Keep It Clean

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By Jeff Clark

Driving through the winter in northeast Wisconsin is a challenge. Keeping your truck clean through that winter is an even bigger challenge. It is rare for me to get my truck washed while on the road. I do like to get it washed when any maintenance work is done. I will also get it washed if I am using it for a Freightliner event, like an open house or a local truck show. Really I think that my blue truck does not look too bad dirty, but it looks great clean.

It has been told to me by enforcement officers that they are more likely to pull a dirty truck around back than a clean one. To them, it is a sign. The truck may not be properly maintained. I know that enforcement officers might choose you for a variety of reasons. They might see a marker light out. One of your mudflaps might be torn or missing. These officers are not stupid. They learn. They are constantly looking for signs of more serious violations. Why not just avoid the unwanted attention and wash your truck.

Clean is not just the outside of your truck. Keep any objects off of your dashboard. I had a coworker ask me how often I got pulled around back. “I don’t know, maybe a couple of times per year if that.” He was stunned. He told me that he was constantly getting “harassed”. We drove for the same company. Our trucks were similar. They each got washed every other weekend. The only difference was that he had “stuff” piled up on the dash. I politely mentioned that might be the issue. He just said that was stupid. I replied, “Who cares if it is stupid?” He just grunted and walked away. I wonder if he ever did clean off that dash. I asked an officer about that once. He agreed that a full dash is a sign of other issues and it definitely could be a factor.

It isn’t complicated. I don’t think officers expect a clean truck in the days following a snowstorm. They get that. They can also tell if a truck has not been washed in months. That makes me wonder how the truck has been maintained. I would imagine that the same thought goes through the mind of the officer.

Beating the Winter Blues

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By Joey Slaughter

Winter can be a dark, lonely time for many people. There’s even a depressive disorder called SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder that is usually associated with the “winter blues.” It’s definitely a real thing that many people suffer from each year. Identifying the problem is the first step in fighting it.

In my reading on this subject, I’ve discovered many ways to fight this form of depression that I’ve used successfully. Here are some tips:

  • Increase your Vitamin D3.
  • Get outside in the sun as much as you can.
  • Expose as much skin as you can to the sunlight; it’s truly healing.
  • Remove sunglasses periodically. Your eyes and brain need the full spectrum of light to function normally.
  • Exercise. We produce endorphins when we exercise which trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.
  • Try sunlamps. I’ve heard of people successfully using these that live in northern climates. Some people I know swear by tanning beds during the winter but consult your doctor on that.

Sunlight is the key to beating the winter blues. Get as much of it as you can. Rearrange your day to be the most active when the sun is out. When I’m on the road, I check the sunrise and sunset times every day in order to schedule my day. I’ll even cut my drive day short at times in order to stay on my solar schedule.

9 Things Truckers Know To Be True

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By Joey Slaughter

  1. Getting that stomach pain and the nearest rest area or truck stop is 50 miles away.
  2. Your dispatcher says “I think they close at 5, but if you get there a little after they’ll probably unload you”.
  3. Whatever truck you pull behind in the fuel lane, that driver will go and get something to eat after he pays for fuel.
  4. You’re at the end of your day and have chosen a truck stop to rest for the night and there’s not a parking place in site.
  5. The rest area parking lots smell like ammonia for some reason. Wow, it must be clean!
  6. You park at the very back of the truck stop to have peace and quiet, then a loud reefer pulls up beside you.
  7. You know the Subway menu better than the employees do.
  8. Sometimes you forget what state you’re in.
  9. When you see a cheerful truck stop employee, you know they’re new.