C1 Truck Driver Training Blog

Truck Driver Appreciation Week GPS Giveaway at C1 Campuses

Truck Driver Appreciation week is fast approaching! Every year during Truck Driver Appreciation Week, we celebrate truck drivers for all the hard work they put into the jobs we as Americans tend to take for granted. Think about it — what would happen if there were no trucks? There would be no food on our shelves, gas in our cars, or products in our stores.

During the week of September 16-21, all five of our C1 training campuses will be hosting a free lunch cookout to honor our truck drivers and celebrate Truck Driver Appreciation and Wellness week.

But this cookout will be a special one, because we’ll also be doing a giveaway for all of our C1 students!

The Giveaway

truck specific gpsMany people pursue truck driving jobs because they want to travel and see the country. For this giveaway, current students will put a sticker on a U.S. map in the place they’re most looking forward to seeing during their trucking career. Every student who does so will be entered in the giveaway. The winner will be selected randomly, and all C1 campuses will be competing against each other in this drawing.

I know you’re wondering what the winner will receive in this little giveaway…

We’ll be giving away something that benefits every truck driver — a Garmin dezl truck GPS!

Truck specific GPS devices make getting to your destinations much simpler. When deciding on a GPS, it’s crucial that you get one that is truck specific. Otherwise, it could potentially route you on roads that your truck either cannot fit on or is not legally allowed to travel on. This Garmin dezl is a high-quality GPS with many positive reviews on Amazon.

Thank you to all our truck drivers, and we look forward to seeing our C1 students for the free cookout!


Blind Spots on a Truck and 3 Dangers They Present [Infographic]

One of the very first things you learn during CDL training is where your blind spots are located. While all vehicles have blind spots, the ones on a semi truck are much larger than those on your typical 4-wheel passenger vehicle. Unfortunately, many motorists are unaware of where these spots on semis are located and as a result, engage in dangerous driving practices near big trucks. Today, I’m going to reiterate where these blind spots are and discuss some common dangerous behaviors 4-wheelers do that they might not be aware of.

View 10 tips for sharing the road with semi trucks here!

10 tips for sharing the road with trucks - infographicWhere are the blind spots on a truck?

Semi trucks have four large blind spots. They’re located in front of the truck’s engine, directly behind the trailer, along the left side of the trailer near the driver’s door, and along most of the length of the right side of the trailer, extending several lanes out.

Common Driving Mistakes Cars Make

Traveling next to the trailer. This is one many motorists are guilty of without realizing. One thing everyone needs to be conscious of is where they are in relation to the truck and if the trucker can see them. Many passenger cars will travel along next to a semi truck for extended amounts of time all the while being in the driver’s blind spot. As you can imagine, this can pose problems when the truck driver needs to change lanes. Save yourself a potential accident by being conscious of where you are — if you’re in any of the 4 truck blind spots, speed up and get away from the truck or slow down and hold back at a distance where the driver can see you.

Cutting in front of a truck. This is something truck drivers have to deal with 100s of times a day — people don’t want to get stuck behind a slow truck, so they cut right in front of the driver. Not only is this dangerous simply because you could get rear ended, but you’ll also be in the front blind spot of the truck if you cut it too close.

Turning right next to a semi. Many times when trucks are turning right, they’ll kind of straddle the lane lines prior to making the turn. This is because the back wheels on a truck follow a shorter distance than the front wheels, so the driver must “swing wide” in order to get the whole tractor-trailer around the turn without hitting anything. When a driver doesn’t get all the way over in the right lane to turn, some passenger vehicles will take this as an invitation to scoot up next to them so they can turn at the same time and get out of the way. Only, this is a bad idea. Remember how I said the rear tires follow a shorter path? This means that if a truck and a car are both turning right next to each other, the semi trailer will most likely scrape the side of the car as it turns and cuts into the right lane. Prevent this by hanging back and allowing a truck to make its right turn before you make yours. Patience!

Learn more tips for sharing the road with semi trucks and check out the infographic here! Awareness is the first step in ensuring trucks and cars can safely share the road.



Rob’s Trucking School Review: “Keeping an Open Mind”

C1 Springfield grad Robert BrashierTitle: Whoo!
Graduation date: 6/13/13

Well here is my story. I am 23 years old. I’ve been around big trucks for a very long time. I decided that I wanted to get my CDL and hit the road. I found PAM Transport and got set up with Driver Solutions. I spoke with my rep from DS for the first time on a Friday afternoon. The same weekend, I was packing my bags and drove to Missouri for C1 Springfield. I arrived Sunday and began trucking school that Monday.

The first week of class, I can’t lie, was somewhat boring due to having paperwork and a couple tests and what not. I mean who really likes to do paperwork and take tests? Mr. Perry who taught our class inside was an awesome instructor. He helped with whatever we needed promptly. He also told us every story he had about his experience with sleeting while driving. Lol (inside joke).

Once I got on the yard things were different. Each day for the 2nd & 3rd week, half the day was spent on the yard and half was out on the road. I had Mr. Joe Brown for my instructor. Now as I said before, I’ve been around 18-wheelers for the majority of my life. I could basically tell you whatever you want to know about them…… so I thought. Mr. Joe taught me more. I learned more from my instructor than I have over the years of being around big trucks almost daily. So I listened, payed attention and learned even more. I knew I would have issues with my backing maneuvers. And I was yet again wrong. Joe told me exactly what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. And guess what? I nailed every maneuver perfect each time. I got so good at it, that we even had competitions on the yard of who could do the maneuver better. (Yes I did win a few of them, and Rich the director witnessed). When your instructor teaches you how to do something better than them, that should tell you how good of an instructor they are.

Once we got on the road, it was a little different. My instructor knew I had a lot of experience with trucks. So he wanted to see what I could do. And surprisingly again, he taught me more than what I already knew, and showed me how to improve what I did know. These guys don’t just teach you how to drive, and how to back up. They teach you so much more than what they are required. One of the most important things is how to fix your mistakes. Anyone can back up a truck. But the hardest part is knowing how to correct a mistake when you make one. If you can back a truck up and be crooked and jackknifed beyond belief, and you can figure out how to fix it, then hats off to you because you are doing well and will make it farther than you think.

Now, to the rest of the staff. Ms. Diana, and Ms. Cindy in the office. Ms. Diana is amazing. She takes care of your paperwork and whatnot. Makes sure that when you leave there, you are 100% ready to go to your carrier and not have to sit behind a desk again doing more paperwork. She fixes everything. Not sure how she does it, but do not underestimate her lol. Ms. Cindy, oh dear lord. This lady, I PROMISE, can put a smile on your face every time she comes in the room. Very outgoing, fun filled, smiley, loveable, funny character. She is a trip. And she brings Popsicles and ice cream out on the yard on those hot sunny days. Major plus.

And finally the director of the school, Rich. Very awesome guy to meet. He is very straight forward. He and his instructors will do what it takes to make sure you leave there with a CDL. The school is run perfectly. Very efficient and a great environment to be in. It is not by any means a boring school. Rich is very blessed to have the crew of instructors and office staff that he has. I would like to thank you, Mr. Rich and your entire staff for everything. Thanks to you guys and gals, I’m now a first seat driver for PAM Transport. I will continue to recommend this school to everyone I come in contact with. You guys are amazing and should definitely be rewarded for it. Thank you again. And I will be stopping by soon!

Hey Rob –

Great to hear from you, and very glad it’s going well out there!  I appreciate you taking time to talk about your experience here as it is crucial for people to hear it straight from the students, instead of from us.  You did know a lot about trucks when you got here, but I’m glad that you kept an open mind while you were here.  That’s a huge key to success here in school;  keep an open mind to what your instructor is teaching you.  When we have experience with something, we have an overwhelming urge to just go with what we know.  We need to keep that open mind, no matter what we think we know, and absorb all available information out there.  You were able to do that very well, and it paid off greatly for you.  Thanks so much for all your kind words, but never forget that it was YOUR hard work that made this happen!

Take care of yourself Rob, and drop in on us every chance that you get!

Apply for Springfield Trucking Jobs

Ready to start a new career?
Take a look at the Driver Solutions company-sponsored CDL training program. This allows inexperienced drivers to begin a new truck driving career with no upfront tuition costs and the ability to make up to $40,000 in the first year!
Get more information here


3 Tips for Saving Money on the Road as a Truck Driver

Wad of cash

Image via Refracted Moments, Flickr

Author Bio: Mark Kinsel is the big cheese over at Driver Solutions and a 19-year-veteran of the trucking industry. He’s been trying his hand at writing a lot lately, and has penned quite a bit of work for Great CDL.  

For truckers everywhere, saving money on the road is important. Anyone with proper truck driver training knows that it’s easy to rack up quite the bill while you’re away. There’s food, gas, lodging and countless other expenses that can put a dent in your wallet. But, it’s just as easy to save money as it is to spend money, and here’s how:

Make a Budget

Before you do anything, make a budget for your trip. It isn’t fun, and you may hate having to do it, but it can often be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful haul. Start by collecting a few pay stubs and calculating your monthly earnings. This will give you an idea of how much you typically have to spend at a given time. Then factor in your needs and your wants. It’s important during this step to be as honest with yourself as you can. You’re the sole authority on your spending habits, so if there are certain indulgences that you’re a sucker for, account for them in your budget.

Key Takeaways:

  • Start by collecting pay stubs and calculating your monthly earnings.
  • Factor in needs and wants, focusing more so on needs.
  • Always account for certain indulgences in your budget.

Avoid Fast Food

Fast food is horrible for you in a myriad of ways. It’s unhealthy, expensive, and worse yet, it’s readily available everywhere you go. Food costs on any trip are a necessary evil, but there are ways to manage them so that your health and bank account aren’t badly damaged. Rather than blowing your money on Big Macs and Sourdough Jacks, pop into the grocery store and do some shopping. It may be easier to roll through the truck stop chow line, but preparing your meals yourself from fresh ingredients is far better for you physically and financially. Investing in a mini-fridge for the cab is also highly recommended.

Key Takeaways:

  • Rather than buying fast food, make a visit to the grocery store.
  • Preparing meals yourself from fresh ingredients is better physically and financially.
  • Investing in a mini-fridge for the cab is also recommended.

Watch for Deals

Keeping an eye out for deals on essential goods is a great way to save a few bucks. Whether you’re at a gas station, truck stop or grocery store, look for some coupons or ask an associate about any deals or specials that are running. Couponing to some may seem like erratic behavior, but it can prove beneficial while on the road. Browse local newspapers and magazines for coupons as well if you can’t find any wherever you’re shopping. Also, be on the lookout for nearby “Happy Hours” to score some killer deals on lunch and dinner!

Key Takeaways:

  • Look for coupons or ask an associate about running specials.
  • Couponing can prove beneficial while on the road.
  • Be on the lookout for “happy hours” to score killer deals on food.

If you’re careful about it, saving money on the road is definitely possible! The most important thing to remember is that it’s absolutely crucial that you create a budget and stick to it.


Get Out And Look — Scenarios Where GOAL Benefits Truckers

Get Out And Look

Don't let this happen to you.

Get Out And Look, or GOAL, is a phrase in the trucking industry that is used in speech and theory often, but not enough in actuality. Let’s look at some of the times where getting out and looking would benefit you:

  1. When backing into a blind side situation in an area where you cannot see the area behind your truck due to the offset of the trailer and tractor. It’s better to get out and look than explain why you hit something in the way.
  2. When backing into any dock area, you need to continually check behind the trailer. If you lose sight of your doors, they could come loose, and if they swing around, you could damage the trailer.
  3. When backing under or driving under a prospective low clearance area, pull up close to the object of concern. Stop, get out and look, and verify that heights are what they say they are. Don’t peel off the top of your trailer!

Why do so many drivers simply refuse to get out and look, even though they know better?

Unfortunately the biggest reason for not getting out and looking is simply laziness. A lazy driver doesn’t want to get out and walk around the unit to ensure safety.

The next one is the overconfident driver. They think that they are good enough of a driver to have no need to get out of the truck. Let me just say this — it does not matter how good of a driver you are. If you can’t see, you can’t see. Only bad things happen when backing blindly.

Why is it important to teach the skill of get out and look in the beginning of a driver’s CDL training?

If you start out doing things right, then it’s just easier to continue to do them right. The first shortcut a driver takes seems to always make it easier to continue down that road. This can cost your carrier thousands of dollars in repairs and/or property damage. Start out right and don’t take shortcuts in training and you will create a safe driver.

(Image via Karyn Christner; Flickr)



Alleviating Safety Hazards by Conducting a Proper Pre-Trip Inspection

Importance of pre-trip inspection

Image via Alan Alfaro, Flickr

One thing you’ll hear repeatedly while you’re in CDL training is this:  “Know your pre-trip.” Let’s take a few moments to understand what that really means.

In order to get your CDL in Missouri, you must pass three practical exams:  your pre-trip inspection, your backing skills test, and your road driving test. All three hold equal value and importance, but today I just want to discuss the pre-trip inspection.

Apply for Springfield Trucking Jobs

Time To Make A Change Now?
Take a look at the Driver Solutions company-sponsored CDL training program. This allows inexperienced drivers to begin a new truck driving career with no upfront tuition costs and the ability to make up to $40,000 in the first year!
Get more information here

Aside from it being required to pass the CDL test, the pre-trip inspection is paramount in ensuring you are prepared before you ever even pull out of the parking lot. Let’s focus on that aspect…

Don’t think about it as, “I have to learn this so I can pass the test.” You must embrace this as an integral part of your job. Performing a proper pre-trip is just as important as being able to back or properly downshift on a hill.

Why is that? Because you cannot safely do your job if you haven’t conducted a proper pre-trip inspection. It is the only valid way to identify potential safety/mechanical problems and have them corrected before they have a chance to create a major issue if not found.

Don’t think of learning the pre-trip as just a “necessary evil” of taking the CDL test. Some students struggle with the pre-trip for this very reason. They feel that they just need to get through the pre-trip inspection in order to get to the important stuff. They feel that the backing and driving are more crucial and sometimes don’t put the required equal amount of effort and focus into the pre-trip, which is preparing you for a professional way of doing business that can save your career or even your life. You must embrace the pre-trip and truly learn and understand it.

Doing a thorough pre-trip can identify and therefore alleviate potential safety hazards. A good example is checking the proper tire inflation.

Let’s say you are in Arizona during the summer. It’s hot out and you just do a quick walk around without performing a proper pre-trip inspection. You get in the truck and take off down the road. You didn’t notice a tire on your trailer with very low air pressure. Now, remember — a tire that is not inflated properly will heat up very fast. And as I mentioned, it’s summer and you’re in Arizona.

About an hour down the road, you hear an explosion and see smoke and debris flying from under your trailer. You get off the roadway as quickly as you can, but the damage has already been done. You’re grossing 80,000 pounds and you just blew a tire that literally tore three cross members out from under your trailer.

This is not a scare tactic – it happened to me. The force of a tire blowing out on a tractor trailer is incredible. This is just one small example of how quickly things can go wrong if you don’t conduct a proper pre-trip inspection before every load. Set yourself up for success by always doing a proper pre-trip! It can save your career and your life.


IAACE GED Plus Program – Government Funded CDL Training in Indiana

IAACE* This is a guest post by Rick Curtis — C1 Truck Driver Training Operations Manager. *

Several weeks ago, I was asked to be a featured speaker at the Indiana Association for Adult Continuing Education (IAACE) Conference at the French Lick Resort and Spa in southern Indiana.

Work One CDL training in Indiana

IAACE is an organization that encourages adult learning and education. They promote professional identity and growth, provide leadership in unifying adult practitioners, and advocate for legislative initiatives. They fight to give a second chance to adults who never completed public school.

WorkOne and the GED Plus Program

The organization recently launched a new initiative called the “GED Plus” program. This is a program designed to offer Indiana residents who did not graduate from high school an opportunity to earn their GED and secure employment through their local WorkOne office.

WorkOne is a service that aims to help Hoosiers seeking employment as well as Indiana businesses seeking employees. They will help applicants obtain any necessary training (including helping people prepare for and get their GED) and refer them to potential jobs that match their skill sets, interests, and experience level.

The GED Plus program gives people a chance to start anew. It’s difficult to secure steady income without a high school diploma, especially in this day and age. But with the new GED Plus program and WorkOne’s help, individuals can earn their GED which then opens doors to better employment opportunities and creates the potential for a successful career.

Trade School Education

The “Plus” portion of the GED Plus initiative involves job training solutions like those offered at C1 Truck Driver Training. Once an individual has successfully obtained his or her GED, they are then eligible to have the state fund further education at a trade school. Many look for free CDL training, and with the GED Plus program, individuals can receive government grants for CDL training in Indianapolis and other areas throughout the state. How to pay for CDL training is at the forefront of many people’s minds, but with the new GED Plus program, WorkOne and C1 Truck Driver Training can help people throughout Indiana secure steady employment in a growing industry without breaking the bank. For example, after earning their GED, an individual then has the opportunity to receive government funded CDL training in Indiana at one of our local state trucking schools, earn their Class A CDL license, and land a professional trucking job in an industry starved for drivers.

I spoke to the group in my workshop about how our CDL training works, what the cost is, and detailed the huge benefits that an individual enrolled in this program can receive. The event’s attendance was impressive and I’ve received a lot of support for the truck driver CDL training that C1 can provide to these qualified candidates. Various WorkOne offices around the state have reached out to me since the conference to inquire about candidates wishing to obtain a Class A CDL after completion of the GED program.

Beginning a Career

The state of Indiana is working hard to put Hoosier adults back to work from South Bend to Evansville and Terre Haute to Richmond. WorkOne’s GED Plus program allows hardworking Hoosiers to begin a new career with government funded CDL training and other career-focused schooling options. C1 Truck Driver Training is proud to be a part of helping residents of Indiana get on the road to success.

C1 Truck Driver Training serves the needs of truck drivers by providing CDL training services at campuses located in Ft Wayne and Indianapolis. With accommodations available for out-of-town students, our truck driving schools serve many communities throughout the state, including Muncie, Kokomo, Vincennes, Lafayette, Anderson, Marion, Bloomington and more. Learn how we can help you take the wheel!



3 Goals to Set for Success as an Entry Level Truck Driver

Image credit: reinvented, Flickr

Goal 1. To be a safe driver. By my actions, I will show that I respect my job and that I am proud to be a truck driver.

Goal 2. To be a leader in the trucking industry by following my company policies, being on time for my loads, and being a good representative for my company when I arrive at the shipper.

Goal 3. To provide for my family and make a career out of the trucking industry by reminding myself daily that you get out what you put in. I will be the driver my dispatcher is proud to have.

In our trucking school, our very first focus is on truck driver safety and how to handle the truck. I feel that if a student wants to eventually become a good driver, they will listen, learn, and follow all instructions in order to be the best they can be when they arrive at their carrier.

We teach students the basic but necessary driving skills to not only pass their state test, but give them some knowledge in terms of what to expect when they get out with their company trainer. We continually encourage them to listen to their trainer and absorb as much knowledge as they can. The more notes they take and the more questions they ask, the better prepared they will be for their future as truck drivers. The worst thing they can do as a student driver (or even as an experienced driver) is to assume they know it all, because that will never happen. Every day you will learn a valuable lesson that hopefully you will pass on to other rookie drivers.

We also teach students to respect and know their truck, pay attention to their surroundings, and always be safe and prepared for any situation going on around them.

We strongly express to the students that if they want to make it in the trucking industry, they must first listen to their trainer, respect their dispatcher, take every load without arguing, whether the load is 2,500 miles or 150 miles with 4 drops. Every load is important to the company and dispatch, and the sooner that you as a driver embrace that concept, the easier it will be. Dispatch will take care of their valuable drivers by giving them as many miles as possible. The success of a driver is based on his actions alone. The school gives them the beginning tools to advance to the carrier. The carrier gives them the tools to advance to an experienced driver, but they still have to use those tools themselves to stay safe and dependable.



Video: Veteran CDL Training Programs in Springfield, Missouri

As a retired Navy person, and Director here at C1 Truck Driver Training, I get invited to participate in various activities designed to educate our Veterans on the programs and opportunities available for them out there.  Last Friday, I had the privilege to participate in a Veterans Resource Event at the University of Central Missouri.  I was given the chance to educate Veterans on the wide open opportunities in the trucking business right now, and the ways in which a Veteran can go about taking advantage of those opportunities.  There are a lot of Veteran benefits out there when it comes to CDL training, it’s just a matter of being educated on what’s available.

Here’s an interview I did about our Veteran CDL training programs at C1 Springfield:

If you are a retired/separated Military member, and think you might want to pursue this option, you need to contact us about our Veteran CDL training programs.  We have a wealth of knowledge and experience in this field, and there are a multitude of ways in which you can kick start a new career.  We are a Veteran heavy staff here in Springfield, so we know what it means to make that transition into a new career and lifestyle.  Now is the time to make that change, and get going!  Contact us here in Springfield as soon as possible, as the opportunities are endless!


A Real Life Example of Why Truck Driver Safety is Important

Truck driver safety

Image credit: Carbon Arc, Flickr

Our very own Rich Campbell was featured in a recent local news story about a tragic semi truck accident in Republic, Missouri that resulted in a double fatality.

The Accident

The accident occurred when a semi truck traveling 19 miles over the speed limit crashed into the back of a car stopped at an intersection. Two cars were stopped behind a second semi. When the speeding truck crashed into the passenger vehicles, both cars were crushed between the two trucks. Police at the scene said the truck driver was over his HOS limit.

Truck Driver Safety

It’s unfortunate that it took a tragic accident like this to bring attention to truck driver safety. Here at C1, safety is the basis of our instruction. Being a responsible, professional truck driver is all about being safe out on the road — it’s what separates the true truck drivers from the steering wheel holders. Perhaps if the driver responsible for the catastrophe had been practicing a safe following distance, this accident could have been prevented.

You must keep an accurate log book as a professional truck driver. The driver responsible for the accident was over his Hours of Service. This just goes to show that violating these rules can have devastating consequences.