3 Accessories Every Enclosed Trailer Hauler Should Have

Make sure you have these three items to secure and protect your cargo load for the long haul.

Whether you’re hauling items in an enclosed trailer or van, here’s what you need to ensure your cargo arrives intact.

When driving an enclosed trailer, it might seem that there is little to worry about. Unless you forget to close a door, your cargo won’t be flying out of the trailer or exposed to outside elements anytime soon. So why even bother to secure your cargo, right?

Although enclosed trailers offer inherent protection that flatbed trailers can’t, there is still a strong chance you will experience damaged cargo at some point, and securing your cargo with the proper equipment is the quickest and smartest way to prevent this.

Make sure you have these three items to secure and protect your cargo load for the long haul.

1. Moving Blankets

Moving blankets, also known as moving pads or packing blankets, provide a thick covering that helps prevent damage to your cargo or valuables. Moving blankets can prevent dents, scratches, or abrasions that can occur while you are driving and your cargo is potentially shifting. For even better results, consider using ratchet straps, moving straps, or another type of tie-down to secure the load better.

These blankets come in quantities of a single pack, 4-pack, or 12-pack, and they are very durable and machine washable. What is also unique about our selection of moving blankets is that you can choose from various fabrics, weights, and binding materials. This choice allows you to select the moving blanket that is best for your needs.

2. E-Track Straps

E-Track straps are common straps to use for cargo securement in enclosed trailers. You can use these straps in trailers, cargo vans, moving vans, enclosed semi-trailers, and other applications. These are different from an L-Track strap as L-Track has a lower profile and are typically used in a pick-up truck. E-Track is more heavy-duty and overall stronger. This makes it a great installment to use to keep your valuable cargo, equipment, and even vehicles tied down during transport.

We carry E-Track Ratchet Straps and E-Track Cam Buckle Straps, in 2′, 5’, 8′ and 10’ sections. They come in colors yellow, blue, and grey.

Learn more about the differences between L Track Straps and E Track Straps

3. Cargo Nets

Besides straps and moving blankets, we also carry cargo nets that will keep cargo from moving during transport. Also known as a bungee net, they can be easily attached to nearly any section of your enclosed trailer. We carry heavy-duty cargo nets used for enclosed trailers and light-duty cargo nets that are used for pick-up trucks. The other difference between these nets is that the heavy-duty cargo net is made of 2″ black polyester webbing with a break strength of 10,000 lbs and the light-duty cargo net is either made of a high-quality bungee material or a tough, 2” wide polyester webbing.

If you cannot find a cargo net that meets your needs, we can create a custom net for your specific needs! To learn more about the cargo nets we carry and create, watch the video below.

Source: US Cargo Control

We also carry load bars and cargo bars, D- rings, and L-Track systems. Learn more about all the Enclosed Trailer Accessories we carry on our website.

Or, call our team of experts at 800-404-7068 if you have any questions or need more information.

5 Tips for Staying Awake While You Are on the Road

Whether you are a new driver or an experienced driver, check out these tips that can help you power through the long haul.

We get it, driving during the long haul can be tedious

Staying awake during long drives can be incredibly boring and exhausting. You sit still for long periods of time, you don’t have anyone to keep you company, and you never know if there will even be any scenic views.

Although it can be dull at times, there are ways to fight that fatigue. Whether you are a new driver or an experienced driver, check out these tips that can help you power through the long haul.

1. Cat Nap

truck driver taking a nap
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Do not try to fight fatigue just to save time. It might seem better to get there faster, but you will likely put others or yourself in danger. Instead, take a power nap before the drive or pull over while en route. Resting for at least 20 minutes can give you a big boost of energy, and will make you alert for a lot longer. Not only will you feel refreshed, but this can also help fight off sleepiness down the road.

2. Crank up the AC

turning down the AC
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

When we go to sleep, we like it best when we are warm and comfortable. But did you know warmer temperatures can make you drowsy? A warm truck makes it easier for your body to relax and drift off to sleep, so dial down on the heat. Keep your truck cold, but just enough to make it slightly uncomfortable. The colder temperatures will make it harder to sleep and will keep you more alert.

Another tip: open your windows and smell the fresh air. Doing this can give you a little jolt to keep you awake.

3. Eat Something Healthy and Stay Hydrated

water bottle pack to stay hydrated
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

We all do it – binging on candy, fast food, energy drinks, etc. Although it is nice to treat yourself every once in a while, this won’t help you stay awake while driving in the long haul. You may even start to feel sluggish and sick if you continue to eat unhealthy food. Make sure to eat meals that have protein and fiber, and you will have long-lasting stamina. Your body will thank you!

Getting that cup of coffee or some sort of caffeine can give you a nice boost every once in a while, but don’t forget to keep drinking water. It is another way to fight off fatigue and keep your body in check. Have a water bottle nearby, and if you need a snack, try eating fruits and vegetables as they are full of water and natural sugars that can keep you awake.

4. Turn on the Radio

using radio to listen
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Pick something interesting and different to listen to every once in a while! Listening to different music stations and talk shows can help combat boredom and keep you entertained along the way. You can use the radio to catch up with current news and trends, or if you have a smartphone, use it to play podcasts and learn about anything that gets your attention.

5. Take Breaks or Get Some Exercise

close up of a person walking
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Even if it is a five-minute walk, exercise will help to get your blood pumping after sitting. Sitting too long can create health concerns and decrease productivity, and will also make it harder to sleep at night. Some simple exercises to try daily are push-ups, sit-ups, jogging or running, jump rope, or simply taking a walk. Whatever it is, make sure to take those breaks and move around.

Thank you, truck drivers, for all your hard work

Although it can be difficult fighting that drowsiness, we thank you for all your hard work and dedication to delivering the goods we all depend on. We recognize that it is not an easy job, but we appreciate all that you do. Check out our previous blog post that covers a popular annual event celebrating truck drivers.

Watch USCC’s video below that was shared last week for Truck Driver Appreciation Week!

Source: US Cargo Control

5 Pieces of Flatbed Trailer Equipment Every Driver Should Have

We carry quality products to keep you and your flatbed trailer moving forward. Check out the five most popular pieces of equipment made for flatbed owners.

From corner protectors to tire chains, we have the flatbed equipment for your trailer to keep you running smoothly

Being a flatbed trailer owner, you know there is not much your trailer cannot hold. Your load is exposed, and you need the equipment to hold it down tight while protecting it from abrasions or damage. Whether you’re a new flatbed truck driver or an experienced one, we carry supplies that can help you deliver your cargo load safely and on time.

Tire Chains

These tire chains, also known as snow tire chains, are designed to help transport you and your cargo to your destination through snowy or icy conditions. These snow chains provide added control behind the wheel when you’re stuck in the snow, and allow better traction as well.

We carry light-duty tire chains and heavy-duty tire chains. The difference is in how you plan on using these types of chains. If you think you will rarely use a tire chain during the cold months, consider the light-duty chain. If you know you will be using chains frequently, then you might want to invest in a heavy-duty chain.

Keep in mind that even if you don’t travel regularly in winter conditions, some states do have DOT regulations requiring drivers to carry or use tire chains during the winter season. So make sure to carry tire chains in your vehicle during the chilly months.

Tarps

Tarps are one of the best ways to protect your cargo load. We carry heavy- duty tarps that fight against elements such as rain and snow. Not only can they combat certain weather situations, but these tarp covers can also prevent scratches and marks on your precious cargo. These truck tarps contain two or three rows of d-rings across the length of the tarp, so the tarp can be tied down firmly to the truck bed. Some of the different types of tarps we carry are lumber tarps, steel tarps, machinery tarps, smoke and nose tarps, and more.

We even create custom flatbed tarps at our facility in Urbana, IA. In this video, Adam explains how our team creates long-lasting custom tarps at your convenience.

Corner Protectors & Vee Boards

Corner protectors are an inexpensive way to protect your cargo. Not only can they protect your cargo from being smashed or damaged, but these guards can also protect your straps, chains, and tarps. They are designed to protect the tarp material from any ripping or abrasions caused by sharp corners. The purpose behind these wall corner guards is providing a layer between the cargo and the strap or chain, and having this extra layer can decrease the pressure on the load from the strap/chain.

Learn more about which corner protector to use for your cargo.

Fun fact: the plastic corner protectors can extend the life of your ratchet straps by reducing rubbing.

Winch Straps & Ratchet Straps

Both ratchet straps and winch straps work well for heavy tie down applications for the trucking industry. The only differences are in how to tighten the straps, and what type of lock the two straps carry.

When using the ratchet strap, you slide the strap to the spool, bring it back over on itself, and pull the strap. After this, you can start to ratchet and repeatedly crank the lever until the load is tightened. Both tie-down types are available with a flat hook, wire hook, chain extension, or grab hook.

We carry many colors like red, green, blue, and yellow so you can recognize what strap you are using, as well as matching your company or vehicle’s colors.

D-rings

A D-ring is a piece of hardware shaped like the letter D, that can connect to the strap or be mounted directly to your flatbed trailer to secure your cargo. D-rings and straps are a flexible way to supply a trailer with many tie-down points to secure the cargo load. We carry many different styles of d-rings, and we have d-ring parts and accessories that allow you to customize your trailer configuration.

We also carry transport chains and binders, rubber/bungee tarp straps, safety supplies, winch bars, and more. Learn more about the flatbed trailer equipment we carry on our USCC website.

Call our team of experts at 800-404-7068 if you have any questions or need more information.

CVSA Roadcheck 2019 is Right Around the Corner

If you haven’t already, here’s how to prepare yourself and your commercial vehicle for a North American Standard Level I Inspection.

Steering and suspension systems will be top of mind for inspectors

If you haven’t already, now is the time to prepare yourself and your commercial vehicle for a North American Standard Level I Inspection.

From Tuesday, June 4th through Thursday, June 6th the 2019 Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck will take place throughout North America. Over that 72-hour period, CVSA inspectors will be out in droves to verify your operating requirements and examine your vehicle’s mechanical fitness.

CVSA inspection officer directing traffic to side of road

Why focus on steering and suspension?

Just like how the 2018 International Roadcheck focused on hours-of-service compliance, this year’s emphasis will be on checking steering components and suspension systems which are vital to maintaining a safe roadway.

In a recent American Trucker magazine article, CVSA president and Arkansas Highway Police Chief, Jay Thompson, stated “Not only do they [steering and suspension] support heavy loads carried by trucks and buses, but they also help maintain stability and control under acceleration and braking, keeping the vehicle safely on the road. Furthermore, they keep tires in alignment, reducing chances of uneven tire wear and possible tire failure, and they maximize the contact between the tires and the road to provide steering stability and good handling.”

But steering and suspension checks are just one aspect of the 37-step procedure you can expect from inspectors during the 2019 Roadcheck.

truck driver operating requirements for 2019 roadcheck

Driver operating requirements for 2019 CVSA Roadcheck

Here’s what you as a commercial driver need to ensure you have ready when it comes to the 2019 CVSA Roadcheck:

  • Driver’s license (showing operating credentials)
  • Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation Certificate (if applicable)
  • Your record of duty status and vehicle inspection reports (if applicable)

Inspectors will also be checking you for:

  • Seat belt usage
  • Sickness or fatigue
  • Apparent alcohol or drug impairment
cargo securement on flatbed truck for 2019 CVSA roadcheck

Vehicle inspection checklist for 2019 CVSA Roadcheck

Other than the obvious check on the state of your steering and suspension systems, inspectors will be examining the following parts of your rig:

  • Brake systems
  • Cargo securement
  • Coupling device
  • Driveline/driveshaft
  • Driver’s seat
  • Exhaust system
  • Frame
  • Fuel System
  • Lighting Devices (headlights, taillights, stop lights, turn signals, and lights/flags for oversize loads)
  • Steering mechanism
  • Tires
  • Van and flatbed trailer bodies
  • Wheels, rims, and hubs
  • Windshield wipers

CVSA stickers

If there are no critical violations found, you’ll get a CVSA decal that shows you successfully passed the 2019 Roadcheck (for whichever inspection level was performed). This sticker will keep you from having to go through that same level inspection during the June 4th to June 6th, 2019 time period.

Stay safe out there!

Inside NATE’s Advanced Rigging Principles Training Hosted at USCC

In all, about 55 industry professionals attended the day-long event.

(and where to find free upcoming training sessions)

A few weeks ago, a large section of the USCC headquarters in Urbana, Iowa transformed from cafeteria to classroom in order to hold an important rigging principles training event for professionals in the communication tower industry.

In all, about 55 members of the industry attended the day-long event, all with the goal of advancing their knowledge of key rigging principles including using synthetic rope, rope inspection, rigging forces and lift systems, plus communication and execution of hoisting operations per the ANSE/ASSE 10.48 Standard.

rigging principles attendees at US Cargo Control headquarters
Attendees of the Advanced Rigging Principles training got together for a picture at the end

How it Happened

The free training was provided by The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE), a non-profit organization that USCC is proud to be an active member of. They’re experts in the wireless and broadcast infrastructure industries and are always looking for ways to spread information and education. In the past, we’ve shared info about the NATE UNITE conference and trade show in Nashville, which some of our rigging product sales specialists attend annually and always learn a lot from.

A NATE representative was recently visiting USCC headquarters and after seeing our facility, suggested to the NATE office that they use our space. There were 12 locations picked all across the country, with the next closest ones taking place in St. Louis and Milwaukee.

Sections of the Advanced Rigging Principles Training

The Advanced Rigging Principles curriculum is organized into six sections:

• Section 1: Introduction to NATE and OSHA
• Section 2: State of the Industry
• Section 3: Primary Regulations, Codes, Standards, and Policies
• Section 4: Synthetic Rope
• Section 5: Rigging Forces and Lift Systems
• Section 6: Communication and Execution of Hoisting Operations

advanced fundamentals of rigging principles class hosted at USCC
During a break in the training, attendees chatted and ate lunch catered by USCC

Interested in Attending?

There are still a handful of opportunities to attend this free class at other locations across the United States. See the chart below for dates, locations, and how to register now.

Thursday, June 13, 20199:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CDT
Hilton New Orleans Airport
901 Airline Drive
Kenner, Louisiana 70062
Register Now
Monday, July 15, 20199:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. PDT
Hyatt House Seattle/Bellevue
3244 139th Ave SE
Bellevue, Washington 98005
Register Now
Thursday, August 8, 20199:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CDT
Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch
315 Chestnut St
St Louis, Missouri 63102
Register Now
Friday, August 23, 20199:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CDT
ENSA Access & Rescue 
727 East Veterans Way
Mukwonago, Wisconsin 53149
Register Now
Monday, September 16, 20199:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EDT
Sheraton Needham Hotel
100 Cabot Street
Needham, Massachusetts 02494
Register Now

Class not for you, but still need rigging gear? USCC has you covered. Browse our selection of lifting and rigging gear today, and reach out to one of our sales specialists if you have any questions.

The Most Important Part of US Cargo Control Isn’t a Product

How trade show season helps us help you better

How trade show season helps us help you better

Although the weather in many places doesn’t tell us so, trade show season is upon us. If you haven’t already, many of you will soon find yourself at an industry trade show, safety meeting, or annual meeting in the coming months. And because USCC serves the trucking & transportation, rigging & lifting, and moving industries, many members of our team have been on the road, in booths, and at industry events across the country.

Professional truck drivers enjoy the Iowa 80 Jamboree at The World’s Largest Truck Stop.

No matter what industry you’re a part of, trade shows are a way to discover businesses and resources in your industry and learn about the products or services they offer. It’s a chance to compare similar resources apples-to-apples and decide which provides the best value for your individual needs. And while part of this is likely product selection, price, freight time, and other logistical calculations don’t make the mistake of overlooking the most important and valuable aspect of trade shows and of good business—the people.

It’s About the People

In an age where just about every business has a website address, list of social media accounts, and handful of other digital tools to communicate and serve their customers with, it’s easy to get sucked into the screen and miss the big picture.

Don’t get me wrong, websites that make online ordering easy are a great thing. In general, technology gives us all a way to get information quickly, weight our options, and get jobs done more efficiently. Just don’t allow it to make you lose sight of the reason for the work that you do.

Volunteers use wire rope clips from USCC to construct a 100+ foot suspended footbridge over the Hockanum River in Vernon, Connecticut.

At the end of the day, the most important part of our business, and your business, is people. It’s about making people’s lives safer, easier, and more productive. We give people the tools to start their own business, continually grow one that’s been around for decades, or simply get a job done right.

Whether it’s hauling the White House Christmas tree across the country so thousands can enjoy its beauty or delivering fuel to a gas pump so people can drive to work. Constructing a high-rise apartment building so hundreds of people have a home, or building a suspended footbridge so a few people can escape to nature. Moving a family of six across the country for new opportunity, or moving your neighbor’s couch down some stairs to enjoy just for the big game. Your job, no matter what it entails on the surface, is about helping people.

Our job is about making it safe and easy for you to help. Because, when we do that, everyone benefits.

What’s important to you?

Trade shows allow us to catch up face-to-face with the people we regularly talk to over the phone or through email. They allow us to meet customers old and new, shake their hand, look them in their eyes, and listen to their individual wants and needs. Some have questions on shipping rates, some love our custom products, and others want us to explain differences between similar products. No computer could understand those individual needs as clearly as a human conversation can.

White Glove Movers rolling a heavy tool chest into their moving truck.

It’s easy to overlook real human connection in this digital age, but its importance will never change no matter what industry you’re in.

It’s why our founder, Tim, started and sticks by his promise of getting you “What you want, when you need it.” We understand the importance of building relationships with the people who keep these important industries moving forward. Every business and every person is unique. Without taking the time to truly understand your unique situation, we would be selling ourselves short.

It’s more than just doing business, it’s helping people be more and achieve more. It’s working with you individually to ensure your needs are met and your business can be successful. If we do that, you’re able to pass the same level of dedication on to your customers and the people you help every day by doing your job well.

USCC made in america
Production Manager, Jamie Farmer, gives direction to fellow USCC employees.

Tradeshows in March

Throughout March, our USCC team will be busy meeting people like you to better understand what they want and when they need it. We hope to see you and learn from you at one of these upcoming events.

Machinery Haulers Association Annual Meeting
March 8th – 9th | Las Vegas, NV

Minnesota Trucking Association Safety Meeting
March 19 | St. Paul, MN

American Moving & Storage Association Conference
March 24th – 26th | Houston, TX

2 Important Association Events Happening this February

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and two upcoming industry events are positioned to prove just that. Gear up with USCC as we visit NATE UNITE & SC&RA Symposium 2019

Information on NATE UNITE and SC&RA Symposium 2019 (plus how to get live updates)

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and two upcoming industry events are positioned to prove just that.

Gear up with USCC team members Lacy, Josh, and Alex as they visit the Lone Star State for the already in progress NATE UNITE Conference and Tim, Adam, Alex, and Ben as they get ready for the upcoming Specialized Transportation Symposium in Houston.

NATE UNITE 2019: February 4th – 7th

NATE UNITE 2019 details and information

NATE UNITE is one of the biggest and best conferences/trade shows in the wireless and broadcast infrastructure industries. On top of the massive exhibit hall with over a hundred exhibitors, there will networking opportunities, educational sessions, and speakers.

Anyone that’s a fan of the show Duck Commander will be excited to know that the keynote speaker is none other than Willie Robertson. Willie will be talking about his passion for the outdoors and his experiences in leading and growing his various companies.

Other notable topics covered in some of the 21 different educational sessions include:

Determining Rigging Forces

State of Wireless Industry from the Wall Street View

Dropped Loads – A Serious Epidemic

Challenges Faced by Industry Veterans

Women: Powering the Tower Industry

What to Expect When OSHA Shows Up

Check out the event links below for a complete list of sessions and more details on NATE UNITE 2019.

Keep up with USCC

 NATE UNITE 2019 team
Lacy, Alex, & Josh

Our rigging and lifting equipment experts will be at booth 727. Stop by, say hi, and enter to win Omaha Steaks, a Home Depot Gift Card, or an Amazon Fire Tablet!

Follow USCC on Facebook to keep up with our giveaway and to get our inside look at NATE UNITE 2019.

Helpful Event Links

Pre Show Planner

Schedule

Exhibit Hall Map

Specialized Transporation Symposium 2019:

February 19th – 22nd

2019 Specialized Transportation Symposium details and information

The 2019 Specialized Transportation Symposium will bring together top managers in operations, safety directors, pilot car professionals, permitting officials, law enforcement, and many others who deal with the professional transportation of oversize/overweight cargo.

The main goal is to ensure that permitting runs smoothly, safety concerns are addressed, and the most pressing topics in specialized transportation are discussed. The SC&RA is also planning on unveiling its groundbreaking proposal for 100 percent uniform permit weight analysis and allowance.

In addition to an exhibit center with a record-high 60 booths, there will be education sessions and expert speakers from within the industry.

Former Navy SEAL and Co-Star of American Sniper, Kevin “Dauber” Lacz will kick off the 2019 symposium by speaking on “the pitfalls of becoming too comfortable in any situation and the characteristics of the most successful individuals.”

Keep up with USCC

Our very own, Adam Shouse, was just selected to serve on the SC&RA Symposium Leadership Forum, an honor that just 15 people in the world were given. The SC&RA selects the most outstanding up-and-coming leaders in the Transportation and Rigging Industries to serve on this forum.

Ben Rechkemmer

Adam, Tim, Ben, and Alex will all be at the US Cargo Control exhibit booth in Houston. Stop by and say hello!

Follow USCC on Facebook to keep up with our booth giveaway and to get our inside look at the Specialized Transportation Symposium.

Helpful Event Links

Why You Should Attend (and how to convince your boss)

Schedule

Exhibit Hall Map

Official Event App

Don’t forget to stay connected with USCC on social media. We have many more exciting association events and trade shows coming in 2019. Stay tuned!

USCC facebook
USCC instagram
USCC linkedin
USCC youtube

Why “Last Mile Delivery” is a Trucking Industry Trend Worth Knowing About

As consumers become increasingly comfortable buying appliances and other large items online, the trucking industry has been presented with a rapidly expanding opportunity

As consumers become increasingly comfortable buying appliances and other large items online, the trucking industry has been presented with a rapidly expanding opportunity in the form of last mile delivery services. E-commerce merchants are anxiously seeking companies and truck drivers who can deliver their large and heavy products to consumers – the ones that small package delivery companies, like FedEx and UPS, aren’t built to handle.

The key lies in having fast and dependable last mile delivery logistics, and many trucking companies are already hard at work.

What is Last Mile Delivery?

Last mile delivery fills the void between package transportation hubs and consumers, typically those at residential addresses. The demand for this service has increased along with the comfort that online shoppers have in buying large products sight unseen, such as dishwashers and outdoor grills.

Opportunity in Last Mile Delivery

In 2018, last mile delivery service was an 8.9-billion-dollar market. That’s a 10-percent increase from 2017 and makes the growth rate of last mile delivery significantly larger than regular freight. Experts say the growth is expected to increase for many more years given the comfort that Millennials have buying their goods online.

That’s why trucking companies like J.B. Hunt have invested heavily in last mile delivery logistics. They recently shelled out a sizable amount to purchase Cory 1st Choice Home Delivery, a company well equipped to deliver large items to consumers through their 14 warehouses and more than 1,000 independent contractors across the U.S.

In an interview with Bloomberg a J.B. Hunt executive, Corey Tisdale, explained how having these drivers on their payroll allows for consistent training on specialized deliveries, such as appliances that need to be hooked up in homes they’re delivered to.

Other companies, like XPO Logistics Inc. and Ryder Systems Inc., are also busy making acquisitions in order to build a network of local carriers and further the growth of their last mile delivery programs.

The First Chapter of the Last Mile

As trucking companies invest heavily in the development of last mile delivery logistics and look to pioneer solutions to the challenges of last mile delivery, the trucking industry once again finds itself on the cutting edge of a brand new economic opportunity. Connecting e-commerce businesses both large and small with consumers across the country and advancing the future of online shopping.

It’s the Wild West of last mile delivery, and the pioneers who can master both dependability and scalability are sure to get a sizable chunk of this relatively untouched goldmine.

The potential is seemingly endless but, don’t forget, the work is there now.

Gear up for Last Mile Delivery Service.

US Cargo Control has the trucking equipment and moving supplies that last mile trucking companies need. Items as large as hand trucks and E-track systems, or as small as wheel chocks and tie down straps, can all be purchased online directly from our website.

6 Simple Ways to be a Healthier Truck Driver in 2019

While it’s not always easy, it is possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle as a truck driver, but no one is going to do it for you. Make these 5 healthy tips a habit, and enjoy the benefits of more energy and less stress all year long.

As a truck driver, you have loads of responsibility and in the hustle and bustle of days on the road, it’s all too easy to form bad habits, take personal shortcuts, and simply forget about being responsible for your own personal health and well-being.

The average day for you, if there is such a thing, might include inspecting your truck and trailer, checking messages, logging hours, monitoring the weather, navigating traffic, dropping or unloading cargo, and making sure it all happens within the allotted timeframe.

While it’s not always easy, it is possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle as a truck driver, but no one is going to do it for you. Make these 6 healthy tips a habit, and enjoy the benefits of more energy and less stress all year long.

1. Drink plenty of water.

It sounds obvious, but so many of us fail to drink enough water. And since our bodies are over half water, it’s a really big deal. Many health issues can stem from dehydration so always keep a bottle or two in your cab and drink it throughout the day, not just when you’re thirsty. Shoot for at least 1-2 liters a day.

2. Rethink what you eat.

It’s easy to reach for that bag of chips or to grab a cheeseburger and fries from a fast food place, but that’s just the stuff that’ll cause poor health. Instead, make an effort to eat more fruits and vegetables, whether frozen, canned, or raw. They give your immune system a huge boost and can also help you lost weight and sleep better. Balance the veggies with some protein-packed meat such as chicken or turkey and you’ll have a tasty meal that’s actually helping you instead of hurting you.

3. Rethink the way you eat.

You don’t need to go on some strict diet to lose weight or be healthier. It’s perfectly fine to have eggs and bacon for breakfast, but the key is to focus on eating smaller portions at each meal. Even if you end up eating more than the typical three square meals a day, having smaller portions is one of the best ways to manage your weight. Also, make an effort to cook for yourself whenever possible. Not only is it typically healthier, but it also saves you money and can help relieve stress the next time you check your bank account.

4. Get plenty of sleep.

To keep your body and mind at their sharpest, make sure you’re getting a full 8-hours of rest. If possible, it’s a good idea to get your body into a regular sleep cycle with a consistent bedtime and rising time. Get some curtains for your sleeper berth to make it as dark as possible and try sleeping with earplugs and a sleeper mask to maximize your body’s melatonin level. Avoid watching TV or surfing the internet before bed as screens can be stimulating and prevent you from falling asleep.

5. Get up and move.

It’s hard to do when your job requires you to regularly be in the driver’s seat, but don’t let that be an excuse for a lack of exercise or back and body soreness. Start your day by stretching, you can even do it right in your sleeper if you want. When it’s time for inspections, do a little job around your rig. Start wearing a pedometer to see how many steps you take a day, then try to top that number the next day. Exercising a couple hours before bedtime may even help you fall asleep easier.

6. Set time aside to de-stress.

Lastly, don’t forget the importance of maintaining a healthy mind. Driving truck is bound to be stressful at times so it’s important to find moments to unwind and get your mind off the job. Try bringing a hobby on the road with you like a fishing pole, book, or digital camera to capture shots of where you’ve traveled. To keep your mind busy while you’re driving, try listening to audiobooks or language learning tapes. Most importantly, spend time with friends or loved ones as much as possible, even if it’s just a phone or video call.

Start Small

Choosing to live a healthier 2019 is something only you can do. It won’t always be easy, but the more you do it the more natural it will become. Start small by focusing on just one of the above tips. Once you’ve made it a habit you’ll start to see the benefits and soon each healthy tip will become part of your new routine.

Now that you have a more healthy plan for yourself in 2019, head on over to uscargocontrol.com to get your tractor and trailer geared up for the year ahead.

CVSA Roadcheck Inspection Results for 2018

Back in June, we wrote about the 3-day International Roadcheck that was about to affect thousands of truck drivers across North America. Organized by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), the focus in 2018 was on Hour-of-Service Compliance.

Now, thousands of roadside inspections later, the CVSA has released the results of their annual driver and vehicle inspections.

 

How many trucks and drivers were affected?

At a high-level view, 67,603 roadside inspections were conducted on large trucks and buses. That number is up a bit from last year’s 62,013 total inspections. This year’s inspections resulted in 11,910 vehicles being placed out-of-service and 2,666 drivers found to have conditions that placed them out-of-service. Another 211 were placed out of service due to hazardous materials/dangerous goods (HM/DG).

This means that out of all the North American Standard Level I Inspections (45,501), a whopping 21.6 percent resulted in a commercial vehicle being placed out of service.

Keep in mind that 60,321 of the total inspections were conducted in the United States, while just 7,282 were done in Canada.

 

CVSA roadcheck 2018 official inspects truck for violations
In 2018, there were 5,590 more inspections compared to 2017.

 

What does being placed out-of-service mean?

Being placed out-of-service does not mean the driver or vehicle is a lost cause. A vehicle that is placed out of service must have the mechanical issue corrected before its allowed to be on the road again, and a driver who is in violation has to correct their infraction before getting back behind the wheel.

Let’s look at exactly what caused these drivers and vehicles to be, at least temporarily, put out of commission.

 

Top 3 reasons for vehicles being placed out-of-service

Here are the top violations of the 2018 International Roadcheck according to the CVSA.

  1. Brake Systems – 4,545    (28.4 percent)
  2. Tires & Wheels – 3,060    (19.1 percent)
  3. Brake Adjustment – 2,612    (16.3 percent)

 

Top 3 reasons for drivers being placed out-of-service

  1. Hours of Service – 1,328    (43.7 percent)
  2. Wrong Class License – 649    (21.4 percent)
  3. False Record of Duty Status – 309    (10.2 percent)

 

 

Other reasons for being placed out-of-service

hours of service compliance top violation for 2018 roadcheckBelieve it or not, there were 729 safety belt violations and about 72 drivers were in violation of drug/alcohol policies. Of the 211 placed out-of-service for hazardous materials or dangerous goods, 25.6 percent was due to loading or securement.

And while it’s obvious that many drivers were tripped up by this year’s focus on hours of service regulations, last year’s spotlight on proper cargo securement showed up as a problem area again this year. About 1,548 vehicles, or 13 percent of total out-of-service vehicles, were found to have insufficient cargo securement.

 

A good reminder to stock up on quality cargo securement equipment from US Cargo Control.  Our 4″ ratchet straps all meet or exceed industry standards, and our heavy-duty Blackline straps hold the strongest break strength in the industry.

 

best straps for heavy cargo securement compliance
Found only at USCC, Blackline straps are some of the strongest straps ever made.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share your roadcheck story

Have you experienced a Roadcheck Inspection? How did it go? Share your best (or worst) stories in the comments below.

 

Headache Racks: 5 Reasons why your Semi Truck should have one

Headache racks for semi trucks are a smart investment for any serious truck driver looking to maximize their truck’s protection, their own personal protection, or to increase storage and truck accessory options.

 

What is a Headache Rack?

A headache rack is commonly fabricated using aluminum, steel, or stainless steel. They are installed right behind your truck’s cab mainly to protect you and your truck from loose objects that may fly through the back glass. However, this is just one benefit to having a headache rack.

 

heavy duty headache racks for semi
This 70″ wide aluminum headache rack features an E-Z view window for rear window visibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why is it Called a Headache Rack?

It’s unclear whether the name headache rack originated from the fact that they prevent cargo from flying through and hitting you in the head, or because they help prevent a headache you would experience if your truck is damaged. Another theory is that the rack itself can cause a headache if you are not careful when climbing around the back of your cab.

 

5 Benefits of a Headache Rack

Despite the potential for a self-inflicted head bump, there are 5 huge benefits to installing a truck headache rack.

 

1. Safety

Heavy-duty headache racks are the best way to prevent tools, cargo, or road debris from flying through your rear window and causing damage to your truck or to yourself. Another cool benefit is the fact that headache racks help reflect sunlight, so less heat gets into your cab.

 

2. Hauling Tools

installing aluminum headache rack with lights
This 80″ wide heavy-duty headache rack features two locking chain racks and a full tray.

Many semi truck headache racks come equipped with tool racks or trays that allow quick but secure access to your roadside tools and cargo securement supplies. This Merritt® headache rack comes with two locking chain racks and a full tray to keep transport chains secured.

 

3. Mounting Lights

Installing a headache rack on your truck also provides an additional mounting surface for lighting and other accessories. Once the rack is in place, it’s easy to mount LED beacon lights, light bars, warning lights, or even radio antennas.

 

4. Mounting a Toolbox

Even though many semi truck headache racks have storage options built-in, there’s no such thing as too much tool storage. And just like with lighting, a headache rack also provides a sturdy mountable surface for an additional toolbox. Since many semi truck toolboxes have locks, they are a great accessory to have right behind your cab.

 

5. Cool Looking

Last but not least, let’s talk about how cool these headache racks look. A new headache rack adds a fresh look to any truck and can even be powder-coated to color match your rig (if you’re not into the base metallic silver look). They add a more rugged look to your rig, while also serving multiple highly useful purposes.

understand the benefits of an aluminum headache rack
Headache racks add a rugged look to your rig and also serve multiple useful purposes.

 

Types of Headache Racks

Headache racks are commonly made of aluminum, steel, or stainless steel (or a composite).

Aluminum headache racks are popular due to their low weight, corrosion resistance, and affordability.

Obviously, stainless will beat aluminum in overall corrosion resistance (ideal for those salty winter roads), but the low weight of aluminum will help keep your rig’s total weight much lower.

 

Proof that Truckers are the Backbone of America (with infographics)

September 9th – September 15th, 2018 is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Here’s why it’s so important to show your appreciation all year long.

 

Imagine waking up to no coffee, milk, or juice. Trying to get to work with no gas in your car. And going to sleep with no blankets, pillows, or pajamas. The fridge is continually empty and there’s not a single pen or piece of paper around to make a grocery list. Even if there was, store shelves sit empty. Hospitals are without medicine, and assembly lines have no parts or raw materials.

No, it’s not a zombie apocalypse. It’s what would happen if we had no truck drivers and it would happen faster than you think.

what would happen if we had no truck drivers
source: CDL Life

 

Luckily we don’t have to face these challenges in America. Why? Because we have millions of dedicated truck drivers who drive billions of miles each year to deliver just about every good imaginable. Day in and day out they sacrifice time with their families and the comforts of home to make sure our families have everything they need. And what do they get in return?

Well, most commonly they get less-than-friendly gestures from fellow roadway regulars when they switch into the left lane. And trust me, I get it. When you’re hauling down the highway it’s easy to not think about the fact most big rigs are speed governed to go only 60 to 65mph (which means passing a fellow truck driver isn’t so quick and easy). Or that once a truck reaches an incline their heavy cargo loads start to play a huge factor in their speed and acceleration. And I definitely don’t know what it’s like to be strictly limited to 11 hours of driving in a 14-hour period. All this while still having a tight delivery deadline someplace thousands of miles away. My point is it’s easy to not think about all this as a regular driver but, for truck drivers, it’s a daily reality.

Still not sold on the fact that truckers are the backbone of America? Then take a look at these infographics that show the undeniable impact of trucking:

proof that truckers are the backbone of america

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

why are truckers important?
source: Trucker Path

 

US Cargo Control Appreciates Truck Drivers

We proudly support truck drivers all year long by providing them with quality cargo control equipment including ratchet straps, flatbed trailer products, and more. If we don’t carry a product you need, we go out of our way to get you what you want, when you need it. We also share helpful tips with our email subscribers and through this blog. For more insight into US Cargo Control and our dedicated efforts to serve truck drivers, check out our LinkedIn page and Facebook page. Here is an example of a recent video that we created for Trucker Appreciation Week:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlwabcrYFd4?rel=0