Getting your CDL and starting your driving career can be simple with training from Napier, but before you begin, there’s one more step you’ll need to take before hitting the road—the DOT physical exam.
What is the DOT Physical Exam?
The DOT (Department of Transportation) exam is a physical exam required for drivers of commercial vehicles. As with a regular physical, the exam is designed to check that you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally fit to drive professionally. The physical is required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and ensures the safety of the driver and the public.
What does the DOT Physical Exam look for?
Before the exam, you’ll be asked to fill out a questionnaire, answering basic questions about any current conditions or medications you may be taking. Some of these preexisting conditions will require you to bring other items with you, such as:
Glasses or contacts for those with vision issues
Hearing aids for those with hearing problems
Hemoglobin A1C results and blood sugar logs for those with diabetes
Drivers with heart-related issues will be asked to bring a letter from their cardiologist, detailing any issues and limitations that may affect their work
Along with checking for these things, an examiner will also test your physical capabilities, history of alcohol and substance abuse, history of seizures, and other standard health-related screenings.
How to Prepare For The Exam
In order to save time, you can pre-fill out paperwork on the day of the exam. You can also gather any items or other paperwork that may be requested during the exam, including:
List of all medications you’re taking and the dosage
Contacts, glasses, and hearing aids if you use them
CPAP machine records from the last 90 days
Any current/relevant letters from other doctors
What happens if you don’t pass?
If a specific condition is preventing you from passing, you may be able to retest once the condition is managed. While there are multiple ways to not pass the exam, many decisions are left up to the examiner's judgment. Due to this, there are ways to proceed and still be able to start driving. If you don’t pass, you can look into getting a waiver from the FMCSA.
Where to Get Your DOT Physical
Physicals can only be performed by healthcare professionals certified by the FMCSA. You can find certified examiners in Ohio by checking out DOT Physical Doctors. As a commercial driver, you’ll be required to carry your results with you at all times, so be sure to ask for a paper copy if one isn’t automatically given to you at the end of the exam.
For more information on DOT physicals and starting your driving career, give us a call at 513-450-3769!
Once you graduate from CDL training and obtain your Class A CDL, it’s time to get out on the road and begin your new professional truck driving career. Going out for the first solo drive can be nerve-wracking for some. One way to ease this stress is by ensuring you are fully prepared before departing on this journey. Check out our tips below on how you can successfully begin your first year of driving.
Keep Expectations in Check for Your First-Year
At the beginning of your career, you won’t be taking home as much money as some of the veteran drivers at your company. However, this is standard for any job, so don’t get discouraged! Once you prove that you are a reliable and safe driver for the company, they will be more inclined to give you a raise. Keeping your expectations at a realistic level will help motivate you to become a better driver and want to keep learning while out on the road.
Safety Matters Most
Safety is at the forefront of everything in the trucking industry and is no exception when driving. Navigating your routes safely is the top priority for your company, especially as a first-year driver. When driving, make sure to watch your speed and give the cars around you plenty of room. Subtle things such as checking the weather before you leave can also go a long way in helping you prepare for the drive and route you will be taking. Staying accident-free in your first year is more important than racking up miles. These small measures create trust with your company and could quickly increase your earning potential.
Develop Strong Communication Skills
Good communication is a must-have skill in almost every job today, including truck driving. Staying in touch with your dispatcher as a first-year driver can show your company that you are reliable and builds trust with your dispatcher. By keeping in touch, your company will know exactly where you are and if you would need anything in the event of an emergency or break-down on the road.
Communication skills aren’t only for your company, but also for your friends and family! Staying in touch with loved ones while on the road can be a good way to keep yourself company, even if they aren’t physically with you. This can be important for over-the-road drivers as they can be out for weeks at a time before going home. Keeping in contact with family and friends can also boost your morale while driving and give you something to look forward to when you get home.
Trusted CDL Training with Napier Truck Driving Training
If you are someone who doesn’t have their CDL yet, consider Napier Truck Driver Training to help you get out on the road! Our CDL training programs will get you out on the road in a new career in just five weeks. We have part-time and full-time class options for students to fit training around their schedules. Along with training, we offer students Job Placement Assistance and Financial Aid options to help students pay for training.
Step into a new career today! Contact Napier at 888-368-2495 to speak with an Admissions Representative about getting enrolled!
Once you have completed training and hit the open road, you will need to learn how to make the most of your time. Being an efficient truck driver will help you succeed and help you earn more money. The following tips are ways you can become the most efficient driver.
Plan your route before leaving
You can save valuable time by planning your route before your set off. When you know the route you are taking, plan where you will make your stops. It will save you time and the hassle of finding a spot while driving. Having your route planned out can also help you find suitable places to get a good night’s sleep, helping you to be fresh and ready to go the next day.
Increase your fuel efficiency
If you can increase your fuel efficiency, not only can you improve your time on the road, you can reduce the total cost of your journey. Some of the ways you can increase your fuel efficiency are:
Reduce additional friction causes such as low tire pressure, uneven wear on tires, and unnecessary extra weight.
Limit the amount of time spent idling.
Stay within the speed limit as the best miles per gallon speed is 55 to 60 miles per hour.
Keep your truck engine in working order to burn fuel cleanly and efficiently.
Drive during downtimes
When possible, drive in the early morning or late night when fewer drivers are on the road. This will help reduce the amount of time spent in slower traffic. When planning your trips, it is best to try and drive through major cities early in the morning or after rush hours. The best time to drive on the interstates is during the middle of the day after the morning commute is over.
Keep your truck in working order
Knowing how to repair the basics on your truck can save you hours while driving. If you have an issue that requires you to pull over, knowing how to fix it yourself can save you time instead of waiting for a repair company. Also, by performing maintenance while on the road, you can ensure your engine is running correctly and prevent any unforeseen issues.
Making sure you are well-rested and alert while driving prevents errors from happening. If you are not focused, accidents have a higher chance of happening and can cause more stoppages in your route. While driving, you must constantly adjust based on the traffic around you, and if you are alert and rested, you can adjust easier.
When you start your training at Napier, you learn all the skills needed while behind the wheel. The more practicing you do, the higher confidence you gain helps make you a better driver on the road. We teach our students all the above and more!
Contact us today if you are ready to get your CDL and hit the open road!
One of the most important (and often hardest) steps for truck drivers is packing. Make sure you’re adequately prepared by making a list and asking yourself some questions. Do you have your personal products ready to go? Is your commercial driver’s license packed? Have you built an emergency tool kit? No matter how long you plan to be on the road, there are a few items you’ll want to have with you to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable trip.
Essential items are necessary things that should make it onto any packing list when you’re spending time away from home and often include things like clothes, medications, and toiletries.
Before filling your suitcase, take a look at the weather for where you’re headed and plan accordingly. To be the most prepared, pack items for multiple different climates, including:
Rain gear (coat, poncho, boots, umbrella)
Gloves and hat
Weather conditions can also affect your truck, so packing high-visibility gear can help protect you from oncoming traffic if you ever have to make an unexpected stop.
Along with clothing, be sure to pack any electronic chargers and important documents such as your license, insurance, and registration.
Between winter blizzards and summer storms, you never know what you’ll face. Since conditions can vary, emergency supplies are a must-have packing list addition. Some basic items your emergency kit should contain are:
First aid kit
Truck drivers aren’t expected to be mechanics, but having these things on hand can save a lot of time instead of having to wait for an emergency maintenance team.
Depending on how much time you’ll be spending in your truck and on the road, you may want to consider packing a few “luxury” items to help keep yourself entertained and make your home away from home a little more comfortable. This can include:
In general, it's never a bad idea to pack extras, just in case your trip is extended or takes longer than originally planned. As we all know, a little planning can go a long way. Before starting your next trip, take time to carefully consider your packing list and make sure you’ve included these essential items.
Updated November 2023
Ready to get your CDL and begin your career as a truck driver? Call Napier at 513-756-2280 or contact us today!
Many people know about OTR (Over the Road) and local truck driving. Still, one job that is often overlooked is regional trucking. Regional truck drivers are tasked with the responsibility to haul freight in specific regions of the United States. Regional driving allows drivers to have more dedicated routes as they may have deliveries to the same businesses. Region sizes tend to be dictated by the population of the states per region. Most regions tend to have between 4-5 states within them or around a 1000-mile radius that drivers will deliver to.
Why choose regional trucking
For many, the benefits of the job are one of the first things they look at when deciding if it is the right fit for them. That should be the same for truck drivers when choosing between OTR, regional, or local driving. The thing that makes regional trucking so appealing to many is that it combines the worlds of OTR and local.
More time at home: Since regional drivers mainly have deliveries during the week, they then have time off on the weekends, which allows them to be home more often than OTR drivers.
Better relationships: Regional drivers can have dedicated routes that allow them to get to know the area they drive in and build a relationship with the people they are serving.
Travel: Many drivers enjoy the open road and the travel that comes with it. For regional drivers still get to experience that thrill of travel as they are moving between states.
Sleeping on the road: Due to regional drivers having to travel in-between states, they will have to spend nights either in hotels or in the cab of their truck.
Quick turnaround: Most jobs that regional drivers take cross state lines which means that deadlines can be tight due to the distance, which leaves little time for drivers to have out of the truck.
The pay drivers receive for being a regional truck driver can be seen as either a pro or con, as most drivers are paid by the mile. Regional drivers are paid more than local drivers as they drive more miles; however, OTR is still the best-paid driver. The benefits that companies offer tend to be similar for all three types of drivers; however, they still differ in some ways.
Regional driving may be exactly what certain people are looking for as it combines OTR and local driving. Napier trains our students to be career-ready upon graduating. Our Job Placement program aims to help graduates find a trucking career that fits them, and their family needs best.
If you are ready to get your CDL and begin your career as a Regional Truck driver. Contact Napier at 888-368-2495 or contact us today!
The Importance of Truck Driver's Role in the Supply Chain Proven.
With every passing day, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in the lives of people all over the world. Stores, businesses, hospitals, and more struggle to get essential supplies and keep up with demand. Keeping the supply chain from collapse has proved challenging, especially in the United States where a well-documented truck driver shortage has plagued the trucking industry for the last several years. Currently, the US employs 2 million truckers, but actually needs and additional 50,000 truck drivers to meet shipping demands across the country.
As many people were instructed to follow government shelter-in-place guidelines during the pandemic, panic buying and stockpiling groceries increased. Keeping store shelves stocked put even more strain on a trucking industry already suffering from a truck driver shortage. Without truck drivers, the economy would be at a standstill. During unprecedented times, truck drivers became true heroes, braving a world filled with uncertainty to help Americans get the essential supplies they need.
Aimee Napier, President of Napier Truck Driver Training, praises truck drivers amid the COVID-19 health crisis, "In light of the coronavirus panic, I wanted to pay tribute to all of the truck drivers who are working 24/7 to attempt to keep our stores stocked. We have A LOT of students who work for US Xpress on their Kroger-dedicated routes here in Cincinnati as well as Meijer-dedicated routes in Tipp City. One posted yesterday that they had 200 loads for the day and 20 drivers! Wow, that's a lot of hustling!"
During an April 16 White House event, even President Donald Trump praised truck drivers saying, “Thank God for truckers... American truckers are the foot soldiers who are really carrying us to victory… They’ve done an incredible job. We’ve had no problems. It’s been just — it’s been just great.”
As the world struggles to overcome a time of crisis, truck drivers are making a huge difference in the world by staying dedicated to their careers. We cannot do it without them. Consider training with Napier Truck Driver Training. We have comprehensive commercial driving programs that can give you the skills necessary to start your truck driving career.
If you are interested in becoming a truck driving hero, contact Napier today to learn more about truck driver training. 1-888-368-2495