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 Nighttime Driving Tips for Truck Drivers

With the days getting shorter, it can be challenging and dangerous driving at night. Read these 4 nighttime truck driving tips to stay safe.

Short winter days increase the challenge of driving at night.

With the days getting shorter, chances are you’ll be doing a lot of your driving after the sun sets and visibility lowers. Most everyone will agree that nighttime driving can be trying and increases the potential dangers of the road. To help you drive your best at night and arrive at your destination safely, we have 4 important tips for nighttime semi-truck driving.

1. Keep a Clean Windshield

Night time driving
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Driving at night doesn’t get any easier with insects and dirt stuck to your windshield. If you ignore the mess, it will build up and get worse. A dirty windshield can actually cause light to reflect in the wrong way and limit your visibility at night. Be sure to clean your windshield whenever you can, and consider replacing your wiper blades soon to keep your windshield clean.

2. Feeling Drowsy? Pull Over

Night car driving
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A good night’s sleep is important for everybody, but for truck drivers, the right amount of rest is critical for safety. If you try to fight drowsiness, it can be dangerous not only for other drivers sharing the road with you but for yourself as well. When you start to feel drowsy, pull over and call it a night.

Want some tips for how to sleep soundly in your rig? Read 5 Tips for How to Sleep Better at Night.

3. Don’t Look into the Light

driving at night headlights
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

Staring at the headlights of oncoming traffic can be distracting, especially when they shine directly at you or any of your mirrors. When you don’t look away, it can affect your night vision, cause damage to your retina, and slow down your reaction time. You could become a deer in the headlights!

When this occurs, try to look down and off to the right side until traffic passes. As long as you can see the white line on the shoulder, your truck will be fine while your vision adjusts to the passing line. If a car with high beams is coming towards you, adjust your mirrors to block the glare away from your eyes.

4. Avoid Distracted Driving

driving at night time
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

How many times have you been told not to use your phone while driving? It might get old hearing it, but that rule exists for a reason. And even though it applies during all times of the day, being on your phone is especially dangerous at night given the fact that you already can’t see much of the road. Resist the temptation to use your phone and other devices while driving, and call your friends and loved ones when you are on a break or done driving for the day. They’ll be glad you waited!

Be Prepared for Winter with Vehicle Safety Supplies

If you need to pull over or stop during hazardous driving conditions this winter, make sure you’re prepared with supplies to alert others of your surroundings. We have vehicle safety supplies to help you in these situations. Make sure you have LED warnings lights, safety vests and hard hats, flags and signs, and more for safe transport. Our team is here to help you get what you want, when you need it.

At US Cargo Control, we want all truck drivers to be safe. Let us know what trucking equipment you need to be prepared this winter. Give our team of experts a call at 800-969-6543.

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
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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
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

I-80 Truckers Jamboree is the Closest Thing to Trucker Heaven

Located in a small town called Walcott just off of Interstate 80 in Iowa, this event has been going strong since 1979.

What is this event that draws over 40,000 attendees?

The Truckers Jamboree, an annual event held during the summer at the Iowa 80 Truckstop, is a popular event that truckers love to attend. Located in a small town called Walcott just off of Interstate 80 in Iowa, this event has been going strong since 1979. It is a way to celebrate all of America’s truckers and to say thank you for all the hard work they have done to deliver the goods that we consume and use every day.

A couple of our USCC team members recently attended this event to check out the iconic truck stop attractions and meet new people. They chatted with truckers to learn more about what was new with them and with their business so they know how to better help solves their needs.

USCC team members at Trucks Jamboree, at the iowa 80 truck stop
Team members Adam Shouse and Tim Sanders at the Truckers Jamboree

History of Iowa 80 Truckstop

Bill Moon is the founder of Iowa 80 Truckstop. You might also hear this famous truck stop referred to as the World’s Largest Truckstop or largest truck stop in Iowa. He created it simply because he had a love for trucking. He wanted to build and expand a truck stop, so he talked to truck drivers to see how he could make their lives easier. Solely to meet the needs of truckers, he designed the truck stop as a place for drivers to get fuel, relax and grab a bite to eat before heading back out on the road.

Today, drivers and travelers can expect to see many unique amenities such as laundry facilities, a workout room, 42 gas islands, a movie theater, a barbershop, dog wash station, trucking museum, dentist, truck showroom, a full-service truck center, a 300-seat restaurant and a large food court including fast-food restaurants like Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Caribou Coffe, and Wendys.

truckers jamboree at iowa truck stop
The Trucks Display where truckers show off their unique rides
beautiful truck with black and white flames, being shown off at the truck display
A beautiful custom-painted rig on display

Fun Fact: This truck stop served customers before Interstate 80 was entirely complete!

So, tell me more about the Truckers Jamboree

The Truckers Jamboree is hosted every year at the Iowa 80 Truckstop, I-80 Exit 284, Walcott, Iowa. It is a three-day weekend where you can join in on the fun, and bring your family and friends. There’s a lot to see and do between concerts and live country music, fireworks, a pork chop cookout, carnival games, antique truck display, and a beauty truck contest. Whether you go for a day or the weekend, it’s a great experience that you will be glad you had.

And guess what? It has free parking and free admission! So, if you are interested in being a part of this event, mark your calendar now for next July 9th-11th, 2020.

Watch this video to get a peek at the Iowa 80 Truckstop and Truckers Jamboree.

Source: US Cargo Control

9 Free Ways for Truck Drivers to Save on Fuel

As a driver, you have the power to control your rigs fuel consumption in many small ways that can quickly add up to huge savings on fuel.

Use these driver-focused tips to maximize MPG’s and save at the pump this summer.

ways for truck drivers to save on fuel

Owner-operator truck drivers and fleet owners alike know that fuel is a key variable cost that goes into determining their profit. Just one fill-up on diesel can be anywhere from $450 to $950.

Last summer we shared 4 Simple Ways to Get the Best Fuel Mileage for Your Semi-Truck, which included tips about staying on top of truck maintenance and equipping rigs with aerodynamic parts such as trailer skirts and other upgrades like automated manual transmissions.

Don’t get me wrong, adding those parts to your semi are still great ways to save on fuel, but they cost money and take time to install. As a driver, you have the power to control your rigs fuel consumption in many small ways that can quickly add up to huge savings on fuel. Here are 10 free ways for truck drivers to start saving on fuel today.

1. Monitor tire pressure regularly

tire pressure goes into fuel costs for truck drivers

It’s been found that semi trucks can have as much as a 1% drop in mpg for every 10psi a single tire is underinflated. Before the rubber hits the road, make sure all your tires are properly inflated to their recommended psi. Not only will this save gas, but it will also make those expensive tires last longer.

2. Avoid idling

Obviously, engine idling can’t always be avoided. But, if you know you’re going to be stopped for more than just a few minutes, it’s worth cutting the engine. Some states, like California, actually have idling laws that could get you a fine if you’re caught idling for five minutes or more.

3. Stay in a high gear

tax cuts jobs act affect trucking

Higher gears save fuel. You don’t want to be lugging in too high a gear, but you also don’t want your engine revving up and working harder than necessary. Find the sweet spot for your gearbox and minimize the use of your brake and gas pedals by speeding up and slowing down incrementally.

4. Use momentum on hills

Semi trucks build lots of momentum, especially on the highway. Start slowing down early when you have an exit coming up and collect as much momentum as possible when approaching a hill. Once you get to the apex of the hill, you should be able to coast downhill without being on the gas pedal.

5. Use cruise control

trucking industry 2018

Using cruise control is an easy way for truck drivers to save on fuel, although many don’t use it. Cruise control helps keep the engine’s rpm in that “sweet spot” which minimizes fuel consumption.

6. Regulate speed

Faster acceleration and speeds over 55mph burns fuel quicker. In fact, every mile per hour you go over 55mph results in a 0.1 mpg drop in fuel economy. Lower your speed and increase your following distance so you don’t have to speed up and slow down frequently.

7. Find the lowest cost fuel

make your semi truck more fuel efficient

Use the time in your truck to plan ahead for your next fill up. Just a few cents can make a big difference given how big a semi’s fuel tank is. We’ve shared helpful apps for truck drivers in the past, and Trucker Path is a great one if you’re looking to see fuel prices and parking spot availability for truck stops all around you.

8. Don’t overfill your tank

Not only does extra fuel add more weight to your vehicle, but it’s also about the same as throwing money down the drain. If your tank is way up to capacity or beyond, the fuel will likely expand once you’re driving and cause a wasteful overflow.

9. Keep cargo load low and even

keep cargo low and even to lower fuel costs

It’s all about creating as little resistance as possible. Whether you’re using winch straps, chain binders, or tarps – remember to secure your cargo as low and even as possible. If you can’t avoid an uneven load, position the higher cargo closer to the front of the trailer to minimize drag.

Put these fuel-saving tips into action

Now that you know these free ways to save on fuel, it’s up to you to put them into action. Give them a try the next time you hit the road and move some money from your expense report to your pocket.

Have any other tips for truck drivers to save on fuel? Share them in the comments below to help out your fellow driver.

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!

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

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.

Top 10 Cargo Control Products to be Thankful For

As the scent of fresh-carved turkey and pumpkin pie inches closer and closer to our noses, it’s important to resist the temptation of retreating to the comfort of your recliner for a nap or the warmth of your bed to, well, get away from the in-laws. There will be plenty of time for naps and in-law annoyances come Thanksgiving Day. Until then, you’ve got work to do.

And just in time for the holiday season, US Cargo Control has compiled a list of the top 10 cargo control products to be thankful for. One way or another, they’re all bound to come in handy this time of year.

 

best waterproof tarp material

1. Tarps

Cover your firewood, boat, or motorcycle for the winter or bring a tarp on your next hunting trip to wrap and drag back game easily. Even if you’re not a professional truck driver using tarps to cover your cargo, a good quality tarp has nearly endless possibilities.

 

 

2. Motorcycle Tie Down Straps

Your dirtbikes and motorcycles can all be transported to and from winter storage without a scratch thanks to these specialty motorcycle ratchet straps. Add a plush protective tie down cover for even more protection.

 

 

 

how effective are snow chains

3. Tire Chains

Slip a set of snow chains on your vehicle to drastically increase grip and safety. With these high-quality and easy to use tire chains, no winter weather will keep you from moving forward.

 

 

 

 

4. Recovery Strapswhere to get recovery straps

This cargo control product is an invaluable tool to have in your truck or SUV during the winter months. You can save someone’s day by pulling them out of the ditch with a heavy-duty tow strap.

 

 

 

5. Safety Trianglesemergency warning triangles

If you find yourself in a ditch or pulled over to the side of the road during these cold and dark winter nights, you’ll need to always make yourself visible to others. Keep a set of these fluorescent orange warning triangles with you to stay safe.

 

 

 

6. Blackline Ratchet Straps

It doesn’t matter how big of a Christmas tree you get when you have these heavy-duty Blackline straps. With the strongest break strength in the industry, these could be used to bring the that massive Christmas tree into Time Square.

 

 

 

 

 

7. Good-N-Tight Ratchet Strap Handle

Putting less strain on your back when tightening ratchet straps is something you’ll be thankful for, for years to come. The inventive Good-N-Tight Handle even makes the job easier by giving you three times the leverage.

 

 

 

8. Corner Protectors

These simple devices ensure that cargo (including your Christmas presents) gets delivered damage free. Plastic corner protectors also help extend the life of your ratchet straps by reducing rubbing.

 

 

 

 

9. Camo Moving Blanket

Friday night football games, early morning hunting trips, or to protect your vehicle’s seats from the dog’s hair and slobber – camo colored moving blankets can be used for much more than just moving.

 

 

 

10. USCC Branded Stainless Steel Mug

Unless your one of those people that likes a cold cup of coffee, a USCC branded tumbler is a no-brainer for cold winter months. This 30-ounce insulated mug, will keep your drink warm for up to six hours.

 

 

 

There you have it, 10 cargo control products that provide plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and beyond. Do the preparation work now and come Thanksgiving, you’ll have earned that nap, and maybe even an extra piece of pie.

 

Veterans: Getting Your CDL is Easier than You Think

veteran cdl waiverIn honor of Veterans Day 2018, we first want to extend our deepest gratitude to all the men and women of the US military both past and present. Your sacrifices are what have defined and retained our great country’s freedoms since its start.  Thank you for all that you have done and all that you continue to do.

 

For military members that have concluded their active service and are now looking to transition into a civilian career, it’s often a difficult road. However, new laws are paving the way to make it easier than ever for military veterans to get their CDL, and start a career in trucking.

 

New “Even Exchange” Policy in Wisconsin

In early October, Wisconsin announced a policy that allows military veterans to waive the knowledge portion of their civilian CDL test, and rely on their military experience instead. Coined as “even exchange,” this written test waiver aims to make it faster and easier for veterans to immediately enter the workforce.

 

Transitioning from Military to Trucking

Loyalty, honor, and self-discipline are all necessary traits of a commercial truck driver. It’s why trucking companies often seek out military veterans. But there’s also a familiar benefit for the veterans.

military veteran to truck driver

Beyond the benefit of getting a job, many veterans have discovered that the lifestyle of operating a big-rig is a lot like their time in uniform. Just as the military provided a way to see the world, trucking provides a chance to see the country which they fought to defend. And while trucking does take drivers away from home for periods of time, it is often significantly shorter than their time away during service. Many trucking companies offer generous home time options, sometimes as frequent as every weekend. And if you become an owner-operator that choice is largely up to you.

Lastly, trucking is a secure job with good pay (especially now as many companies are searching for dedicated drivers). The power of employment choice is in the hands of drivers, and it all starts with getting a civilian CDL.

 

What it takes for Military Members to get a CDL

While the new even exchange policy only applies to residents of Wisconsin, there is a CDL road skills test waiver in place at the national level. That policy still requires veterans to pass the written knowledge test, but they are not required to take the skills test. Below is an overview of the requirements for veterans with a military CDL to get their civilian CDL. Keep in mind that local state laws (like that of Wisconsin) may make it even easier for you to obtain your CDL.

 

CDL Skills Test Waiver Requirements

  • Military trucking driving experience of at least 2 years
  • Application within 1 year of discharge
  • Passing the written knowledge test
  • Possession of only 1 driver’s license within the past 2 years (other than military license). Also, your license may never have been suspended, revoked, or canceled
  • No offenses on your driving record such as alcohol or drugs, leaving scene of an accident, operating with a suspended license, or fatalities caused by negligence.
  • No serious traffic violations.

 

military cdl waiver requirements

 

 

 

If you’re a veteran with military truck driving experience, the first step to starting a career in trucking is to fill out the Application for Military Skills Test Waiver.

 

USCC is Committed to Military Veterans

While a day of celebration and gratitude for our veterans is a great start, our dedication to the prosperity of military veterans can’t end there.

That’s why US Cargo Control stays committed to veterans all year long by offering a 10% discount to all military veterans and their dependents.

From ratchet straps for everyday use to complete flatbed starter kits that will help get veterans geared up for their new career, USCC is proud to provide everyone with the cargo control equipment they need to keep moving forward.