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Fatigued Driving: The Risks and Ways to Stay Alert on the Road

Today, we’ll be discussing fatigued driving, its dangers, and how you can prevent it. As you probably have noted from our previous blog post, being a truck driver is not the easiest task. You are away from home often, on the road, and working to handle and deliver freight safely and efficiently. With long, sometimes unconventional hours, being a truck driver can be exhausting.

In fact, it is not uncommon to come across a fatigued truck driver. With that being said, fatigued truck driving is extremely dangerous, and we’re going to discuss why and how you can take care of yourself on the road and prevent becoming fatigued. If you are interested in learning more, you’re in the right place! Let’s get started.

When Driving Turns Dangerous: Understanding Fatigued Driving

Fatigued driving happens when someone operating a motor vehicle is extremely tired. Fatigued driving causes the driver to be too tired to stay alert. This can be extremely dangerous. In fact, truck driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of truck accidents, contributing to approximately 30 to 40% of these accidents.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 13% of commercial vehicle drivers were fatigued at the time of their crash. Fatigued driving often occurs from inadequate sleep, long working hours, strenuous activities, or physical or mental exertion. Some other causes of fatigued driving include:

  • Long Periods of Inactivity
  • Sleep Disorders 
  • Medications that Cause Drowsiness
  • Not Getting Enough Sleep over Multiple Days
  • The Time of Day (For example, you are most likely to feel tired in the early morning hours)

Hazards of Fatigued Driving: Effect and Consequences

Sometimes, drivers do not even realize they are fatigued, as some signs are hard to identify. Some effects of fatigued driving include:

  • Reacting More Slowly to Other Drivers, Pedestrians, or Changing Road Conditions
  • Nodding Off
  • Drifting out of Your Lane
  • Experiencing Tunnel Vision
  • Making Poor Decisions
  • Forgetting the Last Few Miles you Drove
  • Missing Road Signs or Turns
  • Difficulty in Keeping Your Eyes Open

Stay Awake, Stay Safe: Tips and Strategies to Prevent Fatigued Driving

There are quite a few ways that you can prevent or avoid fatigued driving. As a commercial truck driver, it is extremely important that you do whatever you can to stay well-rested and prevent fatigued driving. This will not only keep you safe, but will keep fellow drivers and pedestrians safe as well. 

1. Get Enough Sleep

One of the best things you can do to prevent fatigued driving is to get enough sleep prior to getting behind the wheel. Commercial truck drivers may not have standard hours, such as a 9 to 5 shift, so you may not have the same sleeping schedule as the average person.

However, it is still important to get adequate sleep. Generally, adults should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. If you ever begin to feel drowsy or less alert, you should also take a nap if possible. Short naps have been proven to be more effective at increasing energy and alertness than a cup of coffee!

2. Sleep Well

Now this one may seem easier said than done, however, it is important that you sleep well. That means creating an environment that helps you sleep well. For most people, this means a dark, quiet, cool room, with no distractions or electronics especially cellphones. It can be tempting to scroll through your phone before sleeping. However, this can actually affect how well you sleep.

Using your phone keeps your mind active and awake, delaying REM sleep. Additionally, the blue light exposure from your phone can interfere with your body’s internal clock, throwing off your circadian rhythm. If you will be sleeping in your truck cabin, you may want to invest in a shade for the windows to block sunlight, and perhaps even earplugs, depending on where you are parked. 

3. Eat a Healthy Diet

We have all heard about the importance of maintaining a healthy diet, but did you know that it can also affect how well you sleep? Skipping meals, eating at irregular times, or not eating properly can lead to fatigue. A recent study of commercial motor vehicle drivers found that an unhealthy lifestyle contributed to their fatigue. With that being said, it is important to eat three meals a day, preferably around the same time every day, and make sure your meals are balanced and healthy! Check out our previous blog post if you want more information on healthy eating habits for truck drivers.

4. Do not Rely on Things like Coffee to keep you Awake

When we are tired, our first reaction is often to grab a cup of coffee. While caffeine can definitely provide an energy boost, an excessive intake of caffeine can wreak havoc on your body. For example, too much caffeine can cause insomnia, irritability, nervousness, and headaches. Additionally, if you use caffeine regularly, it may begin to be less effective when it comes to giving you that energy boost.

Some people rely on other “alertness tricks” such as smoking, opening the window, or turning up the radio. While these things may help you feel more energetic and alert for a short time, they are not effective for maintaining the level of alertness needed to drive. Remember, the only cure for fatigue is adequate sleep!

As you can see, these are just a few ways that you can help prevent fatigued driving. We also encourage you to be aware of signs of fatigued driving on your fellow drivers– Look out for each other! Here at BW Mitchum, we take safety seriously. Our drivers and staff work together to create a culture of safety– It’s part of who we are!

In our last post, we discussed some of the realities of being a truck driver. While a career in commercial truck driving will allow you to travel and see new places, it is definitely not all fun and games. We took a look at some of the expectations versus reality of being a commercial truck driver, including being away from home often, sightseeing, and more. If you are interested in learning more, we encourage you to check out our last post!

We hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you are looking for a job as a commercial truck driver, we hope you’ll consider driving for BW Mitchum! You can learn more about our career opportunities here. We hope you found this article informative, and we hope to see you back on the blog soon for more tips and insight on topics involving truck drivers. If you are currently seeking new opportunities in the commercial trucking industry, we are always interested in adding new talent to our team! Thank you for reading!

DOT Regulations: Ensuring Compliance in the Trucking Industry

Hello and welcome to the BW Mitchum Trucking blog! Today, we’ll be discussing the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) regulations and how the trucking industry can ensure compliance. The DOT rules and regulations are government requirements that determine how truck drivers can operate within the United States. Compliance with these regulations is an absolutely critical aspect of the industry, and failure to comply with DOT regulations can land you in some serious trouble.

We’re bringing you the latest information on topics that matter to commercial truck drivers. BW Mitchum has been a leader in customized intermodal and domestic transportation while still maintaining the core principles you expect from a third-generation family business.

In our last post, we discussed time management for truck drivers. Time management is a must if you want to maximize productivity, meet deadlines, and maintain a work-life balance. We talked about the importance of time management as well as strategies that you can implement. If you are interested in learning more, we encourage you to check out our last post!

If you are interested in learning more, you’re in the right place. Let’s get started.

What are DOT regulations?

DOT regulations were created by the Department of Transportation, enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). They are designed to enforce safety standards on the road, reduce driving incidents, protect drivers and the public, and maintain the integrity of the transportation system as a whole.

These regulations are published in the Federal Register and compiled in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Failing to comply with DOT regulations can result in legal consequences, reputational damage, and other severe penalties. Let’s take a look at some of the key areas of DOT regulations.

1. Driver Qualifications

Trucking companies must ensure that their drivers meet the necessary qualifications. First and foremost, drivers must be 21 years of age or older with a valid driver’s license and a commercial driver’s license (CDL). (Check out our previous blog to learn more about obtaining a CDL.) Additionally, drivers must have a clean driving record, meet medical requirements, and successfully complete a comprehensive driver training program and road test.

When it comes to medical requirements, truck drivers must undergo a comprehensive physical exam that checks vision, blood pressure, hearing tests, reflexes, and lung function. This is to ensure that drivers are in the best possible physical condition. A trucking company must also perform background checks, which may be repeated periodically.

2. Hours of Service

DOT regulations also take into consideration hours of service (HOS) in order to prevent fatigue-related accidents. (Check out our blog on fatigued driving to learn more about how you can prevent it!) Truck drivers must accurately log their hours, including time spent driving and resting. These days, this is typically done using electronic logging devices, but it can also be done on paper.

Trucking companies must keep track of these hours to ensure their drivers are getting adequate rest periods. Additionally, it is important for companies to educate their drivers on the dangers of fatigued driving and to promote healthy sleep habits. 

3. Vehicle Inspections and Maintenance

One crucial aspect of DOT compliance is maintaining your fleet, and this is easily accomplished with regular vehicle inspections and maintenance. This should take place before the driver gets into the vehicle.

The best practice for this is to perform inspections every morning before drivers head out onto the road and again when they return. These inspection reports should be documented and kept as proof of inspection. The main components of the truck that should be checked include:

  • Headlights
  • Indicators
  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Axles
  • Lights
  • Steering Equipment
  • Horn

If anything is found to be working incorrectly, it must be fixed before the driver can hit the road. It is also helpful if trucking companies provide training and resources to drivers to perform pre-trip and post-trip inspections and encourage them to report any issues promptly so that repairs can be made in a timely manner.

By prioritizing vehicle inspections and maintenance, trucking companies can minimize breakdowns, reduce the risk of accidents, and demonstrate a commitment to safety.

4. Recordkeeping and Documentation

Trucking companies must maintain various records in order to comply with DOT regulations. These records include driver qualification files, hours of service logs, vehicle inspection reports, maintenance records, and more. Not only must these records be maintained, but they should also be easily accessible.

Utilizing electronic recordkeeping systems can help streamline this process. Not only does adequate recordkeeping and documentation help trucking companies adhere to DOT regulations, but it also acts as a valuable resource for internal analysis, audits, and potential legal disputes.

5. Education and Training

It is crucial that trucking companies invest in training and education for their drivers and staff. These driver training programs should consist of various topics, including safety procedures, hours of service regulations, and proper vehicle operation. These programs should be ongoing, and drivers and staff should be updated whenever there are changes in regulations.

The education and training of drivers can be done through online training, seminars, or workshops. Keeping drivers and staff educated on DOT regulations helps foster a culture of compliance and safety while minimizing the risk of violations.

As you can see, these are just a few of the key elements of DOT regulations. Compliance with these regulations is not just a legal requirement; it is vital for the safety of drivers and the public. By ensuring driver qualifications, adhering to hours of service regulations, keeping up with vehicle inspections and maintenance, maintaining adequate records and documentation, and educating drivers and staff, trucking companies can showcase their commitment to safety.

Here at BW Mitchum, safety is a part of who we are! Our drivers, dispatchers, and staff work together to create a culture of safety. We hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you are looking for a job as a commercial truck driver, we hope you’ll consider driving for BW Mitchum! You can learn more about our career opportunities here.

We hope you found this article informative, and we hope to see you back on the blog soon for more tips and insight on topics involving truck drivers. If you are currently seeking new opportunities in the commercial trucking industry, we are always interested in adding new talent to our team! Thank you for reading!

Time Management: A Guide For Truck Drivers

Hello and welcome to the BW Mitchum Trucking blog! Today, we’ll be discussing the importance of time management for truck drivers, as well as time management strategies that can be implemented on the road. As a truck driver, you understand the importance of handling freight safely and efficiently from start to finish. In order to do this, you must be able to manage your time accurately.

In our last post, we discussed the economic impact of trucking in the low income country. Trucks are responsible for moving goods, raw materials, and supplies across the area, supporting local businesses, industries, and communities. The trucking industry creates jobs, supports supply chains, boosts local businesses, and more. If you are interested in learning more, be sure to check out our last post!

The Importance of Time Management

Time management is a must if you want to maximize productivity, meet deadlines, and maintain a work-life balance. If you are interested in learning more about time management for truck drivers, you’re in the right place. Let’s get started.

As mentioned above, time management is key to handling freight safely and efficiently. For example:

  • Time management is crucial when it comes to meeting delivery deadlines. A timely delivery is one of the most important aspects of the trucking industry because customers rely on truck drivers to transport cargo within specified timeframes. Managing time efficiently will ensure that you satisfy your customer’s expectations.
  • Being able to properly manage your time can reduce stress. When your schedules are well-structured, you have a better sense of your responsibilities and tasks, promoting a more organized work environment.
  • Time management also promotes safety. Properly managing your time to include rest breaks can help prevent fatigued driving, which can lead to accidents. 
  • Efficiently managing your time builds a positive professional reputation. When you consistently meet deadlines and meet customer expectations, you are more likely to retain customers and open the door for future opportunities.

These are just a few of the ways that time management comes into play for truck drivers. With that being said, let’s take a look at some strategies that truck drivers can implement in order to better manage their time.

Prior Planning

This is arguably the most important way to manage your time as a truck driver. Before you hit the road, you need to take the time to plan your trip, route, and schedule. This will help you estimate how long it will take you to get to your destination. Be sure to take into account terrain, distance, weather conditions, and traffic, and don’t forget to plan regular breaks throughout your trip to rest and recharge.

Many truck drivers use a GPS or mapping app to plan their trip and find the most efficient route to take. By doing this, you’ll get a good idea of what to expect. For example, changes in weather or road closures can delay your trip. Be sure to check out our previous blog about the importance of trip planning for more information!

In addition to trip planning, performing a pre-trip inspection is a great way to plan ahead. It is critical to thoroughly review the condition of your truck before hitting the road. This includes checking the brakes, tires, lights, and all other important parts of the truck. The inspection can help you catch potential problems before they worsen and throw a major wrench into your plans. 

Effective Communication

Communication is key, especially when it comes to the trucking industry. Clear and effective communication helps ensure smooth deliveries while maintaining professionalism. As a truck driver, it is crucial that you communicate relevant information to your dispatchers, customers, and colleagues.

Give prompt updates on delivery statuses, potential delays, and any other changes that may affect your schedule. This keeps all parties informed and helps prevent any misunderstandings. Additionally, be sure to listen. Effective communication is a two-way street. It is important to listen to any information being provided to you and seek clarification if needed. 

Maintaining Healthy Habits

Healthy habits are great for everyone, and truck drivers are no exception. You cannot efficiently handle and deliver cargo if you are not feeling your best. Adequate rest, proper nutrition, and regular exercise all contribute to your productivity and well-being. In order to perform at your best, you need to create and maintain a healthy routine that includes balanced and nutritious meals, exercise, and enough sleep.

As a truck driver, you will be sitting down a lot. Unfortunately, this has been shown to lead to a variety of health issues, including obesity and diabetes. With that being said, it is incredibly important to work exercise into your schedule. Even if it is just some time to stretch and take a walk, it is important to do so.

There are plenty of simple and effective exercises that can be done on the road. Check out our previous blog to learn more! This also goes along with planning ahead; When you are trip planning, be sure to factor in time for breaks where you can take time to rest, eat, use the bathroom, and exercise. 

Embracing Technology

In our world today, there is not much that can’t be done with the touch of a button. Between computers and smartphones, there are many ways that technology has shaped various occupations, including those in the trucking industry. Much of this technology can make our lives easier, and it’s not a bad idea to embrace it.

For example, GPS and mapping apps can help you quickly and easily find the best route to take while alerting you to any traffic incidents or other hazards. Additionally, making use of weather apps can prepare you for upcoming changes in weather conditions. Utilizing these apps, as well as electronic logging devices and digital documentation, can help you streamline your tasks and save time.

As you can see, these are just a few strategies that can help you effectively manage your time as a truck driver. Time management is a crucial skill to have in the industry, as customers are relying on you to deliver goods within specific time frames. Here at BW Mitchum, we aim to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations.

We hope you find this article helpful and informative. If you are looking for a job as a commercial truck driver, we hope you’ll consider driving for BW Mitchum! You can learn more about our career opportunities here.

The Economic Impact of Trucking in the Lowcountry of South Carolina

Trucking plays a crucial role in driving the economy of the Lowcountry region in South Carolina. As a vital transportation link, trucks are responsible for moving goods, raw materials, and supplies across the area, supporting local businesses, industries, and communities.

In this blog post, we will delve into the economic impact of trucking in the Lowcountry, highlighting how regional trucking companies, like BW Mitchum Trucking, contribute to the growth and prosperity of the region.

1. Job Creation and Employment 

Trucking is a major source of employment in the Lowcountry, providing job opportunities for a diverse range of individuals. Regional trucking companies, like B.W. Mitchum Trucking, employ a significant number of drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, and administrative staff.

These jobs not only offer competitive wages but also provide stability and career growth opportunities for local residents. The trucking industry’s demand for a skilled workforce contributes to the region’s employment rate, making it an essential pillar of the local economy.

2. Supply Chain Support 

Efficient supply chain management is crucial for businesses in low-income countries to operate smoothly. Trucking companies, such as BW Mitchum Trucking, play a pivotal role in supporting the region’s supply chain by transporting goods from manufacturers to distribution centers, retail stores, and end consumers.

Their reliable and timely services ensure that businesses have access to the necessary raw materials, components, and finished products to meet customer demands. The seamless flow of goods facilitated by trucking contributes to the overall productivity and competitiveness of businesses in the Lowcountry.

3. Facilitating Trade and Commerce 

The Lowcountry region is known for its active trade and commerce activities, with a thriving port and numerous industries. Trucking serves as a vital link between these entities, facilitating the movement of goods to and from the port, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and other commercial hubs.

Regional trucking companies enable seamless connections between different modes of transportation, such as rail and maritime, enabling businesses to efficiently import and export goods. This accessibility to global markets contributes to the region’s economic growth and attracts businesses to establish their operations in the Lowcountry.

4. Boosting Local Business 

Trucking companies in the Lowcountry play a significant role in boosting local businesses. By providing reliable transportation services, they enable businesses to expand their market reach, deliver products to customers on time, and maintain strong customer relationships.

Local manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers heavily rely on trucking to transport their goods within the region and beyond. The accessibility and efficiency of trucking services support the growth of small businesses, enhance their competitiveness, and create a favorable environment for entrepreneurial endeavors.

5. Infrastructure Development 

The trucking industry’s presence in the Lowcountry drives infrastructure development. To accommodate the increasing demand for efficient transportation, local governments and authorities invest in improving and expanding road networks, bridges, and transportation hubs.

These infrastructure developments not only benefit the trucking industry but also contribute to the overall development of the region. Enhanced transportation infrastructure attracts businesses, supports tourism, and improves the overall quality of life for residents.

6. Economic Multiplier Effect

The trucking industry in the Lowcountry generates a significant economic multiplier effect, amplifying its impact on the local economy. As goods are transported across the region, trucking companies require various services to support their operations. This creates a ripple effect, leading to increased demand for fuel, vehicle maintenance and repair, insurance, logistics services, and more.

Fuel providers play a critical role in keeping the trucks running by supplying the necessary diesel or gasoline to power the vehicles. Additionally, truck maintenance and repair facilities benefit from the ongoing need for regular servicing and occasional repairs, ensuring that the trucks remain in optimal condition for transportation.

Insurance

Insurance companies also play a crucial role in the trucking industry, providing coverage for liability, cargo, and vehicle damage. The insurance sector, in turn, employs a workforce of agents, underwriters, and claims adjusters, contributing to the employment opportunities in the region.

Moreover, trucking companies rely on logistics and warehousing services to manage their supply chains efficiently. This includes services such as inventory management, order fulfillment, and distribution, creating additional jobs in the logistics sector.

Employees

Furthermore, the employees of trucking companies contribute to the local economy by spending their wages within the community. They support local businesses by purchasing housing, groceries, entertainment, dining, and other goods and services.

This injection of funds into the local economy further stimulates economic activity and creates a multiplier effect. As local businesses thrive and experience increased demand, they, in turn, may expand their operations and hire additional employees, further driving economic growth.

The multiplier effect of the trucking industry extends to other sectors as well. The construction industry benefits from the need to build and maintain infrastructure to support the growing trucking network.

Roads, bridges, parking facilities, and transportation hubs require ongoing construction, maintenance, and improvement. This generates employment opportunities for construction workers, engineers, and project managers, supporting the growth of the construction sector.

7. Regional Trade and Export Promotion 

Trucking plays a pivotal role in promoting regional trade and export activities in the Lowcountry. The efficient movement of goods facilitated by trucking companies allows local businesses to participate in domestic and international markets. Manufacturers and producers in the region can transport their goods to ports, airports, and distribution centers, enabling seamless connectivity to global trade networks.

Trucking companies specialize in handling time-sensitive deliveries, ensuring that perishable goods and time-critical shipments reach their destinations promptly. This is particularly important for industries such as agriculture and food production, where the freshness and quality of the products are paramount.

By transporting perishable goods efficiently, trucking companies support local farmers, food processors, and other producers in accessing wider markets and meeting the demands of customers near and far.

Moreover, trucking facilitates the export of locally manufactured goods and products. The Lowcountry region is known for its manufacturing capabilities, including industries such as automotive, aerospace, chemicals, and more.

Trucking companies play a crucial role in transporting finished products from local factories to distribution centers, ports, or airports, enabling their export to national and international markets. This promotes economic growth by expanding the reach of local manufacturers and allowing them to compete on a global scale.

By supporting regional trade and export promotion, trucking companies impact the growth of local industries, attract investment, and expand the economic opportunities available to businesses in a positive way. 

The trucking industry plays a vital role in the economic development and prosperity of the Lowcountry region in South Carolina. Through job creation, supply chain support, facilitation of trade and commerce, boosting local businesses, and infrastructure development, trucking companies like B.W. Mitchum Trucking contribute significantly to the region’s growth.

Job Opportunities at BW Mitchum

If you’re looking to contribute to economic growth, contact us for available job opportunities! By providing reliable and efficient transportation services, they facilitate the movement of goods, stimulate business activities, and connect the Lowcountry to regional and global markets. The trucking industry’s impact extends beyond transportation; it is an essential component of the region’s economic ecosystem, supporting employment, entrepreneurship, and overall economic vitality.

Preventing Burnout on the Road

Commercial truck driving is a demanding profession that often requires long hours, tight schedules, and extended periods away from home. As a result, many truck drivers face the risk of burnout, a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. Recognizing the importance of driver well-being, it is crucial for truck drivers to implement strategies with the goal of preventing burnout on the road.

In this blog post, we will discuss practical tips and techniques that can help commercial truck drivers maintain a healthy work-life balance, prioritize self-care, and prevent burnout. By implementing these strategies, truck drivers can enhance their overall well-being, job satisfaction, and performance on the road. As we know you’re aware, at B.W. Mitchum, we pride ourselves on safety for everyone. That goes for our drivers as well as all the other drivers on the road.

Fueling Your Well-being: Healthy Habits for Truck Drivers on the Road

Prioritize Sleep and Rest

One of the most crucial factors in preventing burnout while on the road is getting adequate sleep and rest. Fatigue can impair judgment, reaction times, and overall performance, significantly increasing the risk of accidents. To ensure quality rest, consider the following tips:

  • Follow a consistent sleep schedule and create a sleep-friendly environment in your truck cabin. Invest in comfortable bedding, curtains, and earplugs to create a conducive sleep atmosphere. Some may not need it, but even a great white noise machine. Some are comfortable with just a fan, while others may enjoy the sound of whales. Whatever it is that works for you, do it.
  • Take regular breaks during long drives to stretch, walk around, and relax. Use these breaks as an opportunity to get some fresh air and clear your mind.
  • Utilize rest areas or truck stops to take power naps if needed. A short nap of 15 to 20 minutes can provide a quick boost of alertness and improve cognitive function.
  • Avoid relying on caffeine or stimulants to combat sleepiness, as they can disrupt natural sleep patterns. Instead, focus on maintaining a healthy sleep routine and managing your schedule effectively.

Promote Healthy Eating Habits

Proper nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining energy levels and overall well-being. As a truck driver, it is essential to make conscious choices about food. Consider the following tips:

  • Plan and prepare meals in advance, focusing on balanced options. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats in your diet.
  • Choose whole foods over processed snacks or fast food. Pack healthy snacks like nuts, seeds, fruits, and yogurt to avoid relying on unhealthy options while on the road.
  • Carry a cooler or invest in a portable refrigerator to store perishable items. This allows you to have access to fresh produce and healthier meal options.
  • Stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and decreased cognitive function, so make sure to have water readily available during your trips.
  • There are apps available for your smartphone that can help you track your meals and water intake. By maintaining the proper levels of nutrition based on your body composition, you’re more likely to live a healthy lifestyle both on and off the road.

Exercise and Stretch Regularly

Staying physically active on the road can help reduce stress levels, improve mood, and enhance overall well-being. Consider the following tips for preventing burnout on the road:

  • Incorporate simple exercises like stretching, walking, or jogging during rest breaks. These activities can help improve blood circulation and reduce muscle stiffness.
  • Invest in portable exercise equipment, such as resistance bands or small weights, to add variety to your workout routine. These items are compact and can be easily stored in your truck.
  • Perform stretching exercises for the neck, back, and legs to alleviate muscle tension caused by prolonged sitting. You can find stretching routines designed specifically for truck drivers online or consult with a fitness professional.
  • Explore smartphone apps or online resources that offer workout routines designed for truck drivers. Many apps provide short, high-intensity workouts that can be done in limited spaces, ensuring you can stay active even during busy days.

Finding Balance: Preventing Burnout in the Life of a Truck Driver

Maintain Social Connections

Truck driving can be an isolating profession, but nurturing social connections is crucial for mental well-being. Consider the following tips:

  • Stay connected with family and friends through regular phone calls, video chats, or messaging apps. Use technology to bridge the distance and maintain meaningful relationships.
  • Engage with other truck drivers through online forums, social media groups, or trucking associations. These platforms provide opportunities to share experiences, seek advice, and build a support network.
  • Take advantage of trucker meet-ups or events to meet fellow drivers and share experiences. These gatherings can help alleviate feelings of isolation and create a sense of community.
  • Consider bringing a travel companion, such as a pet or a trusted co-driver, to provide companionship during long trips. Having a companion can help reduce loneliness and create a more enjoyable journey.
  • Just remember that even though it’s important to maintain connection to the world outside of the cab, it’s just as important to stay off your phone while you’re on the road. Distracted driving is never acceptable. Be sure to use a safe place to stop before accessing your phone or other electronic devices.

Set Realistic Goals and Manage Expectations

Managing expectations and setting realistic goals can help alleviate stress, preventing burnout on the road. Consider the following tips:

  • Break down long trips into smaller, manageable segments, setting milestones along the way. This approach can help you stay focused and motivated as you achieve each milestone.
  • Prioritize tasks and allocate time effectively, avoiding overloading your schedule. Create a daily or weekly plan to ensure you have enough time for rest, exercise, meals, and personal activities.
  • Communicate openly with dispatchers or employers about your limitations and any concerns you may have. Effective communication can help manage expectations and ensure a healthier work environment.
  • Recognize and celebrate achievements, no matter how small, to boost motivation and morale. Take time to acknowledge your accomplishments and reward yourself for a job well done.
  • Be sure to prioritize rest on your time off. As important as it is to be ready to get back to work, keep in mind that the rest you take while home is just as important as anything else on this list.

Maintain Spiritual and Religious Connections

For many truck drivers, spirituality and religious beliefs provide solace, strength, and a sense of purpose. Nurturing these connections can contribute to overall well-being. Consider the following tips:

  • Carry religious texts or inspirational books with you on the road. Take time during breaks or rest periods to read and reflect on passages that resonate with your beliefs.
  • Utilize technology to access spiritual resources. Many religious organizations offer online sermons, podcasts, or virtual gatherings, allowing you to stay connected and participate in worship even while on the road.
  • Seek out places of worship during your travels. If your schedule permits, attend religious services or visit local religious sites. This can provide a sense of community and connection to your faith.
  • Engage in personal prayer or meditation practices. Set aside quiet moments during your day to center yourself, reflect, and seek spiritual guidance. This can help reduce stress and promote inner peace.
  • Connect with fellow believers. Reach out to religious communities or organizations specific to your faith. They may have dedicated programs or support networks for truck drivers that allow you to connect with others who share your beliefs.
  • Practice gratitude and mindfulness. Incorporate gratitude exercises or mindfulness techniques into your daily routine. Take time to appreciate the beauty of nature, express gratitude for the opportunities you have, and find moments of stillness and reflection.

By maintaining spiritual and religious connections, you can find comfort, strength, and a sense of purpose on your journey as a truck driver. Though at B.W. Mitchum we like to show our own religious beliefs and take pride in that, we understand that not everyone has a different religious background or none at all. Taking time to think on everything and develop mindfulness is key to maintaining focus and preventing emotional burnout while on the road.

In the demanding world of commercial truck driving, avoiding burnout is crucial for both personal well-being and road safety. By implementing the strategies outlined in this blog post by prioritizing sleep and rest, promoting healthy eating habits, exercising regularly, maintaining social connections, and managing expectations. Commercial truck drivers can safeguard their mental and physical health, enhance job satisfaction, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Remember, taking care of oneself is not a luxury but a necessity, and by prioritizing self-care, truck drivers can navigate the challenges of the road with resilience and avoid the pitfalls of burnout. Remember that self-care isn’t reduced to taking a long shower; it’s more than that. It’s a balance of mental, physical, and spiritual health.

The Importance of Trip Planning and Safety

Truck drivers play a crucial role in keeping our economy moving. They transport goods and products across the country, making sure that everything gets to its destination on time. However, truck driving is not an easy job. It requires long hours on the road, navigating difficult terrain and weather conditions, and dealing with traffic and other drivers.

Safety is of utmost importance at B.W. Mitchum. It’s not only important for your wellbeing but also for the other drivers and pedestrians on the road. One key way that truck drivers can ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road is by utilizing careful trip planning.

Why Trip Planning Matters: Tips for Stress-Free Travel

Trip planning is an essential part of a truck driver’s job. It involves determining the best route to take, estimating the time it will take to get to the destination, and making sure that the truck is in good condition before hitting the road. Here are some tips for truck drivers on how to plan their trips safely:

1. Plan the Route

The first step in trip planning is to determine the best route to take. This involves taking into account a number of factors, including distance, terrain, weather conditions, and traffic. Truck drivers should use a GPS or mapping app to plan their route and make sure they are taking the most direct and efficient path. Check out these essential apps for truck drivers.

It is important to understand where you are going and how the weather differs from where you are. It may be warm and sunny in one location, but snowy and rainy where your destination is.

In addition, truck drivers should also be aware of any road closures or construction projects along the way. This information can be obtained through state transportation departments or online resources such as the Federal Highway Administration’s website. By planning ahead for potential road closures or detours, truck drivers can avoid getting stuck in traffic or having to take a longer route.

2. Check Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can have a significant impact on a truck driver’s trip. Snow, ice, and heavy rain can make roads slippery and difficult to navigate. High winds can cause the truck to sway or even tip over, especially if it is carrying a heavy load.

Truck drivers should check the weather forecast before hitting the road and plan their route accordingly. If severe weather is expected, they may need to delay their trip or take an alternative route to avoid the worst of the conditions.

3. Perform Pre-Trip Inspections

Before hitting the road, truck drivers should perform a pre-trip inspection of their vehicle to ensure that it is in good working condition. This includes checking the brakes, tires, lights, and other important components of the truck.

By catching any potential issues before they become major problems, truck drivers can help prevent accidents and ensure that they reach their destination safely. We know that this is and should be common practice, but it is important to ensure that you take these things seriously and do your pre-trip inspections thoroughly.

4. Take Breaks

Long hours on the road can be exhausting, both physically and mentally. Truck drivers should plan regular breaks throughout their trip to rest and recharge. This not only helps prevent fatigue but also allows the driver to stay alert and focused while driving.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute break after eight hours of driving, but many drivers choose to take breaks more frequently to stay fresh and alert. Arriving safely at your destination is more important.

5. Monitor Fuel Levels

Running out of gas on the road is not only inconvenient but can also be dangerous. Truck drivers should monitor their fuel levels throughout their trip and plan to refuel before the tank gets too low. This can help prevent the driver from getting stranded on the side of the road or having to make an emergency stop at an unfamiliar gas station.

With some navigation apps, you can even pre-plan your fuel stops based on distance and time on the road. This will help to ensure that you are not only getting fuel as needed but also having a chance to stretch your legs and evaluate where you should stop next for fuel or rest. This also gives you an opportunity to do a pre-trip inspection again since issues can go unnoticed during the previous drive.

6. Avoid Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents on the road, and truck drivers are no exception. Truck drivers should avoid any distractions while driving, including using their phone, eating, or adjusting the radio. It’s well known that it can be a challenge to keep your mind occupied during the long trips.

Using voice assistants like Google or Siri can help you skip a song you’re tired of hearing. It would also be beneficial to listen to an audiobook or podcast since they last much longer and don’t require much interaction. They should also stay focused on the road and avoid getting distracted by scenery or other drivers.

7. Observe Traffic Laws

Truck drivers are required to follow several traffic laws, including speed limits, stopping at red lights and stop signs, and using turn signals. Some local ordinances may not allow unnecessary use of the horn since it’s louder than regular vehicles.

Even if a kid is asking you to use it, you can cause an accident or get a ticket for using your horn in situations where it isn’t warranted. By obeying these laws, truck drivers can help prevent accidents and keep themselves and other drivers safe on the road.

8. Be Prepared for Emergencies

Even with careful planning, emergencies can still happen on the road. Whether it is an accident, weather, or simply a breakdown or flat tire, truck drivers should be prepared for unexpected situations by carrying an emergency kit in their vehicle.

This kit should include items such as a flashlight, flares, a first-aid kit, and extra food and water. Truck drivers should also have a plan in place for what to do in case of a breakdown or other emergency.

9. Communicate with Dispatch

Staying in communication with dispatch can be crucial for a safe and successful trip. Dispatchers can provide valuable information to drivers, such as traffic updates, road closures, and weather conditions. They can also help drivers navigate unfamiliar areas and provide assistance in case of an emergency.

In addition to keep drivers informed, regular communication with dispatch also allows dispatchers to track the driver’s progress and ensure that they are on schedule. If a driver is running behind schedule, dispatchers can adjust the route or schedule to ensure that the driver is still able to make their delivery on time. This can help prevent drivers from feeling rushed or stressed, which can lead to unsafe driving practices.

Moreover, dispatchers can monitor the driver’s driving behavior and provide feedback to help them improve their driving skills. This can include tips on how to drive more safely or efficiently, such as avoiding sudden lane changes or maintaining a consistent speed.

In short, regular communication between truck drivers and dispatchers is crucial for safe and efficient trip planning. By working together, drivers and dispatchers can ensure that the trip is planned effectively, and any issues or concerns can be addressed promptly, helping to prevent accidents on the road.

10. Stay Alert and Focused

Finally, truck drivers should always stay alert and focused while driving. This means getting enough rest before hitting the road, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and taking regular breaks to rest and recharge. Truck drivers should also be aware of their surroundings and stay vigilant for potential hazards on the road. If you think a motorcycle is small when in your family vehicle, they can seemingly appear out of nowhere on the road.

Being that they are fast and agile, they can sometimes seem unpredictable to a truck, especially with a full load and an inability to stop quickly or change direction. Also, when it comes to wildlife, you may be tempted to slam on the brakes for an animal on the road. It’s important to remember that your safety and the safety of your fellow drivers come first.

It’s also important to be aware of where you are. Missing a turn and having to re-route can add time to your trip. Being focused on your next turn or exit can be a deciding factor on whether you have a smooth trip or not.

In conclusion, trip planning is a critical aspect of a truck driver’s job, and safety should always be a top priority. By following these tips, truck drivers can ensure that they plan their trips safely and avoid accidents on the road. Safe and responsible driving not only benefits the driver but also helps keep other drivers and passengers on the road safe. At BW Mitchum, we take safety very seriously. Not only your safety, but the safety of those around you. Remember, it’s better to arrive a little late than not at all.

Navigating the Risks of Truck Driving while Sick

Today, we will be discussing truck driving while sick. Unfortunately, being sick is not always something that we can avoid. And, while being sick is certainly not a good time, it is especially not fun when you have to work.

Regardless, as long as your sickness isn’t debilitating, you can still get through it and get the job done. If you are interested in learning more about driving while sick, you’re in the right place. Let’s get started.

Law on Driving while Sick

First and foremost, it is important to keep in mind that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) prohibits driving with an illness that impairs the driver’s ability. According to section § 392.3 of the Code of Federal Regulations:

“No driver shall operate a commercial motor vehicle, and a motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle while the driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle.

However, in a case of grave emergency where the hazard to occupants of the commercial motor vehicle or other users of the highway would be increased by compliance with this section, the driver may continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle to the nearest place at which that hazard is removed.”

With that being said, as a truck driver, you can refuse to drive if you feel that your ability or alertness is at risk. In most cases, this refers to severe illnesses that can put you and fellow drivers on the roadway at risk, or if you are taking medication that impairs your driving ability.

This does not generally apply to illnesses such as the common cold. If you do come down with the common cold, or seasonal allergies, you can still drive, as long as you are not fatigued. For the most part, these types of illnesses are inevitable. You will probably be on the road with a cold at some point.

Tips of Driving while Sick

Stay Hydrated

One of the best things you can do if you come down with the common cold is to stay hydrated. In fact, many experts believe that hydration is the first step to getting back to your usual, healthy self. Water does not contain any calories, sugar, or preservatives, which means it is good for you. When you are sick, you are likely to lose water and electrolytes through sweat.

Be sure to drink things like water, juice, and other electrolyte-filled fluids to stay hydrated, loosen mucus, and relieve congestion. You may also find it beneficial to sip on hot liquids, such as tea or broth. This can soothe a sore throat and relieve congestion, too. 

Get Enough Rest

We’ve all heard about the importance of getting enough sleep, but this is especially important if you are sick and if you are a truck driver in general. Adults are recommended to get at least eight hours of sleep per night. However, we understand that, as a truck driver, your hours may stray from the traditional 9 to 5, sometimes resulting in you driving during the night.

If this is the case for you, be sure to get eight hours of sleep before your shift, even if it’s during the daytime. Additionally, if you have the opportunity to take a short break while on the road, be sure to take advantage of it. You can even take a nap in the cab of your truc. Getting extra sleep when you are sick can help jumpstart your immune system. 

Support the Immune System 

Support your immune system by eating healthy foods and snacks or taking supplements. Certain vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin C, are extremely beneficial for the immune system. You can get your dose of vitamin C by eating citrus fruits, drinking orange juice, or taking a supplement such as vitamin C capsules or chewable tablets.

You may also find it helpful to get lozenges, which can help your throat. Plus, some of them even provide you with a boost of vitamin C. If needed, grab some medication to help you kick your cold. Just make sure that it is non-drowsy. Cold medications that contain an antihistamine can make you tired and can be extremely dangerous. 

Know When to Throw in the Towel

While we’d all love to keep working despite a cold, sometimes it’s just not possible. We know that pay doesn’t always come if the wheels of your truck aren’t turning, but we advise you to put your health first. You know your body better than anyone else. There is no shame in calling in sick. In fact, knowing when you need to rest means that you are a responsible truck driver! Be honest about your symptoms and know when to call it quits. If you are on the road and feel that you cannot continue, pull over. Do not put yourself and others at risk. Here are some signs that you need to take a break and see a doctor:

  • High fever (Above 101.5)
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting or other physical symptoms

As you can see, these are just a few ways that you can navigate driving while sick. Sometimes, it’s just not possible, and that’s okay. We’d rather you be safe than sorry! In our last post, we discussed fatigued driving. With long, sometimes unconventional hours, being a truck driver can be exhausting. In fact, it is not uncommon to come across a fatigued truck driver.

Fatigued driving is extremely dangerous, both for yourself and for others on the road. We discussed the dangers of fatigued driving and how you can prevent it, so be sure to check out our last post if you are interested in learning more.

Here at BW Mitchum, we take safety seriously. Our drivers and staff work together to create a culture of safety. It’s part of who we are! We hope you find this article helpful and informative. If you are looking for a job as a commercial truck driver, we hope you’ll consider driving for BW Mitchum.

You can learn more about our career opportunities at BW Mitchum here. We hope you found this article informative, and we hope to see you back on the blog soon for more tips and insight on topics involving truck drivers. If you are currently seeking new opportunities in the commercial trucking industry, we are always interested in adding new talent to our team! Thank you for reading.

Truck Driving: Expectations Vs Reality

Today, we’ll be getting honest about inspecting the real-life nature of commercial truck driving. When people think about a truck driving career, what do they think about? For many people, they think about the feeling of being free, out on the road and sightseeing. While a career in commercial truck driving will allow you to travel and see new places, it is definitely not all fun and games. Let’s take a look at truck driving career expectations vs reality!

One of the most common expectations of truck driving is sight-seeing. As mentioned above, you will be able to see new cities, states, and other parts of the country that you may not have had the chance to go to before. However, the extent to which you will get to sightsee is limited. The reality of truck driving is that you will be spending the majority of your time driving. This leaves little time to actually explore.

In fact, most of the sightseeing you’ll be doing is from your window as you make your way down the freeway. Since you’ll be delivering loads in a timely manner, there probably won’t be too much time to check out landmarks or explore downtown areas. Plus, you can’t really take a semi truck into tourist areas like the Grand Canyon anyway. The bottom line? Commercial truck driving is adventurous, unpredictable, and rewarding, but it is not a vacation.

Some people considering a career in commercial truck driving assume it will be similar to traditional jobs where you go to work in the morning and come home in the evening. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Truck drivers spend hours on the road and can be gone for days or sometimes even weeks at a time. When drivers do get to go home, their home time is often limited to two days due to the high demand in the industry.

With that being said, it is important to remember that truck driving is not a 9-to-5 or Monday-to-Friday job. It is often more like a lifestyle. Not only can you be on the road for days at a time, but you must also be prepared for unexpected events, such as inclement weather or shipping delays, that can extend your time on the road. Being away from family quite often is something to keep in mind if you are choosing this career path.

Commercial Driver License Requirement for Truck Drivers

In order to become a truck driver, you must get your commercial driver’s license (CDL). Sounds simple, right? Well, it’s actually a little more complicated. In order to get your CDL, you must go to a truck driving school or community college. This training takes about seven weeks on average but can take as long as six months, depending on the school you choose. Not only will you have to take and pass courses and a driving test, but this doesn’t come for free.

Unfortunately, getting your CDL can be a bit costly. Most schools will charge an application fee and a skills test fee on top of the costs of the actual courses and training. Truck driving school can cost anywhere from $3,500 to $9,000 on average.

However, some trucking companies offer paid CDL programs, apprenticeships, or tuition reimbursement. The total cost will depend on the truck driving school you choose and whether it is public or private, with private schools being more costly. 

Real Tough Conditions for Truck Driving

With all of that being said, there is a common misconception that anyone can be a truck driver. This is partially true: Anyone can become a truck driver with proper training. However, truck driving is not for everyone. If you are not willing to put in hard work, obey road laws, adhere to rules and regulations, and be committed to handling freight safely and efficiently, then trucking probably isn’t for you. 

Additionally, some people think that being a truck driver is easy. Most truck drivers would probably laugh at this statement! Being a commercial truck driver is far from easy. It is not as simple as getting your driver’s license, and truck drivers do a lot more than just sitting in a truck and driving.

They are constantly on the move, transporting, loading, and unloading freight, and making sure to do it in a timely manner. Truck driving requires sitting for long periods of time, which can lead to issues including back pain and other muscle problems. Plus, they have to have a pristine driving record!

Join BW Mitchum as a Truck Driver

In our last post, we talked about how to start a career as a commercial truck driver. There are a few important things you should know about the process so that you can get started on the right foot. This includes getting a commercial driver’s license (CDL), taking an exam, and more. If you are interested in getting started with your career as a commercial truck driver, we encourage you to check out our last post!

As you can see, commercial truck driving expectations versus reality can determine if it is the right career for you. We hope you find this article helpful and informative. If you are looking for a job as a commercial truck driver, we hope you’ll consider driving for BW Mitchum! You can learn more about our career opportunities here.

We hope you found this article informative, and we hope to see you back on the blog soon for more tips and insight on topics involving truck drivers. If you are currently seeking new opportunities in the commercial trucking industry, we are always interested in adding new talent to our team! Thank you for reading!

Start A Career as A Commercial Truck Driver

Today, we’ll be discussing how to start a career as a commercial truck driver. If you’ve decided that being a truck driver is the career path for you, you may be wondering how to get started. There are a few important things you should know about the process so that you can get started on the right foot. If you want to learn more, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to help you get started! 

First and foremost, you’ll need a standard license to drive a car. (If you can’t operate a car, you probably can’t operate a large truck!) But did you know that you need a separate license to operate a truck or commercial motor vehicle? This is called a commercial driver’s license (CDL), and you’ll need to meet certain requirements to get one.

For example, you must be 18 to obtain your CDL, but many trucking companies won’t hire you unless you are 21 years are older. This is because truck drivers under 21 can only drive within one state, while those over 21 can cross state lines, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements. 

Obtaining a CDL Before You Start a Truck Driving Career

Types of CDLs:

  • Class A: A Class CDL is for vehicles with a gross weight of over 26,000 pounds. A trailer must weigh more than 10,000 pounds. This can include a semi-truck and trailer combo, a semi-truck and tanker trailer, a semi-truck and livestock trailer, or a semi-truck and flatbed trailer.
  • Class B: Class B vehicles have a gross weight of over 26,000 pounds. They include delivery trucks, various box trucks, dump trucks with small trailers, school buses, and city buses.
  • Class C: Class C vehicles are a single vehicle with a gross weight of under 26,000 pounds, a vehicle pulling a trailer under 10,000 pounds, or a vehicle carrying 16 or more passengers. This includes buses, tanker trucks, hazmat vehicles, and double and triple trailers.

It is best to do research on these types of licenses before choosing one. The Class A CDL is generally a top choice because it holds a greater range of jobs and flexibility when deciding to start a career as a truck driver. 

How Do You Obtain a CDL?

In order to get your CDL, you should first obtain your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP), which will allow you to practice driving semi-trucks. Some truck driving schools require you to get a CLP before enrolling. Others will help you obtain your CLP while you attend class. It is helpful to choose a truck driving school first so that you know what requirements you’ll need to meet.

Once you have chosen a school, you will have to attend a program where you will receive classroom instruction as well as training and behind-the-wheel experience. This training can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the school you choose.

For example, there are company-sponsored schools, community college programs, or private CDL schools. Again, it is best to do research on these schools and find a reputable one that is a good fit for you and your lifestyle. At the end of your program, you will need to complete and pass an exam and skills test in order to obtain your CDL. This exam will generally consist of:

  • Vehicle Inspection: Checking things such as the braking system, tires, and engine compartment. 
  • Basic Controls: Ensuring that you know how to do things such as parallel parking, alley docking, straight lines, and offset backing.
  • Road Test: An evaluation of your awareness, overall command of the vehicle, use of mirrors and turn signals, and ability to brake and accelerate normally.

Additionally, you will need to pass a DOT medical exam before obtaining your CDL. This exam will test your vision and hearing. Check your blood pressure, check your medical records, and more to make sure that you are in the best possible shape to perform your job as a truck driver efficiently. If you pass, you’ll get your CDL and be able to start looking for jobs.

Get a Job as Truck Driver

Once you have your CDL, you’ll want to look for a trucking company that seems like a good fit for you and your lifestyle. You’ll want to ask yourself a few questions and see if the company aligns with your answers and career goals.

For example, do you want a specific home time? Are you okay with being away from home for days at a time? Where do you want to be in your career in a few years? Answering these questions will help you determine if a company is right for you. 

There are plenty of truck driving jobs in the U.S. In fact, there is a shortage of truck drivers, so you don’t need to be concerned about a lack of work. As long as you have done the training, obtained your CDL, passed a background check, and have a clean driving record, you should have no problem finding a truck driving job. 

As you can see, starting a career as a commercial truck driver can be a rewarding one with many opportunities for growth, and you get to see many different areas of the country. If you want to become a commercial truck driver, you should start off strong by choosing a reputable school or program that will provide you with the skills necessary to thrive in the industry.

If you are looking for a job as a commercial truck driver, we hope you’ll consider driving for B.W. Mitchum! You can learn more about our employment opportunities here.

In our last post, we discussed the pros and cons of being a company truck driver. Being an employee of a trucking company has its perks, including job security, steady paychecks, benefits, and more. There are also some downsides, such as less flexibility. But ultimately, we think there are far more pros than cons! If you are interested in learning more about whether being a company truck driver is right for you, we encourage you to check out our last post!

We hope you found this article informative, and we hope to see you back on the blog soon for more tips and insight on topics involving truck drivers. If you are currently seeking new opportunities in the commercial trucking industry, we are always interested in adding new talent to our team! Thank you for reading!

Pros and Cons of Being a Company Driver

Today, we’ll be discussing some of the pros and cons of driving a commercial truck as an employee of a company. If you are a newly-licensed CDL driver trying to decide whether to work as an employee (or company driver) or an independent contractor, you may find this post helpful.

We want to help you make the best choice for you. In this blog, we’ll be talking about the pros and cons of driving a commercial truck as an employee or company driver. Let’s get started!

Why is driving a commercial truck as a company employee better than driving as an independent contractor?

Job Security

When you drive as an independent contractor, you have a lot more flexibility, but you also have less of a guarantee of continued work. That’s why job security is one of the major reasons that drivers choose to become company employees.

As an employee, you will have the certainty that the company you are driving for will give you work first. If your first concern is making sure that you always have work, driving as a company employee may be the best fit for you.

No Maintenance Cost

As an employee, you won’t have to worry about the maintenance costs associated with driving a commercial vehicle. Since you will be driving a company-owned truck, the company you are working for will be responsible for all vehicle maintenance.

You can avoid other expenses related to the vehicle if you are working in a company. Most of the necessary insurances will be paid by the company, as well as certain licenses and other fees, and even fuel costs. You’ll have less stress on the job knowing that those expenses are taken care of.

No Startup Cost

Driving as an owner-operator has a lot of advantages, but it can be difficult to get started because of the cost barriers. Purchasing your own commercial vehicle is a huge expense and often requires a lease, which may not be an option for everyone.

There are also certain licenses that you will need to obtain before starting. In some states, you can take your CDL tests without any prior training or education; however, in some states (including South Carolina), it is required that you take a CDL driver’s training course before taking your CDL licensing test.

Consider all of these costs before deciding whether to become an employee driver or an owner-operator. You may find that the costs outweigh the benefits, but for some drivers, the expenses are prohibitive and a deciding factor.

Steady Paychecks

At the end of the day, we’re all working to make money. Although owner-operators can often get paid at a higher rate, employees have a steadier rate of pay. Sometimes knowing exactly what each paycheck will look like is preferable. If it is important to you that you have the security of a consistent paycheck, working as a company employee may be the best choice for you!

Insurance and Retirement Benefits

When you think of employment benefits, what comes to mind first? You probably think of health insurance, right? Health insurance is certainly one of the most important benefits, and paying your entire policy out of pocket can be expensive.

A good insurance plan can be a deciding factor for you when choosing an employer for you. So it only makes sense that some drivers will choose to work as a company employee in order to take advantage of the health insurance benefits offered by the company. However, health insurance is not the only employment benefit to consider.

A few other common employee benefits include life insurance, dental insurance, retirement contributions, and paid medical leave. You should also consider benefits like paid time off, vacation days, and paid holidays. You may want to ask about employment benefits at a few of the companies you are considering before you choose whether to drive as an employee or an owner-operator. 

Schedule Stability

If you want a flexible schedule or more control over your schedule, you may prefer to drive as an owner-operator. However, if you prefer to work in a consistent environment with a stable work schedule, driving as a company employee may be the best fit for you.

In this case, you may not have the opportunity to choose which days you work or not, but you’ll know that the hours will be steady, and for many drivers that is preferred.

What are the cons of driving a commercial vehicle as a company employee?

Less Flexibility

The flipside of the stability you’ll get from driving as a company employee is that your job will be much less flexible. You’ll have to follow a set schedule and will have less opportunity to request the schedule you want. If you have a complicated family life or just value certain schedule preferences, you may want to consider whether working as a company driver is actually the right fit for you.

Less Control over Equipment

Driving as a company employee means you won’t have to worry about purchasing your own equipment. However, the downside of this option is that you won’t have a say in the equipment that the company gives you. You may have to drive a truck that doesn’t have the amenities that you prefer. You may even have to drive a stick-shift truck rather than an automatic.

Work as per Company Guidelines

Independent contractors are able to make a lot of their own rules (within reasonable limits), but company-employed drivers have to follow every rule set by their employers. For instance, you may have more uniform guidelines or other rules about how you execute your tasks. Be sure to consider whether you are okay with the guidelines before you decide to become an employee of a company.

Less Earning Potential

If your biggest concern is earning the largest paycheck possible, working as a company employee may not be your best option. However, it is important to consider that the lower pay that you will receive as an employee will balance out by the employment benefits that your employer will offer you. In terms of earning potential, the best choice depends on your personal life and financial circumstances. You may want to consider speaking with a financial advisor before making a decision.

Less Negotiating Power

Is it important to you that you have the ability to negotiate pay, schedule, and other aspects of your job? If so, you may find that driving as an owner-operator is a better fit for you than driving as a company employee. On the other hand, if you prefer not to worry about negotiating the best outcome, you may prefer to drive as an employee so that you don’t have to think about negotiating!

Work-Related Tax Deductions

The ability to claim work expenses is one of the greatest benefits of working as an independent contractor. Sometimes, as an employee, there are expenses that you still get stuck with but can’t write off on your taxes. You should always ask a potential employer about the expenses you’ll be expected to incur before you begin employment. However, these small expenses may be worth it for you in order to avoid the tax complications that come with working as an independent contractor.

So, is driving as a company employee the right choice for you?

Choosing whether to become an owner-operator or drive as a company employee is a major decision. Take your time and examine the pros and cons of both options before you decide. Maybe you’ll decide to try out both before you settle into a permanent career path. If you’re ready to make your decision, we’re hiring! We hope you’ll consider driving for BW Mitchum as either an owner-operator or an employee. You can learn more about our employment opportunities here.

In our last post, we continued a discussion about exercising on the road. Finding time to exercise may seem difficult when on the road, but your health should never take a back seat! We discussed some of the risks that come with sitting for prolonged periods of time, as well as the benefits of exercise and some easy exercises that can be done on the road.

We hope you found this article informative, and we hope to see you back on the blog soon for more tips and insight on topics involving truck drivers. If you are currently seeking new opportunities in the commercial trucking industry, we are always interested in adding new talent to our team! Thank you for reading!