Driving in the winter can present a number of unique challenges, from low visibility to treacherous ice on the roads. During these difficult conditions, even experienced truckers must use a few important techniques to protect themselves and other drivers. Although some of these winter driving tips for truckers may slow you down, getting into an accident will slow you down even more.
1. Regular Vehicle Inspections
Before you head out on the road for a winter trek, you need to ensure that your truck is ready for the road. If there is snow on your truck, clear it off completely before you leave. Keep a spare ice scraper in your vehicle in case you lose your original brush. After clearing snow and ice from your truck, especially your windows and external mirrors, check on the status of your tires. Bald or worn tires can reduce your grip and increase your chance of an accident. You should also check the fluid levels in your engine before leaving.
2. Maintain Important Supplies
Severe weather conditions can force you to delay your trip unexpectedly. Keeping your truck supplied with essential gear can help you survive a long night on the side of the road. Start with a few items that will help you stay warm, including blankets, gloves and hats. You should also maintain a supply of food that is easy to prepare and will keep you satisfied. Stock your vehicle with plenty of water. Finally, don't forget jumper cables, tire chains, flares and a flashlight.
3. Get Updates on Conditions
Before beginning a long trip through mountain passes and other tricky areas, check online for current road conditions and other tips for truckers. If you have a smartphone, download a traffic or weather app. Having more information can help you formulate a driving schedule or find an alternate route to avoid troublesome roads.
4. Learn Important Driving Techniques
Understanding winter driving techniques can help you stay safe on the road. For example, during a snowstorm, allow extra space between you and other vehicles on the road. This will give you more time to react to the behavior of other drivers. In icy conditions, resist the urge to lean on your foot brake; overuse of the foot brake can cause your truck to skid or may even jackknife your trailer. If you need to slow down, brake gently and let your truck slow down naturally. If you do start to skid, steer into the skid; if you can't correct your skid in time, your trailer could begin to jackknife.
5. Distribute Your Load
The distribution of your load can help you remain safe while driving in winter conditions. When you pick up each load, ensure that the weight is distributed as evenly as possible. Uneven loads can lead to unpredictable performance, especially on icy roads. In addition, try to arrange your loads so that your trailer will be as full as possible in the most challenging conditions. Truck brakes are designed with the assumption that your truck is full; if your trailer is empty, your brakes may provide too much stopping power, increasing the chance that your trailer will jackknife in an emergency situation.
Staying healthy on the road can be a challenge. Long, odd working hours and a lifestyle spent behind the wheel can make it hard to find time to eat right and exercise. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to maintain your health. Here are 10 common trucker diet disasters and ways to avoid them:
Overeating While on the Road
If you're relying on restaurants, fast food chains or truck stops for your meals, you could end up eating substantially more calories than you anticipated. Whenever possible, try to pack snacks and lunches in advance. If you do eat out, try for low-calorie options like choosing foods that are baked instead of fried.
Eating too Quickly
When your time is limited, it's tempting to scarf down food without thinking about it. This can cause problems, though, as your body won't receive the signal that it's full while you're eating, and you could easily over-eat. Aside from weight gain, this kind of over-eating can cause discomfort and bloating down the road.
Eating when Stressed
Many people turn to binge eating as a way to feel better during times of high stress, but this is a short-term solution that will make you feel worse in the long run. Consider other stress management techniques instead, and don't discount exercise as a great way to temporarily boost endorphins.
Not Enough Sleep
Insomnia has been linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease, and it's a common problem for truck drivers. When you don't get enough sleep, your metabolism suffers, and you end up gaining weight. Whenever possible, it's vital to get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night to keep your body in good working order.
Being Too Tied to the Number on the Scale
Health is made up of numerous components, including your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, energy levels and muscle mass. No single measurement determines whether you're healthy "enough," and scoring yourself against the scale is a sure way to feel discouraged.
Eating the Wrong Kinds of Foods
Counting calories won't help you if you're not eating nutritious foods. Junk food is nutrient-poor and will leave you feeling hungry no matter how much of it you eat. Nutritious food like fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein will keep you feeling full longer.
Not Getting Enough Exercise
You only need 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day to stay healthy and start burning calories. You can squeeze this into your daily routine even while traveling by going on a walk, doing some push-ups or even just running in place for a few minutes during each pit-stop.
Too Many Restrictions
You don't need to cut out every food and activity you enjoy; in fact, it's best if you don't. You'll want to make smaller, incremental changes that are sustainable and won't leave you feeling deprived.
Beating yourself up Over a Slip-up
Setbacks are part of any major lifestyle change. If you mess up by over-eating or missing a few workouts, don't worry about it or try to make up for it; just commit to getting back on track right away.
Thinking of a Diet as Temporary
A diet isn't a means to an end; it's simply a new way of eating. If you choose a diet that you can't stick with forever, you won't have good results.
Avoiding these diet disasters will help you to maintain a healthy lifestyle
even if you don't have much time to devote to staying fit.
Thieves regularly steal cargo or entire trailers from commercial trucks. Businesses throughout the world lose about $40 billion to cargo theftevery year, according to Claims Journal. This type of crime may occur when you park your vehicle at a shopping mall, warehouse, truck stop, terminal or virtually any public/private area. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent larceny.
1. Don't tell people about the contents of your trailer, especially if they have a high resale value. Keep this in mind when you use two-way radios or social media. If someone inquires, do not create suspicion by refusing to answer. It's best to say that you're carrying heavy items with relatively little value, such as detergents or used books.
2. Use extra caution when you haul products that thieves prefer to steal. CargoNet reports that most cargo theft incidents involve food, drinks, clothing, machines, electronics or metals. Nonetheless, it's important to realize that some criminals will target almost any kind of cargo. Many thieves also seek to steal valuable trucking equipment.
3. Beware of drivers who follow you or try to make you stop. Sophisticated criminals may watch workers load your truck and shadow you until they identify a good opportunity to steal cargo. The most brazen thieves are willing to cause minor traffic accidents so that they can hijack tractor-trailers.
4. Avoid stopping your truck unless necessary, when the trailer contains valuables. Every stop creates an opportunity for theft or hijacking. Exercise additional caution if you visit a facility with no electrical power or a security system that seems to be malfunctioning. If possible, eat a meal and fill your fuel tank after the trailer has been unloaded.
5. When you must stop, avoid lonely parking lots and driveways. Always try to park in a bright, visible area that has security cameras. Use a building, another vehicle or a sturdy fence to block the trailer's doors. When you travel to high-crime areas or carry expensive goods, consider paying to park your truck in a secure lot.
6. If you own your truck, protect yourself from cargo theft by installing extra locks and security equipment. A video camera can help police apprehend criminals who remove items from the trailer. Security alarms and tracking devices make it more difficult for thieves to steal the entire truck. This equipment also deters cargo theft.
7. Seal every load and write down the sealing tape number. Remember to examine the seals after you leave the truck unattended. If someone breaks or replaces them, inspect your cargo and report stolen goods to the police. Keep in mind that this type of theft frequently happens during the weekend but is most common on Monday and Friday.
Although you can reduce the risk of cargo theft, prevention isn't always feasible. It's vital to record important details about the truck and keep them in your wallet. If a criminal steals the cargo trailer or tractor, police will need the license plate, model and vehicle identification numbers. Be sure to report theft immediately; thieves become harder to find when they depart the local area.
Most people know that truckers speak in their own language full of colorful phrases, and some of them can be downright confusing. Very few people outside of the transportation industry take the time to decode and truly understand trucking lingo, but it can be a big help when talking to truckers and can provide you with valuable street cred.
A Brief History of Trucking Lingo
Trucking lingo first developed in the 1940s when citizen’s band (CB) radio became popularized in the transportation industry. Since CB broadcasts can be accessed by anyone, truckers started a secret language that only they understood to keep their whereabouts and activities hidden from listening ears, including those of the police.
In the 1950s and 1960s, CB radios became even more popular after Al Gross invented a handheld version called the walkie-talkie. By the early 1980s, CB slang and truckers’ lingo had become ingrained into American culture, and children could be heard speaking the language to friends in their mobile handsets.
In the intervening decades, CB slang has fallen out of popularity, but it continues to be used by a large contingent of dedicated trucking professionals. Trucking is more than a job. It is a way of life, and trucking lingo is a large part of that life.
Number codes, also known as 10 codes, have always been important in the world of trucker slang. These codes are usually used to refer to important information, such as the following:
This is a response in the affirmative or is used to confirm that the last communication was received and understood.
This is a request to repeat the last communication.
This is a request for weather or road conditions in a particular area.
A trucker’s 10-20 is his or her current location.
This is the number code for a restroom break or rest stop.
Other Useful Terms
Several other useful and interesting terms comprise trucking lingo. Following are some of the most popular:
An alligator is a blown tire or a piece of a tire on the road.
Bambi refers to any deer on the road, alive or dead.
While a bear can be any police officer, the term usually refers to a state trooper.
A bear bite is a speeding ticket.
A driver with a black eye has a non-functional headlight.
This is used to signify that the trucker wants to begin a communication.
This is a slang term for a tollbooth.
This term signifies that a trucker is waiting for a response.
A convoy is a group of trucks on the road together.
This may be a sheriff or a deputy sheriff.
Feeding the Bears
When a trucker has to pay a traffic ticket, he or she is feeding the bears.
The granny lane is the slow lane to the far right.
A handle is a nickname used when talking on CB radios.
A local yokel is a city or small-town police officer.
Like 10-4, roger means either yes or that the last communication was received.
Mile markers are often referred to as yardsticks.
The above is only a small sampling of the large vocabulary truckers have built into their language. Learning it all may take years of work in the transportation industry, but it can be very valuable when out on the road.
Although many people think that social networking sites are only
useful for personal reasons or in tech-related industries, this couldn't be
farther from the truth. More and more people are beginning to use these sites
every day, and a lot of these individuals are shocked by the many advantages of
getting involved in this trend. Even though it might not seem like it to many,
social networking sites can be incredibly useful for people in the trucking
industry and for large trucking companies as a whole.
For someone who is seeking a job in the trucking industry, social media sites
can be excellent tools. On sites like LinkedIn, there are a host of employers
who are looking for people to fill truck driving and other positions in the
trucking industry. This means that those on the hunt for a gig should
definitely consider using social media for a successful job search.
Many businesses, including trucking companies, complain that it is hard to find
good employees. However, those that use social networking websites can find
tech-savvy job candidates who are looking for positions just like the ones that
they offer. Employers can also use social media as a way of reading each
candidate's resume and learning a little more about him or her before hiring,
which can result in employees who are a better match for the position.
Networking with other professionals from the trucking industry is important for
anyone who wants to make a career out of driving trucks or otherwise working in
the field and for companies that want to grow and meet their full potential.
With these websites, entire companies and individuals in the industry can meet
and stay in contact with other powerful forces in the field, which can have
plenty of benefits of its own.
Make Communication within the Company Easier
There are countless faces working behind the scenes with most trucking
companies, and it can be difficult for everyone to stay in contact with one
another. Communication is key for any successful trucking business, however,
and social media can make it much easier for everyone who works for the company
to stay in constant contact. Not only can social media make communication
easier, but it can also make it more affordable; since most of the most popular
social media websites are free, it doesn't cost anything for companies to
implement them as a way of keeping everyone in the know.
Communicate with Friends and Family While on the Road
Although trucking does have a lot of perks, spending a lot of time away from
family while on the road isn't one of them. Luckily, social media makes it much
easier for truck drivers to keep in contact with their loved ones while they
These are just a few reasons why social networking is becoming more popular for
those in the trucking industry, and it doesn't seem like this trend is going
anywhere any time soon. Luckily, anyone in the industry can get involved by
signing up for free profiles on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
We’ve all experienced actions on the road that can certainly put a scowl on a face and encourage some unfavorable words. As a truck driver, the exposure to bad driving multiplies tremendously with long hours on the road. There are a few things in particular that other drivers tend to do alongside trucks that can really get under a trucker’s skin. Sure, complain all you want (you deserve it), but it is vital to remember that while annoying, it is necessary to always respond to these actions in a calm demeanor. So instead of releasing your rage on the road, we are offering some truck driver therapy. We’ve compiled three top annoyances experienced on the road that we think many truck drivers out there can relate to. Feel free to let us know what other things really rub you the wrong way!
Cars that Pass Trucks and then Cut them Off
Drivers of cars typically do not want to be stuck behind a truck, which is fine, it can definitely be intimidating. The simple solution for a car driver would be to just switch lanes and continue on their merry way. However, some aggressive drivers choose to quickly pass a truck and then squeeze back in between the truck and the car in front of it. Not only is this annoying, but it is dangerous for everyone involved. Truckers keep that gap between their rig and the car in front of them in case of a situation in which the brakes must be quickly applied. Cars that squeeze into the gap take away that safe distance.
Cars that Tailgate
On the other hand, there are those drivers that tend to hang out a little too close for comfort behind a truck. It is true that tailgating a rig very closely can result in a small increase in fuel efficiency, but the savings are probably not worth the risk car drivers present for themselves and for the truck. Lingering behind trucks exposes drivers to greater opportunity for an accident due to tire blowouts, rollovers, under rides and pileups. Remember that being directly behind a truck puts you in the driver’s blind spot, and for obvious reasons, this is not a spot you want to be in.
Cars that “Trap” Trucks
Truckers prefer to stay in the right lane for safety reasons, but there are times when it may be necessary for a trucker to move into the left lane; in order to let a car merge or to pass a very slow-moving vehicle. Unfortunately, cars take this opportunity to pass the truck on the right, not giving the truck a chance to get back into the lane. This consequently “traps” the truck in the faster moving lanes, building up traffic and frustration. This could easily be avoided if other drivers patiently let the truck proceed to the right lane and thus avoid creating congestion.
Keep your Cool
It’s important to note that truck drivers have to take responsibility for their actions as well and be constantly aware of those around them. Stressful situations occur every day, and learning how to deal with these circumstances calmly and rationally is the best route to take. The most important thing to take away from this posting is that yes, there are plenty of things that happen on the road that can really be annoying for truckers, but in the end, you must always keep your cool. Instead of taking your frustrations out on the road, we invite you to vent here!
Employees in any field have certain rights afforded to them by federal and state laws. The unique work environment that a trucker has often makes it difficult to understand exactly what your rights are as a truck driver when dealing with an employer. Learning and fully comprehending the rights you receive as a member of the trucking industry can help truck drivers defend themselves against any violations or concerns. Here is a brief overview of some common driver issues that are frequently questioned and the remedies that can be sought.
Drivers are often disgruntled that they have been denied unemployment benefits from a company. However, it is extremely important to understand that companies do not contribute to the decision for unemployment grants; rather it is the state’s decision. In order to qualify for unemployment, you must meet some general eligibility requirements and the allotted benefit amounts vary by state. Be sure to pursue any unemployment claim through the state and ensure you receive a hearing if you are faced with any problems.
One of the most difficult aspects of being a truck driver is being away from home so often. Every company differs with their home time policies, so it is crucial you understand the specifics of your company. Generally, you must request for home time before hand and the company will either award you or deny you that time. If it is in your contract that you receive home time every certain number of weeks, be sure you are actually obtaining that time, otherwise your company is breaking contract and this is not only unfair to you, but illegal.
Drivers are entitled to have their truck properly maintained in order to avoid unsafe driving conditions. Companies that do not listen to the complaints of their drivers in relation to damaged rigs are not only disrespecting you as an employee but putting you and other people at risk of danger. If you believe your truck needs repair, Department of Transportation weigh stations in each state are required to provide truckers with an inspection if requested. Trucks that cannot be safely driven will be taken out of service if they do not pass inspection, and the Department of Transportation will hold the vehicle at the expense of the employer until the truck is repaired. To ensure safety for everyone, do not ignore any issues associated with your truck, no matter how minor they may seem. Companies are responsible for providing quality equipment that are safe and suitable for the road.
Laws related to docking of pay vary from state to state. Some states allow employers to dock for damage done to a rig, tickets or expenses resulting from minor accidents. Other states do not allow employers to dock a driver's pay for anything other than taxes and benefit payments. Laws in the state in which the company's corporate address is located should be referenced in this situation, but always be aware of what items in your state are legal for your company to dock from your pay, in order to guarantee you are getting your full amount of pay.
Lawsuits related to truck drivers being harassed by dispatchers prove that dispatcher harassment is a true problem. Drivers who feel that they are being harassed by their dispatcher should immediately bring this to the attention of the employer along with letting the dispatcher know that they are violating Federal law. If the employer fails to take effective action, you should file a complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or a lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Drivers should be aware that there are laws protecting them when they work. Having a full understanding of those rights and pro-actively protecting them are the main ways to ensure you receive them. While a violation of truck driver rights can be upsetting, it is essential for a driver to stay calm and avoid verbal or physical confrontations. The best thing to do in this situation is to file a complaint and consult a lawyer if necessary.
The trucking industry is often seen as a lonely road, fraught with perils and in danger of shutting down, but with manufacturing at an all-time high, there are many myths in need of being dispelled. Some of these myths may even have elements of truth to them, which makes them even more difficult to detect, but for those involved in the industry or hoping to join, there are a few things to consider that create a much more positive light.
Truck Drivers the Main Cause of Accidents on the Road
Only 3% of all accidents involve commercial trucks. Of those 3%,
81% of the time, the car drivers were assigned the fault, not the truck driver.
With statistics like that it’s pretty easy to see why this myth is simply not
true. Much of this assumption is due to the fact that accidents involving
commercial trucks generally receive more media coverage than those with solely
passenger vehicles. In reality, the FMCSA regulates the industry and its
drivers very carefully on aspects such as monitoring driving hours, allowable
highways and roads, speed limits, etc. Car drivers are much less supervised and
thus offer a much higher safety risk on the road than truck drivers.
Truck Driver Shortage
For those in the trucking industry, this is one of the most common myths, but
the fact is that it's only half true. There are many vacancies in the trucking
industry, but there is no actual shortage of people holding commercial licenses
or with the skills to transfer into the industry. This myth is multifaceted; to
begin with, there are many new regulations in the works that are making
qualifications more difficult to acquire and maintain. Strict fees and changes
in load maximums are also on the horizon, forcing companies to spend more to
send less. That said, there are a number of other factors at play.
Employment benefits simply have not kept up with the times; food costs are on
the rise, and travel is expensive. Until truckers are compensated according to
today's standards, many qualified employees have no interest in the enterprise.
To meet the rising demands for higher qualifications, some states are turning
to the military, looking to pass laws that will allow for an easy transition
between retired personnel and the industry. With all of these different
factors, it's easy to see where this myth has some grounding in reality, but
this one may simply be a matter of oversimplification. Once companies and the
government are both on-board with the current economic climate, this is a
matter that should resolve easily.
Truckers are All Unhealthy
With life on the go, it's easy to see how this one remains popular. Ask someone
to describe a stereotypical trucker, and the portrait will probably be an
uneducated, overweight slob with suspect habits, but this is an image that
needs to be laid to rest. Truckers come from many industries ranging from
doctors to lawyers to just people in need of employment. Their habits are
equally disparate, and despite stereotypes, many truckers are more
health-conscious than ever, looking for ways to eat better, sleep more and have
a richer social life.
Trucking is Freedom
It may be true that a trucker doesn't have to maintain the 9-to-5 grind in a
cubicle all day while donning a suit and tie with a micromanaging pencil-pusher
looking over, but truckers do put in long hours meeting tight deadlines,
spending time away from family and friends. These hours are mostly spent in a
small cabin along the same highways. While the lifestyle may not be for everyone,
it has its benefits, allowing those who long for a change of pace ample
opportunity to try new restaurants, stay in places off the beaten path and even
meet a few characters along the way. The idea that truckers are freewheeling
may be a myth, but that doesn't diminish the appeal many find in the open road.
Truck driving school is the best place to start for someone who would like to attain a commercial driver's license (CDL). With so many options, however, it can be overwhelming deciding which factors to consider. Finding the perfect fit to suit each individuals unique needs will require research, but here are a few important elements that you should keep in mind when exploring your options.
There are two basic types of driving schools available: private and company-sponsored.
Private schools are those not associated with commercial driving companies. These are independently owned and operated institutions that provide training to people who want to learn all the essentials of obtaining a career in the truck driving industry. Since these schools are independently owned, private schools run much like a college or university. Students must pay their tuition costs before the course begins in order to enroll. Costs can be paid through directly or through financing options such as grants and loans.
Company-sponsored schools are owned by trucking companies. The key difference between these schools and private schools is that there are rarely upfront costs associated with a company-sponsored program. Courses are paid for agter they have been completed, and drivers who are able to successfully complete the courses will have tuition either docked from their pay, or covered by the company. People who choose a company-sponsored school are also committed to working for that company after they complete the course.
Although people do not have to pay before taking courses with a company-sponsored school, there are still costs associated with both types of schools, including background checks, medical reports, exam charges, etc. Private schools can have tuition rates that vary widely in a range from $2,000 to $10,000. Company-sponsored programs are sometimes free if person commits to several years of work with that one employer, but the costs can range up to $4,000.
Upon graduating from a private school, students can pursue a job with any trucking company, virtually anywhere they wish (provided they find a place that hires inexperienced drivers). Graduating from a company-sponsored school, on the other hand, will only provide the option of working for that company. The company may have other locations and provide some leeway on where you will be based. For the most autonomy in location, it would be more beneficial to attend a private school so you have open choices afterwards. Or, should you choose to go to a company-sponsored schoo, seek out the location you would like to be in first, and then find the closest school near there. This will guarantee a job in the location of your choice, but keep in mind that it will be harder to assume relocation should you decide that this spot actually isn't the place for you.
Ultimately, both company-sponsored and private schools do the same thing - they teach you what you need to know to pass your CDL exams and acquire a CDL license. To say that one type of school will offer a better quality education over the other is hard to say.
In general, it is often believed that a private school offers a better experience with the assumption that higher costs come with better education. Many consider private schools to go at a slower pace and be more focused on individual learning. Company-sponsored schools can resemble more of a "tryout" environment, where learning is fast-paced and more focused on seeing how well you fit the team. This of course is a generalization and it's important to keep in mind that not each and every school stays true to their stereptype. Private and company-sponsored schools do not necessarily offer a "better" education as opposed to the other; it is simply dependent on which atmosphere the individual student will be more susceptible to learning in and where they feel more comfortable.
Assessing the quality of a school requires and individual to do some research. A good school will have accreditation by an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education, will offer at least 44 hours of drive time (Professional Truck Driver Institute standard), will have well-maintained equipment and facilities, and have instructors and staff with quality truck driving experience. Other factors of a good school include financing options available, a low student-to-truck ratio (ideally 1-1), at least 3 weeks in length to provide enough time for actual driving, and provide placement assistance after graduation. Searching the INternet for reviews is a good place to start. A good source for discovering truck driving school options available can be found here.
Unfortunately, as there are many enthusiastic people looking for a quality truck driving education, there are also many equally enthusiastic people looking to take advantage of them. There are multiple businesses who target vulnerable students looking to obtain their CDL licence. These companies will con eager students in choosing their "fast track" training program, offering inferior education for unreasonable prices. That being said, every person looking to attend truck driver training school is encouraged to research their options carefully before making any decisions, especially before paying any money. With enough thought and research, you are more likely to find the school that is the perfect match for your particular needs and expectations.
If you've worked in the trucking industry for any amount of time, you probably know how long and lonely the open road can be. Many jobs may force you to spend days or even weeks on the road. While you're out on the road, you may find it difficult to stay in touch with your friends and family. However, truckers can stay connected to their lives back home with careful organization and modern technology.
Cell Phones Aren't Just for Emergencies
Driving down a deserted stretch of highway can be a lonely experience. If your family can spare the time, use these empty stretches of road to catch up on the latest events back home on your cell phone. Even if you don't have much to say, simply hearing the voices of your family will help keep you connected to your home off the road.
However, always use a Bluetooth wireless headset while talking on your phone. Driving your truck one-handed increases your risk of causing an accident, and holding a cell phone may place you at risk of receiving a steep federal ticket. A cell phone ticket can get you fired from some trucking jobs, and having a cell phone ticket on your record will make it hard to find work in the trucking industry. A simple solution is to use a hands-free device.
Keep Photos and Keepsakes
Humans are visual creatures; without pictures of your family, you may find yourself missing them more than you thought possible. If you have a sleeper berth, decorate it with pictures of your family. If you keep pictures of your family in your cab, make sure that the pictures don't obstruct your view of the road. Bring along old photo albums to reminisce about past memories with your family.
Use Mobile Data Plans
A laptop or tablet paired with a good mobile data plan is one of the best ways to stay in touch with your family. Your mobile data plan will keep you on the Internet, even when you don't have the luxury of staying in a hotel with an Internet connection. You can use the Internet to send emails and instant messages to your family. You can also check their social networking profiles for news and pictures.
Video chat services, such as Skype, allow you to talk with your family face-to-face. This form of communication is especially comforting if you have young children; although young children often lack the ability to speak on the phone, your spouse can point the webcam at your children as they play.
You can even use video chat services to help your family connect with your daily life. Before you start driving each day, set up your laptop in your cabin. Mount your webcam so that it faces your windshield. As you drive, your family will be able to see what you see. If you do this, however, make sure that you set up your laptop so that it won't be a distraction to you while you drive.
Working in the trucking industry can be a lonely experience, especially if you're a long-haul driver. If you make the effort, however, you can feel close to your family even when you're on the road. One positive aspect of being away from your family for long periods of time is that you appreciate the actual time you do get to spend with them that much more. So remember, savor every moment you have with your family, and know you will always have more of those moments to look forward to.