A Trucker and His CB
July 6, 2018
By Gary Johnson
Growing up in the trucking industry I was continually reminded on the importance of having a CB radio in the truck. Even when cell phones became the number one form of communication while on the road – I realized the role a CB radio had in my truck. Cell phones don’t provide that instant form of communication with other drivers as you don’t know the number of the driver up ahead. Having that radio on and finding out that there is massive wreck 10 miles down the road, gives me the option to pick an alternative route. Over the years my CB has saved me countless hours of sitting in traffic and helped avoid areas that might be dangerous or cause me to miss a critical delivery window. I typically keep my CB on at all times to listen to these updates that give me that instant line of communication. While I do find some travel apps useful, depending on where I am that day it could take 15 to 20 minutes to be updated to real time and it is still not as convenient picking up my Mic to get updates or listen on the radio to see what other drivers ahead might be talking about.
My CB has also provided an invaluable line of communication to other truck drivers that follow the same roads. I have gained and shared valuable insight with other drivers on things like load boards, where the best stops are and even tips and advice that have helped me and them to be more successful on the road. While I have not met many of them personally, I do often find someone that is stopping at the sample place for dinner and it gives me the opportunity to share stories and talk about how to improve the industry. The CB has proven to be a great way to develop these relationships with other drivers and improve the comradery on the road.
There have also been several times when my CB has been a lifesaver as I often run in an area where there is no cell service and GPS navigation. One time I broke down on a desolate stretch of highway – and with no cell service I got on my CB and reached out asking other drivers to stop and help. The driver that responded knew exactly where I was and how isolated and dangerous that area could be and was able to help me get towed. History has a way of repeating itself as I recently heard of another driver who was missing in Oregon –he did not have a CB and spent two days wandering through the mountains. Had he had a CB he might have been able to get information on how to drive out of the situation.
I consider my CB radio an investment in my livelihood as well as my business and would not be without one. After all - there is no contract for service as you would have for a cell phone or data plans – and the costs are minimal for a good system. If you are currently shopping for a CB radio pick a professional grade radio– and remember to also consider buying a better antenna and an additional mic – the antenna will make a difference in the performance of your radio and it is always a good idea to have an extra mic on hand in case one breaks.
While you may think the situations where you would use a CB radio are rare – having one in your truck for the one time you wish you did will not only we worth the investment, but is could save your life.
Gary Johnson has been driving for 17 years and grew up in the transportation business. He is an owner/operator leased to Combined Transport and drives a 2017 Freightliner Cascadia. He is also a singer and made it through the first-round auditions for America’s Got Talent and appeared on Deal or No Deal with Howie Mandel.