Practical Tips for Truckers with Pets

Few jobs allow workers to bring their pets to work. But the trucking industry is different. It offers truckers greater flexibility and freedom than the average worker. Many trucking companies allow you to bring your pets on the road with you. But before you do, there are a few things you ought to know.

Scheduling Your First Trip with a Pet

It’s generally recommended that new truckers gain at least a few months of experience on the road before they bring their pets. Even after earning a CDL, truckers continue to learn on the job. It’s important for truckers to keep their full attention on what they’re doing, and pets can sometimes be distracting. If you’re new to the trucking industry, wait to bring your pet until you feel fully comfortable behind the wheel.

Feeding Your Pet

There will be plenty of places to buy pet food along your route, but it’s still a good idea to keep a generous amount stockpiled in the truck. This is especially true if you feed your pet a special diet that might be more difficult to find. If you feed your pet fresh foods, you’ll need a mini refrigerator. Don’t forget that your pet will need continuous access to fresh, clean water.

Giving Your Pet Rest Stops

Truckers are in the habit of planning their routes and rest stops well in advance. While you’re figuring out your stops for any given route assignment, don’t forget to consider how often your pet will need a potty break. Rest stops are also a good opportunity to let your pet stretch his or her legs. Remember that daily exercise is important for good health.

Our generous rider and pet policy is just one of the many reasons why more truckers choose to work for DSW Drivers. If you join the DSW family, you can also look forward to driving new trucks at an outstanding rate of pay. Call our office in Tucson at (888) 266-7534 to find out about available openings at our trucking company.

Looking Back on the CB Radio

For decades, truckers and amateur enthusiasts alike have relied on CB radio to stay in touch, share information, and exchange witty banter across long distances. These days, CB radio is being edged out by newer communications equipment. However, you’ll still find a sizable percentage of truckers who wouldn’t think of hitting the roads without a CB radio (or two or three) in their cabs.

Early History of CB Radio

In 1945, as World War II was winding down, an inventor by the name of Al Gross came up with the idea for the Citizens Band (CB) radio. The communication device quickly became popular among blue collar workers, who used it to communicate with their coworkers. After about a decade, the technology became affordable enough for many more people to jump on the CB radio trend.

The Heyday of the CB Radio

Although CB radio clubs had been formed in the 1960s, the popularity of the device really took off in the 1970s, thanks to the oil crisis. To cope with the gasoline shortage, the U.S. government imposed a nationwide 55 mile per hour speed limit. Motorists began using CB radio to inform each other of where local speed traps were. They also used the device for more legitimate purposes: To let other drivers know which gas stations had gas available.

CB Radio in Popular Culture

Naturally, CB radio began making appearances in movies and popular songs. Perhaps the best-known movie to prominently feature CB radio was Smokey and the Bandit, starring Burt Reynolds. Celebrities also began using CB radio off the screen. Mel Blanc, a voice actor, typically used the handles Daffy and Bugs while on the air. Even First Lady Betty Ford joined in the fun, using the handle First Mama.

DSW Drivers invests in modern technology, but also embraces the good old-fashioned values that built the trucking industry. Our trucking company, headquartered in Tucson, is fully committed to giving each of our drivers the support they need to build a successful career on the road. Will you join us? Call (888) 266-7534.

How Does Veteran Apprenticeship Work at DSW?

Transitioning back to civilian life is a process with many challenges. One of the most pressing challenges is finding gainful employment. As a military veteran, you already possess a number of important skills. These, along with your background, work ethic, and dedication, could make you a valuable member of the trucking community. DSW is proud to sponsor our veteran apprenticeship program, Project Open Road. It allows veterans to maximize their military benefits while undergoing on-the-job training.

Basics of Project Open Road

Through Project Open Road, veterans can receive paid, on-the-job training in the trucking industry. During your apprenticeship, you’ll receive paychecks from DSW for your work. But you’ll also cash in on your monthly VA educational benefit. Depending on factors like your length of military service, this could mean an extra $1,000 in your pocket each month.

Eligibility for Project Open Road

There are few requirements to join Project Open Road. You must be an Arizona resident, at least 21 years of age. You must also be a veteran who is eligible for GI benefits. And you must possess a class A commercial driver’s license (CDL). If you meet these basic requirements, you can get on the road quickly with DSW.

Preparation for Project Open Road

If you don’t yet have your CDL, don’t worry. DSW is affiliated with three leading CDL training schools in the area. You can explore the program options at HDS Truck Driving Institute in Tucson, Phoenix Truck Driving School in Phoenix, or Yuma Truck Driving School in Yuma. The staff members at any of these schools will be happy to help you navigate the process of using your GI benefits to cover your vocational training. With an accelerated CDL program, you can earn your license in a matter of weeks.

DSW is proud to hire veterans and military spouses. We look forward to working with you as you transition to civilian life. Give us a call today at (888) 266-7534, and one of our friendly staff members in Tucson will get the process started.

Pre-Trip Inspection Advice

Pre-Trip Inspection Advice for New Truck Drivers

When you land a job as a new truck driver and get your first route assignment, you’ll probably be anxious to get on the road quickly. But don’t forget that you’re required by federal regulations to conduct a thorough pre-trip inspection before driving each day. This inspection covers all of the major systems of the vehicle. You’ll log the time as “on duty, not driving.”

 

Don’t worry about taking too much time.

The pre-trip inspection is an important step toward promoting safety on the roads. Take all the time you need to ensure that you’ve checked everything thoroughly. Over time, you’ll grow accustomed to doing things in a certain order, and it’ll start to take less time to complete your pre-trip inspection routine.

 

Have the proper tools handy.

You’ll need a few items to perform the pre-trip inspection properly. You’ll need a flashlight so that you can clearly see all of the components of the vehicle. You’ll probably want to wear gloves, since handling the various components can be a dirty job. You’ll also need a block of wood. Use it to depress the brake pedal. Then, walk around to the back of the truck to ensure that the brake lights are working. You might also want a pre-trip tool, which is a simple device that allows you to quickly and easily check the steer tire depth, drive and trailer tire tread depth, and brake shoe thickness. Keep all of these tools secured in the cab or sleeper berth. It’s also a good idea to pack some extra batteries for your flashlight.

 

Do everything in the same order each time.

The pre-trip inspection is a lengthy process. You’ll reduce the risk of forgetting to check something if you do everything in the same order before each trip. For simplicity’s sake, you can stick with the routine that you learned in truck driving school.

With our competitive pay, paid training, and exceptional benefits, DSW is a top destination for new truck drivers. We match new CDL drivers with veteran mentors to help them grow professionally as they settle into the trucking industry. Call our office in Tucson at (888) 266-7534 to inquire about available jobs.

Factors to Consider

Factors to Consider Before You Decide to Drive as a Team

Team trucking is the practice of pairing two CDL drivers with one truck. Team drivers can maximize their mileage because one driver can sleep while the other drives. This allows them to cover more ground while still complying with hours of service regulations. As with any career path, there are some pros and cons to consider before you decide to give it a try.

 

Personalities

Big rigs are sizable vehicles, but they make for small living spaces. Before you team up with someone else, it’s essential to make sure that your personalities are compatible and that you can get along well. This is one reason why some truckers decide to pair up with their spouses or partners, assuming that they also hold a CDL. If the relationship is stable and well-established, then team trucking can be a great way to spend more time together.

 

Personal Habits

A small living space means that you and your driving partner will become intimately familiar with each other’s personal habits. Both of you should be on the same page with regard to things like personal hygiene, and cleanliness of the cab and sleeper berth. It can be helpful to set some ground rules that both of you can live with.

 

Professional Skills

Pairing up with a driving partner can be particularly beneficial for a new trucker. You’ll learn from the experience of your driving partner, and you’ll have someone to rely on if you take the wrong turn or if the truck breaks down. However, if you’re a veteran driver, it’s important that you’re able to trust in the skills of your driving partner. It will be difficult to get to sleep if you’re worried about your partner getting into an accident.

DSW offers a variety of career choices, including our team matching option. Based on your personality and career preferences, we can match you with another driver. If you have graduated from a CDL training program and are looking for a trucking company in Tucson, give us a call today at (888) 266-7534.

What Truckers Need to Know About Mountain Driving

When you’re new to trucking, driving in the mountains can be a little intimidating. With time, you’ll get used to navigating the ups and downs of mountain roads with ease, but until you feel confident, remembering some basic rules of the road can help. If you’re just getting used to driving your rig in the mountains, these tips will help you get used to the demands of roads.

Check the Grade

As a trucker, driving without knowing the grade of the road is risky. The grade will let you make the right decisions about how much speed you will need to safely climb and descend, so be mindful of looking for the grade signs that are posted along mountain roads. Don’t try to outdrive the grade. It’s normal for trucks to take much longer than regular cars to climb and descend mountain roads, so don’t try to rush it. Use the time you need to maneuver in a way that is safe for you and for other cars.

Keep a Steady Speed

When you’re on a mountain road, maintaining a slow, steady speed is the best way to travel, even if you feel like you’re only creeping along. Revving up and slamming on the brakes can cause your engine to overheat, especially when climbing uphill. When you’re going down, if you start going too fast, you won’t be able to get your speed back under control. Consider using your Jake brake to slow the momentum of a descent.  

Use the Runaway Lanes if Needed

If your truck gets out of control on a mountain road, use the runaway lane. These lanes are there to keep you and other drivers safe, so don’t hesitate to use them. If you’re not sure if your truck is truly out of control, look in your rearview mirror. If the decaling on your trailer can be easily seen, there is a good chance that you will be unable to regain control without using the runaway lane.

See the country and get more time at home when you start your trucking career at DSW. Contact us today to learn more about all of our job openings for truck drivers in Tucson by calling (888) 266-7534.

 

Dealing with Sickness on the Road

When you’re out on the road and not feeling well, calling in sick doesn’t quite work the way it does for other kinds of careers. Many truckers find themselves feeling sick when they’re hundreds of miles away from home with a trailer full of cargo that has to get to its destination. What should truck drivers do when they become sick when they’re out on the road? Here is what you need to know.

Pull Over

The first thing you should do is pull over as soon as possible. If you aren’t feeling well, then you can’t give the kind of attention to the road that driving safely requires, so find a truck stop where you can rest. If you think you are having a serious health incident, such as a heart attack, pull over wherever you can and call 911. Don’t risk allowing a life-threatening condition to become worse by trying to wait it out, and don’t put yourself and other drivers at risk by driving when you can’t concentrate fully on the road.

Call Dispatch and Your Loved Ones

Once you park, check in with your dispatch to let them know what is happening. Be honest with dispatch about how sick you are and how long you think you will realistically need to be off the road. Don’t agree to drive when you aren’t well enough to do so. You should also let your family know where you are and what is happening, so that they are on standby if you need help.

Keep Drugstore Remedies in Your Truck

Sometimes, you’re not sick enough to pull over, but you have a headache or sinus congestion that is making you feel rough. It’s a good idea to keep a selection of over-the-counter medicines in your truck for moments like these. Stay away from meds that could make you drowsy.

DSW provides full support to our drivers, so help is never more than a phone call away when you’re on the road. Get answers to your questions about trucking careers in Tucson by calling (888) 266-7534.

What Is It Like to Be an Owner-Operator Driver?

Lots of CDL drivers start out as company drivers. It’s simply the most affordable way to get your foot in the door in the trucking industry, since you won’t have to worry about investing in your own equipment. But after being a company driver for a while, you might start to wonder what life would be like as an owner-operator.

High Earnings and Tax Advantages

One common reason for making the switch to being an owner-operator is to earn more money. There is definitely a potential for greater earnings, although you should keep in mind that you’ll also have overhead. The more efficiently you run your business, the more money you’ll keep in your pocket. Plus, you’ll be able use tax deductions to your advantage. Your business-related expenses, like fuel and repairs, can all be deducted from your income.

Personalized Equipment and Luxuries

The investment in equipment is what keeps many company drivers from becoming owner-operators. But it can actually be an advantage because you’ll be able to select the truck you prefer. Some truckers wouldn’t consider driving anything but a Peterbilt, while others have a strong preference for Kenworth, Volvo, or Freightliner. You might even consider splurging on a luxurious, custom sleeper berth with a functional kitchen, queen-size bed, and large TV screen. These comforts can certainly make life on the road much more enjoyable.

Freedom and Independence

Every truck driver enjoys more freedom and independence than the average office worker. There’s no boss looking over your shoulder, and you have the authority to make decisions on the road. Don’t like the look of that storm cloud? Pull over and wait it out. As an owner-operator, you’ll enjoy an even greater degree of freedom and independence.

DSW Drivers invites owner-operators to join our family and enjoy competitive pay, a large freight network, fuel savings, and a repair facility at your fingertips. We even offer a generous benefits and reimbursement package! Call our trucking company in Tucson at (888) 266-7534 and find out for yourself why drivers love DSW.

Jake Brake 101

The Jacobs Engine Brake, more commonly called the Jake brake, is a compression release engine brake. It’s installed on some diesel engines, such as big rigs. When a trucker uses a Jake brake, the exhaust valves in the cylinders open up. This causes the release of the compressed air within the cylinders, which consequently slows the truck down.  Note that Jake brakes are only used to slow down trucks, not to stop them.

When to Use the Jake Brake

The Jake brake can safely be used on normal road conditions. Use it anytime you want to slow down the truck. Owner-operators tend to be very fond of the Jake brake because it can prolong the life of the brake shoes and reduce the wear and tear on the tires, especially in mountainous terrain. Some truckers recommend using it in the range of 1100 to 1400 RPMs.

What to Do Before Using the Jake Brake

Using the Jake brake can do more harm than good unless you take certain precautions. First, always make sure your truck isn’t low on oil. Using the Jake brake without enough oil can inflict damage on the engine. Additionally, make sure the engine is fully warmed up first. Give your truck extra time to warm up in cold weather.

When Not to Use the Jake Brake

Never use the Jake brake when your truck and trailer aren’t lined up. In other words, don’t use it on a corner. Some truckers swear by the use of the Jake brake in hazardous road conditions, while others wouldn’t think of using it on snowy or icy roads. You can make your own decision, but you should know that the Jake brake wasn’t designed for these conditions. And if you do use it on slippery roads, you must be certain that your truck and trailer are lined up or else you’ll risk jackknifing.

DSW Drivers invites veterans to apply for Project Open Road—our paid, on-the-job training program for separated military service members who are transitioning back to civilian life. During the program, you’ll receive a paycheck from DSW along with your VA educational benefits check. Call our office in Tucson at (888) 266-7534 for more information.

Why Desk Jobs Aren’t for Everyone

For many people, work means going to an office and sitting behind a desk for eight hours a day. But who says that careers must look like that? There are many different ways to make a living, and while desk jobs are perfect for some people, they are the worst possible fit for others. Life is too short to be miserable behind a desk when you’d rather be having other experiences, like making a living behind the wheel on the road as a truck driver. If you doubt whether it’s really OK to give up on the vision of a desk job, here are some reasons they just aren’t right for everyone.

Sitting in the same space all day makes some people less productive.

Some people do their best work when they are sitting at their desks in a quiet office, typing on their computers or digging through paperwork. That is where they achieve their best concentration levels and feel inspired to do their best work. Other people simply can’t concentrate in that environment. The same four walls, the same seat and computer screen, and quiet surroundings make them feel fatigued, bored, and frustrated. If that sounds like you, being in a truck with ever-changing scenery is the key to getting the most out of your productivity.

9-5 schedules don’t work with everyone’s body clocks.

Desk jobs usually come with regimented working hours that mean you work a traditional 9-5 schedule. An increasing body of research shows that not everyone is programmed to follow this typical schedule. Maybe you do your best work in the early morning hours, or maybe you want more flexibility to be home with your family during specific times of the year. Truck driving requires sticking to a delivery schedule, but you have a far-reaching ability to make your schedule adapt to your needs, instead of the other way around.

Of course, another reason that desk jobs aren’t for everyone is that some people simply hate the office environment. Why get stuck behind a desk when DSW can put you on the road in a new career as a trucker? Take the first step towards a new career today by calling our truck driving company in Tucson at (888) 266-7534.