Trucking Tips for New Drivers

After earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL), you’re ready to hit the road and enter the trucking industry. A career as a truck driver can be incredibly rewarding and you are making an important contribution to society by delivering freight. The first year as a driver is often the most challenging as you get used to the unique lifestyle and job responsibilities. However, following the trucking tips in this article can help make your journey easier.

Focus on Trucking Safety

Operating a semi-truck is a big responsibility. Your actions can impact not only yourself but also everyone else on the road. Trucking safety should be a top priority and you should keep this in mind at all times. There are many different factors to be aware of. Safety starts with your pre-trip inspection before you even get on the road and continues throughout your journey. It’s also important not to get impatient or drive recklessly. If you are ever unsure of regulations or feel that a situation could be unsafe in the slightest, ask questions and voice any concerns you may have.

Practice Good Communication

Although many truckers spend their days by themselves, communication plays a large role in the job responsibilities of a driver. You will need to be able to communicate clearly and efficiently with many different people. This can include dispatchers, driver supervisors, safety coordinators, shippers, and more. If you become a team truck driver, you will also need to consider your driving partner. Good people skills and a positive attitude will help you work with all of these individuals effectively.

Stay Healthy

The habits you form as a rookie truck driver can stick with you for the rest of your career, so it’s helpful to focus on your health from the start. Although it takes some planning to stay healthy on the road, it’s worth the effort. Consider packing healthy snacks and meals and if you do eat at restaurants or truck stops along the way, try to pick healthier options. You should also stay hydrated, which studies show can help you stay more attentive. Making a schedule for exercise is a good idea and you can find time during breaks to move around and stay active. Finally, remember that sleep is essential. Driving tired is dangerous and sleep deprivation can impact your health. Your sleep schedule may vary while on the road, but make it a goal to rest up as much as possible.

Find a Trucking Company That Values You

The motor carrier that you work for can influence whether or not you have a positive experience as a professional truck driver. Consider pay, home time, benefits, and company culture when making a decision.

Hiring New CDL Drivers

DSW is hiring new truck drivers and would love to have you join our team. We offer competitive starting pay, paid training, express orientation, and more. Our mentors are ready to help you get started and our management team is made up of former drivers who understand what life on the open road is like. We aim to work as hard for you as you work for us.

To learn more about our available trucking jobs, contact us today.

Benefits of Team Truck Driving

As a trucker, there are many decisions you can make to build a career that matches your goals and desires. One of these is choosing whether to operate solo or to partner with another driver. Team truck driving often increases your earning potential and can be a great choice.

Some of the benefits of team trucking include:

Potential to Earn More Money

Driving teams are able to keep freight moving efficiently since they can sleep in shifts. As a result, you can cover more miles in the same amount of time compared to a solo driver. This translates into higher pay, especially if you are working with an equally motivated partner. This increase in earning potential is one of the major benefits of team truck driving.

Ability to Split Up Tasks

In addition to being able to cover miles more quickly by alternating who operates the rig, you can split up other tasks with your driving partner. As a result, you can use your time more efficiently during breaks or drop-offs. This can also help reduce idle time and further increase your earning potential.


As a trucker, you may spend a lot of time by yourself. This can be a benefit for some, but others can begin to feel lonely on the road. With team truck driving, you have another person with you to talk to and spend time with. Many truckers choose to drive with their spouse, which lets you spend time together when you would otherwise be away from them during long hauls.

What to Consider Before Becoming a Team Driver

Although there are many benefits of team truck driving, it is not for everyone. If you prefer to have full control over your rig or dislike the idea of spending a lot of time with someone else in a relatively small space, you may prefer solo driving. It can be helpful to talk to different truckers who work alone or with a partner to get an idea of what their day-to-day life on the road is like. At the end of the day, your personal preferences will play a large role in your decision.

How to Improve Your Team Truck Driving Experience

Your attitude and habits have a significant influence on success as a team driver. There are many things you can do to set yourself up for a more positive experience. One of the most important things is maintaining good communication with your driving partner. Some conflicts are inevitable, as they are in any type of relationship, but it’s important to handle any disputes respectfully and to remain open to compromise.

Team Truck Driving at DSW

At DSW, we are hiring team truck drivers. If you do not have a driving partner in mind, we offer team matching based on your personality and professional goals. This helps you find an individual with similar motivations who you can get along with on the road.

To learn more about our team truck driver jobs, contact us today.

Trucking Industry Statistics

Truck driving is essential to keep our country functioning. The trucking industry statistics in this article show the impact drivers have and also provide interesting information about transportation trends.

American Trucking Associations

The statistics in this section are from 2019 and the American Trucking Associations (ATA) reported them. This organization advocates for the trucking industry and collects data related to freight transport. You can find their most recent Economics and Industry Data report here.

  • The industry brought in $791.7 billion in gross revenues. This total includes private shipments only and accounts for 80.4% of the freight bill for the United States.
  • Semi-trucks transported 72.5% of domestic tonnage. This added up to 11.84 billion tons of freight.
  • In addition to freight within the country, the trucking industry transported 67.7% of surface trade by value between the United States and Canada. Trucks also moved 83.1% of surface trade by value between the United States and Mexico.
  • There were 36.9 million trucks registered and used for business purposes, which is 24.2% of all trucks in the country. 3.91 million of these are Class 8 trucks, which includes tractor-trailers and straight trucks.
  • Registered trucks drove 304.9 million miles and combination trucks (including tractor-trailers) drove 184.2 miles. (These numbers are from 2018 instead of 2019.)
  • 7.95 million people were employed in positions related to the trucking industry. 3.6 million of these individuals were truck drivers.

American Community Survey

The United States Census Bureau conducts the American Community Survey and this collects data about population, employment, and housing. The following statistics come from 2017 and can be found on the Census Bureau’s website.

  • The median age for truck drivers is 46 years old. Comparatively, the median age for all workers is 41.
  • Approximately one in ten truckers is a veteran, which is double the rate for the workforce as a whole.
  • Men hold 90% of trucking jobs, but more women are entering the industry and this number is beginning to change.
  • Truckers under 35 are more likely to come from urban areas.
  • Truck drivers are less likely to be unemployed compared to workers in other industries.

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) collects data about transportation in the United States. They release an annual report, Freight Facts and Figures, that includes this information. The most recent statistics are from 2018 and are available here.

  • 16.8% of goods in the nation (measured by the value of the products) travel more than 1,000 miles to reach their destination.
  • Out of all modes of transportation, trucking contributes the most to our country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Tractor-trailers moved all of the top 10 types of commodities. They also transported more time-sensitive and high-value products compared to other methods of moving freight.

Truck Driving Jobs at DSW

If you would like to become part of the trucking industry, DSW is hiring qualified drivers for our fleet.

Apply Today

Contact us to learn more about our available trucking jobs.

Tips for Trucking With a Dog

Truck driving is one of the few careers where you can bring your pet with you. This can make life on the open road much more enjoyable and is beneficial for your mental and physical health. DSW is a pet-friendly company and we want to help make trucking with a dog easy for you.

Here are some tips for bringing your pet on the road:

Planning is Essential

Planning is important for truck drivers and this is especially true if you are traveling with your pet. You should make sure to have all of the supplies your furry friend needs before you hit the road. These include food, treats, water, toys, cleaning supplies, and anything else you and your pet need to stay comfortable. It may be difficult to stop while on the road and many pet stores don’t have parking for semi-trucks, so it’s important to ensure you have all the necessary supplies ahead of time. You may be able to grab a few things at truck stops, but don’t count on this being an option.

Additionally, make sure to plan time to let your dog get some fresh air. This is also a good opportunity for you to exercise and walk around with your pet. Depending on your dog’s breed and age, they may need more or less activity. Be sure to take this into account while planning your stops.

Visit Your Vet Regularly

Before your first time trucking with your dog, you should schedule a visit with your veterinarian. This way you can ensure that your companion is in good health and up-to-date with vaccinations. Your vet can also answer any questions you may have about keeping your pet healthy on the road. You should also have a plan for what you will do in case of an emergency and your pet needs to see a veterinarian while traveling with you.

Make Your Rig Safe for Your Pet

There are several steps you can take to make your semi-truck safer for your pet. Be sure to keep anything you don’t want your pet to get into out of reach. If they get into something they shouldn’t, it can be dangerous for them and for you. You should also create a space in your rig where your pet will feel comfortable and consider the different options available to keep them safely in their seat while you are driving.

Our Pet Policy

At DSW, we want to provide the best possible work environment for our drivers. We are a pet-friendly trucking company and our policy makes it easy for you to take your dog on the open road. We allow non-aggressive dogs under 40 pounds, with some breed restrictions. Vaccination records are required. Dogs will need to meet with the terminal manager for approval and there is a pet deposit. If you are new to DSW or if you have been driving for us already and want to bring your dog on the road, let us know. We can discuss our policy in detail as it applies to your situation and can help you figure out what steps you need to take.

DSW is a Dog-Friendly Motor Carrier

To discuss trucking with your dog and the other benefits driving with DSW can offer, contact us today.

What is Detention Pay for Truckers?

As a trucker, the bulk of your time on the job is typically spent driving. Once you arrive at your destination, you will need to drop off your freight at the loading dock. Sometimes this process is very quick. However, there can sometimes be delays. Detention pay, if it applies, compensates you for the time that you spend waiting to load or unload your truck.

Trucking Detentions vs Layovers

You may hear the terms “detention” and “layover” used in similar contexts. Both of these are time spent waiting instead of driving. The difference is that detention occurs during a shipment whereas a layover occurs between shipments. During a trucking detention, you are waiting at your destination beyond a pre-defined load/unload time. This can be because the truck did not get loaded/unloaded on time or the process took longer than expected. During a layover, you are delayed for a day or more waiting for a load from either the shipper or the receiver.

Detention Pay

Detention pay is intended to compensate drivers for any time that they have to wait through no fault of their own. At DSW, we offer both detention and layover pay. This is in addition to stop pay, which compensates you for every stop made, if applicable. If you start working with us, we will go over how these types of pay work and what you can expect.

How to Avoid Detention Time

Although detention pay can help make delays a little less frustrating, the truth is that no one wants to have to wait any longer than necessary. The receiver, shipper, and dispatcher work together to reduce delays when possible and in many cases, this is out of your control. However, there are some steps that you can take as a trucker to help avoid detention time.

Although you may spend most of your day alone, communication is a big part of truck driving. If you expect to arrive late to your destination, it’s important to let the appropriate individuals know. Who to contact may depend on the situation, but you should be sure to give all of the details necessary.

It’s also important to map out your route ahead of time. Plan to arrive 15 minutes early for your appointment so that you reduce your risk of being late. If you arrive earlier than this, you may need to determine how you can pass time to avoid impacting your schedule. In some cases, the receiver will be able to accommodate an early arrival, but this is not always true, so you should be aware of what their expectations are.

Advantages of Working with DSW

At DSW, our management consists 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 we do everything we can to help every haul go smoothly. When situations outside of your control lead to detention time, we make sure to compensate you fairly.

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

Understanding Hours of Service Regulations

Truck drivers are responsible not only for their own safety and that of the cargo they transport but also for the safety of others on the road. To help improve safety, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has various guidelines that truckers must follow. One example is hours of service, or HOS, regulations. The DOT’s HOS rules limit the amount of time truck drivers can be behind the wheel. If you are a driver, it is important for you to fully understand these rules.

Hours of Service for Property-Carrying Drivers

In most cases, you will need to track your hours of service using an electronic logging device (ELD). These records can be audited at various times, including during roadside truck inspections. If you violate DOT regulations, you can be placed off-duty at one of these stops. You and your motor carrier can also be subject to fines or other penalties, depending on the severity of the violation.

If you are hauling freight, then the following rules and regulations apply:

On-Duty and Driving Hours

You can drive a maximum of 11 hours and spend a maximum of 14 hours on-duty before you must take 10 consecutive hours off-duty. This is not a daily limit as drivers can in theory drive for 11 hours, rest for 10 hours, then begin driving again during one 24-hour period. If there are unforeseeable adverse driving conditions that make it impossible for you to safely stop, you can extend your driving time by up to two hours, for a total of 13 hours of driving. However, this does not extend the maximum on-duty time.

You should be aware that any time spent working counts as on-duty time. This includes if you have a second job, even if it does not involve driving.

Rest Breaks and Off-Duty Time

You are only allowed to drive for 8 consecutive hours before needing to go off-duty or take a sleeper-berth break of 30 minutes or more. This is in addition to the 10 off-duty hours you must take after 14 hours on duty. However, you can split up your 10 off-duty hours by spending eight consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and a separate two consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and/or off-duty.

60/70 Hour Limit

You can drive a maximum of 60 hours in a seven-day timeframe or a maximum of 70 hours in an eight-day timeframe. To reset this limit, you need to take 34 consecutive hours off-duty.

The Role of Your Motor Carrier

As a driver, you need to be aware of and follow HOS rules. Your motor carrier should support you in doing this and keep you informed of all relevant regulations. At DSW, our management is made up of former drivers and we understand what life on the road is like. As a result, we make sure to work with you and help make it easy to understand any expectations and rules.

If you are interested in driving with DSW, contact us today.

How to Become a Truck Driver

Driving a truck can be a rewarding career. Even during uncertain times, there is a high demand for qualified drivers to transport freight. If you want to become a truck driver, now is a great time to start the process.

Here are the steps to becoming a commercial driver:

Make Sure You Meet the Requirements

To become a truck driver, you must meet certain requirements. If you plan to drive across state lines, you will need to be over 21 years of age. For intrastate transport, you only need to be 18. You must also have a clean driving record and undergo a physical examination to ensure that you are in good health.

Earn Your CDL

In order to drive a semi-truck, you need to obtain your commercial driver’s license (CDL). To do this, you will need to pass the CDL test. This includes a written exam covering information about safe operation of commercial vehicles. There is also a skills portion that includes a pre-trip inspection, evaluations of specific driving skills, and a road test.

Although it is possible to study for this test on your own, attending truck driving school can be beneficial. This gives you more hands-on experience and you will learn from skilled instructors. Many companies also prefer hiring drivers who graduate from CDL school. Depending on the program, you can be on the road in just weeks.

Decide What Type of Trucking Job You Want

There are many different types of truck driving jobs. You can find one that fits best for you depending on your desired pay and lifestyle. Some of the choices you will make include how long your routes will be and what type of freight you will haul. If you are not sure what will be a good match, you can talk to the staff at your CDL school or to drivers you know.

Choose a Trucking Company

Once you know what type of driving you would like to do, you can start looking for a trucking job. A few factors to consider when choosing which company to work for include starting pay, benefits, and home time.

The Benefits of Working for DSW

Whether you are just starting your trucking career or are a veteran driver, DSW is a great company to work for. We are family-owned and we care about our employees. Our management consists of former drivers who understand what life on the open road is like. We know you by name, not by truck number, and we work with you to help give you the best possible experience. We have a small company feel, but our freight rivals larger carriers so you can get miles, get paid, and get home.

Now Hiring Truck Drivers

DSW has openings for new and experienced over-the-road (OTR) drivers as well as owner-operators.

If you are ready to become a truck driver at DSW, contact us today.

Tips for Life on the Road as a Tractor-Trailer Driver

A career as a tractor-trailer driver can be incredibly rewarding. Because of the high demand for truckers, you can earn high pay and enjoy excellent benefits. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any challenges for life on the open road, but luckily there are many ways to make your days more enjoyable.

Here are some tips for day-to-day life as a tractor-trailer truck driver:

Prioritize Your Health

Truck driving is a career that typically doesn’t involve a lot of physical activity. Because of this, it’s important to find ways to stay healthy. One way to do this is by planning out your meals and picking healthy choices at any truck stops or restaurants. You can also keep your cab stocked with healthy foods and snacks for between meals.

For physical activity, there are many gyms that have locations across the country so you can stop and work out no matter where you are. It may take some planning so this suits your schedule, but it is worth it to enjoy the benefits of better health.

Find Hobbies You Enjoy

Finding a hobby that you enjoy can give you something to do to pass the time while you aren’t driving. There are many options that you can take with you on the road such as drawing, writing, reading, playing an instrument, and portable game systems to name a few. You can experiment to find what you like to do most and use this activity to relieve stress and have fun.

Learn Something New

There is a huge variety of podcasts and audiobooks available for you to listen to while driving. This makes it easy to learn new things and keep yourself entertained. Podcasts are usually free and many libraries offer apps to rent and download audiobooks, so you don’t have to spend any money to access a wealth of interesting information.

Scenic Routes and Attractions

You may be able to plan your trip so you have time to drive through a scenic area or stop at a unique attraction. As a tractor-trailer driver, you have the opportunity to see more of the country than many others. Taking advantage of this can make your days more exciting.

Consider a Companion

Driving can get lonely and if this is the case for you, consider bringing a companion on the road. You can do this in many ways such as bringing a non-driver along for a trip, working with another trucker as a team, or even taking your pet.

Find a Trucking Company That Values You

One of the best things you can do to improve your life as a truck driver is finding a company that values your experience and shows their appreciation. At DSW, our management is made up of former drivers who know what trucking is like. As a result, our policies are driver-friendly and we strive to work as hard for you as you do for us. As a DSW driver, you can enjoy high pay and modern equipment while getting home on a regular basis.

To learn more about joining our team as an over-the-road tractor-trailer driver, contact us today.

Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success as a CDL Driver

Knowing what you can do to help yourself succeed is one of the most important things that will influence your driving career. If you avoid unreasonable expectations and focus on doing a good job, you will find that things usually work out for the best. Following these simple steps can help you set yourself up for success as a CDL driver.

Find your Niche

There are many different ways to make a living as a CDL driver. Choosing the right type of trucking that will fit within your lifestyle is important to finding a job that you truly enjoy. You will need to choose the type of truck you want to drive, the freight you want to haul, and the distances you want to cover.

Each of these decisions comes with its own challenges, perks, and pay. This is not to say that once you have made that decision you are locked into it for life. CDL jobs come in all shapes and sizes and because of this you do not have to give up your career to be happy. Instead you can modify it to fit your needs.

Your Attitude Matters

Everyone wants to be happy in their job and truckers are no different. We have found that one of the biggest factors in determining your happiness is your own personal attitude and work ethic. As a truck driver you will need to wear a lot of hats and experienced trucking companies take the time to determine which drivers are cooperative, hard-working, reliable, and resourceful. The drivers who get tons of freight, enjoy the company they work for, and are happy in their career are often the ones with the most disciplined and responsible work ethic. Your trucking company wants a driver that will get the job done safely and efficiently.

Learn About Your Company

Another factor for determining job happiness is how well you fit within your company. No carrier is perfect, so it is important to have realistic expectations. It is also helpful to take time to understand the company you work for and the trucking industry in general.

Practicing good communication skills is one way to accomplish this. Get to know those you work with and surround yourself with the right people. Once you have done this, you need to communicate with them in a positive way. Patience will go a long way in your day-to-day interactions. Learning to take the good with the bad will help keep you focused on the right path.

Continue to Learn Every Day

Every day at your job is an opportunity to learn and the most successful drivers never stop educating themselves. As a CDL driver, you will need to learn how to handle your truck skillfully. You will also be responsible for staying up to date with all the changes in trucking regulations.

You should also know the factors that go into determining what type of freight you will be hauling. These include the economy, the time of the year, the region you are in, your ability as a driver, and your company’s freight lines.

Become a CDL Driver for DSW

At DSW, we are always looking for top-quality CDL drivers. We provide our truckers with excellent equipment, great weekly pay, and benefits like health, dental, and vision insurance. You get big freight while enjoying the atmosphere of a family-owned company. Whether you are a recent CDL school graduate, experienced truck driver, or are looking to become or already are an owner-operator, we have the right placement for you. We provide tuition reimbursement for those who qualify, paid training, team matching, and express orientation so you can get on the road and start earning right away.

If you are a CDL driver, call us today for more information about working with DSW.

Tips for Safely Securing Freight

As a truck driver, some hauls may be drop-and-hook. This means that you will not be responsible for securing freight. However, others may require you to place cargo. In these cases, it is important that you closely follow all regulations to ensure the safety of yourself, others on the road, and the materials you are transporting. Even if you do not load your vehicle yourself, you are still responsible for inspecting the cargo, making sure it has been loaded safely, and ensuring that your truck is safe to drive.

Here are some tips for securing freight in a traditional tractor-trailer:

Balance Freight Properly

When you are loading cargo, it is essential to consider the center of gravity of your vehicle. A high center of gravity can increase the risk of the truck rolling over. This occurs when you stack freight too high or when you place heavier materials at the top. The safest way to load your trailer is by putting cargo as low as possible and placing the heaviest items at the bottom.

You should also take care to distribute weight evenly. If there is too much or too little on the axles, it can lead to poor traction, tire damage, and increased risk of rollover. Position cargo in the middle of your trailer and block/brace it so it does not shift during transit.

Know Weight Limits

It is important to know what the legal weight limits are for the states you will be driving through. Within the National Network (NN) of highways in the United States, federal regulations apply. However, if you drive on any smaller state highways, you will need to know the specific limits for that region. This includes the gross vehicle weight (GVW), gross combination weight (GCW), and axle weight.

Beyond legal considerations, driving an overloaded truck can be dangerous and can negatively affect steering, braking, and speed control. Weather or road conditions may also impact how much weight is safe to haul. For example, if you are driving on a mountain road or during a storm, being under the legal weight limit may still be unsafe.

Inspect Your Semi-Truck

Pre-trip inspections are necessary to make sure your vehicle is safe to drive. You must check for a variety of issues before starting your route. This process includes inspecting cargo, even if you did not load it yourself. During your inspection, make sure weight is evenly distributed and check that the freight does not block your access to emergency equipment.

Re-Checking Cargo

In addition to an initial inspection, you will need to continue to check your load during your trip. Regulations for this may vary, so be sure to check what is required for the areas you will be driving through. In general, you will need to inspect every 3 hours or 150 miles. You will also need to do an inspection after any breaks you take while driving.

Drive With a Company That Values Your Safety

At DSW, we value our drivers and make sure they are safe on the road. In addition to excellent training for new drivers, we offer 24/7 support so someone can answer any questions you have during your route.

Contact us today to learn more about our openings for new and experienced truck drivers.