News & Updates

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Began Truck Driving

Oct 10, 2017

 

 

The Truck Driving Industry is different from most. As most truckers know, you’ll experience something new everyday. New sites and surroundings, new loads to drop off, new people to meet. For many, there is a fear of what you might be getting yourself into once you take on a trucking driving career. Here are 10 things we feel would be nice to know before starting out on this new occupation:

  1. This is not your grandfathers truck driving job. There are now electronic devices to track your hours and driving behaviors, cameras facing you and the road, and more regulations, inspections, and paperwork.
  2. Some customers don’t have facilities or they forbid you from using them. Check the message boards before you leave to get a heads up.
  3. A pet is a great companion for the road. It gets lonely out there and a dog or cat can keep you company and forces you to get fresh air.
  4. Truck stops can get jam-packed at night. Plan ahead for this so that you are not running out of hours with nowhere to park.
  5. Making healthy choices on the road takes creativity. Making time for exercise and maintaining a healthy diet is not impossible, but it requires some advanced planning.
  6. Sometimes you are going to spend more time waiting than truck driving. Some customers are more congested than others and you may wait a few hours to get loaded or unloaded.
  7. Your dispatcher or fleet manager may have never driven a truck before. It’s frustrating to have someone asking you to do things they don’t understand.
  8. Some carries make it possible to bring a guest out on the road with you. This gives you the ability to turn a long trip into a mini vacation and get some quality time in with your spouse or one of the kids.
  9. There will be lots of sitting involved in driving a truck, but you will also do lots of walking, crouching, reaching, and climbing to do your equipment inspections. You’ll get even more exercise if you do flatbed work.
  10. This is the most rewarding career choice you could possibly make! You get to see the country while helping to keep businesses running, grocery stores full, and citizens happy.

 

Taking the next step:

Are interested in becoming a truck driver and earning your CDL? Georgia Driving Academy is ready to help! GDA provides Class A and Class B CDL training services for Georgia residents. If you’re interested in taking that next step in your career as a trucker, head over to our programs page!

 

What Should You Do if You Get Pulled Over?

Oct 5, 2017

 

Seeing those flashing blue lights and hearing sirens tailing behind you is always nerve-wrecking, especially if you’re brand new to driving a CDL truck. Mistakes happen. We’re here to show you how to handle the situation if you’re ever pulled over on the job.

Don’t Panic

Stay calm, take a deep breath and pull yourself together. Leave your seatbelt on and make sure the officer sees you with it on before you take it off.

Gather Your Paperwork

Before the officer approaches your truck, have all of your trucking and shipping documents sitting in your lap. Keeping these documents in an easily accessible place in your truck at all times will make your life easier. Fumbling around in your truck could potentially make the officer nervous at what you might do.

Never Admit Guilt

Even if you know you were speeding, wait for the officer to tell you what you did wrong. Officers nowadays wear body cameras and anything you say can be used against you later on if you decide to challenge the citation. It’s best to simply say, “you aren’t sure, but there’s a reason, because you know they’re trying to keep the roadways safe”. After they complete the warning or citation, always thank the officer for doing their job.

Write It Down

Write down the entire incident from start to finish to show your company or for future reference in court. The more details the better. Examples being light, medium, heavy traffic, weather conditions, mile markers, violations, etc.

What Happens Next?

You should almost always go to court. You’ll want to protect your CDL license at all costs. Find a great attorney, (one who specifies in trucking incidents) that can testify you’re a safety conscious driver who made a minor mistake, or that the officer made a mistake.

During your first year of driving, as well as the rest of your career of truck driving, you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to maintain safety. Nobody’s perfect. If you do get pulled over, follow these steps, brush it off, and learn from your mistakes.

 

If you’re interested in becoming a truck driver and earning your CDL, Georgia Driving Academy is ready to help! GDA provides Class A and Class B CDL training services for Georgia residents. If you’re interested in beginning a career as a trucker, learn more about our CDL training programs.

Taking Your Pet over the Road? What You Need to Know

Sep 22, 2017

 

Pet on the Road

As we head into fall, drivers are looking at bringing a pet on the road as a companion. Bringing a pet on the road with you can offer a dash of excitement and companionship to make your journey easier. Operating with a pet-friendly company affords you this benefit, but it doesn’t come without responsibility.
 

What’s Expected?

As a driver traveling with a pet on the road, you will be expected to keep safety paramount. Although the Department of Transportation has not officially established any regulations concerning this matter, all pet-friendly companies will have their own set of parameters by which you must precisely adhere.

Guideline ensures the animal has ample space to move around the cabin without infringing on your driving area. Some companies also require that you have a clean driving record dating back to your completion of truck driving school.
 

Truck Driver Safety Tips

 

Be Selective

If you aren’t already a pet owner, make sure you are choosing your traveling companion wisely. Not all pets are ideal for traveling. For example, golden retrievers and Jack Russel terriers are characterized as hyperactive breeds that require extra attention and physical activity. Unless you can invest in obedience training, it can be a challenge to keep these dogs calm in the truck, which may pose a safety hazard. Ideally, you want to choose a pet that is mild-mannered and self-entertaining in nature.

Stay On Schedule

It’s imperative that you take extra steps to stay on schedule. Whether it’s a restroom break, exercise or just some attention, all animals require some level of care. When you fall behind schedule, this will also reduce the amount of time you have to care for the animal. Taking extra time to plan your routes can help you stay on target. As a backup plan, always keep potty pads and toys on hand for those instances when time is scarce.

Invest In Safety Gear

When you’re driving, the animal should not be anywhere near your operating area. Depending on the pet, you may be able to minimize their area of movement with a safety harness that attaches to the passenger seat or a fixture in the rear of the cabin. However, for larger animals, you may need to invest in a barrier gate or kennel to restrict their movement. Should you choose a kennel, ensure it’s lined with soft blankets or towels to keep your pet comfortable.

Keeping safety at the forefront doesn’t just protect the animal, but it also protects your career and most importantly, other motorists on the road.

 
 
Ready to begin your new career as a truck driver? Georgia Driving Academy is ready to help! GDA provides Class A and Class B CDL training services for Georgia residents. If you’re interested in beginning a career as a trucker, learn more about our CDL training programs.
 
*This blog post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated according to industry standards.*

Why We Celebrate Truckers For A Week

Sep 11, 2017

 

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is here again, but it isn’t just for truckers or the trucking industry. There are many reasons to thank truckers and just as many reasons why everyone should join in on the celebration.

Truckers Deliver

Have you ever wonder how all of your favorite store is always full of new clothes? How about why the grocery store always has your favorite fruit, no matter the time of year? The answer is simpler than you think. A truck driver delivered. Maybe the trucker did not fold the clothing nicely or display the pineapples, but you can bet a truck driver drove them both to the store.

Every single retail store in the country receives goods through several trucking companies. Retail outlets would not be capable of operation without dedicated drivers pushing through the worst kinds of weather to deliver their load.

Truckers Sacrifice

In addition to frequent travel in terrible weather, truckers often sacrifice time at home because a load needs to be delivered. From dried goods to frozen foods, truckers do whatever it takes to get the load where it needs to be. Due to this sacrifice, this often requires staying up for very long hours along endless highways.

Sometimes the driver reaches a destination only to be told they must wait several more hours before they can unload and move on to the next job. Which they faithfully do, regardless of the personal financial strain.

Truckers Keep Us Going

Truckers will push through on the next job, even when exhausted, because the goods need to be delivered. Long-haul or short, truck drivers keep our stores stocked and keep the country moving.

Celebrate National Truck Driver Appreciation Week from September 10th – 16th.
Take some time to let truck drivers know you appreciate them and all the hard work they do.

Interested in joining the hardest working sector of American industry? Georgia Driving Academy is ready to help! Campuses are located in Conyers and Columbus, Georgia. To learn more, head over to our Programs page!

Remembering Your Family While Long-Haul Trucking (Part 2)

Sep 4, 2017

 

In our ongoing series on balancing work and family life as a long-haul trucker, we’re looking at ways truck drivers can stay close while working. Our next tip for truckers would be to use your travels as an educational lesson for your children. Truckers can share their adventures with their children and family members before, during and after their trip, while still teaching them a few things along the way.

 

START AT HOME

Start at our home base. Sometimes, kids don’t know some of the historical and significant aspects of their own hometown (or state). Let’s begin with our favorite state, Georgia. Ask your children for answers to some seemingly simple questions before departing, like:

  • What do you think Georgia is most well-known for (besides the obvious – our glorious peaches)?
  • Besides peaches, what is Georgia a large producer of? Some may not know Georgia is also the biggest producers of pecans, peanuts and onions, especially the sweet Vidalia varieties.
  • Who are some famous historians or celebrities born in Georgia?

While away, let your children think of their answers. When catching up on the phone, have a little Q&A session with them. After they’ve answered, start over with new questions about states or cities you’re currently traveling through. Again, the goal is making your journey as a long-haul trucker interesting and engaging with your family while away.

 

BRING YOUR TRAVELS HOME

Long-haul truckers get the opportunity to see the country in a way many never will. Use this as an opportunity to share with your family. While away, take pictures of your travels. Bring back a fun souvenir or something related to the history questions you ask your children.

Your company may even allow you to bring your children on the road. This could be an awesome opportunity to show your child what your daily work routine is like. Make it a tradition during their summer vacation that they join you a few days on the road. This would sure become a trip they will never forget.

 

Q&A SESSION AFTER RETURN

Once you’re back home, sit down with your kids and let them ask you about your travels. Long-haul trucking can take you from one side of the country to the other and you will sure have a lot to share. Make this something you do every time you return. Talk about what you saw for the first time, really enjoyed, what may have been a disappointment, etc. Let your family feel like they were a part of the journey the whole time.

Long-haul trucking is a difficult yet rewarding job. Stay focused on your job but also make your travels an adventure for both you and your family. The memories made will stay with you and your loved ones for years to come.

 

If you’re interested in becoming a truck driver and earning your CDL, Georgia Driving Academy is ready to help! GDA provides Class A and Class B CDL training services for Georgia residents. If you’re interested in beginning a career as a trucker, learn more about our CDL training programs.