Should You Bring a Cat or a Dog OTR?

Life as an over-the-road (OTR) trucker is exciting, but it can also get lonely. You spend long periods of time out on the open road and away from home. One perk is that this is one of the few careers where you can bring a pet along with you every day on the job. Many truckers find that having a furry friend in the cab to keep them company is great for their mental wellbeing. If you don’t already have a pet but are considering getting one to bring OTR, you may be debating whether a cat or a dog is better suited to a trucking lifestyle. At the end of the day, the decision of which is better comes down to personal preference, but this article includes some of the pros and cons that can help you make your decision.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Any OTR Pet

No matter what type of pet you bring with you on the road, the biggest benefit is, of course, the affection and companionship pets provide. If you’ve had pets before at any point in your life, you know how wonderful it can be to spend time with them. Having one in your semi-truck during OTR routes can make you feel more at home.

The biggest thing to consider is that any type of pet requires work, and this work increases when you are dealing with the logistics of traveling with it in a semi-truck. You’ll need to talk to your vet, make a plan for any emergencies, and find space for pet supplies in your cab.

Trucking Dogs

Pro – Can Guard Your Truck

Having a dog on your truck can be a great way to deter thieves. Although you should be mindful of the available space and choose a medium or small breed, even a small dog can bark and alert you to someone who is getting too close to your vehicle.

Pro/Con – Need to Do Their Business Outside of the Truck

This is both a pro and a con depending on how you look at it. When you take a dog OTR, you’ll need to plan to stop regularly to let your dog out for exercise and to relieve itself. The negative part of this is that it adds another step to your trip planning and takes extra time. However, it also means you’ll be more active, and this is one of the reasons why truckers with dogs are often healthier.

Another positive part of this is that aside from any accidents, your dog will be doing their business outside of the truck. This means that you generally don’t have to deal with the waste being in your living space. Still, be sure you have cleaning supplies on hand just so you’re ready if any accidents do occur.

Con – Some Breeds Require More Activity/Space

Depending on the breed you choose, and on the individual personality of the dog, it may require more space than you can provide in a semi-truck. If you’re getting a dog specifically to take it OTR, you should have a backup plan in case they don’t like the trucking lifestyle and prefer to have more space to run around.

Trucking Cats

Pro – Often Require Less Activity/Space

You’ll need to dedicate some space in your truck for toys and scratchers for your cat, plus its litter box. That being said, the overall space a cat will take up is often less than a dog, even considering these items. Cats also don’t typically require the same amount of activity as dogs as long as they have toys to keep themselves entertained. However, this will depend on the cat, so make sure you know the personality of your pet. A cat that is content to relax and lounge will probably adapt better to the trucking life than one who loves to chase toys all day.

Pro/Con – Don’t Typically Leave the Truck

While you can theoretically leash train a cat, most don’t go out on a leash, and so the safest option is to keep your pet in the truck. Even if the cat does go out on a leash, you can’t typically rely on it to do its business outside of the truck regularly. This means that if you take a cat OTR, you’ll need to make sure you clean its litter box regularly to keep the smell under control. A positive side of this is that you won’t need to plan your stops around the cat’s need to relieve itself.

Con – Not Usually As Trainable As Dogs

We can’t say for sure that no one has ever trained a cat, but they don’t typically respond as well to training as dogs. You may be able to do a bit of training (such as getting your cat to use a leash) but a cat will, for the most part, do what it wants when it wants. When you’re on the road, this can be a safety concern if your cat gets out of the truck since you may have a hard time teaching it to come when called. This means that you should have a plan and keep a collar on your cat just in case. If you do want to let them out of the truck to explore, having a leash they’re willing to wear is a safer way to do this.

A Pet-Friendly Trucking Company

DSW is a pet-friendly trucking company and we would love to have you and your furry friend join our team. We are currently hiring for OTR and regional drivers.

To learn more about becoming a DSW trucker, contact us today.

Budgeting Tips for Truckers

Sticking to a monthly budget is a worthwhile goal for anyone. For truckers, there are some unique considerations to keep in mind. Living on the road introduces some challenges, especially when it comes to meal planning. However, with a bit of effort, it’s definitely possible to create and stick to a budget and save money as a truck driver.

Here are some budgeting tips for truckers:

1. Track Your Income and Expenses

The first step in saving money is to know how much you are taking in each month and how much you are spending. From there, you can create budgets for different categories. You do this by estimating your average income and expenses, or you can track for a few months to get a more specific idea of your monthly spending. Categorize what you are spending money on, and use these numbers to create budget limits for these categories. Once you have this data available, it’s easier to see where you may be overspending.

2. Focus on Food

Food is one of the biggest expenses for anyone, and for truckers in particular, expenses can add up quickly. It’s easy to grab meals at restaurants or truck stops on the road, and truckers may have a harder time planning meals and preparing them ahead of time compared to individuals who are home every day to cook. However, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Consider meal prepping during your home time and making meals you can easily heat up on your truck. To start, you can focus on one or two meals you would like to eat in your truck. Having a plan in place makes it easier to stick to your goals, and you may be surprised at how much you can save. Even if you still have some meals out, you can save thousands of dollars each year by preparing food in your truck as much as possible.

Trip planning is also beneficial for saving on meals, as it allows you to plan out more cost-effective places to stop for food and groceries when you’re on the road.

3. Take Advantage of Discounts and Perks

Many companies offer discounts for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders. Ask around to see which of these you might be interested in. Although the savings may seem small, they can add up quickly and if you’re already purchasing these goods and services anyway, there’s no reason not to take advantage of any discounts.

As a driver with DSW, you can also take advantage of driver-friendly fuel purchasing. This allows you to control your fuel locations within the network and earn points for amenities like showers. Over time, this can help you save money.

4. Drive Safely to Avoid Tickets

Speeding tickets and fines for other traffic violations are unexpected expenses and can also put your CDL and your job at risk. While it may be tempting to speed up to try to get more miles in, you’re actually saving money in the long run and keeping yourself safe by following traffic laws and avoiding tickets.

Drive With a Company That Rewards Your Hard Work

Of course, one of the major items that affects your budget is your income. By becoming a DSW driver, you can take advantage of our competitive pay and benefits. We appreciate the hard work our drivers do for us, and our pay rates reflect this appreciation. Both new and experienced drivers can earn excellent pay.

To learn more about driving with DSW, contact us today.

 

Simple Tips to Stay Active as a Trucker

Staying active is a difficult task for anyone who has a sedentary job. However, there are additional hurdles for truckers compared to those with an office job. Despite these challenges, regular physical activity is important for your health and is a worthwhile pursuit. It also may be easier than you think. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym every day to stay active as a trucker.

Here are some simple tips for getting your body moving every day on the road:

1. Walk or Run During Stops

You don’t need any special equipment to go for a short walk or a run. This makes it a great way for truckers to exercise since you won’t need to take up space in your truck to store any gear. All you need is a good pair of shoes.

If you have the time for a longer run, this is a great way to get your heart rate up. Otherwise, start with making a commitment to go for a five-to-ten-minute walk around the truck stop whenever you stop for fuel or a break. You’d be surprised how quickly these small walks add up.

Remember to keep your personal safety in mind and pay attention to your surroundings. Stay in well-lit areas, avoid using headphones, and make sure your truck is locked any time you step away from it.

2. Incorporate Strength/Resistance Training

In addition to daily walks/runs, it’s helpful to incorporate some strength training. This can seem daunting since you can’t keep a full set of weights in your truck, but the good news is you don’t need to. There are many gravity/bodyweight exercises, like push-ups and sit-ups, that you can do without any equipment at all.

If you have room for a small amount of equipment, resistance bands are a great investment, or a pair of small weights if you prefer. These open up many possibilities for exercises you can do without even leaving your cab. As a result, it’s easier to incorporate some exercise before you go to sleep or right when you wake up in the morning. Again, you don’t have to commit a long stretch of time to working out. Take whatever time you have. Even five minutes makes a difference over time.

3. Fit in Longer Workouts When You Can

If you find that you are enjoying staying active and want to work out more often or for longer stretches of time, it’s possible to find ways to do this even as an over-the-road (OTR) trucker. To start, you can extend the length of some of your runs or resistance work-outs. Start with taking thirty minutes once a week, and once this is a routine, you can increase the number of days a week that you do.

Should You Get a Gym Membership As a Trucker?

Many gyms have locations across the country, so getting a membership is an option if it interests you. Keep in mind that you’ll need to make sure any location you stop at has parking that can accommodate a semi-truck. You may need to get creative to work longer gym workouts into your trip plan, but it’s far from impossible, and many truckers do so. If you’re passionate about fitness, this is something to consider, but it’s not a requirement to stay active.

Additionally, many truck stops are starting to add fitness centers. These are easier for truckers to use since you know their parking can accommodate you, and you’ll be stopping at these locations for breaks and fuel anyway.

Work For A Trucking Company That Cares

If you’re a truck driver and are looking for a motor carrier where the management will know you by name, not by truck number, DSW is hiring. We have OTR and regional routes available.

To learn more about driving for DSW, contact us today.

The Dangers of Aggressive Driving

Drivers have a responsibility to others on the road. When you’re operating a semi-truck, this responsibility is even more pronounced. Commercial drivers are held to a higher standard than other motorists because of the greater risks of accidents involving such large vehicles. If you’re a trucker, it’s important to avoid dangerous behaviors, including aggressive driving.

What is Aggressive Driving?

The broadest definition of aggressive driving is that it is any unsafe driving behavior that a person does due to getting frustrated on the road. Various states have laws that define this more specifically. Behaviors that fall under the umbrella of aggressive driving include speeding, following too closely (tailgating), cutting another vehicle off, or failing to yield the right-of-way.

Aggressive driving can escalate into road rage, which includes more serious behaviors like intentionally hitting another vehicle, running a vehicle off the road, or threatening another driver. Road rage also includes yelling, cursing, or making obscene gestures at other drivers.

Why is Aggressive Driving Dangerous?

Aggressive driving is technically a form of distracted driving since it takes your mind off the road. When you’re distracted due to a heightened emotional state, you aren’t making the best driving decisions possible. You may take longer to react to changes in road conditions, which can have devastating effects.

Additionally, many of the behaviors associated with aggressive driving reduce the amount of time you have to stop if you need to. Speeding and tailgating are two major examples of this. Keep in mind that in a semi-truck, the safe stopping distance is already significantly higher than it is for a standard passenger vehicle.

If aggressive driving escalates into road rage, it increases the level of danger. Drivers have been killed in the past due to confrontations arising from road rage.

Avoiding Aggressive Driving

It’s important to keep your cool behind the wheel and be a defensive driver rather than an aggressive one.

Here are some tips for avoiding aggressive driving:

  • Take a few deep breaths if you notice that you’re starting to get frustrated.
  • Remind yourself that your safety is a top priority. It’s easy to focus on getting in the most miles possible as a trucker, but at the end of the day, it’s better to go slowly and get to your destination safely than to rush and put yourself and others at risk.
  • Try not to take mistakes that other drivers make personally.
  • Avoid confrontation. Do not make eye contact with drivers that are being aggressive toward you, and do your best to get out of those situations as quickly as possible.
  • If you have a tendency to get frustrated easily, consider listening to calming music while you drive. This can reduce aggressive driving behaviors compared to other types of music.
  • Make a trip plan. This may not seem related to aggressive driving, but one of the major reasons drivers behave aggressively is due to stress about getting to their destination on time. With an effective trip plan, you can better plan for delays and unexpected circumstances, and this can help you feel more in control even if you are stuck behind a slow driver.

Drive With DSW

If you are a safe commercial driver, we’d love to welcome you to our fleet. We have openings for regional and over-the-road truckers.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a trucker with us.

Personal Safety Tips for Truckers

Knowing how to stay safe on the road as a truck driver is essential. In many cases, the conversation focuses on driving safety since truckers spend most of their time behind the wheel. In addition to this, it’s important to keep your personal safety in mind. Female drivers are often more aware of the importance of personal safety on the road, but this is a valuable skill for any trucker to have.

Here are some personal safety tips for truck drivers:

1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Situational awareness is a key skill for staying safe. When you are walking from your truck to a rest stop, look around and avoid any distractions. Being on your phone or having headphones in reduces your ability to quickly notice and respond to changes in your environment.

2. Plan Your Trips

Trip planning is a valuable skill for truckers to learn. It helps you travel as many miles as possible while staying compliant with hours of service (HOS) regulations, which translates into higher pay. In addition to this, planning your trips can help you stay safe. You’ll be able to look up truck stops and fuel stations ahead of time and read reviews to help determine which areas are safest.

Making sure you have a good “cushion” of available driving time and back-up truck stops also allows you to trust your intuition. If you pull into a truck stop you planned to stop at and get a strange feeling, you’ll be able to move on to your back-up plan.

3. Be Mindful When Parking

When you park for the night, you’ll need to balance personal safety with the conditions that are best for sleeping. Parking under a bright light may keep you awake, but it can also be a safer option. Over time, you’ll learn how to find a good middle ground where you are not isolated in a dark area but are still able to get the rest you need.

4. Don’t Talk About Your Cargo

Talking about the cargo you are hauling can make you a target for thieves. Don’t share what you are transporting and where you are headed with anyone at truck stops and don’t discuss it on the phone in the open. This is especially important for high-value or hazardous cargo, but it’s a good practice for anyone to follow.

5. Secure Your Cab

Make sure your truck is locked at all times whether you are inside or out of the vehicle. Keep the curtains closed so no one can see you or your belongings inside. One trick to keep the cab even more secure is to run either a seat belt or a ratchet strap through the door handles so they can’t be opened from the outside.

6. Consider a Self-Defense Class

Taking a self-defense class can give you valuable skills to use if you are ever in a dangerous situation. Hopefully, you’ll never need to use these skills, but it can increase your peace and mind.

Drive for A Company That Cares

At DSW, our management is made up of former drivers and we understand what life on the open road is like. We work as hard for you as you work for us and currently have regional and over-the-road jobs available.

To learn more about trucking with DSW, contact us today.

Managing Stress in Your Truck Driving Career

Any career has the potential to cause stress, and it’s important to know how to manage this for the sake of your mental and physical health. When it comes to truck driving, there are some unique challenges to take into consideration. However, it is definitely possible to reduce stress levels as a trucker. Following the tips in this article is a good starting point.

1. Take Care of Your Physical Health

Stress negatively affects your health and can cause a variety of symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, and increased susceptibility to illness. In addition, the reverse is true and your physical health can affect your stress levels. Taking care of yourself physically can help you manage your stress and feel better on the road.

Some ways to do this include:

  • Eat Well: Choose healthier options when you are eating out, and consider meal prepping to save money and improve your diet.
  • Exercise Regularly: While it takes some planning, there are many ways to find time to exercise while on the road. Consider getting a pair of running shoes so you can jog around truck stops, or buy small weights for your cab.
  • Get Enough Sleep: Sleep is essential for your health and can improve your mood.
  • Stay Hydrated: Keep a refillable water bottle with you in your truck and take sips throughout the day.

2. Keep Your Cab Clean and Organized

A messy environment can increase your stress levels. Over-the-road truckers spend the majority of their time in their trucks and the area doubles as a workplace and living space. If it’s messy or unorganized, you’re likely to feel the effects on your mood.

Make a cleaning schedule for your truck and stick to this. Since it’s a relatively small space, you won’t need to devote as much time as you may think. Making sure that you have a place for everything and stay organized is helpful as well.

3. Stay in Touch With Friends and Family

Spending time away from friends and family back home can be difficult and can increase stress. To minimize the effects of this, find ways to stay in touch while you are on the road. Technology has made it easier than ever to connect with our loved ones from a distance. Schedule regular phone calls and video chats and spend quality time together in person when you are home.

4. Slow Down

A significant portion of the stress truckers experience is due to a pressure to get things done quickly. If you find yourself getting stressed, take a second to slow down, breathe, and calm yourself down. This is not only helpful for reducing stress levels, but is also beneficial for your safety on the road.

5. Ask for Help When You Need It

Everyone can benefit from help from time to time. Make an effort to find a support system of fellow truckers, and ask them for help and advice if you are overwhelmed. You can find others in the trucking industry by connecting with co-workers or visiting online forums.

A Family-Focused Trucking Company

At DSW, we care about our drivers and know you by name, not by number. We are a family-focused motor carrier with a small company feel and freight rivaling the larger carriers. Our management is made up of former truckers who understand what life on the open road is like. We work hard to reduce your stress by helping you get miles, get paid, and get home regularly.

To learn more about our available regional and over-the-road trucking jobs, contact us today.

 

What is Regional Trucking?

Over-the-road (OTR) driving is one of the most common career options for truckers. This involves spending a few weeks at a time on the road and making deliveries across any combination of the continental United States. OTR jobs give you the opportunity to enjoy the freedom of the open road. However, it isn’t the only option. If you enjoy the open road but prefer a bit more time at home compared to OTR, you should consider regional trucking. DSW now has regional routes available in addition to our OTR routes.

OTR vs Regional Routes

In many ways, OTR and regional driving are similar. However, there are some key differences. If you aren’t sure which will work best for you, we are happy to give you more specific information about our routes and home time policies.

Similarities

Your day-to-day life on the road will be very similar between a regional route and a longer one. You’ll be transporting freight in a semi-truck and will spend most of your day behind the wheel. During your time on the road, you’ll sleep in your truck and will have to keep track of your hours of service (HOS) to ensure you stay compliant.

Differences

The main difference between regional and OTR trucking is the length of the route. Long-haul routes can go from coast-to-coast and can travel through any combination of states. These drivers tend to have a variety of different routes that they travel and spend multiple weeks at a time on the road.

Regional routes, on the other hand, cover a smaller portion of the country. In our case, this is the southwest region. Time on the road varies, and we are happy to provide details if you are interested in one of these positions.

Our home time policies are excellent for both OTR and regional, but regional routes do typically allow you to get home more frequently.

Benefits of Regional Trucking

The major reason why truckers would choose a regional route is the opportunity for more home time. If you enjoy some aspects of OTR trucking (such as the freedom of the open road and the independence of being in control of your semi-truck), but want to get home more often, regional driving may be a great opportunity for you. It’s similar enough to OTR that it’s not as big of a change as local driving, while still offering more potential home time.

Additionally, regional driving allows you to become more familiar with the routes and customers within your region. As a result, it’s easier to prepare for any changes in weather, traffic, or other factors. These can be tougher to get used to if you are travelling through multiple different states.

When to Choose OTR Instead

Pay for regional trucking compared to OTR varies. In most cases, it’s a middle ground between OTR and local jobs. At DSW, we consider a variety of factors for our pay scale. It’s also important to keep in mind that the pay you take home depends on the number of miles you can drive, which will vary depending on your experience and the specifics of the routes you drive. However, OTR does generally pay more, so it’s important to keep this in mind if you are considering a regional route.

Another thing to consider is that regional routes tend to have less variety than OTR routes, since you are only travelling in one area of the country. Some drivers prefer this, whereas others find it repetitive. You should think about your personality and preferences when deciding whether you will prefer the variety of OTR or the familiarity of regional driving.

OTR and Regional Driving Jobs Available

DSW is currently hiring for regional and OTR jobs. We offer competitive pay, excellent home time, and a variety of other benefits.

To learn more about our OTR and regional trucking positions, contact us today.

Team Trucking vs Solo Driving

If you choose to become an over-the-road (OTR) driver, you’ll be able to choose between team trucking and solo driving. There are pros and cons for both types of trucking and at the end of the day, which is best for you will depend on your personal preferences.

Team Trucking Overview

Team truckers alternate who is driving the vehicle. This allows them to stay in compliance with hours of service (HOS) regulations, which limit the number of hours a trucker can drive, while still keeping the truck moving. Some team drivers pair up with someone they already know, such as a spouse, family member, friend, or trucking school classmate.

In other cases, you can take advantage of team matching that will pair you with another driver based on your professional goals and preferences. This is available with many motor carriers, including DSW.

Pros of Team Driving

  • Higher Earning Potential: Team drivers can keep their trucks moving and this is valuable for motor carriers. As a result, they are willing to pay more for trucking teams. This translates into higher earning potential for you.
  • Company on the Road: Trucking is often a solitary job and many drivers appreciate the opportunity to have some company with them on the road. Team trucking is a great option for spending time with a family member or friend while making money, which is one reason why husband-and-wife trucking teams are common.
  • Split Up Tasks: Team truckers split up driving time and can also divide and conquer for non-driving tasks. This makes it easier to get things done quickly and efficiently.

What to Consider

Team drivers have to be comfortable sharing the relatively small space inside a semi-truck with someone else. This is why these arrangements often work best for drivers who already know and are comfortable with each other. Whether you are driving with someone you know or not, it’s important to practice good communication.

Solo Driving Overview

Solo trucking is pretty self-explanatory. Instead of sharing responsibility with another driver, you are solely responsible for operating your vehicle. You will need to take regular breaks due to HOS regulations and must keep track of your driving hours to ensure you are in compliance.

Pros of Solo Driving

  • More Control: As a solo trucker, you have more control over where and when you stop, what music you listen to, how you organize your truck, et cetera. If you are a very independent person, you will probably prefer to be able to make all of these decisions yourself.
  • Sleep in a Stationary Truck: Team drivers need to be able to sleep while the truck is moving and the other trucker is driving. This can take some getting used to. Solo drivers, on the other hand, park when it’s time to rest.

What to Consider

As we mentioned previously, team drivers have higher earning potential. Additionally, spending time on the road by yourself can affect your mental health if you are normally an extroverted person. It’s important to consider your personality and earning goals when deciding between team and solo trucking.

Team and Solo Opportunities at DSW

At DSW, we are currently hiring OTR and regional truckers. We have team matching available or you can choose to work with someone you already know if you both become DSW drivers.

To learn more about our team and solo trucking jobs, contact us today.

Defensive Driving for Truckers

One of the top safety tips for truck drivers is to always drive defensively. You’ve probably heard this advice even before you entered the trucking industry since it applies to drivers of passenger vehicles as well. But what does defensive driving actually mean, and how can it help you stay safe on the open road?

Defensive Driving Basics

The National Safety Council (NSC) has a course about defensive driving and defines it as “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.” Defensive drivers should always consider what hazards could arise and anticipate what others on the road may do in order to prevent accidents.

Key Behaviors for Safe Trucking

What sort of behaviors are included in the definition of defensive driving? In short, anything that keeps you aware of the road and helps you react quickly is a part of safe trucking.

Some key actions related to defensive driving include:

  • Maintain a safe speed.
  • Don’t drive distracted (while texting, eating, talking on the phone, et cetera).
  • Scan the road for possible dangers, focusing on the area directly around you while also being aware of conditions 12 – 15 seconds ahead of you.
  • Maintain a safe following distance.
  • Watch other vehicles and adjust your behavior accordingly. For example, if you see a driver texting next to you, maintain a safe distance from them and leave more room if you merge into their lane.
  • Take weather considerations into account.

The Importance of Defensive Driving for Truckers

The basic principles of defensive driving are the same whether you’re driving a compact vehicle or a semi-truck. That being said, commercial drivers face different challenges and have a heightened responsibility to others on the road.

Some of the reasons defensive driving is even more essential for truckers include:

Large Vehicle Size

Semi-tracks are massive compared to the standard passenger vehicle. This means they have the potential to do significant damage in an accident. Vehicle size also increases the necessary stopping distance, meaning there is less time to make a correction in the case of an unexpected hazard.

Lack of Awareness Among Passenger Vehicle Drivers

Many drivers aren’t aware of the challenges involved in operating a semi-truck. They may cut off an eighteen-wheeler, not realizing just how dangerous this sort of behavior is. While it’s unfortunate, the reality is that commercial drivers often need to pick up the slack by being even more cautious and aware of their surroundings.

Time on the Road

Truckers spend a lot more time on the road than the average driver. This means that the potential risk increases significantly. It’s important that commercial drivers don’t become complacent and instead strive to maintain safe practices at all times.

DSW Is Hiring Drivers

If you are interested in a truck driving job, DSW is currently hiring regional and long-haul drivers. We support our drivers and have a small company atmosphere with big company freight.

To learn more about our trucking job openings, contact us today.

Why Pre-Trip Inspections are Essential

Before hitting the road each day, you need to complete a pre-trip inspection. Although it can start to seem repetitive to do this every day, it is absolutely essential for your safety and for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) compliance. A thorough pre-trip inspection can help prevent accidents and save you time and trouble later on.

FMCSA Pre-Trip Inspection Requirements

Section 392.7 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) states that a driver must be satisfied that their vehicle is “in good working order” before driving it.

The section lists the following parts that drivers must check, at a minimum:

  • Service brakes, including trailer brake connections
  • Parking  brake
  • Steering mechanism
  • Lighting devices and reflectors
  • Tires
  • Horn
  • Windshield wiper(s)
  • Rear-vision mirror(s)
  • Coupling devices
  • Wheels and rims
  • Emergency equipment

A pre-trip inspection checklist can be helpful to ensure you thoroughly examine all necessary parts of your vehicle.

Why Do Pre-Trip Inspections Matter?

Some of the reasons it’s important to inspect your vehicle each day:

Safety

First and foremost, the major reason for pre-trip inspections is safety. Completing these inspections properly helps protect you as well as anyone else on the road. Vehicle malfunctions have the potential to cause accidents. Since semi-trucks are so much larger than passenger vehicles, accidents are often severe. The time it takes to inspect your truck is well worth it to help reduce the risk of an accident.

FMCSA Compliance

The FMCSA requires you to verify that your vehicle is safe to operate before you start your driving for the day. If you are not logging this time, a law enforcement officer or inspector can see this when reviewing your electronic logging device (ELD) record.

Additionally, any violations that are found during a roadside inspection can negatively affect your motor vehicle record (MVR). Checking before you start the day prevents this from happening.

Saves Time

If you don’t fix a mechanical issue right away, it can cause a breakdown later on. Although it can seem like getting an issue fixed will take longer than you would like, it actually saves time compared to needing to stop on the side of the highway. Roadside repairs are likely to leave you unable to drive for longer, increasing your downtime and reducing your earning potential.

Even if the issue doesn’t cause an accident, it could still result in being put out of service if an official finds it during a roadside inspection.

Additionally, keep in mind that the sooner you notice a problem, the easier it is to fix in most cases. Something that may take a short amount of time to repair now could easily become a large issue if you don’t address it.

We Are Committed to Driver Safety

At DSW, we are committed to safety and give our drivers the tools to stay compliant. We have 24/7 support available should you ever run into an issue while out on the road.

To learn more about our openings for regional and over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers, contact us today.