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Showing posts with label Driving a Truck. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Driving a Truck. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

AMX Shares How to Safely Share the Road with a Semi

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AMX, Alabama Motor Express, has kindly shared facts about how to share the road with semis in order to make the roads a safer place with ExpressTruckTax. Be sure to pass this important safety information along!



We’ve all been on a highway waiting on a semi to pass in the left lane thinking, “Why is this taking so long??”

Sharing the road with a big rig is inevitable these days. After all, there are 5.6 million tractor trailers registered for use in the U.S.

But, there are ways to make things better and safer for all parties involved.

We can start by understanding a few things about semi trucks.

According to a blog by Nationwide, due to their size:

- Their blind spot is bigger
- They need more space to maneuver
- They require more time and distance to stop
- It takes more time to pass them

NEVER ride alongside them. First, they have a large blind spot on their sides. Second, semis are notorious for blowing tires. At worst, a blown tire can knock you off the road. At the very least, the sound (as loud as a gunshot) can scare you, maybe even enough to make you lose control of your vehicle. Third, semis have a lot of surface area. Getting blown around by the wind is a real risk that can result in drifting into your lane.

Always pass them on the left side. If they’re in the left lane, it’s for a reason. Either they’re passing a slower car, an emergency vehicle is on the right side or there is road work requiring left lane travel.

When passing them, try and give them a decent amount of space before you get back in the right lane. A good rule of thumb is to wait until you can see the pavement in front of the bumper. They need to leave a wide berth in order to have enough time to brake if something were to happen. And, you do NOT want to be in front of an eighteen wheeler when he/she doesn't have enough space to brake.

If you see a truck's turn signal, do your best to get out of the way by either speeding up or slowing down to let him/her pass. Of course, we are all trying to get off the road as fast as possible, but being on the road is their livelihood. And, usually, if you are polite to them, they'll be polite to you.

Truck drivers spend a ton of time on the road with four-wheelers. And, accidents between a car and a tractor trailer can be fatal. According to statistics from Women In Trucking, 79% of all accidents involving semi-trucks are caused by car drivers.

Avoiding an accident with an eighteen wheeler is always a good idea. Let's share the road in a way that gets us all there safely.

To learn about how SmartDrive cameras can alert safety teams to drowsy drivers, proximity violations and unsafe following, check out our blog on /smartdrive-camera-implementation!

For More Information


Visit ExpressTruckTax.com and AMXTrucking.com for more informational posts! Don't forget that your Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) Form 2290 is due on August 31st, and  ExpressTruckTax makes it easy to complete your form in minutes to get a copy of your stamped Schedule 1 the same day. 

If you need any assistance contact the dedicated ExpressTruckTax team Monday - Friday from 8 AM to 7 PM EST at 704.234.6005. We also offer live chat and 24/7 email support at support@expresstrucktax.com. 
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

We're Revealing 8 Secrets About Average Owner Operators

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If you’re thinking about finally taking the leap to become an owner operator in most cases the risk is worth the reward, if done properly. However, if done improperly you could go under pretty quickly and build up a lot of debt. In order to see if the owner operator or independent trucker lifestyle is right for you, we’ve put together a list of common traits found in successful owner operators.

Secrets About The Average Owner Operator


1. Owner operators are financially smart. When the bigger paychecks finally start to roll in they don’t blow it all on a new pool table or jet ski. They set money aside until they can afford that cool stuff later in order to plan for accidents like major truck repairs or for when business is slow. Engine repairs or accidents can set you back quite a ways, so it’s best to be prepared.

2. They’re older guys. I guess some truckers just need to grow up a little first before making the transition to becoming an independent driver instead of a corporate jockey. The average age of truckers for both men and women is about 37 when they become owner operators and the average age of owner operators out there on the road right now is 55.

3. Most are patient and persistent creatures of habit. They’ve lived and driven around the same area for years, and realize that success doesn’t come overnight. You could spend years building your personal business before it really takes off.

Plus, they take care of their trucks with regular maintenance. By squeezing every penny possible out of their rig it will last longer and they won’t have to deal with the major expenses of getting a new one, so don’t skip out on those oil changes, tire rotations, tune-ups, and more.

4. The majority of owner operators are gone most of the time. They put in more hours and spend more nights away from home. More miles put on the road is simply a part of the job if you want to make it. To avoid putting stress on your family and relationships remember to call time or facetime them as much as possible. Hopefully, you won’t feel guilty about missing a few holidays or special occasions too.

5. Now this isn’t a plus, but it is a fact. Most owner operators are unhealthy. They’re obese, they’re smokers, and have issues like high blood pressure. In order to take your business further and have the energy to maintain it get a little healthier. Try to go for healthy snacks like a package of almonds or a heart healthy omelet for breakfast. Maybe see where you can fit in an extra walk around the truck stop or experiment with exercises you can do from your cab.

6. Owner operators tend to be experienced, drivers. They have some education like a high school degree and maybe a little college, but in most cases, they went to driving school and completed their courses. They were determined students who put at least 60 hours of driving training behind the wheel to learn how to drive like a boss. Plus, most owner operators don’t come from average desk jobs, they spend a few years out on the road trucking for companies first.

7. The average owner operator is a planner. They don’t spend down time twiddling their thumbs or checking facebook, they spend it planning their next move. When their freight is being unloaded they’re scheduling a new pick up. Also, they’re always thinking about who they need to call in order to build good relationships and gain repeat customers.

It’s important to check in with the people you regularly work with to show interest and keep spirits high. It’s also important to market yourself to new customers. Either from your office or your cab think about where to go and who to call next instead of going in blind.

8. They answer to almost no one. While owner operators still have to comply with DOT regulations and taxes like the 2290 and IFTA they don’t have managers constantly watching them to make sure they follow every little company policy. They only keep up with their own standards which do involve a high level of professionalism. The fact is they have a nice level of freedom on the open road.

Are You Ready To Become An Owner Operator?


The average owner operator is a hard working person who is financially smart. They’re planners and don’t mind putting in a little extra elbow grease. If you’re ready to take the leap make sure you have a good head on your shoulders for being your own boss and the persistence and patience to make your business successful.

More more trucking tips keep coming back to ExpressTruckTax.com and be sure to share your facts about the average owner operator in the comment section below.
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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Rookie Mistakes New Owner Operators Need To Avoid

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So, you’re thinking about becoming an owner operator and cutting ties with your dumb jerk of a manager for the freedom of the open road in your own truck? Well, at least you’re doing one thing right, by putting some actual thought into it. It’s a big step and can sink your finances pretty quickly if you make the wrong moves. Let us help you out by sharing some tips about rookie mistakes to avoid.

They Don’t Run The Numbers


New owner operators will crash and burn pretty quickly if they don’t consider the costs it will take to keep themselves afloat. While you’re barreling down the road in a company truck look at all of the miles and consider the cost of gas, the cost of food, maintenance costs, repairs, and more.

Plus, can you take on more monthly payments? Part of being an owner operator is owning your own rig, and they’re expensive. You’ll also have to get insurance for your rig, and for yourself, adding two more monthly bills.

Don’t forget that hours also add up. Can you handle the longer routes? Are you prepared for overtime? Will your family understand the increase in the amount of time that you're gone on the road? 

Rookies Don’t Save Money


Part of the pull of being an owner operator is having more money in your pocket, but you can’t just throw your hard earned money at a brand new bike or a fancy car. You need an emergency fund because accidents and surprises happen.

Business could get slow and you’ll need your emergency fund to pay the bills or your employees before they bail and your entire operation falls apart. Plus, we know you’ve seen your fair share of wrecks, what happens if your truck gets involved? Can you cover the major repair costs? Will your business sink if you’re without your truck for a month or more for repairs? 

New Guys Waste Down Time


New guys like to take breaks. They don’t take advantage of downtime to plan and prep for their next drop offs, pick ups or loads. When you’re hanging out at a dock during an unload it’s tempting to catch up on phone games like Clash of Clans or browse social media, but you could be cleaning or maintaining your truck.

Doing simple tasks during your down time will save you time during your days off. Clear out your fast food trash, attend to spills, and clean up sticky messes to keep your cab neat and clean. Put on your oil suit and go under the cab for a little maintenance. Plan out your next route, complete with food stops. It only takes a little less goofing off to be an efficient planner for your business. 

Tenderfoots Buy New Trucks


Now a big part of being an owner operator is choosing your truck. You get to pick it with all of its glory. New guys often go for a brand spanking new rig with all the bells and whistles. They don’t consider the big monthly payments and insurance costs that come with new trucks.

Starting off in a used truck helps you squirrel away a lot of money with cheaper down payments and cheaper monthly rates. Plus, if you discover that being an owner operator isn’t your thing then used trucks often have a better turn around rates for your wallet. When the time is right and your finances are in order you can upgrade to a brand new truck. 

They Skip Out on Regular Maintenance


Maybe your used rig isn’t the best, but it’s yours. You’ll love it as your firstborn. Why make unnecessary costs of upgrading to a new truck too soon? Get the most miles out of your truck by getting in the habit of doing routine maintenance. Get the tires rotated, get the oil changed, replace the bests and spark plugs so your rig can keep on trucking.

You’ll actually be surprised by how good you’ll feel by sticking to deadlines instead of taking the lazy day out and driving extra miles in between oil changes. 

Is It Time To Become An Owner Operator?


Are you ready to take the leap to advance your trucking career? Are you ready for your own truck on the road, without sticking to annoying company policies? Are you financially set to launch your new adventure? If so, then go for it! Just make sure you’ve thought the costs and risks through and have a solid plan.

If you have rookie mistakes to add to our list be sure to comment in the section below. Also, check back with ExpressTruckTax.com for more trucking tips.
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Friday, December 16, 2016

Are You Healthy Enough To Keep On Trucking?

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One of the biggest concerns on the road is safety. Everyone passes accidents big and small, and we’re sure you have a good amount of stories of about the crazy things you’ve seen happen on the road, that caused traffic to back up for miles. We’re also sure that you don’t want to be the reason for or involved in one of those accidents.

Truckers need to know when to drop off their last load and hang up their keys, before their health declines and affects their driving. Know the health risks associated with aging truckers in order to be able to live a healthy lifestyle, and when to call it quits to spend the wonder years with your wife, children, and grandkids.

Health Risks Associated With Aging Truckers Include:

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation, which we know, eye roll, you’ve heard about how driving tired is dangerous your whole life, and they hammered that fact home in driving school, but it actually leads to a lot of issues behind the wheel.

Most truckers get 6 hours of sleep or less a night, which is fine for the young bucks who remain energized and alert, and you might say well coffee helps you stay awake, but with age comes exhaustion.

Driving while exhausted impairs judgment, visions, decision making, affects short-term memory, increases aggression, and more. If you’re too tired you don’t need to be filled with road rage, leaving skid marks all over the road. Make sure you get the rest you need to have the energy to safely keep driving.

Obesity

The next one, obesity sneaks up on you. One day you’re enjoying a super-sized meal as per usual, then the next day your jeans are too tight. Now it’s great to be fat and happy, we aren’t body shaming. Heck, it’s even healthier for some people to have meat on their bones. However, there’s a fine line between fat and happy and at risk.

Obesity takes years off of the life with all the pressure it puts on your heart and leads to heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes, and more. Now we aren’t saying do a 100% diet change and run 10 miles a day, simply make a few changes here and there.

Go for something healthy like fruit or nuts to snack on instead of chips and sweets. Don’t go for the burger and fries and steak every time, pick a salad, wrap, or grilled chicken option instead. Places like Denny’s and Waffle House do have smart heart options.

Also, try to get your blood pumping a little. Take a 5 to 10-minute walk around the truck stop store every time you stop to use the restroom and look up ways to do light strength training in or around your rig.

Smoking

Do you smoke? Over half of truckers do, so there’s over a 50/50 shot that you do. We won’t bore you with the usual facts you’ve heard over the years about smoking causing cancer, ruining your skin, and taking years off your life, but there are a few things for smokers to consider.

Smoking ruins your sleep. On average smokers sleep even less than nonsmokers do, increasing levels of exhaustion and driving impairment. It also raises your blood pressure, leading to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. So, if you want more energy to add more years of safe driving under your belt, with a healthy heart consider kicking the habit.

Also, are you prepared for the ill effects of smoking? If you do get cancer or one of the other major health risks associated with smoking can you handle more time in the doctor’s office for treatments and less time on the road due to being sick? Will your insurance handle the bills and will your family be alright financially if something happens to you?

At the end of the day take a look at your pack of cigarettes and ask yourself if those death sticks or worth harming your quality of life or not.

Depression

You may not have realized it, but some truckers are sad. With long hours on the road that are often spent alone, they get disconnected from other people. Then with added factors like obesity, sleep deprivation, and a smoking addiction can lower self-esteem.

Can you handle the hours alone on the road, or are you ready to retire and spend quality time with your family? A few ways to entertain your mind and keep your spirits high include talking to your loved ones. Call your family daily and see what they’re up to. Develop good relationships with your dispatcher and fellow truckers.

Plus, to feel good about yourself you can listen to educational podcasts or add some reading material to your routine before bed to learn and entertain your mind. This way you won’t feel like you’ve wasted your brain with endless hours of boredom.

You can also eat a little healthier, take a walk in the sun, or add a little exercise to your day to naturally feel better with some nutrition and by getting your blood pumping a little. You’d be surprised by how much better you can feel by making a few minor change to your routine.

Keep on Trucking!

We know you aren’t ready to give up the freedom of the open road. Heck, trucking is in your blood, what would living be without it? However, your health and family are also things to consider. Make sure you’re taking good care of yourself to add more years on the road under your belt, and to have a long time enjoying quality time with your family during retirement.

Be sure to share with us your tips on staying healthy while on the road in the comment section below and learn more tips about trucking at ExpressTruckTax.com.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Consider The Facts of Becoming an Owner Operator

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Do you want to become an owner operator? You love trucking, and the call of the road runs through your blood, but are you ready to take the next step to further your trucking career? Becoming an owner operator is a serious choice that can’t be made overnight, but considering these following facts may help you weigh in to make your final decision.

You Have to Talk to the Suits

It isn’t as simple as gassing up the rig and hitting 70 on the highway when becoming an owner operator, you need a plan. You also need to get around all of the red tape with the proper licenses and meet the standard regulations.

Most likely you’ll have to put on a nice shirt and go visit the offices of financial planners, accountants, and professionals who know the business and can help you make a serious plan for your trucking business. Trust us, even if you want to be independent and hate the idea of sitting in a boring waiting room, you’ll be a lot better off with a plan and guidelines to follow.

There are way More Costs Than you Think

As an owner operator, you will have to be financially smart and set budgets for your personal paychecks and meals. Can you handle sticking to a certain budget for every meal or will you buy a filet mignon at the beginning of the trip and be down to a loaf of bread a jar of peanut butter by the end of it?

How much debt do you have? Are you close to unburying yourself? Can you add more to your credit cards to spruce up your rig and make necessary repairs? On and off the road, emergencies happen, do you have funds squirreled away to handle them, even if you can’t work for a month or more? Will anyone give you a loan? Hopefully, your credit is in good shape.

Are you prepared for the future? You’ll need a lot of insurance, including disability and life. If you become disabled and can’t work you’ll need the regular checks to keep coming in to help you out. Also, if you don’t make it in the event of an accident don’t you want money going to your wife and family to get your affairs in order?

It Takes More Time

Are you ready to put in the time it takes to be an owner operator? Can you handle driving longer hours with further routes? Will you mind driving all weekend? You have to be ready to put in a little overtime, or while getting started and establishing yourself, a lot of overtime.

Do you like to park on the weekends at stops to talk to your fellow road warriors and catch up on some tv or shoot the breeze to talk about what the bears with ears are catching on the CB or how the turtle races have been grinding your gears? Unfortunately, owner operators have less time to fraternize.

Is your home life demanding? Do you have a wife and kids to get back to? Do you have to be back every other weekend for custody of your kids?

You and Your Truck Might not be Healthy Enough

How old are you and how do you feel? Can you stay up for longer hours to drive farther? Do you have the time to put in overtime hours or are you just too exhausted? You never want to push yourself past the dangerous limit!

Do you have a growing health condition that will require more time for rest in doctor visits in the future? Will you need time off for treatment? If so then it might be the best time to make the jump to owner operator.

How old is your truck? Can it make the distance? How many miles have you and your loved one gone together? Do you own your own trailer and is it in good condition to haul various loads of frozen foods or materials? What if you needs to haul liquids or livestock? Do you have the necessary trailers or will they be another expense?

You may Miss Company Comforts

Leasing yourself to a company or being totally independent is always something to consider. While the freedom of not having to say yes sir to a supervisor and not having to follow dumb little rules may seem irresistible, you might miss the perks.

Working with a company comes with company trailers, paid time off, reimbursements for permits, miles, gas, and more. Plus, you can get on a company insurance plan. It’s a little less work, with a little more financial padding, even if you have people to answer too.

Do you Have What it Takes?

This article isn’t meant to put you down or discourage you from taking the steps to become an owner operator, it’s to make sure you’re prepared. Consider all the costs and the effort it will take. In the end, if the timing is right, your finances are in order, and your health is in good condition then there’s nothing like being an independent owner operator, making your own schedule, without any managers breathing down your neck. It’s pure trucking freedom.

Learn more about becoming an owner operation at ExpressTruckTax.com and be sure to share your tips and tricks in the comment section below. 
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Trucking Spotlight

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-  Glenn Woerdeman

-  2001 Volvo

We are proud to showcase our clients' trucks on our blog! If you are one of our clients, please send us a picture and details about your truck and we will be happy to post them here. Thank You! 
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