Happy Black Friday everyone! Today marks the beginning of the busiest shopping weekend of the year. While most of America spent this morning lining up for door busters, scanning the web for the best deals on electronics, and planning out their Christmas lists, truckers have been hard at work moving all of these goodies.
Black Friday Does Big Business
The National Retail Federation reported last year that 108 million Americans shopped in stores from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, and another 99 million people shopping online - a total that nears 2/3 of the US population. On Black Friday alone, that equated to approximately $3.3 billion dollars worth of goods bought from retailers. That's a lot of flat screens!
If You Bought It, A Trucker Brought It
As the industry adage goes, "If you bought it, a trucker brought it!", trucks are critical in delivering all of these new purchases into their new homes. In fact, 70% of freight tonnage in the US goes on to trucks. To prepare for this busy season, retailers stock stores and warehouses to the brim. Of course, they need truckers to make those deliveries. Even before that though, manufacturers increase production to meet demand - and truckers are needed for that, too! Then finally, once the purchases are made, trucks are used to deliver the shiny new packages to their new homes.
FedEx expects their daily shipping volume to increase from an average of 12 million packages during the rest of the year, to 25 million during the busy holiday season, while UPS anticipates a jump from 18 million to 28 million. These shipping conglomerates alone will hire approximately 150,000 seasonal workers to meet this demand - and smaller carriers will account for even more.
Trucking Tips To Get Through The Season
1. Plan Ahead
In addition to the increase of long-haul truckers on the road this weekend, 51 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more. Meaning traffic is going to be a nightmare! Plan your routes ahead of time, and try to give yourself some extra time to reach your destination.
2. Drive Carefully
Not everyone out there drives as well as you do! Thanksgiving weekend is the most dangerous time to be on the road, with both fatal and non-fatal road accidents spiking significantly. With so many drivers on the road, it's no wonder why.
3. Watch Out For Bad Weather
The weather is beginning to take a turn for the worst. High winds, blowing snow, and icy roads all contribute to dangerous road conditions. Drive slow! Although there is increased pressure from retailers to have loads delivered quickly, it's more important to stay safe. Take your time out there!
4. Keep Your Cab Well-Stocked
It's always good to have your cab stocked with an emergency kit, in case you are stranded somewhere. Pack a warm blanket, an extra set of gloves and a hat, some non-perishable foods, bottled water, a first-aid kit, and a battery-operated radio and flashlight.
5. Keep In Touch
This time of year can be especially isolating for truckers. Although drivers are accustomed to spending a lot of time on the roads and away from family, the holidays are always a little harder than usual. Thank goodness for cell phones and the internet! Check in regularly with your loved ones, and video call them when possible. Nothing beats being home with them, but seeing their faces will make it a little easier!
BETTER THAN BLACK FRIDAY!
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