Truckers Favorite Truck Stops

Professional drivers know that not all truck stops are created equal, and they all have their favorites. Whether it’s the showers, the travel plaza, fueling stations or the food, each stop has perks that make them fan favorites. Here are some of the favorites, as found on Reddit’s r/Truckers thread:

Kwik Trip/Kwik Star. I know, they may not be considered a truck stop, but if they have parking, they will always be my first choice. I’ve always seen nice employees, clean inside and out (except in Tomah, was ready to retch with the smell of piss) good coffee, and seem to always have breakfast sandwiches. My favorite part is the selection of fresh groceries no other truck stop has.

-SexyNerdyChick

TA/Petro is my favorite of the national chains. Dunno why. Just feels more trucker-centric. Loves and PFJ feel like they’re more interested in the 4-wheelers, with truckers as an afterthought. Plus, much more likely to find empty slots in the fuel isle at TA/Petro, all else being equal.

If I don’t need fuel or a shower, I’m happy with damn near anything, though. Especially if they have a good diner attached.

-volstedgridban

Love’s by a long shot. Hell, I was 19 gallons shy of platinum status last month, tweeted about it, and they bumped me to platinum just cuz they’re cool like that.

The showers are usually awesome, BUT I hate that they don’t have a dedicated person cleaning them like PFJ and TA/P so they almost always have a wait. Even in the middle of the day it can be hit or miss.

I avoid the older Love’s though. The newest ones are always the best. With each one they build, they really improve on the parking layout. Some of the newest ones are so easy to park, not like the other majors where it can be super tight.

We also love to support the independent stops. While we can’t fuel there, we often times park and eat in their restaurants. Found some damn good chow that way.

-chickiedrives

I’ll second the KwikTrip/KwikStar mentioned earlier. Great chain, great food, low prices. Just wish more of them had showers.

If more Love’s had laundry, they’d be the top of the big 5. Until then, it’s PFJ.

After TA/Petro turned several of their locations into majority paid parking, I stopped giving them any business. Still, if there’s free parking and I need a spot, I’ll stop and use their facilities.

-NBS_Patriot

I’ve found that having a franchise name doesn’t mean anything about the cleanliness/quality of the stop. I’ve been in big name stops that we’re downright disgusting. That said, if there’s a Love’s, a T/A, a pilot, and an independent all where I need to stop, I’m probably checking out the Love’s first.

-Mediocre_george

 

Now it’s your turn truckers!  What’s your favorite truck stop to take a break at, and why?  What’s your least favorite?

What Do You Look For In A Trucking Company?

Black & White Big Rig Semi TruckYou’ve decided to jump into trucking, and have your CDL all set to go. You’re ready to start earning, and are eager to hit the road.  There’s just one question left to answer: what trucking company will you work for?

When looking at trucking companies and comparing their businesses and how they treat employees, there are a few key areas you’ll want to pay special attention to, as they can be very telling on whether this is the company you’ll want to commit to long-term.

Driver Turnover

The most telling way a company isn’t kind to their employees is their turnover rate, trucking companies included. If drivers are leaving in droves, or they’re leaving quickly after initial employment, this is a red flag indicating a company that doesn’t make good on promises, treats drivers poorly and should generally be avoided.

Sign On Bonuses

While they may seem enticing at first, sign on bonuses can forebode bad things to come. This is especially true if the company appears to consist solely of new drivers. If a company is so desperate to sign up drivers that they’re willing to issue money up front, consider this a sign that the above mentioned driver turnover rate is probably quite high.

CPM or Hourly

There are arguments for both sides of the coin when it comes to getting pair by the mile versus hourly, but in the end it’s important to consider which is best for you.  If you’re being paid on a CPM model, you’ll want to ask if they guarantee miles, and how many they guarantee.  This could greatly effect the cents per mile you’re willing to take, and should be factored in to any financial goals you’ve set for yourself.

Equipment

Another extremely important factor in assessing whether you want to work for a trucking company is whether or not they’re working with good equipment.  While not all old equipment is bad equipment, you want to make sure that you can work safely in a reliable rig that can help you get the job done. Another important thing to consider is if you’ll have any say on which trucks you prefer to drive, or will you be assigned a truck without any consideration for your preferences?

Pay and Benefits

As with any job, the rate of pay and additional benefits are at the core of your consideration for employment. Being valued as an employee and having that reflected in your compensation is a fair expectation to have of any employer. However, consider company culture and all of the above complicating factors when weighing pay, as your job satisfaction is equally important to your paycheck.  Some companies will use higher CPM’s to lure driver’s in, and then use it as a justification for not being an ideal employer.

And now it’s your turn – what other things should drivers consider when evaluating a trucking company for potential employment opportunities? What would you add to this list?

 

How to Stay Alert on a Long Haul

Long haul truck drivers work long, grueling hours to reach their final destination and the road can be a bit boring after a while. It’s not always easy to know what the signs of being drowsy are, but it’s important to know what to look for and how to handle drowsiness to protect the safety of everyone on the road. Here are some signs that it might be time to pull over:

  • Frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids and difficulty focusing
  • Trouble recalling the last few miles driven, missed exits or traffic signals
  • Yawning, rubbing your eyes and trouble keeping your head up
  • Drifting, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
  • Feeling restless and irritable

Drowsy driving can result in catastrophic repercussions, so it’s important as a professional driver to remain alert and ready for anything the road throws your way. Here are some top tips for staying awake while driving:

Rest

To function properly, your body needs sleep – so it is of the utmost importance that you get plenty of rest.  The easiest way to make sure you’re getting the right amount of rest, is to stick to a sleep schedule. Avoid caffeine during the latter half of the day and don’t eat heavy meals that might cause digestive issues towards the evening hours.

If you feel yourself getting fatigued while you’re on the road, don’t fight the urge to rest.  Pull over and take a few minutes to stretch, walk around a little and get outside. If a nap is needed, try and keep it to a maximum of 45 minutes so it doesn’t disturb your nighttime sleep routine.

Stay Nourished and Hydrated

Eating healthy on the road is a great way to keep your blood sugar stable, which helps you stay alert without getting the dreaded crash after you eat, sugary, unhealthy foods.  Pack yourself healthy, well-balanced meals and snacks to eat on your journey rather than fast foods and convenience store snacks. And be sure to stay hydrated.  While it may cause you to stop a time or two more than normal, drinking lots of water will prevent dehydration and in turn avoid fatigue from plaguing your trip.

At Platinum Drivers, we are committed to providing a safe and high-quality experience for drivers and customers. If you are a qualified driver or you are looking for one, contact us today!

How do you pass the time when you’re waiting to be unloaded?

It happens to everyone – you show up to make your delivery, and there’s a wait to get you unloaded. While it is surely frustrating for everyone who encounters this scenario, each driver handles that time differently.  Here are some of the ways professional drivers pass the time while they’re waiting to be unloaded:

Reddit. YouTube. Clean inside of truck. Freak out and check Truckerpath assuming everything will be full by the time I’m loaded.

Usually I’m winding up straps, putting away chains, generally keeping an eye on the forklift because they’ll let anyone with a pulse drive the damn things.

Nap, or try to. This time I gave up, and am surfing reddit.

Sleep, make sure dispatch has next load ready… I assure you, you can’t get enough sleep.. take it while you can.

Hound the dispatcher for my next load if not scheduled…….

If i know I’m waiting over 2 hours, I hit the sleeper for a nap. If 30-60mins, then just walk around, surf fb reddit, youtube.

Typically I’ll do paperwork if it needs done, then review and mentally track a trip plan in my head about half a dozen times, while simultaneously checking trucker path and the Maps app to see where I’ll be laying my head for the night. Once I get all that squared away, I’ll grab a light snack or two and relax in the bunk, either by playing video games, surfing the web, or watching Netflix. If I’ve reached the point of watching Netflix, it’s because I’ve decided to get some zzz’s.

  • AngryJammer

Gaming laptop. PS4. Nintendo Switch. Walk the dog. Reddit.

What’s your favorite way to pass the time while waiting to be unloaded?