Schneider is a leading provider of premium truckload and intermodal services, and we’re a company that’s built to last. The blog is primarily focused around helping drivers learn about driving jobs and careers instead of about the nature of our services.
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Southwest Truck Driver Training, one of the truck driving schools Schneider has partnered with to offer Paid CDL Training — Schneider pays the tuition, Southwest trains the driver and the driver gets a job after graduation.
Right now is the best time to start a truck driving career. The trucking industry is in dire need of qualified truck drivers to handle the huge freight demand. Due to a high rate of driver turnover and an aging workforce industry-wide, trucking companies need to hire truck drivers now to keep the freight moving.
Before you invest your time and money in a career as a Class A CDL truck driver, find out if truck driving is worth it for you and your family.
Pros and Cons of a Trucking Job
We encourage you to make pro and con list of what’s most important to you, and make sure you understand the advantages of becoming a truck driver. Below are just a couple pros and cons of truck driving jobs you may want to consider. Ultimately, the answer to “Is truck driving worth it?” varies based on what you’re looking for.
1. Independent work environment
One of the biggest differences between a trucking job and any office or factory job is the ability to be your own boss. You don’t have someone standing over your shoulder. There is no water cooler chit-chat that you have to deal with. In fact, being a trucker requires you to be independent in your work environment.
When you are 1,500 miles away from home with a freight load worth half a million dollars, you have the ultimate responsibility. This mix of independence and responsibility is the crux of being a truck driver.
2. Traveling the country
Many people dream of traveling, but either lack of time or lack of money get in the way. However, with truck driving, you literally get paid to spend your time traveling. For many drivers, the fulfilled wanderlust is one of the biggest pros of driving. More than ever, trucking companies are providing a huge variety of home time options that allow you to satisfy your desire to travel and your need to be home.
3. Industry regulations
While a trucking job offers the utmost in independence, you are still required to follow regulations and rules. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) handles all regulations for the truck driving industry. These regulations include hours of service rules, CDL classes, cargo securement and drug screening, just to name a few. If you do not comply with FMCSA regulations, you are in jeopardy of losing your commercial driver’s license and truck driving job.
4. Quick, quality training
The best way to ensure you understand the FMCSA regulations for truck drivers, and any changes that are made in the industry is to start with a trucking school, which is much quicker and more affordable than training in most other industries.
By going to truck driver training at a reputable facility like Southwest Truck Driver Training in Phoenix, Tucson or North Las Vegas, you learn all about regulations. More importantly, you pick up the insight into the trucking industry that will help you make an informed decision about whether truck driving is worth it and how to get your first trucking job.
Preparing for a Trucking Career
In truck driver training, you are instructed in the knowledge and skills needed to safely get your Class A or Class B CDL, prepare for the rigors of the road and become a trucker. This includes the information needed to pass the written exam, as well as the road skills needed to pass the road portion of the CDL exam.
However, you gain more than just trucking skills and behind the wheel experience. By starting your truck driving career in trucking school, you get the opportunity to network with future trucking companies looking to hire you, like Schneider. You also meet other truck driving students who may very well become your trucking community over the road.
Then you will be able to confidently answer that question, “Is truck driving worth it?” with a resounding “yes!” In fact, your paycheck will be able to answer that question even better when you are making $50,000 or $60,000 during your first year as a truck driver.
Start CDL Training Today
Along with bilingual truck driving student assistance, we also provide trucking school graduates with a lifetime of job placement assistance. To get started with Southwest Truck Driver Training programs, contact our office today.
Eating at a truck stop all the time can easily cost truck drivers $150 to $200 a week, with many of the food options being unhealthy. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We want drivers to be able to save more of their hard-earned money and eat healthier with some simple cooking tips for the road.
That’s why we’re launching a new driver video series called “Herbs with Herb” — featuring Schneider Curriculum Development Specialist Herb Moring, who has been a driver instructor, a training engineer (TE) and a million-mile driver.
Herb has worn many hats at Schneider since joining the company in 1992, and we’re thrilled to add chef hat to that list. When he was a TE, he’d offer to cook for his trainees, saving both of them money on the road.
With the tips he’ll share, drivers can reduce food spending to $50 to $70 a week, while eating healthier.
We launched the pilot episode of “Herbs with Herb” on Nov. 28, showcasing how to cook a chicken and carrot meal on the road with a portable stove/12-volt lunch box (which also cracked our list of holiday gift ideas for truck drivers).
Watch the first episode below, and keep following our Facebook page to watch more “Herbs with Herb” cooking how-to videos.
We want you to be able to cook easily and safely (no open heating elements!) on the road, too, so we’ve launched a contest exclusively on our Instagram page this week, and the prize: one RoadPro 12-Volt Portable Stove, to help you up your cooking game on the road.
The holiday season is here, and many people are gearing up to purchase gifts for their loved ones. To make the shopping experience easier, we’ve compiled a list of some gift ideas for the truck drivers in your lives. Or, if you’re a truck driver, you might want to add these items to your holiday wish list.
1. Custom Photo Gifts
Often, the hardest part about being on the road is being away from friends and family. With a custom photo gift, your truck driver can bring their loved ones along for the ride. Photo printing services like Shutterfly and Snapfish allow you to create custom items, like blankets, pillows and travel mugs, with your personal photos on them. It’ll be like having a piece of home right in the cab.
2. Crock Pot or Electric Lunch Box
It’s possible to enjoy a home-cooked meal on the road, but your driver will need some tools. First, they’ll need a way to cook the meal. An electric lunch box is a handy way to heat up food without taking up as much space as a microwave. Crock pots can be a great option, too. Plus, they are available in a variety of sizes, so you can choose the right size, whether your driver is cooking for one or two (we’re talking to you, team drivers!). There are even slow cookers that double as coolers, keeping ingredients chilled until it’s time to cook.
3. Travel-Sized Cookware
Of course, if your driver is going to be cooking on the road, they’ll also need some utensils. Camping stores are great resources for compact cooking gear, from space-saving folding cutting boards to collapsible silicone pots and bowls.
For a gift that’s both stylish and useful, gift your driver a pair of sunglasses. Look for sunglasses that are polarized to reduce glare, helping your driver stay even safer on the road.
5. Electric Blanket
Make sure your driver stays cozy with an electric blanket. While Schneider trucks are equipped with bunk heaters, being wrapped in a warm, heated blanket adds an extra level of comfort.
6. Subscription to Streaming Services
For drivers who spend a lot of time on the road, there can never be too many radio options. Luckily, there are many audio streaming services that can offer even more variety to your driver’s usual playlist. Spotify and Pandora offer offline listening services, while audiobook services like Audible and Scribd offer audiobooks and news for download. Purchase a gift subscription and keep your driver entertained for miles and miles.
7. Thermoelectric Cooler
If your driver doesn’t have a refrigerator in their truck, a thermoelectric cooler might be the perfect gift. This type of cooler is iceless and runs on electricity, so it’s easy for your driver to have cool beverages and healthy snacks (like cheese or fresh fruits and veggies) on hand.
8. Schneider Gear
Help your driver show their Schneider pride by gifting them an item from our company store. We have everything from apparel to collectible die-cast trucks, so you’re bound to find something your driver will like. Check it out here.
When choosing a gift for your driver, be aware of the features their truck already has. For example, Schneider trucks are equipped with truck route GPS systems, so a GPS wouldn’t be a useful gift. Also be aware of company policies for items that are prohibited in the truck, like hot plates and open heating surfaces.
There are many gifts available to show your truck driver that you’re thinking about him or her over the holidays. Drivers, what are some of the best gifts that you’ve received?
Winter has a way of sneaking up on all of us, which is why it’s so important for truck drivers to be ready. Get prepared by watching this video featuring winter driving tips for truck drivers, which we shared recently with our Schneider driver community.
Top 4 Winter Weather Driving Tips for Truck Drivers
In the video, Dan Pierce, Schneider’s director of driver training, shares more detailed insight about the following winter driving tips for truck drivers:
Prepare for winter weather – it can’t catch you off guard if you’re ready for it.
Dress properly for winter conditions – jackets, hats, gloves and boots are a start, but Dan shares some important considerations that could be easy to accidentally overlook.
Review your winter weather training materials – Schneider provides its drivers with a thorough “Winter Survival Guide”
Adjust your driving habits for winter roads – Dan provides important advice for following distance and speed
More Winter Weather Driving Resources
Watch the video below, and then check out these other great resources to stay safe on the road this winter:
Nov. 11 is Veterans Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in Canada. This is a time set aside for all of us to honor and celebrate military veterans and to remember the sacrifices of the brave men and women who fought to protect our freedoms.
At Schneider, we also use this day as an opportunity to raise awareness about available truck driving jobs for veterans, to recognize veterans in our workplace and to extend our appreciation to veterans in our communities.
“To me, Veterans Day is a time to reflect and honor those who have served — especially those in World War I, for whom Veterans Day was first named. They put their lives on hold and answered the call to save the world. Since then, thousands of men and women have served this great country voluntarily, and have made sacrifices to do so.” – David Buck, Air Force veteran and 2018 Ride of Pride driver (pictured)
Hiring and Supporting Veteran Associates
Because 22 percent of Schneider associates have military experience, we know first-hand how their disciplined approach and strong work ethic make them especially valued. We’re encouraging all our associates to take a moment to say thanks to their highly skilled, mission-oriented peers who are veterans.
Those qualities are why we continue to actively recruit other military veterans into our workforce. As such, we are proud to offer a wide variety of truck driving jobs and a number of benefits to military personnel and their families.
For new associates that includes things like tuition reimbursement for eligible candidates to pay for truck driving school and an Apprenticeship Program to use VA benefits to receive tax-free educational benefit checks, in addition to a Schneider paycheck.
For associates who are active military members, we continue to provide support by offering a military leave of absence, guaranteed home time for weekend drill and annual training with no paid time off required, and extended benefits and differential pay if deployed for up to 18 months.
Strengthening Veteran Organizations in our Communities
The Schneider Foundation supports a number of worthy nonprofit veterans’ organizations, such as the Glory Honor Flight of Champions, which ensures veterans have a chance to visit military memorials in Washington, D.C. We also deliver military related in-kind loads, like those for the Marine Toys for Tots program and Holy Joe’s coffee deliveries to deploying troops.
We are also excited to announce that we are sponsoring a new initiative organized by MyTeam Triumph called Operation Guardian Angel. The program will pair military veterans and active duty military members with MyTeam Triumph captains to participate in running events. The goal is to help improve veterans’ emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing by making connections and building relationships.
To all veterans — thank you and warmest wishes on Nov. 11.
Military experience? Pre-qualify for Schneider truck driving jobs for veterans.
Submit your profile now to be expedited for a driving position and to be put in contact with a military recruiter.
Daylight Saving Time (DST) — not Daylight Savings Time — can have a big effect on truck drivers, from sleep schedules, to logging considerations, to safety on roads filled with fatigued drivers. Here’s everything truckers need to know about DST for November 2018
When Do I Change My Clocks?
Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 4, 2018 (and it began on Sunday, March 11), so it’s recommended that you change your clocks back one hour — fall back — before you go to bed Saturday night. Many electronic devices automatically adjust for DST, but double check your cellphone and other device settings, particularly if you rely on your phone as an alarm clock.
Arizona does not observe DST (except for Navajo Nation), and neither does Hawaii.
How Do Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) Handle Daylight Saving Time?
Schneider has used electronic logs since 2010 — e-logs (ELDs or AOBRDs) are now federally mandated — and most e-log providers automatically handle the DST calculations for drivers. Drivers must remember that regardless of falling back or springing forward, you still have to adhere to the Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Hours of Service (HOS) regulations.
For falling back, drivers do not need to take an extra hour for your 10-hour break — it’s still measured by 10 actual hours off duty. If possible, aim to be on your 10-hour break at that time.
If you work 1-8 a.m., it should show that you worked eight hours because you moved back one hour during that timeframe.
If you start your 10-hour break at 10 p.m. Saturday, your 10 hours off duty would normally be completed at 8 a.m. Sunday, but because this is a DST day, you would have completed 10 hours by 7 a.m.
Same with the 34-hour restart — if the restart crosses over DST on Sunday, you will reach your 34 an hour earlier than it would appear. You must still take a full 34-hour reset and comply with all Hours of Service rules.
Schneider uses multiple mobile communications platforms. The times for the duty status will show a Daylight Time designation (EDT, CDT, etc.) for statuses before the time change, and a Standard Time designation (EST, CST, etc.) after the time change. Whatever device you use, since this is not a standard day, the time on your Nov. 4 log will add up to 25 hours.
Omnitracs MCP200 device: Your device will automatically fall back one hour at 2 a.m. of your regulatory home terminal time. If you are on the same duty status at the time change, the graph will show a darker line from 1-2 a.m. where the hour overlaps for the hour. If you are working during the time change, the graph will record the duty status in order of occurrence.
Tablets with HOS functionality: Your device will automatically fall back one hour at 2 a.m. of your regulatory home terminal time. The log graph should show repeating the 1-2 a.m. timeframe right after the first 1-2 a.m. timeframe passed. All Schneider drivers using the tablet for HOS need to fill out a paper log for Nov. 4, flagged with “Fall Time Change” in the remarks.
PeopleNet device: Your device will automatically fall back one hour at 2 a.m. of your home time terminal time. The log graph will show repeating the 1-2 a.m. timeframe right after the first 1-2 a.m. timeframe passed.
All drivers must still take a full 10-hour break and comply with all Hours of Service rules.
How Does Daylight Saving Time Impact Truck Driver Safety on the Roads?
“Falling back” grants the potential opportunity for an extra hour of sleep, but the time change can still pose a challenge with circadian rhythms. It throws off our internal clocks, which can take a few days to adjust to. While the impact is greater in the spring, expanding darkness and sudden changes to our internal clocks still pose a challenge drivers need to be aware of.
According to a 2011 University of Colorado Boulder study, “Spring Forward at your Own Risk: Daylight Savings Time and Fatal Vehicle Crashes,” in the first six days of DST, there were 302 deaths and a cost of $2.75 billion over a 10-year period. The Fatal Accident Reporting System found a 17 percent increase in traffic fatalities on the Monday after the time change.
Fatigue is a major factor. Sleep schedules are altered. Circadian rhythms are impacted. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, people who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash.
What Does That Mean for Truck Drivers, and What Are Some Driver Safety Tips?
Vigilance is critical. Plan ahead with your own sleep schedule, so you can be alert and avoid fatigue. At Schneider, our core value “Safety First and Always” applies 24/7/365, but drivers need to be particularly aware of the motorists around them still adjusting to DST.
Pay close attention to your trip planning. Take note of the electronic logging information above. Double-check your pickup and delivery times, Estimated Times of Arrival (ETAs) and Next Available Times (NATs).
It’s just one hour, but it’s still important to plan accordingly! Drive safe!
How do you trip plan to accommodate Daylight Saving Time? What do you think about Daylight Saving Time?
A perfect team since their days together in the Army, Lisa and Patrice have long considered themselves “battle buddies.” Now, Schneider’s 2018 featured female truck drivers put their experience and chemistry to use as an over-the-road team.
Called to Serve
Growing up in a military family, Lisa always knew she wanted to be a soldier. Going on frequent trips with her mother during childhood led her to develop a love for being on the road, constantly moving from one place to the next. Lisa was able to translate this passion into a transportation role in the Army, which she joined as a junior in high school.
A desire to serve her country and explore the world beyond her small hometown in Alabama motivated Patrice to join the Army, and she enlisted five days after graduating high school. Longing to travel, Patrice immediately felt drawn to transportation and began her career in logistics and driving supply trucks.
The Beginning of a Bond
Though they were both in transportation, Lisa and Patrice started out their Army careers on different paths. Lisa spent the first several years in the bulk transportation unit. Patrice took a more winding road, entering the Army as a transport motor operator before spending four years as a mobilization NCO (non-commissioned officer). They later met during a 15-month deployment and have been a dynamic duo ever since.
Upon their exit from active duty, Lisa tried her hand as a legislative security officer before settling into a role in the management of transportation services for the elderly in Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, Patrice stayed close to the Army, preparing soldiers for deployment as a unit administrator at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina.
In 2012, Lisa was promoted to transportation manager and frequently reached out to Patrice for advice. When a staff position within Lisa’s company became available — and Patrice realized she was ready to make the move to Pittsburgh — the choice was easy. The two worked together for five years, managing a transportation department of 46 staff members.
Back Behind the Wheel
A passion for driving in their genes, Lisa and Patrice felt the open road calling once again. They used a military waiver to obtain their CDLs and began to explore careers in trucking.
“Driving is something that gives me motivation and passion,” says Lisa. “Our ability to transport supplies from point A to point B makes our country a better place.”
When it came time to find a trucking company that best fit their experience and ideals, Schneider immediately stood out. They believe Schneider’s commitment to safety and support of the military set it apart from other companies.
“Schneider constantly goes above and beyond with their military program, safety training and rewards,” Patrice says. “It isn’t just something they say; they follow through with everything. The whole transition from the military to the civilian world has been smooth because they’ve given us so much information from the beginning.”
Lisa echoes Patrice’s sentiments, noting Schneider’s willingness to work with each driver to maximize their skills and experience.
“Schneider gives you a diverse set of opportunities,” she says. “You don’t have to stay in an area where you aren’t suited.”
Embracing the Challenge
As an all-female truck driving team, Lisa and Patrice occasionally catch puzzled looks from other truckers on the road. They say some people are surprised to hear that two women can handle all of the work — an outdated notion, but one that persists.
“Sometimes people will look at us and say, ‘You actually drive a truck?’” laughs Patrice. “It’s surprising to see people still think that way.”
The two casually shake off these interactions, insisting that the trucking community at large is very helpful.
Challenges occasionally arise on the road, but Lisa and Patrice are confident their former military training and ongoing Schneider training leaves them prepared for every situation. No matter what comes up, they know they always have the Schneider team — and one another — to lean on for support.
An Evolving Industry
Today, just 6 percent of U.S. professional truck drivers are female, but that number doesn’t discourage Lisa and Patrice.
“If more women understood what it entails to be a truck driver, they would be interested,” Lisa believes. “It isn’t what it’s portrayed to be. It’s really an evolving industry – and a great way for women to gain experience and get a step up in the world.”
In fact, Lisa and Patrice are committed to helping bring more women into the field by transitioning to new roles as training engineers. While the number of females driving trucks pales in comparison to males, the same is true for females in advanced transportation positions. Lisa and Patrice understand the importance of having female trainers available to incoming recruits, and they want to educate women on the profession and train them to be empowered and confident on the road.
After going from battle buddies to truck buddies — from Pittsburgh to Iraq and everywhere in between — Lisa and Patrice are ready to tackle whatever lies on the road ahead.
A Bright Future
Lisa and Patrice’s success illustrates an emerging trend: dedicated and passionate women are poised to play a crucial role in the future of the trucking industry, and their story shows that there is no time like the present for women to rise to the occasion in what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry. The team hopes that their experience not only educates women on opportunities available in truck driving, but that it inspires other women to get behind the wheel.
“Don’t limit your opportunities because people want to put you in a box,” Lisa says. “Do what’s in your heart and go for it.”
Both women feel like they’re part of a greater community that provides a constant sense of help and support. They say this atmosphere feels like a family — making their work exciting and fulfilling.
By keeping an open mind and a positive attitude, Patrice says anything is possible for women in trucking.
“Be humble and be positive,” she advises. “There are so many opportunities for women in this company and in this industry. There’s no better time than now. As women, we can do it.”
It’s your time to get in the driver’s seat
Join our growing team of female truck drivers and take your career to the next level.