Staying Alert and Fit to Drive

Drowsy driving can pose a serious hazard while on the road, not only to yourself but to others as well. Truck drivers often drive long hours, pushing themselves to meet deadlines or trying to reach a specific stopping point. Knowing how to stay alert while on the road can help you stay safe throughout your trucking career.

Get Enough Sleep

The easiest way to stay alert on the road is to get enough sleep. Try to schedule stops that allow for a consistent sleeping and waking schedule. The more regular your sleeping patterns are, the better quality sleep you will get and the more alert you will be. If you can’t stop for a longer rest, do stop to take a 20-30-minute nap. Just this short amount of sleep can help recharge your body and mind more than a soda or a cup of coffee.

Keep Your Cab Ventilated

A warm, stuffy truck cab can encourage drowsiness, putting you at risk for falling asleep behind the wheel. Keep your cab well-ventilated by using your air conditioning or opening a window to draw in fresh air. You don’t need to be freezing to stay awake—just a small amount of cool, moving air can help to keep your body more alert.

Know the Signs of Drowsiness

Above all else, it’s important to be able to recognize when you are feeling drowsy. If you begin to nod off, your eyelids feel heavy, or you can’t remember the last several miles, take action immediately. Heading off drowsiness by taking a nap or stopping as soon as you feel tired can go a long way toward improving your safety on the road.

HDS Truck Driving Institute wants you to stay safe on the road throughout your career as a trucker. Our CDL training classes will also teach you how to handle yourself and your truck safely. Take a look through our website or call (877) 205-2141 if you’d like more information about becoming a truck driver, including military and veteran benefits that can help you afford CDL classes.

Healthy Habits for Commercial Truck Drivers

Life on the road can tempt you into following unhealthy habits. However, staying healthy as a commercial truck driver doesn’t need to be a challenge. Staying aware of the ways in which you can maintain good health will ensure you look and feel great throughout your career as a commercial driver.

Pack Your Own Food

One of the biggest challenges for truck drivers is sticking to a healthy diet. The best way to ensure you’re eating healthy foods is to bring them along and keep them in ready supply. Purchasing a cooler can help you keep fruits and veggies fresh while on the road. Newer coolers can even be plugged into the power outlets in your cab to actively keep food chilled without the need for ice. Pack plenty of your favorite fruits and vegetables, whole-grain breads, deli meats, and low-fat cheeses to create healthy meals. Low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, and hummus with pita chips all make excellent midday snacks.

Make Healthy Menu Selections

There are many ways to eat healthily even if you do stop for fast food. Making smart menu choices in the drive-through can keep fat, calories, and sodium to a minimum when eating out. When selecting beverages, opt for water or unsweetened tea instead of soda, which will only add more calories and sugar to your diet.

Exercise Regularly

Every time you stop for gas, talk a walk around the area to keep your body moving. A pedometer can help you count the steps you’ve taken so you can set daily or weekly goals. There are also many simple exercises and stretches you can do in your cab, such as sit-ups and pushups. Try to perform a few sets of these daily before bed or first thing in the morning.

At HDS Truck Driving Institute, you’ll learn how to balance your health and your trucking career. Check us out on the web to find out more about our CDL classes, or call (877) 205-2141 for the answers to your questions about becoming a truck driver in Tucson.

Getting Enough Sleep as a Truck Driver

Getting enough sleep as a truck driver is important for two major reasons. First, numerous studies have shown that poor sleeping habits raise your risk for serious health concerns, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Second, drowsiness while driving can also increase your risk of an accident on the road, endangering yourself and other drivers.

Plan Your Stops

As a truck driver, part of your job is planning out your route and the stops you will make along the way. Before setting out, know where you’re going to stop for the night and how long it should take you to get there. Once you’ve made your schedule, stick to it even if you’re feeling awake. You might not be so alert by the time you reach the next available place to get some rest.

Shift Your Schedule

Because parking spots at truck stops and rest areas can fill up quickly, it’s best to stop early to ensure you can beat the rush. If you stop in the late afternoon or early evening, you can get back on the road in the early morning. This strategy can not only ensure that you’ll have a place to stop for the night, but that you can avoid traffic by passing through cities long before rush hour hits.

Treat Sleep Disorders

Sleeping disorders, such as insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and obstructive sleep apnea, can affect your ability to get a restful night’s sleep even if you’re stopping for eight hours of rest. Seeking treatment for these conditions can help you to achieve the restful sleep you need to maintain good health and mental alertness. If you suffer from sleep apnea, talk to your doctor about treatment options for healthier sleep.

You can get more advice for a healthy trucking career from your experienced instructors at HDS Truck Driving Institute. Call us today at (877) 205-2141 for more details on admissions to our CDL school. We also invite you to check out our blog for more tips on truck driver health.

Beginning Your New Career as a Truck Driver

After you’ve graduated from CDL school, it’s time to begin your new career as a truck driver. There are many options to pursue, so it’s best to take some time to think about the career path you’d like to follow and how it will fit best into your needs and preferences. Even if you aren’t able to start out following the exact schedule and route you’d like, more paths will continue to open up as you build experience and credit as a trucker.

Company Driving

Working for a trucking company is one of the easiest and most common ways to begin a trucking career. When you work for a company, they will provide your truck and pay to maintain it to ensure it is safe and working efficiently. However, working for a company may offer more limited choices in routes, number of miles, and hours spent at home at first. As you build working experience and longevity with your company, you’ll likely gain seniority and the option to have more control over your schedule and routes. If you’d like to learn a new trucking skill or specialize in certain types of cargoes, consider signing on with a company that will either provide that education or help to fund further trucking courses.

Owner/Operator Driving

Rather than working for a company, you can go into trucking for yourself. Becoming an owner/operator requires a larger upfront investment because you’ll need to lease or purchase your truck. You’ll also need to pay to maintain it and keep up your own commercial auto insurance. However, becoming an owner/operator offers you the immediate freedom to choose the routes, cargoes, and companies you’d like to work with. Many truckers enjoy working for themselves and the freedom that comes with being an owner/operator rather than a company driver.

HDS Truck Driving Institute is here to help you prepare for a successful truck driving career. We are a nationally-recognized truck driver school that offers Class A and B training and testing. Please visit our website or call us at (877) 205-2141 to learn more about enrollment today.

Applying to Truck Driving School

Before you can become a truck driver, you must complete training at a truck driving school. Your training will include handling and maintaining your truck, as well as additional preparation you will need to pass the CDL exam. If you’re considering applying to truck driving school, keep reading to learn more about the admissions requirements at HDS Truck Driving Institute.


Educational Requirements

Before applying to truck driving school, you must have a high school diploma or a GED equivalent. If you have neither of these, you must instead pass an approved Ability-to-Benefit test to be admitted.

Age Requirements

There are two types of licenses you can pursue: an intrastate license or an interstate license. If you’re applying to train for an intrastate license, you must be 18 years old by the time you complete your CDL training. You must be 21 or older by the end of your training to receive an interstate license.

Skill Requirements

While English does not need to be your first language to become a trucker, you must show proficiency in the language. You must demonstrate the ability to read and speak English well enough to understand road signs, make official reports and entries, and converse with trainers and other drivers.

Physical Requirements

All applicants to truck driving school must pass a drug screening test. You must also be able to pass a Department of Transportation medical exam to prove that you can operate a truck without posing a safety hazard to yourself or others.

Legal Requirements

To qualify for a commercial driver’s license, you must already hold a valid Arizona driver’s license. You must also show proof of at least one year of driving experience in a standard vehicle. A valid U.S. social security card is also required for admission to trucking school.

Are you ready to apply for CDL training in Tucson? Call HDS Truck Driving Institute today at (877) 205-2141 or stop by one of our open house events to learn more about the application process. You can also find additional information about applications and financial aid on our website.

Advice for New Truck Drivers

Beginning a career as a truck driver is an exciting time. Once you’ve finished your CDL training, it’s time to take to the road as you follow your dream. Keeping a few tips in mind as you begin your career can help you stay safe and achieve success throughout your time as a truck driver.

Drive Safely

The top tip from experienced truck drivers is to always drive safely. It can be easy to feel hurried, anxious, or even angry at other drivers on the road. However, failing to drive safely won’t get you to your destination any faster and it will instead put your life and the lives of others at risk. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you—tailgating doesn’t save time and it poses a serious hazard if you need to make a sudden stop. Always use your indicators when making a lane change, turn, or when exiting the highway. Remember that your truck takes longer to stop and needs more space to make turns than other vehicles and always plan accordingly.

Don’t Forget Your Health

Driving a truck doesn’t mean you need to compromise your health. Start by getting enough sleep each night—plan your routes so you’ll know when and where you’re going to stop and sleep. A regular sleeping schedule can drastically improve your overall mood, health, and alertness on the road, which is an important safety consideration. Pack your own snacks and meals to avoid the temptation of fast food while on the road and keep plenty of water or tea handy to quench your thirst. Every time you make a stop, get out and take a short walk to keep your heart, muscles, and joints in good shape.

Becoming a truck driver is easier and more convenient than ever when you enroll in HDS Truck Driving Institute of Tucson. You can graduate in as little as four weeks when you take part in our day, evening, or weekend CDL classes. To reach us for more information, call (877) 205-2141 or use our online contact form.