Planning For Weather When Trucking

Challenging weather can cause all kinds of issues when transporting freight. In fact, weather is responsible for nearly one-fourth of all truck delays. Weather conditions can also make roads more hazardous and it’s important for drivers to be aware of how to stay safe. Learn how to plan for the weather when trucking in our blog below.

Planning For All Types of Weather

Inclement weather conditions can lead to dangerous road conditions, power outages, and capacity limitations, so it is essential to prepare for all types of conditions, including rain, snow, wind, fog, and extreme temperatures.


Nearly half of the 25% of trucking accidents caused by weather occur when it’s raining. Rain decreases visibility and increases the potential of hydroplaning, creating one of the most dangerous bad-weather trucking combinations. Practicing safe driving techniques, such as slowing down, can help truck drivers stay safe during a storm. If the rain impacts your visibility, you may have to pull off to the side of the road until it passes.


Snow and ice also have an impact on trucking mobility. If you expect to drive through the snow along your route, come prepared with the right gear, such as tire chains, to ensure safe travel. Every driver should also equip themselves with an emergency safety kit with items like a reflective vest, extra warm clothing, and nonperishable food and water. Additionally, give yourself extra stopping distance when driving in snowy or icy weather, and avoid quick, sharp turns. As with rainy conditions, don’t hesitate to stop and wait for it to pass. 


High winds cause dangerous driving conditions for truckers by blowing obstructions into the road and impacting a rig’s stability. If you are driving in high crosswinds, find a safe place to stop, ideally facing the wind head-on to minimize the risk of flipping. Fog also has unique challenges for truckers, causing decreased visibility. If your visibility declines, pull onto the shoulder of an off-ramp to wait it out. Avoid stopping on the side of the road if possible, as your tail lights may confuse traffic behind you.

Extreme Temperatures

Extreme cold or warm temperatures can affect cargo quality, driver capabilities, and vehicle performance, so drivers must prepare for these conditions as well.

Driving in cold weather can damage a truck’s internal workings, forcing the engine and its parts to push harder than they’re designed to. To prevent this, start and run your rig for 15 minutes before driving. Running the engine allows it time to warm up the oil, fuel, and other fluids so they can move freely through the system. Extreme cold also leads to low tire pressure, so keep a gauge on hand and check your tire pressure regularly. 

Warm Weather

Warm weather can have just as much of a negative impact on a semi-truck as cold weather. Hot road surfaces can compromise tire performance or cause engine failure. Drivers and cargo can also face some consequences in high temperatures, even in an air-conditioned cab or refrigerated truck, so it is vital to slow down and take regular breaks to mitigate the effects of the heat. Try to park during the hottest part of the day, continuing your trip in the evening when the temperature cools.

Drive With the Best at DSW

Employer support is crucial when facing unexpected weather as a trucker. At DSW, our management is composed of former drivers that understand what life on the road is like. When you choose to drive with the best, we will work as hard for you as you work for us.

To inquire about our available trucking positions, contact DSW today.

When To Use Tire Chains

Winter is upon us, and with the new season comes new weather challenges for everyone on the road. While most motorists can simply change to a set of all-season or winter tires to help manage the snow, preparation for inclement weather is more difficult for truck drivers. One of the best safety precautions a trucker can take is installing tire chains on their rig. Here is everything you need to know about when, how, and why to use tire chains on your semi-truck.

Semi-Truck Tire Chain Use

Tire chains allow semi-trucks to gain additional traction during snowy and icy road conditions and are a crucial tool during the winter. Most states have tire chain laws, and the Department of Transportation (DOT) issues a notice when it’s time to put them in place. However, if you are experiencing slippery conditions, you do not have to wait for the authorities’ announcement to install chains. You can also use chains to get your truck back on the road if it is stuck.

While tire chains are vital during inclement weather, they can damage dry roads. Make sure to remove them as soon as the snow and ice melt.

How to Put Tire Chains on a Semi-Truck

Now that you understand when and why to use tire chains, let’s discuss how to put them on your rig. Although semi-trucks have 18 wheels, you only need to install chains on the drive wheels.

Follow these six steps to install tire chains on your truck:

  • Inspect chains. Lay each chain flat in front of each drive wheel with the adjustment cams outward. Inspect them for any damage, twists, or knots.
  • Drape chains over wheels. Start with the inside of the tire and loosely attach each chain link at the bottom of the tire. You can also drive your truck forward a few feet to roll the wheels onto the chains.
  • Connect chains. Once the chains are on your tires, hook the inside clips of each chain.
  • Tighten cams. Ensure a secure fit by using an adjusting wrench to tighten the cams.
  • Test chains. Drive a short distance after installation and inspect each wheel for any malfunctions. 
  • Add extra security. For additional security and tension, attach a bungee cord or tire strap across the outside of the wheel to hold the chains in place.

Tips For Driving a Semi-Truck With Tire Chains

Driving with tire chains differs from driving with bare tires.

The following tips will help you drive safely with tire chains installed:

  • Reduce your speed. You risk chain failure and can damage your truck at speeds over 30 mph.
  • Check your weight. Tire chains can add up to 1,000 pounds to your vehicle weight, so adjust your freight load to ensure you pass weight station inspections.
  • Follow tire chain laws. Local requirements regarding tire chains vary. To avoid a fine, familiarize yourself with your state’s regulations and follow them throughout the winter.

Drive Safely During Every Season

No matter what season it is, truckers should practice safety. At DSW, we prioritize the well-being of our drivers, providing them with state-of-the-art equipment to help ensure safety and efficiency on the road. We also provide live, 24/7 support to all our employees while they are on their routes.

Apply today to start your trucking driving career with DSW.

OTR Vs Regional Trucking

Trucking is a unique career and is more of a lifestyle than a job. Within the field of trucking, there are variations in the types of routes that affect what exactly this lifestyle looks like. One example is the difference between over-the-road (OTR) and regional trucking. OTR routes can travel through any combination of states and may involve long distances, whereas regional routes stay within a smaller area, e.g. the Southwest United States.

Similarities Between OTR And Regional Trucking

Both OTR and regional trucking involve hauling freight. Compared to local routes, both types of driving involve spending multiple days at a time on the road and you will often sleep in the semi-truck. This means that whether you pursue OTR or regional trucking, your day-to-day will likely line up with what is typically considered the “trucking lifestyle.”

Both pay well due to high demand. Semi-trucks move 72.2% of freight in the United States according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA). Some of this freight must move a long distance whereas other shipments stay regional. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), 56.7% of goods by value moved less than 250 miles between origin and destination.

Difference – Time On The Road

The biggest difference between OTR and regional routes is the time on the road. The exact length of time will depend on the haul. OTR drivers typically are out for several weeks at a time. Regional routes vary from a few days to a few weeks, but are shorter than OTR routes and get drivers home more often.

Difference – Variety

Regional routes, as the name implies, stay within a more limited area than OTR. This keeps drivers closer to home, but it can also limit the variety. Many regional routes work with one customer or a smaller group of customers.

Depending on your preferences, this can be an advantage or a disadvantage for regional vs OTR. You’ll be able to get used to the routes more easily and can learn the quirks of traffic, weather conditions, truck stop options, et cetera. On the other hand, it can get repetitive, and if you want to wake up somewhere new every day, OTR would likely be a better fit.

Now Hiring For OTR And Regional Routes

If you’re looking for a well-paying truck driving career with excellent benefits, you can find one at DSW. Whether you prefer regional or OTR, we have positions available for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders. We offer the best home time around and are a family-owned trucking company. At DSW, we know our drivers by name, not by truck number, and we strive to work as hard for you as you work for us.

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

Handling The Unexpected In Trucking

In any career, things don’t always go as planned. Learning how to adapt to unexpected circumstances is a worthwhile skill in life as a whole, and in particular in the trucking industry. Handling challenges efficiently and safely will earn you a strong positive reputation and can help increase your earning potential. It also helps reduce your stress since you will know you can manage difficult situations.

Here are some tips for handling the unexpected in trucking:

1. Plan Ahead

Since unexpected events aren’t possible to plan for, it may seem counterintuitive that planning would help you manage them. However, your plan shouldn’t be a rigid set of actions you must take. Instead, it should help guide your decisions and actions, which will need to change depending on the circumstances.

As an example, imagine that you stop for the night at a specific truck stop, but when you arrive, there are no parking spots. If you made a strong trip plan, you will know other stops nearby, and you will have planned your driving so you still have time to drive to a new stop within hours of service regulations. If you didn’t trip plan, or only had one possible stop, the situation could be more difficult to manage.

2. Prioritize Your Safety

In many cases, the actual unexpected event is less of a problem than your potential reaction to the stress that event causes. Unexpected traffic that causes you to get fewer miles in a day isn’t exactly ideal, but getting in an accident because you got frustrated and made a careless mistake is much worse.

If (or rather, when) something you don’t expect happens on the road, take a few deep breaths and stay calm. Remember that your first priority should always be your safety. Even if things aren’t going according to plan, you can always make up for it later on. You may not get this opportunity if you are unsafe.

3.  Communicate Clearly

Although truckers spend much of their time in their vehicles by themselves, communicating effectively with others is actually a huge part of the job. When something unexpected happens, clear communication makes it much easier to get back on track.

Your dispatcher is often your first line of communication on the road. Keeping them informed makes both of your jobs easier. This is especially important if you may be late to a delivery or pick-up, as your dispatcher will need to inform the customer and make other arrangements.

Tips For Clear Communication In Unexpected Circumstances:

  • Tell your dispatcher (or another appropriate contact) right away if you know there’s a potential delay or issue. Ideally, keep your contact updated even before an issue becomes serious, e.g. if there’s a forecast for bad weather, let them know that you may need to stop driving if it becomes unsafe.
  • Be polite and try to stay positive. This doesn’t mean you have to be a robot, but taking your frustration out on others isn’t likely to help your situation.
  • Offer solutions if you can.

A Supportive Trucking Company

In unexpected situations, it helps to have the support of your employer. At DSW, our management is made up of former truckers. We understand what life on the road is like, and we work as hard for our drivers as they work for us.

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

Time Management Tips For Truckers

In many ways, trucking is a very independent job. You need to be able to communicate effectively with your dispatcher and are responsible for being on time for your appointments, but you are ultimately in charge of most day-to-day decisions. There’s no boss looking over your shoulder when you’re on the open road. This also means you are responsible for managing your time effectively. If you do this well, you can increase your earning potential and reduce your stress.

Here are some time management tips for truckers:

1. Plan Around Hours Of Service

While truckers do have the freedom to plan their days, they must follow federal regulations that help ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Hours of service limits are an example. The maximum driving time in a day is 11 hours, and you can spend a maximum of 14 hours on duty. There are other regulations you need to know and follow for breaks and weekly driving time.

No matter what other choices you make for time management, you’ll need to make sure you follow these rules. Trip planning allows you to get an idea of how you can spread out your driving hours to stay compliant.

2. Understand Parking Challenges

Parking is a key consideration for planning your days as a trucker, and this also relates to hours of service regulations. If you get to a truck stop and it doesn’t have enough parking, you’ll need to have enough driving time to find a new location.

In addition to affecting your overall trip plan, parking also relates to time management because truck stops are typically busier during the evenings as more drivers stop for the night. If you plan to stop around the busiest times, you’ll need to allow more time for finding a spot, which can reduce the number of miles you’re able to drive.

3. Avoid Traffic

Heavy traffic is annoying for anyone, for truckers, it can be especially frustrating. Sometimes, there’s not much you can do to avoid it, but managing your time on the road can help you minimize traffic to some extent. Know ahead of time when rush hour tends to be at its worst in the areas you’re driving through, and consider taking breaks around these times so you don’t spend valuable driving time stuck in traffic.

4. Consider Your Personal Preferences

People naturally feel more productive and focused at different times of the day. It’s beneficial for your safety and for time management if you are able to schedule more driving time during your preferred hours. For example, if you’re a morning person, you may get up earlier to hit the road. On the other hand, if you are able to focus at night, you can avoid high-traffic hours and drive later in the day – just be sure you can do so safely! You likely won’t always be able to drive at your favorite times depending on your delivery schedule, but you can often choose to do so more often than not.

Hit The Road With DSW

DSW is currently hiring over-the-road (OTR) and regional truckers. We know our drivers by name, not by truck number, and we offer competitive pay and miles.

Contact us today to apply for one of our trucking jobs.

Extra Items To Improve Your Trucking Experience

As a trucker, your vehicle is your home away from home. The interior of a semi-truck may not be particularly large, but there are many ways to make it feel like your own. New truckers will typically need to stick to the basics, but as you get used to the rhythm of life on the road and understand how to maximize space, there are many “extras” you can consider to improve your trucking experience.

Some items include:

Better Mattress And Bedding

Sleep is essential for health and well-being and for truckers, it can be difficult to get used to how to get enough high-quality sleep. Investing in a better mattress can make a big difference, and so can adding additional pillows and bedding. You can also use your bedding to personalize your truck’s interior.

Slow Cooker

Eating well on the road is sometimes challenging. Although you can find more healthy options than ever, preparing your own food is more cost-effective and usually more nutritious. A slow cooker makes it simple to enjoy home-cooked meals as a trucker. You can simply add the ingredients before you start driving and have a warm meal ready when you shut down for the day.

Exercise Equipment

You don’t need an extensive gym setup to work out. Depending on your preferred exercises, you likely can find small semi-truck-friendly equipment to take along without using up too much space. For example, if you like cardio, you can bring a pair of running shoes and/or a jump rope. For weights, small kettlebells or weight sets can often fit in your cab for quick work-outs on the go.

Supplies For Hobbies

Finding hobbies you can take on the road gives you something to do during your free time and can help reduce stress. There are many hobbies that are compact enough to take on the road.

Some examples include:

  • Photography – Bring a camera on your hauls and take pictures of the sights you see.
  • Video Games – A handheld console is very easy to take on a truck, and with an inverter, you can even hook up a small TV for gaming.
  • Reading – An e-reader makes it possible to take an entire library on your truck.
  • Drawing – A sketchbook and art set can easily fit in your cab and gives you a creative outlet.
  • Writing – A small laptop or even traditional pen and paper allows you to write stories or document your life on the road.

Trucking Jobs Based In Tucson

If you’re looking for a new truck driving job, DSW is currently hiring for over-the-road (OTR) and regional routes. We are a family-owned trucking company with excellent home time and competitive pay and benefits. We work as hard for our drivers as they work for us.

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


What to Know About Prescription Meds and Trucking

Safety is an essential consideration for any driver, and even more so for those who drive professionally. The trucking industry takes safety seriously and truckers have to follow various regulations as part of this commitment. One such requirement is being drug-free. It should go without saying that driving under the influence of illicit drugs or alcohol is dangerous. In addition, some prescription medications can make driving unsafe, and thus are prohibited for truckers. It’s important for drivers to be aware of the regulations related to prescription meds and trucking.

Prohibited Prescription Meds for Truckers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry, including outlining requirements for drug testing.

Per their regulations, a person is unqualified to drive commercially if they take:

  • A controlled substance or prescription medication without a valid prescription from a licensed medical practitioner
  • Using a drug identified in 21 CFR 1308.11 (391.42(b)(12)) (a list of Schedule I drugs), even with a prescription

The reason that even some legally prescribed drugs are prohibited for drivers is that these medications can interfere with a person’s ability to drive safely. Many of the medications on this list have warning labels stating that a person should use caution when driving, so it makes sense that a commercial driver should not use them.

Are There Any Exceptions?

Depending on the medication, it may be possible for truckers to get an exemption. In order to do this, the prescribing physician must certify in writing that taking this medication does not impact your ability to safely drive. It’s important to note that certain types of medication cannot be used under any circumstances while operating a commercial motor vehicle.

As a trucker, you have an important duty to keep yourself and others on the road safe. It’s essential to talk to your doctor and your trucking company’s safety team about any prescription medications before you get behind the wheel. If your doctor prescribes a new medication, be sure to let your company know right away.

Drug Testing and DOT Physicals

If you test positive for a controlled prescription medication on a Department of Transportation (DOT) drug testing panel, it will trigger a review of your medications. A Medical Review Officer (MRO) will give you specific instructions and will reach out to your doctor for more information. In order to protect your license, it’s important to cooperate with this process.

Keep in mind that if the medications are not cleared by your doctor, this will go on your record as a failed drug test and will have serious consequences for your career. Again, the best time to address prescription medications is prior to performing safety-sensitive duties, not once you have to take a drug test.

During your required Department of Transportation (DOT) physical, the physician will also conduct a review of any prescription drugs you are taking. If there are any controlled substances on the list, they will conduct a more thorough review before you can be cleared to drive.

Start Your Trucking Career

If you are a safe driver and are ready to hit the road, DSW is currently hiring for regional and over-the-road (OTR) routes. We are a safety-conscious employer and our management is made up of former drivers who understand the support you need as a trucker. We help you get miles, get paid, and get home regularly.

To learn more about our open positions, contact us today.

The Importance of a Safety-Conscious Trucking Company

Truck drivers have an essential job that keeps our nation’s economy moving forward. They also have a key responsibility to put safety first. As a driver, choosing to work with a safety-conscious trucking company makes it easier for you to ensure you have the tools and support you need to achieve this goal.

The Roles Drivers and Motor Carriers Play in Safety

Ultimately, you are responsible for your own driving. When you become a trucker, you are committed to prioritizing safety. This means not driving while impaired, taking rest when you need it, keeping your truck in good working order, and following all regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Failing to do so can result in disciplinary action, loss of your commercial driver’s license (CDL), fines, and other consequences, not to mention the risk of an accident.

In addition to these day-to-day tasks that fall on the driver, each motor carrier must ensure the company as a whole is compliant. Companies face consequences from the FMCSA if they fail to follow the necessary regulations.

How Drivers Benefit From Working With a Safety-Conscious Company

While drivers are ultimately responsible for their own actions behind the wheel, having a supportive company can make this easier. For example, if you find a problem with your truck during a pre-trip inspection, a support company that cares about safety will help you address it right away. Although there are options if you notice a safety issue that you feel your motor carrier isn’t addressing, it makes your life easier if they are as focused on staying safe as you are.

How To Find a Trucking Company

When you’re considering which trucking company to work for, ask potential employers about their safety policies and how they support drivers. This also helps demonstrate that you are serious about safety, which can make you a more attractive applicant.

In addition to asking the company directly, talk to other drivers. It’s worth noting that you should take these opinions with a grain of salt, as everyone has a unique experience. However, you may notice a pattern of specific positive or negative feedback. If you have concerns about certain safety issues you hear about from multiple sources, it may be worth bringing up to your recruiter.

DSW Supports Our Drivers

At DSW, we understand the importance of safety. Our management is made up of former truckers and we work hard to support our drivers in reaching their goals. This includes a strong focus on safety, as well as competitive pay, benefits, and home time policies. We know our drivers by name, not by truck number.

If you’re interested in working for a safety-conscious trucking company, contact us today.

Getting Better Sleep as a Team Trucker

Sleep is essential to your health, and getting enough rest is also an important safety consideration for truckers. There are some unique challenges that make it harder to get good-quality sleep in a semi-truck, but luckily, there are also tips that can make this easier. We’ve already shared some general trucker sleep advice in our blog “Tips for Sleeping in a Semi-Truck.” However, many of these recommendations are more suited to solo drivers. Team truckers can also take steps to improve their sleep, but since the truck is generally moving while they rest, there are additional factors to keep in mind.

Here are some tips team truckers can use to get more and better sleep:

1. Minimize Movement

One of the factors that can make sleeping as a team trucker more difficult is the movement of the truck. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help minimize the effects of abrupt movements. The top bunk in a sleeper berth will usually move around more while the truck is in motion. When possible, sleep on the lower bunk instead to minimize movement and help improve your sleep. You can also use a long body pillow to help stabilize your position in the bed, even as the truck moves. Additionally, getting a foam memory mattress can reduce movement compared to a mattress with springs.

2. Find Ways to Block Light and Noise

Exposure to light and loud noises makes it more difficult to sleep. Of course, it’s not typically possible to eliminate light and noise in a moving semi-truck. However, there are options to improve your experience. A sleep mask can help you block light, even if you’re sleeping during the day. For noise, try noise-canceling headphones with either white noise or music, or a pair of earplugs.

3. Drive With Someone You Trust

This tip may not be possible for everyone. However, if you do know another commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, driving with them may be easier than driving with someone you don’t know. You can choose someone you already trust and get along with. This has a positive effect on sleep because with team driving, you will typically sleep while your partner drives. If you know that the truck is in good hands, it’s easier to rest than if you’re worried about getting miles effectively, or worse, if you’re worried about your safety.

If you’re driving with someone you didn’t know before, you can still build trust to make it easier to sleep while they’re driving. Make sure that they respect your need for rest by keeping the noise down while they drive, and extend the same courtesy to them. If you have any concerns, try to communicate them openly. Neither you nor your driving partner has complete control over the amount of movement and noise on the road, but there are still steps you both can take to make things a bit easier.

Drive With A Partner or Solo at DSW

Whether you have a team driving partner in mind, want to be matched with someone, or prefer trucking solo, DSW has open positions for you. We are a family-owned trucking company and know our drivers by name, not by truck number.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you get miles, get paid, and get home regularly.

Signs You Should Become a Driver Mentor

Trucking gives you the opportunity to have a rewarding career in an essential industry. As you gain more experience as a driver, you may have the chance to pursue advancement and continue to shape your career to your preferences. One such opportunity is becoming a driver mentor, which may also be called a driver trainer depending on the company. This allows you to use your skills to help new drivers who are just getting started in trucking, while also increasing your pay in many cases.

Here are some signs that you should consider becoming a driver mentor:

1. You’re An Experienced Trucker

Since driver mentors are responsible for supporting and training rookies, it’s important that you have the experience and skills necessary to handle this job. Different companies have different requirements for the specific length of time behind the wheel before you can become a trainer. In addition to looking at the length of your time in trucking, it’s also important to be honest with yourself about your relative experience. If you aren’t confident in your trucking ability, it’s worth taking some more time before considering a mentorship opportunity.

Some qualities experienced drivers should have include:

  • You can drive safely in all conditions. Consider whether you are confident that you can handle city streets, busy traffic, rain, snow, high winds, night driving, mountainous terrain, and other less-than-ideal driving circumstances. In addition, experienced drivers are aware of their limits and know when conditions are too extreme for safe travel.
  • You fully understand hours of service (HOS) regulations and are able to manage your time without violations.
  • You have experience with trip planning and are able to make your deliveries on time. If unexpected circumstances arise, you have a plan for how to handle them and/or can think on your feet to find a solution.
  • Even if things are difficult, you are able to stay calm. This doesn’t mean you have to be a robot with no reactions, but you are able to manage your stress and drive safely even if you are frustrated.
  • You no longer feel stressed about backing into loading docks or parking spots. The skills that felt daunting in trucking school or when you were a rookie are no longer as intimidating.
  • You understand the social side of trucking and are able to communicate effectively with dispatchers, supervisors, loading dock staff, and others you may encounter.

2. You Don’t Mind Sharing Your Truck

As a driver mentor, you’ll go out on the road with a new driver. During part of the training, you’ll be actively supervising their driving and after a certain point, you’ll be trucking as a team. If the idea of sharing your space is uncomfortable, mentorship may not be the best path for you. On the other hand, if you don’t mind the idea of having someone else on your truck and, eventually, driving while you sleep, then training a new driver could work for you.

3. You Enjoy the Idea of Mentoring

It should be fairly self-explanatory that a driver mentor job involves mentoring a new driver. Even if you have a lot of experience and don’t mind team driving, you won’t likely be successful in this role if you don’t like the thought of training someone. Your trainee will expect you to help them and treat them with respect. They are likely going to make mistakes and struggle as they learn, and the best mentors are able to address any issues calmly while still giving trainees valuable information and feedback.

What If Mentorship Isn’t For You?

If you are an experienced trucker but don’t want to be a trainer, there are still opportunities for advancement and higher pay. It’s important to make sure you are truly interested in a training role before pursuing mentorship. The good news is that there are multiple opportunities for growth in trucking and you can find one that matches your unique skills and preferences.

Become a Driver Mentor at DSW

At DSW, we are currently hiring experienced drivers and have a mentorship program you can participate in if you are interested. We also hire new truckers. At every stage of your career, DSW works as hard for you as you work for us.

Contact us today to learn more about our available truck driving jobs.