CDL Training Resources & Truck Driver Career News

Helpful Information About CDL Training & Trucking Jobs

Check out this selection of news articles, training resources, and other helpful information about the trucking industry to learn more about your career choices and how to prepare for in-demand job opportunities in trucking. Then, when you’re ready to get started with your CDL Training, give us a call! 1-800-835-2540 or if you’re in the Twin Cities area, call 651-528-8994

  • Planning for the New Year

    It’s that time of the year again. The time when everyone chooses something that they would like to improve upon in their life over the next year. Most of the time, people choose something like losing weight but they don’t plan out just how this goal will be accomplished. According to the American Psychological Association, there are a few ways to make your new year’s resolutions stick.

    Start with Small Changes

    If you try to make huge changes in a short amount of time, you almost always fail. For example, if you want to sleep better, try moving your bedtime 15 minutes earlier everyday until you get enough rest. By doing this, you adjust to your new habit and you’re more likely to continue it.

    Change One Thing at a Time

    In addition to starting small, don’t try to change things in many different areas of your life at the same time. Changing your driving habits while trying to lose weight and trying to exercise every single day may be tough to change all at the same time. Start with one thing and once it becomes a habit, move onto the next. The point with resolutions are to keep them, not to change everything you can in a short amount of time.

    Have Accountability

    Don’t keep your resolutions completely to yourself, because you’re more likely to break them that way. Telling others what you’re doing keeps you motivated and holds you accountable to continue to meet your goal.

    Remember Your Overall Goal

    What’s the purpose of your new resolution? If you’re trying to be a better driver and your resolution is to time your trips more effectively, don’t worry about being a stickler because being a better driver includes more than just planning driving times. Improving in small ways is better than staying stagnant. Whatever new year’s resolution you decide to pursue (or if you don’t plan your goals by the new year), remember to set a goal and be strategic in how you want to achieve it. Is your new year’s resolution to earn your commercial drivers license? Contact us and get information on when our classes start.  
  • Making the Holiday Season Merry & Bright

    It’s always hard to find the best gift for the one you love. Some people say they “don’t’ want anything” but we all know they do. So what do you get for the trucker in your family? They might be gone for weeks at a time, so seeing them at Christmas and giving them something special can mean a lot. We’ve found the top five trucker gift ideas that can be useful to any trucker who spends a lot of time out on the road!

    1.) Truck Atlas

    Most people have an app for maps on their phone or they might have a GPS in their car, but having an atlas is a necessity to truckers who are in a new city everyday. A truck atlas is created specially for truckers, giving them extra detail and ways to navigate dead zones that a typical GPS may not recognize. Buy a truck atlas here.

    2.) Sirius XM Satellite Radio & Antenna

    Being out on the road for long periods of time can be hard, especially when you dont have anything to listen to other than local FM radio stations. Sirius XM offers all kinds of musical stations, live news and 24/7 comedy, all of which are great ways to pass the time while out on the road. You can buy a radio or subscription on Sirius XMs website, here.

    3.) Personalized Mud Flaps

    Its not easy to personalize your truck when its covered in your companys branding. One way to add your personal flair, though, is to have personalized mud flaps. This could mean printing a favorite quote on it or maybe a favorite band. Click here to personalize mud flaps for your trucker.

    4.) Power Inverter or USB Converter

    Power inverters and USB converters can be invaluable out on the road. This is especially true when pulling over to park for the night. Without access to power, you cant charge your phone or turn on Netflix for the night. Check out Walmart for some low-cost power inverters.  

    5.) Planner & Organizer

    Staying organized is essential for any job, especially when part of the job requires you to travel and coordinate your arrival times. Buy a planner & organizer for your trucker from Amazon. Whatever you decide to get for your loved one, they will appreciate the time and effort that you put into it. Are you (or someone you know) thinking about earning your CDL and getting on the road to becoming a trucker? Contact us for more info!
  • Staying Safe on the Icy Roads

    Winter presents many challenges, even to those of us who love to drive. Large vehicles have an even harder time of it, and winter issues can crop up quickly even before the real snows set in. Here are a few problems we face in the coldest months and some ways to combat the issues.

    1. Black Ice

    Ice of any kind poses a real threat to anyone on the road, but with the weight and longer stopping time of a big rig, this is an issue that causes a lot of damage and can even be fatal. Sometimes we get into the habit of driving a certain speed, especially when we know the area and have driven it a million times. This can lead to disaster if you find yourself on black ice and out of control. One of the best things you can do when you know there's going to be trouble on the road is to take it slow, even slower than you normally would. People will honk at you, but it's much better safe than sorry.

    2. Low Visibility

    Snowstorms come up quick, especially in Minnesota. There are some areas of the state where it seems like they come out of nowhere, and then there's whiteout or low visibility. Slowing down is a good idea during these times, but with a large vehicle it's best to get off the highway as soon as possible and try again when the snow has cleared. We're responsible for other people on the road as well, and it's better to be late than dead.

    3. Breakdown

    Although it's uncommon with trucks, breakdown is always a possibility and preparation needs to be made for cold weather. There should be supplies in your truck for these kinds of emergencies, just like you have in your car: a heat source, food, water, flares, a charged burner cell phone, and other necessities to keep in your cab the same way you should be keeping one in your trunk. Freezing temperatures can very swiftly cause hypothermia. Your life and health are of the utmost importance. Winter driving is always a challenge no matter the type of vehicle. Truckers face even more difficulties because of the nature of their work and the size of the vehicles they drive. Just remember to take a few precautions and you'll have a safe and profitable winter.
  • Dealing with Homesickness as a Trucker

    For many truckers, the biggest challenge out on the road isn't crazy drivers or negative weather conditions. It's not even tight deadlines, bleary eyes, or roadside food that isn't setting as well as you'd like. Instead, homesickness rears its ugly head--and during those long hours on the road, setting aside homesickness can be a serious challenge. If you're dealing with homesickness on the road or worried about what it will mean for you, try some of these strategies to alleviate homesickness and continue to get ahead in your career.

    1. Take videos of your family members.

    It may be as simple as a child reading a story or an evening together as a family: something that will bring up positive memories and make you smile when you're out on the road alone.

    2. Encourage your family members to send pictures.

    You might not be able to make it to every event or special occasion thanks to your schedule, but you can feel connected when they send pictures to you. You can also look over those pictures together or put together a scrapbook when you get back.

    3. Make your trips fun.

    If you have a small child, consider adopting a "mascot" that you take with you whenever you're out on the road. They can keep another one with them or you can alternate who takes your stuffed friend. Then, take pictures of your mascot doing fun activities with you, checking out hotels, or visiting rest stops, especially when you find something unique or different. It's a fun way to feel connected even when you're far away.

    4. Take advantage of Skype, Facetime, and other programs.

    Thanks to these handy programs, even when you can't connect with your friends and family members in person, you can feel as though you're right there with them! It's a great way to be present for the big game even when you can't be on the sidelines, to view that concert or recital even when you're halfway across the country, or to simply be present for the evening bedtime story.

    5. Connect when you are home.

    Thanks to your time away, you'll have a deeper appreciation for the comforts of home and family. When you are home, take some time to connect. Take care of things that are normally your spouse's responsibility, cuddle extra with the kids, and keep making memories. The life of a trucker can be difficult at times, but it's also a rewarding career that helps you provide for your family. By finding ways to connect with them when you're gone, you'll be able to alleviate homesickness and increase those relationships even when you can't be there in person. Need more help getting your career on the road? Contact us today to learn how we can help.
  • How to Ace Your Trucking Interview

    With your CDL in hand, here are some tips to help you ace your job interview, so you can get started working!

    1.) Start with research.

    • Do a Google search on the company. Get a sense of what they do, the industry they specialize in, and where you will fit in the company. If the company has a mission statement, read it.
    • If you know your interviewer, do a quick search for them as well. Check LinkedIn and other networking sites to get a sense of the person or people you might meet.

    2.) Prepare.

    • Remember about the company's mission statement; do you agree with it? How can you help the company succeed?
    • Think about the interviewer, if you know who it will be. Do you have anything in common with them? Anything you can use to establish a connection?
    • Appearances matter, so make sure the clothing you plan to wear is neat and clean, and that the rest of your appearance is tidy.
    • Print out your resume, cover letter, job application, references, and other materials, and bring at least two copies. You will rarely need them, but have them just in case.

    3.) Interview questions. Think about possible interview questions.

    • Some excellent guidance is to think of 5 stories about yourself. These stories should demonstrate success - solving problems, overcoming challenges, working well on a team, and learning from a mistake. Many interview questions start with "tell me a time when..." If you have a couple of stories in your head, you can quickly tailor them to answer the prompt.
    • Prepare to address difficult issues. Is there something in your work history (a firing, a layoff, or some discipline) that you need to explain? What about otherwise -- any criminal issues or something else that might show up on a background check? Prepare to address these issues honestly, but put yourself in best possible position.

    4.) Your questions.

    • The interview isn't just a time for them to grill you; it's your chance to grill them! Asking questions shows the interviewer that you are interested, that you know about the company and your role, and that you are excited.
    • Discuss the company's policies about home-time, layover pay, and pay rates (per mile or per hour, and if by mile, how is mileage calculated).
    • Ask about the main routes or hauls; if the company has specific routes they routinely haul, ask about these routes to see if they will be a fit for you.
    • Ask about availability - how many miles or hours are available?
    • What kind of training is provided?
    • Are there growth opportunities? Are there dedicated runs for senior drivers? Can drivers grow into manager or trainer roles?
    • How does the company assess driver performance, what standards does the company use to evaluate drivers, and how often do assessments happen? How do managers provide feedback?
    • Ask about safety standards, electronic logs, and anything else about which you are curious.

    5.) Interview day.

    • Assume you are at the interview from the moment you leave home. There are stories about interview candidates who behaved rudely in the parking lot, only to find out the person they insulted was interviewing them later. Be on your very best behavior all day.
    • Shake hands, look the interviewer in the eye, and show interest in the interview process.
    • Thank them for their time at the end.
    • If appropriate, send a followup email or note thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest in working with them.
    You're going to do great! Contact us with any questions and to get started on your trucking career today!
  • Organizing Your Finances While Out on the Road

    Budgeting can be tricky and intimidating for everyone. It doesn't need to be, though. Start with these simple steps:
    • Track spending and income. For at least month or two, keep track of every penny you spend and every penny you make. Be honest and track every expenditure, even if you would really rather not. Take a good look at it; where is there room to save? Are there any opportunities to increase your earning?
    • Assess  account balances. What do you have in savings? Checking? Do you have any debt - credit card, student loans, mortgage, or vehicle loans?
    • Set short-term goals. Keep these goals realistic and measurable. Do you want to payoff some existing debt? Ask yourself if you can put an extra $100 towards it each month. Do you want to build some savings? Can you put even just $10/week into a savings account?
    • Set long-terms goals. Are you hoping to buy a new car or make a down payment on a house? Think about how you can start saving for those goals as well. Even small amounts of savings will add up to help you meet your goals.
    • Use a budgeting app. The internet has so many free budgeting tools, that allow you to see exactly where you're spending your money. One of the best is called "Every Dollar", by Dave Ramsey.
      If you currently don't have a budget in place or any savings, then it's a good plan to create a six-month emergency fund. Ideally, this fund will have enough money to tide you over for six months in case something happens to you. It can take a long time to build, of course, but it provides a lot of security and comfort. Keep this fund separate from your other savings and keep it for just emergencies. So, where are some places to find room in your budget?
    • Eating outOf course, so much of your job is on the road, and eating out is the easiest thing to do. But in addition to being rough on your waistline, eating frequent meals in restaurants is rough on your budget. Pack your own snacks and beverages, make your own coffee, and plan to eat meals in your truck more often than you eat out.
    • Bad habits. Smoking or other tobacco usage, speeding tickets, or unnecessary entertainment can all eat into your budget.
    • Cell phone and other device plans. Are you constantly going over your minutes or data usage and paying hefty overage charges? Or are you regularly not using your plan to its fullest and overpaying?
    • Insurance. Regularly assess your insurance coverage (whether home, truck, or otherwise) to make sure you have enough coverage, but you aren't overpaying.
    • Preventative maintenance. On you or your truck. Take care of your health and get regular medical and dental checkups to save money in the long run. Same goes for your truck - take good care of it now and avoid costly breakdowns later.
    • Pay with cash. Save on interest charges on a personal credit card and make sure you stick to your budget by using cash.
      For more information on a successful career in trucking, contact us today!