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How do you stay calm on the road as a truck driver?

Topic 18320 | Page 1

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John C.'s Comment
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I have to admit to being somewhat of an emotional Italian from Jersey. I'm reading everything here and have read several people talk about how necessary it is to keep your zen when things get tough. I'm in my mid fifties, and should be mature enough to handle things. I think I really can do this career. Well then I go and blow a fuse after I had to deal with a late bill on the phone. You folks are most likely low on sleep and drinking caffeine when stuff happens. So how do you keep you cool when things get crazy?

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.
Jim J's Comment
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I actually thrive on chaos so this gig is perfect for me. LOL!

JJ

Pat M.'s Comment
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You learn to realize that there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. The other thing is to **** off stupid people. Like waving back with a huge smile at someone that gives you the bird. Really irritates some people.

Rainy D.'s Comment
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I'm from a big loud south Philly/jersey Italian family... My truck is calm and quiet. I have to call my sister for noise.

Growing up in a small house with four siblings a crazy dog and my sisters' boyfriends hanging out.,..well it seems I've been through hell and back. Nothing trucking could do that hasn't already been done.

The hardest part is training and taking in all the info. Once you get out on your own, sure you might have frustrating days...but I wouldn't have it any other way.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Well then I go and blow a fuse after I had to deal with a late bill on the phone.

Yeah, but no one is going to die if you lose your cool sitting at home on the phone. Behind the wheel, you lose your cool you can kill someone. One moment of inattention, one moment of indecisiveness, and it's all over. That's what I always told myself if I started getting angry about something.

G-Town's Comment
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John more than any job I've had or know of, this one requires constant emotional discipline. Losing one's cool can have lasting and lifelong implications.

I have seen many hot-heads come and go. They usually self destruct.

John C.'s Comment
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Thank you all for the honest and frank replies. I have to admit that I'm thrown a bit by what happened, that's why I posted it.

A little background. I've been a freelance product designer for years so I could care for my mother when she was aging. I refinanced my house to set us up for the lower income. That turned to hospice care in Dec 2015. I had to shut down my business could and not take any jobs for 5 months while me and my siblings helped her though her final time. I was somewhat financially prepared for the down time, but not the drought that followed. I honestly made less than 1/4 the money that I needed for last year. This obviously led to major problems. Now I'm in trouble with the mortgage and may loose my home of 25 years. Helping mom though the end was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, and this is the most stressful time I've ever been through.

I just got a contract that will last from March through June. It may be too late for the mortgage company and and the relief program HAMP (home affordable mortgage program), but I have to try. I could live in a van but don't want to lose the equity I have in the home, and can't sell without some major upgrades. Besides, I really like this place. Bottom line. I need steady paychecks to prove to the mortgage company I can make payments. My age, 10 years of freelance, and the fact that literally hundreds apply for every position are making it very hard to find work. All this mess is what led me to researching getting a CDL.

BTW, I own a really cool, large geodesic home that can be seen from the 78 freeway, so some of you guys drive by me from time to time.

I was looking into company sponsored schools when this new contract came up. It's real good money, but only for 4 months. That's long enough to qualify for an unemployment sponsored CDL school. So that is my current plan.

I've always respected truckers for the incredible responsibility you take on. (Even more so now that I've read your first hand stories) I've also always wanted to learn how to drive a semi. I know it will be hard, but I believe I can learn all the regs, and the mechanics of driving. I really believe I can do this, but the pressure of literally not knowing how I'm going to keep the power on this month really got to me yesterday. That scared me for the exact reasons you guys mentioned. I'm not a hot head by any means, but not the most zen person either. I don't ever want to hurt anyone. So now I'm second guessing myself because I know how big the responsibility of handling over 70,000 pounds of moving steel is.

Sorry if this is all TMI.

How do I know I have what it takes to do this? Everybody gets mad sometimes. Will the reality of the responsibility keep me calm while driving, as Rick said? Is that what does it for all of you? Can I keep a calm cab like Rainy D? Am I overthinking it, and making too big of a deal of getting mad? I honestly don't know.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Am I overthinking it, and making too big of a deal of getting mad?

No, not at all. You're aware of the consequences and you're rightly concerned about it. We appreciate the honesty and we're happy to talk about it because in the end, trucking is an intellectual challenge, not a physical one. If you can't control your thoughts and emotions you can't control that truck the way you need to.

I think the fact that you're concerned about this is a clear sign that you're aware of some of the challenges you'll face in this industry. It's healthy to think it all through and talk it out now, before you have to face this kind of stuff in the real world.

John C.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Brett! I appreciate that. At 54, I'm thinking I should have all this wired by now, but i guess learning as much as I can and thinking it through is the best I can do.

BTW, sorry, I called you Rick in my last post. :)

Texaslady0804's Comment
member avatar

I won't go into the details but was going through lots of life changes myself not long before I started cdl school. I, too, am a passionate person. Nice way of saying I can be emotional. Just ask my husband. We team drive now. Lol You thinking all of this now is a good thing. You have lots of time to think when driving. There is so very much to focus on and keep you busy mentally challenged. It can be scary at times but it is also fun. Know this before you start, it is not just a job. It is a lifestyle you are choosing. Good days and bad days. Good luck to you no matter what you decide.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.

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