Over the years, many misconceptions have developed about what it’s like to be a truck driver. The truth is that truck driving is growing at a steady rate with opportunities left and right for qualified individuals. Unfortunately, getting some people to think beyond what they have heard or been told, isn’t always easy. Here are five common misconceptions about truck driving and the real truth about each.
1. There’s No Money in Trucking
The truth is that wages for truck drivers are better than ever! Companies are looking for reliable individuals that are properly qualified. Because every company is going after the same talent pool, they are highly competitive when it comes to pay. Often, you can even get reimbursed for your truck driver training classes.
2. You’re Gone all the Time
While this is the case for some types of drivers, it’s important to know that there are all kinds of truck driving jobs. Many of these jobs are regional and/or local that will put you home at the end of your workday. Just because you drive a truck doesn’t mean that you have to go across the country for weeks at a time.
3. It’s a Lonely Life
Truck driving allows for meeting, communicating and working with a lot of different people. Truck drivers will meet new people all the time, with opportunities to share the bond of the road. With modern technology in many trucks, drivers can stay connected and have conversations with just about anyone even while they drive.
4. Uncomfortable Living Arrangements
If you look at most of the trucks on the road today, you might notice that there are actually pretty roomy sleeping cabs. Truck drivers don’t have to be uncomfortable when they pull over to get some rest. They can only drive a certain amount of time each day, giving them plenty of opportunity for rest in a comfortable environment, even when on the road.
5. Men Only
There are a high number of women that drive trucks for a living. The profession is not just for men, with women being accommodated and welcomed in every segment of the trucking industry. Don’t let gender get in the way of a very inclusive and equal opportunity profession.
These are just some of the many misconceptions that people have about the trucking industry. If you are interested in taking the next step into the exciting world of truck driving, contact us to help get you started down the path to success in this booming industry.
The trucking industry is chronically short of drivers, and that isn’t likely to be fixed anytime soon. For someone considering a career in trucking, this is great news. Jobs are plentiful and companies are paying their truckers more than ever.
Why the Shortage
The main reason for the driver shortage is the increased need for cargo moving at the same time many baby boomers are aging out of driving jobs. Amazon and Walmart are examples of the increased need for cargo movement, selling increasingly more items by the internet. The economy is humming as well, which increases the number of goods moving over the roads.
Additionally, Electronic monitoring and maximum hours rules have increased the number of days it takes to complete longer trips. The improved safety is a plus, but longer trip times also mean an increase in the number of drivers needed.
Why it will Continue
At a time when more drivers are needed, there are many older truckers hanging up their driving gloves to retire. Dan Leathers, head of Werner Enterprises, recently told NPR in an interview that the average trucker is 10 years older than the average worker. This means the aging of boomers hits trucking harder than other industries. In their 2017 Truck Driver Shortage Analysis, ATA’s chief economist estimated the driver shortage would increase to 174,000 by the year 2026 and that hiring would need to be about 90,000 drivers per year to meet demand.
How it will Improve
According to a survey by American Trucking Associations (ATA) of 100,000 drivers, pay for truckers rose 15 percent from 2013 to 2017. And the increase was even better, at 18 percent, for drivers working for private fleets. Improved benefits and bonuses are also being used to attract more drivers. For those entering the trucking profession, that’s bright news.
If you’re interested in a secure job that pays well, or if you’re just looking over career options, feel free to contact us at Advanced Career Institute. We’d be glad to talk with you!
It can get lonely on the road. Many trucking companies have realized that an easy way to boost the morale of drivers is to allow truckers to bring a friend on the trip—especially a four-legged friend! If you’re one of the lucky drivers working for a pet-friendly company, it’s important to make sure you understand all the company’s and your pet’s requirements before setting out on the road together.
Check Your Company’s Regulations
Types of pets allowed
Weight and size restrictions for pets
Additional fees for damage and cleaning
Where pets are permitted in your truck
Waiting period before pets are allowed
All pet-friendly companies allow dogs, but some also allow cats. A few even allow any pet as long as it’s not aggressive. If you have a cat or other pet, check with your company to find out if they allow non-canine companions.
Many companies have weight restrictions on any accompanying pet. They will likely charge fees to cover damage your pet may do to the truck or to pay for cleaning the truck. If your pet damages your truck beyond any required fees, then you will be responsible for the repairs. Definitely make sure your pet is well-trained and well-behaved before hitting the road.
Most companies also have a trial period of a few months before you can bring your pet with you on trips.
As companies develop their pet policies, they often update their rules and regulations, so stay up-to-date on any changes along the way.
Basics of Having a Pet on the Road
Bring pet vaccination records
Get a Certificate Of Veterinary Inspection for crossing state lines
Train your pet on which parts of the truck are off-limits
Have plenty of blankets, toys, and treats
Bring a leash and poop bags for stops
Bring cleaning supplies for any accidents
Have a travel crate for delivery and pick-up stops
Bring plenty of water
Once you get the green light from your company and you can bring your furry friend with you. You will first want to make sure they enjoy the ride as much as you before they join full-time. As exciting as it is to be on the road, it can also be nerve-racking and exhausting for some pets. That’s why it’s important to make sure they are as comfortable as possible.
Bring blankets and toys and treats to keep them warm, occupied, and rewarded. Remember to bring a leash for walks at rest stops and bags to clean up after your dog (you should also have cleaning supplies for accidents between rest stops).
Most pick-up and delivery stops don’t allow dogs to roam free. You will want to bring a travel crate to ensure your pet doesn’t accidentally escape while you load and unload. Most importantly, you should always make sure you have plenty of water on hand for your pet, especially on those hot days.
As for the legal side of things, the FMCSA is fine with pets in the cab as long as safe driving isn’t compromised. Train your pet to stay away from your clutch and brakes and other parts of the truck that may be off-limits.
When it comes to the safety of your pet, they must be up-to-date on all their vaccinations, and you need to have proof of vaccination for authorities. If your route takes you across state borders, you should also have a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection to speed up inspection.
Bringing Your Pet Along for the Ride
If you’re excited about the potential of bringing a pet on the road, the first step is finding out which companies are the right fit for you. Trucking Truth is a great resource and has created a helpful list of pet-friendly companies and their basic restrictions.
Once you find a company that fits both your trucking and pet aspirations, take the time to thoroughly understand the pet rules. Having a pet on the road is a joy, but it does require more work than riding alone. If you’re prepared, it makes everything run more smoothly.
If you or a loved one is embarking on a career in trucking, then you’ve come to the right place! Contact us to learn more about our training program and how we can help you achieve your career goals.
Finding the perfect gift for Father’s Day can be a challenge. For those families that have a truck driver as a father, this task can be even more complicated. It can be difficult to come up with new ideas for every occasion or holiday. Most of their time is spent on the road so choosing something practical that he can use in his cab or while traveling is a good option. Here are a few gift ideas for the truck driving dad.
Truck drivers spend the majority of their time on the road in their cabs. XM radio can be a great way to entertain while driving. There are hundreds of stations to choose from including music and talk radio. Subscriptions generally range from around $30 for a 6 month period.
Getting a good night’s sleep is very important for a truck driver. A truck driver should be as comfortable as possible even when on the road. The beds in trucks are usually a twin or twin XL size. Sleeping bags and pillowcases are also great accessories to purchase with a sheet set.
Talking on the phone while driving can be very dangerous and is also against the law in several states. Truck drivers need that connection with their loved ones and should be able to talk while driving. Purchasing a hands-free headset can solve that problem. They can stay connected while driving safely.
Portable Mini Fridge
A mini fridge can be a great addition to a driver’s truck. The mini fridge gives them the ability to pack options that are healthier and can also save them time. Look for a 12-volt option that is easy to use with a cigarette adapter.
A small microwave can also eliminate the number of stops that a driver has to take. This can help them deliver their loads quickly. A small microwave can also help them eat healthier. They can heat up vegetables, pasta, and many low-calorie frozen meals whenever they chose to.
Homesickness is a huge reality for over-the-road truck drivers. It’s a feeling that brings even the strongest-minded drivers to the point of second-guessing their career choice. However, paying the bills, maintaining a stable environment for family, and the enjoyment of a fulfilling career seems to keep you on the road. So, what can be done to overcome the challenges of the lonely open roadway? Here are a few tips to help you stay connected with loved ones while on the road:
Schedule Time to Video Chat
Almost all cell phones allow you to video chat. Video chat or Facetiming allows families and friends to talk online face-to-face and is just like using a webcam on a computer, but so much more convenient. On most Android or IOS phones, just open up the software and make the call. You will be connected just like any other call, but you will be able to see the person. It is a great way to interact and keep up with milestones in your family’s life. Be sure to plan and schedule video chat times so everyone will be present.
Create Social Media Profiles
Almost everyone today has a social media profile, and if you don’t, well it’s time to get connected! Social media is one of the best tools to keep up with friends and what is going on back home. It is also an effective way to alert friends or family when you are traveling in their area. You might just have extra time to meet up for a quick visit. If you don’t want the whole world to see what you are up to, set your profile to private so that only those you want can see your posts.
Send fun and up-to-date texts to your loved ones. You might not be up-to-date on the teen ‘lingo’ used today but a quick text just to check in with them will keep you in the loop of their activities and other family members. The good news is most teens love to text, so your chances of getting a response back are high.
Take and Share Pictures
Take lots of photos with your phone. Share fun photos and places you have traveled. You can also have pictures from family printed out and posted in the cab of the truck. It’s a great alternative when you can’t see faces in person.
Decorate Cab of Truck
Decorate the cab of your truck with items that remind you of home. You can put up pictures and special gifts given to you by friends and family. Also, try putting a familiar scent in the cab that reminds you of being home. Everyone has a special scent that triggers memories to happier times.
Record your own videos. Most smartphones have this capability as well. You don’t have to miss special school events of a child or community events. Recording the occasion will give you the feeling of being present. Video recording is the next best thing to being in person.
At Advanced Career Institute, we don’t just prepare you for your CDL, but we also help prepare you for the life of a trucker. With the help of ACI you will soon be on the road and enjoying this new chapter of your life! We’ll help you each step of the way until your dream is fulfilled!
Like any test, the Commercial Driving License (CDL) exam requires study and preparation because you will be tested on a lot of information. However, simply trying to memorize the entire CDL manual, which is typically around 180 pages long, is not the best way to prepare for the exam. Instead of wasting countless hours becoming tired and frustrated, study smart. Here are six study steps to help you prepare for and pass your CDL exam.
Cramming a day or two before your CDL exam will not yield the best exam results. Besides causing sleep deprivation and trouble focusing, you won’t retain important material that you need to understand as a responsible, safe driver. Pick a day to take your exam and start studying ahead of time so that you are fully prepared. If you are new to the exam, consider taking a training course online or in-person, which some states require. There are a number of programs you can choose from, so shop around for a course that works best for you. For example, at Advanced Career Institute, we offer Class A and Class B CDL training courses as well as CDL refresher courses for experienced drivers in California.
Find Out What to Study
Are you wondering what exactly is on the CDL exam? Take a look at the DMV CDL study guide, which breaks down the test section by section in terms of the CDL manual. For a detailed, free, comprehensive guide, check out Study Guide Zone’s CDL Test Study Guide. No matter what kind of CDL you are studying for, you’ll have to know General Knowledge. Based on the type of CDL you wish to receive, you’ll have to study specific topics, such as School Buses and Hazardous Materials.
Take a Diagnostic Exam
It doesn’t make sense to study what you already know. To find out what you do know and what you don’t know, take a diagnostic exam. Driving-tests.org allows you to select your state and take a free, full-length general knowledge practice exam. Taking a diagnostic test will also help you get a feel for the exam so you’ll be better prepared on exam day.
Collect Your Study Materials
Make sure that you have everything you need to help you study. The most important tool will be the CDL manual, which you can download on your state’s DMV website. You can also pick up a hard copy from your local DMV. The DMV endorses DMVCheatSheets.com, which provides a number of cheat sheets with a money-back guarantee if you do not pass your CDL exam after using the service. Consider purchasing a CDL test prep book, downloading an app from the Apple App or Google Play stores, and saving helpful websites with study guides and other prep tools.
Study What You Don’t Know in an Effective Environment
Using the results from your diagnostic exam, review the material that you don’t know in the CDL manual. If you have purchased a test prep book, you can find the sections that you need to review using the table of contents. When studying, make sure you have a distraction-free space. Remember to take breaks and have some snacks nearby to refuel.
Test Your Knowledge
After reviewing what you need to from the CDL manual, test your knowledge through flashcards and additional practice questions. Union Test Prep offers free CDL flashcards and practice tests based on specific subjects. There are a number of apps that can also help you study on the go. You can also ask your family and friends to help quiz you on the sections that you have trouble with.
Using these tips and tricks can help you pass your CDL exam. Of course with your training at Advanced Career Insitute, we will help prepare you for this exam by going over every little detail. The goal is, by the time you go in for the test, all questions should be second nature to you. For more information about passing your California CDL exam and our training options, contact us today!
Many people begin pursuing a Commercial Driver’s License with the intent of becoming an over-the-road truck driver. Why not? It’s a common profession that is in high demand. There are plenty of jobs available! However, it’s not the only show in town. There are also non-trucking jobs you can get with a CDL. A CDL is a surprisingly versatile document, and while driving is almost always on the docket if you are getting a CDL, driving a big rig is far from the only occupation you can hope to pursue.
Indeed, there are many vehicles you can operate and an equal number of potential employers who will look at hiring you if you depending on your level of experience. These jobs can each bring their nuances that offer commercial drivers a surprising level of diversity to their daily work experience.
Highway Maintenance Technician:
Highway construction and repair projects often require the use of large vehicles, which means people are needed to drive those vehicles. Everything from dump trucks, skid steers, to concrete mixers and paint trucks are used for highway maintenance, so if you want this job, you’d better put your work boots on. Often a Class B CDL is the minimum requirement for this position.
Engineering Equipment Operator:
As an Engineering Equipment Operator, you will operate a variety of heavy machinery including pump trucks and trash compactors and will help prepare the terrain for upcoming construction projects. Depending on where in the country you are working and the geographical structures around you, and the nature of the business that employs you, you can work in any number of environments up to and including bodies of water.
Construction Equipment Operator:
Few fields have as diverse a set of big vehicles as the construction industry. Skid steers, dump trucks, knuckle boom loaders, track hoes, loaders, flatbeds, bush hogs, cranes, and steamrollers. You name it, the construction guys use it. All of them require an operator who possesses a CDL.
Bus driving is a solid alternative to truck driving. Providing stability and flexibility, there are several different types of bus driving jobs, each of which has their own distinct vibe. Whether you choose city bus, school bus, tour bus, or an intercity bus, you have a different clientele and a different work experience.
Tractor Trailer Technician:
While not required in most states, having a CDL is a big plus for most tractor-trailer technicians. It stands to reason that it is better to be qualified to drive a vehicle you are working on. Tractor trailer technicians don’t haul loads with their trucks, but they certainly are good at fixing them. Maintaining fleets of trucks is a big job that is usually performed by a team of semi-truck techs, and is a vital part of the trucking industry.
Another job that doesn’t require most workers to have a CDL, but it greatly helps is a Terminal Manager. Terminal Managers are the field managers of a trucking company and are responsible for organizing, planning, and implementing transportation solutions. In other words, they manage trucking company workloads.
Delivery drivers don’t have the prodigious time on the road that perhaps an over-the-road hauler does, but the two occupations are close cousins. Businesses as diverse as furniture companies and medical equipment suppliers often provide delivery services and often employ workers with commercial driver’s licenses.
Interested in one of these non-trucking jobs you can get with a CDL? Advanced Career Institute can help you start your career in trucking. Check out our programs and the opportunities available to you.
In celebration of National Ag Day on March 20th, let’s give a nod of appreciation to the Ag Transporters who do the hard work within the industry. If you are curious about the job and considering joining the ranks, you should definitely ask these three important questions…
What is Ag Transportation?
Ag Transportation is the community of men and women who drive the country’s farm-fresh food from where it’s grown to wherever it needs to go. Advanced Career Institute’s training will give you all the skills needed to learn the basics of truck driving. Students will also learn how to transport the important agricultural products grown in California.
What is the importance of Ag Transportation?
Truck drivers transport around 500 million tons of grain produced in the US every single year. California’s farms and ranches produce over one-third of those vegetables and two-thirds of the fruits and nuts for this country. The most efficient system for transporting these fresh and healthy goods are the highways and truck drivers of the state. Goods often need to be transported more than once before they reach their final destination. Those that do these important jobs of ensuring the quality and safe delivery of these products are Ag Transporters.
What are the benefits of being an Ag Transporter?
The benefits of being an Ag Transporter are vast. Ag Transporters are the first point of contact for receiving and transporting the agricultural products and livestock vital to the food industry. All you need to qualify is a high school diploma and the CDL Certification we provided with our 20-week Ag Transportation training. It’s also important to consider that the current future outlook for work as a truck driver is extremely promising. As a Ag Transporter, you will have several job opportunities with competitive pay and great benefits.
Are you interested in joining the Ag Transportation field? Advanced Career Institute can help you get started! Contact us today to learn more about our training options and the opportunities available for you.
In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, Advanced Career Institute would like to acknowledge the hard work and pioneering spirit of some of the trucking industry’s most notable women. These bold and determined ladies paved the way for those to come, transforming the entire industry in the process. Women still only make up around 5% of the trucking workforce, but that number is steadily climbing as more women rise to the challenge and earn their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
Luella Bates was the pioneer who first showed the world what women could do behind the wheel. During WWII, women had to step into traditionally male jobs to fill the vacancies left by the war. Luella was such an excellent truck driver that she stayed on after the war ended, often outperforming her male counterparts.
Next came Lillie Drennan. With her 10-gallon hat and loaded revolver, she was quite an intimidating figure. She became the first licensed female truck driver, and the first woman to own her own fleet. Lillie was also a staunch advocate for gender and racial equality. She personally hired and trained her diverse and exceptionally safe workforce.
Adriesue “Bitsy” Gomez followed in their footsteps. Bitsy formed the Coalition of Women Truck Drivers to combat the pervasive sexism in trucking culture. Through victories in the courts and successful public relations campaigns, Bitsy helped break-down the barriers that were keeping women out of trucking.
Why Women Should Obtain a CDL
Thanks to women like Luella, Lillie, and Bitsy, the trucking industry now welcomes female drivers. Young women just entering the workforce, or those who find themselves job-searching after a lifestyle change (such as divorce, empty nest, or job loss), may consider trucking as a possibility.
Forward-thinking companies recognize this trend and are doing more to recruit and retain female truckers. Truck manufacturers are redesigning cabs and other equipment to accommodate the typically smaller frames of women, leading to greater comfort and less risk of injury. Women in trucking also have a strong support network, meaning they no longer have to face obstacles and hardships alone.
Now is the perfect time for women to take charge and get behind the wheel. It takes a lot of grit and toughness to succeed as a commercial truck driver, but thanks to the bold female drivers of the past, we know women can do it just as well as men can. Are you ready to earn your CDL? Advanced Career Institute is ready to help make that happen!
In most parts of the country, winter brings with it snow, ice, slush, and sleet. All of which makes for hazardous driving conditions. Unfortunately, life just can’t stop everytime mother nature spits out another inch (or more) of snow. So, you’ll need a car that can handle the cold and all that comes with it. Your tires are your first line of defense for tackling the coldest of seasons; therefore, you’ll want to maintain them to the best of your ability to avoid any dangerous or expensive situations. Here are 5 things you can do to keep your tires from spinning out of control this winter season.
Make sure you have winter tires.
If you know you’ll be hit with ice and snow relentlessly and frequently, you’ll be better off with tires made specifically for these conditions. These tires are equipped with tread patterns and rubber compounds that make them better suited for snowy conditions. They also make a good investment because solid winter tires should be able to serve you for several years. There is also a reduced risk of an accident, which will potentially save you hundreds of dollars in repairs.
Check and maintain tire pressure.
Did you know tires can actually lose pressure when temperatures begin to drop? For every 10 degrees the temperature drops, tires lose about 1 pound per square inch (or psi) of air pressure. For example, a tire at 32 psi in 70-degree weather will go down to 28 psi at 30 degrees. Deflated tires reduce fuel mileage, can wear your tires out, offer less traction, and can lead to irreversible damage. Most gas stations have air stations, and you can buy a gauge anywhere they sell vehicle parts. When in doubt, seek an expert.
Check your tread depth for optimal performance.
Aside from pressure, you must also make sure your tread depth is adequate, especially for the winter. Usually, when your tires reach 2/32″ (4/32″ for steer tires), the U.S. Department of Transportation recommends (and some states legally require) you change your tires. But, in the winter, you may want to change them when you hit 5/32″. Tires with more tread depth give you more traction and help reduce your chances of hydroplaning. You can measure your tread depth with the penny method, but make sure to use a quarter for winter conditions.
Watch how you drive.
Your tires can only do so much to prevent sliding and hydroplaning; you have to do the rest. Leave a good distance between you and the car in front of you to give yourself good reaction. When in slick conditions, accelerate, brake, and steer as though you had a cup of hot coffee on the dashboard. Driving this way can help you against losing control of your vehicle when dealing with ice and snow.
Get your tires checked by a mechanic you trust.
If you want to have extra confidence in your tires, ask your mechanic to take a look at them. He can check their pressure, tread depth, traction, etc. For a simple check, they usually shouldn’t charge you anything, but if you don’t have someone you trust, get a second and/or third opinion before you shell out hundreds of dollars on tires. Better safe than sorry.
Looking to learn more about automotive care and/or a career in trucking? Advanced Career Institute would love to help. We are proud to serve California’s Central San Joaquin Valley. Check out our programs page to learn about our offerings!