4 Spring Driving Safety Tips for Truck Drivers

With spring here, this means warmer and brighter days! But, there are still some things that need to be considered during the spring season.

Driving during the winter can be a dangerous time of the year for truck drivers. Snow and ice can make the roads challenging to drive on, and we don’t always want to deal with staying warm during the wintry months. With the first few days of spring already here, this means warmer days, more sunlight, and longer days!

With winter behind us, we feel much more at ease to be driving. Although roads are not as risky as they were in the icy months, there are still things that need to be considered during the warm spring season. Prepare for the spring by reading these 4 spring driving tips!

Be Aware of Rain and Hail

spring driving safety
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Spring showers may bring more rain, but they also bring flooding and slippery roads. Go easy on your brakes while the roads are wet because if you brake hard, your wheels may lock up quickly. Just like how you would drive and brake slowly during the icy roads, take the same approach to when it rains.

Along with rain, beware of any hail that might arrive. You might drive through some of the more common states that often get hail storms such as Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska.

Refresh your Emergency Supplies

spring driving safety
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With allergies, the flu, and now Coronavirus spreading around, stocking up on the essentials is critical for your health. Restock any items in your emergency supplies, and stock on items such as water, food and snacks, batteries, and any other items you will need in case of a storm or accident.

Be on the Lookout for Potholes

safety tips for truck drivers
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Besides rainy days and hail storms, the other thing to watch out for is potholes. What might have been a blessing during the winter, potholes can be an issue during the spring. Through the plows, salt, and harsh weather conditions from the winter, there are potholes that can grow to impressive sizes.

It can be a pain but drive slowly or avoid the potholes as much as you can to avoid your cargo being damaged. Not only that, but you also end up avoiding any damage underneath your rig.

Be Prepared for Some Chilly Nights

truck driving safety tip of the day
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Although warmer days are coming, there are still some chilly days in regions all around the country. Don’t toss out the winter equipment you needed for the winter! Keep some winter equipment around such as a jacket, blanket, and a heater to keep you warm during those chilly days.

Got your sleep schedule mixed up with the daylight savings change? Read 5 Tips for How to Sleep Better in a Semi Truck.

At US Cargo Control, we want all truck drivers to be safe and careful during the spring season. If you have any questions about the products we carry, give our team a call at 866-444-9990.

5 Money-Saving Tips for Truck Drivers on the Road

Seeking money saving ideas for when you are on the road? Cut down your expenses by reading these 5 simple ways to save money.

Looking to lower your expenses when you are on the road? We get it. It can be challenging to not run out of money when you need to pay for food, gas, and showers. But, you have the ability to change that.

If you stick to a budget, you can save better and keep that hard-earned money. Read these 5 easy ways to save money when you are on the road and live comfortably.

1. Make a Budget

use a log book to discover saving tips
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In order to stick to a budget, create a budget that you can hold yourself accountable. One way you can start this is by creating an organized log so you can keep track of how much you are spending on food, gas, and tolls. Once you see how much you are purchasing daily, weekly, or monthly, you will start to notice how you can allocate budgeting for each category.

Let’s use food for example. Let’s say you plan for $200 a month for food. You can log and track how much you are spending on groceries, food when you are on the go, fuel, and such. This can determine how you can save if you are close to your monthly budget or if you are budgeting well!

2. Pack Your Meals

meal prep as money saving ideas
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Speaking of food, consider preparing your own food for the long haul. Food is the biggest expense for the truck driver, but you can budget better by meal prepping your own food. According to AOL Finance, “a meal costs $5 to $7 at a fast food restaurant, but the cost of cooking at home averages out to $1.50 to $3 per person.” You can easily save money by investing in your own meals, and eat healthier.

Not only this, you can even invest in a reusable bottle because there are gas stations that offer drink discounts. To avoid spending half your paycheck on food, check out 6 types of truck driver cooking appliances that will make your life easier. Fun fact, you can invest in a Keurig!

3. Ask about CDL Discounts and Get your Rewards

use the truck rewards card as saving tips
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You already have your CDL, so why not put it to good use? Chances are there will be hotels and restaurants that have CDL discounts. Flash your CDL and you might get some discounts!

Not only that, most truck stops offer rewards cards and loyalty programs. These are usually free to sign up, and you can get a lot of discounts on many things such as fuel, coffee, food, showers, and more! Take advantage of this opportunity because you can potentially save up for $1,000-$3,000 per year.

4. Use the Free Wifi

good ways to save money is using the wifi in places that offer them
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Eliminate using so much data on your phone, and use the free Wifi that many public places are offering. It is getting more common to have free Wifi in more places like truck stops, coffee places, and restaurants. Don’t be shy to ask for the Wifi password, and use the free service so you can stay for a while!

5. Cut Down on Laundry

simple ways to save money is cutting down on laundry
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Unfortunately, laundry isn’t cheap on the road as it can take a toll on your wallet. Cut down on laundry expenses by packing more clean clothes so you do not have to use the laundromat multiple times a week. If you pack more clothes, you can have the option to wash all your clothes at once.

At US Cargo Control, we appreciate all the work truck drivers do. We know it’s not easy, but we thank you for continuing to drive America forward. If you have any questions about the products we carry, give our team of experts a call at 800-404-7068.

3 Winter Truck Driving Tips: How to Protect your Rig from Salt and Grime

Learn how to fight salt and grime during these salty winter months.

As it continues to snow this time of the year, we worry about our vehicles when we drive through salt and grime. Not only is driving in the snow treacherous, but the salt used to melt ice on the roads can do a number on your rig. The paint job can come off and it will cause your truck to rust. This is a pain to deal with, but something that can be preventative.

To ensure the salt and grime don’t ruin your truck during these salty winter months, read these few easy steps.

1. Stay Clean

winter truck driving
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If you often drive in wintry conditions, a truck wash every one to two weeks can prevent salt from ruining the paint. You can hand wash or pressure wash your truck yourself, just like what you would do with your personal vehicle. If you are not feeling like washing it yourself, another option is to go through a truck wash. As long as you do one of these, the paint of your truck will never chip off!

Fun Fact: Make sure to rinse the wheels, its rims and under the chassis. if you do not do this, the salt will become an accelerant for oxidation and rusting.

2. Wax your Truck

winter safety tips for truck drivers
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After the truck is washed and dried, it’s good to put a coat of wax on it. Waxing creates a protective barrier for your truck that can prevent salt and grime from accumulating in the first place. The best time to wax your truck is before winter starts, but you can still wax your vehicle after giving it a thorough cleaning.

3. Get the Snow and Ice off of the Top of your Trailer

truck driving in snow
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This is not a tip that can get salt and grime off your truck, but rather a safety tip to protect drivers around you and yourself. Unfortunately, snow and ice slipping from the top of your trailer can potentially injure a person when they are driving behind you. The snow and ice can actually fall off and hit the driver.

This is something you’d want to avoid as you can get fined from some states. To prevent this from happening, make sure to get the snow off of your trailer before you start driving.

Tip: If you need to get it off quickly yourself, invest in a broom or extended brush. These items will do the job well.

Need more winter driving tips? Check out 4 Important Driving Tips for Truck Drivers

At US Cargo Control, we want all truck drivers to be safe during the winter season. Let us know if we can help provide you with the vehicle safety supplies or tires chains you need to keep on hauling!

5 Tips for How to Sleep Better in a Semi Truck

Read these five tips on how to get a good night sleep when you are on the job.

We all know about how important it is for truck drivers to stay awake while on the road, but what about falling asleep? Obviously, the better you sleep at night, the longer you’ll be able to go the next day. But when sleeping in a semi-truck, there are distractions that can keep you awake and they’re hard to ignore sometimes.

Don’t give up and feel like you have to get a hotel room just to feel rested, here are 5 tips that can help you fall asleep faster in your very own cozy semi bed!

1. Block out ALL Noise

where do truck drivers sleep
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If you can, try to park away from all the other trucks and other potentially loud distractions. Another tip to consider is choosing parking places that have minimum outside traffic.

You can also invest in earplugs or a “white noise” machine such as a fan to reduce sounds inside your truck. If your phone has the ability to turn on “Do Not Disturb” mode or to alert you for only important contacts, consider doing that before bedtime. We all know how hard it can be to ignore a text or phone call, but those noises and your bright phone screen will only make it harder to sleep.

2. Turn Off and Block All Lights

tips for sleeping in a semi truck in parking lot
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Although this is self-explanatory, remember that even the smallest amount of light can bother you! There are ways to block all lights immediately including investing in some curtains or shades to cover all windows in your truck, a large sunshade over your windshield, and using something to cover any electronic lights within your rig.

If all fails, then invest in a sleep mask. You can get them for a cheap price at the dollar store or a convenience store.

3. Get Comfortable

inside a truck sleeper bedroom and mattress
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Is your truck sleeper cab getting uncomfortable? Maybe it’s time to replace or upgrade your mattress. Having a comfortable bed not only helps you sleep better, but it also helps prevent soreness or aches when you wake up in the morning.

Another thing to consider is purchasing a new mattress pad to place on top of the sleeper. Foam mattress toppers are less of an investment than getting a whole new mattress and they also provide benefits like providing more cushion and reducing pressure points.

4. Have a Routine

semi truck sleeper cab layout
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Trucking can at times be unpredictable, but try your best to maintain a bedtime routine. Your body loves routines and will adjust well when you maintain that routine. Whether it’s reading a book or watching your favorite show, try to stay in a familiar routine for the best chance of sleeping well in your semi-truck.

With that in mind, try to keep regular hours with your job, or at least try to avoid often swapping between day and night shifts. Too much schedule changes can affect your sleep, and it’s best to avoid that.

5. Keep Your Truck Cool and Comfortable for You

air temperature controls inside semi truck for better sleep at night
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Everybody’s preferred temperature varies, so be sure to keep your semi at a temperature that is comfortable for you. When it’s warm outside, consider using a small fan for extra airflow. When it’s getting colder, have extra bedding or a small heater in your truck. In fact, if you are looking for extra warmth for the upcoming winter, then check out our black USCC hooded sweatshirt!

Good Sleep = Good Health

Good sleep is just as important as the right nutrition and exercise. If you’re unable to find success sleeping in your semi-truck, you may experience crankiness or bad moods, an increase in health risks, and even over-eating. Make sure to take care of yourself and look to improve your sleep now.

If you want to be healthier, check out 6 simple ways to be a healthier truck driver.

At US Cargo Control, we want all truck drivers to be safe and well-rested. You are the backbone of America’s economy, and we appreciate all that you do to keep us moving forward.

12 Top-Notch Truck Stops in America with Secure Parking

truck stops across America

Every long distance driver needs a place to refuel, recharge, and most importantly – a place to feel safe parking. We’ve compiled a list of truck stops across America that stand out for their secure parking and generous amenities.  

These are the types of truck stops we need more of across America. 

1. Florida 595– Davie, FL  

Conveniently located at the intersection of I-595 and I-441. With over 450 parking spaces and 24/7 on-site security, you can sleep without worry. The sports bar and chrome shop don’t hurt either. 

2. Lodi Travel Center– Lodi, OH  

Reserve one of the almost 250 parking spaces by going to their website. They also have a laundry room, pet area, repair shop, general store, and more. After you eat in the 24-hour restaurant, you can burn some calories playing basketball, horseshoes, or bag toss.  

3. Bosselman Travel Center– Grand Island, NE

Described as ” the most luxurious, full-service travel facility in the Midwest.” With over 400 parking spaces, a movie theater, chiropractic office, and masseuse – it may well be. 

4. Clearwater Travel Plaza– Clearwater, MN 

Located just off I-94, 60 miles west of the Twin Cities. This place aims to make you feel at home. You can relax in the drivers’ lounge with free wi-fi and flat-screen TVs. They will even deliver food and drink from the restaurant, pub, bakery, or food court – right to your chair. 

5. Little America– Flagstaff, AZ 

Little America is a mini-chain that knows how to treat their guests. Expect a spacious, fenced, and lighted parking area. They also offer hot showers, fine dining, and a 24/7 repair shop. 

6. Jubitz Travel Center– Portland, OR       

Jubitz is just off I-5 at Exit 307. With over 300 parking spaces, showers, oversized towels, and jacuzzi tubs, this place is certainly worth checking out.  

7. Johnson Corner Truck Stop– Johnson, CO 

Located just off I-25 at Exit 254. This historic stop has been open 24 hours a day since 1952. That’s the type of dedication to truckers we need more of! They offer overnight parking and cinnamon rolls as big as dinner plates. What more could you ask for? 

8. Davis Travel Center– Stony Creek, VA 

Take Exit 33 off I-95 to get to this spacious travel center. Fuel up your rig, then fuel yourself up at Denny’s, Subway, or Starbucks. Overnight parking available. 

9. Dysart’s Truck Stop– Bangor, ME 

Family-owned for over 45 years. This place has ample space in their well-lit parking lot. Enjoy authentic Maine cuisine in their restaurant, and de-stress in the arcade room.  

Iowa 80 is the World's Largest Truck Stop
The World’s Largest Truck Stop is in Walcott, Iowa

10. Iowa 80 Truck Stop– Walcott, IA 

With over 900 spots, no truck parking list is complete without Iowa 80. The World’s Largest Truck Stop. Some call it the “Trucker Disneyland.” With eight restaurants, a dentist, museum, and so much more, this place could easily have its own zip code.

11. North Forty Truck Stop– Holladay, TN 

Take Exit 126 off I-40. In addition to overnight parking and spacious showers, this stop has laundry rooms, a barbershop, and even a masseuse. Also, the 24/7 restaurant has a reputation for making delicious southern comfort food.

12. South of the Border– Hamer, SC 

Okay, this stop isn’t so much about the parking as it is the fun. There’s a golf course, reptile lagoon, and 200-foot Sombrero Observation Tower. If you’re driving through South Carolina, you must check this place out. 

Where is Your Favorite Truck Stop? 

We love to hear from you! Have you visited any of these locations? Maybe you’ve been to a place that deserves to be on this list. Let us know in the comment section below.

Tornado Safety Tips for Drivers

tornado21We recently posted an informal poll on our USCC Facebook page asking what you would do if you were driving in a rural area and a tornado was suddenly heading in your direction. Answer choices included: 1) Pull over and stay in your vehicle 2) Leave your vehicle and find a ditch to lie down in 3) Step on the gas and try and outrun it

So, what is the right answer? That depends on who you ask.

For years, the most popular advice was to leave your vehicle and find a ravine, ditch, or other low-lying area and lie as flat as possible. The theory behind this is that a car can become a flying missile in a tornado – something you don’t want to be trapped inside. Age-old advice also suggested you never try and out run a tornado.

However the American Red Cross has changed their safety advice, suggesting that if you are caught outdoors, with no shelter, you should get into a vehicle, buckle the seat belt, and drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If debris begins flying while you are driving, you should park the vehicle, keep your seat belt on, put your head below the windows and cover with your hands. You can read the full set of guidelines here: Red Cross Tornado Safety Tips.

Weather.com also advocates staying in a vehicle, but takes its safety tips further by saying you should leave the car running so the airbags will deploy if necessary. You can read the full set of guidelines here: Weather.com Tornado Safety Tips.El_Reno,_OK_EF-5_Tornado_2013-05-31

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Weather Service (NWS) also acknowledges that while there are few safe options if you’re caught in a car during a tornado, it does suggest that if the tornado is visible in the distance, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado.

You can read the full set of guidelines here: NOAA Tornado Safety Tips.

Ultimately, being prepared is your best defense when faced with the possibility of a tornado crossing your path. Stay alert and informed. The NWS will issue a Tornado Watch if conditions are favorable for the development of storms capable of producing tornadoes (this is different from a Tornado Warning, which means a storm has produced a tornado and has been confirmed by site or indicated by radar).

The NOAA safety tips also offers these things to look and listen for:

  • Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base.
  • Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base — tornadoes sometimes have no funnel.
  • Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can’t be seen.
  • Day or night – Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn’t fade in a few seconds like thunder.
  • Night – Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level near a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean power lines are being snapped by very strong wind, maybe a tornado.
  • Night – Persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning — especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath

(source: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/safety.html)

Conflicting advice on potentially dangerous situations can be unnerving, but ultimately the right choices will depend on each unique situation. Tell us:

Have you been faced with a tornado while on the road? If so, what advice would you give?