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I might be done with truck driving

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Gladhand's Comment
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I disappeared last time because I got into some trouble when I backed into another trucks mirror and got put OOS in Arizona. Today I hit another trailers door with my trailer door in a tight dock. Knocked the other door right off. I will probably be a high risk driver now with the two incidents as well as that overweight ticket. Now I'm worried that I won't be a driver at swift anymore.

If anything I am really frustrated right now, it feels like all the odds are against me. Starting to doubt if I should be behind the wheel of this expensive piece of equipment.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

And when someone is spotting you, it's not always certain they know what they're doing. I remember a forklift driver waving my trainer on right into a piece of steel on a job site once. Always better to GOAL.

This past summer I was backing my 30 foot camper into a bit of a tight spot and another person camping nearby offered to help. I thanked him profusely but said I had driven rigs for a long time and that I'd be better off just doing it myself. I went over to him afterward to explain that after all those years of backing I have my own ways of doing things and there's no way he could know for sure what strategy I'd like to use or what I would need to know in order for him to help. I certainly was grateful for the offer and wanted to make sure he understood I wasn't just being a jerk.

But truth be told, I never liked having a spotter. I'm more comfortable doing it myself. It might take an extra minute or two to get out and look a few times, but it also eliminates the possibility that someone else will steer you wrong. You often times wind up with more trouble and confusion trying to work out signals and read minds than you do just figuring it out yourself.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Cwc's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

I wouldn't give up on driving just yet... You haven't made it on twisted truckers right?

If you get nervous about making people wait while you back just remember the times you've pulled in to fuel while the person at the pump was taking his or her 30.

If I get that feeling of hurry up I'll pop the brakes... simple as that. I've taken a mirror off once and if I'm honest I haven't been back to that truckstop and won't go back ever again. But it did serve as a learning experience.

Get out of your head it's a bad neighborhood! Things happen... learn and move on.

I do occasionally goal but other than seeing that I'm close or have a mile between me and the obstacle it does nothing to help me back... It's hard for me to put into words what I mean by that. But I can't really tell from behind the truck what I need to do.. I can from in the cab.

My goal is mostly just to relax my nerves.

And I agree with Brett when he mentioned doing it on your own. Having a spotter always scares me. You already know how to back so don't rely on someone whom may or may not know how.

Confidence is a funny thing. It's funny to read training posts of new people. You watch their posts go from I'll never get this to I've got this, and finally on to what happened I had this. Find a routine that starts with slowing down. Everything else from then on will fall into place.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

There's a place we load at in the Atlanta area where the docks are soooo tight you can't hardly open your truck door when docked. Drivers have to fold in their mirrors even.. it's just awful there.

Gladhand, I really think you'll be okay. In super tight situations like that, we generally try to wait to dock until after the neighboring truck has pulled away from the docks, because sometimes there's literally only a couple inches between the pinned back trailer doors. I really think Swift will understand this and has probably seen that kind of thing happen before. .. I know I sure have.

Yes, waiting to dock in places like that causes a longer delay, but the reduced risk is sure worth it IMHO. I hate places like that lol, thankfully for us, they're few and far between.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Man, you just have to take your time and think things through. It doesn't take any backing skills at all to eventually get backed in safely somewhere. It just takes a lot of patience and diligence. Take all the time you need and get out and look as many times as you need to in order to get backed in safely. Simple as that.

I'm not sure how you got the overweight ticket but no one considers that much of a concern.

And the fact that you blanked out your entire online Web presence because of what sounds like a relatively minor and ordinary situation seems like quite an overreaction.

It just seems to me like with more experience you'll learn to slow down your mind a little bit and be a little more patient and diligent. Bumping into things has nothing to do with your backing skills and everything to do with your approach to this job. Maybe you get nervous when you're holding people up or someone is watching? Maybe you're trying to move that truck faster than you can observe everything that's going on around you?

Regardless of what's going on, you simply have to slow down and be more careful - simple as that. That's a skill anyone can develop.

After all my years of driving rigs I learned to relax, take it slow, and just take it all in. I try to enjoy driving or whatever it is I'm doing no matter what the circumstances. Keep your mind focused on the moment and keep your nerves calm. Relax, take your time, and pay attention to all of the little details around you.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

You have worries because that's what's in your head and heart. But Safety will also consider how you are doing as a company driver. From what you've written here, I believe you are in the top tier. That's going to count fit something. Also, both of those bumps are in the same category: backing. Expect, ask for, some serious backing practice.

Finally, that's what GOAL is all about. Many, if not most, drivers get a bit cokky* and skip that part sometimes. I admit I do. BUT, remember, (this is where I got a backing incident) you must watch both sides of the truck at all times. And if the truck is "bent", and you have half an atom of doubt about the side you can't see, GOAL it.

In the big picture, these are little things. You are stewing about them now. This is good, because you are becoming an expert in close quarter backing.

* Getting around the censor bot!

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Gladhand's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the replies. I definitely need to learn how to relax. Was starting to get more angry because I wasn't able to pick up a load in time because the shipper is closed which leads to me losing a good load afterwards. Had hell getting someone to dispatch me that when I finally did it was too late.

I know better already, but it is so easy to get super frustrated over things that are out of my control.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Gladhand, it's also important to self-examine what you are doing. Your very own "You Are Here" moment. So you can understand things you've done and how they fit into where you are headed. You are already doing that, but maybe you don't think of it in those terms.

you-are-here_2.png

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Mr M's Comment
member avatar

I learned to always goal unless its a straight back but into a dock i still goal to make sure im 100% lined up. One time i goal 7 times in a super tight back. But i didn't hit anything and i got it in

Mr M's Comment
member avatar

Oh and talk to older guys driving 40+ years what the secret is and they will tell you: g.o.a.l.

Nancy F.'s Comment
member avatar

And thanks for coming back and explaining all this. What I don't know scares me. If you lay it all out I can't fear it anymore. I will be in the same situation one day and if I see you (anyone) make it to the "other side", that makes me stronger. I need you to keep going and beat the odds. Thousands do, we can too.

Gladhand's Comment
member avatar

Yeah, I started to get overconfident. It's dangerous to stop learning out here. The day we stop learning something is the day we need to quit.

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Advice For New Truck Drivers Driver Responsibilities First Solo Months On The Road Safe Driving Tips Tips For Backing
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