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!

A World Without Truck Drivers

Truck drivers affect our everyday lives, whether or not we are consciously aware of it. From our food to online retail orders to industrial machines that manufacture the world around us, the vast majority of American products are delivered by truck. Even though some material may have come by boat or plane, there’s a good chance that a truck driver provided the final route for delivery. A world without truck drivers would indeed look very different – and probably not in a good way.

If drivers were to disappear, the first consequence would be a major decrease in available medical supplies. Since medical facilities receive multiple deliveries on a daily basis without this consistent schedule of replenishment, hospitals and trauma centers would run out of necessary goods to assist patients. Anyone receiving medical attention wouldn’t be able to get the care they’d desperately need.

Shortly after this, food supplies in almost every area would run low. Grocery distribution centers receive large deliveries every day, and they allocate these to local stores based on demand. But without truck drivers, these deliveries would not be fulfilled. You might look at a large grocery retailer and think there’s no way it could be picked over within 2 or 3 days, but a lot of people work behind the scenes to keep those shelves fully stocked – and truck drivers are an essential part of that.

Third we would start to see manufacturers begin shutting down because they can’t source the materials and machinery needed to make their products. Jobs would be lost because these companies have to shut down and countless other products would become unavailable to consumers and other businesses. As you can see, the American supply chain is a tight-knit, interconnected network and it is all built upon drivers ensuring those goods get delivered. It is important to remember the hard work and dedication these drivers have in getting their deliveries in on time.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the dedication drivers have in ensuring every delivery is made on time and undamaged. They are the face of every carrier and we pride our drivers on their friendliness and professionalism. We like to believe that every company who works with our drivers understands the peril we’d all be in if we didn’t have such dedicated individuals making these deliveries. If you’d like to experience working with us and our professional drivers for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Drivers – Making the Most of Your Break

Driving a truck is tough work – the hours are long, the routes can be treacherous, and you often have to spend weeks away from your friends and family. While some drivers don’t agree with the newer rules about breaks, there is no doubt that every driver needs to get off the road and take a break regularly. While much of the longer breaks are spent sleeping (a well-needed asset), there is a lot more that can be done during breaks that can help drivers remain healthy and happy.

With 30 minutes required for every 8 consecutive hours of driving, it is best not to take the break sitting in the truck. Driver’s should get up and, at the very least, walk around to get some exercise. If motivated enough, a half hour is plenty of time to get some intense cardio in or even lift weights. You don’t need to have an entire gym to get this done – a few pairs of dumbbells in the truck is enough to provide an effective workout.

Physical exercise is important, but mental exercise is just as vital. Drivers should bring plenty of reading material on the road – whether they prefer long novels, short stories, magazines, or nonfiction books. Keeping your mind sharp can go a long way in staying happy on the road and improving concentration. Even games such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and trivia can all be entertaining and beneficial.

Driver breaks are an essential part of the day, as they allow drivers to take some time away from the road and refocus. It is also important to socialize during these breaks so as to prevent too much isolation, which can really take its toll on mental health. Phone calls and Facetime are great socialization tools, and planning routes with other friends in the industry so that you can speak in person is also a great way to stay in touch.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of remaining happy and healthy, especially with our drivers. We do our part to ensure they get the rest they need because we understand the dedication and determination they make to ensure every shipment arrives on time and undamaged. Our drivers are the key to customer satisfaction since they’re the face of the company. As a result we believe it’s important to show them the respect they deserve and help however we can. To see how one of our drivers can help with your next shipment, start today with Zip Xpress!

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!