A Week In The Life Of A Flatbed Driver

Topic 1846 | Page 1

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Old School's Comment
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Well, after ten weeks out I just finished five days on home time and I'll be hitting the road in the morning. I've been trying to think of a way to contribute something positive here on the forum and I've decided to document in this thread my travels for at least the next week, and maybe a little longer if it seems to be going over well.

We have so many great training journals in our training diaries forum that I thought some of the new folks coming in here might enjoy seeing a little slice of an actual drivers life while he is on the road. I hope folks will feel free to jump in with comments and questions as it goes along. I will try to be detailed, and will be more than happy to answer any questions along the way.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Good idea. I think you should also calculate how many hours you work each day. I'm talking about things that you do that is considered a part of your job that you don't log as On-Duty (tarping, securing a load, trip planning, etc.). It will also give everyone an idea of just how much we work and it will also justify us when we say "it's like working two full time jobs".

Just a suggestion on a fabulous idea!

Doug 's Comment
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You both seem very professional. I personally enjoy reading your posts as they are well written, informative and based in facts. Very refreshing on an internet forum. Looking forward to following along with you this week. Be safe and thanks for sharing your experience.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Great idea! smile.gif

Old School's Comment
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OK, I started back to work today with the alarm going off at 5 am. I got up and showered and started getting my winter gear gathered up to put in my truck because this time of year we just don't know what we might get ourselves into. I was pretty confident that my very efficient driver manager would be putting a pre-planned load on me by 7 am and I wanted to be ready to roll when it came across the qualcomm.

Oh, by the way, my oldest daughter is riding with me this time around. She is 25, and just recently lost her job. She talked to me the other day about maybe riding with me and we decided to give it a try. It's a great chance for her to do something like this since she really has no other ties right now.

Well, by 8:00 I still hadn't heard anything from my DM so I sent him a message letting him know that I was ready and waiting to make some money for the company. He messaged me back very quickly and said he had been working on trying to find me something since yesterday, but hadn't found anything he liked. He asked me to give him another half hour or so and he thought he might be able to come up with something worthwhile. At 8:30 I get a load assignment that picks up in Vidor, TX, and delivers to Cincinnati, OH. That's an 1100 mile run to start my week off, and I'm happy!

After getting all my daughters stuff packed in the truck, we set off around 9:30 am and got to our pick up at Gerdau Steel mill in Vidor around 1:00 pm, an hour ahead of our pick-up time. We end up sitting for about three hours before security lets us in the gate, and then they quickly get us loaded with 47,000 pounds of Steel slinky coils. My daughter helps me get 12 straps on the load and we're off at 5:45 and head across Louisiana until we turn North on I-55 and we turn in for the night at a truck stop about 35 miles North of New Orleans. We stopped somewhere along the way to eat at a Denny's in a truck stop, but when we settled in at our present location I had 12 minutes left on my 14 hour clock, so I had to stop driving.

We will hopefully make some good time tomorrow so that we can get into Cincinnati early enough on Friday so that we still have time to pick up another load somewhere up there that will carry us through the weekend with our wheels turning.

I know we have a thread on here somewhere that talks about funny signs we've seen along our way. While I was parked in the waiting area before security let us in there was a sign on the fence that said "Warning - Alligators Present"! My daughter got a real kick out of that and posted it on facebook - she is documenting her trip with me so her "friends" can follow along with us.

This was a long day - we woke at 5 am, started rolling around 9:30 am, after packing all our gear for the trip, and finished up at almost midnight. Another American truck driver can rest well tonight knowing he earned another nights repose while keeping the nations goods moving to the places where they are needed.

Good Night - I'll be back in here tomorrow night to fill you in on our day.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.

Driver Manager:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Starcar's Comment
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Great post, Old school....and I love that you are taking your daughter with you !!!!

PJ's Comment
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Great post Old School. Hope your daughter enjoys the trip. Ya'll be safe..

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Day 2

We started out about 9:30 this morning and drove like there was no tomorrow. I did about twenty minutes of paperwork and trip planning this morning before I ever logged on duty, and then after a fifteen minute pre-trip we hit the road. Today was a beautiful day and it was going to be one of those fortunate days in a truck drivers life where all I really had to do was drive. I'm already loaded and we know we aren't going to get to our destination until tomorrow any way, so we can just churn out the miles and enjoy a day with out having other duties like tarping and load securement.

We enjoyed visiting with each other while driving today and after only two days on the road I begin to notice my daughter is picking up the truck drivers jargon. After the sun had gone down I saw a brightly lit O/O's truck coming our way on the interstate , and my daughter said "hey look dad, here comes a chicken truck!" This is turning out to be a fun time for us both.

I had planned our trip to get us into position so that we could get into Cincinnati before noon tomorrow, and it worked out well. We took the D.O.T.'s precious 30 minute break and later on top of that we took an hour break to eat at a restaurant. We rolled into the Love's truck stop at Horse Cave Kentucky around midnight tonight logging just under 650 miles today. That makes two days in a row so far that I've worked until midnight - but a professional truck driver is willing to do what ever it takes to make things happen out here, and that is what sets him apart from his peers in this arena.

We had the added bonus today of getting a pre-planned load assignment from my DM which will be shooting us on another jaunt of around 1,000 miles from Cincinnati to Syracuse, New York. My dispatcher is really good about this kind of thing - he usually has a plan working for me way before I've finished the one I'm currently executing. I'm really exhausted tonight, but we had a great day and will have plenty to keep us busy and earning money over the weekend now. Had we drug our feet today and taken our time, knowing that we have plenty of time tomorrow to get there without considering leaving enough time available so we can grab another load on Friday for a Monday delivery, we would probably have been stuck at the truck stop T.V. lounge with the other John Wayne fans watching re-runs and spending way too much money on snacks and drinks.

My dispatcher knows how I think and work, so he feels free to put the work out there knowing I'm a step ahead and ready for him to get me something. I'm not bragging, but rather trying to teach anyone who will listen, how you make more money than your fellow drivers in this business. If they're confident that you will handle it they will give you the stuff that will keep you rolling. I just started back on the road on Wednesday, tomorrow is Friday, and all we need now is another 800 mile load and we will be right at 3,000 miles for this week.

Things are looking good for this week, but it's quite possible we could hit a snag somewhere along the way. We'll keep on working steady and hope everything works out well for the rest of our journey this week.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Dispatcher:

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.

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

Steven N. (aka Wilson)'s Comment
member avatar

I like these reports, Old School. They help my dreams! smile.gif

Clif S.'s Comment
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Thanks from me as well. You are illuminating life on the road and answering many of my questions. I can hardly wait as I'm a trip-planner from way back (used to drive the spouse and kids crazy with all the planning as we went on vacations). Looking forward to future installments!

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Driver Responsibilities First Solo Months On The Road Flatbed Life On The Road Load Securement Photos Truck Driving Stories
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