Friday, 26 February 2016

7 Things Every Trucker Wife Should Know

Being a truck driver is tough. But being the wife of a truck driver can sometimes be even harder. Your significant other spends more time on the road than at home, and the time you get to see each other is often limited, which makes the days you are together very important. So we've put together a list of seven things every trucker wife should know to keep their relationship in the right gear.


1. Plan Date Nights

Although you only see your honey at random days throughout the week (or) month, you should plan to do something with/for them - like a date night! Plan a night in, cook food, and rent a movie. Or go out on the town to a sporting event or a grand opening of a restaurant. Whatever you do though, be sure to save time to talk and enjoy each other’s company. Because as any trucker wife (or trucker for that matter) will tell you, there are never enough hours in the day.

2. Handle the Stress

As a trucker wife, your life might seem a little more stressful compared to others. Mostly due to the fact, your significant other is away from home a good portion of the year, leaving you to handle most of the money, house responsibilities, children, etc. The stress of home life and of truck driving can be pretty taxing on the both of you, which can quickly lead to arguments.

The best way to prevent arguments from starting is to learn how to handle the stress and communicate with each other. When you are sensing irritation in either your voice or your trucker’s voice, communicate that feeling. It’s one of the best ways to talk through a tense moment, and to reassure each other that you’re wanting to still make this work.

3. Keep Your Mind Busy

Being by yourself for days on end can cause anyone to feel a range of emotions, which is why keeping your mind busy is so important. Whether that’s by joining a new workout group, picking up a new hobby, or trying out a new activity - it helps keep your mind from wandering too far off. These new activities are also great ways for you to unwind from the whirlwind that’s swirling around you.

4. Communicate Frequently

Just because you might not be able to see each other very often doesn't mean that it should limit your conversations. Staying in constant communication, whether that’s with a phone call, email, text message, or video chat is a great way to keep the relationship in the right gear, and you feeling happy together.

5. Take Time to Come into the Role

Maybe you just started dating a trucker, or you've been married for 20 years. Whatever the case, everyone will tell you that it takes time to get used to having your partner on the road. And sometimes, it doesn't matter how long it’s been, it’s still hard to see them off on their next truck route. But just be aware that you don’t need to get used to this lifestyle overnight, and that some months might be harder than others. It’s OK to take your time and adjust at your own speed.

6. Record Everything

When things happen around the house, there’s exciting news to tell, or just random stuff happens that you’ll want your significant other to know about when they get home - write it down. It’s easy to forget things after a couple weeks have gone by, which is why writing down everything that happens, helps. It’s also a great way for your trucker to feel like they haven’t missed too much around the house since they've been gone.

7. Trust Each Other

One of the biggest enders of relationship is a lack of trust. To make it as a trucker couple, you need to trust each other more than anything. You have to know that when your trucker is on the road, that he/she is faithful, honorable, and working his/her hardest to make money for the family. And your trucker needs to know that you’re taking care of everything back home, whether that’s the house, the children (or) the family pet. And the only way to do all that is with trust. 

Being a trucker wife is tough, but we know that you can do it! We appreciate all the work truckers do for us, and we appreciate the sacrifice you make by having them spend majority of their days on the road. We hope these tips helped, but let us know how you handle being a trucker wife. Share with your experience with us in the comment section below (or) on our Facebook page.

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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Workouts Designed Just for Truck Drivers

Listen up, truckers! The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that in 2014, 70 percent of drivers are at an unhealthy weight. Now, before you go getting all disinterested in what I have to say, at least, listen to this. Don’t you want to keep driving (and living) for a very long time? If you do, then we can help you and your trucking brothers beat this unpleasant statistic. Check out these workouts designed just for truckers - yes, you! We’ve found exercises you can do, even when you spend the majority of your day in a truck.

Hand Stretches

You wouldn’t think it, but driving multiple hours a day, gripping a steering wheel can have detrimental effects on your hands. And hey, your hands are pretty important. You need them to drive and to help you eat healthier. So give these hand stretches a try to rid yourself of the stiffness and pain you get from driving all day.


  • Place your fingertips on the steering wheel and then press in with your palm. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other hand.
  • Rotate your wrist in small circles or from left to right.

Planks

Similar to the planks you might carry in your trailer, doing planks (the exercise) for a couple of seconds at a rest stop is a great way to build up your core. You can do this little exercise in your sleeper cab or even hop out of your truck and give it a go.


  • Put something soft on the ground to keep your elbows and arms from getting scraped while doing this exercise. A towel works great.
  • Place your forearms and hands on the ground with your palms down and flat.
  • Put your legs behind you with all of your weight resting on your toes—similar to what a push-up would look like.
  • Keep your entire body straight. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat.

Ab Crunches


So this exercise is something you can do while you’re driving. Crazy, right? Now you have no excuse! These ab crunches are a type of exercise you can do while at a stoplight or even while cruising down the highway. To do it:

  • Squeeze your abdominal muscles.
  • Hold for as long as you can. Try going for the length of a song or the wait at a stoplight.

Walking

Every time you get out of your truck, you need to do at least 15 minutes of walking, jogging, or running. It’s important for your weight and for the health of your heart that you get some cardio. Your job requires you to sit for the entire time, limiting your body from warding off disease and weight gain. So next time you’re at a truck stop, tell yourself that you have to do some sort of physical activity. Trust me, it’s important.

Resistance Bands

Want to build muscles while on the road? Well, thanks to resistance bands, now you can! These bands are great additions to any workout because of their portable nature and the variety of exercises you can do with them. From leg extensions, to leg curls, to squats, all you need is a resistance band and you’re on your way to building a stronger, more healthy body.

So truckers, are you ready to start being healthy on and off the road? We hope so! We want those unpleasant statistics to disappear. Let’s make it happen!

Do you do any exercises while out on the road? If so, let us know in the comment section below or share with us on our Facebook page.

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Friday, 19 February 2016

Ice Road Trucking: Everything You Need to Know About Driving on Thin Ice

Have you caught an episode of the show Ice Road Truckers? A phenomenal bit of television that depicts a group of brave men and women truck drivers traversing the icy roads of Alaska and Canada. Ever since the show aired, I’ve been captivated by it. However, the thought of driving an 80,000-pound vehicle across thin sheets of ice is frightening - but it does make for a great show.

Although a nerve-wracking profession for some, there are men and women doing this every day (yes, we know that it’s a seasonal job). So to really emphasize just how tough this job can be and give these guys some credit, we thought we’d do some research and give you the inside scoop on what your brothers up north do for a living.

What is Ice Road Trucking?

Ice road trucking is what its name suggests. It’s trucking on ice - clever name for the next ice-skating show if I do say so myself. But being an ice road trucker is not for the faint-hearted or the inexperienced. You need to know how to handle your truck and trailer on dangerous roadway conditions. Because after all, the road is solid ice. And let’s just be clear, when I say road, what I am actually referring to is a frozen lake. Yep, these truckers drive across frozen lakes for a living - is that wild or what?

Known in Alaska as the Dalton Highway, this icy road stretches for 414 miles from Livengood to Prudhoe Bay. And truckers travel this route back and forth for about three to four months. Think you could do it?


Why is There a Need for Ice Road Trucking?

A frozen lake made into a road in remote locations in Alaska and Canada - seems a bit nonsensical, right? But as absurd as it sounds, the profession is needed. The places these trucks are stopping at need supplies, like medicine, food, equipment, and building materials.  And the only way to get all of it delivered affordably is with a truck. So for three months out of the year, truckers brave the ice, with its constant crackling sound and the ever-present danger of falling through. But if you can handle the stress, you’ll make your whole year’s salary in just three months time.

How Dangerous is this Job?  

If driving an 80,000 pound truck on thin ice doesn’t sound dangerous, I don’t know what does. But just like the regulations that the lower 48 states adhere to for safety, you can bet the boys in Alaska have plenty of rules to follow. The first being, no one travels alone. Convoys of trucks are assigned time slots with each trucker adhering to the same steady speed and space.

Are you thinking, wouldn’t more trucks on the ice cause it to crack? In theory, that would seem right, but thanks to physics we learn that without precise planning and alignment of trucks on the ice, the weight of the truck can create a swell of water to push ahead and crack the ice. And truckers aren’t out on the ice alone, there are plenty of patrols and maintenance crews working to make sure everyone makes it to the other side of the ice safely.

So what do you think? Want to skate across the ice in your truck? If so, the ice road trucking industry is always looking for brave souls. And if you’re an ice road trucker we’d love to hear more about your experience. Share your story with us in the comment section below or on our Facebook page.

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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Truck Tunes: Music for Every Mile You Drive

Besides your usual culprits - coffee, energy drinks, and snack foods - music can really help you power through those long shifts. Well, the right kind of music that is! Because honestly, when you put on your favorite jams the world just seems to drift away, doesn’t it?


And to make your ride even more comfortable, we’ve broken down what types of songs you should be listening to during different hours of your drive - you know, during traffic, at night, and in the early morning. And heck, we even threw in a list of the worst songs to listen to while on the road - music mayhem as we so poetically dubbed it!


Anyways, enough with the babble. Introducing music for every mile you drive!


Classic Trucker Songs


Keep with the classics and you’ll never go wrong. Well, that’s what I believe anyways! And let me tell you, truckers have plenty of classic songs to keep them entertained. Just to name a few, you’ve got:


  • There Ain’t No Diesel Trucks in Heaven, Bob Wayne
  • Truck Driving Dog, Mark Dunau
  • Spirit of a Boy, Wisdom of a Man, Randy Travis


We could continue with this list of classic trucker songs, but we figure we’ll skip ahead to stuff you’ve might not have heard before.


Traffic Tunes


Traffic is the bane of my existence. I will purposely drive fifteen extra miles just to avoid sitting in traffic. I can’t stand it. But unfortunately, you can’t always avoid traffic so it’s best if you know the tunes that can help you pass the time a little faster. And music even has a way of affecting your mood so says the people at the National Institute of Health.


So if music can affect the mood that you’re in, and you’re in a high-stress driving situation, why not listen to calming music? And to get in a better mood faster, you might want to quickly go from Five Finger Death Punch to the Dave Matthews Band. Studies published in Ergonomics state that you’ll want to make an abrupt music change when you’re in the middle of high-stress situations. But now you’re probably wondering what you should listen to, so here’s our starter list of traffic tunes.


  • Peaceful Easy Feeling, The Eagles
  • Let It Be, The Beatles
  • Where Are You Going?, Dave Matthews Band
  • Strawberry Swing, Coldplay
  • Into the Fire, Thirteen Senses
  • Rivers and Roads, The Head and the Heart
  • Another Story, Let’s Be Still
  • Sounds Like Hallelujah, The Head and the Heart  


Late-Night Driving


So you have to drive late into the night to get to your destination in time. You’ve gone through your allowance of coffee and red bull, so now what? How are you going to keep yourself motivated to keep on trucking into the witching hour? Uh, with music of course! It’s best to pick songs that you can sing/follow along to when you’re driving at night. It helps keep your mind sharp and your body awake!


For the best night time driving, here are a couple suggestions:


  • Wouldn’t it be Nice, The Beach Boys
  • Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan
  • Just Couldn’t Tie Me Down, The Black Keys


And if these don’t help, sometimes the louder you play your music, the more awake you’ll stay - put your fact checkers away, it was a joke.


Music Mayhem


Unless you want an auto commercial (cough, cough Geico) made about you and your driving mayhem, I’d suggest staying away from these melodious tunes. Yep, just like music has the power to calm your mood, it can also cause you to drive faster and more recklessly - some songs even make you fall asleep.


So you better avoid:
  • Lullabies: Just like when you were a child, lullabies can make you so calm that you’ll flop right over in your passenger seat.
  • Heavy Metal : As fun as it might be to blast death metal in your cab, studies show that it can actually raise your blood pressure.
  • Dance Music : There’s just not enough hours in the day to fully explain how bad listening to dance music, like Gangnam Style (or) YMCA, can be while driving. So just take it from me and find something else to listen to.


Podcasts - Anytime Driving


Driving by yourself for an extended time can get old. You need some conversation in your life, and one of the best ways to get that without talking on the phone or radio is with podcasts. Podcasts can keep you entertained while also teaching you about pretty cool stuff. Check these out!


  • Radiolab - known for its science and narrative style.
  • Infinite Monkey Cage - What happens when a British physicist and a comedian get together? A hilarious podcast happens, that’s what!
  • Stuff You Should Know - Who knew science and sociology could be made simple? These guys sure make it that way.
  • Star Talk Radio - My hero Neil Degrasse Tyson talks star and it couldn’t be more interesting! You have to check it out.
  • Trucking Nation Podcast - Hosted by our very own Misty Noel, this podcast will keep you on your trucking game. She’ll clue you in on all the quick tricks you can do to make trucking just a little bit easier.

Now that you’ve got your tunes settled, I believe you’re ready for the road. Tell us, what are some of your favorite music to listen to while on the road? Let us know in the comment section below or share with us on our Facebook page.
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Friday, 12 February 2016

Miles Apart. Still Close at Heart: Advice for Truckers on Valentine’s Day

Your sweetheart isn’t too happy. It’s Valentine’s Day and once again, you’re on the road delivering cargo halfway across the country. You wish you could be there to enjoy the day together, but life on the road and life as a trucker sure makes it difficult. But with a few tricks, you can make your Valentine’s Day special even though you’re miles apart!


Valentine’s Advice #1: Handwritten Cards

Remember when getting mail in an actual mailbox wasn’t anything special? Well thanks to the internet and advancement in technology, the thought of getting a handwritten card in the mail nowadays is actually pretty exciting! And sending a card to your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day might just be that little special touch he or she needed to brighten their day.

Valentine’s Advice #2: Wake-up Call

Of course, nothing can beat breakfast in bed with your sugar, however, when you’re on the road a wake-up call can be just as great! Why not start the day with a call to wish your special somebody a “Happy Valentine’s Day” and to let them know you’re thinking about them? We think it’s a great idea!  

Valentine’s Advice #3: Traveling Pictures

During a typical day, how many miles do you say you travel? You probably go through quite a lot of cities and states, right? Why not take a picture of yourself at every rest stop and send it to your special someone, wishing them love from all over the country. Hey, it’s not Valentine’s Day without cheesy moments!

Valentine’s Advice #4: Plan a Date

Maybe you can’t be there in person, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip out on sharing a date. Lucky for us (well, most people), technology has made being apart from each other a little bit easier. With features like FaceTime or Skype, you can have a face-to-face conversation with someone although you’re miles away. So cook a meal, sit down, and enjoy a nice dinner date over the phone.

Valentine’s Advice #5: Movie Night

So after dinner, why not enjoy a nice movie together? OK, stop looking at your screen like I’ve lost my mind. Thanks to apps like Google Hangouts or Synaptop, you and your partner can now share a movie together. How cool is that?

Valentine’s Advice #6: Flowers

This is an easy one! Who doesn’t love getting flowers or some type of sweet gift to remind them just how special they are to someone. So before you leave, be sure to put in an order of a dozen roses or chocolates to have delivered to your special someone on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Advice #7: Postpone the Fun

OK, so what if none of these suggestions really suit you, what are you going to do now? Well, who says Valentine’s Day has to be on February 14th? That’s right, no one! Why not save all your Valentine fun on a day you come back to town? Nothing wrong with that, my friend!

Are you ready for Valentine’s Day? What do your long distance plans look like? Let us know in the comment section below or share with us on our Facebook page. And for all of you none-Valentine’s day people out there, “Happy February 14th!”

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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Take a Drive: The History of Trucking

As you sit in your big rig taking a break from driving, do you ever wonder how you got there in the first place? You know, how the whole trucking industry even came to be? The history of #TruckingNation is a fascinating tale, so buckle your seat belts as we take a drive through the history of trucking, starting with the early 1900s.


1880-1900: Goodbye Horse and Cart

Long before 18-wheelers dominated the roadways, trains and horses were the main sources of transportation in the United States! Trains had the power and ability to transport cargo across the country, which would normally take a team of 40 horses. So naturally, trains monopolized the industry.

And yes, during this time internal combustion engines worked to speed along motorized truck development (the horseless carriages), but trains maintained their firm grasp on the industry. And they knew their power, charging unreasonably high rates while ignoring any claims against damaged freight.  

1910-1930: The Rise of the Trucks


As the feud between governmental regulations (Interstate Commerce Commission) and trains swirled, trucks began to make waves of their own in the industry. And although trains had the capacity to deliver large amounts of freight, trucks were proving that they could deliver goods at a faster rate. During this period, trucks became more of what you think of them today - with a fifth wheel to hook to a trailer.

Check out the picture - it’s your truck’s grandpa! 

1930-1950: No Regulations = FREEDOM!


With regulations plaguing the train industry, trucks were free to traverse the streets, making deliveries and setting their own rates without question. Many train operators complained about the unfair treatment, demanding that restrictions be passed for the trucking industry. Unfortunately, to settle the playing field, Congress passed the Motor Carrier Act to regulate the exchange of goods by interstate. And the government control didn’t slow down from there either (cue eye roll).

But hey! The 1950s sure did have nice looking trucks! What do you think of that?

1950-1990: The Government Control Years

Over a span of forty years, the one common theme for the trucking industry was the amount of government regulations that went into place. From the creation of the Department of Transportation in 1967, the Surface Transportation Act in 1982, to the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, truckers became burdened with taxes and carriers were limited with regulations.

Fun fact, the fuel price for diesel was $1.04 back in 1998 - doesn’t that just make you envious of the early years? Speaking of the early years, take a look at these weird concept trucks.

2000s: The (Almost) Death of the Trucking Industry

You were hit hard in the 2000s! Who remembers? The country plummeted into a recession, gas prices soared, businesses declared bankruptcy, protests broke out, and the trucking industry suffered. Even the largest of carriers became plagued with the declining economy, as many of them were forced to shut their doors and lay off drivers. And it seems like we wouldn’t recover with gas prices peaking at almost five dollars a gallon.

But you tell us, what do you think historians will write about the trucking industry, starting in 2010? Will the passing of the new e-logs be a big topic, or what about the driver shortage?

And although regulations and taxes are still prevalent in the industry, isn’t it nice to have services like ExpressTruckTax to e-file your 2290, TSNAmerica to do the work for you, or even TruckLogics to help you run your entire trucking business even down to finding the best route? Be sure to check them out!

Let us know in the comment section below what you think about the history of the trucking industry, or share with us on our Facebook page. We look forward to hearing from you.
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