Tips for Choosing a Trucking Company

After earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL), you can earn high pay and take advantage of competitive benefits as a truck driver. The first step as you start your career after graduation is choosing which trucking company you want to work for. There are many options out there and it can get overwhelming. Our job placement assistance team can help you narrow down your choices and find companies that are hiring new drivers. It’s a good idea to think about what is most important to you before signing on with a motor carrier.

Here are some tips for choosing which company to work for:

Type of Freight

To start out, you should determine what type of freight you are interested in. Many CDL graduates start out driving dry vans, which are generally easier to haul and have more job openings for new license holders. A refrigerated truck (reefer) driving job may also be an option. More specialized types of freight such as hazardous materials (hazmat) often require prior trucking experience, although not always.

Pay & Benefits

The most straightforward way to compare companies is the pay and benefits they offer. Keep in mind that this isn’t the full story, but it can be a good place to start. Most over-the-road (OTR) trucking jobs pay per mile so you should consider their rate and how many miles you realistically expect to get. Talking to former and current drivers may help you get an idea of this. In addition to comparing the cents-per-mile (CPM), consider any sign-on bonuses and the conditions required for these, as well as benefits offered with the position.

Home Time

OTR trucking will typically involve being on the road for multiple weeks at a time. That being said, specific home time policies vary. Ask company representatives about this as well as current and former drivers to get a complete perspective. If you are interested in getting home as frequently as possible, consider a regional or local job instead of OTR.

Truck Quality

Since you’ll be spending a lot of time behind the wheel of a semi-truck, it’s a good idea to consider the quality of this vehicle. Some companies have new fleets with high-tech equipment and others have older trucks. Look for features that improve safety and driver comfort.

Reputation and Company Culture

There are going to be mixed opinions about any trucking company, so it’s important to try to hear both sides and get as much information as possible. Talk to current drivers and former drivers as well as reading about the company online.

Get Help from our Job Placement Assistance Team

As a student at Yuma Truck Driving School, you will have access to our job placement assistance team. We can help you find trucking companies that are hiring CDL graduates and will consider the factors that are most important to you.

Start Your Trucking Career

Our program can get you on the road and earning in as little as four weeks and we cover material for three endorsements: hazmat, tanker, and doubles/triples. Our instructors teach valuable skills that continue to benefit students throughout their time in the trucking industry.

To learn more about earning your CDL with Yuma Truck Driving School, contact us today.

Tips for Dealing with Stress as a New Driver

When you were earning your CDL at truck driving school, you probably couldn’t wait to get on the road and earn that first paycheck! So, it can be shocking to learn that life on the road has its stressors too. Any career transition can be stressful, particularly when the new job has a great deal of responsibility. Just know that things will get easier with time. The first year is the hardest one, but it’ll go by quickly. In the meantime, use the following techniques to relieve your stress.

Laugh at something every day.

That old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine,” might be a cliché, but it’s also true. No matter what’s stressing you out, you’d be amazed at how much better you feel after a few minutes of genuine laughter. Laughter therapy is a proven wellness technique that releases a flood of feel-good endorphins, eases tension from the body, and instantly lifts the mood.

Connect with nature.

As a truck driver, you have unique opportunities to see spectacular landscapes from your cab. You’ll see lots of sights that many people never get to see. Although many of those sights will pass by your window, you should make an effort to pull over once in a while. When the opportunity presents itself, find a nature trail and do a little hiking. Spend time simply standing still, gazing at a beautiful view.

Enjoy good music.

The trucking life can be a musical one. When you’re on the road, you can play the songs that you know will lift your mood. Once you’re parked for the night, switch to quieter, soothing music that will help you unwind before bedtime. Try classical music, instrumental jazz, or perhaps even a compilation of nature sounds.

At Yuma Truck Driving School, we pride ourselves on graduating thoroughly prepared truck drivers who are fully equipped to excel at life on the road. We can make your career transition easier with our job placement program, including pre-hiring opportunities with national carriers! Get in touch today at (888) 647-3239, and come down to our next open house event!

Maintaining Healthy Relationships as a Long-Distance Trucker

Long-distance trucking is financially rewarding, but it does require truckers to be away from home for long periods of time. It can be tricky to nurture relationships when a trucker is in the family, but it’s definitely possible. The following tips can help.

Making Time for Your Partner

Your home time is precious, but there are also plenty of people and issues competing for your attention while you’re home. Do make time for your partner every day that you’re home. If you have kids, find a babysitter so the two of you can get away for quality time together. Date night doesn’t have to be extravagant. Pack a picnic and visit the local park, or drive out to the country and gaze up at the stars. Being together is what counts.

Staying in Touch on the Road

Nothing can replace being with your partner, but it’s still beneficial to your relationship to stay in touch while away from home. Call your partner every day. Use videoconferencing software, like FaceTime, to help you and your partner feel closer. Communication technology is very helpful, but don’t discount old-fashioned methods of communicating. Your partner would be delighted to get a postcard from you. It’s a thoughtful way to show that you care and that you’re thinking of him or her.

Nurturing the Parent-Child Relationship

Plenty of truck drivers have young kids at home, and they’ve learned how to make it work. Just like your relationship with your spouse or partner, your relationship with your kids can be nurtured through frequent contact while on the road. Skype and FaceTime are excellent tools for talking to tech-savvy kids, but think outside the box. If your kids like video games, you could set up a console in your sleeper berth and play a long-distance game with your kids. It’s a fun way for everyone to relieve stress and spend time together despite the distance.

Yuma Truck Driving School offers flexible learning options, including evening and weekend classes, so you can earn your CDL while meeting your current responsibilities. When you’re ready to begin your rewarding career in the trucking industry, give us a call at (888) 647-3239. You could earn your CDL in just weeks!

Tips for Exercising on the Road

For truck drivers, staying in shape on the road can be a real challenge. Along with keeping up a healthy diet, you’ll need to find ways to get in some exercise. Not only will regular exercise help you stay fit, but it will also keep you from feeling cramped and fatigued while you’re driving. Here are some handy tips for exercising while you’re traveling as a truck driver.

Jog during your downtime.

Keep a pair of running shoes in the back of your truck, and when you pull over at a rest stop, take a quick five-minute jog. Jogging is a relatively easy exercise, and it will get your heart pumping and help your muscles loosen up. Getting into the habit of doing this every time you stop the truck is a great way to squeeze in some regular exercise throughout the day.

Learn some simple stretches.

If you don’t already have a stretching routine worked out, now is the time to do it! Stretching before you get into the truck—and after you get out—will keep your muscles from cramping up, and it will also help ensure that you stay alert and focused behind the wheel. You should also be sure to stretch before you do any more challenging exercises.

Bring your weights with you.

If you lift weights at home, consider bringing them along with you. Weights are generally easy to transport, and you can create a simple workout routine that you can do whenever you’re on the road. However, make sure that you keep your weights boxed up and safe whenever you aren’t using them. If you leave your weights out, they can easily roll around the floor of the truck and distract you from driving—or worse, get underfoot.

Are you ready to embark on a new career as a full-time professional truck driver? At Yuma Truck Driving School, students have the opportunity to learn at their own pace, and on their own schedules. If you’re ready to become a part of the exciting world of truck driving, call (888) 647-3239 to learn more about our driving programs.

Signs That You Should Consider Team Driving

Even if you’re thinking of becoming a commercial truck driver, you may not have considered the possibilities of team driving. Team driving simply means that you are sharing driving duties with another driver who accompanies you on your runs. These are some of the reasons you may want to consider going into team driving:

You’re a social person.

Many people go into truck driving because they like the solitude the job provides. If you thrive on conversation and company, however, team driving allows you to enjoy that while still being able to pursue your job of choice. Many truck drivers find that it is easier to stay alert and keep from getting bored during long drives if they have a second driver with them.

You have a partner in mind.

If you have a specific truck driving partner in mind, that may be even more of an incentive for you to pursue team driving. If your partner is your spouse, of course, that enables you to keep all of your truck driving earnings in the family. If you don’t have a partner in mind, the trucking company you work for can help you find a driver who will be suited to your personality.

You want to earn more.

Normally, truck drivers need to take breaks from driving to sleep. When you’re sharing your ride with another driver, you can take turns behind the wheel, which means that you can cover a lot more miles than you would otherwise. While you will be splitting your earnings with your partner, you can still end up making more money from truck driving this way.

Yuma Truck Driving School offers a number of options for aspiring truck drivers, including classes in the evenings and on weekends. We also offer financial assistance for students who qualify. If you’re eager to get your commercial driver’s license so you can get started on your new career, your journey begins by contacting us! You can reach us at (888) 647-3239.

What You Need to Know About Working with Your Dispatcher

As a truck driver, your most important point of contact with the company you’re working for is the dispatcher. The dispatcher’s role is to manage the movement of freight. To do this job efficiently, dispatchers try to reduce the number of miles that a truck is driven while empty. They also try to schedule drivers so that freight gets to its destination by a certain time.


Maintaining a Harmonious Relationship with Your Dispatcher

Since you’ll be working closely with your dispatcher, it’s essential to get off on the right foot. Establish a cordial, professional relationship with him or her. Since dispatchers and drivers have two completely different jobs, it’s helpful to keep in mind what your dispatcher’s goals are and what he or she is dealing with on a day-to-day basis. Likewise, you may need to gently remind your dispatcher that factors beyond your control may affect the speed of transportation, like bad weather, traffic, fatigue, and hours of service.


Remembering Who You Work For

Since your dispatcher is the person assigning routes to you, it may feel like you’re working directly for the dispatcher. But actually, you’re working for the company. If you feel that a dispatcher is setting an unrealistic deadline in light of hours of service, traffic, or weather conditions, you shouldn’t hesitate to speak up about it. Let your dispatcher know that you’ll do your best to get the cargo to its destination on time, but that you can’t promise it.


Talking to the Safety Supervisor

The best way to deal with a stubborn dispatcher is to try to reach a mutual agreement. But sometimes, dispatchers get so overwhelmed by the responsibility of moving freight under tight deadlines that they forget that safety is the number one priority. If you cannot resolve a disagreement with the dispatcher, ask to speak with the safety supervisor. It’s the safety supervisor’s job to protect truckers and reduce liability for the company by ensuring that protocols like hours of service are kept.


Yuma Truck Driving School is accepting new students! Our CDL training programs in Yuma, AZ gives aspiring truck drivers the practical knowledge and hands-on practice they’ll need to build a rewarding career on the road. Call (888) 647-3239 to ask about our flexible scheduling options.


Getting Enough Rest as an Over-the-Road Truck Driver

Did you know that sleep deprivation can cause the same level of impairment behind the wheel as intoxication? As a professional truck driver, your number one concern is safety, and sleep is an essential part of promoting safety on the roads. As you gain more experience, you’ll settle into a sleeping routine that works best for you. For the time being, consider trying the following tips.


Stick to a regular schedule.

It can be tough to keep a regular schedule when you’re on the road, but try to keep your sleep and wake times as consistent as possible. This helps your brain regulate its natural sleep/wake rhythm. Remember that, according to the hours of service rules established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), you’re required to take regular breaks for rest. Drivers are prohibited from driving more than 11 hours after getting 10 consecutive hours of rest.


Park in a quiet location.

You will typically park at a highway rest area or truck stop to get off the road. Some companies have facilities for truckers to use, and some customers set aside an area for truckers to park in overnight. Try to park in a quiet area, away from bright parking lot lights. The exception is if you’re in a cold region experiencing strong winds. In this case, you may be more comfortable if you park between two other big rigs. This minimizes the effects of the wind gusts hitting your trailer.


Make your sleeper berth as comfortable as possible.

You’ll sleep better if you’re comfortable. Add a mattress topper to your bunk, along with comfortable bedding and your favorite pillow. Reduce the amount of light in the bunk area as much as possible. If your alarm clock has illuminated numbers, dim it if possible or turn it around so that it faces away from your bunk. Bring earplugs on every trip, and consider plugging in a white noise machine.

Are you ready to start an exciting new career as a big rig driver? Visit an open house event at Yuma Truck Driving School to get the inside scoop on the trucking industry. You can get in touch at (888) 647-3239.

Mountain Driving 101

When you start a new career as a professional truck driver, you can look forward to incredible scenic views across the country. Many people never get to experience the thrill of driving a powerful big rig alongside oceans, through valleys, and over mountains. Just remember that safety takes priority over enjoying the views. This is particularly true of mountain driving, which can be among the most hazardous for CDL drivers.

Ascending a Mountain Road

Look for grade signs as you get into the mountains. The grade of the road will give you an idea of the speed you should aim for while ascending and descending. As you ascend, you’ll need to downshift. Be careful not to miss a gear, since the truck may stop completely. Additionally, you should turn on the engine fan and keep a close eye on the temperature gauge. It’s easy for a truck to overheat when it’s going up a steep grade.

Descending a Mountain Road

Never underestimate the potential of a big rig to get out of control when descending a mountain road. Take it slow and steady, and leave more room than you think you need between your truck and the vehicle ahead of you. Downgrade the gear and use the Jake brake to help you maintain a safe, slow speed. Note that it’s not recommended for truckers to use the Jake brake on slippery roads.

Applying Pressure to the Brakes

Even if you’re using the Jake brake, you’ll still need to brake while descending a steep grade. Be careful not to overheat the brakes, which can melt the air lines and cause you to lose the air brakes. Just apply light, but steady pressure.

Using Tire Chains

At higher elevations, wintry weather can arrive earlier and stay later compared to lower elevations. Keep an eye on the weather reports. If heavy snow or freezing rain is predicted, consider planning an alternate route. Otherwise, don’t hesitate to pull over at the bottom of the mountain road to put on the tire chains.

If you’re interested in a rewarding career as a truck driver, come to the next open house event at Yuma Truck Driving School. Get in touch today at (888) 647-3239. Be sure to ask us about financial assistance and the use of military benefits to begin your new career!


A Guide to Your First Year on the Road

Your exciting new career on the road awaits you, and truck driving school will teach you everything you need to know about handling a big rig and passing the CDL exam. But there’s still a bit of a learning curve with regard to on-the-job training. Many veteran truckers remember their first year as being the most challenging, but once they got past this learning curve, life as a trucker became easier and more rewarding.

Partnering With a Driver Trainer

Once you’ve graduated from truck driving school and you have a CDL, you’ll be partnered with a driver trainer to finish your big rig training. You may take short trips with your trainer or you might be gone from home for several weeks at a time. Either way, it’s a lot of time to spend in a small space with someone you’ve just met. Do your best to keep the conversation pleasant and positive, even if the two of you have clashing personalities. Remember that this is an opportunity to learn from a driver who has years of experience on the road. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and request feedback on how you’ve handled different situations.

Minimizing Your Risk of Accidents

Accidents are particularly common during the first year. Make it your goal to get through your first year accident-free. Most accidents are indeed preventable. Just pay close attention to the road and to traffic, keep your speed reasonable, and always pull over if you feel yourself getting drowsy.

Adjusting to Life on the Road

Your driver trainer will show you the ins and outs of life on the road, including how to make the most of each truck stop visit. Feel free to ask questions about how your trainer sticks to a budget, stays in touch with family, exercises, or keeps mentally engaged during long trips.

The small class sizes at Yuma Truck Driving School enable you to focus on the coursework and enjoy informative exchanges with the instructors and your peers. We’ll show you everything you need to successfully navigate your first year, and every year after that. Call (888) 647-3239 to ask about our CDL training programs in Yuma, AZ.

What Truckers Need to Know About Dealing with Severe Weather

Any commercial truck driver can encounter hazardous weather. If you’re driving a local route in Arizona, for instance, you may encounter a serious dust storm. But if you’re an over the road (OTR) trucker, you need to be prepared for a wide range of severe weather hazards—from freezing rain and intense cold to dust storms and extreme heat.

Freezing Rain

Freezing rain is extremely hazardous for drivers of all vehicles. Don’t underestimate the risk of driving over a patch of black ice. If you’re driving through rain in a wintry area, keep a close eye on the temperature outdoors. If the temperature drops to freezing or below, start looking for a safe place to pull over and wait out the weather.

Dust Storms

It’s always good practice to check the local weather reports before you start driving for the day. But dust storms can be unpredictable. If a dust storm forms, pull over in a safe place as soon as possible. Keep your windows closed and wait it out.

Strong Wind

Strong wind is more dangerous for big rig drivers than for the average passenger car driver. Be particularly cautious of strong wind if you’re on a highway with open scenery to either side, as there is nothing to block the wind. Reduce your speed and start looking for a truck stop. If possible, park between two van trailers to shield your cab from the wind. This can help you stay warmer if you’re in a cold climate.

Extreme Heat

Winter weather isn’t the only thing that drivers need to worry about. In extreme heat, the rubber on the tires can deteriorate and the high engine temperature can inflict motor damage. You don’t want to break down in the middle of the desert, so try to structure your work day so that you’re resting during the hottest part of the day.

At Yuma Truck Driving School, you’ll learn everything you need to prepare for a life on the road. We offer training programs for beginners as well as refresher courses. Call our school in Yuma, AZ at (888) 647-3239.


Truck Stop Showers: A Guide for New Drivers

Personal hygiene is something that the average American takes for granted. But when you’re out on the road for days at a time, it can get a little trickier. It’s important to become familiar with truck stop shower facilities and to use them frequently. Truck drivers should always strive to present a professional image, especially as they are often the only representative of a trucking company that a client might interact with in person.

Hygiene Items

Truck stops generally issue a towel and washcloth to each person who purchases a shower. Some of them may issue a paper bath mat and a small bar of soap. However, you should always bring your own soap, just in case. Other items you should bring include:

  • Shower shoes
  • Razor/shave cream
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Hair dryer (sometimes a facility will have these available)
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion

Pack all of your hygiene items and your change of clothes into a water-resistant duffel bag. If you’re using one of the truck stop’s towels, follow their instructions for returning it afterward. Some of them may prefer that you leave the towel in the shower unit, while others want you to drop it in a hamper outside.

Shower Credits

Depending on the truck stop and the region, it may cost between $7 and $10 to rent the shower facilities. The costs can quickly add up, so take advantage of the shower credits offered by most of the larger truck stops. Each time you purchase a minimum amount of fuel, you’ll be issued a shower credit that you can use for a complimentary shower. If you aren’t going to use it right away, write down the name of the truck stop and expiration date of the credit so you’ll remember to use it later.

You can get the inside scoop on life as a professional truck driver when you attend an open house event at Yuma Truck Driving School. While you’re here, be sure to ask us about financial assistance. Aspiring drivers in Arizona can call (888) 647-3239.


Long-Haul Trucking: Should You Drive with Your Spouse?

Not every job allows you the opportunity to bring your spouse to the office with you every day. But trucking does, and if both spouses earn commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs), then they can form an ideally compatible driving team. There are quite a few benefits to driving with your spouse, but be sure to talk it over carefully before taking the plunge. When you and your spouse sign up for a CDL training course, you’ll both learn exactly what to expect from life on the road.

Spouse driving teams can earn more money.

Truck drivers are paid by the mile. The more miles you drive, the more money you earn. However, it’s mandatory for truckers to abide by work hour restrictions as determined by federal and state law. These restrictions are in place to protect the health and safety of truckers, as well as the safety of everyone else on the roadways. If your spouse also obtains a CDL and you two decide to form a trucker team, then you can drive more miles and earn more money. One of you will rest while the other drives, alternating according to the regulations.

Driving with a spouse eliminates loneliness.

Not all truckers are gone for days or weeks at a time. Some decide to pick up local routes only, allowing them to be home with their families on a regular basis. However, the trucking life can still be tough for families, and it stands to reason that some truckers may experience a little loneliness now and then while on the road. If you decide to drive with your spouse, it can renew your marriage and eliminate loneliness behind the wheel.

Your family is invited to attend the next open house at Yuma Truck Driving School, during which you and your spouse can take a turn behind the wheel of a big rig. Give us a call today at (888) 647-3239 to inquire about our next open house at our location in Yuma, AZ.