Winter Truck Maintenance: 10 Tips to Prepare Your Truck for Winter

Cold temperatures are hard on the engine and the vehicle’s components. Read our ten tips on how to prepare your truck for the winter.

Is your truck prepared for the cold weather? With winter quickly approaching, checking your truck’s maintenance is critical to the safety of your vehicle, those driving around you, and you. 

Frigid temperatures and harsh winter conditions are hard on any vehicle, especially fleet vehicles that are on the road for multiple hours a day. Before temperatures drop to freezing points, prepare your truck for the upcoming winter with this maintenance checklist. 

Avoid Cold Soaks

Cold soaks occur when the engine block’s fluids and metal components are dropped due to being in chilly environments.  In other words, it means the engine has been inactive for an extended period (for more than a day), and cold weather can play a part in that. Just make sure to keep your engine running, and that it’s not sitting inactively for more than 24 hours!

Check Tires and their Tire Pressure 

check tires during winter

Remember to keep tabs on your truck’s tire pressure before and during winter. Cold temperatures can slowly reduce tire pressure, impacting tire tread life, fuel economy, and your safety.

If you have tires with wearing tread, this can cause slippery driving conditions as well. Make sure to have inflated tires as running winter tires in good condition will help prevent breakdowns and accidents.

Plug in the Engine Block Heater

If you drive during the winter months, you’ve probably heard that you might need to plug in your vehicle’s engine block heater so it can start. You’ll need an engine block heater because when extreme winter temperatures occur, 0° F or below, and you start the engine – the oil through the engine block thickens up and begins to get gooey. This will make it harder for the oil to move through the engine, causing it to work harder, use more gas, and produce more emissions. 

If it’s going to be cold during the night or early morning hours, you should probably plug in the block heater. A good rule of thumb is to plug it in when the weather reaches 5°F. 

Tip: To avoid cold soaks, this can help keep the block of the engine warm, making it easier for the engine to start. 

Check Your Front, Back, and Sidelights

check lights during winter, winter truck maintenance

Test to see if all your lights are working properly. Without bright lights leading the way through snowstorms, foggy conditions, or icy roads, it can be difficult to see where you’re going.

Check Your Battery 

Cold engines require much more battery power to start, and heat is damaging to a battery. Batteries drain quickly in cold weather, and can especially be challenging to charge. 

During your maintenance checklist, check that the battery is not past its expiration date so you know it’s capable of holding a good charge, and clean off any connections prior often during winter. 

Always Keep Your Fuel Tank at Least Half Full 

This is something we at US Cargo Control always do during the winter! We recommend keeping your fuel tank half full for a couple reasons. Condensation can build up in the tank, causing fuel lines to freeze when temperatures get cold. 

Another reason to keep it half full is you may get stranded during the winter due to breakdowns, traffic, or car wrecks, and keeping your tank half full allows you to keep it running for warmth should you become stranded. 

Change Your Wipers

Semi Truck Wipers Check and Replacement

It’s important to replace your windshield wipers at least once a year, and it could be good to do it at the beginning of winter. 

When driving through snow or rain, you depend on your wiper blades to keep your vision clear. The harsh conditions of freezing rain, snow, and ice build-up could leave you in a bad spot with a broken or worn-out wiper blade. Inspect your wipers to ensure they’re in top shape. 

Check Fluid Levels

The important fluid levels to check regularly are engine oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid. If any of the levels are low or empty, fill them up before you start your journey in cold weather. This also helps with maintaining a good fuel economy.

Use Winterized Fuel 

Cold weather is rough on diesel fuel, and there’s nothing worse than dealing with a drop in fuel economy and your truck refusing to start when temperatures are below zero. Running your truck with untreated fuel during freezing temperatures can create many issues such as fuel gelling, frozen fuel lines, or plugged filters from build-up. Using seasonally enhanced fuels like CENEX, Wintermaster, or Premium Diesel Fuel will operate freezing temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Avoiding these problems will not help extend the life of your engine, but will keep you rolling!

Plan Ahead 

Highway through the windshield during a rainstorm and snowstorm

Every region in the country is different, and you should plan ahead so you can treat fuel accordingly and pack the essentials. Read 15 Winter Driving Kit Essentials so you can stock your vehicle with the items you’ll need.

Other Winter Tips from US Cargo Control

We care about your safety, and we want to make sure you’re able to get through the winter season. Read more of our tips to stay prepared:

4 Important Winter Driving Tips for Truck Drivers

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

4 Important Nighttime Driving Tips for Truck Drivers

How to Choose and Use Tire Chains like a Pro

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

9 Types of Trailers in the Trucking Industry, and Which Fits Your Freight Needs

Choose the right trailer for your freight by learning about the different types of trailers.

Truckers collectively travel 450 billion miles each year to haul cargo for consumers, carrying 11 billion tons of merchandise, electronics, supplies, and produce. This means truckers are the most commonly used means of transporting freight in today’s world. But, with many different trailers on the road today, it can be difficult to identify which trailer type is used for, and what’s best for your freight.

We’ll break down some of the most common trailers found in America, and how to use them for hauling cargo. Read to find out the 9 types of the most common trailers, and which trailer type best fits your freight needs. 

Dry Van and Enclosed Trailers

enclosed trailer type for hauling cargo
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

As it indicates in the name, an enclosed trailer has a container to enclose the load. When it comes to the shipments of pallet-based, boxed, or loose commodities, dry van trailers are the go-to solution. Typically around 53 feet, the dry van trailer is the most common type of trailer on the road today. 

Truckers usually use dry van trailers to ship the items that people ship every day. Large corporations like Walmart and Target use dry van trailers to transport their inventories like clothing, non-perishable food items, and household goods. These trailers are the ideal equipment for any shipper/receiver to use anytime because of their box-like shape and ability to back right into the loading dock’s bay. These trailers are a versatile and cost-effective investment for any company looking to expand its fleet and provide security to the cargo. 

The only disadvantage is the trailer’s floor cannot support a lot of weight, so they’re not good for carrying oversized loads (unlike a flatbed).  

Read 3 Accessories Every Enclosed Trailer Hauler Should Have to see what enclosed trailer equipment you need to protect your cargo.

Standard Flatbed Trailers

flatbed trailer for hauling cargo and freight
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

The standard flatbed trailer is another popular type of trailer that you’ll see on the road as well. They come in different sizes like 24, 40, 45, 48, and 53 feet, but the 48-foot flatbed trailer is the most frequently used. 

The standard flatbed trailer is a very versatile trailer in today’s world. The flatbed’s open back and sides allow for easy loading and unloading, and you can haul steel, construction equipment, lumber, and other open-air commodities with this trailer type. 

It doesn’t have a container to contain the cargo like a dry van trailer, so you must use heavy-duty equipment to secure your cargo, like our tarps to cover the items. At US Cargo Control, we have transport chains and binders, tiedown straps, and tarp solutions to ensure the safety of your cargo. 

Read the 5 Pieces of Flatbed Trailer Equipment Every Driver Should Have.

Refrigerated Trailers (or Reefers)

refrigerated or reefer trucks hauling commodities
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

As it says in the name, refrigerated trailers move any contents that require temperature control (think, cool temperatures). Their temperature control abilities and insulated walls make them the only type of trailer that’s perfect for hauling perishable items like fruit, frozen food, pharmaceuticals, and ice cream. 

The refrigerated trailer can only haul items up to 8 feet tall and 8 feet wide, so reefers cannot haul any commodity that exceeds the length of the deck.

Drop-Deck/Step-Deck Trailers 

drop deck or step deck trailer
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Drop deck (or step-deck) trailers are an alternative to the flatbed trailer when loads cannot transport on the flatbed trailer due to the freight’s height. The flatbed trailer is about 60 inches above the ground, while step deck trailers are close to the ground to provide a little leverage for carrying loads taller than 8 feet. 

This drop-deck trailer has two deck levels, the upper-deck and the lower-deck, and has a ramp for unloading. The most critical factor about this trailer is they are safer for unloading by a forklift because they’re closer to the ground. 

Double Drop/Lowboy Trailers

Lowboy or double drop trailer for hauling heavier items
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Also known as a low bed or float trailer, the double drop trailer is far closer to the ground than any other trailer type. The trailer has two “drops” that reside behind the gooseneck and before the back wheels. 

These trailers sit very close to the ground, which the drop allows the shipping of huge items like construction equipment that’s heavier than the maximum weight limit of other trailer types. Their maximum height in width is greater than other trailer types and the weight limit is 40,000 pounds (and can be up 80,000 pounds). These factors are perfect for hauling machinery and equipment like bulldozers and excavators.

These trucking trailers are the workhorses, but you would need additional permits from authorities. 

Removable Gooseneck Trailers (RGN)

Removable gooseneck trailer for transporting heavy machinery
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

These are excellent for carrying tall and long freights, and can come in a variety of sizes. The gooseneck secures the trailer to the tractor, and the front of these trailers can be removed. 

How it works is that the gooseneck is a detachable front, allowing the trailer to drop on the ground in order to create a ramp. The gooseneck is a perfect tool for hauling large machinery from point A to B. They can require additional permits due to the height and weight load and can have up to 20 axles attached to the trailer. The more axles, the more the RGN can carry. 

They are more specialized, so they render a more expensive usage. 

Extendable Flatbed Stretch Trailers

extendable flatbed trailer
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

As it hints in the name, this flatbed extends when you’re hauling freight that’s excessively long and cannot be carried by a standard type of trailer. The extendable flatbed trailer can extend to 80 feet, allowing shipments of larger loads to ship. 

When the trailer bed needs to extend, you release the pin that’s joining the two sections, which send the extendable portion of the bed to “stretch.” 

Side-Kit Trailers

side kit trailer to carry granular materials like gravel and rocks
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Side-kit trailers transport materials that do not need to be packed in containers or materials that cannot be packed. For example, granular materials like crops, coal, powders, gravel, etc.  The side-kit trailer has a panel made from either plywood or fiberglass and typically has a tent-like top covering. 

Granular materials are irregular in shape that they can’t be contained in an enclosed container, but we carry many types of tarps you can use to cover these types of materials. 

They’re highly versatile trailers and they have low operating costs, making side-kit trailers a highly used trailer in the industry. 

Specialized Trailers 

specialized trailers to transport hazardous materials
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

A specialty trailer refers to a container that carries a particular product. You can transport certain items like hazardous materials or liquids, but the amount of weight they can move varies. 

These trailers require a special permit and the driver has to have a special license to tow the load. Below are some types of specialized trailers:

  1. Trailers for transporting hazardous materials like petrol, oil, diesel, and other hazardous/flammable materials. This requires additional permits and higher costs to transport them.
  2. Medical Trailers that include mobile clinics to provide medical services and equipment to people on-site. This requires additional permits.
  3. Food Service Trailers that accommodate entire kitchens, providing food services to people on-the-go.

Find the Right Cargo Equipment for Your Trailer Type

Whether you need cargo control equipment for an enclosed trailer or flatbed trailer, US Cargo Control has a wide variety of trailer securement solutions. Our heavy-duty trucking equipment is designed with safety and industry standards in mind and made to withstand any abuse that the road may bring its way.

No matter which trailer type you choose, you can be rest assured knowing that you’re buying from a leading cargo securement supplier that’s trusted by thousands in the trucking and transportation industry. Our Midwestern team of experts keeps you moving forward by being dedicated to getting you what you want, when you need it.

To ensure the safety of your cargo, the people driving around you, and yourself, it’s important to haul cargo on your trailer correctly. Read the Dos and Don’ts of Load Securement Trailers.

At US Cargo Control, we want you to have the highest quality products so you can get the job done. If you would have any questions about our trailer accessories, give our team a call at 866-444-9990.

10 Best Apps for Truck Drivers to Use in 2021 – For On and Off the Road

Read to find what trucking apps you should use in 2021.

As we all know, there’s an app for everything these days. There are especially trucking apps that truck drivers can use on and off the road, whether it efficiently improves your job or your well-being. There are many factors that go into the day of a trucker – from planning routes, executing hauls, and finding parking availability when done for the day.

Luckily, there are many trucking and lifestyle apps to choose from. You can compare fuel prices, find truck stops and read reviews on them, and stream music or audiobooks from your phone.

Whether you’re new to the trucking industry or you’re curious if some apps can help you to the best of your ability, we have some recommendations for you to use for the long haul. Continue reading the best apps that every trucker should use in 2021.

Trucker Path

This is the most popular and ultimate truck driving app in North America. You can get relevant information that you need in one app, and you’re able to read information and reviews from truckers for over 40,000 truck stops.  Some features include a mapping system that you can use to avoid low bridges, find the nearest fuel stops with truck clearance, compare fuel prices, and record hours of service. You’re able to plan a multi-day trip in advance!

Special Features:

  • Includes information for more than 7,000 truck stops in the U.S. and Canada
  • Updates on parking availability
  • Truck drivers’ forum
  • Information on weight station and scales
  • Trip planner option 
  • Find fuel stops with truck clearance 

Weigh My Truck

Weigh My Truck was created to save drivers time while at weigh stations. This is an app made by the CAT Scale Company where truckers can use the app to weigh their trucks automatically. The app locates the CAT scale you’ve arrived at and allows you to pay with your phone, sending a PDF receipt of the ticket and weight information to your email. You don’t have to leave your truck now!

Special Features:

  • Avoid wasting time walking inside to pay at weigh stations, or waiting to bypass a station
  • Weigh your trucks automatically 
  • Allows you to pay with your smartphone 
  • Receive PDF receipts of the ticket and weight information to your email

GasBuddy 

This neat fuel app has a database of more than 150,000 fuel stations across North America that you can access to find the cheapest fuel prices. Anytime that you can save money is a win. This app includes a trip cost calculator, station outage tracker, gas price map, and a place to track fuel purchases. 

GasBuddy can tell you when the price of diesel is increasing so you can fill up your tank before it happens. It can also monitor your driving habits to inform you if you’re wasting gas and money. 

Special Features:

  • Includes more than 150,000 gas stations in North America
  • Helps find the cheapest fuel price
  • Fuel Rewards
  • Access reviews of gas stations
  • Alerts when you’re wasting fuel 
  • Provides information on fuel stops with shower and food

Google Maps

Although an app everybody can use, this has some great features for truckers. It has a satellite view, where you can see from an overhead position if you need to see any obstructions, driveways to follow, and how to find the dock. You can also switch to street-view to get a 360-degree angle view of different locations on the map.

Basically, you can see exactly how a place looks like before you arrive at the destination to avoid any surprises! Technology is truly amazing. 

Their real-time traffic updates and search navigation are also helpful for receiving traffic alerts while driving or when you want to search restaurants, rest stops, and other spots in the area. The downside is Google Maps doesn’t prioritize truck routes, so a trucker GPS will be your best bet in getting accurate routes. You can still use them both simultaneously!

Special Features:

  • Panorama street view and satellite view to check parking spots, docks, and other locations
  • Real-time traffic updates
  • Updates on businesses that are open and closed 
  • Search for restaurants, fuel stations, rest areas, and more
  • Voice assistance feature

My Fitness Pal

Eating well on the road can be difficult, but My Fitness Pal can help you make smarter choices about what to eat and how to exercise. You can log your meals on the app and use its nutritional insights to plan future meals or make healthier choices when ordering out. If you’re curious about your calorie intake, you can log food by scanning barcode labels or choose items from its database to understand an idea of what or how much you should eat in a day. 

Special Features:

  • Track meals and your movement 
  • Log meals to gain nutritional insights and calorie intake
  • Log food by scanning barcode labels or choosing items from its database
  • Plan future meals

Weather Channel

Be secure with where you’re driving to with the Weather Channel app. 

Their rain forecast is usually precise, letting you know when it will rain in advance, and you can get weather updates wherever you are. You can also use their radar to check how serious the weather will be ahead of time. If you’re a trucker, you know weather and wind speed will affect your driving, so this app will be extremely helpful for getting accurate information. 

Special Features:

  • Current weather reading in your location
  • Get alerts of expected weather 
  • Animated live radar to track weather currently or ahead of time
  • Information on wind speed 
  • Warning when there is expected thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes


Audible

If you enjoy listening to audiobooks while driving, Audible is a great choice. You can get access to thousands of audiobooks, so you’ll never get tired of listening to a variety of genres! Users can sign in with their Amazon account, and if you’re a new member, you can enjoy a 30-day free trial. 

The best part is you can personalize your library and download the audiobooks to listen offline. 

Special Features:

  • Wide collection of audiobooks 
  • Customize your library 
  • Listen to audiobooks offline
  • Sign in with Amazon account
  • Free first-month trial 

Spotify 

Listen to your favorite music or podcasts as you drive. You can create your own playlist or listen to Spotify’s curated playlists based on artists, moods, or genres. 

Spotify is a huge music streaming service, and its huge library makes it perfect to listen to music on the road without getting bored. You can choose the free version (you’d have to stick with their ads), or the premium version with no ads. 

  • Wide library of music, podcasts, and more 
  • Create your playlist
  • Easy to search interface
  • Free version available 

Calm

This is a great app to use when you’re on a break, meditating, or sleeping.  The app comes with more than 500 HD audio channels to stream relaxation music. The only con is the ads may interrupt your sleep with the free membership, but you can pay the membership to listen freely with no ads.

You can enjoy all types of relaxing genres like jazz, classical music, country music, pop-rock, and adult contemporary, as well as nature sounds in the background. 

Special Features:

  • A lot of music channels
  • Meditation music 
  • Sleep timer
  • Nature sounds in the background to help you relax 
  • Unlimited listening 

Rolling Strong

Rolling Strong is a free health and wellness app from a company dedicated to the well-being of truck drivers. The app offers nutritional guidance by suggesting meals and exercise programs based on your daily sleep, exercise, and water and calorie intake. Since you’re on the road frequently, the app can show you the nearest fitness spots with truck parking spaces available based on your locations, and you can watch exercise training videos to help you get moving. 

Special Features:

  • It tells you the nearest fitness stops
  • Monitors your sleeping pattern
  • Can track calories 
  • Redeem points for rewards 
  • Online coaching to get fit
  • Remind you to hydrate

Great Reads for Truckers

We have some great reads for you to improve your habits and well-being while driving for the long haul!

5 Tips for How to Sleep Better in a Semi Truck

4 Important Nighttime Driving Tips for Truck Drivers

5 Fun Things for Truck Drivers to Do When on the Road

6 Types of Truck Driver Cooking Equipment That Will Make Your Life Easier

5 Money-Saving Tips for Truck Drivers on the Road

Long-Haul Truck Drivers Share The Most Scenic Drives in America

At US Cargo Control, we care about our customers and getting them what they want, when they need it. If you have any questions about our products, give our a team a call at 866-444-9990.

CVSA’s Brake Safety Week 2021 Starts This Week

Brake Safety Week is running from August 22nd-28th. Find out what law enforcement officials will be inspecting, and how to prepare for it.

Inspectors will be on the lookout for faulty brakes this week. 

From now until August 28th, law enforcement officials in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico will perform brake inspections as part of CVSA’s Brake Safety Week. This campaign is an important week for truck drivers because properly functioning brakes are critical for safe driving. The truck’s brakes can withhold tough conditions, but brakes are inspected so your truck can perform well throughout its life.

Read more to find out what the week is about, what law enforcement officials will be inspecting, and how to prepare for it.

What is Brake Safety Week?

CVSA Brake Safety Week 2021

This is a campaign hosted by CVSA to conduct roadside inspections and identify brake violations on commercial motor vehicles. If your vehicle has any violations, it will be placed out-of-service (OOS) until they are corrected.

If you pass the inspection during the Level I or V inspection, you will receive a CVSA decal.

What Will Officials be Inspecting?

They’ll look at your brake system and its components, as well as its maintenance, operation, and performance. Inspectors will pay attention to the brake hoses and tubing which must be without leaks, appropriately flexible, and be free of any other type of damage.

According to CVSA, the inspector will:

  • Check for missing, non-functioning, loose, contaminated or cracked parts on the brake system.
  • Check for S-cam flip-over.
  • Listen for audible air leaks around brake components and lines.
  • Check for improper connections and chafing of air hoses and tubing.
  • Ensure slack adjusters are the same length (from center of S-cam to center of clevis pin) and the air chambers on each axle are the same size.
  • Ensure the air system maintains air pressure.
  • Look for non-manufactured holes (such as rust holes or holes created by friction) and broken springs in the spring brake housing.
  • Mark and measure pushrod travel.
  • Inspect required brake system warning devices, such as anti-lock braking system malfunction lamp(s) and low air-pressure warning devices.
  • Inspect the tractor protection system, including the bleed-back system on the trailer.
  • Ensure the breakaway system is operable on the trailer.

In addition to checking your brake system, they may also look at other components so your vehicle is in top-notch shape. This can include:

  • Cargo securement
  • Coupling devices
  • Driveline/driveshaft components
  • Driver’s seat (if it’s missing)
  • Exhaust systems
  • Frames
  • Fuel systems
  • Lighting devices 
  • Steering mechanisms
  • Suspensions 
  • Tires and wheels
  • Van and open-top trailer bodies  
  • Rims and hubs
  • Windshield wipers

Why Does Brake Safety Week Occur Every Year?

CVSA Brake Safety Week 2021 August

Although commercial motor vehicles’ brakes can hold up against tough conditions, you must inspect them often. Your vehicle’s brake system needs to be maintained carefully to perform well throughout its life. 

Brake-related violations make up the largest percentage of all out-of-service violations during roadside inspections. If the brake system is poorly maintained, this can reduce the braking capacity and stopping distance of trucks and buses. This poses a serious risk to drivers!

Back on May 19th, 2021, CVSA presented data proving why a week is devoted to identifying brake violations on commercial motor vehicles. Brake violations and removing vehicles with out-of-service brake violations exist because:

  • Brake system and brake adjustment violations accounted for more vehicle violations than any other vehicle violation category, accounting for 38.6% of all vehicle out-of-service conditions, during last year’s three-day International Roadcheck.
  • “Brake system” was the third most cited vehicle-related factor in fatal commercial motor vehicle and passenger vehicle crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) latest “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts” report.
  • Brake-related violations accounted for eight out of the top 20 vehicle violations in 2020, according to FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System.
  • During last year’s Brake Safety Week, 12% of the 43,565 commercial motor vehicles inspected were placed out of service for brake-related violations.

How to Prepare for the Inspection

Inspect your brake system and all brake components regularly during your pre and post-trip inspection. Performing this can help you identify any issues and feel confident that your vehicle is in safe operating condition. 

We have a list of items below that you can visually check your brake system on a regular basis:

  • Celvis pins
  • Slack adjuster 
  • Air lines
  • Air brake chamber
  • Cotter pins
  • Brake hoses and tubing 

The CVSA has a FAQ sheet that answers common questions about your brake system that you can learn more about. They also have a brake inspection checklist which is a great way for you to stay prepared for your roadside inspection!

At US Cargo Control, We Care About Your Safety

Just like how you would practice being a safe driver, inspecting your brakes is equally as important. If you continue to inspect your vehicle’s components regularly, you can leave others and yourself safe from dangerous situations.

Read our other blogs to practice even safer driving behaviors:

Dos and Don’ts on Load Securement

A Simple Guide on How to Use a Ratchet Strap and How to Release It

How Many Tie Down Straps Do I Need to Secure My Cargo?

Working Load Limit, Breaking Strength & Safety Factor: What Do They Mean?

Truck Drivers, thank you for moving us forward. We appreciate your hard work to deliver the goods that we consume every day. If you have any questions about the products we carry, give our team of experts a call at 866-444-9990.

Heads Up! CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week 2021 is Here

Operation Safe Driver Week is July 11th-July 17th. Read what the program is about, and how to prepare for it.

Do you know that speeding is a factor in a quarter of crash deaths since 2008, and it’s the most frequent driver-related crash factor for drivers of commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles? Speeding is also a factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities in 2018, killing 9,378 people or an average of more than 25 people per day.

This is why CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week exists. 

This year’s Operation Safe Driver Week has started and will continue to run until July 17th, 2021. This year’s focus is on speeding and other dangerous driving behaviors. During this time, law enforcement personnel will be on the lookout for commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers engaging in risky behaviors in or around a commercial motor vehicle. 

Unsafe drivers will be pulled over and issued a citation or warning. Continue reading what the program is about, and how to prepare for it.

What is CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week?

Law enforcement during operation safe driver week 2021

Operation Safe Driver Week helps reduce the number of crashes involving commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles due to unsafe driving behaviors. The goal behind this program is to improve drivers’ behaviors through educational and traffic enforcement strategies. 

Most crashes are caused by drivers’ actions, and research shows that interactions with law enforcement change the driver’s behaviors. 

What to Know about Operation Safe Driver Week 2021

Prepare for Operation Safe Driver Week 2021

What you need to know if you’re pulled over for speeding, officers will deeply investigate you and your vehicle. You may receive a warning or citation if you engage in speeding or other risky driving habits.

The other problematic driving behaviors officers will track but not limited to are:

Results from the Past Few Years

CVSA selected speeding as its focus this year because even though there was a drop in road travel last year due to the pandemic, traffic fatalities still increased nationally.

Surprisingly, the estimated rate of death on roads last year increased 24% over the previous 12-month period, despite miles driven were dropped to 13%. This is the highest estimated year-over-year jump NSC has calculated in 96 years.

Tips for Truckers

Safety tips for operation safe driver week 2021

To prepare yourself during and after this week, follow the tips below for best practices.

  • Follow the speed limits.
  • Abide by common traffic laws, obey traffic control devices, and wear your seat belt.
  • Don’t engage in dangerous driving behaviors and practice defensive driving.
  • Continue to operate within the Hours of Service regulations to ensure you’re well rested and alert when driving.
  • Allow additional time to get to your destination safely.
  • Avoid tailgating.

At US Cargo Control, We Care About Your Safety

By spreading awareness about Operation Safe Driver Week, we want to make sure truckers are prepared during and after this event. It may be easier to speed so you can reach your destination faster, but that comes with a risk. It’s better to get there safely, than not get there at all.

Stay safe out there, and use defensive driving skills!

Other Reads for Truckers:

Long-Haul Truck Drivers Share The Most Scenic Drives in America

5 Money-Saving Tips for Truck Drivers on the Road

6 Types of Truck Driver Cooking Equipment That Will Make Your Life Easier

5 Fun Things for Truck Drivers to Do When on the Road

5 Tips for How to Sleep Better in a Semi Truck

9 Free Ways for Truck Drivers to Save on Fuel

Truck Drivers, thank you for moving us forward. We appreciate your hard work to deliver the goods that we consume every day. If you have any questions about the products we carry, give our team of experts a call at 866-444-9990.

4 Tips on How to Stay Healthy During a Pandemic (or Flus/Viruses)

Looking for ways to minimize risk of being exposed now that businesses are opening slowly? Read more on how to stay healthy on the road.

We are still in a pandemic, and there is always something new every day. Businesses and restaurants have been slowly opening, but what are their prevention cautions and what do truckers need to know to stay healthy? Read more to find out 4 tips on how to stay healthy during a pandemic.

This isn’t your basic list of suggestions on what and how to stay healthy. Instead, this is a list for truck drivers on steps they can take to minimize risk. Don’t worry, we are leaving out the lecture on handwashing and hand sanitizer!

1. Plan Ahead to Keep Yourself Safe

Stay healthy by planning ahead
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Plan routes ahead of time, and stay prepared with what prevention cautions businesses are practicing. This can be checking the restaurant’s website or social media for updated information on safety guidelines, asking your bank for options for telephone or virtual meetings to use their services, or if your gym is offering various options like reservations or check-in systems.

Of course, there are still other options such as ordering food to go and using drive-thru banking services. We all have different ways to venture, but make sure you are practicing the best safety measures so you can minimize the risk of being sick. CDC updated its information on how to stay safe when you resume some daily activities.

2. Always Have the Necessities in Hand

Keeping food stocked in your truck will help you eat healthy stay healthy
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

It’s always good to keep the necessities stocked in case of an emergency. Make sure you have food, water, and medicine on hand, just in case you get sick or start to show symptoms.

Although restaurants are opening up, it’s never too late to learn some new recipes or cooking skills. You can do it in the safety of your truck! If you’re wondering what cooking equipment you can cook with, read 6 Types of Truck Driver Cooking Equipment that will also become cost-effective in the long run.

Bonus: if you cook food in your truck, it will smell delicious.

3. Be Hygienic at the Gas Station

Being cautious at gas stations is a way of staying safe on the road
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The more common gas stations like Love’s have apps that can help limit your exposure to others. For example, Love’s Connect App has many features such as activating the pump from your cab, and you can reserve a shower with the Mobile Shower Check!

You should also be aware that fuel pumps are going to be the dirtiest at gas stations, so make sure you are being hygienic. Using hand sanitizer after use or using a rag to pump your gas are helpful ways to avoid illness. You can even use the cloth as a barrier between your hand and the keypad when you pay.

4. Get Your Information from Credible Sources

For general tips and information, continue to read from credible sources such as the CDC. Knowledge is power, and it’s good to keep your eyes and ears open during the Coronavirus pandemic. Check out CDC’s page on general tips on what truck drivers can do to protect themselves and slow the spread.

At US Cargo Control, we care about our customers and getting them what they want, when they need it. If you have any questions about our products, give our a team a call at 866-444-9990.

Thank you Truckers for Driving Us Forward During The Coronavirus Crisis

When hard, challenging times like this occur, that is when we need to help each other and build a community.

As we continue to feel uncertainty and adapt to altered daily lives caused by Coronavirus in America, there is one thing that is for certain. Trucking companies are stepping up and making heroic efforts to keep shelves in grocery stores stocked. This includes items such as food, cleaning supplies, and other necessities.

There is no doubt that with the increased demands of supplies, truckers are still keeping pace with the evolving supply chain. Because people are adhering to COVID-19 protocols, there is less traffic on our roads and highways, creating a safer situation for truck drivers. Although the roads and highways may have less traffic, you may notice it is difficult for them to dine in many restaurants, use amenities such as workout facilities, or simply get coffee from coffee shops.

how truckers are facing coronavirus
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Although our grocery stores continue to have food and products that families need, it is a result of all of our truckers who are continuously protecting our supply chain.

truck drivers during coronavirus

It’s times like these when we need to help each other and build a community. We should spread kindness to our truckers for performing critical functions to keep America forward. Some ways we can spread gratitude could be writing thank-you notes, providing free lunches, offering them cleaning supplies, or giving them a shoutout through social media.

To our truckers, thank you. Thank you for your dedication to keep American citizens safe during this time of crisis. Your selflessness in these times of crisis is truly inspiring, and not forgotten.

Looking for ways to cook fresh, delicious meals in your rig? Did you know there are 6 Types of Truck Driver Cooking Equipment That Will Make Your Life Easier?

At US Cargo Control, we care about our customers and getting them what they want, when they need it. If you have any questions about our products, give our a team a call at 866-444-9990.

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
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

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
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

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
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

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
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

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 Fun Things for Truck Drivers to Do When on the Road

Did you know there are a number of activities that you can do while you are on the road? Read 5 fun things truck drivers can do to pass time quickly when on the road

We understand what it feels like traveling for a long time to reach our destinations. The day feels long, the roads seem monotonous and tedious, and there aren’t a lot of things to do when you are in a vehicle. While this can be one of the main struggles, did you know there are a number of activities you can do while you are on the road?

When you have a break or some downtime, this can be an opportunity to explore the outdoors, find potential hobbies, and discover what type of entertainment is out there! Check out these 5 tips to pass time when you are on the road.

1. Do Some Outdoor Activities

fun things to do on the road
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

Being inside of a truck for a long period of time can be difficult. When you have a break or some time off, take this opportunity to get some fresh air and move around. You even might find the chance to find something pretty unique.

If you want to plan out your trip a little more, you can try stopping around destinations and explore a bit. This may be more difficult to plan out, but it can be fun and rewarding if you do it right.

2. Start a Cool Collection

hobbies for truck drivers
Source: Leverage

As truck drivers are traveling all over the country, why not find an opportunity to start a unique collection? You are passing by through multiple states, and this can be a perfect opportunity to start a creative collection. When you are fueling up, grabbing a bite to eat, or sleeping for the night, pick up something to build your collection!

Some ideas that you can build are grabbing postcards, picking up a souvenir, collecting stamps, or anything that catches your attention and makes you happy. It is a fun way to remember each new destination when you are on the road.

3. Document Your Journey

how truckers stay entertained on the road
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

Document your journey by photographing something that catches your eye! You are going through several states in a day, so why not take the time to take some pictures? You can use your phone or a camera to document your journey when you take a break. You’re bound to see breathtaking scenes and this can be something to remember when you are looking through your pictures.

4. Find a New Hobby

what do truckers do to keep themselves entertained
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

Another way you can fight your boredom is by beginning a hobby that you have never attempted before or one that can challenge you. Some hobbies can be knitting, writing a novel or starting a new blog, reading books that you never read before, or exercising. Did you know you can even learn a new language?

If you have an interest in the arts, you can learn to play a new musical instrument, to draw, paint, or creatively write. Whatever catches your attention, take the opportunity to challenge yourself!

5. Listen to Podcasts

truck driver tips
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

If you are on a schedule and you don’t have much downtime, listen to podcasts. It doesn’t matter what your interests are, whether it’s stand-up comedy, sci-fi, educational, or mystery – there is a podcast out there for you! More people these days enjoy listening to podcasts on the road because they are different from radio stations. Just find an app that you can download podcasts, load up some episodes, and be entertained for hours.

Make Good Use of Your Time

There is no reason you cannot make good use of your time when you are on the job. Doing something new can keep your mind busy and your body healthy, and it can even help relieve stress.

Looking for tips on how to drive safely at night now that the days are shorter? Read 4 Important Nighttime Driving Tips for Truck Drivers

At US Cargo Control, we appreciate all the hard work that you do to deliver goods that we consume. If you have any questions about the products we carry, give our team of experts a call at 800-404-7068.

4 Important Winter Driving Tips for Truck Drivers

Check out these four winter driving tips on how new and experienced truck drivers can prep for winter driving.

When traveling in colder climates, one must always be ready. Winter driving on the roads of Illinois is not the same as in Florida. One road in a city may have black ice, while a different road in a different city may have sleet or hail! No matter what winter conditions you face on the road this year, remember that it can always be different just around the corner.

With winter coming up fast, there are preventative measures that you can take now in order to be better prepared for the different wintery conditions. Check out these four winter driving tips on how new and experienced truck drivers can prep for winter driving.

1. Think Ahead and Be Prepared

winter safety tips for truck drivers
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Perform a pre-trip inspection to make sure your truck is ready to go. You can do an inspection by looking at your tires, wiper blades, lights, fluids, etc. This is to avoid any maintenance problems down the road or any obvious issues evident now. It is better to know now than to find out during a snowstorm or somewhere you could get stranded for a while.

Another part to think about is using fuel that is treated and blended for low temperatures. Diesel exhaust fuel can freeze at temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and low fuel tanks can trap condensation. Carry Anti-Gel or Anti-Freeze in advance for bad, cold weather.

Download the Weather Channel App or read weather reports before hitting the road so you can prepare for the day ahead.

2. Winterize Your Truck and Yourself

truck driver staying warm truck driving in snow
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

People around the world prep for the winter season by winterizing their homes and vehicles, and you can do the same! Prep your truck with winter necessities such as tire chains, supreme moving blankets, tow straps, recovery straps, tow hooks, and reflective vests. If you would like to learn more about tire chains, read our blog post on how to choose and use tire chains like a pro.

Other necessities you should consider carrying in your truck include flashlights, extra windshield wiper fluid, a bag of salt or sand, and jumper cables.

Along with prepping your truck for the winter, make sure to prep yourself! To stay warm and safe, invest in heavy blankets and warm bedding, gloves and scarves, thermal socks, boots with great traction, and at least a day’s worth of food and water. Taking care of yourself is crucial for your health and safety, and it never hurts to pack food as a backup.

3. Use Caution

traffic sign snowy curvy road
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

It should go without saying, but during this time you should be extra careful to follow and obey all road signs, brake lightly, and always be mindful of current conditions. These are rules created by safety authorities, and they are created for a reason: safety for yourself and those around you.

Another critical rule to recognize is to use extra caution when approaching bridges. Bridges and elevated structures are the first to freeze, and many are not treated with ice/snow melting materials like the rest of the roadways. Hold your steering wheel firmly and pay attention to the surface feel of the roads.

4. If Conditions Look Bad, Just Get Off the Road

truck driver waiting for roads to clear up
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Your safety matters more. If you feel that it doesn’t seem safe to be driving, then you might be better off waiting it out. Listen to weather reports and warnings, communicate with your fleet or with fellow drivers, and react appropriately.

Want to learn more about winter safety tips for truck drivers? Consider reading these:

15 Winter Driving Kit Essentials

Winter Weather: Be Aware and Prepared

At US Cargo Control, we want all truck drivers to be safe and prepared for the upcoming 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
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

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
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

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
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

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
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

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
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

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.

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
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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
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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