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!

Staying Comfortable on the Road

Temperatures are up across the country this summer, and that can make for some brutal driving stretches, even if you have great air conditioning in your cab. Other factors such as humidity, long sunlight hours, and unpredictable storm patterns can cause quite a bit of discomfort on long hauls across the country. Even after summer’s over, there are plenty of problems that can be caused by sitting in a cab for hours on end if you don’t set yourself up properly and consider your own well-being. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for truck drivers to keep themselves comfortable and create an ergonomically sound environment for life on the road.

One of the most basic but most important things to do is to make sure that the driver’s cabin is set up correctly for your body. The seat should be set at the appropriate height to prevent your neck from craning or dipping. You should always be looking forward in a natural position, or you may experience nagging neck problems in the future. The steering wheel should be adjusted so that you can easily maintain a comfortable position that doesn’t have you reaching or slouching over it. The best way to ensure proper position of both your seat and steering wheel is to sit as naturally as possible and have them come to you until it is both comfortable and easy to drive. If you’ve adjusted correctly, you should be able to reach the gas, brake, and clutch with minimal movement.

Investing in inexpensive upgrades can also make a world of difference. Things like memory foam cushions or beaded seat covers are ergonomically designed to take some burden off of your most highly taxed muscles and joints. In addition, it can be useful to find light, loose-fitting clothing so that you can move freely and benefit from better circulation. Moving around as much as possible when you get the opportunity is also important, as sitting in the same position for too long can lead to a variety of health problems. If you take these precautions and do your part in setting up a comfortable cab, you will be far happier and healthier every time you set out for a drive.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of keeping drivers safe and comfortable. We do our best to stay conscious of these vital members of the supply chain so that they can do their jobs. To see the other ways we support our professional staff and our customers, start today with Zip Xpress!

Best Practices in Driver Management

Driving a truck is not an easy job. There are strict deadlines to meet, stricter laws to follow, and a lot of unexpected events that take place throughout the course of any shipment. Unfortunately, many of the difficulties of driving a truck go unnoticed by the people who rely on them the most. Dispatchers, brokers, shippers, and end customers often fail to understand the challenges involved with moving a load from point A to point B, and they’ll often blame drivers for situations that are entirely out of their control. When it comes to managing drivers – whether you work for the carrier, broker, or customer – there are several things we can do to better understand their needs and plan for our own successes.

Everybody who is involved with the supply chain needs to first put themselves in the driver’s position. If you have a shipment moving from Holland to San Francisco, imagine yourself pulling up to the shipping dock and waiting to load. Take a look at how many miles need to be traveled, and consider external factors such as weather and traffic. When you have an idea of how much work needs to be put into every shipment, you’ll be able to communicate more naturally with the driver and set realistic expectations for the route. If a driver feels uncomfortable with the amount of time he or she has been given to make transit, it is vital to listen to their concerns, even if it means changing your plans for the load. These are people, not machines, and we need to put their safety first, as well as the safety of everyone else on the road.

At Zip Xpress, our concern is always first and foremost on the driver. It is important to realize that as members of the supply chain, we are on the same team with the driver that interacts with our shipments. Whether someone is sitting at a desk entering orders, managing inventory on the warehouse floor, or analyzing packaging trends, we all need to support each other, and must work respectfully with all of our drivers to encourage efficiency and safety. When you treat the people who haul your freight with respect, you will benefit from stronger relationships and higher rates of success. To see how we can help optimize your supply chain, start today with Zip Xpress!

Remember the Safety of Drivers

Since we’ve been hit with another blast of winter weather across the Central U.S. this week, it is crucial to remember the importance of communication and safety within the supply chain. Drivers across America navigating the Midwest and other regions will have to combat severe weather and ensure that their deliveries arrive safely. Even more importantly we want those drivers to arrive at their destinations safely and without injury. As such, we hope that all members of the supply chain will have patience with their drivers who are carefully managing their cargo as they traverse the harsh roads.

Communication during this time will be vital to ensure that deliveries are made as efficiently as possible. Inclement weather can strike at any time and we must put the safety of our drivers at the forefront. We make communication a top priority and adhere to our delivery schedules as best as possible. We make the safety of our drivers our top priority and never try to rush a shipment at the expense of their safety. We understand that they are the handlers of every shipment across our supply lines.

At Zip Xpress, we focus on putting a premium on people to ensure the safety of all parties involved when it comes to your shipment arriving undamaged and on time. We will communicate with our partners every step of the journey, so please take a moment to remember those drivers who are traveling across the country. They are invaluable to us and we must remember to put their safety above all else. Proper communication and safety protocols will help all of us get the shipments to the end customer in an appropriate time frame. To see how we can manage your shipment with such care and precision start today with Zip Xpress!