C.R. England Trucking Blog - Safe Driving Tips & More
Keep up to date with the latest from C.R. England, our trucking blog is updated regularly with career statistics, safety tips, company news & fresh topics. C.R. England, Inc. is a Utah based refrigerated trucking and transportation company, one of the largest in the United States.
C.R. England is extremely proud to operate CDL schools in five different states. We believe our training is among the best in the business, preparing drivers to be productive members of the trucking industry for decades. We invite you to contact us for more information about our new driver training if you have ever considered a career in trucking.
Having said all that, you might be worried that you do not have what it takes to get through CDL school. The only way to know is to try. But know this: our trainers are committed to the success of their students. We operate CDL schools because we want new drivers to succeed. We will do everything we can to make sure that happens for you.
While you are in CDL school, you will get a basic introduction to truck driving alongside the training necessary to get your commercial driver’s license. Once you graduate from CDL training, you’ll be paired with a C.R. England driver trainer to finish up with on-the-job training. Then you will be ready to drive solo.
Here are what we call the ‘Big Three’ of CDL school; these are the things you’ll learn during your weeks of training:
1. Fundamentals of Driving
We start out new drivers with an introduction to the fundamentals of driving big rigs. Given that you’ll come to us with a passenger vehicle license in hand, you will not need to relearn how to actually move a vehicle down the road in compliance with traffic laws. You do need to learn the difference between driving a passenger car and a big rig.
This portion of classroom training covers a lot of things. Drivers learn about air brakes vs. the hydraulic brakes on their cars; they learn about how the size and weight of tractor-trailers influences handling; they learn the fundamental physics of accelerating, braking, turning, and backing.
2. Federal Regulations Governing Trucking
Another big part of the classroom training are the federal regulations that govern the trucking industry. This may be the least enjoyable part of CDL training. Yet it is what it is. We have to give drivers an introduction to these regulations so that they can maintain compliance.
This portion of the training covers everything from hours of service rules to pre-trip inspections. If there is a federal rule governing something specific, we cover it. We don’t expect drivers to memorize the minutia of all those rules, but they do need to have a working knowledge of them.
3. Hands-On Driving Experience
The third of the Big Three is a lot easier than most new drivers believe. It is the time spent behind the wheel of a truck, practicing what’s been learned in the classroom. This is where you will learn how to turn that big rig around tight corners. You will learn how to safely accelerate and brake. And yes, you’ll even learn how to back up to a loading dock.
Everything we do in CDL school is to prepare the driver to pass the test necessary to get his or her license. But as with any other career, what you learn in school is only a fraction of what you’ll need to know in the real world. That’s why we pair newly licensed drivers with driver trainers. Our new drivers need to learn real-world driving under the tutelage of someone who has been at it for years.
If you’ve been considering a trucking career, we hope you’ll consider C.R. England for both CDL school and your career. Know that we are committed to the success of our new drivers.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, February 6, 2018 – C.R. England, one of the nation’s leaders in transportation solutions, and England Logistics, one of the nation’s top freight brokerage firms and a wholly-owned subsidiary of C.R. England, have announced the launch of the One initiative. The two companies are transitioning their corporate charitable efforts into achieving one goal: to provide one million meals annually to hungry children beginning in 2018.
“Reducing the impact of childhood hunger is what we hope to accomplish through the One initiative,” said Josh England, president of C.R. England. “We are passionate about this cause and want to do our part in helping to solve this problem in our communities.”
In order to make a significant impact on this goal, C.R. England and England Logistics are donating proceeds from business transactions to youth meal programs at local food banks across the nation. Both companies have implemented a donation structure that converts profits earned from any business service at either company into proceeds for meals. The One initiative’s efforts will be tied to food banks where each of the companies’ offices and drivers are located to ensure a complete community outreach.
Unique in its involvement opportunities, the One initiative invites company employees and drivers, as well as customers, carriers and freight agents to join the fight against childhood hunger.
The One initiative will support food banks close to facilities across the country, with a corporate donation triggered each time a driver delivers a truckload of freight for its customers. At the time of delivery, each driver will designate which of the 19 food banks nationwide to direct a donation. Additionally, throughout the year, both C.R. England and England Logistics locations will hold fund raising events. All money raised will also be donated to local food banks as part of the One initiative. Finally, employees and drivers are encouraged to provide volunteer service hours at local food banks.
With ties to the food transportation industry and having supported local food banks in many markets nationally in the past, the two companies opted to unite service efforts to benefit a particularly vulnerable demographic benefitting from food banks. According to Feeding America, nearly 13 million children in the U.S. live in households without consistent access to adequate food; one out of every six children nationally. These children also struggle with education and overall development as a result of malnutrition.
The invitation to donate is also extended to the public. Every donation leads directly to a food insecure child receiving a meal. The One initiative is founded on the idea that through unity, a nationwide difference can be made. Each person is invited to unite with this cause and change the humbling statistics that are a result of childhood hunger. For more information or to donate, please visit www.oneagainstchildhoodhunger.com.
About C.R. England
Founded in 1920, C.R. England, Inc. corporate headquarters is located in Salt Lake City, Utah and is one of North America’s largest refrigerated transportation companies. C.R. England services include National, Mexico and Regional Truckload service in addition to Dedicated and Intermodal services. Visit www.crengland.com. To learn more about the One initiative visit www.oneagainstchildhoodhunger.com.
About England Logistics
England Logistics offers a vast portfolio of non-asset based transportation solutions including full truckload services, intermodal, dry and cold chain LTL, parcel, global logistics, and complete supply chain management. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, the company also has offices in Atlanta, Georgia; Detroit, Michigan; Greeley, Colorado; and Portland, Oregon. For more information visit www.englandlogistics.com. To learn more about the One initiative visit www.oneagainstchildhoodhunger.com.
Thinking about getting a CDL in order to become a professional truck driver? Right now is a great time to make the move. With some of the trends we see on the horizon, 2018 could be a banner year for the trucking industry. You can be a part of it by joining the C.R. England team.
Sometimes you feel a cold so deep in your bones that you just cannot get rid of. That kind of cold is something truck drivers are familiar with. Winter can be a brutal time of year that has truck drivers on the hunt for new ways to get and stay warm until spring makes its way back. We want to help, if we can.
Over the years, our drivers have shared their tips for staying warm with one another. We thought it might be helpful to share some of those tips in a blog post that truckers from all over the country could read and benefit from. Those tips are listed below. As you read, keep this in mind: nothing is more important than your own health and safety.
Make Your Bed Properly
Whether you run a heater at night or not, feeling cold when you are trying to sleep is not unusual. What many truckers do not know is a fundamental rule of sleeping in winter weather, a rule that every avid camper knows: to stay warm, you need twice as much under you as you do on top.
It is fine when you are making up your bed to throw on a sleeping bag and a couple of extra blankets. But what are you putting underneath you? The general rule is to have twice as much insulating material underneath as above. So if your sleeping bag and blankets give you 3 to 4 inches on top, you will need 6 to 8 inches of insulating material underneath. The more you have underneath you, the warmer you will be.
Dress in Layers
Layering your clothes will keep you warmer for a number of reasons. First, body heat gets trapped between the individual layers of clothing to create a natural barrier against the cold. Next, layered clothing works to draw moisture away from your body so that perspiration doesn’t make you cold. And finally, dressing in layers allows you to remove a layer when you are warm and put another on when you’re cold.
Bear in mind that dressing in layers is especially important whenever you spend time outdoors. The last thing you want to do is wear a big, bulky winter coat that causes you to sweat while you’re outside the truck, only to take it off and be cold in the cab.
Use a Mattress Pad
Another tip for staying warm while you sleep is to use a 12V mattress pad that plugs into a socket in your cab. Such mattress pads don’t draw enough current to risk draining your batteries overnight, as long as those batteries are in good condition. If you are running on older batteries nearing the end of their life cycle, you may need to run the engine for little bit on the coldest nights.
Turn off the Fan
If you tend to run the heater as you prepare for bed each night, remember to turn off the fan just before you retire. Otherwise you will awaken to cold air blowing around the cab. That will only make you cold the minute you get out from underneath the covers. That’s no way to start the day.
Better yet, use a space heater at trucks stop with external power outlets available. A space heater will keep you toasty warm without you having to idle your engine to run the truck heater. Small but effective space heaters are pretty inexpensive these days.
Winter has arrived. We encourage truck drivers to do their best stay warm, safe, and healthy until spring breaks next March.
It has been a long and productive year for both C.R. England and the trucking industry as a whole. We faced many challenges in 2017, as we do most years, and the people who make up our industry have risen to meet those challenges with hard work, dedication, and even a bit of innovation. Now we look forward to what 2018 will bring.
As we prepare to turn the page on the new calendar year, C.R. England is committed to continuing to offer reliable temperature-controlled trucking services to our clients. We are also committed to ongoing recruiting efforts aimed at inviting more women and young people to join our industry as professional truck drivers. We need drivers – the whole industry does – and we will not stop recruiting until trucking once again takes its rightful place as a worthy career option alongside every other career choice a young person might make.
With all of that said, we invite you to consider truck driving for 2018. We offer you the following four reasons to contact us to learn more about a trucking career:
1. Industry-Leading Training
C.R. England is extremely proud of the fact that we offer industry-leading CDL training through Premier Truck Driving Schools located in five states. Every new driver who completes training and meets all our eligibility requirements is guaranteed a job with C.R. England upon obtaining CDL. New drivers go from CDL school right to work with a driver trainer who completes training on the job.
There is no substitute for excellent training in the trucking industry. We offer our own training program because we want drivers who know how to do things the right way. Furthermore, we hire new drivers right out of school. We do not demand experience while failing to give new drivers an opportunity to gain that experience.
2. Ample Supply of Jobs
The trucking industry is currently short tens of thousands of licensed drivers. C.R. England experiences that shortage just as any other company in our industry does. In short, there is an ample supply of jobs just waiting to be filled. Truck drivers who work hard, follow company policy, and drive safely will never have to worry about being employed. Trucking is definitely a career you can retire on if you stick with it.
3. Independent Work
Let’s face it, not everyone was made to work in a factory or office. There are some people who feel constrained by such environments. Such individuals are great candidates for trucking because the job gets them out and about all day. Truck drivers enjoy the opportunity to be self-starters who work with minimal supervision; they enjoy the opportunity to show they can be responsible to complete challenging work without having supervisors looking over their shoulder.
4. Good Pay and Benefits
Finally, truck driving is a job that offers good pay and benefits. Moreover, pay and benefits are steadily improving thanks to the ongoing competition among motor carriers for a limited number of employees.
First-year truck drivers make more than a lot of other blue-collar workers in other sectors. And with experience, pay goes up. Veteran truckers with years under their belts and additional license endorsements for better paying loads do very well financially.
A growing economy and stable fuel prices are shaping up to make 2018 look like it is going to be another very good year. We invite you to be a part of it by considering joining the C.R. England team. There are plenty of great reasons to get into trucking, so what are you waiting for?
The onset of winter means shorter days, longer nights, and weather that can make driving a genuine pain at times. Veteran truckers are used to the ebbs and flows of the seasons, but that does not necessarily make the job any easier during the winter months. There are just some things that are different from mid-December through the end of March.
At C.R. England, we value our drivers as important members of our team and safety is one of our top priorities. To that end, here are three ways truckers can keep on trucking during the winter without any loss of productivity and remain safe:
1. Maximize the Daylight Hours
Numerous studies looking into seasonal affective disorder (SAD) have shown that some people are adversely affected by the shorter days of winter due to less natural sunlight. Even people who do not suffer from the syndrome can find that the shorter days of winter affect everything from their moods to their willingness to work.
We recommend truck drivers do their best to maximize daylight hours. In other words, if you are a truck driver who prefers overnight driving to stay out of traffic, consider shifting your work schedule during the winter so that you are awake for the entire time the sun is up. You may find that more exposure to natural daylight helps keep your spirits up and your mind alert.
2. Don’t Ignore Daily Exercise
Daily exercise is important to maintaining good health even as a truck driver. Assuming you get regular exercise during the spring, summer, and fall, do not get into the habit of ignoring it come winter. Don’t allow the colder temperatures to keep you locked in your cab living a mostly sedentary lifestyle.
Taking 3 to 4 months off from your normal exercise routine makes it that much harder to start exercising again in the spring. Moreover, every time you slack on your daily exercise and then attempt to resume, you are solidifying a yo-yo habit that is just not healthy. It is far better to find new ways to exercise than to simply stop altogether during the winter.
Yes, you may have to be creative if cold temperatures and icy conditions prevent you from going on that daily run or engaging in calisthenics. But there are plenty of ways to exercise apart from what weather conditions offer. You just have to want to do it.
3. Stay in Touch with Family
Our final tip to help you keep on trucking through the winter months is to stay in touch with family. This time of year, more than ever, you will benefit from the smiling faces of your kids and good conversations with your spouse. And if you’re not married with kids, you may have other family members with whom you can keep in contact. Think parents, siblings, and even extended family members like cousins and aunts and uncles or close friends.
Family relationships are the lifeblood of humanity. It is amazing how much good solid family relationships can do to motivate the trucker to keep going. Rather than allowing yourself to be emotionally drained by being away from family this time of year, make every effort to find new ways to stay in touch.
The calendar says winter is here. We all know it. But we don’t have to let winter dictate our happiness, productivity, or anything else for that matter. If you are a truck driver, keep on trucking regardless of what the calendar says. Spring will come in just a few months.
Middle-aged parents across the fruited plain are pulling their hair out this time of year because they cannot figure out what to get their young adult children for Christmas. It was easy when they were little kids who could play with any toy on the market. Now though, age has made the holiday gifting season a bit more difficult. Might we suggest CDL training?
Yes, you read that correctly. CDL training makes the perfect gift for a young man or woman looking to establish a long-term career that is both rewarding and capable of paying the bills. In that sense, CDL training is a gift that truly keeps on giving. It is training that sets a young person up for life.
Benefits of CDL Training
Our culture is one that has become highly specialized in terms of career choices and jobs. Professional driving is a good example. In order to drive most commercial vehicles on public roads, drivers must possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL) issued by his or her state of residence.
A CDL opens up the door for all sorts of commercial driving jobs. There are different classes of CDLs, meaning that not every license enables a driver to operate everything from small buses to tractor-trailers. But when a young person undergoes CDL training through a provider like Premier Truck Driving Schools, the license he or she earns is applicable to truck driving jobs.
With those jobs comes competitive pay, benefits, and unparalleled job security. A new trucker who works hard and drives safely is one who will never have to worry about employment. And as competition among carriers increases, we are willing to pay quite well for the best in the business.
How It Works
CDL training is offered by private schools and community colleges alike. A typical CDL course lasts about three weeks and includes both classroom instruction and time on a closed driving course. Training concludes with the road test necessary to get a CDL. What happens after that depends on the new driver’s employment status.
Some carriers welcome newly licensed drivers and follow up their three-week training with additional on-the-job training with driver trainers. We do that here at C.R. England. All our new drivers take to the road with a trainer for a set period of time. They are not allowed to work solo until their trainers are satisfied they can handle it.
Other carriers refuse to hire new drivers. They want only experienced truckers operating their vehicles. Of course, there is the independent contractor option as well. With this option, the new driver purchases or leases a rig in order to work as a self-employed business owner.
Training with C.R. England
The cost of CDL training is a few thousand dollars. But wait, you can still give the gift of CDL training without breaking the bank. When your young person trains through the C.R. England program, you have the option of not paying a dime.
New drivers who train through us are sent to one of the many Premier Truck Driving Schools we operate throughout the country. Provided a new driver meets all our hiring requirements, he or she is guaranteed a job upon graduation. That student pays nothing for tuition as long as he or she agrees to work for us for one year. During your employment, C.R. England will make the monthly tuition obligation payments on your behalf.
CDL training would be a great gift for your young person this Christmas. For more information, please do not hesitate to reach out to C.R. England through our website or over the phone.
There are times when even the most attractive job in the world doesn’t look so wonderful. During those times, it can be easy to never see the good. This is the time of year when we all need to make a concerted effort to stay positive. Trucking may be more difficult over the holiday season, but that does not mean that there are not any silver linings.
In celebration of all our drivers do to make C.R. England the nation’s leader in temperature-controlled trucking, we’ve put together a post listing five great reasons for truckers in general, and the entire C.R. England organization in particular, to be thankful as we enter the 2017 holiday season.
1. Be Thankful for the Miles
Truck drivers earn only when the wheels are turning. So first and foremost, we are all thankful for the miles. If it were not for the many miles our drivers put in every week, they would not be able to support their families. Every mile represents a little more money that can go toward Thanksgiving dinner and that long list of Christmas presents. More importantly, every mile pays the daily bills.
2. Be Thankful for the Freight
Freight is what makes all those miles possible. We all rely heavily on freight for our livelihoods, so we are especially thankful this year that freight volumes are picking up as the economy improves. More freight means more trucks on the road covering more miles. That’s good for C.R. England, our for drivers, and the trucking industry in general.
3. Be Thankful for the Trucks
To say that truck technology has made a difference over the last five or six years is to understate just how dramatically our industry has changed. Truck driving used to be such a manually intense job that only the biggest, strongest men could handle it over the long term. Today, technology has changed things to the point that trucking is a great job just about anybody with a CDL can handle. Modern equipment is a lot easier to operate; it is safer and better for the environment as well.
4. Be Thankful for Fuel Prices
The cost of fuel is one of the biggest inhibitors of the trucking industry. Thankfully, fuel prices have remained comparably low since the shale oil boom first caused prices to fall a few years ago. Lower fuel prices are good for everyone in the trucking industry. Carriers spend less, drivers earn more, and consumers pay lower retail prices as a result.
5. Be Thankful for the Road System
While it is true that our infrastructure is in need of considerable maintenance and repair work, the U.S. highway system is still among the best in the world. There are plenty of countries with either limited or no regional highway system at all. Getting from point A to point B can take many times longer than it takes here in the U.S.
Thanks to our interstate system, a trucker can get on I-40 in North Carolina and travel clear across the country to California at highway speeds. And that is just one example. Since President Dwight D Eisenhower championed the national highway system back to the 1950s, more than 47,000 miles of interstate highways have been constructed.
It is true that those of us in the trucking industry can find plenty of reasons to complain. But it’s equally true that we have a lot to be thankful for. This time of year, let us all try to keep our minds on the positive. Thankfulness is a good character trait to practice.
Winter is the season of cold temperatures, snowy roads, and limited visibility when the wind starts blowing. It is also the season of jackknifing trailers. Experienced truckers know that the risk of jackknifes is a normal part of the trucking job. They also know that jackknifes can occur on dry roads just as easily as snowy or icy roads.
With winter fast approaching, we thought it would be a good idea to remind drivers about jackknifes. A jackknifing trailer and a tractor jackknife presents a dangerous situation with a considerable risk of not ending well. At the very least, jackknife accidents can damage equipment extensively. A worst-case scenario results in serious injury or death.
The Physics Behind Jackknifes
We all know jackknifes occur. But what causes them? What are the physics behind jackknife accidents? It all boils down to two things: kinetic energy and momentum.
Kinetic energy is stored energy in motion. When a truck and trailer travel down the road, some of the energy that comes from friction between tires and road surface is transferred the rig. That means every tractor-trailer rig possesses kinetic energy stored in both the tractor and trailer – as long as it remains in motion. Here’s the problem: energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be transferred.
When a tractor-trailer begins to slow down, that kinetic energy has to go somewhere. Under normal circumstances, it is transferred through the wheels and into the ground by way of friction. In a jackknifing situation, this isn’t what happens. The primary culprit is momentum.
The principles of momentum dictate that kinetic energy will continue moving in the same direction unless an equal or greater force interferes. This is exactly what happens in a jackknifing situation.
The tractor begins slowing at a rate that is too fast to accommodate the transfer of all the kinetic energy stored in the trailer through the wheels and into the ground. The same can happen with a trailer to the tractor. What cannot be transferred continues moving in the same direction, which is forward. Thus, the back end of the tractor swings out as the energy of the trailer continues moving in the same direction.
Unequal Traction and Friction
Physics aside, the most common cause of jackknife accidents is unequal traction and friction between the tractor and trailer. On dry roads, jackknifes are almost always caused by tractor brakes locking up while a truck is moving at a high rate of speed. Because there is unequal traction and friction between tractor and trailer, the tractor is trying to stop faster than the trailer. This inequality triggers the physics discussed in the previous section.
On snowy or icy roads, a tractor’s brakes do not have to lock up to initiate a jackknife. All it takes is for the tractor to lose a bit of traction. If the back end of the tractor begins to swing out because of snow or ice on the road, the same principles of kinetic energy and momentum can cause a jackknife.
Of course, the risk of jackknifing on snowy or icy roads increases when brakes are used too aggressively. As any truck driver knows, it is a lot easier to lock the brakes on snowy roads as compared to a dry pavement.
Whether you understand the physics behind jackknifing or not, you should know how easy it is to get in trouble if you are not paying attention. The simple answer is slow down and make gentle braking a habit; which means to look further ahead and start earlier when slowing down. Never drive faster than 30 MPH in slick conditions and never faster than you can see and react to what happening ahead. Take it easy, pay attention, and adjust your driving to weather conditions. Do everything you can to avoid jackknifing accidents and we will all be better off.
There is a particular word in the English language that truck drivers really hate. That word is ‘wait’. Truckers hate waiting because it prevents them from driving. And when they aren’t driving, they aren’t making money. Every hour a truck driver waits on a shipper or receiver is another hour that goes against daily working hours limits without any pay attached to it.
Waiting is not something they talk a lot about at CDL schools or job recruiting fairs, but it is part of the trucking job. It typically doesn’t take long for a new truck driver to begin wondering if there is any way to spend less time waiting. It turns out there is.
Are you interested in getting loaded and unloaded earlier in the day? Are you tired of waiting on shippers and receivers who do not seem to care that your time is money? Then it’s time to do something about it. Understand that what you need to do is not revolutionary. It is just good, common sense we seem to have lost somewhere along the way.
Call Ahead and Ask
With every pickup and delivery, you have a scheduled appointment time. That’s fine. But know that schedules are like rules in that they can be ‘broken’ occasionally. One of the easiest and most effective things you can do as a truck driver is to call ahead and ask if any earlier slots are open. The worst they can do is say no.
Calling ahead and asking for an earlier time does several things for you. First of all, it demonstrates to shippers and receivers that you are proactive. They like that. Second, it lets them know that you are paying attention to your own schedule. They like that as well. Third, it leaves the door open for getting lucky every now and again. No shipper or receiver will ever guarantee you an earlier time slot, but you just might get lucky and find one.
Be Friendly and Polite
The staff that make up shipping and receiving departments are human beings like anyone else. They appreciate truck drivers who are friendly, polite, and easy to deal with. Be that kind of person. Do not be the kind of truck driver who is grumpy, grouchy, and ready to yell and complain at the first inconvenience.
In addition to being friendly and polite, be conversational with your shippers and receivers. Unless you do something to change the dynamic, you are just a resource for getting goods from here to there. Because shipping and receiving staff don’t know you personally, they have no reason to invest in making your life easier. Being conversational changes this.
Engage shipping and receiving staff in personal conversations. They don’t have to take 30 minutes; just a few minutes to introduce yourself and chat a bit goes a long way. Ask them how the day is going. Ask about their families or what they plan to do for the weekend.
Developing a more personal rapport changes the perception of everyone you deal with. You will no longer be just a resource; you will also be a human being with a job to do and a life outside of that job. You will also be a truck driver more likely to enjoy greater cooperation from shipping and receiving staff.
Though they don’t teach these things in CDL schools, each of these tips can help you get loaded and unloaded earlier in the day. In the end, it doesn’t take a university degree to reduce wait times. It only takes an effort to be proactive and personable.