Tips for Winter TruckingWhile some truck drivers are lucky enough to avoid driving in snow and freezing conditions, for most long-haul truck drivers the coming winter will mean battling icy roads and frigid temperatures in the months ahead. This makes it critical that you take certain steps to prepare your truck for winter in order to ensure your safety on the road as well as keep your deliveries on time. If you anticipate driving in harsh winter weather, here are just a few steps that you can take to prepare your truck for winter.
Treat Your FuelWhen on the road in extreme winter weather, there is a risk that things will begin to freeze. If left untreated, your diesel fuel can freeze if conditions are cold enough. An important part of preparing your truck for winter is treating your fuel to prevent this from happening. Diesel can gel in extremely cold weather, which would prevent your truck from running. To prevent your fuel from gelling, it is critical that you add an anti-gelling additive to your truck's fuel tanks before adding fuel when the temperature drops. You should also keep anti-gel additives stocked up in your cab, as there may be shortages due to high demand during severe weather.
Prevent Frozen BreaksAnother important thing to consider when preparing your truck for winter is your brakes. When the temperature drops, frost can spread throughout your brake system causing your brakes to freeze, which can be extremely dangerous. To prevent this from occurring, you should drain your air tanks and fuel water separators every day when extreme cold sets in. You can also put an additive in your air tank that will spread through your brake system, which can help prevent it from freezing.
Keep Your Engine WarmDiesel engines require a higher cylinder temperature to start than gasoline vehicles, which is why it can be difficult to start a diesel engine in the winter. If you anticipate stopping overnight in cold conditions this winter, you should consider investing in block heaters for your truck (if you do not already have them) that circulate water around the engine to keep it warm. Plugging in your block heaters at night during cold weather can help to prevent your engine from freezing this winter. At Heavy Metal Truck Training we offer training for your Minnesota CDL. Minnesota winters can be cold and brutal. To learn more about the steps you can take to prepare your truck for the coming winter, contact us today, or give us a call at 651-528-8994!
Why Veterans Should Consider a Career in TruckingVeterans transitioning out of a career in the military might wonder what their next job will be. Luckily, military service provides skills and experience that are easily transferable, needed and appreciated in the trucking industry.
Your Military Skills Crossover to TruckingCarriers are eager to hire veterans to fill their open driver positions. They know that veterans are ready to work, reliable, trustworthy, and equipped with skills beneficial in the industry. From the physical demands of driving heavy-duty equipment to knowing the value of self-discipline, your time in the service can shape your trucking career. In fact, many former military truckers say their years of service helped them transition to a truck driving career.
Why Choose Trucking?It's a great time to become a truck driver. The trucking industry offers high pay, full benefits, and is a great choice for Veterans looking for long-term, stable employment. Moreover, carriers also offer incentives like sign-on bonuses, 401k plans, and paid vacations. Many truck drivers start out making $40,000+ per year with the potential to much more in some positions.
Road Test ExemptionsMilitary veterans with 2+ years of experience driving heavy-duty equipment in the last year may be able to skip the road test portion of the CDL exam, making getting their CDL a quicker process. Your Heavy Metal Truck Training admissions representative can help determine if you qualify for this exemption. At Heavy Metal Truck Training, we help veterans get a quality, high-paying job by making CDL training affordable. See what military benefits you can use towards your CDL training! Give us a call at 651-528-8994 today to get on the road toward your new career in the trucking industry.
Are There Rules About Exploring in Your Downtime?As a professional truck driver, you'll travel across the country, and drive though towns and cities you never knew existed, let alone thought you'd have a chance to see. You'll probably see more sights and scenery than you ever thought possible...but can you actually go sightseeing as a professional truck driver? In short, yes--but it's almost impossible to plan for. You just have to go when the opportunity arises. Every once in a while, you'll get to take your reset near a beach, football game or great local restaurant. When you do, take advantage of it! So when it actually lines up that you are on reset in a cool place, how do you go about sightseeing?
First, check with your carrier.Every company has different rules on bobtailing on personal time. A bobtail truck is a semi truck that travels from one point to another without a trailer. Bobtailing on personal time is known as personal conveyance. Trucking carriers have different rules on personal conveyance. Some ban it all together, while others put limitations on the distance you can drive. If you are required to leave your truck in a "safe haven" while on reset, another option is finding a cheap car rental to enjoy the sights and local restaurants. You can always use Uber or Lyft if you don't want to mess with renting a car! You might want to rent a car or Uber or Lyft even if you are allowed to bobtail on personal time--parking can be difficult to find.
Let your dispatcher know.Make sure you let your dispatcher know you're taking your 34 hour reset so they don't dispatch you anything.
Use travel resources.If you know where you're headed, stock up on local road maps to help you out in a pinch. You can also use a trip planner like Roadtrippers.com or Trip Advisor to find attractions that are accessible by public transportation, or even within walking distance of your tuck terminal. You might even find some offbeat, strange, and unusual places to visit! The amount of sightseeing you can do on your down time depends on the rules your company sets. But if you can, take advantage of your resets and days off and go explore! Your first step to sightseeing as a truck driver is becoming one! Enroll at Heavy Metal Truck Training where we have state-approved Class A CDL programs and provide drivers with a well-rounded education. So, what are you waiting for? Take the first step and contact us to get your CDL training classes started! The road is calling--grab your keys, and head to HMTT!
Guidelines from the DOTAs a driver new to the industry, or as someone considering getting a CDL, there are some important things to know about the time you can spend on the road driving. The Department of Transport determines the number of hours truck drivers may accumulate per day and week on the road. The rules are to ensure the safety of the truckers and other road users. There's a limit as to how long a driver may be on the road to ensure they get sufficient rest. The rules can sometimes be a little complicated and confusing. Breaking them down according to categories can help you understand them.
Some of the hours-of-service rule guidelines
- Your last legal reset is when your workweek begins. For example, if you started at 8 a.m. Tuesday, your 168-hour workweek ends on Tuesday at 8 a.m. the following week.
- Every duty period starts after a 10-hour off.
- Truck drivers may not work for more than 60 hours in seven days.
- It is not possible to extend the 14-hour duty period using off duty time for fueling, meals, and breaks.
- Following a 10-hour off duty period, the truck drivers can be on duty for up to 14 hours. But there's a limit of 11 hours driving time.
- A 30-minute break is mandatory within 8 hours after coming on duty.
Some of the penalties for violating hours-of-service rule guidelines
- Depending on the severity of the violation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration can levy fines of between $1,000 and $11,000.
- The law enforcement officers can place you on shutdown by the roadside until you accumulate the recommended rest hours.
The right training makes all the difference for a long, successful career! Enroll today and learn all about HOS rules. Call 651-528-8994 or submit the form on this page!
Skill Level, Experience & Tuition Assistance MatterWhen considering CDL training programs, the price of training can be a deciding factor. So how much will your CDL training cost you? There are a number of factors that determine the cost of a program. In this post, we'll break down the two main factors that determine the price of CDL training.
Skill & ExperienceThe first factor to consider is a driver's skill and experience level. A beginner driver requires more training than someone who has been driving commercial trucks for years. Therefore, the cost of your training will depend on your experience as a truck driver.
At Heavy Metal Truck Training, we train students of all skill levels and offer various courses based on experience level. You can choose the CDL training program that will fit with your current skill level and will help meet your professional goals. Our courses range from Class A CDL certificate programs for beginners to shorter Refresher CDL courses for experienced drivers.
Tuition AssistanceThe second factor to consider is tuition assistance. In addition to the course you enroll in, you should also talk to your enrollment specialist about the tuition assistance programs available at your school. Odds are, you will qualify for some sort of financial assistance! At HMTT, we offer a number of different tuition assistance options to help with the price of our CDL training courses. These options include:
- Tuition Reimbursement: We work with different trucking companies that reimburse tuition costs for pre-hired drivers. When you pay for your CDL training at HMTT, you have the opportunity to have your tuition costs reimbursed by the company you decide to work for. Tuition reimbursement can be combined with other forms of tuition assistance.
- State & Government Programs, Grants & Scholarships: There are both federal and state grant programs available to qualified individuals, including programs for unemployed or under-employed individuals.
- Personal Financing: Student loans are an option for financing your CDL training. HMTT even provides special in-house financing options for students.
- Company Sponsored Training: With company-sponsored training, students get funding to cover part or all of their CDL training costs. Additionally, some carriers also pay students a 40-hours per week income while in school. HMTT staff will help determine if students meet requirements and are eligible to use this program.
Can My Pet Ride Along With Me?Professional truck driving is one of the most solitary professions out there, and a popular career choice for introverts. Nobody, no matter how introverted, is a completely solitary person. We all crave interaction and companionship to some extent. That companionship doesn't necessarily need to be human. Many truck drivers love to bring their dogs and cats along for the ride. Here are a few reasons why bringing a furry friend on the road with you is a great idea for truck drivers...
CompanionshipLife on the road can be a lonely one. A pet can certainly provide much-needed companionship. Even though they can't speak back to hold a real conversation, their presence can be warm and comforting.
ExerciseAfter sitting for several hours, many truck drivers yearn for some form of exercise. A pet can help provide that. Pets, especially dogs, need to be walked. Cooped up for many hours at a time, dogs will grow anxious and restless. Taking your pet for a walk is a win-win situation. Not only will your canine companion enjoy it, but you will get some much-needed exercise, and a chance to stretch your legs.
FocusThe mind can easily play tricks on us. If a truck driver loses focus, tragic circumstances can happen. While some may view a pet as a distraction, they can help the driver maintain concentration after hours on the road. Something as simple as a bark or meow can jolt a tired driver back to reality. Thinking about your pet's needs can also help eliminate daydreaming.
Fight Separation AnxietyTaking your pet on the road with you can help grow an even greater bond with them. This can be incredibly positive for a pet that suffers from separation anxiety.
Finding a Trucking Company that Allows PetsMany of us would love to bring our pets to work. Truck driving is one of the few careers where this is possible. If bringing your pet along on the road is a top priority, make sure that you find a trucking company that allows it. Many companies that allow it have different policies. These companies typically require a deposit first. They also have weight limits on your pet. St. Bernard owners may be out of luck. Heavy Metal Truck Training can also help you find companies with pet policies in place. If you're looking to start or restart a trucking career, CDL training at Heavy Metal Truck Training is for you! They will get you on the road for a rewarding career.
Which CDL Training Course is Right for Me?If you're considering getting back on the road with your CDL, now is the perfect time! The United States is short around 60,000 professional drivers in 2019, and this gap is only expected to grow. At HMTT we offer CDL refresher courses, but if it's been more than a year since you've been over-the-road (OTR), you'd benefit more from a full CDL program.
Why Do I Need a Full CDL Course?There are so many new rules! So much has changed over the last few years, and OTR driving is completely different now. Here are just a few of the new regs:
- Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) rules: You cannot run a paper log anymore, but you still need to know how to make them in case your device fails. The new ELD devices are designed to monitor your hours of service, miles traveled etc. It prevents drivers from "creative record-keeping". No more cheating on log books!
- New Hours of Service (HOS) rules: Semi drivers must now take a 10 hour break between on-duty driving hours. They must also take a 30 minute rest in 8 hours of work, and cannot be driving for more than 11 consecutive hours.
Benefits of Our CDL Course
- Job Placement Assistance: Once you've graduated from our CDL training and in good standing with HMTT, we are committed to helping you find employment in the trucking industry! We work with many freight companies, and we are proud to provide them with the best, most qualified CDL drivers out there!
- Company Sponsored Training: Your employer knows the value of a CDL driver. We're ready to work with them to get you funded, through the course, and on the road!
- Tuition Assistance: We understand funding can be what is standing between you and your CDL training. We offer state and federal government programs, grants, scholarship, tuition reimbursement, and personal financing options. Our Enrollment Specialists work with you to identify the best funding option for you!
- Up-To-Date Courses: CDL licensing laws are changing as of February, 2020. All new drivers (or those getting their license again) will need to complete new federally approved courses, and pass a federally written test. You will no longer be able to go to your local DMV and get a CDL without completing the course and test.
- Classes Built by Skill Level: New drivers won't be intimidated in a class of more seasoned drivers, and experienced drivers won't be bored studying the basics.
Truck Drivers: The Rockstars of the RoadNobody deserves to be recognized more than professional truck drivers. All of us at Heavy Metal Truck Training applaud the men and women who just keep Truckin' (The Grateful Dead) through the Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix) because they are Under Pressure (Queen & David Bowie) to deliver goods across the country. When it has been a Hard Day's Night (The Beatles) they head over to the Hotel California (The Eagles). By the Time (Pink Floyd) they arrive, Dazed And Confused (Led Zeppelin) but Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd), they realize they Can't Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones.) After only briefly considering the question, Should I Stay Or Should I Go? (The Clash), with the energy of Rocket Man (Elton John) and the get up and go of Jumpin' Jack Flash (Rolling Stones) they head back Under The Bridge (Red Hot Chili Peppers) to Do It Again (Steely Dan.) Sometimes it is a Slow Ride (Foghat), sometimes it is the Highway To Hell (AC/DC) and sometimes they are Running On Empty (Jackson Browne), but Don't Stop Believin' (Journey) When The Music's Over (Doors) we are always glad The Boys (and gals) Are Back In Town (Thin Lizzy). [embed]https://youtu.be/hMJgHw13wlg[/embed]
Honoring The 3.5 Million Truck Driving ProfessionalsFun and games aside, just as we look back with nostalgia at the memories conjured up by some of the classics the rock stars of music have given us over the years, so do we honor and appreciate those who deliver goods and supplies over our open roads. Without the trucking industry, our grocery store shelves would be bare, our automobiles would sit idle, and our healthcare system could grind to a halt. A week is not enough time to pay tribute to the truck driving professionals who keep the big wheels rolling (there we go again) to ensure our way of life. The next time the opportunity presents itself, shake a trucker's hand. Say thank you, pay for his or her meal--or better yet, invite them to sit with your family at a restaurant. Eating alone can be as lonely as driving cross country. Teach your kids to ask a driver to blow the air horn as a way to say thank you! Heavy Metal Truck Training is proud to participate in National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. If you are interested in pursuing your CDL and starting your career on the open road, contact us today.
You've earned your CDL...Now what?Congratulations! By finishing CDL school and earning your CDL, you've made two big steps toward becoming a truck driver. However, you're not ready to hit the road alone as a professional trucker yet. Here's what happens after CDL training but before your first solo trip.
Join a CarrierMany graduates of Heavy Metal Truck Training join a carrier through our pre-hire service before they begin training with us. If you didn't take advantage of this service, your first step is to sign with a carrier. The national shortage of professional truck drivers means you probably won't have a hard time finding a trucking company to hire you. In fact, local and OTR company recruiters regularly visit our school to discuss employment vacancies or offer pre-hire letters to students.
Attend New Driver TrainingEach trucking company has its own training program. A carrier may refer to this training by names like new hire training or driver orientation. No matter what the training is called, it usually covers common topics like:
- Your daily responsibilities
- Company operations
- Personnel policies
- Pay and benefits
- Safety rules
- Handling emergencies
- Vehicle care
- Communicating with dispatch
Get on the RoadFinally, it's time to get in the driver's seat and hit the road! At first, you won't be alone in the truck. An experienced driver (sometimes called a driver trainer or mentor) goes along for the ride as your passenger. The trainer is there to observe your conduct, answer questions, and provide advice based on his or her experience. After a few weeks with your trainer, you'll be ready to go it alone! If you haven't started your journey to become a professional trucker yet, why wait? It's a great time to start your CDL training and hit the road in a new career. Call us today to see how you can get started! 651-528-8994
Are you disqualified from getting a CDL?We hear from a lot of people who want to know if they can get their CDL after a felony conviction. The answer depends on the person and the felony. The good news is that your odds of getting a trucking job are fairly high. Each state has the right to set its own requirements for earning a CDL, but most of them care much more about the individual's qualifications than about their record. The past matters, but not as much as the present.
The Details MatterEverything will come down to the details of the case. The type of felony is the single biggest factor for most people. A felony that involved a vehicle will usually make things harder. On the other hand, there are plenty of other felonies that don't make a difference. The amount of time that has passed since the conviction can also be important.
States Set Their Own RulesThe most important thing to remember is that every state, school, and employer has its own set of rules. That might mean that you can qualify for your CDL in one state while being disqualified in the next one over. Similarly, employers may have different employment standards; you may qualify for employment with one company, but not another. Most states follow the same general pattern. They disqualify people with convictions for serious crimes related to vehicles and a few other offenses, but they don't care about the others. You do have to put in some effort to see if you can qualify in your state, but most people can do it.
Ask the SchoolThere is an easy way to find out if you can qualify for your CDL. Just get in touch with us! We can go over your history with you to figure out if you can meet the requirements to get your Commercial Driver's License. It never hurts to ask, and you may be surprised to find out just how easy it is to get started. If you have a felony conviction but want to get back on your feet, getting your CDL at HMTT might be a great option! Call us today to see how soon you can get started! 651-528-8994