It lets you see exactly what's behind you and really does a great job of eliminating the blind spots, especially when backing up around a curve, which is most of the time. It also let's you see how much room is between you and an obstacle you are backing up to, like a dock or another truck at a truck stop.
Well, as you would expect from the decision-makers, the most useful of the camera and radar-based tools is the least common. My guess would be that the camera mounted on the rear of the trailer will become quite common in the coming years but as of this writing they are quite rare. Bummer.
One final tool you should have in your arsenal is a digital camera. Mainly you will use it to protect yourself. You can take pictures of the freight you're hauling, especially if something was damaged during loading or shipping, accidents, and any other events you feel you should get on film as evidence to back up your story. When something happens that could possibly be blamed on you, you don't want it to come down to your word against theirs. You want indisputable evidence.
Keep that camera close by and ready to go. Don't let yourself get in a spot where you need it quickly and its batteries are dead or you can't find it. Your window of opportunity to defend yourself may be a short one and you have to be ready when the time comes.
We've covered most of the tools at this point so let's move on to the toys. Driving truck is a whole lot more fun than it used to be. One of the main reasons is the coming of wireless and satellite-based technologies.
Wireless Internet started as a rarity, evolved into a highly useful and entertaining tool, and will soon be woven into every aspect of your life on the road. There are so many wireless 'hot spots' popping up everywhere you go that soon you will have wireless Internet coverage almost everywhere.
Already most truck stops have it available and you're finding tons of coffee shops, restaurants, bookstores, and corporations with free or nearly-free wireless Internet available. Surfing the Internet is a great way to pass the time and also a great tool to track your bank accounts, read company newsletters, and an endless variety of other things.
The Internet is an awesome way to stay in touch with family and friends. You can even set up a simple website to share pictures and stories with the world for only a few dollars a month. Email can be a great way to share pictures and stories also. Of course this is where your digital camera comes in. You can have a closeness with pictures and 'road diaries' now that you could never even come close to having before all of this technology was available.
Satellite tv and radio are nothing short of astounding. Now you have hundreds of tv and radio stations available to you anytime, from anywhere. For those of you who never traveled and tried to constantly tune in local radio and tv stations with an antennae, let me tell you how lucky you are. It was miserable.
The vast majority of the time you are out of range of any stations at all. Talk about BORING! Uh! Satellite radio and tv have made life on the road way more fun and has given you access to news and information in real time. Previously you had to count on newspapers or word of mouth. Not anymore.
You have all the news, information, and entertainment at your fingertips you could ever dream of having.
When you put it all together, in any given day you can surf the Net, communicate with your company, watch satellite tv, listen to satellite radio, share pictures and stories with the world, talk with the other drivers in the area, and generally entertain and inform the holy crap out of yourself all from the comfort of your own truck.
For those of you who never lived on the road without these luxuries let me tell you something, you'll never be able to appreciate how astounding these developments are and how much it has improved life on the road. But without a doubt you would be doing yourself a huge service to learn to use as many of these tools and toys as you can.
Driving a rig is ten times easier and more fun than it was just a few short years ago. Believe me it is!