How to avoid cargo theft

While cargo theft threatens nearly every industry that handles goods, this problem is especially prevalent among professional drivers. Whether the threat exists on the road, or at home, it is important to consider your options when it comes to protecting your vehicle and goods. Follow these few tips on how to avoid cargo theft as a professional driver, and sleep safely knowing your business is safe.

Avoid insecure locations. Although frequent stops are common while en route to a destination, it is crucial to avoid area that may seem insecure. Steer clear of empty parking lots, dimly-lit rest stops and dark terminals in order to decrease your chances of theft.

Fuel up early. In order to avoid longer fuel lines, try filling your tank before you retrieve your goods. This will cut down the time you spend exposed at a gas station, and can help keep your items secure.

Select strong padlocks. As a professional driver, it is vital that you spend a good deal of money on your padlocks. You are much more likely to avoid cargo theft if you have the best king pin locks, gland handle locks or the toughest padlocks.

Use technology. There are many cargo tracking devices and systems that you can use to ensure your goods are not stolen. Geo-fencing and GPS tracking can help you keep track of your shipments and lessen your chances of theft.

If you have questions, or would like to receive tips on avoiding cargo theft, contact Crossroads Equipment Lease & Finance today.

Selling your trucking business

So, you’re thinking of selling your trucking business? Before you embark on this emotional and financial journey, take these steps into consideration in order to make sure you have done all you can do when it comes to healthily moving on.

  1. Organize and plan. Before moving towards your next life adventure, it is important to organize your business in a way that is sellable. Even if you have been a professional driver for some time, it may be best to look at your business from all angles. Perhaps consider hiring someone to lay out your company in order to sell it to the right buyer.
  2. Focus on improving. No buyer is going to take a look at your company if you do not give it a chance to grow. Focus on how your company could be improved and try to put steps in place for future drivers to do so.
  3. Put together a great team. Personnel may be the difference between buying and selling your trucking business. Be sure to have a proper team in place for new management to take over. The business should be running like a well-oiled machine.
  4. Call in your bankers. Once you have the rest of the pieces in place, call in your bankers to begin looking for a buyer. It is important not to be too picky, while being open and accepting of new management styles.

If you have questions or would like advice on buying or selling a trucking business, contact Crossroads Equipment Lease & Finance today.

Parking Tips and Tricks

With so many responsibilities out on the road, many professional drivers forget to take the time to learn how to park their truck correctly. Parking a larger vehicle can be frustrating and time consuming, even for drivers who have been on the road for years. Check out these parking tips and tricks to save you time and give you some peace of mind while parking.

Check your mirrors thoroughly. Even as an experienced driver, it is important to check all of your mirrors before attempting to park a larger vehicle. Turn your head to scan for any blind spots and make sure you pay attention to any oncoming traffic.

Give plenty of extra space. Pull your truck out much wider than you would a smaller vehicle in order to avoid getting caught between the parking space and other obstacles. Make a wide turn to line up both your front and back wheels before attempting to pull into any parking spot.

Brake early and park slowly. It is crucial to rely on your brakes while parking a large truck. Take your time parking so you can avoid multiple point turns. It will save everyone time if you slow down and concentrate on what you are doing.

Try to avoid overshooting. When lining up your truck, check to make sure that you are not overshooting the parking space. It will be much less awkward for yourself and for the cars waiting for you if you slow down enough to line up your wheels correctly.

Even out your parking job. After you have finished parking your truck, step outside to take a look around. It will save you time and energy if you even out your parking job early on, and will allow you to pull out more easily as well. Take a second look before turning off the engine.

If you need tips or have questions on parking your truck, contact Crossroads Equipment Lease & Finance today.

Brakes, brakes, brakes!

For many professional big rig drivers, braking comes second nature. However, most will tell you that losing control of the truck is one of the scariest moments that can occur out on the road. In order to learn proper skid control, check out these helpful tips on braking.

Never slam on the brakes. In order to avoid skidding, it is extremely important to train your instincts not to slam on your brakes. If the brakes of your truck or vehicle are implemented too hard and too fast, it causes the trailer of the rig to start to slide, and can send the truck sideways. Make sure you press on your brakes slowly and carefully, even in stressful situations.

Leave enough room. Depending on how much cargo you are hauling, and how much your truck weighs, it is important to be mindful of the distance you leave between your vehicle and the cars in front of you. It will take you twice as long to stop a heavy truck and trailer than it will a small car. Be mindful of your surroundings so you have time to brake properly.

Hills, hills, hills. Some of the most frustrating drives for professional drivers are the ones that involve the ups and downs of hills. Make sure that you descend and ascend slowly, in order to avoid overheating or over-exerting your tires, brakes and engine. Pay attention to the flow of traffic, especially when you are facing hills or mountains on the road.

If you have questions, or would like more information on proper braking techniques, please contact Crossroads Equipment Lease & Finance.

Navigational Help

If you have decided to make truck driving your profession, one of the most important responsibilities on the job is timing. Whether you are hauling, delivering or simply transporting goods, the time you take to get from point A to point B is crucial. With all the different options out there, how do you know which ones are right for you? The only real answer to this question is to try several different navigational tools and find out which one allows you to take every obstacle into account. Here is a list of tried and tested trucking tools to help you narrow down which is best for you.

Weigh My Truck App. On long journeys, the weight of your truck should be constantly on your mind. With the Weigh My Truck App, you can save time and money by paying for your weight via your phone. The app finds your location and you are able to fill out all the information about your truck without leaving your seat. When it’s finished, the app emails you a weigh ticket and you can be on your way.

Waze. Anyone who is on the road for a long period of time will tell you that Waze is one of the best navigational tools out there. The app will warn you about obstacles in your way in real time, allowing you to get from place to place much quicker and smoother. You can even find the cheapest gas prices near you when it is time to fuel up.

Weather Channel App. As a professional driver, weather can often play a large role in whether or not you make it to your destination on time. By checking your Weather Channel App periodically, you are more likely to avoid nasty weather and can finish your journey on time.

Fuelbook. Wouldn’t it be nice not to worry about gas prices? Fuelbook allows you to get one step closer by helping professional drivers find the best gas prices along your route. It saves you time comparing prices on the road, and allows you to have some peace of mind when you finally get to the pump.

If you have questions or need recommendations on trucking tools, contact Crossroads Equipment Lease & Finance today.

Road signs and warnings

As you train to become a professional driver, a large portion of your education should focus on road signs and warnings. Most new truckers assume that because they have been driving a car for the better part of their lives that they know everything there is to know about the rules of the road. However, rules and regulations for trucks and heavy loads can often be drastically different from simple traffic laws. The following tips highlight the most important notes on road signs and warnings for new truckers.

GPS. Professional drivers can attest to the fact that blinding following a GPS or other navigational device can often cause problems for you on the road. Remember to keep your head up on the road and pay attention to signs that apply specifically to your vehicle. This is not only true for professional truck drivers, but for everyday drivers as well.

Bridges. Load limits catch many new truck drivers off guard while out on a job. You may be required to change your course or directions based on the height or weight of your truck. Always keep in mind the dimensions of your vehicle so you can choose the appropriate routes to avoid bridges made for small cars.

Detours. Construction and other road blockages can often derail any standard trucking expedition. Be sure to check your routes before and during your travels, to ensure that you are prepared to take detours when necessary. Detours for trucks are often different from regular traffic, so be mindful of the place you can and cannot take your vehicle.

Off ramps. Sometimes you will come across a city or exit that requires you to take a separate off ramp from the rest of the vehicles on the road. During these occasions, make sure you are paying attention to all the road signs and warnings related to your departure. This could include your speed, size and weight.

If you have questions or wish to receive advice on road signs and warnings, contact Crossroads Equipment Lease & Finance today.

Types of Trucking

If you have a few years of trucking experience under your belt, chances are that you have steered your career towards one or two types of professional driving. As trucking jobs are constantly changing, it might be time to consider a few other options within the driving field. Check out these different types of trucking if you are interested in switching gears and trying something new.

Flatbed. Driving a flatbed truck can introduce several new skills into to your professional toolkit. In order to become a professional in this industry, you need to make sure that you understand how to transport and tie down goods. Securing your load is extremely important when driving a truck that is exposed to the elements, but it could be an interesting challenge for drivers seeking something new.

Tankers. Jobs are constantly available for professionals looking to drive tanker trucks. By entering into this profession, you will become equip to transport liquids and learn to think quickly in case of an emergency. This type of driving can be dangerous, but it pays well, so make sure you are prepared to learn your role efficiently and you will be just fine.

Regional. Driving locally would allow you and your family to settle down near your job site. While this may not give you the freedom and excitement of long distance drivers, it provides a sense of stability. Regional drivers could stay within their town, city or state, but rarely venture outside of state lines.

Freight. There are three different kinds of freight drivers: refrigerated freight, haulers and LTL. Refrigerated freight drivers must keep their items and goods at a specific temperature during their drives, involving an entirely new skill set for many truckers. Haulers transport any kinds of goods that are not covered under dry van transportation, so this includes liquids and hazardous goods. Finally, LTL stands for less than truckload, allowing drivers to transport smaller shipments. Before venturing into the world of freight, do your research on which field is right for you.

Dry Van. Many professional drivers start out as dry van drivers, but it is never too late to learn. These jobs involve transporting large, single trailer vehicles that are filled with dry goods. While there is no additional learning involved, these jobs can be taxing on new drivers, so be prepared to learn the ropes quickly.

If you have questions or want to talk to someone about the different types of professional driving, contact Crossroads Equipment Lease & Finance today.

How to get semi-truck financing

More than half of all goods in the United States are delivered by semi truck drivers, most of which are owner operators. Due to this massive number of truck drivers on the roads, semi truck financing is a very popular funding method amongst driving professionals. Before you embark on your journey towards semi-truck financing, consider the following tips to help you get the best deal possible.

Do your research. Bank statements, balance sheets, licenses and certifications are all essential when you start looking into financing. By documenting your professional profile, you are more likely to get the loan you need, and you will be much more organized in the process.

Become eligible. Many professional drivers do not consider eligibility before they choose to finance. Before you start looking at vehicles, you need to eliminate risk from your personal profile. To get a decent loan, you will need a good credit score, money for a down payment, and at least five years with your license. Take a long look at your assets before you jump into the world of semi-truck financing.

Choose your truck. After you get your papers in order, it is time to choose your vehicle. Ideally, loaners are looking for a truck that is not too old, and is stable enough to last a long time. Finding the right truck to finance can be more difficult than just paying cash, so take your time searching for the perfect big rig for your needs.

Insurance is key. Before you can finalize your loan, you will need proof of your insurance. This last step causes many professional drivers to hit a roadblock, so make sure you plan ahead for this final obstacle. The type of insurance you choose depends on the type of work you are going to do, so choose wisely!

Document your ride. Once you have completed all these steps, you are ready to officially apply for financing. It is important to document all the details of your finance plan so you keep track of payments and balance. With any luck, you will be on your way to becoming an experienced professional driver!

If you have any questions about semi-truck financing, or would like to lease a big rig, contact Crossroads Equipment Lease & Finance today.

Making Safe and Efficient Stops

Truck drivers all over the country are stopping along highways and roads, but are they being safe in the process? Rest stops can range from filthy to sparkling, but you shouldn’t have to settle for a mediocre place to refuel or relax. Before your next driving adventure, follow these few rules when it comes to making safe and efficient stops.

Map out your route. Before you begin your journey, take a moment to map out the places to take your rest stops. By using each place as a kind of check point, you will make the day go by faster and be familiar with your rest stops beforehand. Take the time to plan your route beforehand, instead of making stops on a whim.

Share information. It is always a good time to look out for your fellow drivers on the road, especially when it comes to safe places to stop. If you find a safe place to rest, share the location with your friends and colleagues. This way, you know that everyone in your network is being smart when it comes to rest stops. Hopefully, over time, they will do the same for you.

Combine your stops. Do you need to fill up your tank, use the restroom or clean out your cab? Instead of making additional stops at unusual places on the road, try taking your breaks at the same time. Find a clean, well-lit area to handle all your necessary stoppages, and you will reach your destination safely and efficiently.

Petition for safer stops. There will be no change without action. If you believe that professional drivers need safe and clean places to stop on the road, let someone know. It is important to stand up for your rights as a trucker, and create a little bit of change for everyone else.

If you have questions or want to receive more information on making safe and efficient stops, contact Crossroads Equipment Lease & Finance today.

Driver health: staying healthy on the road

Pursuing a career as a professional driver can be both physically and mentally taxing. Between late nights, long drives and difficult terrain, it is no wonder that most professional drivers find themselves in a bit of a health rutt. If you have just started your driving career, consider these health tips before hitting the road on our next job.

Take stretch breaks. While it is important for all working professionals to get up and take stretch breaks, it is critical for drivers and owner operators to get up and move around. Driving all day can be extremely strenuous on your body, and taking ten to fifteen minutes every few hours to move your legs and stretch your muscles can help you feel alert and get your body moving. Next time you stop at a gas station, consider stretching for a few minutes before hitting the open road.

Get a good night’s sleep. Driving through all hours of the night may get you to your destination on time, but it is not good for your health. Even if you are trying to meet a certain deadline, make sure you remember to take some time for yourself and get some rest. This could mean crashing at a motel or truck stop for a few hours, or giving yourself a break with a few catnaps.

Pack your own snacks. Gas station food does not always have healthy options, and when you are on the road, it may seem easier to grab a bag of chips than some fruit or an energy bar. If you pack your own food during long drives, it will be easier for you to ignore the sweets and just eat what you brought with you. It could save you some money as well!

Keep your mind sharp. Long drives can also be mentally degrading for professional drivers. Make sure you keep your mind sharp by listening to music, podcasts, radio shows or other stimulating sounds during your drives. This will keep you alert and focused for the cross country drives.

If you have further questions on driver health, contact Crossroads Equipment Lease & Finance today.