Flatbed In Training?

Topic 17628 | Page 1

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Boxermom's Comment
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I'm considering training in flatbed national. I'm a bit concerned about unstable loads. Am I setting myself up for failure by jumping in to flatbed as a student? Thank you in advance for your help. Marcia

Pat M.'s Comment
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If you are not concerned then you are not a good candidate. You will just fine as a new driver. A few gals on have done it already.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Marcia, it is not uncommon for new drivers to jump straight into flatbed. In fact some flatbed companies like TMC have their own training programs for new drivers coming into the industry.

To be honest, I'm personally not that comfortable with the idea of having brand new drivers hauling flatbed, tankers, or doubles/triples. I would prefer to see people get some experience in a dry van or reefer first because there is already an overwhelming amount of information to take in and responsibilities to handle in the beginning. But I do not go so far as to say people should not do it. It just makes me a little uncomfortable and it's not what I would prefer to see.

If you're the type that really loves to take on big challenges and really loves to go for it in life then I think you'd be a good candidate to start out with flatbed. If you're a little more of the conservative type I would recommend starting out in dry van or reefer.

Interestingly enough I'm one of those people that loves adventure, lives for a challenge, and has taken on many highly risky endeavors over the years. And yet I consider myself pretty conservative when it comes to my decision making. I don't do risky things because I like taking risks. I do them because I want the experiences that come from the adventure and there's simply no way to get those experiences without taking some risks. But I take things "low and slow" as they say.......I like to take things slowly and conservatively, especially in the beginning.

If I had to do trucking all over again knowing what I know now I would not choose to start in flatbed or tanker. I would take the conservative approach and start out in refrigerated or dry van knowing I can switch to flatbed whenever I like. That being said, we have a number of drivers here who started out in flatbed and have done spectacularly well for themselves.

So yes, you can start out in flatbed. Just be aware that you're taking on even more risk than you have to right at the beginning of an already risky and challenging career.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Bud A.'s Comment
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Marcia, I started as a flatbedder. I certainly understand what Brett is saying. I think it's true that learning load securement at the same time as learning to drive a big rig can be additional stress.

My observation has been that successful flatbedders are very methodical and careful. I have met drivers who want to teach time-saving shortcuts that are not shortcuts at all but rather what the DOT calls "improper securement."

I'm not sure where they get these ideas, but I suspect it starts early in their career. Especially at first, you'll be slower than experienced flatbedders when securing your loads. With practice, you get faster. It can be humbling to take twice as long as experienced drivers to strap and tarp a load of drywall. But if you can deal with that, with practice you'll learn to do it right quickly. As Pat said, if you're not concerned, you're not a good candidate.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

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