A Trucker’s Guide To Food On The Road

The trucking lifestyle comes with some unique considerations, including the question of where to get food each day. Food is likely going to be one of the most significant parts of your budget on the road and also plays a large role in your health. It’s worth putting the time and effort into making a plan for what to eat on the road and how to prepare your meals so you can save money and stay fit more easily.

What to Consider When Planning Meals as a Trucker

There are three major considerations you’ll need to keep in mind when planning where to eat while trucking:

Convenience

Truckers are often on a tight schedule and don’t have access to the same appliances and tools someone could use to cook at home. As a result, it’s often important to find meals that are fast and convenient.

Health

Sitting in one place for most of the day, as most truckers do, can take a toll on your health. Eating nutrient-dense meals and being mindful of calorie consumption can help you stay fit even if you aren’t moving around as much. Eating well can also improve your energy levels and help you feel better overall.

Budget

Budgeting is an important consideration for individuals across many professions. In trucking, food is likely to be a significant expense. Planning ahead and setting a budget can help you manage how much you spend on eating on the road.

Where Can Truckers Eat On the Road?

There are a few different options for where truckers can purchase their meals.

Restaurants

The quickest option for getting food on the road is to stop at a restaurant. There are often multiple options near truck stops or that otherwise have accessible semi-truck parking. Although it’s possible to find healthier options, many restaurants have mostly high-calorie, lower-nutrient options. The expense of eating out multiple times a day can also add up quickly.

Truck Stops

In addition to the restaurants at or near truck stops, you can often find a combination of grab-and-go meals and common ingredients. Many truck stops are starting to offer healthier options and it’s convenient to stop at one location for your food, fuel, and other amenities. However, the food at truck stops may be more costly than you could find at grocery stores, and not all locations offer healthy items.

Grocery Stores

Stopping at a grocery store allows you to get healthier ingredients and is often more budget-friendly. However, you will need to be able to prep and store food on your truck. There are many options for this including slow cookers, microwaves, and hot plates for cooking and a cooler or mini-fridge for storage. You’ll need to find a grocery store that offers semi-truck parking if you choose this option.

Meal Prepping At Home

Making meals at home before starting a haul allows you the ability to make healthy choices that are quick to heat up on the road while also staying on budget. Of course, this does take some time to plan and you’ll need to have enough storage space. Depending on how long you spend on the road, you may need to stop at the other locations on this list for additional meals or ingredients once you run out.

Earn Your CDL in Albuquerque

If you’re interested in becoming a trucker, Phoenix Truck Driving School in Albuquerque can help you get started. You can complete our commercial driver’s license (CDL) training program in as little as four weeks.

To learn more about becoming a trucker, contact us today.

Preventing Trucker Back Pain

Trucking has the potential to be a rewarding career, but it’s also important to consider possible downsides and ways to minimize their effects. One such downside is trucker back pain. While not all drivers experience this pain, some will due to the effects of spending long periods of time sitting down behind the wheel. Luckily, there are methods you can use to reduce the likelihood of suffering from back pain as a truck driver.

Here are some tips:

1. Move Around Regularly

When possible, stop for a few minutes and get out of your semi-truck to walk around or stretch. This helps break up the periods of time you’ll spend sitting down and can prevent back pain and other issues. You don’t need to devote a great deal of time to this. Even a few five-minute breaks spread throughout the day can make a difference. (Of course, you’ll also need to account for your required breaks for hours of service compliance.)

2. Stretch Before You Start Driving

In addition to moving around during the day, try doing some simple stretches each morning (or night, depending on your schedule) before you hit the road. One good option is to twist your torso to the left while seated, then use your right hand to grab the left side of your seat. Hold this stretch for ten seconds, then repeat on the other side.

3. Adjust Your Seat and Posture

If your seat is too far back from the steering wheel or too far forward, it can affect your posture. You don’t want to be hunched over all day. Make sure that when you sit naturally, you are able to comfortably reach the wheel. You should be able to rest your head, neck, and back fully against your seat as you drive.

4. Add Lumbar Support

Adding extra support to your driver’s seat can help you prevent back pain. There are multiple products on the market that can help with this and it can make a significant difference, especially if other methods haven’t helped.

5. Talk To Your Doctor

If you’ve tried multiple methods to minimize back pain and are still having issues, it’s worth having a conversation with your doctor. They may have suggestions that can help you resolve the issue. This may include lifestyle changes, certain supplements, or other recommendations. Make sure to be careful about any medication and ensure it does not interfere with your ability to drive safely. In most cases, your doctor will try other options first.

Start Your Trucking Career

Although there are some things to consider when becoming a trucker, it is still a potentially rewarding career that can allow you to see the country while getting paid competitively. If you’re interested in getting started, Phoenix Truck Driving School can help you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) in as little as four weeks.

Contact us today to learn more about our CDL training in Albuquerque.

Best Types of Freight for New Drivers

When you start a new career as diverse and complex as trucking, you will likely have many questions, such as which type of freight you should haul. The main freight classifications are dry van, refrigerated, flatbed, liquid tanker, dry bulk tanker, and doubles/triples, and some are more new driver-friendly than others.

Below are some of the best types of freight for those just starting in the trucking industry: 

Dry Van

General freight trucking, also known as dry vans or box trailers, is the most common type of cargo transportation in the United States, making it an ideal choice for a first-time driver. Box trailers are enclosed vehicles that haul inventory like clothing, non-perishable food, and household goods for some of the largest corporations in the US. 

 

The learning curve with dry van jobs is less demanding than with other freight because you don’t have to worry about securing your load, and loading and unloading require little or no physical effort from the driver. Hauling freight for a dry van company is also ideal for new drivers because these trucking companies tend to offer more home time. 

Refrigerated Freight

Many rookies also begin hauling refrigerated freight because it is very similar to dry van cargo, the only major difference being that the goods are temperature controlled. These semi-trucks keep items like fruit, frozen goods, and pharmaceuticals insulated despite the weather.

 

 Like general freight trucking, refrigerated freight requires minimal physical effort, allowing you to focus on your basic driving skills. It also doesn’t require any specialized training. Another perk of refrigerated carriers is that they typically haul food products, which makes for a relatively consistent schedule throughout the year. 

Flatbed Freight

Flatbed freight is another great option for new truck drivers. These trailers transport large, bulky items like construction materials. While it is slightly more physically demanding than a dry van or refrigerated truck, a flatbed can be a beneficial option for new truckers with families. Many flatbed companies typically can get drivers home more often because shippers and receivers for this type of freight are often only open on weekdays. Many truckers also enjoy the physical and intellectual challenges, as well as the variety of interesting products they haul and the places flatbed freight takes them.

Dry Bulk Tanker

Dry bulk tankers, or pneumatic tankers, are less common than other types of freight but still worth looking into for rookie drivers. These trucking trailers haul dry goods like sand, flour, and sugar, so drivers don’t have to worry about their freight sloshing around as they drive. Drivers need some extra safety training to operate a pneumatic tanker, but the ease of transportation, loading, and unloading typically makes it worth it. Many dry bulk companies also offer generous home time. 

Looking to Start Your Truck Driving Career?

Phoenix Truck Driving School can provide you with the proper training to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and start a new career on the road. Our Albuquerque location offers a combination of classroom, range, and on-the-road training, and we can have you driving in as little as four weeks.

Contact one of our advisors today, and they will guide you through the process of earning your CDL and becoming a professional truck driver.

Daytime vs Nighttime Trucking

Trucking is an essential part of our nation’s economy, and you’ll see semi-trucks on highways transporting freight at all hours of the day and night. Some types of trucking allow drivers to choose their own daily schedule, provided they can deliver their haul on time and follow all hours of service (HOS) regulations. Others may require more nighttime trucking based on the delivery windows. If you’re interested in becoming a trucker, it’s important to understand when night driving may be required and how to do this safely. It’s also helpful to understand your own preferences for daytime vs nighttime trucking so you can select a type of trucking that best matches your ideal schedule.

When Is Day vs Night Trucking More Common?

For over-the-road (OTR) dry van hauls, solo truckers generally get to choose their own driving schedule. You’ll still need to adhere to HOS rules and will have a delivery window or a specific delivery time you’ll need to arrive by. This type of driving is most flexible for whether you drive during the day or at night.

In trucking teams, drivers switch off to maximize miles while keeping both individuals within HOS limits. This means that one driver is usually behind the wheel during the day, whereas the other will spend more time driving at night. This may alternate depending on when hours are used up, or you may set a schedule so one of you is always driving at night or always driving during the day.

Due to their delivery requirements, refrigerated truckers (reefers) typically drive at night more often. The same is true for less-than-truckload (LTL) linehaul drivers, who transport freight between LTL terminals.

Local drivers who stay within a limited region most often travel during the day. However, there may be some local jobs that require nighttime driving.

Daytime Trucking

Pros

  • This type of driving is more familiar to most people.
  • It’s easier to stay safe and alert.
  • You are working with your circadian rhythm, not against it, which makes getting quality sleep easier.
  • You can enjoy the scenery while you drive.
  • It’s easier to find parking for rest stops during your driving window (e.g. stopping for fuel or your required 30-minute break).

Cons

  • There’s more traffic on the road, which can slow down your trip. This is especially significant if you are traveling near a city during rush hour.
  • Construction zones are more likely to be active.
  • Since many truckers prefer to drive during the day and stop to rest at night, truck stops can be crowded and finding parking for the night can be difficult. You may need to shut down earlier in the day and get up earlier in the morning to beat the crowds.

Nighttime Trucking

Pros

  • There are fewer vehicles on the road, so traffic is less of a concern.
  • Construction is not typically active at night.
  • In some cases, it’s easier to find parking if you’re sleeping during the day.

Cons

  • Drowsiness is more common and can be a safety issue.
  • It’s harder to sleep during the day, especially at truck stops when more people may be moving around and making noise.
  • It’s easier to get lost since landmarks or signs may be hard to see.
  • Low visibility can increase the risk of getting into an accident.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, nighttime trucking is often riskier than daytime driving, but this may vary based on your personal experience and preferences. It’s up to you as a driver to be sure that you stay safe on the road. Choosing a career that includes more of the type of driving you prefer can help you reach your goals and feel more comfortable. At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we can help you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and our job placement assistance team can work with you to explore your career options.

Contact us today to learn more about our truck driver training program in Albuquerque.

A Guide to Truck Stop Amenities

Every trucker needs a break from long hours on the road, and truck stops are designed to do just that. These rest areas allow drivers to sleep, refuel and service their vehicles, and take care of their personal hygiene all in one place. When you plan your breaks, choose truck stops with amenities that fit your needs.

The following are six of the top truck stop amenities:

1. Showers

A clean, hot shower is one of the most sought-after amenities on the road. Luckily, most truck stops offer showers to truck drivers. Each location varies slightly on the requirements for drivers to utilize this amenity. Some are coin-operated, while you must purchase a ticket from others to reserve a shower for a particular time.

2. Laundry Facility

A laundromat is another covered amenity for truckers and road trippers alike. If you are on the road for an extended period, you’ll likely run out of clean clothes. Some truck stops provide quality machines, folding tables, and drying racks to clean your clothes, linens, and towels. Not all truck stops offer laundry services, however, so be sure to plan to hit a rest area with this amenity when you need it. 

3. Fuel Station

Every truck stop offers a fuel station as part of its amenities. Filling up your fuel tank whenever possible will ensure you never run out of fuel and helps maintain your vehicle’s fuel economy. The better your fuel economy, the less often you will have to stop and get fuel. Many truck stops also advertise high fuel quality, which reduces engine damage.

4. Parking Spaces

Truck stops are built to accommodate semi-trucks and supply spacious places to park. Depending on the size of the parking lot, some rest areas designate spaces for overnight parking to allow truckers to sleep. It is a safe place to rest and recharge to finish their route. 

5. Service Station

If you experience mechanical problems on the road, truck stops are one of the most convenient locations to stop and examine the vehicle. These locations offer a truck service station that provides preventative and light mechanical services at a lower price than repair shops. They are equipped with the tools and mechanics to get your semi-truck driving again. Many truck stops also have 24/7 roadside assistance.

6. Driver Lounge

Truck stops with a driver lounge area can be a trucker’s home away from home. While each location varies slightly, most driver lounges include comfortable furniture, a TV with cable or satellite hookup, and free WiFi. These features allow drivers to take a break, catch up on the latest news, or watch a few minutes of a game before hitting the road again.

Truck Driver Training in Albuquerque

Before you can hit the open road and enjoy all the amenities truck stops offer, you first need to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we offer a combination of classroom, range, and on-the-road training to get you driving in as little as four weeks. Our Albuquerque location is the only truck driving school in the area that has a trucking company at the facility. 

Contact one of our advisors today to find out how soon you can start earning your CDL.

Is There an Age Limit for Trucking?

Truck driving has the potential to be a very rewarding career path, and it interests people of all ages. This leads many to wonder whether or not there is an age limit for trucking. There is a minimum age to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL), but there is no official maximum age. There are medical requirements to meet to get and keep your license, but many individuals can still thrive as truckers even as they age.

Here is some more information about age restrictions in trucking:

Minimum Age to Earn a CDL

To drive a commercial vehicle within a single state, you need to be at least 18 years old. To drive across state lines, you need to be 21 or older. These age requirements are set on a federal level and apply in any state you earn your license in.

If you’re interested in a trucking career but aren’t old enough to get an interstate CDL, you can explore other opportunities within your state. However, you should be aware that local jobs are often more competitive and involve challenging driving conditions, such as city driving and frequent backing.

There has been some interest in lowering the age requirement for interstate trucking. However, there has not been much momentum for these changes, so they will continue to apply for the foreseeable future.

How Old Is Too Old to Be a Trucker?

There is no maximum age for trucking. Many people enter this industry later than is often the case for other careers. Some truckers choose to pursue driving after their children have moved out and they have more flexibility to stay on the road for longer and see the country. Others earn their CDL after a career change later in life. Whatever the case, age doesn’t have to limit your ability to become a trucker.

Truckers are required to undergo a Department of Transportation (DOT) medical exam to ensure they are physically able to perform the necessary job duties. Whether or not you can pass this physical exam doesn’t necessarily depend on your age. Many younger individuals can have medical conditions that prevent them from trucking, and many older truckers have clean bills of health. Nevertheless, it’s important to be aware of.

What to Expect From the DOT Physical

The DOT physical involves a full examination of your health. Your doctor will ask questions about your medical history and conduct a complete physical exam. They will also complete urinalysis to check for various medical conditions. Most drivers complete these physicals every two years to ensure they can perform their job duties. If you have a medical condition, your doctor may require you to return annually instead.

Earn Your CDL

Phoenix Truck Driving School in Albuquerque can help you earn your commercial license and become a trucker. We’ve trained students in a wide range of age groups to give them the skills needed to succeed on the road.

Take the first steps to a new trucking career and contact us today.

The Importance of Pre-Trip Inspections

Before you hit the road each morning as a truck driver, you’ll need to perform a pre-trip inspection. This inspection is also part of the commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills test and knowing how to do one correctly is an essential skill for truckers.

Here are some of the reasons pre-trip inspections are so important:

1. FMCSA Requirements

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry and sets requirements truckers must follow. One of these is that drivers must perform a pre-trip inspection each day they are on the road to ensure their vehicles are in safe operating condition.

2. Safety

The most important reason to perform a pre-trip inspection every day is that it helps keep you and others on the road safe. Semi-truck accidents are typically more severe than accidents between passenger vehicles and it is your responsibility as a driver to focus on safety at all times. Pre-trip inspections help you catch any issues and fix them before they cause an accident.

As an example, consider your semi-truck’s tires. Tire issues are not uncommon and at highway speeds and a blowout can lead to an accident. When you examine your tires, you’ll check if they are worn down or if the air pressure is low. These things may seem simple, but addressing them early reduces the risk of them causing an accident.

3. Avoid Downtime

It may seem counterintuitive that getting maintenance for a truck issue reduces your downtime, since your truck may need to be off the road temporarily while the issue is addressed. However, getting maintenance when you first notice an issue does save you time in the long run.

Consider the tire example again. Replacing a worn-down tire will take some of your time, but getting your truck towed after a blowout on the highway will cost a lot more time and money, not to mention the risk of you or someone else getting hurt.

4. Minimize Liability

After an accident, you could be found liable for any damages depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. If you can’t demonstrate that you’ve been performing thorough pre-trip inspections as required by the FMCSA, this could be used against you. In addition to inspecting your truck, you also need to make sure to properly document that you did so. You should also document any repairs.

Learning How to Perform a Pre-Trip Inspection

In order to earn your CDL, you will need to demonstrate your ability to perform a pre-trip inspection. Since there are so many parts you’ll need to name and inspect, this is often one of the parts of the CDL test that students stress over the most. Performing mock inspections and making flashcards can help you learn how to perform an inspection. Additionally, choosing a high-quality CDL training program gives you access to helpful resources while you learn this and other trucking skills.

Truck Driving School in Albuquerque

At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we can help you get on the road and earning in as little as four weeks. Our program covers essential information related to trucking safety and operation, including how to perform pre-trip inspections.

To learn more about our truck driver training, contact us today.

What Jackknifing Is and How to Prevent It

Due to the large size of semi-trucks, accidents involving these vehicles are typically more severe than those involving only passenger vehicles. Many of the most serious semi-truck accidents involve jackknifing. This can also be called “a jackknife” and it is important for professional drivers to understand what this is and why it occurs so they can take steps to prevent it.

What is Jackknifing?

Jackknifing is when the trailer portion of a semi-truck folds in toward the tractor portion. This creates an acute angle, and it gets its name from the fact that it looks similar to a folded pocket knife. A jackknife starts with the trailer skidding and then the force of the skid pulls the truck into an acute angle if no action is taken.

This is different from trailer swing, which is when the trailer of the vehicle moves to one side, often while on a slippery surface. Trailer swing is less serious and can be corrected, although it is still important to be mindful of it so the trailer does not collide with anything.

Why is Jackknifing Dangerous?

When a semi-truck jackknifes, it often turns horizontally. This can result in it blocking several lanes of traffic, and nearby vehicles may be unable to stop before colliding with the trailer. This results in a chain reaction and can impact a significant number of vehicles.

Why Do Semi-Trucks Jackknife?

Understanding the circumstances that can lead to a jackknife helps you take the steps to prevent these issues.

Here are some of the reasons a semi-truck can jackknife:

  • Speeding: A semi-truck takes significantly longer than a passenger vehicle to come to a stop safely. Speeding increases this distance and if a driver is going too fast and needs to stop suddenly, this can result in the trailer skidding.
  • Unbalanced Cargo: It’s important to ensure your load is balanced correctly before you start driving. Unbalanced cargo can cause the trailer to tip or tilt. Light loads also increase the risk of a jackknife since there is less traction between the trailer and the road in these cases.
  • Poor Weather: Rain makes the road slippery, and this increases the possibility of jackknifing if a driver tries to stop too suddenly.

What to Do If Your Trailer Starts to Skid

Preventing skidding is the best way to prevent jackknifing, and you can do this by driving at a reasonable speed and making sure you do not brake or turn suddenly. If your trailer does start to skid, it is still possible to prevent a more serious issue, but it’s important to act quickly. Take your foot off the gas, avoid braking until the skid stops, and turn your wheel in the direction you want to go.

Learn How to Be a Safe Trucker

At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we can help you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and cover a variety of topics that help you become a safe and successful truck driver.

To learn more about our CDL training in Albuquerque, contact us today.

Making Your Semi-Truck Sleeper Feel Like Home

For truckers, their cab functions as both their office and their home while they are on the road. Making this space feel comfortable is important. While the area is relatively small, it’s still possible to add a few personal touches and customize the area so it feels more homey.

Here are some tips for making your semi-truck sleeper feel like home:

Start With The Essentials

When you’re working with a smaller amount of available space, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need before you start adding more. For your first few solo trips, it’s best to start with the most essential items. This allows you to get used to organizing and storing these supplies and by the time you’ve gotten some more experience, you’ll have a better idea of what space is available. Additionally, part of feeling at home is having peace of mind that you have access to everything you need, so having these supplies is an important step in feeling comfortable on hauls.

Some of the key supplies for truckers include clothing, any prescription or over-the-counter medication you take, personal hygiene products, organizational supplies for storing key documents, and tools for maintaining your truck. It’s also best to have some healthy snacks and meals available to avoid eating too many meals at truck stops or restaurants. Water is also essential and you should have a good supply in case of any emergencies.

Consider The Quality Of Your Sleep

Sleep is essential for anyone’s health and wellbeing and for truckers, minimizing fatigue can lower your risk of getting into an accident. There are many simple steps you can take to make sleeping in your semi-truck more comfortable. One is to consider adding a mattress topper to your bed or upgrading your mattress. You can also get high-quality pillows, sheets, and comforters. Customizing these items can help you decorate your cab and make it feel more like your own space.

In addition to the bed itself, you can add small items to help you sleep. Some options that are small enough for a semi-truck include an essential oil diffuser, a white noise machine, or a portable fan. You can customize these based on what you know works best for helping you get to sleep. However, it’s best not to go overboard and add multiple items all at once. Instead, add one at a time and see if it makes a difference, then go from there.

Add Electronics and Other Entertainment Items

When you aren’t driving, it helps to have ways to keep yourself entertained. Your semi-truck’s inverter can be used to power small electronics such as a television or gaming system. Of course, you won’t be able to fit a big flat-screen in your truck, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have a small TV set.

You can also bring your laptop or tablet on the road as long as you have a mobile hotspot to connect to the internet. Many truck stops also have Wi-Fi available, but keep in mind that this isn’t always reliable or fast, and not all truck stops have it available.

Make Your Cab Your Own With Personal Touches

Even a few small personal touches can make your semi-truck sleep feel more like home. Items that you can hang up on the wall take up minimal space while boosting your mood and helping your space feel unique. You can hang up flags, posters, and/or photos of your family and friends.

Sharing Your Cab With a Pet

Trucking is one of the few professions where you can have your pet with you every day on the job. Bringing a dog or cat on the road can make your rig homier and gives you a companion to share your hauls with. However, it’s important to be aware that it takes planning ahead of time to bring a pet on your semi-truck. You’ll also need to have enough space for their essential items such as food/treats, bowls, water, toys, and supplies to clean up after them.

Interested in the Trucking Lifestyle?

Trucking is as much a lifestyle as it is a career and for many people, this is part of the appeal. If you want to enjoy the freedom of the open road while also earning competitive pay, you may want to consider becoming a truck driver. The first step to do this is earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL). At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we can help you do this in as little as four weeks.

To learn more about our CDL training in Albuquerque, contact us today.

5 Tips for Semi-Truck Organization

Over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers need to bring a variety of different supplies with them on the road. These include personal items as well as important documentation for the freight that is being delivered. Staying organized is essential to maximize the space in your truck and to keep the area from getting too cluttered. It’s also important to make sure you can find anything you need quickly and easily.

Here are some tips for semi-truck organization:

1. Stick to the Essentials at First

After finishing school and completing company training, you’re likely eager to be able to customize your cab to fit your personality. You’d be surprised how much you can do with a small space. However, it’s a good idea to stick to only the most essential items for your first few solo trips. After you’ve gotten the hang of life on the open road, you can start to add more items if you’d like. This helps you stay organized because you’ll have less items to worry about at first and can avoid clutter.

2. Use Organization Supplies

Having many items all around your truck can get confusing and organization supplies can help you keep everything in its proper place. One of the most helpful is a folder or small file cabinet for important paperwork. You can also get plastic bins and other items to make organization easier. Keep in mind that you should only buy what you actually need. Otherwise, the bins and organizers may become clutter themselves.

3. Take Advantage of Wall Space

A semi-truck cab is small, so you may need to get creative to find space for organization. One great way to do this is to add hanging organizers to take advantage of wall space. You can get command strips to hang up organizers and small items without damaging the cab. Just make sure everything is secure before you start driving.

4. Store Items For Easy Access

When you decide where to put different items, think about how often you’ll need to get to them and plan for convenient access. For example, paperwork that you might need during a traffic stop or roadside inspection should be easy to get to from the driver’s seat. Shower supplies, on the other hand, can be under your bed or in another area in the back of the cab since you’ll only need to get them when you’re stopped.

5. Reevaluate Regularly

Every so often, you should think about how your cab is organized and identify what is and isn’t working for you. If there is an item that you always seem to lose, for example, you may want to change where you put it. If there is something you haven’t used at all since you got it, it may be helpful to get rid of this item to free up some space.

Start Your Trucking Career

Before you hit the road, you’ll need to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). At Phoenix Truck Driving School, our accelerated training can help you get started in as little as four weeks.

To learn more about our truck driving school in Albuquerque, contact us today.

Top 3 Benefits of Becoming a Husband-and-Wife Trucking Team

While many truckers spend most of their time in their truck alone, this isn’t always the case. For trucking teams, two individuals split up driving time. This means that if you and your spouse are both interested in the trucking industry, you can both earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and hit the road together. Husband-and-wife trucking teams are relatively common in the industry and there are many benefits.

Some of these include:

1. Earn More Together

Truckers must follow regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for driving and on-duty hours. Drivers must take regular breaks in order to ensure they are well-rested. For solo drivers, this means they will need to stop the truck. Team drivers, on the other hand, can switch off who is driving and keep the truck moving more consistently. As a result, motor carriers are typically willing to pay more for team drivers. If you and your spouse both have your CDL, you can earn more driving as a team than you would driving separately.

2. Drive With Someone You Know

The main reason some truckers prefer to stick to solo driving even when team trucking pays more is that driving with someone you don’t know can be challenging. You’re sharing a small space and will need to be able to communicate effectively and make decisions together. Husband-and-wife trucking teams are already at an advantage here because they (hopefully) learned how to communicate well over the course of their relationship and are more comfortable around each other.

3. Spend Time With Your Spouse

Trucking is a great career, but that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. One of the downsides is that you’ll spend more time away from home than you would with a traditional 9-5. Although the high pay and freedom of the open road make this worth it for many, it’s still a challenge to be away from family. If you bring your spouse on the road with you, you’ll be able to spend more time with them.

What to Consider

While husband-and-wife trucking is an excellent decision for many drivers, it’s not for everyone. Before you commit to this career path, you should be sure that both you and your spouse are equally interested in it. Trucking is as much a lifestyle as it is a career and some individuals will enjoy it more than others. 

If your spouse doesn’t think they will enjoy trucking, you can always pursue a CDL on your own. You can compare home time policies to find one that works with your preferences.

Earn Your CDL in Albuquerque

The first step to a trucking career, whether you are interested in team or solo driving, is earning your CDL. At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we can help you get your license in as little as four weeks with our accelerated training. If you are interested in trucking with your spouse, our job placement assistance team can help you find companies that are hiring team drivers.

To learn more about our CDL training program, contact us today.

 

All About the New ELDT Requirements

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) updated its entry-level driver training (ELDT) requirements as of February 7, 2022. These apply to drivers who are earning their Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the first time, as well as those who are upgrading from a Class B to a Class A or who are earning certain endorsements. 

 

In order to earn your CDL and become a trucker, you will need to do so in compliance with these regulations. At Phoenix Truck Driving School, our programs meet the new ELDT requirements and we can help you get on the road and earning in as little as four weeks. 

How Have the ELDT Requirements Changed?

Understanding how the recent changes to the ELDT requirements are different from the previous regulations is helpful for getting an idea of how these changes affect CDL instruction.

Here are some of the differences: 

  • Under the new requirements, only institutions on the FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR) can provide entry-level CDL training. Before the updated regulations, institutions only had to meet state-level training requirements. 
  • The topics students need to learn in order to earn their CDL are now standardized. 
  • As of February 7, 2022, schools must administer the CDL written test and report students’ scores to the FMCSA. Previously, this was the responsibility of each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 

CDL Theory Instruction Requirements

 

CDL instructors must cover a list of specific topics under the new ELDT requirements. In order to determine proficiency, instructors must use assessments and students need to earn an 80% or higher on these assessments. There are no minimum hours for theory instruction as long as students can demonstrate proficiency. 

 

There are five categories for theory instruction and each one includes various sub-topics. 

 

The theory instruction categories are:

    • Basic Operation: This topic includes subtopics such as pre-trip and post-trip inspections, coupling and uncoupling (for Class A CDLs only), and basic vehicle control. 
  • Safe Operating Procedures: To earn a CDL, students will need to understand topics including nighttime driving, handling extreme conditions, and the dangers of distracted driving. 
  • Advanced Operating Practices: CDL students must understand hazard perception, railroad-highway grade crossings, and skid control/recovery. 
  • Vehicle Systems and Reporting Malfunctions: Entry-level training must cover topics related to vehicle systems and malfunctions, including how to handle roadside inspections. 
  • Non-Driving Activities: Truck driver training must cover a variety of sub-topics related to non-driving activities, including post-crash procedures, trip planning, and environmental compliance issues.

Behind-the-Wheel Driving Requirements

CDL programs must also include behind-the-wheel training. There isn’t a minimum number of hours for this training, but instructors do need to document the total clock hours and ensure they cover all required topics. 

 

The ELDT regulations require programs to cover the following skills in a range setting:

  • Coupling and uncoupling
  • Blind side parallel parking
  • Sight side parallel parking
  • Alley dock backing (45 and 90 degrees)
  • Straight line backing
  • Off-set backing
  • Pre-trip, en route, and post-trip vehicle inspections

Additionally, the training must address these topics on a public road:

  • Regulations for hours of service (HOS)
  • Vehicle controls such as entry and exit onto highways, turning, and lane changes
  • Visual search
  • Speed management and space management
  • Safe driving behaviors
  • Driving at night
  • Railroad crossing
  • Shifting/transmission
  • Signaling/communication
  • Hazard perception
  • Skid control/recovery, jackknifing, and other emergencies
  • Driving in extreme conditions

Some of these topics cannot be simulated during training, such as emergencies or extreme driving conditions. In these circumstances, the instructor must have a two-way conversation with their students and address how to respond to the situations outlined in the required topics. 

Earn Your Commercial License

If you are interested in earning your CDL and becoming a truck driver, Phoenix Truck Driving School can help. Our programs meet the new ELDT requirements and we give our students the skills they need to succeed in the trucking industry. 

Contact us today to learn how we can help you earn your CDL in as little as four weeks.