Trucking and Disaster Relief

Although Hurricane Laura did not reach the catastrophic levels that were predicted, it still devastated areas of Louisiana and is considered the strongest to have ever hit the state. 2,000 miles west, California is fighting their own natural disasters with wildfires and extreme heat ravaging the state. The US is a highly diverse geographic region, making it susceptible to multiple types of disasters at any given time of year. Fortunately, our interstate highway system and dedication to expedited logistics allows carriers to provide relief to those in need. At the center of many of these relief efforts lie some of the hardest workers in the country – truckers.

Although immediate catastrophe generally requires helicopter and water rescue, trucks are essential for bringing relief products to affected areas. FEMA shipments can be filled with food, medical supplies, and pop-up shelters for those who have lost their homes to disaster, and without the expansive trucking network in place in the USA, much of this would take longer to get where it needs to. It should be noted that drivers are often taking risks heading to these areas, so they can rightfully be seen as heroes in instances where they are willing to fight inclement weather in order to bring supplies to those in need.

Whether it’s a hurricane, wildfires, or a blizzard, the people of our nation are more than willing to help each other out, even those across the country. Truckers who move disaster relief materials are doing a major service to our nation and to our people, and it is important to recognize their efforts in aiding other disaster relief workers during difficult times. It isn’t easy to take on these jobs, both from a logistical and personal standpoint, but somebody somewhere is willing to do it.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the hard work drivers put in when reaching these disaster zones. Communication is key with the receivers in the affected areas. Circumstances can change very quickly and unexpectedly in a disaster zone so staying current as the situation develops is crucial. We honor and respect the arduous task before drivers as they ensure crucial items are delivered even in hazardous conditions and are willing to help whenever needed. To see this dedication to service for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

A New Career in Trucking

Americans have been hit hard in recent months, with layoffs or furloughs being the latest threat to job security. We’re facing many difficulties and uncertainties in the job market, but as the economy opens back up, new positions will become available. One of these positions presents an unexpectedly lucrative opportunity since it will always be needed – the truck driver.

Traversing the open road and delivering goods may not be what most have in mind when considering a new career path, but it can be a very lucrative – and fulfilling – job to take on. There is no one-size-fits-all solution in truck driving, and people have many different options from which to choose. If you’ve always wanted to see different parts of the country and enjoy your independence, you might consider a long-haul career. For those who don’t mind being away for a few days but still want to get back home for the weekends – regional driving jobs are abundant. And even if you want to come home every night and sleep in your own bed, you can become a final-mile or local driver.

No matter what route you choose, there is still a strong need for more drivers in this country, and many companies are willing to pay for or co-sponsor your training to ensure you have all the tools required to succeed. This career path is one of the most stable, essential and customizable around. Many logistics providers do their best to accommodate their drivers and treat them with the respect they deserve. You will go home knowing you’ve done honest work for one of the most crucial sectors of the economy – after all, there will always be a need for groceries, clothing, furniture and other goods to be delivered across the country.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that most people don’t realize that trucking is a viable career choice. It is an opportunity to serve a grateful customer base and share in the joys of delivering their purchased product. Drivers are the “face” of most logistics companies and with a can-do attitude and hard work ethic, they will inevitably find success. To work with one of our smiling drivers in your next shipment, start today with Zip Xpress!

Keeping Truckers Cool in the Summertime

Summer is in full swing, and freight volumes have continued to rise, meaning that there are more drivers on the road than there have been in several months. Certain areas across the country have been hit with incredibly hot weather, with temperatures reaching the 90s and higher across the Great Plains and in the Southwest. This can mean uncomfortable and even dangerous conditions for our country’s truck drivers, who are in their cabins for hours at a time and even sleep in them overnight on long haul trips. This is why driver’s must be vigilant in taking the necessary precautions to prevent both themselves and their trucks from overheating.

Use – and Maintain – Air Conditioning

This sounds like a no-brainer, but air conditioning is very important during sweltering summer days. Most drivers have no problems using it, but it is vital to remember to check antifreeze levels and other components to ensure a safe, cool ride against the beating sun.

Blankets are Your Friend

You might wonder why anybody would want blankets in the middle of the summer, but they are very useful – just not in the way you might expect. For leather seats that tend to get extra hot after sitting in the sun, blankets can prevent overheating. Placing a blanket over your seat while you run into a truck stop or right before you sit down can add exponential levels of comfort while driving. They can also be helpful in covering electronic devices to keep them cool on bright days.

Sunburn is No Joke

Many truckers are familiar with the perils of the dreaded half-sunburn. Due to driving on the left side, the left side of your body, specifically your arm and face, can really take a beating if you don’t apply sunblock regularly. Applying 30 SPF sunscreen once every two hours should be enough to protect from harmful ultraviolet rays

Breaks are Essential

We know that drivers are legally required to take breaks, but in this type of weather it may be beneficial to allot extra times for short breaks when discomfort hits. Even 10-15 minutes at a rest stop to sit in air conditioning and rehydrate can go a long way for your physical and mental health. Taking along a thermos full of frozen water bottles can also help ensure you have a ready supply of cool water that will help keep you hydrated.

At Zip Xpress, we understand how hard truck drivers work, especially during the summer months. We hope these practical tips will help make all the difference in keeping drivers cool during the long summer days. To see how our hardworking drivers can service your freight, start today with Zip Xpress!

Staying Healthy on the Frontlines

With some states easing shelter-in-place restrictions and more freight shipping in recent weeks, there seems to be some optimism that the economy is starting to gain steam. Still, many essential workers are at risk of being exposed to COVID-19. Those working in warehouses come in contact with people and freight on a daily basis, and those delivering the goods are on the road constantly, entering truck stops, gas stations, and delivery docks. It is vital for these frontline workers to take the necessary precautions to keep themselves healthy and prevent the spread of this dangerous virus.

It should go without saying that we should all be practicing thorough and constant handwashing. Anytime a worker leaves his post or touches a potentially contaminated item, he should wash his hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer. Those who have to enter their workplace should be sure to wear face masks throughout the day. N95 masks are the most effective, but are difficult to come by. Cloth masks are easy to make and can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (but they aren’t a replacement for social distancing). Most importantly, anybody who feels even mildly ill should tell their manager immediately and see a doctor. Now is not the time to ignore symptoms. Doing so puts the worker and all those around him or her at risk.

Forgotten through all of this is the toll the pandemic can have on one’s mental health. Social isolation can be devastating, but there are ways to stay connected. Those working in warehouses or driving trucks should take some time to get out for a walk, read a book, or interact with family and friends through telephone and video calls. Even a five minute conversation can add a positive outlook to the day once we know our family and friends are safe.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that frontline workers are facing trying times. Drivers and freight handlers have stayed working since the start of the crisis, many of them putting their health on the line to keep our supply chain running. These hard working individuals deserve our gratitude and respect. To see how our hardworking employees can service your freight, start today with Zip Xpress!

Truckers: The Other Heroes of COVID-19

There is a branch of heroes that aren’t being talked about every night on the evening news as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare and retail workers deserve to be in the limelight due to their constant exposure, but it’s still important to recognize the contributions of the brave truck drivers who are working around the clock during the outbreak. Were it not for truck drivers, our retail shelves would be empty and medical supplies wouldn’t reach the hospitals in dire need.

When the COVID-19 pandemic was underway, truck drivers came out in droves to help ensure supplies were replenished after people rushed their local grocery stores and stocked up. The Federal Government even lifted the ELD restrictions of driving 11 hours a day so long as they were transporting goods such as: medical supplies, food products and other materials deemed as critical. The significance of this was that many drivers started working 12 hours a day or more to ensure these deliveries were made, often weeks at a time. They’re taking time away from their families to be out on the road, and logistics is proving that it’s one of the most essential sectors of the American economy. Many of these humble heroes are honored to be moving these products across the United States – it’s one of the reasons why they became a driver in the first place.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of the truck driver’s role in the supply chain. We know what they’re giving up by being out on the road and we seek to give them the recognition they deserve. The importance of truck drivers cannot be overstated and we hope that this will inspire a new generation of drivers to get behind the wheel. We know what heroes these drivers are and their dedication is nothing short of heroic. We wish all of you drivers the very best and that you return to your families safe and sound.

Training New Truck Drivers

Driving a truck may be one of the most humble careers as well as a highly lucrative one that offers many advantages over more traditional jobs. It requires certain personality traits, as there are long stretches of time where one will be away from home, navigating the expansive highway system and visiting multiple cities in a matter of days. While some people have no desire to take on such a job, there are many others who enjoy the freedom this career offers them. In order for new drivers to enjoy the fruits of this career, each one will need to be properly trained to face the challenges of this new career.

Driving trainers must be patient with their new recruits, as they require a lot of seat time and driving hours before they can tackle the job on their own. This means spending a lot of time together on long-haul jobs and staying attentive even during the most mundane stretches. For new drivers, an unpleasant trainer can turn them off to the job for life, so it is important to employ personable, knowledgeable drivers who are willing to take others under their wing. New drivers will need to also understand that they’re representing both the shipper as well as the carrier and that the final delivery is vital to a customer’s overall experience. As with every job, attitude is everything.

Training isn’t just about learning the technical skills involved with driving. New drivers need to become conditioned for life on the road. Most people can’t just be thrown into a cab and expected to tough it out on their first run with no experience. Taking a gradual approach and allowing the new driver to slowly adjust to long hours can go a long way in preparing them for life on the road. It is important for them to see the challenges that they will face and to understand how to address them. They need to see the importance of representing multiple shippers and carriers. As such, there’s a need to recognize that this job is of crucial importance from a customer service standpoint. They also need to see the benefits of life on the road, of the adventure and freedom they’ll experience as they see the beauty of our nation.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that only the toughest can become drivers. We know that we need to focus on the human aspect of recruiting new drivers. There is a learning curve so mistakes will be made, but it’s important to maintain a tolerant and respectful work environment for new drivers. Driver retention is only becoming more important so helping new drivers establish confidence in the beginning of their careers will ensure that they’ll log more miles for everyone in the future. To see how our team of dedicated professionals can help your business, start today with Zip Xpress!

Give That Truck Some Space!

Driving in traffic can be stressful, but consider the pressure put on truck drivers! These licensed professionals drive all day, often spending weeks on the road and dealing with traffic jams on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many drivers aren’t very respectful of the trucks on the road, and we believe it boils down to a simple lack of awareness. Not everyone realizes how much work goes into driving a truck, nor do they realize that we cannot treat trucks like other cars. There are some rules that one must follow in the event you find yourself next to a large tractor-trailer.

The most important tip to remember is to give the truck plenty of space, no matter how much traffic you are in. Trucks have enormous blind spots. Even though drivers are trained at using mirrors to check their surroundings, it is still always better to play it safe. Don’t follow a truck too closely, and try to avoid being in a position to the side of a truck for too long. Most importantly, never cut in front of a truck without leaving at least 3 car lengths between you and the truck. Wait until you see both headlights in your rearview mirror when merging back onto the right hand lane. These large machines need a lot more time to brake safely, and cutting too close in front of them could spell disaster for you, especially if you are in a position to have to slam on your brakes.

In addition to driving safely, you should always drive respectfully. You may be slightly inconvenienced by sitting behind a truck in traffic, but remember that there is a real person driving that truck and that these drivers help to keep our economy moving along. When you realize that you are sharing the road with a hard worker who is trying to do a job, you will be more inclined to drive smarter and safer.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the hard work these dedicated professionals put in in order to ensure freight gets delivered undamaged and on time. Our goal is to raise awareness for the hard work drivers put in and to encourage readers to share this awareness with others so that together we can help keep everyone on the road safe. To see how we can put such dedication behind your projects, start today with Zip Xpress!

A Look at 2020’s Proposed ELD Rule Changes

The past few years have seen some stark changes in the trucking industry, with many stemming from new rules and regulations. The ELD Mandate took effect at the end of 2017, and almost two years later, the industry is still heavily affected by it. Those that didn’t plan ahead and strategize were often left in the dust, but firms that made it a point to adapt are still thriving today. Those who succeeded should continue to keep an innovative mindset, as even further changes may be coming in 2020. The FMCSA has proposed some new rules that may give more flexibility to drivers if they are passed.

One of the biggest changes would be a short-haul exception that allows commercial drivers to operate within 150 miles and 14 hours without using an ELD tracking device instead of 100 miles and 12 hours.

Another proposal is to extend 2 hours of allowable on-duty time when a driver is going to encounter adverse driving conditions.

An idea for a major change to the 10-hour rule is to allow a 7/3 or 6/4 split when taking breaks rather than requiring a continuous 10 hour span off duty.

Drivers may also be able to pause their 14-hour clock once per active driving shift for up to 3 hours. This allows for time to plan routes and wait out the rush hour traffic.

All of these rules would likely be seen as welcome changes for drivers, who have been frustrated by the stringent regulations that have come with the ELD mandate. We may see an influx of drivers into the workforce as the job becomes more flexible and potentially more lucrative. Shippers might benefit from an increase in capacity which could help them run their supply chains more efficiently.

While nothing is set in stone, it will be interesting to see how these proposals are received and what developments take place if they are put into effect.

At Zip Xpress, our goal is to keep our partners informed with the latest shipping updates. We want to provide advice and guidance so that you can plan all of your shipments and they can arrive undamaged and on time. To ensure there will be no interruptions in your shipments and get the best advice on the subject, start today with Zip Xpress!

The Ups and Downs of Team Driving

Driving a truck can be a lonely, stressful job. Long hours on the road and away from family can take its toll on people, and regulations can make it difficult to make deliveries on time. Fortunately, driving as a team is something that can take a bit of the sting out of all of these things. By switching drivers when one’s hours are up, a team can deliver more loads in less time, making more money by doing so and keeping each other company while on the road. There are many husband and wife teams that travel across the country all year long and thoroughly enjoy doing so.

While it can be nice to have a companion, team driving can also lead to some tension considering the close quarters people have to share. Hopefully your partner is taking his or showers whenever they get the chance, otherwise you may be in for some long, uncomfortable stretches! And if you don’t share the same taste in music, then you both better have some good conversational skills, lest you want to drive all week in silence. Fortunately, there are some pretty nice sleeper cabs out there that can help you keep at least a little bit of distance, and noise cancelling headphones might give you some peace during your break.

While there are challenges that come with driving as a team (as with any job that requires close cooperation with another person), it has become something that many drivers prefer. The ability to log more miles in fewer days and to share the driving experience with a friend or significant other is something that many people find invaluable. The good news is that you aren’t obligated to drive as a team at all times, so you can take on your own jobs if you ever need a break.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the value team driving can bring out on the open road. Our goal is to show appreciation to all drivers out on our nation’s highways and team drivers are another method we use to ensure our freight arrives undamaged and on time. To see how our drivers can ensure your product will arrive undamaged and on time, start today with Zip Xpress!

Preparing Trucks for Winter

It may only be October, but several parts of the US are already experiencing early snowfall and preparing for potential blizzards. For truck drivers, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and be prepared, lest they caught in unexpected weather and need to shut down. From mechanical precautions to personal safety measures, there are a variety of steps that should be taken for the winter before a truck is sent on the road. Some of these simply make driving more comfortable, but others can save lives.

Test Batteries

Batteries take a lot of abuse over the summer, but can be drained quickly in extreme weather, so fall is the perfect time to test them to ensure that they are in good shape.

Check Starting Systems

The mechanisms that help a truck start are sensitive to weather changes and general wear-and-tear, so these should be checked thoroughly. Many drivers understand how they work and are able to perform a quality assessment, but it doesn’t hurt to have a mechanic check them out for some added assurance.

Ensure Proper Tire Pressure and Tread Depth

Tires are a key component of safe driving at any time of year, but they become even more important in the winter. It is vital to make sure that they are inflated to the proper level and that the tread is not worn down. While new tires can be expensive, it is worth it to prevent slipping and sliding on ice, as well as to improve fuel mileage.

Add Fuel Additives to Prevent Gelling in the Fuel Line

Diesel fuel is known to gel in colder temperatures. At 32 degrees fahrenheit, the wax in liquid form will crystallize and leave the fuel tank clouded. At 10-15 degrees, it will finally start to gel and clog the tank and fuel filters. Fuel additives will also boost fuel economy, make trucks run smoother and longer. It’s a small investment that prevents many timely delays.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Every driver should have an emergency kit inside the cabin. At the very least, this should contain a first aid kit, extra clothes, non-perishable food items, flares, batteries, a radio, and water. These can be of utmost importance if the truck breaks down miles away from the next exit.

At Zip Xpress we understand the importance of reliability. This possibly more crucial during the winter months that at any time of the year due to the potential for weather delays, sudden snowstorms and other hazards that can occur. However, you’ll see that we take the time to optimize our trucks and ensure we’re checking them and preparing for the winter months ahead. Our aim is to keep our drivers safe and comfortable so they have the extra time they need to ensure reliable delivery. To see this for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!