The Perception of The American Trucker is Changing

Last Thursday, the group Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF) released the results of a poll they conducted on how Americans perceive truck drivers. The reason for the poll was to measure the impact of awareness as well as education campaigns targeted at American motorists. The national poll which was conducted Sept. 7-14 by Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of TMAF, surveyed 1,000 registered voters.

The results of this poll? According to the TMAF’s co-chairman Kevin Burch: “The image of the trucking industry is stronger than ever!” Some of the key findings included:

  • 87% of voters have a favorable impression of the trucking industry.
  • 97% of Americans believe the trucking industry plays a “very important” role in the country’s economy.
  • Three-quarters of Americans rate the industry’s safety record as “excellent” or “good.”
  • 96% of Americans stated that truck drivers are essential to keeping the country’s economy moving.
  • 85% consider truck drivers to be professionals.
  • 78% believe that truck drivers have higher standards for safety than other drivers.
  • When voters were asked which group of workers should be considered “essential or critical” to the country in times of crisis, trucking ranked top three along with grocery store workers and healthcare workers.
  • More than 40% of Americans say they know someone who works in the trucking industry, and their impression is more favorable of the industry at 87%.

We’re deeply proud to see such results when it comes to the perceptions of truckers in the industry. It’s clear that the past few years have highlighted the importance of drivers to our nation’s economy and made it apparent just how important they are to the American supply chain. One of our goals has always been to show just how much we as a country need our drivers and give them the respect they deserve. It is our hope that Americans will continue to view drivers with respect and realize just how important it is to keep goods getting to the customer.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of showing how much drivers matter to the supply chain. Drivers are the face of a logistics provider and can make or break an experience. We’re proud to say that all of our drivers are friendly and will do whatever it takes to help you with your shipment – both with pickup and delivery. Many other businesses that have had the pleasure of working with our drivers claim that they’re some of the friendliest in the business and always appreciate working with them. It’s one of the many reasons we’re able to maintain a 99% satisfaction rating with all of our customers. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

In the Driver’s Toolbox

No matter how hard a carrier tries, no matter how often companies maintain strict maintenance schedules to keep their trucks in tip-top shape, breakdowns inevitably happen. While roadside assistance is always available, drivers know that shipments need to keep moving and any delays must be addressed.

While major repairs should be left to a professional mechanic, with the right set of tools many if not most of the smaller repairs can be handled by drivers. One of the most valuable tools for a driver is their cell phone since they can call and report the incident to dispatch and anyone else they need to. A cell phone is invaluable for calling roadside assistance as well should a driver not wish to address the mechanical problems they face.

For the more hands-on drivers, some of the tools we’ve found to be absolutely essential in their toolbox include: screwdrivers (philips and flathead), pliers, wrenches, vice grips, a hammer (for knocking debris off of brakes), duct tape, a flashlight, ear plugs, zip ties and a fifth-wheel pin puller. The reason for the fifth wheel puller is because too many drivers hurt themselves when reaching for the pin or trailer tandem and strain their muscles by overextending themselves. These are the ‘lighter’ set of tools which are handy in any situation a driver may find themselves in.

If a driver wishes to be prepared for any situation they find themselves in, some additional tool considerations are: a socket set, pry bar, a torque wrench, spare light bulbs (such as headlights and brake lights) and spare nuts and bolts. Another recommendation from a long time driver was a spare key stored somewhere on the outside of the truck, because it was a matter of “when” not “if” a driver may accidentally lock themselves out of their truck. It helps save them a trip from the locksmith, although this may apply more to long-haul drivers than regional ones. Being prepared is the sign of an experienced driver as well as dedication for getting the job done. Having a few tools for all of the minor fixes is simply another way drivers prove just how resourceful they are.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of keeping a driver equipped for whatever they need on the road. We’re able to maintain our trucks thanks to our routine maintenance schedules along with our driver’s diligence, but we know they’re ready for anything on the road. It’s this diligence that helps keep our shipments moving and their dedication to our customers that ensures every shipment we handle is able to arrive on time and undamaged. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Keeping Driver Spirits Up

Truck drivers are some of the hardest working and toughest individuals in the American economy. Without them, many of our goods would not be on store shelves. Drivers understand what’s at stake, especially right now in the midst of a multitude of supply chain challenges. As drivers manage the constant push for deliveries, long routes can inevitably take a toll, causing loneliness, anxiety, and even depression. As tough as a driver may be, mental health is especially important to their overall well being. Below are a few tips to help drivers preserve their mental health and stay safe on the roads.

Stay Connected with Loved Ones

While drivers are expected to be away from their friends and families for days, even weeks at a time, driving alone in a hyper-vigilant state and being away from home can take its toll, causing loneliness. Making video calls to family members (not while driving of course), bringing photos or items that remind you of home or even bringing along one of your family members can go a long way in helping alleviate loneliness while driving. While you will need to check with your company’s co-pilot policy, staying connected with your loved ones will help keep you motivated and combat feelings of loneliness.

Get Quality Sleep

Sleep interruption can come in many forms, however sticking to a nightly routine, avoiding caffeine late in the day, and limiting the use of electronic devices before bed can all help you get enough quality sleep through the night. Being well rested goes a long way in preventing depression while on the road since a lack of sleep only adds stress when drivers need to be on constant alert. One area for drivers to check for is sleep apnea, which can cause frequent interruptions in sleep, resulting in irritability and slower reaction times and decision making. Be sure to consult with a medical professional about sleep apnea and how to manage it.

Ask For Help When You Need It

Drivers, as tough as they are, need to know when to ask for help. Drivers have people that care for them and no delivery is worth a driver’s health. Reach out for help, whether through your team at work, a family member or a mental health professional when the toll becomes too great. Don’t think you have to go through this alone, because you are more valuable than a shipment. Everyone around you believes this, and it’s always okay to ask for help.

Here at Zip Xpress, we care deeply about the health of all truck drivers. We do our best to provide a helping hand to support our team in whatever way we can. They are the face of our business and interact with every member of the supply chain. Their health is of vital importance and we will do anything to ensure the health of our drivers. Such support keeps them happy, healthy and friendly, which is why they remain so dedicated to getting shipments delivered on time and undamaged. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

The Driver Shortage: Delaying Delivery

It is no secret that there is a national driver shortage for carriers. The reasons are numerous, but this week we’re going to focus on a situation that occurs far too often in the logistics industry with all carriers. What occurs damages driver morale and has caused many to abandon cross-country routes since they’re not treated humanely, let alone with the respect they deserve.

What is this phenomenon? What occurs is drivers often travel 2,000 – 3,000 miles in order to ensure a successful delivery. The driver has even made it to the final destination at the specified time directed by the customer, but upon arrival that same customer informs the driver that it will require an additional wait of 2-3 hours (sometimes overnight!) before the trailer can be unloaded into the warehouse. There have even been instances where drivers have been told that THEY need to hire a crew to unload the trailer. Whatever the reasons may be for these delays, whether employee shortages or miscommunication within the company, what these companies fail to understand is that these drivers have nowhere to go. It’s not as if they can take their truck and drive off to get a meal or use a restroom. They have a responsibility to ensure the delivery is made and are being treated poorly just for doing their job. They’re forced to remain with the shipment and can’t return to their families. No other professional would be treated this way, why is this seen as acceptable to treat drivers this way?

Such delays not only hurt morale for the drivers, but can be disastrous with sensitive shipments, particularly food. If the warehouse manager orders a driver to open the trailer but waits 2-3 hours before unloading the shipment, that food won’t be kept at the optimal temperature. As a result the shipment will be refused by the warehouse manager, creating an unnecessary dispute between the shipper, the customer and the carrier on who is responsible for the shipment and any fees incurred. 

It is vital that companies communicate their warehouse situations to all the members of the supply chain in order to prevent such hostile working conditions. When we remember that these drivers are people too and have families they wish to go home to, prioritizing unloading shipments becomes a lot easier. Also remembering that they’ve worked hard, traveling vast distances to ensure a successful shipment can go a long way in creating cooperation.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of drivers and their contributions to the logistics industry as well as the supply chain. We work hard to ensure that every member of our supply chain is communicated with and find the solutions that work with everyone. We care deeply for our drivers, which is why we do everything we can to help them in ensuring a successful delivery and thus, satisfy our customers. If you want to see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Keeping Drivers Hydrated

We have experienced many hot, humid summers across large stretches of the United States as of late, which are not only uncomfortable to drivers, but potentially dangerous. When drivers are suddenly exposed to such heat waves, their bodies may not be acclimated to the heat, which can cause sudden and unexpected dehydration effects. Here we offer a few tips on keeping drivers hydrated because their lives are more precious than any freight they are transporting.

Stay Hydrated, Even Before You Feel Thirsty

When it comes to water, our bodies are not the best at indicating whether we’re hydrated or not. When we feel dehydrated, the situation is much worse than that and many drivers may not drink enough water to replenish what has been lost. Keeping a fully stocked supply of water inside the truck is exceptionally helpful in making sure you have enough to drink, especially when on the road. Keeping watermelon or cucumber inside your cooler is also a helpful and refreshing treat. Drinking water ahead of time before exhibiting any symptoms of dehydration also helps make sure you won’t get dehydrated while driving, which helps keep drivers alert.

Avoid Caffeinated Beverages

Energy drinks and coffee are popular in order to stay alert, but the sugar and caffeine can cause dehydration. If you wish to stay alert, then you’ll need to consume an equivalent amount of water in order to remain hydrated on top of the recommended daily ounces of water (90 for women, 125 for men). Adding extra water or fruits/vegetables to counteract the sugar and caffeine is never a bad strategy.

Avoid Large Meals

Digesting large, calorie-dense meals causes the body’s temperature to rise, which can be hazardous inside a cab during a heatwave. Eating salads, leafy greens, fruits and vegetables will be easier on your stomach during hot days and replenish water in your system. While preparing these meals ahead of time will take a little more additional time, you will feel better and less likely to feel fatigue than you would if you had a larger meal.

If You Feel Any Symptoms of Dehydration – Pull Over

If at any point you feel dry mouth, nausea, headaches, confusion or dizziness, stop immediately and notify your company’s dispatcher. Your life is more important than any delivery so please treat it accordingly. Your carrier will work with the customer and they will also agree that your life is more important than the shipment. Schedules can always be revised so please be sure to get the rest you need.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the hard work every driver performs, and since we’re based out of Michigan, we’re exposed to every type of weather imaginable. We want all drivers to be prepared, because we value their hard work and we know that they’re the face of a carrier. A driver has an immense responsibility, so the more we can do to keep them safe, the better they can do their job. To see this commitment to drivers for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Safety on the Side of the Road

Breakdowns are an inevitable part of a truck driver’s life. No matter how advanced our trucking technology becomes, every driver is sure to be affected by mechanical failures at some point. In some cases, minor issues can be assessed at the next exit, or even at the next major truck stop. However, urgent situations often require the driver to pull off onto the shoulder of the highway. It isn’t ideal, but sometimes it’s the only option. This exposes the driver to certain hazards that are not to be taken lightly. In order to minimize risks, certain precautions should always be taken on the side of the road.

Try to Get to an Off Ramp

If you are beginning to feel the signs of mechanical failure, get to an off ramp if there is one in striking distance. They aren’t as safe as a parking lot, but they are better than the side of the main expressway thanks to lower speeds and fewer vehicles.

Stay in the Truck Whenever Possible

The more time you spend outside, the more you are exposing yourself to cars and other trucks traveling well above 50 MPH. If the mechanical failure doesn’t involve smoke or fire, it is best to remain inside your cabin as much as possible.

Use All Available Emergency Signaling

Your flashers should be on even before you begin to pull over to the shoulder, and they should remain on until you’ve received roadside assistance. Set up triangles or flares as quickly as possible and tilt up your hood to let passersby know that you are broken down.

Stay Aware

This is no time to sit back and relax, but you also don’t need to panic. Using your eyes and your mirrors, pay attention to the traffic around you and the weather conditions. Even if roadside assistance is only a few minutes away, it is important to be aware of your surroundings.

At Zip Xpress, we understand that safety is top priority for every driver on the road. It is the goal of every carrier to bring their drivers home safe and sound. That’s why we have set procedures for every driver in case they need assistance while also keeping regular maintenance schedules to ensure our vehicles are working properly for every delivery. Keeping our drivers safe is one of the most important values we have here at Zip Xpress, because we know that they’re the ones who will get your freight to you undamaged and on time. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Tips for Safer Driving

Spring is in full swing, and with a few exceptions in some parts of the country, we won’t have to worry about snowy, icy conditions on the roads until this winter. However, even with clear skies and no precipitation, there are still a wide range of hazards that can make a trip dangerous. Truck drivers need to be diligent about preparing their trucks for safety before their trips as well as practicing safe habits while they are driving. Here are some quick tips we use to ensure that every driver arrives safely at their destination.

Wear a Seatbelt

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is impossible to overstate the importance of seatbelts. Some accidents are unavoidable, but a seatbelt can go a long way in reducing your chance of injury or even death. Clicking the seatbelt needs to be a part of every driver’s initial checklist before getting on the road and we can’t overemphasize the importance of protecting every driver.

Put the Phone Down

Cell-phone related accidents continue to rise, even with strict laws in place in most states. Texting or reading on your phone is highly distracting, and should only be done when you are parked. If you must talk on your phone, make sure to use a hands-free device, and remember that paying attention to the road is your most important task.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Tired driving can be just as dangerous as distracted driving. Even if you can force yourself to stay awake, your reaction time and decision making skills will be impaired. Make sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night before heading back on the road.

Inspect Your Truck Before and After Every Trip

Even if you’ve only completed a short local run, it is essential to make sure that everything is always in working order. A small puncture in a tire could lead to a blowout on the road, which could cause an accident. Review your truck maintenance inspections to ensure that small issues don’t become large ones.

Drive Defensively

As a professional driver, it is up to you to set examples on the road. You may be frustrated by other aggressive drivers, but it is important to keep your distance, take it slow around curves, and allow for plenty of time for braking and passing. Your patience on the road will save lives.

At Zip Xpress we understand the hard work that goes into being a truck driver. Between safety protocols and delivering shipments undamaged is hard work, which is why it’s so important to treat drivers with the respect they deserve. Here at Zip we do our best to treat our drivers with respect and make them feel like valuable members of our team. They understand that they’re part of the customer experience and are more than willing to greet customers with a smile. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Preparing for Tough Terrain

Driving a truck is no simple task, and it becomes exponentially more difficult when a driver encounters rough terrain and sub-par roads. You may picture the Rocky Mountains or Appalachians when you think of difficult drives, but the truth is that there are challenges everywhere in the country. Even flatter areas with moderate climates can suffer from road erosion and lack of maintained infrastructure. Nevertheless, shipments still need to arrive. For drivers embarking on these routes, it is imperative that proper preparation routines and maintenance schedules are practiced.

Maintenance is vital for any truck, but improper maintenance is easily exposed on sub-par roads and in tough terrain. Drivers and fleet managers should inspect tires, electrical systems, brakes, and lights on a regular basis. If they notice even minor issues such as worn tread or a faulty switch, they should be addressed immediately. Doing so will minimize the chance that something disastrous could happen out on the road. These routine maintenance schedules help protect the drivers as well as give them trucks they prefer driving since they’re well cared for and the driver will in turn care for the truck.

Ahead of the trip, drivers should ensure that they are familiar with the roads on which they will be traveling. They can map out the route and note which roads may be unpaved or uneven, and try to find detours around them if possible. It is important to ensure that communications devices are fully charged and that the truck is stocked with emergency equipment in case of a breakdown or if the truck gets stuck. This prevents drivers from being stranded and allows the carrier to notify the customer and work through a contingency plan.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of routine maintenance schedules in keeping our fleet in prime condition. Ensuring all minor maintenance issues are addressed prevents risks to the driver and the shipment, helping us to get every shipment to the customer on time and undamaged. Our drivers understand and appreciate the care we show for our vehicles, which makes them satisfied and able to provide great customer service. We believe that doing the little things right add up, which is why premium is the standard at Zip Xpress. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

A Great Time to be a Trucker

The world will always need truck drivers, but now may be as good of a time as ever to get into the industry. With economic optimism ramping up thanks to the new vaccination, there are bound to be plenty of shipping opportunities throughout the country. However that isn’t the only reason any interested parties should jump at the chance to get their CDL today.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced on January 29th that there would be a two-year delay on a rule that is intended to make it more difficult for entry-level drivers to obtain their CDL. Known as the Entry Level Driver Training Rule, this rule was supposed to be passed on February 7th of 2020, but last minute talks between the FMCSA and USDOT ended with an agreement to delay the rule’s implementation until 2022.

This extension allows the Training Provider Registry and individual state licensing agencies to update their systems to provide for a smoother transition when the law is enacted. The extension also means that potential new drivers can take advantage of a smaller learning curve in order to obtain their CDLs. This isn’t to say that the new requirements aren’t worthwhile – they will certainly contribute to the safety and experience of drivers in the near future – but it should signal to hopeful drivers that now might be their best window to get certified.

With so many things happening in the world of trucking – and global commerce in general – the field could become saturated rather quickly. If you’ve dreamt about life on the road, there is no better time than now to start your training – especially with the recent extension from the FMCSA. With freight orders up across the nation, you are bound to have regular, consistent work, no matter where you prefer to travel.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the desire to become a truck driver. It is a noble profession, one full of opportunity and it is these professionals who are the face of a logistics company. Their expertise, attitude and interaction with customers are vitally important, and drivers need to be treated with the utmost respect. Here at Zip Xpress, we do our best to make our drivers feel appreciated for their hard work and ensure that every customer is well cared for. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Truckers to the Rescue (Again)

Although there was plenty of bad news throughout 2020, a glimmer of hope emerged at the end of the year that may allow us the possibility of normalcy. What we’re talking about of course is the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine brings about logistical challenges, since it won’t be available for every individual – it must be distributed through a tiered system. However, we’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Truck drivers stepping forward and manning the logistics of getting those vaccinations where they need to go. 2020 was a year where truck drivers proved to be as crucial on the front lines as many other professional heroes.

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 saw a lot of hardship across the United States, as panic buying and natural disasters left store shelves ravaged and distribution centers struggling to keep up with demand. Nobody could have predicted that this would happen, but what we did know was that we would be relying on truck drivers to continue to deliver the goods that we need to survive. Our nation’s carriers certainly lived up to and even exceeded expectations. With so little time to get shipments delivered when panic hit, drivers were still able to answer the call for last-minute emergency service and keep our country moving forward in the face of adversity.

The same can be said with the rollout of the COVID vaccine, as pharmaceutical companies, medical workers, and citizens will be relying on large shipments to help get the public immunized. It won’t be an immediate fix, and there will likely be thousands of truckloads of critical vaccines in transit over the next year. Fortunately, we have a skilled, hard-working population of drivers who are willing to work the frontline, albeit behind the wheel, as the country continues the healing process.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the challenging times we live in. We also understand that there are many individuals who will rise up to those challenges – one group being the drivers that represent all of the great carriers of our nation. We believe that drivers deserve the recognition for their hard work and ensuring our logistical needs are met. If 2020 showed anything, it showed that logistics was crucial in providing stability during a time when many needed it most. We’re here to help with whatever challenges you have and to see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!