How to Stay Safe When Cooking in a Truck

For long-haul trucking professionals, finding time to stop and eat can sometimes be an issue. Schedules have to be kept and sometimes sacrificing a sit-down meal may be the only option to save time. But when time does allow for a meal and a break, it’s easy to head into the truck stop or a nearby diner and go for something easy and probably unhealthy.

In fact, eating healthy on the road can be tough for truck drivers, leading to major concerns in the health field. Approximately 33% of Americans classify as overweight, but nearly 86% of the 3.2 million trucking professionals on the road fall under that category. That’s why it’s important for truck drivers to be diligent about not only what they’re eating, but how they’re preparing meals. Cooking safety on the road is important and should be practiced. Here are some ideas on how to follow that.

Healthy Eating Ideas

If you’re in a hurry on the road, setting aside time to eat healthy may be hard to come by. The lure of fast food or truck stop snacking can be strong, which can take a toll on your bank account and your health. But taking small steps to eat more consciously while on the road can make a big difference in those areas.

Have a well-stocked cab with healthy snacks to minimize the need to grab fast food on the go. When hunger settles in, healthy eating items like fruit, granola bars, nuts, and individual snack packs like peanut butter and crackers can help to keep things light and easy. If your cab has a portable refrigerator, try packing Greek yogurt, vegetables, and string cheese inside.

Cooking Safety and Storage

Fortunately, trucking professionals have plenty of options to keep food preparation safe while on the road. Mini-appliances can fit inside a sleeper cab and run off batteries. Drinks can be kept cool with a 12-V cooler during warmer months, microwaves can warm up meals, and coffee makers can be stored for early morning cups of coffee. Altogether, these items can help to cut down on costs.

For more intricate meals, slow cookers can be utilized, creating homecooked meals away from home. But while slow cooker meals can take a little more care to prepare, they can be made easily, even while behind the wheel.

Truck drivers should stay away from using a propane stove inside their cab as carbon monoxide can fill the air and cause major health problems. Also, electric frying pans can be used, but along with small grills during overnight breaks and afternoon stops.

What you have to be aware of is keeping away from open flames as well as any gases on the inside of your cab. Have the urge to grill? This can only be done outside, of course, and when you have time to make a stop and enjoy time preparing and cooking.

Insuring Drivers’ Safety

Trucking companies should enforce specific and strict safety guidelines for their employees. Truck insurance can help to protect truck companies in the event of an accident, even those including food-related injuries. While things like overeating and weight issues can’t be covered, injuries related to cooking preparation may be brought up as claims. It’s important for drivers to follow installed guidelines to ensure their safety.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates and coverage changes.

The Biggest Problems Facing the Trucking Industry Today

No matter the type of business, no matter the economy, there are high times and tough times for each major industry. And with the advent of smarter and more efficient technology many industries are seeing the speed of change pose new issues.

One major industry feeling the pressure of too much change, too fast, is the trucking industry. From driver shortages to more tech-based opponents, traditional trucking companies are having to change course. One step to protecting the overall future of the industry is to invest in truck insurance, and another is to invest in the actual future: drivers. Here are some ways in which the trucking industry is feeling some pain today.

1. Driver Shortage

Even with an average pay of around $80,000, many news outlets are reporting that the trucking industry is seeing a huge challenge meeting it employment needs. A driver shortage is causing trucking companies to find new ways to attract tomorrow’s drivers. This has been a concern for years in the industry and with companies like Tesla and Uber testing out self-driving trucks, traditional truck drivers are feeling like they’re being replaced.

According to ATRI research, nearly 57 percent of the trucking workforce is at least 45 years old. If this continues, the shortage will reach more than 175,000 drivers by 2026.

2. Hours of Service

Flexible hours or service rules are now more emphasized by companies for their drivers. Many of those who hold stake in the industry believe that drivers should split their hours of operation, while some stress eight hours of straight driving. Employees could get an opportunity to rest when tired and adjust their schedules to avoid everything from traffic congestion to health risks.

3. Cash Flow

Trucking fleets may see a wait time as long as 60 to 90 days to get paid by brokers and shippers. With an extended cycle, a fleet’s cash flow can be drained and growth could be limited. Accounts receivable financing turns fleets’ invoices into cash in under a day, which results in building their working capital.

4. Driver Health

Truck drivers face a number of health obstacles, especially the longer they’re behind the wheel. These drivers are twice as likely as other workers in any industry to be obese, have diabetes and not have any type of health insurance. The job is demanding, and with such stress put on it, drivers are seeing a rapid decline in health, another component of making the job less enticing to new crops of drivers. There are new initiatives in place, like Rolling Strong, which aim to invest in drivers’ health and wellness with better fitness.

5. Safety

Accidents and fatalities behind the wheel happen and have always posed a risk for drivers. But beyond these risks, drivers face overall safety at their truck stops or where ever they park their trucks. There is new sensing technology that has come out that helps trucks avoid collisions and helps reduce the number of accidents, with numbers expected to reduce in the coming years.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and \ transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates and coverage changes.

Questions to Ask Your Truck Insurance Agent

For commercial truck operators, when it comes to insurance, a little bit of research can go a long way. From shopping around and getting quotes to going over exactly what is needed to be better protected behind the wheel, there are preliminary measures to account for.

Truck insurance options aren’t all made equally, and that’s why it’s important for those needing coverage to take a proactive approach to finding the best fit. Chances are that multiple insurance carriers will want your business after you first approach them, so be prepared to ask hardline questions to make sure you’re getting everything covered.  Here are five questions to ask agents.

1. How Much Coverage Do I Need?

Truck liability insurance for heavy trucks typically requires the minimum amount of $750,000 as set forth by the USDOT or by the State; but most truck operators select $1mm limits.  Most shippers and brokers require the $1mm limits. While these limit may seem a bit high, big rigs can cause a lot of damage to whatever they hit, even if an incident isn’t the driver’s fault.

Commercial drivers should ask their potential insurance agent to guide them through options related to limits. Also, touch on things like umbrella, or excess, policies that can protect you when it comes to drastic losses.

2. Do You Offer Cargo Coverage?

With different types of cargo comes different types of risks. From grain to livestock, oil to cars to hazmat, truckers should understand the potential risks these individual factors pose. While most truck drivers elect cargo insurance at $100,000 care should be taken to make sure the cargo insurance meets the maximum cargo value being transported.

A trucking insurance agent should know what you’re shipping around and be able to offer the right coverage options based on that.  In addition, cargo insurance policies can differ greatly in their coverage conditions and exclusions and a good agent will help you navigate these complex issues.

3. Can I Get a Combined Deductible?

There are times when an accident causes damage to everything from your truck to your cargo to other vehicles on the road. Each of these types of damage brings their own liabilities. Your insurance package should cover all this, but separate deductibles will apply to the individual factors.

When you get a combined deductible, you’re only responsible for paying a single deductible no matter the coverages used. It makes this process simple and more easily structured.

4. Can You Change My Policy Quickly?

Truckers who find themselves changing out what they haul on a regular basis, or even day-to-day basis, should be able to reach out to their agent at a moment’s notice. Being able to change your policy quickly can provide protection when you are in a situation where a specific coverage is needed.   Your insurance agent, or the office, should be available to you for these changes.

5. What Factors Are Affecting My Premium?

Typically, insurance companies base risk on a number of factors, Age, driving record, credit score, years of experience, distance traveled,  freight carried, and others all play a role in just what affects your overall coverage. If your quote seems high, bring it to your agents attention and ask just what is causing this. There are steps you can take to fixing it when renewal is coming up.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates and coverage changes.

 

 

Teens and Big Trucks: Should They Be Allowed to Drive?

Should teens be able to drive big trucks? Right now you can’t drive a rental car until 25, but you can start driving 80,000 pound trucks at 21 interstate and intrastate(in most states) at 18. If a new law passes, younger drivers may soon be able to drive heavy trucks across state borders. Proposed regulation wants to change the age limit for interstate trucking to 18, with some provisional conditions. What do you think? Will this new regulation help get more drivers on the road or is the safety risk much too great?

The Risks of Younger Drivers

Younger drivers are notorious for getting into accidents. Drivers aged 16-19 have the highest annual crash rate and that’s just behind the wheel of a car, not a heavy truck. In states where 18 year olds are allowed to drive 80,000 pound trucks, younger drivers are 4-6 times more likely then 21+ drivers to get in an accident. Safety experts worry this plan could lead to disaster on the road.

While younger drivers are more likely to get in an accident, they are already on road and driving big trucks. In most states current regulation only keeps them from crossing borders, not from driving. Proponents of the law argue that the regulation changes make sense. Right now teens can drive hundreds of miles around a state, but can’t drive 10 miles across a border.

The Benefits of Younger Drivers

There is a need for more drivers and allowing younger drivers to drive interstate could lower recruiting costs and increase the number of applicants available. With transportation costs on the rise, some hope that younger drivers could help slow the rising prices in transportation (contract costs increased 3-5% this year). The law would potentially give fresh out high school graduates more job opportunities.

The Proposed Regulation

The proposed regulation would allow the FMCSA to create a 6 year pilot program allowing younger drivers to cross state lines. The regulation would allow states to enter into agreements with each other allowing the younger drivers. States would be free to place limits on these drivers (like limiting types of cargo, limiting routes, creating hours they can drive, etc.).

The regulation has passed the Senate, but still needs approval from the House of Representatives.

What do you think about this proposed regulation? Should we allow more teen drivers on the road?

 

Beyond Truck Insurance – Great Benefits that Matter Most.

Most Important Benefits to Get With Truck Insurance

Truckers need to insure their vehicles, and for most, they simply look for the most cost-effective policy at the most reasonable price. It is vital to get good coverage, but as you are speaking with various truck insurance brokers, there are other qualities to look out for. There are numerous benefits to be gained, but you need to seek them out.

Assistance with Resolving Inaccuracies

A big component of the cost of someone’s insurance policy are prior claims and driver motor vehicle reports.  Therefore, a trucking company that has had some accidents in the past will have to pay more for the same policy as a company with a clean history. However, various government agencies make clerical errors all the time, and it is entirely possible a company that has never had a problem will have a mark on its record. When searching for a new insurance provider, it is helpful to try to find an agent who will lend a helping hand in these instances. An insurance agent will most likely have greater success convincing an outside agency to change an error.

Availability to Talk

You will find yourself in situations where you need to talk to your insurance agent and the last thing you want is to deal with someone who is hard to get a hold of. As you are reviewing different policies, pay attention to how easy it is to get in touch with someone. You may contact an agency and get put on hold for a while only to be told the agent is currently out of the office. You want an agent and agency who makes an effort to always be accessible and a live body answering the phone.

Willingness to Give Options

An insurance agent should be there to give you exactly what you need and ask for. An agent will most likely inform you of different services you could potentially benefit from, but ultimately, it comes down to what you and your company need. Always look through a proposal  yourself before making a purchase. An honest, upfront agent will tell you everything and not leave out any important details. That kind of transparency  should be a priority for you  in selecting  an agent.

Buying insurance means you are entering into a partnership, and you want to make this union as viable as possible for years to come. Pay attention to what you are truly receiving  to get the most out of it.