More Than Just Posture – 3 Tips for Better Driver Ergonomics

Did you know that proper ergonomics is just as important of an aspect of truck driver health and safety as it is for those who work in offices? Each year, thousands of drivers are plagued by neck, back, and spinal issues associated with poor posture. Truck drivers are among the top professions to be out of work due to injuries, and ergonomic injuries are wholly avoidable by making only a few small changes

Most people don’t consider it, but the simplest way truckers can help prevent these types of ailments is by taking the same proactive steps designed for improved posture that are recommended for desk dwellers. Here are three vital ergonomic ideas to consider.

#1: Make Seat Adjustments

Similar to choosing the right type of desk chair, one of the easiest ways to ensure your cab is as safe as possible is to pay attention to seat adjustments before you even start the engine. Begin by making sure your feet can comfortably reach the gas pedal, clutch, and brake. Then adjust the seat’s backrest so that your arms are at a slight angle while you are holding the steering wheel. You’ll also want to raise the seat as high as you can while still being comfortable and tilt the seat cushion so that your thighs are fully supported without putting too much pressure on your knees.

#2: Remember Your Posture

Another vital thing to remember is your overall posture inside the truck. No matter how fatigued you become, don’t ever slouch while driving which can cause strain on your muscles and joints. This may take a bit of practice at first, but remembering to sit up straight can help prevent neck and back pain. It is also important to change your position in the seat slightly every half hour. While it isn’t always possible, try to take breaks when you can to get out of the vehicle and stretch.

#3: Maintain Good Habits When Outside the Truck

Keeping up with good health habits when you are off the road is also important. Exercises such as yoga or Pilates are excellent for strengthening your core area, which can help support your neck, back, and spine more efficiently when you are driving. And remember to correct your posture while sitting in a chair in your living room, hotel, or even at restaurants. Practice really does make perfect.

While truck drivers don’t spend their days in an office per se, a healthy and safe working environment is just as important. Protect your body by implementing the above ergonomic tips as soon as possible.

However, in addition to having these best practices in place, all truck drivers, whether they are full-time employees or independent contractors, should have truck insurance that provides coverage for injuries incurred on the job, whether it is Workers’ Compensation for full-time employees or Occupational Accident for independent contractors and owner-operators.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is much more than a commercial truck insurance agency. Since 1954, we have provided our clients with unparalleled service for truck insurance quotes, customer service, coverage charges, insurance certificates, and more. We are committed to providing our clients with the service to keep their costs to the minimum and their opportunities to the maximum. For more information about our products and services, give us a call at (800) 937-8785 to speak with one of our experts.

How Truck Drivers Can Stay Safe in the Summer Heat

Now that the sweltering months of summer have arrived, many truck drivers find themselves facing some unique safety challenges behind-the-wheel. Fortunately, there are a few simple tips all truck drivers can follow to keep themselves and other motorists safer this summer.

Save Yourself From Sunburn

Exposure to UVA and UVB rays is a risk for truck drivers year-round, but this is especially true during the summer months, when truck drivers are less likely to be wearing protective layers that would otherwise limit their exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. While driving during daylight hours, make sure you apply (and re-apply) a quality sunscreen at least every few hours. Wearing sunglasses and/or a hat with a brim while driving can also protect your eyes from sun damage while allowing you to avoid dangerous glare and other obstructions.

Keep Your Truck Maintained

When was the last time you had the tire pressure checked on your truck? If it’s been more than a week or two, be sure to have this done; this is an important maintenance task year-round, but especially during the hotter months of summer, when truck tires are more susceptible to blow-outs. The same goes for checking and servicing your brakes, as hotter temperatures can make it easier for your brakes to overheat and create a major safety hazard while driving.

Load Up on Hydrating Fluids

Drinking plenty of water while behind the wheel is one of the best decisions you can make to avoid dehydration and the side effects (such as fatigue) that can come along with it. While it may be tempting to choose an iced coffee, soda, or other caffeinated beverage over plain water, it’s important to stay well hydrated during the sweltering months of summer. To make sure you’re drinking enough water, consider investing in a quality insulated water bottle that you make an effort to fill up at least a few times a day during your travels.

Be Alert on Crowded Roadways

Highways and roadways tend to be more crowded during the summer months, especially as children are out of school and families are taking more vacations and road trips. With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to stay alert on the road, especially during times of heavy traffic. Above all else, try to maintain your patience and remember your safety training when navigating busy roads.

Summer time can be a more dangerous time for truck drivers—and for a number of reasons. By following these practical safety tips and making sure you’re protected by the right commercial truck insurance, however, you can keep yourself and other motorists safe. Reach out to the Western Truck insurance team today for more information.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is much more than a commercial truck insurance agency. With roots dating back to 1954, we have provided our clients with unparalleled service for truck insurance quotes, customer service, coverage charges, insurance certificates, and more. We are committed to providing our clients with the service to keep their costs to the minimum and their opportunities to the maximum. For more information about our products and services, give us a call at (800) 937-8785 to speak with one of our experts.

Why Crime Insurance is a Necessity for Trucking Operations

Trucking operations are a prime target for theft and criminal activities. Cargo theft in the U.S. is more common than people think. According to the FBI, the annual economic loss due to cargo theft is around $30 billion – reporting that the average cargo loss in 628 incidents in 2015 had a value of $44,426 per case.

What About Employee Theft?

Thieves scout for vulnerable trucks with poor security measures in place where cargo can be stolen easily – and some of those thieves may be trusted employees. Insurance for crime coverage in trucking operations is generally limited to motor truck cargo insurance and warehouse legal coverage. Since standard insurance policies have an exclusion for coverage of employee theft, criminal activity by your own employees isn’t covered. In order to bridge the gap between what is covered for cargo and warehouse losses and potential employee crime, you need a crime insurance policy which specifically addresses employee theft.  

Reducing Employee Theft

While it’s crucial that you cover your trucking operation with a crime insurance policy for employee theft, there are security measures you can put in place to reduce the possibility of being a victim of employee crime:

  • Never leave a loaded truck unattended, or without security, on your property or allow a driver to take a loaded truck home.
  • Ensure that drivers maintain regular contact with dispatch during every part of the shipping process.
  • Have a closed-mouth policy about your operations. Train your drivers and employees to be careful about what they say to fellow employees as well as friends and family. Train them to refrain from talking about the cargo in the trucks, and to not give out route information to people not in the chain of command.
  • Make sure all employees and drivers follow delivery and pickup protocols. Have a procedure in place for checking all ID from any personnel who unload a truck – each time. Audit your protocols regularly.
  • Screen for dishonest employees before hiring them. Run a comprehensive background check on all employees, not just the ones who have direct access to cargo contents, shipping, and routing information. If they claim to have worked in the trucking industry before, contact every reference they provide.
  • Have periodic security training for all employees.  
  • Pay attention to employees who don’t follow directions, don’t follow protocol, are loose with standards, and if there are security breaches, don’t keep them on.  
  • Use technology to manage security and route shipments, and have a system in place to act quickly if a truck goes off its route.  

If you have employees in your trucking operation, you need a crime insurance policy to cover employee theft, even if you have truck cargo insurance and warehouse insurance coverage. If you have questions about your trucking insurance needs, we have answers. Give us a call today or stop by and speak with one of our insurance specialists.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is much more than a commercial truck insurance agency. With roots dating back to 1954, we have provided our clients with unparalleled service for truck insurance quotes, customer service, coverage charges, insurance certificates, and more. We are committed to providing our clients with the service to keep their costs to the minimum and their opportunities to the maximum. For more information about our products and services, give us a call at (800) 937-8785 to speak with one of our experts.

Owner Operator Truck Insurance 101

So you’ve made the decision to become an owner and operator rather than work for another company. Congratulations are most certainly in order, but you’ll want to proceed with caution to maximize the opportunity before you. One of the first tasks to take care of is to secure owner operator truck insurance. Just like insuring your car or your health is intended to bring you peace of mind, the same applies to getting insurance for your truck as well as your new business.

Don’t Rely on Your Broker or Insurance Agent 100 Percent

While insurance brokers and agents can most certainly help you find the perfect plan for your truck insurance requirements, you shouldn’t leave everything up to them. Instead, it’s better that you familiarize yourself with the different types of truck coverage, how they work and whether you truly need them. Agents and brokers are undeniably helpful, but they can also prove to be great teachers. You don’t have to become an insurance expert, but you should make yourself as knowledgeable as possible.

Learn the Basics of Owner Operator Truck Insurance

Part of getting the most out of your truck insurance is knowing all the options available to you for coverage. Some of the essentials common to policyholders everywhere include:

  • Under/Uninsured Motorist Coverage – In the event you get into an accident with a motorist who doesn’t have coverage and is at fault for the incident, you’ll need under/uninsured motorist insurance to make sure you aren’t paying for someone else’s oversight out of your own pocket.
  • General Liability Coverage – Say you’re on someone else’s property and accidentally cause damage to that property. Such instances that take place on truck stops, loading docks and the like fall under liability coverage. Additionally, this type of insurance takes care of mistakes made while making a delivery.
  • Physical Damage Coverage – Should someone damage or steal your truck, you’ll be glad to have physical damage included in your policy, which handles the repair and replacement of your equipment.
  • Primary Liability Coverage – No matter how great and careful of a driver you are, no one is immune from making mistakes. Should you physically harm someone else during the course of business, your primary liability coverage is intended to take care of the resulting medical bills.
  • Motor Truck Cargo Coverage – With this, you’ll be covered in the event you have a refrigeration mishap, have your cargo stolen or experience a wet load. Here, you want to make sure your insurance agent provides you with a broad form policy rather than a specified peril policy.

What You Can Expect to Pay

Rather than focusing on the overall price of insuring your truck, you should instead pay close attention to what’s included in the quote and the policy. You don’t want to save money upfront only to have to spend much more later on out of pocket because of gaps in your coverage. Because deductibles are often a major part of getting the claims process started and saving money on your policy, make sure you know just what kind of deductible your plan has. For instance, will you have three separate deductibles for your cargo, trailer and truck, or just a single deductible cost for all three? While one policy might be more expensive, you could end up shelling out a lot more for another “less expensive” policy that has three different $1,500 deductibles.

Understand the Conditions of Your Coverage

While you’re checking off each type of basic coverage, dig deeper into what’s included with the coverage provided by each insurer. For instance, going back to the specified and broad form policies described above, if the incident that caused you to file a claim in the first place doesn’t fall within specific conditions listed on your policy, paying for damages will likely be entirely left up to you. Because it’s impossible to know when you’ll need to file a claim and why you’ll need to file a claim, both you and your finances are likely much better off with generous coverage.

Your Agent Should Be Familiar With Your Industry

Just like you want to familiarize yourself with the insurance industry, your agent should know a few things about the trucking industry. This is because your agent will have a better idea of the types of incidents, accidents and worries truckers have, which allows them to offer them better coverage and better service. Taking your insurance needs to an agent who doesn’t know about your industry is like taking your truck to a cardiologist for repairs.

Do your due diligence when it comes to insuring your new owner-operator venture. Your efforts are sure to serve you and your truck well on the road ahead.

Choosing the Right Commercial Truck Insurance

While it’s great to have commercial truck insurance to protect your employees as well as your business, you’ve got to make sure you’ve got the right type of insurance and that you work with an agent who knows what she or he is doing to ensure you’re getting the protection and peace of mind you need. Here are a few tips for selecting the right trucking insurance.

You Have Control Over How Much You Pay

One of the first things you should realize is you have more control over the final price of your policy than you might realize. For instance, if your trucks are more expensive, you can expect your premiums to be more expensive as well, which makes perfect sense when you think about it. There’s also the fact that lighter trucks don’t cost as much to insure as heavier trucks.

How you use your trucks also influences how much your insurance will cost. Companies that are service-focused or specialize in retail purposes often don’t pay as much for coverage as businesses that deliver products and goods. While you most certainly shouldn’t base your business on how much you have to pay for insurance, such information is beneficial when determining the ongoing costs of your company.

Ask What Kind of Coverage You’ll Have

Because not all insurance companies operate the same way, clearly ask your agent what kind of coverage the truck insurance policies have. Some of the most common coverage types include:

  • Towing and labor costs
  • Bodily Injury & Property damage liability
  • Comprehensive & Collision coverage for damage done to  your vehicles.
  • Loading and unloading liability
  • Non-owned or Hired Auto coverage, in case you ever need to rent a vehicle
  • Medical payments

Here is where you want to be completely open and honest about the overall nature of your business, where your business is now and where you’d like to take your business in the future; let your agent get to know you and your trucking company inside and out. Make sure the insurance company can offer you the coverage you need.

Explore Your Payment Options

Your company finances will play a big part in how you pay for your insurance. While you can always pay your policy in monthly installments, it’s often less expensive to pay your annual premium in a single lump sum, mainly because insurance companies often offer discounts for doing so. Besides monthly and annually, you might also have the option of paying bi-annually. Once you know which paying option works best for you, see what options your agent  can offer so you get the best deal with the coverage you need. Speaking of which…

Determine How Much Liability Coverage You Need

Liability plays a big part in your insurance policy and your peace of mind if you ever have to file a claim. Again, here is where you want to offer full disclosure to your insurance agent about your business and your business operations. Once you know how much liability coverage you require, compare costs and specific coverage details with the insurance companies you’re considering.

Know Your Limits For General Liability

Another key to getting just the right truck coverage is to know your policy limits; specifically, your occurrence limit and your aggregate limit. Occurrence limit is how much you’ll pay to make a single claim while your aggregate limit is the full amount your coverage will pay for all claims made in a single year. This information helps you determine if you should make a claim for an incident, consider paying the damages on your own or seek a viable alternative without putting your coverage at risk.

Find Out About the Cost of Your Deductible

Because no insurance policy is complete without a deductible, find out what yours will be. While you can always raise the cost of your deductible to lower your insurance premiums, it shouldn’t be so high that you can’t actually afford to pay the deductible should you ever have to file a claim. In any case, it’s best that you always have enough saved up in a business account that you can easily and quickly pay your deductible if need be.

Know How the Claims Coverage Works

To get back to business as soon as possible after an accident, learn how to file a claim the right way and do so in a way that you stand the best chance of having your claim accepted.  Generally, it is best to seek  assistance in claim presentation from your agent.   . Additionally, ask if you can start the claim online or through a phone app to speed up the process in case an adjustor isn’t able to get out to you or your driver ASAP.

It might take some time to find the right truck insurance, but the hard work is certainly worth it. Use these tips and your own judgment to find the best fit.

Auto-Issued DOT Numbers- What We’ve Seen and What You Can Do

We’ve been seeing something a little strange lately here at Western Truck Insurance Services and we wanted to keep all of our loyal clients informed. We haven’t seen much information about this online, but it is something that several clients have experienced. If you’re having problems with this, or with anything else relating to your insurance, give us a call and we’ll happily help you sort things out.

Last year all clients with a California MCP # only were automatically issued a DOT #. We believe that the California DMV forwarded the information to the FMCSA for the applications. The problem is, much of this information was outdated. We had clients receiving their DOT # with an incorrect address, old registration information, etc. These clients never asked for or applied for this number. It was automatically issued to them. The California DMV is trying to transition to using DOT #s and provided this information to the FMCSA from their last update, but if things changed during the year, the information was outdated.

What Can Be Done?

If this happened to you, or happens to you in the future, what can you do? If you have insurance through Western Truck Insurance Services, get in touch with us and we’ll help you sort things out. This is what we’re suggesting:

  • Go online and check your information. This would typically be at the FMCSA website (https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration). You can also call them at 800-832-5660.
  • Order your PIN for future updates. This allows you to update online in the future.
  • Print the MCS 150 page.
  • Call your insurance agent and discuss how to fill everything out properly. This is very important. Make sure things are filled out correctly to avoid future problems down the road. Please call us first!
  • Fax/mail in the documentation and keep a copy for yourself.
  • This is the first time we’ve seen something like this happen, but as the transition goes through, we’ll be here to help you with this and all of your other insurance needs. Get in touch anytime you have a question. We’re here to help you ‘Travel with Care’.

Are Your Truck Insurance Rates Increasing? Here’s Why.

Truck insurance rates are skyrocketing and the reason is nuclear. We’re not talking about atomic energy, but rather a recent phenomenon in truck insurance known as ‘nuclear’ verdicts. These verdicts are shaking up the insurance industry, causing longtime truck insurers to exit the market, and making it harder and more expensive to get coverage. Here’s what you need to know.

What Are ‘Nuclear’ Verdicts?

When you purchase truck insurance you’re hoping to never have to use it, but unfortunately accidents do happen. Occasionally, when the accident is severe, your insurance company will need to negotiate a settlement on your behalf or head to court. Years ago these settlements were easy to predict, often covering lost wages or hospital bills, but things are changing. Jurys are awarding record-breaking settlements, often millions of dollars higher than lost wages alone. These super-size settlements are known as ‘nuclear’ verdicts and they have the potential to decimate profits for insurers. Since ‘nuclear’ verdicts aren’t predictable, insurers have a difficult time estimating risk and have the potential to lose millions, or even hundreds of millions, on a single claim.

How Are ‘Nuclear’ Verdicts Impacting the Truck Insurance Industry?

The unknown behind ‘nuclear’ verdicts is making truck insurance an unprofitable venture for many insurers, even some of the industry’s biggest. Major insurers including AIG and Zurich Insurance Group AG have chosen to stop offering insurance to for-hire fleets. Other insurers are hiking premiums to keep up with the increased risks and costs. Premiums have increased 10% to 30%.

Trucking companies are already spending a great deal on insurance and the extra expenses will be hard for many fleets, especially smaller ones. In 2015 the average U.S. trucking company spent just over nine cents a mile on insurance premiums. That number is expected to be much higher for 2016.

What Can You Do?

There is little that drivers and trucking companies can do to fight against price increases due to ‘nuclear’ verdicts. We’re working hard to continue to provide the best coverage possible and at the best rates. We work with many of the industry’s top insurers to ensure you’re getting the coverage you need. A stellar driving record and a clean DOT safety record can also help you to lower your rates. Focus on what you can change and strive to keep your record as clean as possible. Learn more about ‘nuclear verdicts’ from this article from the Wall Street Journal.

If you have any questions, get in touch. We’re here to help you ‘Travel with Care’ and that’s one constant you can count on in a changing truck insurance industry.

 

 

Lonely No More: How to Foster Healthy Relationships on the Road

Are you away from home more than you are there? Many long haul drivers spend weeks on the road and then come home for only a couple of days before doing it all again. This can take a toll on your relationships, especially those with your immediate family. Lose the lonely with these helpful tips for building and maintaining healthy relationships as a trucker. This post wraps up our healthy drivers series; are you seeing positive change in your lifestyle?

Make a Plan

Which relationships are most important to you? Make a list of the relationships that you want to focus on while you’re away, listing them in order of priority. Come up with a plan for maintaining contact and interacting with each of these important people. When you have a plan in place, it is easier to make the relationship actually happen. Define your priorities and then stick to them. One of the worst things you can do for a relationship is nothing. Pick up the phone. Send that text. Write an email. Do it now, not tomorrow.

Use Technology

You may be gone a lot, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be present, especially during those important moments. Technology can connect you to your family, allowing you to see that dance recital, to celebrate that promotion, and to read those bedtime stories to your children at night. Get a smartphone or other connected device and use it to connect with those that you don’t see as often when you’re on the road. Skype, HangOuts, and Facetime are three easy options for video chatting. Family and friends can also send you videos over social media and email when you’re not available real-time.

Share the Journey

As a trucker you see more of the country in a week than most people do in a lifetime. Share your journey and help people to experience the magic and beauty that is trucking. Although there may be a lot of boring on any given day (tarping, long waits at the marshalling yard, and missed crane appointments to name a few), there’s also plenty of excitement waiting to share (beautiful sunsets, that authentic Memphis BBQ, and the supersize tank you’re hauling). Update friends and family of your adventures and share a whole new world with them: yours. Social media makes it easy to keep everyone up to date.

With your immediate family, keep the lines of communication open. You might be far away, but you can still share in the day to day by talking about your lives. Find out what is going on at home and share about your adventures in the truck. It might not seem exciting to you, but to those that love you, the everyday can be fascinating. Share your journey and delight in the adventures of those you love.

Make it Home When it Matters

Getting home for a specific date can be difficult, but make it a priority, especially for those most important events. Your spouse may say that they are happy to spend their anniversary alone, but odds are, they really do want you there. Look ahead at the calendar and choose the key events to schedule your home time around. Let your family know that you’re willing to make their lives your priority by coming home when you need to.

Getting a long haul driver home can be difficult, but it is much easier on your dispatcher when they have plenty of notice. Ask for specific days off as far in advance as possible. You’ll be more likely to make it home if your dispatcher has plenty of time to route you that way. You know the date of your anniversary a year in advance; don’t ask to rush home a few days before.

Long hours on the road can take their toll on your relationships, but with a little extra TLC, you can keep those relationships at their best. Traveling with care means taking care of yourself, your family, and your friends, not just your freight. We’ll handle your insurance so you can focus on your relationships.

 

 

Driving Is Not a Form of Exercise

How many hours did you spend sitting on your bottom yesterday? Truck driving is a sedentary career and many drivers find themselves sitting a little, or a lot, too much. Aside from securing loads and walking across the truck stop many truckers spend the entire day sitting down. And when you’re in the middle of nowhere, hundreds of miles from home, you may not have easy access to the gym, team sports, or other physical activities.

This can have disastrous consequences, not just for your waistline, but for your health in general. A 2014 study found that long haul truckers were twice as likely as the rest of the population to be obese (69% of drivers are considered obese, 17% morbidly obese). Break the cycle and take control of your health. You can exercise and stay fit on the road.

Why Should I Exercise?

Do you really need to exercise? The answer is a great big yes! According to the CDC, exercise has the following benefits:

  • Controls weight
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Reduces the risk of some types of cancer
  • Strengthens bone and muscle
  • Improves mental health
  • Improves your ability to perform daily activities
  • Increases your chances of living longer I Haven’t Exercised in Years. How Do I Start? If you have health conditions that may affect your ability to exercise, talk with your doctor about what you can and can’t do before getting started. There’s nothing wrong with starting small and working up to a more strenuous activity level as you can. You may feel that you’re too busy to exercise, but the truth is, it doesn’t take much time to really see the benefits. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise each week, just a bit more than 20 minutes a day. You should also strength train your muscles two times each week. You can fit this in, even on your high mileage weeks. Ways to Incorporate More Exercise into Your Life on the Road
  • Make the commitment today to improve your health and exercise a little more. You might drive a truck, but that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a lifetime of poor health. Make a change today!
  • If you’re short on time, work up to a more intense exercise regimen and you’ll only need 75 minutes of exercise a week, plus strength training two times. You can achieve better health in just 10-20 minutes a day.
  • How Much Exercise Do I Need?
  • If you’re like many truckers, it has been years since you regularly participated in physical activity. Start slow. The CDC explains, “Cardiac events, such as a heart attack, are rare during physical activity. But the risk does go up when you suddenly become much more active than usual. For example, you can put yourself at risk if you don’t usually get much physical activity and then all of a sudden do vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, like shoveling snow. That’s why it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase your level of activity.”
  • It is never too late to start exercising and to improve your health.
  • Break it Up– You won’t always have an hour to exercise, but you can find 10 minutes, even on a busy day. Try exercising for 10 minutes, or more, each morning before you start rolling and another 10 minutes each night when you finish off for the day. Alternately, you could take a 10 minute exercise break each time you stop for fuel or a bathroom break.
  • Stock Some Equipment– Going to the gym isn’t generally feasible when you’re on the road, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your own gym along. You can easily fit some resistance bands, a kettle ball or weights, and a jump rope in your truck, everything you need to exercise on your own.
  • Make Yourself Accountable– If you want to be successful with your exercise program, make yourself accountable. Ask a friend, fellow driver, dispatcher, or family member to check in on you often. Report your successes and failures. Accountability can help you to exercise, even on those days you don’t feel up to it. Exercising on the road can be tricky, but you can do it. These resources may help you to succeed.
  • Resources to Help You Succeed
  • Fitness Blender– Stream workout videos right to your phone, laptop, or tablet with Fitness Blender. Many of their workout videos are completely free and require minimal to no equipment. Daily Burn is another option, but does require a small monthly membership fee.
  • Fitness Apps– Fitness apps can make accountability easier as you track and monitor your progress. PC World put together an excellent list of the top fitness apps of 2019.
  • Have you gotten your exercise in today?

Saving Money on the Road- 3 Tips for Truckers

Do you have a money problem? Many truck drivers struggle with their finances, relying on payday advances and loans to pay the bills. If you’re sick of living paycheck to paycheck or want to finally build up some emergency savings, this guide will give you some actionable tips for saving money on the road.

If you’re already in the hole with too much credit card debt or in the habit of payday loans, making financial changes isn’t going to be easy. Stick with it, even when it is difficult. A better financial future is possible, but you are going to need to put in some work to get there.

Stop Eating Out

What does your typical dinner look like? If you subsist on burger, fries, milkshakes, and truck stop fare, you’re not doing your body or your budget any favors. If you spend just $10 a meal, three meals a day you’re spending just over $200 a week on food, just on yourself. Save yourself a ton of money and stop eating out.

Without a stove, microwave, and sometimes without even a fridge, eating on the road can seem impossible, but it is doable. Salads and sandwiches are easy to throw together on the fly. Make a quick trip to the grocery store and pick up a few essentials (packaged lunch meat, cheese, bagged salad mix, salad dressing, peanut butter, bread, snacks, etc.) to stock in your truck. If you don’t have a fridge, stow your food in a cooler and replace the ice as needed.

By skipping the restaurants and eating on your own you can easily cut your food budget in half, or more, and you’ll eat better too.

Make a Budget… and Stick to It

If you want to spend less and save more a budget is essential. A budget does more than tell you what to spend; if done correctly it can help you notice spending problems and curb expensive habits.

When you’re on the road you’ll need two budgets: one for your family back at home and another for your expenses in the truck. Base your budgets on the amount you earn during a low mileage week. On weeks when you earn more, put the extra in the bank or use it to pay down debt. This is an excellent way to build up your savings.

Make sure you’re tracking your spending. Write down each purchase and keep a log of what you’ve spent. Go back to analyze your purchases and see how you stacked up. Find problems and make changes as needed.

Don’t Get Cash Advances or Payday Loans

When you’re in a cash crunch a payday loan is incredibly tempting, but these loans don’t actually fix your cash problems; they just delay them. Borrowing $150 from your next check means that you’ll start that month $150 short. Next month you’ll need to borrow more, just to stay afloat.

Live within your means, even if that means scaling back. Find a way to spend less so you can stop relying on payday loans to get through the month. If you’re currently living in the payday loan cycle, get out by creating a new budget (using your low mile income) and spending the extra to pay down the debt.

Other Ideas for Saving Money on the Road

These three tips are biggies for getting your spending and budget under control, but they aren’t the only ways to save. Try some of these bonus ideas too.

  • Automatic Bill Pay– Automatic bill pay is a lifesaver when you’re on the road. Skip the late fees and know that your bills will always be paid on time.
  • CDL Discounts– Many hotels and restaurants offer CDL discounts. If you’re going to eat out or stay in a hotel, it doesn’t hurt to ask if there’s a discount.
  • In-Network ATMs– If you need to get cash, use an in-network ATM so you don’t have to pay expensive fees. If you can’t easily find access an in-network ATM, use your card as debit when buying groceries and get cash back to skip the fees.
  • Truck Stop Rewards– Truck stop reward programs offer some great perks, including shower credits and free drinks, and many don’t charge for signing up

What are your secret tips for saving money on the road?