News & Updates

The Ultimate Guide to Must See Truck Driving Vlogs!

Mar 8, 2019

 

At the end of a tough day, what a commercial truck driver sometimes needs is a good laugh over the same mistakes they used to make or someone to commiserate with over the same mistakes they still make…or better yet, someone to show them how to avoid those mistakes in the first place.

Truck-driving vlogs are an excellent source of information, but they’re entertaining as well. Put together by truckers who know the ins and outs of the business as well as some who have seen the craziest, well, you can’t go wrong turning into a few. Below is a list of some the newest, brightest and most popular vlogs out there. Enjoy!

1. Big Rig Videos

Big Rig Videos is the brainchild of Christopher E. Fiffie, a former “heavy hauler” according to his bio. He’s been building his audience since 2009 and now has more than 44 million views and 125,000-plus subscribers. His videos currently top the list for big rig viewing. This vlog focuses on the heartbeat of the industry, featuring owner/operator interviews, rolling CB conversations and more.

2. The Smart Trucking Channel

Since 2012, the Smart Trucking Channel has been supporting professional drivers in whatever way they can. The vlog offers tips and advice for the commercial trucker from professional truckers. Videos feature all makes and models, new, old and the classics.

3. The Truckers Coach

The Truckers Coach provides the tools for professional truck drivers to be successful in the trucking industry. They offer a variety of classes aimed at solo and team drivers. With more than 450 videos from which to choose, drivers can find tips and solutions for any situation they face.

4. Driver Solutions

Want to start a career as a truck driver? A CDL skills and training course is a must. But watching a few videos certainly can’t hurt along the way. This channel provides training, tips, and tricks needed for a new truck driver training to pass their CDL test.

5. Trucker Josh VLOGS

Trucker Josh lives a crazy truck-driving life…and he documents it! Traveling across the USA and Canada leads him into some sticky and interesting situations that will entertain any driver. Racing trains, dog rescues, derailments and more, this is a must-see for truck drivers.

6. Lil Dawg

While Trucker Josh may hit the open road, Lil Dawg spends his days traversing the streets of Chicago. With more than 670 videos relating to truck-driving life in the Windy City, Lil Dawg is an up-and-coming vlogger on the trials and travails of the big rig life.

While not a complete list of trucker vlogs, this will get you started. Got your own favorite? Let us know and we will add it to the list! GDA is here to help you with your trucking needs.

Truck Classes: Driving Class 6 Trucks

Feb 28, 2019

 

The law states that trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 lbs. requires a CDL to drive. Trucks in the Department of Transportation’s Class 6 don’t really fit that mold, but it doesn’t mean you can’t use your Commercial Driver’s License to drive one.

Class 6 Trucks

Class 6 vehicles range in GVWR from 19,501 to 26,000 lbs., taking you right up to the threshold of CDL requirement. They include vehicles like school buses, rack trucks, beverage trucks, and larger single-axle trucks.

While they don’t technically require a CDL license, they still have plenty of vocational uses for you as a driver holding a CDL. It gives you job opportunities with food and beverage companies, school systems, and various other groups that hire people to drive their Class 6 trucks.

Importance of a CDL

While not technically required, it is a good idea to still have the proper training. A good employer will understand that. It is safer for someone holding a CDL to operate Class 6 vehicles simply because of their skill level.

Some companies will give preference to a driver with a CDL, or at the very least will give you a tactical advantage in a job situation. It can indeed be dangerous for an improperly trained and licensed driver to attempt to operate a large truck on the roads.

In the end, there are additional opportunities for you as a truck driver operating a Class 6 truck. It isn’t that much different than driving trucks that require a CDL to operate. You’re using the same skills and doing a very similar job. Keep your options open and get yourself a job!

*This blog post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated according to industry standards.

Understanding the DOT Physical Exam

Feb 21, 2019

 

 

The DOT exam is a physical exam performed on would-be truck drivers by DOT approved medical team members. To be allowed to drive a commercial vehicle weighing in at over 10,000 lbs, you must complete and pass this physical. Truckers must then be able to continually pass every two years to be able to keep driving.

Why Take the DOT Exam?

The DOT exam is very important in ensuring a newly hired truck driver has the health to be able to control their large vehicle without risking themselves and everyone else. It also ensures you are in good health, so your boss can rest easy knowing you can take whatever is thrown at you on the road. It’s also just a good idea to generally ensure your own health before you leave home and drive to unknown places, where you may not always have access to a hospital or doctors office. The DOT exam just makes sure everything runs smoothly when it comes to your own health and wellbeing.

What Does the DOT Exam Entail?

First, you will have to answer a questionnaire about your family medical history and the health of yourself. Let your medical examiner know if you or someone in your family suffers from a number of problems. These problems that should be mentioned include hearing loss, spinal cord injury, kidney disease, alcohol or drug abuse, and chronic pain. All can affect your driving and should be known about before you get on the road.

Next comes the physical exam, where the following will be completed;

  • Hearing Test: Your ability to hear must be tested to ensure safety on the road
  • Urinalysis: You will be tested for blood, sugar, and protein. These can indicate certain unknown health problems you may have, so that they may be looked at further.
  • Vision test: A test to ensure that you can see well enough to safely drive a large vehicle.
  • Blood pressure and heart rate: To check for any unknown or underlying health problems.

What If You Fail the Exam?

A candidate will fail the exam if they have the following:

  • Cardiovascular/Respiratory Disease
  • High Blood Pressure (without medication)
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes
  • Nervous/Psychiatric Disorder
  • Poor Eyesight (without corrective lenses)
  • Loss of one/multiple limbs

Candidates will also fail if they do not pass the alcohol or drug test that accompanies the rest of their physical.

Sometimes, a driver can be eligible for certain exemptions when it comes to their health, and will still be able to get the job. However, if you are not eligible for an exemption, you can always work on your health and try again, until you are certified to finally drive that large truck.

 

The DOT exam is very important to ensure the safety of everyone in and around these large vehicles. It is crucial to determining the health of all truck drivers and is absolutely necessary to get your CDL. So, go get your DOT exam done today, and be on your way to getting behind-the-wheel of that truck. When you are ready to earn your Commercial Driver’s License contact us at Georgia Driving Academy!

Understanding a Class A CDL vs a Class B CDL

Feb 8, 2019

 

Which Commercial Driver’s License is Best for you?

Not all Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) are the same. Two of the most common types of licenses are a Class A CDL and a Class B CDL. The different classes of a CDL allow you to drive different types of commercial vehicles. Determining which Commercial Drivers License is best for you, is your first step before beginning your CDL training.

What is a Class A CDL?

Getting a Class A CDL allows you to become a professional, over-the-road truck driver. This entitles you to operate a combination of vehicles such as a semi-tractor and trailer for both interstate and intrastate travel. Special endorsements can be obtained for hauling specific types of cargo, such as hazardous materials.

Having a Class A CDL allows you to haul the following:

  • A gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more
  • A trailer that weighs 10,000 pounds or more

The following types of vehicles may be driven with a Class A:

  • Tractor-trailer, also known as a semi, big rig or 18-wheeler
  • Truck and trailer combinations, including double and triple trailers
  • Tractor trailer buses
  • Tanker vehicles
  • Flatbed vehicles
  • Most Class B and Class C vehicles, depending on endorsement requirements

What does a Class A course entail?

Our Class A CDL course is 180-hours long. It includes classroom training, during which you will learn about the vehicles, truck safety, laws and CDL basics in our state-of-the-art classroom. Outside of the classroom, you will get practice on our driving range, where you will learn details about such things as speed control and blind parallel parking. The last part of your Class A CDL training is performed on public roads near our facility. This is when you will learn such skills as turning, cornering and merging.

What is a Class B CDL?

A Class B CDL is required if you are looking to drive a bus or a 26-foot straight truck. Obtaining a Class B CDL allows you to get such jobs as a bus driver, local delivery driver or dump truck driver.

Having a Class B CDL allows you to drive the following:

  • A single vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds or more without a trailer
  • Operate any vehicle towing a trailer that weighs less than 10,000 pounds

The following types of vehicles may be driven with a Class B:

  • Straight trucks
  • Large buses, such as city buses, tourist buses, and school buses
  • Segmented buses
  • Box trucks, including delivery trucks and furniture trucks
  • Dump trucks with small trailers
  • Some Class C vehicles with the correct endorsements

What does the Class B course entail?

The Class B CDL course at Georgia Driving Academy totals 70-hours, split between our state-of-the-art classroom, driving range and public roads. During the course, you will learn important aspects of operating a straight truck or motor coach, which include a pre-trip inspection, vehicle safety, air brakes, and backing maneuvers.

Is a Class A or Class B CDL right for you?

If you’re looking to drive a straight truck or a bus, then go for the Class B CDL. If you want to drive a big rig, which often results in making more money, then you’re going to have to go for the Class A CDL. With a higher earning potential, a Class A CDL is probably the better choice if you don’t have a preference about what kind of vehicle you want to drive.

Feel free to reach out to us at Georgia Driving Academy so you can enroll in one of our intensive CDL courses and begin your journey on the road to becoming a commercial vehicle driver.

50 Questions Every Trucker Should Be Asking Recruiters

Jan 23, 2019

 

 

While attending truck driver training school at Georgia Driving Academy, you will meet with several trucking companies looking to hire new drivers. Whether you are interested in local, regional, or national (over-the-road – OTR) driving, you will want to make sure you know what each carrier has to offer before you sign a contract.

Finding the Right Match That Meets Your Needs:

There are a variety of different carriers out there looking to hire drivers. Some carriers specialize in local jobs while others work regionally and some work on a national level. Each carrier will also provide different working hours, job locations, benefits, and wages. When speaking to recruiters from these different carriers, you will want to know what questions you need to ask them to ensure that the job they are hiring for is the right fit for you.

So, What Do I Ask These Carriers?

It is best to come prepared with a list of questions that you want to ask the trucking recruiter. This discussion is your prime opportunity to gather information before you decide who you will choose to work. There are many different things that you will want to know about before committing to work for that specific carrier.

Writing your questions down will help you remember them and ensure you ask them all. Bringing a pen to take notes will help you remember the information if you wish to compare companies later.

While you will have your questions to ask, the following are a sample of 50 questions you will want to consider asking when you are gathering information from a recruiter about a potential trucking job:

  1. What is the company’s home-time policy?
  2. How much time off can I expect to get through the company’s home-time policy?
  3. Will my days off vary or be consistent?
  4. What is your policy for needing extra time off (i.e., medical needs, injuries outside of work, illness, family emergencies, etc.)?
  5. What kind of paid vacation do you offer me the top start?
  6. How much vacation time can I earn staying with this carrier and how long does it take to receive it?
  7. Are there restrictions on when I may use my vacation (i.e. not around holidays, only so many days off in a row, etc.)?
  8. Dp vacation days expire annually or carry over into the next year?
  9. How much vacation can I accumulate at once before I must use it?
  10. Which routes do your drivers drive most often?
  11. How many driving miles can I expect to long?
  12. How many miles away from home will I be expected to travel?
  13. What kind of equipment do I need to be comfortable working with on a regular basis?
  14. Will my truck get the air-ride suspension?
  15. Will my truck have a sleep-in area?
  16. Do you provide layover pay?
  17. How long is the average layover period?
  18. How many loads can I expect to haul each week or month?
  19. Do you require drivers to “slip-seat” to take time off?
  20. What do you pay drivers for each job position (i.e., local drivers, regional drivers, OTR drivers, etc.)?
  21. What kind of raises can I expect to receive over time?
  22. What is my top earning potential in this position?
  23. Does the cost of living in my area affect how much you pay me?
  24. What are the potentials for promotions in the future if I take this job?
  25. What do my promotion potentials pay once I earn them?
  26. How long will it take me to earn a pay increase?
  27. What kinds of benefits does your carrier offer to its drivers?
  28. Do you offer your drivers full health insurance benefits?
  29. Do you provide healthcare coverage for driver’s families?
  30. What plans can I choose from when I am choosing my healthcare?
  31. Do you offer short-term disability coverage to your workers?
  32. Do you offer retirement benefits such as a 401k?
  33. If you offer retirement benefits, do you offer employee matches on certain contributions on an annual basis?
  34. What are your retirement benefit matches on employee contributions to their retirements?
  35. What are your retirement maximum benefit contributions to my retirement on an annual basis?
  36. How do you earn bonuses and what are criteria for qualifying for them?
  37. When you do provide bonus pay and when can I expect to receive any that I earned?
  38. Is there a limit on how many bonuses one driver can earn and the dollar value that it can add up to on an annual basis?
  39. Do you offer me driver sign-on bonuses?
  40. Does your carrier pay for lumpers?
  41. Who is responsible for loading or unloading a truck if you don’t hire lumpers?
  42. Do drivers ever have to load or unload their trucks?
  43. What are your deadline policies for delivering goods?
  44. If I miss delivery deadlines what are the consequences to me as an employee?
  45. What about missing deadlines for circumstances beyond my control (i.e., truck breakdowns, bad weather, traffic, accidents, etc.)?
  46. Will I get a dedicated driver manager?
  47. What type of on-the-job training will I receive as a new driver?
  48. Do I receive mentorship as a new driver?
  49. What are the policies you have on how many hours I must rest versus how many hours I can drive?
  50. Are there any other company policies or rules that I need to be aware that exist?

 

These are just a few of the questions that you may want to think about when talking with trucking recruiters. Understanding all of this information up front will help you make a better decision. If you’re looking to enter the trucking industry, contact Georgia Driving Academy to get started with your CDL training.