5 Ways to Support Truckers: National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW) is a yearly effort by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) to highlight the essential role that truckers play in the United States. NTDAW occurs annually in mid-September, with future dates listed on the ATA’s website. The focus is to recognize the efforts of the 3.6 million truck drivers across the country and increase awareness of their importance in the supply chain of most goods. Here are a few ways you can show your support for truckers this Truck Driver Appreciation Week:

1. Share the Road

As drivers, we are responsible to share the road and be respectful to others. While you are driving in your personal life, keep in mind that truckers are on the clock. It is important to be courteous and not to complicate their job, just as you would not want someone to complicate yours. Accordingly, there are a few ways you can be a more mindful driver when you’re around semi-trucks:

  • Maintain an increased following distance, as trucks brake and maneuver slower than most other vehicles on the road. Maintaining proper distance allows drivers to properly see you in their mirrors, and also protects you from sudden stops, merges, tire blowouts, or other accidents.
  • Be aware of the possible blind spots and try to avoid them. Realize that truck drivers sit much higher above the road and have the added obstruction of their large trailers, and as a result of blind spots of varying sizes on all sides. Do your best to avoid staying in their blind spots.
  • Do not merge right in front of or behind trucks. Trucks leave large spaces in front of and behind them in order to allow for safe stopping when needed. By merging just in front of semis, you are forcing them to slow down to again create that space they need. Activating your turn signal sooner can help give more warning before you merge, and always pass on the left.
  • Watch for wide turns. Do not try and navigate between the curb and a truck attempting to make a right hand turn. Also be aware that they may need to swing left in order to make space to then turn right. Be sure to stop at the line at intersections, in order to give trucks the maximum amount of room to make their turns. If a truck is heading your way and needs you to reverse your vehicle in order to make a turn, be kind and pull out of their way.
  • Allow trucks to merge. Trucks are significantly larger and slower to accelerate than other vehicles on the road, and as a result can have trouble changing lanes. Trucks will often move from their lane when there are vehicles stopped on the shoulder. If you anticipate this happening or see a truck stuck in the rightmost lane trying to merge left before passing a stopped vehicle, allow them to do so. It is best for the safety of all parties.

It is always important to be a respectful driver, but especially so when driving around trucks. Keep in mind they are more challenging to operate, and drivers could be at the tail-end of a many hour drive. Show your appreciation by being a courteous and aware driver.

2. Make a Charitable Donation

If you are looking for more direct ways to support truckers, there are a number of charities that would appreciate a donation of time or money. Here are a few charities that support the trucking industry:

Meals for 18 Wheels

Meals for 18 Wheels is a community of volunteers who deliver hot meals to truckers on the road. Help is offered for truckers who are broken down or stranded without their rig, stuck at a customer’s without food, or just need a meal due to reasons out of their control. Their Facebook page posts locations of truckers in need and helps connect them with volunteers. While help is not guaranteed and most volunteers are primarily available during the holidays, Meals for 18 Wheels will do their best to help. The focus is on food rather than money, but as a last resort, financial help can be given. Consider filling out the volunteer form to receive texts when truckers need help in your area, or “like” the Facebook page to see the latest postings for help.

St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund (SCF)

St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund (SCF) assists over-the-road & regional truckers and their families when they are affected by injury or illness. SCF states that 70% of professional truck drivers in the U.S. have one or more serious health problem, such as obesity, diabetes, sleep disorders, or cardiovascular disease. Truckers who are unable to work due to an injury or illness occurring within the past year are eligible for assistance from St. Christopher. Assistance includes covering utilities, vehicle payments, rent/mortgage, and other expenses. While all applicants are provided with information on how to negotiate price reductions with medical providers and hospitals, SCF does not typically cover medical bills. They also provide wellness programs, such as diabetes prevention programs, smoking cessation, health challenges, and free flu, pneumonia, and shingles vaccines. A donation would serve to help out-of-work truckers, as well as the other programs SCF provides in order to benefit professional drivers and the trucking industry.

Truckers Final Mile

Truckers Final Mile is focused on reuniting truck drivers and their family in times of crisis. Eligible individuals must have a CDL or be the immediate family member of someone with a CDL. Truckers Final Mile can help provide transportation and lodging during critical times, and also have a hotline staffed 24/7/365 in order to quickly verify requests for assistance. Assistance is offered in the following scenarios: death, severe injury, or major medical events occurring to either drivers or their immediate families, as well as individuals facing mobility and accessibility challenges.  Visit their website in order to make a donation and learn more about their assistance programs.

3. Give Thanks

If you would like a more personal way to show your appreciation, consider giving thanks to truck drivers at rest stops. You could also thank drivers who are making deliveries, if you can do it in a nonintrusive way. At a rest stop, you could buy a coffee, snack, or meal for a trucker and tell them that you appreciate the work they do. A simple “thank you” and an offer to pay for something of their choice as a sign of gratitude could significantly brighten their day. Keep in mind that these drivers are at a rest stop intending to take a break, so while they will be grateful of your gesture, they are likely tired and resting. A brief thank you and a small gift would go a long way.

4. Promote Awareness

Another way to get involved is to promote how important truckers are to family and friends. Raising awareness for the vital role that truckers play in supporting the infrastructure of the United States is a great way to increase support for truckers. Sharing posts on social media is an excellent way to promote National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. A thoughtful post using hashtags like #NTDAW, #NTDAW2022, and #ThankATrucker to show your gratitude can help spur others to show their appreciation as well.

5. Keep It Going

The final way to show your support is to keep it going after Truck Driver Appreciation Week ends. Continued awareness and support throughout the year is the ultimate goal of NTDAW. By bringing more attention to the cause during this week, people can be more conscious of the necessity of truckers throughout the year.

Truckers & Iron Wing Sales

At Iron Wing Sales, we offer continuing thanks and support for truckers. Our large inventory of Heavy Duty Truck parts helps to keep truckers on the road. Our parts are In-Stock & Ready-to-Ship, which helps minimize downtime. Search our inventory by part #, category, or manufacturer to find the parts you need. For further assistance, contact us at: sales@ironwingsales.com or 216-912-9089.

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