overdo it. A cup or two throughout the day is perfectly healthy, but if you find yourself drinking caffeine all day long, you might be doing more harm than good. If you’re feeling drowsy, drink some water and consider taking a brief nap to help energize yourself.

#5. Give Your Brain a Workout Too

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Find something that you can enjoy while driving – of course, only if it doesn’t take attention away from the road. Listening to engaging music, podcasts or audiobooks can help keep you mentally fresh. While adequate sleep is a key part of “zoning out,” it’s a big help when you give your brain something to focus on.

One popular suggestion is to use your time on the road as a learning opportunity. If you’ll be pulling a stretch for a few hours, you can invest in some language learning tapes or other educational audio that can help you in your personal or professional life. Many of these options are available for free online, so you can learn while you’re making money.

#6. Find Ways to Reduce Stress

Stress is linked to many health complications, both short-term and long-term. If hours on the road build up stress, try to find outlets to relieve it. Exercise is a great option, but sometimes all it takes is a hobby. Find something enjoyable that you can do on the road to keep your stress levels down. It will improve your overall health and make it easier to follow other healthy steps.

Do You Have Questions? Contact Semi Service Today!

If you’re thinking of buying a new or used trailer and don’t know where to start, we can help answer your questions and guide you to finding the ideal trailer for you.

Contact us online or give us a call at (801) 895-4419 to get started today!

Connect with us on social media:

Facebook | Google +

The post Health Tips for Truck Drivers appeared first on Semi Services Blog.

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