TruckingTruth logo

All-Star Comments

Page 1 of 9

Next Page
Go To Page:    

Posted By:  Old School

Posted:  2 days, 17 hours ago

View Topic:

I need to decide between Prime, Schneider or Maverick

Hey Buckwheat, I'm sorry to hear things didn't work out for you - man that's a bummer!

I want to point out a few things here because you just have no idea how many people will read this thread in the future. I hope we can be of some help to both you and them.

You've only been out there doing this for three months at the most, less than that as a solo driver. Look at what you said to us just before you got started...

everyone here is helping me tremendously, not only here in this post but everywhere I read on this awesome site.

What happened to you? Once you got started, you dropped off the face of the earth! We haven't even heard from you until you threw in the towel.

If we were really all that helpful to you, why did you quit seeking our help or asking us a few simple questions after you became a solo driver? Man, don't you realize we would have been able to give you all kinds of good solid advice? For one thing we could have helped guide you into a better way to transition to a different job before you just up an quit the one you were at.

I want to point out to each of you reading this what got to Buckwheat and why he didn't succeed at his first job. It was the mental part of the job - He couldn't handle the being away from home. It didn't have anything to do with all the stuff that rookies get all worked up about like shifting gears, handling the mountains, or driving in the snow. It had nothing to do with the physical aspects of or just the mechanics of the job, it was the mental challenge, and that is what kills most of the newbies who get started in this. It is also why I am disappointed that he didn't come in here looking for some advice from us. We have all been down this road, and while I don't know if we could have saved his job for him, we certainly could have given it a shot. As it was, he just slogged through it and then gave up. Now he has a paltry three months experience and he's quit his job. I know he can get hired, but man he could have done himself a big favor by seeking some good solid guidance from those who understand just exactly what he was going through.

Folks we are not just here to try to help you get those training wheels on a truck and get started, we will keep helping you get through that initial and critical first year out here. To be honest with you, we will be glad to help you at anytime, but we can't help you if you don't ask us questions!

Buckwheat, I completely understand man. In fact after years of being out here, there are still days that I just want to be back home leading a normal life. But for me, the fact is that I could do that, and still choose to be out here. I do this because I really enjoy the challenges of the career. I am passionate about it, and that is what keeps me here. Just getting up each day and moving the products that are needed to keep this great country's economy humming along exhilerates me - I don't know how else to express it - I love this job! Sure I vacillate back and forth emotionally at times, but I work through those thoughts and issues and have been very successful out here, not only financially, but also mentally, and that is where the biggest struggle is at - in your head and your emotions. Those are things that have got to be conquered for you to be successful out here.

I wish you the best Buckwheat, and trust me I understand that this Over The Road stuff is not for everybody, but I just wish we could have helped you make your transition a little smoother. There are all kinds of truck driving jobs out there, and the country needs each and every one of us giving it our best. From local delivery guys in box trucks to those of us chasing that long black ribbon across the country in a grand old American Big Rig, each job is critically important. The thing is, we could have given you some good advice that would have helped you get into something more to your liking, and made a smooth transition into it. As it is you are now back to square one. Remember how much you struggled with that part of it - trying to decide which company to go with?

We want to help you guys be successful at this, and we can. The key is that you have got to let us know what is going on so we can help you when you need it. For all we knew Buckwheat was out there living the life, and then Bam! we hear that he has quit.

It bothers me. Not that he quit, but that we didn't get to try and assist him. I know we could have at least given some sound advice. He may not have taken it, and that is fair enough, but I have a feeling we could have been a big help.

Posted By:  G-Town

Posted:  1 week ago

View Topic:

Gone a fowl...Turkey for Easter.

What's for dinner, Turkey on Easter? Not in my wildest dreams, but "stuffing" happens.

Saturday afternoon following a really great day in the mountains of PA, a couple of miles from the Walmart DC, a wayward Tom decided my truck was a much better mate than the hens he was aggressively chasing. Brace for impact. Fortunately only damage was to the windshield, wiper arm, and a couple of very minor scratches to my arm and one on my face. My nerve however...damn, it was definitely tested.

This occurred NB on I-81 about 1.5 miles south of exit 119. The woods on both sides are very close to the road in this section of 81. Four huge wild turkeys attempted to fly across the highway,...first three cleared, the big, slow one didn't. Traffic was moderately heavy, no time to react, no where to go but in a straight line, which is exactly what I did. I remember having the sick feeling; "OMG this thing is going to hit me". The impact sounded like a small explosion followed immediately by an intense shower of glass and feathers. I exited, parked off on the shoulder and checked damage, walked around to collect myself, literally shaking off the glass and feather remnants. The Oakleys did their job, my eyes were protected. Called the DM on duty, once he confirmed I was okay, we decided it best to limp the 3/4 of a mile back to the DC. I kept the speed under 30. Once I cleared the security check-in, I was greeted at the MT drop area with a host of concerned folks wondering why I didn't bring the turkey back with me. They were serious. "Really", I thought. I can laugh about that now (sort of)...now that my heart rate is below 120. I have encountered wild turkeys before, foraging on the road side, but never in the air, at eye level. I learned from a Walmart mechanic (one of the many disappointed I left the bird on the shoulder) this was the third such event in the last 5 days. All were happy I was unscathed, none worse for the wear. Mating season? Beware...

At least for me, this event emphasizes even when you do everything right; do the PTI, maintain a safe space around the truck, scan the road/mirrors, drive at or below the speed limit, things can go horribly wrong. Always be focused and ready. I feel very fortunate I wasn't injured, that the turkey hit the passenger side of the windshield. I had planned to take a few extra days off after the Easter holiday...instead I decided to drive today, jumping back on the horse so to speak and take a few days off mid-week. Truthfully,...this has given me pause, reviewing in my head if there was anything I could have done to prevent this. My conclusion,...short of being 5 seconds earlier or 5 seconds later to the point of impact,...nothing. Oh,...my windows were down...maybe I'll rethink that in the future. Damn thing could have flown right into the cab, unabated.

You just never know...but the truck, the truck always wins.

1492435975.2579.jpg1492436060.9794.jpg

Posted By:  Patrick C.

Posted:  3 weeks, 2 days ago

View Topic:

How to Land the Best Truck Driving Jobs

Ryan, I know you have rubbed many in this forum the wrong way. But, for what it is worth, the advice given here is accurate to a new driver. You do not have to be a yes man, at the same time, don't buck the system. Just like in the military, the more of a go getter who gets things done without having to be handheld the better you will do. Just like in the military, those that do the right thing without being told, do not get micro managed. I spent 17 yrs active. I have another 1 1/2 yrs before that in the guard. The Army values are MY values.

LDRSHIP

  • Loyalty
  • Duty
  • Respect
  • Selfless-Service
  • Honor
  • Integrity
  • Personal Courage

These are the values I live every day. How these values translate into my current job.

Loyalty - I am loyal to my company. I will not bad mouth my company to others.

Duty - I will perform every task to the utmost of my ability. I will strive to complete every task as efficiently and safely as I can.

Respect - I respect my coworkers and clients. I will give respect first. In return, I gain respect.

Selfless Service - I place the needs of the company before my own when I am on the road. By doing all I can to make my company successful, I become successful.

Honor - I am a man of my word. If I tell my company I will deliver freight at a certain time in a safe and efficient manner, I do so. Things happen beyond our control. But, that freight will not be late due to my fault.

Integrity - this goes along with honor. The caveat is, if you do mess up, own up to it. We are all human. When you make a mistake, own your mistake.

Personal Courage - have the courage to own up to your actions and inaction.

I am far from being a yes man. I am given a task, I accomplish that task. TBH, because I have proven myself reliable, the company doesn't meddle in my affairs. They give me freight, I move it. Yes, I am given fuel stops. However, if those stops do not match the route, I want to take, I have them changed. It is that simple. As long as I look out for the well being of my company, I do as I please!!!

Sorry everyone for another long rant.

p.s. Ryan, stop worrying about being a slave to the system. Instead worry about how to make the system work for you. Find a company that offers the freight, hometime, and benefits you desire. Then prove to them that you are the cream of the crop. I am not taking shots at you. I am telling you how to get it done and be successful. o7

Drive Safe and God Speed

Posted By:  Old School

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

View Topic:

How to Land the Best Truck Driving Jobs

The fact that this business is performance based is the most relevant issue to success at this. Unfortunately that reality escapes most driver's understanding of how to succeed at this. If you have a dispatcher who doesn't like you, then it is incumbent upon you to figure out how to rectify that situation. That is part of what being a top performer at this is all about. People think when we talk about performance we are just talking about a driver's endurance and ability to stay in the seat for lengthy periods of time. That is such a small part of how you succeed at this stuff. Here is a small list of important things that you will need to excel at if you want to be a top performer. These things can enable you to turn your present trucking job into one of the best trucking jobs ever...

  • Understanding how the whole process of getting good loads works at your company.
  • Being patient when you don't understand why something is happening that negatively effects you.
  • Being flexible with the demands of dispatch. They are generally looking out for your welfare, even if you don't comprehnd the big picture.
  • Being customer service oriented.
  • Being flexible and willing to do what ever it takes (within the law of course) to make things happen out here.
  • Understanding that everything does not revolve around you.
  • Understanding the rules and how to manage your time and your logs so that you can put yourself into position for the best loads.

Notice how each of those things start with the words "understanding" or "being?" That indicates that they are your responsibility. Moving freight is a team sport. There are a lot of players involved in this game. To reach your personal goals at this you need to be a star on the team, and there is not a star on any team who can maintain his level of play without continual steady support from his teammates. Driving truck is a very individual endeavor, but it requires a lot of folks in the background to keep you moving. If you cannot be the type of person who consistently conducts them self in a way that causes others to count on you and respect you, then you will have a tough time of this. You need the support of the players on this team that no one ever sees. You may be the only face the customers see, but if you can't garner the support of your teammates in the offices, you are doomed. It is not their job to keep you happy or satisfied, they can just as easily move on to support another driver who understands how this whole puzzle fits together. Their job is to move freight efficiently, and if you as a driver are clogging up the flow of their work then you will start getting passed over and those really nice loads which could be yours will go elsewhere.

I remember when I lost my first dispatcher at Western Express - he quit and went to another field. I was devastated, I considered him a big part of my success, we worked together so well. When I met my new dispatcher, he was not at all the type of person I would ever want to spend anytime with, and he and I would never have been friends under any circumstances. In short, we didn't care for each other. After just a few weeks of working together he called me one day to tell me that I had turned the most miles out of 1,500 drivers the previous month - I was driver of the month! He told me that he had no idea that I was that kind of a driver, but he was glad to have me on his board. You see, I had accomplished that under my other dispatcher, but now he was aware of what I could do. While he and I never really enjoyed each other's friendship, we did work together well because he wanted to move freight, and he supported me in a way that helped him look better to his managers.

Knowing how to be a top performer, or a "star" on the team, and yet understanding the importance of the whole team effort will go a long way toward your success at this business. You can have a great career doing this, but you have got to understand where your focus needs to be. Those who's focus is on the best company to work for as their way to success at this, find themselves continually disillusioned and changing jobs. What is really odd about that is that they keep moving to companies that have hallways of photographs of very satisfied "million plus mile drivers" on the wall, and they don't ever stop and ask themselves "how in the world did those drivers manage to hang in there at this sorry company for that long?"

Posted By:  Old School

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

View Topic:

How to Land the Best Truck Driving Jobs

Over the years I have witnessed many a newcomer to our forum ask these very common questions...

- Which is the best company to drive for?

- How does company "XYZ" treat their drivers?

- How many miles can I expect from company "XYZ"

They are very good questions, because we all certainly want to be working for a good company that treats us well in our jobs, all while keeping our wheels turning so that we are making some good solid money. We all want to get started off on the right foot and do well at this, and the trend of thinking that you will find among most internet active drivers or ex-drivers is that our success depends on whether or not our company treats it's drivers well, and "gives" them lots of miles.

The problem with this common thinking is that there is almost always a huge disparity of experience between drivers who happen to be employed by the same company. I started my career at Western Express, a company that many claim is a second chance company. Well, to be honest with you, they just happened to be the ones who gave me my "first chance." During my time there I got my education in how you succeed at trucking. The primary thing I learned was that success at this has little or nothing to do with your employer. I honestly would still be there today were it not for a very appealing opportunity that presented itself to me running a dedicated flat-bed account at Knight Transportation.

All trucking companies want their drivers to be turning lots of miles. Think about it - they make money the same way their drivers make money, by moving freight. The more miles their trucks are turning, the more they increase their revenues. It is such a simple formula. Why would a trucking company ever want their drivers to be sitting around doing nothing? The simplicity of it escapes the logic of most drivers.

That begs the question of why their is a disparity of experiences among drivers. While I was at Western Express, I very seldom found another driver who was happy with his situation there like I was. Let me tell you, I was very happy with that job. They kept me busy, I made some decent money despite their low starting wage, and I saw just about every corner of this great country. We've had a recent new member in here who keeps making a comment that goes something like this: "If you happen to get a dispatcher who doesn't like you then you are not going to do well at trucking." They have also made some remarks about their perceived ideas of our "ridiculous creed" here at trucking truth concerning not bad mouthing companies. The truth is that we have no such creed, and the reason we don't bad mouth these companies is because it makes absolutely no sense to bad mouth a company who has some very successful drivers there who have consistently outperformed their peers and have had great success there. How can we declare them a "bad company" when there are current drivers there who are enjoying great success? If we consider it logical to bad mouth them because they have some drivers who are doing poorly, then why don't we consider it logical to sing their praise because they also happen to have some drivers who are doing very well?

Continued...

Posted By:  ∆_Danielsahn_∆

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

Trainee From H3LL (Ranting...)

Probably one of my biggest fears, is being placed with an awesome trainer, and then, a week or so into training, being told "i am not cut out for this." I really don't think it will happen, because of my motivation, and determination to succeed, but ya never know, poop has a funny way of poking it's head out when least expected.

Sue. Remember one thing, You Did NOT Fail!. You did everything you could, to help someone be a good, and responsible driver. If they don't, or can't grasp the lessons, because of their apathy, it is on them, not you. Documenting, it all, and keeping the student coordinator updated on her progress, is all you can do. You did all the right things. Don't blame yourself, although sometimes, it is hard not to. I have trained many an up and coming chef, and sometimes I have had trainees that had absolutely no business using a knife, and sometimes not even a potato peeler! I had one person not know how to fry an egg, and even after a demonstration, sunny side up, was a challenge, and they could never grasp the over easy, over medium, over hard, or the difference between poached, and basted. It kinda hit my ego, that I couldn't teach a person to fry a friggen egg. It stung. But i realized, that some people just are not cut out to be in a kitchen, full of many things that can seriously harm a person.

You are doing her a favor, by giving her the hard truth that she just might not be cut out for career. But most important, you are saving the general driving public from a potentially dangerous driver, and your company from the liability.

Keep up the great work.

Stay safe

Posted By:  Turtle

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc. CDL training. Springfield, Missouri

03/19/2017 1902hrs Cleveland, OH

Yeah I know it's been a little bit since I last posted. I can't say its because I haven't had the time, since I did. Truth is I just got lazy I guess.

I survived my first week solo. The thrill of running my own show was counterbalanced by the fear of... well... running my own show.

One load in particular almost got me screwed up.

I was to pick up four metal coils, totalling 47k pounds. When I got there, the loader operator dude asked me how I wanted them loaded onto my trailer. I answered him as honestly as I could:

"Umm I'm not sure, this is my first time."

As embarrassing as it was to say that, it was the truth, and I sought his advice on what was standard. Now don't get me wrong, during training I did haul steel coils twice. But each time they were just put on our truck and we secured them. I don't recall ever being given the option of loading them suicide, shotgun, or eye to the sky. Didn't occur to me that we would have the option how they are loaded. I was basically just following my trainers lead.

Now it's on me. No room for error. I know how to secure coils, but I just didn't know which way would be best to load them.

So after I showed him my ignorance, he kinda smiled as if this wasn't the first time a newbie showed up to his warehouse. He showed great patience explaining the different ways he could load them, and what most drivers normally do.

In the end I got em loaded and secured like a pro, and learned a valuable lesson: Never be afraid to ask for help. You probably won't be the first to ask. When it comes to securing a load safely, I won't take chances.

After dropping off this load, I was sent home for home time. Spent a few well earned days at home relaxing and setting up my truck. I planned to ship out on Tuesday morning, but that big storm that hit the Northeast had other ideas. Once I figured out I couldn't get out ahead of the storm, I messaged my FM to request a couple extra days to sit it out. He said no problem, good call. It made me feel good to know he agreed with my desire for safety.

The load I'm on now was scheduled to deliver Friday, but delays at the shipper put me just enough behind that I couldn't make it by close of business Friday. Therefore I'm now babysitting this load until Monday. So now I'm just sitting at my 90, waiting till they open up tomorrow morning. I could have sat at our terminal, or a truck stop for the weekend. But by waiting here, I'll get in a 34, and be unloaded and dispatched on a new load before ever starting my clock.

Oh yeah, the best part of being on my own truck now? My wife is with me! We are finally living out our dream together. It's been a long road to get here. But the rewards are oh so sweet. I don't know what the future holds, but at the moment we're loving life. That's worth something.

Peace

Posted By:  Older Newbie

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

Frustrations training with Prime on the road

Oh does all this sound familiar. It is! To just about everyone here I suspect. Having just gone through my training and getting my own truck I really do understand your frustration. My trainer and training was with Werner, doing the Dollar General account. It was intense, hard work, extremely frustrating at times but in the end just as satisfying.

Just like you were saying, there were times when I wondered if in had made the wrong decision...I couldn't seem to do anything right it seemed. Especially backing !

And needless to say that's about 75% of what that account is about...backing in tight spaces, at all hours in crazy traffic. It was as though my brain had been erased from the time I was in school to then. As everyone has already told you, this will pass. This industry is very different from anything many of us have ever done before and there is a HUGE learning curve.

I have been in my own truck just a little over 2 months. It's exciting, scary, intimidating and when things go well, one of the best feelings I've ever felt. Yes there are days when it takes 10 or 15 mins to back properly...but then there are days when you get it right, it slides in perfectly and you climb out of the cab feeling like a million bucks.

As others have said, keep something in mind before you make a decision to either quit or beat up on yourself...

The next time you're at a truck stop, or at a loading dock or just tooling down the superslab, keep something in mind...every driver you see,every one, has been a rookie too. You aren't alone!

Any driver that says they didn't struggle with some aspect of this career is not telling you the whole story.... that's polite for saying they are not telling you the truth. The honest ones will tell you that every day they learn something, even after years of driving. And they will also tell you that they have bad days backing too.

This is an industry that quite literally is always moving, changing, evolving. There is so much to learn in such a short period of time that it does weed out the faint of heart. It should frankly. There is a lot at stake when you drive a 73 ft, 80,000 lbs vehicle loaded with who knows what around people, little cars, buildings...the world. Too many things can go wrong for the wrong person to be behind the wheel. But, and I suspect the others will agree, if you are willing to do your time, be patient, be tenacious, not give up and don't expect to be handed a free ride...you will make it.

It isn't easy...but nothing worth doing and doing well ever is.

Good luck,

Tony

Posted By:  Old School

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Frustrations training with Prime on the road

Adam. I'm thinking it sounds like you are going through all the familiar frustrations of any newbie at this career. There were times when each of us felt like we were not going to be able to make it through our training. You are exhausted at times from lack of sleep due to the new experience of sleeping in a moving truck. You are running on adrenaline half the time because of the excitement of the whole experience of commandeering a big rig across the country. You are probably not eating right, nor sleeping enough. You're having to meet some crazy dead lines. You are wanting to hear your trainer tell you that you are doing good, and all you ever hear is what you are doing wrong. It is an all out stressful time - that is the only way I know how to describe training for this career.

There is actually a good reason why training is soooo hard. It tends to separate out those who can't dig deep enough to make it through. We tell people all the time to look at it like "Boot Camp." That is what it is at times, It can be demoralizing, or it can be something that makes you dig deep and find out what it is that you are made of. Breaking into trucking is not easy, if it were we would have a lot of folks out here wanting these jobs. You are embarking on a really difficult journey that only gets better the longer you hang in there and practice doing the things that make for success out here. Some days it can be like forcing yourself to get in that seat and keep going, while other days you will be quite content to roll on down the highway clocking off the miles.

Driving on the interstate isn't all that trying, it is all the little stuff like maneuvering in and out at the shippers/receivers, backing into docks, or parking at truck stops that can take all the joy away from a rookie's experience. I was just speaking to a person the other day who quit trucking while in training, and here's the reasons he gave me for why he decided against it.

- It is too difficult trying to find parking at night when I am exhausted.

- I can never seem to get my truck backed in once I do find a parking spot, and I am too tired to put any effort in at that point.

- I'm stressed out all the time when I get to a new place to pick up or deliver, because I don't even know where to go when I get there.

- I'm never comfortable because everything is totally new to me, I can't deal with all this stress.

Absolutely all of his reasons were things that every rookie faces, and somehow he thought they were special to him, and he was beating himself up over all of this as if he were a loser with no skills to be able to do this job! Heck, we all went through all of that, and occasionally still do! If you need a different trainer, Prime will accommodate you, but I say your focus needs to be on developing as a driver, and putting your will into this whole exercise in tenacity. It will pay off, but you have got to have something in you that pushes you to succeed at it.

Take the time and listen to this Very Informative and Inspirational Podcast, I think it will help you understand what you are facing. Right now you are focusing on your trainer's shortcomings, and there may very well be some, but I think the source of your stress is just a regular experience that all of us faced.

By the way, all trainers are not equal, and I had one who never pre-tripped his truck either. Heck I had to show him where his brake shoes were and that they were getting thin! You can still be a successful driver when you have a less than stellar trainer - I am living proof of that. In fact I wrote a little article about my training. I don't know if you'll find it helpful or not, but Click Here and you can read it.

Posted By:  Brett Aquila

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

**TruckingTruth's 10 Year Anniversary!!!**

Today Is Our 10 Year Anniversary!!!!

The Story Of TruckingTruth

In late 2006, on a whim, I looked around the Web to see what was available for those considering a career in trucking. To say I was horrified by what I found would not be an exaggeration.

No one was giving honest, legitimate advice purely intended for the benefit of those seeking it. It was your typical company-bashing, face-saving, finger-pointing, simple-minded baloney that would drive people away from the industry or sabotage their careers almost immediately.

I knew these types well. I knew why they were complaining, I knew why they were failing. I had 1.5 million miles under my belt. None of this was a mystery to me. So I decided to set the record straight and bring a different perspective. I immediately began writing a short book on the subject and picked up the domain TruckingTruth.com to share how I felt about trucking.

You see, I loved my years on the road. It was the most grand adventure imaginable! Getting paid to drive a beautiful American Big Rig coast to coast at 21 years old was so exciting I don't think I slept the first two months!

Even in school I was bouncing off the walls with excitement. Every evening I would walk down to the Interstate to watch the trucks pass while Bob Seger screamed "Roll Me Away" in my headphones. I'd sit there night after night dreaming of the day, just around the corner, when it would be my turn to live it instead of just dreaming it.

After graduation I landed my first job and was overjoyed! I vividly remember many details of my first day. I remember conversations word for word, the scenery we passed, and even the meals we ate that day in early September, 1993.

I remember meeting my trainer in the gravel lot at Gainey Transportation. Great guy! We got along splendidly. I remember walking up to his window, reaching up to shake his hand, and running to the passenger door after he said with a smile, "Come around the other side and climb in".

Climb in???? Did he say climb in??? This is IT! I've made it! I'm finally doing this for real!!!

I remember he let me take over at the first rest area. I drove to South Carolina and we hit my first real truck stop where I had a roast beef sandwich and french fries for dinner. I drove a while longer and we spent the night in a rest area in Virginia before finishing our run to Maryland in the morning. By lunchtime the next day we were on our way to Sacramento, and I had never even been as far west as Ohio! OMG we're going to California! I thought I was going to come unglued I was so excited! I don't know how I avoided going into cardiac arrest.

That was over 23 years ago and I still remember it all like yesterday. Over the years driving only got better. I piloted everything imaginable across all 48 lower states and throughout much of Canada. After 15 years I decided to retire because I felt I had exhausted every idea I had for finding fun and adventure as a truck driver. It was time for new adventures.

From my experience I learned trucking was an amazing career for the right person, but an utter nightmare for the rest. I wanted to be perfectly honest with people so they knew the hardships and sacrifices involved, but also understood the adventure of it all. For those ready to take their shot I wanted to give them a solid, actionable strategy and the right perspective for surviving that first year on the road.

My hope was to build a strong community of like-minded people who felt the same way I did about their career and mentoring new drivers. The amazing community we have here today is the best part of TruckingTruth. It is the lifeblood, the personality, the heart of who we are.

I can't begin to express my respect and appreciation for those who have shared their time, their stories, their feelings, their lives with us so we could learn and grow from it all together. I'm torn because I want so badly to thank a bunch of special people individually, but I'm too cowardly to do it. I'm afraid I'll leave someone out!

But from the bottom of my heart I thank you for all you've done to help so many get their careers underway and to promote a lifestyle of pride, humility, and professionalism. In our first ten years we established ourselves as the most trustworthy and professional community in the trucking industry. The next ten we're going to have an even bigger impact on the the industry and I'm more excited than ever for the opportunities that lie ahead!

smile.gif

Our first 10 years:

Total Visits: 15,056,697

Unique Individuals: 9,153,137

Pageviews: 53,966,419

Registered Users: 67,468

truckingtruth 10 year anniversary logo

Posted By:  Bud A.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Terminated after 3rd week of OTR Training

The Safety Manager said he'll put on the letter that I quit because no alternate Mentor has been available to finish my training (because I was told on Friday that I'd be with a new trainer next week).

How should I approach the next company? Would they see this as a negative?

Thanks in advance. This is quite a bummer and embarrassment.

It's a good thing that they'll report it as voluntary. As suggested above, you can tell prospective companies that you left because a mentor wasn't available for you to complete training.

I would leave out discussion of the trainer that you had unless you are asked directly. Tell the truth if you are asked. I think "personality conflict" would cover it and be understandable. I'm trying to think of a better way to say it. I'll post again if I think of a better phrase before someone else provides one.

And as stated earlier, backing a spread axle trailer is a little more difficult since they don't move in the nice arc you expect. It's still an arc, but it's slower than backing tandems -- or as I think of it now, tandems swing around weirdly fast.

Now please don't be upset when I say this, but I'd be really surprised if backing is what your trainer was really concerned about. I'd be less surprised if his concern was that you weren't paying enough attention to your surroundings, or that you weren't getting the securement down quickly enough in his opinion, or something else besides backing. And I'll also say that, having trained flatbed, it's not hard to imagine a scenario where learning to drive a big truck and learning securement at the same time is just a little too much to do all at once. There's no shame there. I have had my days where it was a little overwhelming.

Now that the company's decision has been made, and if he hasn't already spelled it out for you, I'd consider calling your trainer and saying something like, "Hey, it's over, I'm no longer with the company. I still want to drive a truck, and I really want your honest feedback. What was your single biggest concern about me doing that with this company?"

If you decide to ask him, and if he responds, don't argue with him or defend yourself, and don't judge yourself, just give him the chance to boil it down for you. It could be very valuable feedback for helping you determine how to proceed. On the other hand, he might be a jerk and it could be something that you decide to ignore. Either way, it's worth asking for that feedback, since he has a unique perspective on it as an experienced driver who has observed you closely for some time.

Please let me tell a story. (Boredom alert!) In my last management job before I started driving, I had a client who was known to be a real jerk. He once insulted me unnecessarily and unfairly in such a way that I stewed about it for a couple of days, inventing numerous responses that would have surely gotten me fired had I said them out loud to him.

This jerk had a saying that stuck with me, though. "All feedback is good feedback." I think it's true to some extent. I may not like the feedback, and I may not like the way it's delivered, but it is good feedback.

For example, the feedback he gave me when he insulted me was to question my command of the English language. It was good feedback.

He is from another country and English is not his first language. In fact, he speaks it with a noticeable accent. He questioned my understanding of English when I asked him to clarify a short, ambiguous sentence he had written in an email. I needed to know because the intent of the sentence could be read two different ways, and each way meant taking radically different action from the other possible meaning.

Now, I didn't ask him in order to insult his command of English, though I'm sure he took it that way. I asked him because both meanings could make sense and I honestly couldn't figure out which meaning he was trying to communicate with those seven words.

So, while his insult was ridiculous, it was good feedback, though not the way he intended it. The real feedback had nothing to do with my understanding of English. It had to do with my understanding of his insecurity about his abilities in English, and his leadership insecurities generally.

After I calmed down, I completely changed my approach with him and actually got him to help me do my job, though sometimes without him knowing he was helping me. Yes, i manipulated him. I was a manager after all. Part of the job.

Unfortunately, he later insulted my boss and a couple of his subordinates, which resulted in his reassignment to another position (and another city) within his company. I had to figure out how to manipulate an entirely new person to get things done for my people.

All this to say, what your trainer has to say now may still be valuable, even if you hate the guy. Don't get me wrong, there's a chance that it won't be useful, but if it is, it could be very valuable.

I understand that it's a bummer, but there's no need to be embarrassed. This is a tough business to break into, and you're not the first person this has happened to. I have no doubt that tens of thousands of people who didn't finish training at their first trucking job are out there driving trucks today. Apply to some other companies, learn what you can from this experience, and press on. It will be ok.

Posted By:  Old School

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Got any fun snow stories ? Words of wisdom ?

Several years back I got caught in a blizzard in Indiana. The highways were in really bad shape and I was just moving slowly and trying to power my way through until I could get to a truck stop. It wasn't long before I managed to get to the Flying J I was planning on stopping at. It was crowded, but I managed to find a legitimate parking spot and got myself parked and settled in for the duration. Within about an hour the highway department closed the interstate and every one had to get off. We were literally stuck there at the truck stop for four days in extremely cold temperatures.

It got crazy! The trucks were piled in everywhere. People had to park in the parts of the lot where you would usually drive your truck in between the parked trucks as you try to find a spot. If you were like me and got there early enough to find a real parking spot, then there was someone parked perpendicular to your truck, right there in front of your truck! They were parked three or four across in between the rows of properly parked trucks. Most everyone was idling their trucks to keep the fuel from gelling. I can't remember the temps, but it was well below zero most of the four days. Some of the folks whose fuel was low when they parked were having to use five gallon fuel cans to walk over to the pumps and purchase five gallons at a time to walk it to their rigs to keep from running their tanks dry. The Denny's restaurant in the truck stop actually ran out of food on the second day because they couldn't get anything delivered in due to the interstate being shut down. The silly truck drivers who had no provisions with them were having to beg for food from those of us who were prepared. I ended up feeding three or four truck drivers parked close to me for a couple of days.

Here's the view I had from inside my truck for several days during that time...

truck driver's windshield covered in snow caught in a blizzard in Indiana

Once they finally opened up the roadways it was still chaos because no one could move their rigs. Some of us were just physically blocked in. Others had their brakes frozen up. Some of us had gelled fuel. Then some of the ones who had a clear path ahead of them couldn't get their rigs to move - all they could get to happen was their tires spinning on the ice! I remember watching one Swift driver just spinning and spinning his drives. I assume he was hoping to melt the ice and eventually get going, but it didn't turn out that way. What he accomplished was an eventual sideways movement which put him in a collision with the truck next to him! (Here's a good spot to insert a winter driving tip: When stopping in a heavy snow fall, once you get yourself in a parking spot pull your rig forward and back several times to pack down the snow that is in front and behind your tires. This will help make it a little easier to get that rig rolling when you do start again.) The Flying J had so many upset tuck drivers complaining to the manager (imagine that - a truck driver complaining!) that they were blocked in, that they called the highway patrol in to help try to organize a plan to get the trucks moving out of the parking lot.

After that big storm, they had plowed the roads and put down salt but it was still pretty treacherous on the roadways. There was such a thick layer of ice underneath the snow that the plow and the salt seemed to have little effect on it. Things looked like this for most of the next day, and I sat it out one more day just to make sure I didn't end up in the ditches.

snow covered road after blizzard in Indiana from truck driver's window

Things like this happen every once in a while, but you just have to take it all in stride and let the adventure your on help you build a bank of memories and good stories. Not all our memories as truck drivers are good ones, but most of them are. I actually kind of enjoyed the stay at that Flying J - It was amusing in a convoluted way. I didn't make much money that week, but it was still an interesting week, and one I will never forget.

Posted By:  Brett Aquila

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Truck Accident in Cali

What can I do about this?

Well it depends what you mean by "this". Do you mean you'd like to fix:

  • Your sloppy driving?
  • Your crappy attitude?
  • The fact you're driving an 80,000 pound building on wheels and almost killed two people but don't even realize you should have prevented the whole thing?
  • The fact that your company is giving you an opportunity to fix your screw up but you're such a bonehead that you're here insulting them as if they're the idiots that almost killed someone and you're the one in a position to do something about it?

Folks, when you're trying to evaluate this industry and decide which company to work for you're going to find a lot of guys like this around the Web. They always have their "poor me" stories. The way they tell it they're always the victim of circumstances and they're always being mistreated by their "bad company", or in this case their "buffoon of a company".

But when you take a closer look at the full story you normally find that the one pointing fingers at everyone else is usually the one to blame. This is the type of person (and therefore the type of driver) that runs around bashing companies and criticizing their instructors and constantly pointing the finger at everyone but themselves. According to their side of the story it's always as if they're the only competent one and everyone around them is idiots.

Did the driver of the car make an aggressive move? Sounds like it. Is this something a professional driver sees 1,000 times a day and should be well prepared for? Absolutely it is. If you ask any top tier driver or any safety manager they'll tell you in this case the blame falls squarely on the truck driver. It makes no difference if the car made an aggressive move or not. It makes no difference who was given a ticket at the scene. You must know where all of the vehicles are around you at all times and you must know what they are doing at all times. You never make a move without knowing that the space you're moving into is clear.

This exact same scenario and many others like it literally happen every single day out there. No one drives a big rig 500+ miles in a day without having a number of people aggressively take space around them. They'll cut into the lane as you're changing lanes so they don't have to be behind you. They'll pull out in front of you from a stop so they don't have to be behind you. They'll pass you and then jump in front of you and hit the brakes to take the next exit because they didn't want to be behind you for another ten seconds. See a pattern here? Four wheelers will risk their lives on a regular basis just so they don't have to be behind a truck. This kind of stuff happens all day long out there. It's routine stuff that should be easily handled.

Unfortunately in this case Lionheart assumed he could move over into the newly formed lane without watching his mirrors because:

no one was behind me on my right. How could there be, the lane had just opened up!?

So you see? No one could possibly be there so no sense in looking, right? Geez.....you simply can't make assumptions when you're the captain of an 80,000 pound machine.

Either way, I have decided to dump this buffoon of a company. I can tell you folks MANY things about them but I realize that this site doesn't condone that talk.

....says the guy who just wrecked someone and doesn't even realize it's his own fault.

Ya know, it was bad enough that you came here as a professional driver to bash the driver of the other vehicle, not even realizing you should have prevented the entire thing in the first place. But then you had to take it up a notch and squash your own company against the barrier, too? Why would you do that??? They're letting you keep your job! They're allowing you to make amends for your mistake! You almost killed someone and you're going to come here bashing the company that not only invested the money and equipment and trainers up front to put you behind the wheel of a big rig in the first place, but then they stuck by you even after you screwed up in a big way?

booooooooo!

You made a huge mistake but this time luck was on your side. No one was injured, no one was killed, and you didn't even lose your job over it. You should thank Stevens profusely for allowing you to keep your job and immediately set out with the intent to make it up to them. They invested in you when you didn't know the first thing about trucking. They stuck by you when you screwed up. Heck, they'd probably even forgive you for coming here and bashing them publicly for no reason. Instead of causing even more damage by quitting your job you should wake up and realize you're lucky to have a job with a company like that.

Folks, I can tell you for a fact that Stevens is a very, very forgiving company. This is far from the first incident we've learned of from drivers at Stevens and each time Stevens has stuck by their drivers. That means a lot in this industry because as you can see by Lionheart's willingness to criticize his company and quit them altogether, loyalty is not something you find very often in this business.

Posted By:  Brett Aquila

Posted:  3 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Socializing at the truck stop

For me it depended upon my mood also. I've always been a loner by nature so most of the time I grabbed a newspaper (a collection of thin sheets of wood pulp with text printed on them in ink containing the day's news which could be bought for 50 cents from a metal box outside) and went to a booth in the restaurant and had me a nice, quiet dinner.

But sometimes I was just in the mood to chat. That's when you go to the counter at the truck stop restaurant and join in on the neverending roundtable discussions.

Warning: sitting at the restaurant counter instead of a booth can be hazardous if you're not prepared. If you sit at the counter:

  • You should not expect to sit quietly and eat in peace. You are now in the discussion, like it or not
  • If you say the name of any President, past or present, you have less than 45 seconds before a fight ensues
  • If you say the name "John Wayne" out loud you will make at least two new friends and one may even want to hug you. But you better know your John Wayne movies
  • If you say "NASCAR" without mentioning "Earnhardt Sr" you will be given one chance to correct your error or no one will talk to your "Jimmy Johnson Pretty Boy Lovin *ss"
  • If you're in the South, just say real slowly, "The South's Gonna Do It Again!!!!" and you might get free pancakes and you'll definitely get some redneck solutes, which come in many different flavors
  • If you're in the North just talk real fast and call the person next to you some horribly insulting names for no reason and they'll assume you're from there and you'll make friends easily

Hope this helps!

smile.gif

Posted By:  Patrick C.

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

School or pick a company? And how do I choose between company driver or owner operator?

My training was even shorter than Brett's. I had 3 weeks in class. 4 days a week. Out of 12 days, 4.5 was classroom. I tested for my CDL 1 day before my school was done. I had 2 days of practice at orientation followed by a day "testing" to get a job offer. I spent 2 weeks with my trainer. Of those 14 days, I was off for 4. I spent 1 day driving in final processing. After that I was in my own truck on my own. All of us feel unprepared. It comes down to having the confidence in yourself and your judgement. Having the guts to put yourself out there and get the job done. Principle for backing a trailer is simple. In a single swivel point you turn the steering wheel the opposite direction you want the trailer to go. The desired effect is not immediate so you must plan ahead. After that the ONLY way to improve is to "just do it". Take it slow and GOAL as much as you need. Here is a free tip. The greater the wheel base the less reactive the trailer. So with tandems all the way back the trailer turns slower than all the way forward. Idk what other info you need. No one can teach much more than what I have told you. There is no great secret. It is a simple principle that takes time and practice to master.

I will tell you what I will share with you my company's method for executing a "tight 90 degree" backing maneuver. First you need 2 rags. Make sure you are straight in a large open lot. Place a rag next to the mid point of the tandems. Turn your steering wheel all the way to the right. Backup until your truck is at a 90 degree angle to your trailer. Walk back and place the second rag at the midpoint of the tandems. Pace off the distance between the rags. That is your lead distance. When setting up you drive about 6 feet away from the front of the obstacles you are backing in between. As you pass your "spot" you continue forward until your mid marker/turn signal is in the middle of the "hole". Turn the nose of your truck about 15 to 20 degrees to the right the back left to straighten back out. After the rear of your trailer passes the "hole" you come to a stop. Go to the corner of the obstacle closest to your cab next to the hole. Walk straight out until you meet the path of your tires. Turn to face down the side of your tractor/trailer. Pace off your lead distance. Mark the ground. Pace off the difference between where the middle of your tandems are to your mark. Start at the front edge of your step fairing and pace off that distance in the correct needed direction. Mark the ground. Drive fed/back until the front edge of your step fairing aligns with the mark. Get out and make sure the mark for your tandems is aligned mid tandems. Turn your steering wheel all the way to the right. Back up until your Cabo's 90 degrees from your trailer. Turn your steering wheel all the way to the left. Begin backing until your tractor is perpendicular to your "hole". Get out and pace 8 to 10 paces from the front step fairing moving forward. Mark the ground. Drive forward until the front edge of your step fairing is aligned with the mark. Turn your steering wheel all the way to the left again. Begin backing again. Once your trailer is halfway into the hole. Look to see if you need to do a pull-up to straighten out or if you are good to continue backing. Use pull-ups to straighten out as needed. I hope this helps. The method does work.

Drive Safe and God Speed.

Posted By:  Brett Aquila

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

School or pick a company? And how do I choose between company driver or owner operator?

Let me also address this also:

From my experience in a big company so far, I'd say it's easy to fall through the cracks as far as getting actual training. After backing into someone's fender I asked about getting more training in backing and was told I could go watch the students backing in the yard. It just seems like a "paint-by-numbers" system, where if you're not one of the unlucky ones you're just out of luck.

For starters, there's a difference between needing training and needing practice. Most of what you're taught in trucking will require you to spend a lot of time practicing out there in the real world on your own. They're going to train you how to do things and then send you out there on the road where you'll perfect your craft.

A lot of people have the impression that they should be able to practice all they like until they feel they're ready and then go out there and do it for real. Again, the comparison to the Marines where they train you for a very long time before you're going to see any real action. In trucking they don't do it that way. They give you the minimum training you need in order to know how to do something and then send you out there expecting that you'll take your time and be careful while learning to get better at it.

There is no amount of training that can prevent someone from bumping into another truck while backing. That isn't a lack of training. It's a lack of care on your part. You didn't get out and look. How many dozens of times did they tell you to get out and look when you're in close corners? And yet you didn't. You didn't need more practice. You needed to make better decisions.

So the company knew that no matter how much money they wasted on fuel and parts letting you practice backing up in the yard it wasn't going to prevent you from bumping into someone the next time. You were already trained properly. You just didn't execute properly that particular time.

Josephus, what I'm trying to do is help you understand that what you've experienced so far is just the way it is in trucking. Your experience the first few months is almost identical to most drivers nationwide. It's the same pretty much anywhere you go. I think you've decided that the reason you're feeling like a faceless nobody or not getting enough training is because you're with a large company or you're with the wrong company. I want you to know that in my opinion that's not the case.

The problems you're facing stem from the fact that your past experiences and your current expectations are completely different than what you're experiencing in trucking, and understandably you're not too thrilled about some of it. You feel the way things are being done is inferior to your ideal way of doing things so you've concluded your company must be doing it wrong. But in reality they're doing it the same way everyone does it. Your experience wouldn't be much different anywhere else. The biggest differences between the large carriers are the color of their trucks and the spelling of their names. But the way they train people and the way they operate is all very similar.

Your problem isn't with your company, it's with trucking in general. And I would say there's a small army of people that would totally agree with you. Trucking leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to the way training is done. And the part about feeling like a faceless nobody? That's just OTR trucking, no matter the size of the company. You're out there alone doing your job. There's no one there to pick you up when you're having a tough day or guiding you when you're in a tough spot. You're expected to motivate yourself and figure it out. Get the job done. There are no parades or support groups or local VFW-type getaways or commercials on TV thanking truckers for all they do. You just go out there and do your job, collect your paycheck, and go home for a visit with family and friends once in a while. That's trucking. For some people it's perfect, for many it's a nightmare, and for most it's somewhere in between - decent, but far from perfect.

I don't think changing companies will change how you feel about the job or the industry. It will just be a different name on the truck. You may be able to hunt around after your contract is up and find a job or a company that is better suited to your goals and your preferences, but trucking is still trucking and not all that much will change.

Posted By:  Old School

Posted:  4 months, 4 weeks ago

View Topic:

Anybody left a higher paying job in corporate America for trucking? How did it work out for you?

Here is why we stress taking an Over The Road job first. Learning to drive and safely maneuver one of these gentle giants in all kinds of situations just takes time. No one goes to truck driving school and gets a certificate for proficiency. The only certificate you will receive is that you have had a measly 160 hours of training. Even after a year of doing this on a daily basis, you are still just barely scratching the surface of being proficient at this trade. By getting on with a major carrier who hires rookies as OTR drivers you are allowing yourself to ease into what can be a really demanding career. It's not all wonderful sunsets and adventure - in fact that first three months can be more like terror and stress on a daily basis. This also reminds me of why I like the Company-Sponsored Training Programs. By taking that route the company actually has a considerable investment in you and are more likely to cut you a little slack if needed to get you to the point of being a professional. At the same time, the major carriers will allow you some mistakes just because of their sheer need of drivers to move freight, and their understanding of just how difficult it is to get this down so that you can manage all the many facets of becoming proficient at this. The local jobs can be much more picky about their recruits simply because there are plenty of experienced drivers who would like to move to a local job. They have a pool of less risky candidates to choose from, and can save considerably on their insurance rates this way. There is a reason why it is less expensive to insure a driver with a good safety record and that reinforces the argument why it is difficult to start as a local driver.

You can also take a look at the numbers of successful attempts at starting this career and get an idea of how difficult it is to make a start in this career. The first company I was working for was generally hiring around 150 new inexperienced drivers each week that I was there. When I inquired what was happening to all these new drivers I found out that only about ten percent of those new drivers ever made it to the 90 days mark. That is an incredible testament to the problems associated with making a decent start at this, and that is pretty much an industry wide statistic among the OTR companies who give rookies a chance at proving themselves.

I do not recommend starting out as a local driver. There are those who have had success by taking this route, but they usually don't realize just how fortunate they were. Another thing to consider is that when you take a job with a major carrier as an OTR driver you can often times move over into a division of that some company that will give you better opportunities at being home more often. Paul W, G-Town, and Errol are great examples of this unique opportunity within these large companies. If you can prove yourself, even for about three or four months, they will usually be willing to move you into something that is regional or dedicated that will often allow you to be home for weekends or maybe three or four days each two weeks, which should make it more agreeable to putting in a good solid year with that first employer. There is ample opportunity out here if you make a good start, but the difficulties of accomplishing that good start are multiplied exponentially by starting out as a local driver.

It is much smarter to establish yourself in a way that will allow you a few mistakes, than to cripple your future career by trying to circumvent the well established path to success.

Posted By:  Old School

Posted:  4 months, 4 weeks ago

View Topic:

Anybody left a higher paying job in corporate America for trucking? How did it work out for you?

Point is, local can be harder initially but I would think most companies ease you into it before they go full-throttle into making you do pickup and delivery into Joe's Dairy Farm :)

At the risk of sounding like I am disagreeable I want to point something out. I understand completely, the desire to start off with a local driving job. I do not think it is a good way to start this career. I don't begrudge any one who manages to get started this way, but the fact is that precious few are successful when dong it this way. I know very well that we have a few drivers in our forum who've done this, and if I'm not mistaken, "Auggie69" is one of them. We also have a few who were OTR for year, switched to a really great local job, then realized the reality of the difficulties that we stress so often in here, and very quickly switched back. I remember "Heavy C" as an example of this. There are others, I'm just naming a few to make my point. I just don't see the point being made here about how most companies will ease you into making more difficult deliveries, that sounds good and logical, but it is completely impractical for the shipping companies.

I am sure that "Mountain Girl" could tell us why this isn't so. She really needed to start with a local driving job. She's a single parent with kids still at home who need their Momma around. She found one, and it wasn't long before they were canning her over some little petty stuff. Then it got really tough, she couldn't find work. She's finally got it back together now, and we are all thankful, but man she had some trials due to the way she got started. She basically is running something like a line-haul gig now that isn't really local, but it does allow her to be home enough that she and her family can manage it.

Here's the biggest problem with starting out local. They are going to be quick to let you go for some minor stuff. That is what happened to "Heavy C." He had some really good experience, and was a great driver, but because of the difficulties of that local position he still managed to have a few little minor incidents and they said "Okay that's it, we can't take this risk with you - in essence "goodbye pal." He himself stated later that he just wasn't ready for that level of driving yet. It was more demanding than he had ever dreamed.

Continued...

Posted By:  Old School

Posted:  5 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

A Critical Piece in The Puzzle of Success at Trucking

Hello Ernie, great to hear from you again! I know you are in here at times, but it is always nice to have you speak up every now and then.

I just want to say a few more things about this now that we've had some more feed back. Fatsquatch is right when he says there are more benefits than just good miles when you maintain a good relationship with dispatch. I've mentioned a lot of times in this forum about special treatment that I've gotten because my dispatcher knows that I will do whatever he needs. It is a sort of relationship where there is some give and take on both parties. I didn't tell you guys about it this latest time, but I had to be home for some more surgery recently. I've been dealing with some nagging issues with skin cancer. I've gotten all the time off that I need, and been able to take my truck home for extended periods of time without any mention of turning it in until I can return.

The reason dispatchers love a driver that they can always count on is simple. We always stress in here about how the pay in this business is performance based. I can't speak for every trucking company out there, but most of them pay their dispatchers a base salary with incentive bonuses for their levels of productivity in moving freight with their drivers. When a dispatcher has the type of driver that is always getting things done with little or no problems, that driver is not only valuable to that dispatcher for his peace of mind, but he is also valuable financially. My dispatcher recently said something to me about how his wallet would take a huge hit if I ever quit! It becomes in his best interest to keep that driver happy and busy. This becomes the drivers responsibility to make this all happen. The more dependable you are, the more you will be depended upon.

I had my latest surgery last week, and I had told my dispatcher that I would come back over to the plant in Delhi, Louisiana on Monday, but my plan was to get there and then take a ten hour break so that I could start on Tuesday with a full clock ahead of me. Typically we have better loads leaving that plant on Tuesdays anyway. As I was driving to the plant, my phone rang and it was my dispatcher. He was distressed because it was his first day back from a vacation he had taken while I was out, and he had just discovered that one of our new drivers had dropped the ball on a load that was supposed to leave the plant on Saturday. When the dispatcher got to work Monday morning the folks at the SAPA plant were giving him grief because the loaded trailer was still in their yard. He called me to see if I would take the load which was already going to be late and try to make up some time on it. This is a good example of how these guys will depend on you. I'm finishing that multi-state and multi stop load tomorrow, with the only drop that was late being the very first one. I somehow managed to get it done, but it wasn't easy. Total miles in in six days came to 3,038 plus I got about 235 dollars in accessory pay, and I have a pre-plan on me with a load that gets me back home so that I can get my stitches removed! What more could you ask for?

As far as having a bad dispatcher goes, I'll just share my experience in that area. Some of you old timers in here will remember when my dispatcher at Western Express quit. I was really frustrated because I had worked really hard to establish myself with him and then one day I got this message on the Qualcomm that said. "Hello, I am your new dispatcher. So and So quit, and you have been transferred to my board." That was it! I met the new guy a few days later while I was at the terminal for some service, and we did not click at all. He was a young punk in my opinion, and he looked down his arrogant nose at me like I was some kind of a dinosaur that he was sure would be useless to him! I was really feeling devastated. Fortunately a unique thing happened just the following week. Out of our approximately 4,000 drivers, I had met the requirements to be honored as "runner up driver of the month." Now, I didn't have to prove myself all over again. Immediately this new dispatcher who did'n't really seem to care about me a few days before was sending me messages saying how he hadn't realized "what kind of a runner" he got when he got me. From that point on I continued to keep him happy with my results, but he never was the kind of person I would ever want to be friends with or even to sit down with and share a cup of coffee.

If you can produce consistently good results you will be rewarded with all the best loads, and the favors you need at those times of special needs. It is a precarious position to be in at times, but it is well worth the efforts you will put in to maintain that kind of relationship.

Posted By:  Old School

Posted:  5 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

A Critical Piece in The Puzzle of Success at Trucking

This is nothing new, I just wanted to reiterate something we've talked about plenty of times before. It never hurts to remind folks of how you make it to the top in this profession, and for those of you who are new in here, you may not have seen some of our older discussions on this subject.

We make a lot of choices and decisions as professional drivers. One of those decisions, or choices that we see new drivers literally loose sleep over, is "Which company is a good place to start out my career?" It seems that most of us think the most critical ingredient to our success is whose name is on the doors of our truck. I tell people all the time that it is not important whose name is on your truck, and I get a lot of blank stares as if I just made some moronic statement that had no basis in reality. After all, there are literally entire websites devoted to informing us which companies are good places to work and which ones will treat us like slaves. Where have I been all these years? Why haven't I noticed all the information on the web that is devoted to helping us make informed decisions when starting a career in trucking?

We've got some folks here in our forum that are very proud of the companies they work for, and rightfully so. Some of them are so proud that you would think they are on the payroll of the recruiting department! That is a good thing! It is great to take pride in your company, and in your work. I actually enjoy it immensely when I see a new driver being so thrilled with the company they have started out with. It is much more gratifying to see that, than to see someone so ignorantly bad mouthing their employer when that same employer happens to be a good solid source of contentment and consistently nice paychecks to a host of other drivers who simply cannot relate to the problems that the soured driver is enumerating.

Why is it that one driver passionately hates the trucking company that another driver is unequivocally devoted to? The answer to that question is so simple that most of us can't even recognize it when it is staring back at us in the mirror.

I very successfully started this career at Western Express, a trucking company that has been the subject of much online vilification. I had a great relationship with my dispatcher, and that one component is the subject of this discussion - the missing link to success as a professional truck driver. Your relationship with your dispatcher is key to your success. Now, let me explain this a little further...

Please note that I did not say I had a great dispatcher. What I said was that I had a great relationship with my dispatcher. So, what does a great relationship with your dispatcher look like? Remember this one all important thing about this business: all trucking companies are trying to do the same thing - they are all trying to move freight efficiently and profitably. There is precious little that differentiates one trucking company from the next one. They are all using basically the same trucks, running the same interstates, competing under the same regulations, and often times serving the same customers, while trying to make a profit. This all important relationship with your dispatcher is the one thing that can set you apart from the other drivers, it is the one thing that puts you at the head of the pack.

Here are some key ingredients to having a good relationship with your dispatcher:

1) You, the driver, are easy to get along with.

2) You, the driver, are willing to do whatever the dispatcher needs done.

3) You, the driver, understand that you don't always have "the big picture" of what your dispatcher is working on.

4) You, the driver, take responsibility for your own mistakes and shortcomings.

5) You, the driver, do whatever it takes to be efficient with your HOS (hours of service).

6) You, the driver, communicate effectively with your dispatcher.

I always put the onus on the driver, and not the dispatcher. Have you ever noticed how most of your disgruntled drivers are constantly complaining about their dispatchers? It usually takes them only a few short statements to make you realize that they could change the whole dynamics of their relationship with their dispatcher if they would simply put away their attitude, and be willing to cooperate with their dispatcher so that they could work as a team toward the company's goals. Instead they usually think they have got to badger their dispatcher into submission so that he gives in and does things the way the driver thinks it should be done. Whether we like it or not, drivers are at the bottom of the chain of command in this business, and once you recognize that you can make a lot more money by being cooperative. It is humbling being at the bottom, but recognizing that and embracing it will enable you to be much more productive. How so? Because a driver who is cooperative and easy to get along with, all while being super productive and efficient is the kind of driver that a dispatcher loves to have on his board, and he will do everything in his power to keep that driver busy.

Everybody wants to be turning a lot of miles, and they mistakenly think that is the responsibility of the company or the dispatcher. Top producing drivers have found the secret, the "holy grail" of trucking, and it is all in how you approach this all important relationship with your dispatcher. Make that relationship your priority, and you will find success.

Page 1 of 9

Next Page
Go To Page:    

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More