Trucking At Night Versus During The Day?

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Chris D.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey guys!

Well I'm currently about to finish training with Stevens Transport, and I've had two different trainers thus far who've told me two different perspectives on night time driving.

My first one always had us stopping st around 10-12 at night, we would wake up the following morning and bang out the day no problem. The second trainer I got is big on me driving till 2-3 or more in the morning, and tells me I need to get used to never stopping early (10-12 at night), since I'll never sleep the same schedule.

I'm just curious about which may be true. My first trainer had been doing this for about 6 years, and says he's never had to drive late at night unless the trip absolutely required it, and even then it was few and far between. The second has been doing it for 3, and says he's always doing it and even trains his students to do it. I'm just not sure which to believe lol

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Damon L.'s Comment
member avatar

How was the overall training? Are you enjoying Stevens?

Hey guys!

Well I'm currently about to finish training with Stevens Transport, and I've had two different trainers thus far who've told me two different perspectives on night time driving.

My first one always had us stopping st around 10-12 at night, we would wake up the following morning and bang out the day no problem. The second trainer I got is big on me driving till 2-3 or more in the morning, and tells me I need to get used to never stopping early (10-12 at night), since I'll never sleep the same schedule.

I'm just curious about which may be true. My first trainer had been doing this for about 6 years, and says he's never had to drive late at night unless the trip absolutely required it, and even then it was few and far between. The second has been doing it for 3, and says he's always doing it and even trains his students to do it. I'm just not sure which to believe lol

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Sambo's Comment
member avatar

It's always a good idea to have that experience. Driving at night is a little different because your body is not used to being up all night. Takes some getting used to.

Also, lack of visibility can create more strain on the body. A lot of these trucks have bad head lights that seem to only light up about 2 car lengths in front of you on low beam. Driving through the twisty mountain roads where there is a lot of traffic where you can't really utilize your high beams means you can't often see very far in front of you. Have to be extra careful and slow down a little.

Now, depending on what you are hauling, either if your trainers answers could be true. At knight, our dry van side has a lot of loads that have a window to drop, and thus those guys can plan their runs to only drive during the day. They generally don't have set appointment times. Often, it's "drop this load between 8am and 4pm", for example.

Refer side, on the other hand, has very little drop and hook , so there are very few appointments that have a window. This means that in order to meet your delivery time, you have to drive at all hours of the day and night. Most of the time, you are taking your 10 off, and then driving again, which means your drive time could change drastically from day to day.

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Being able to drive both is crucial; however, you will develop when you like to drive. You must be able to be flexible when you drive as freight will dictate that. I personally tend to drive during the daytime. There are ways to work a schedule so you drive when you like.

I do dry van; however, we deliver a lot of paper products for SCA. Many times those products are going to food distribution companies. Sysco, GFS (Gordon Food Services), RFS (Reinhardt Food Services), McLane, PFG (Performance Food Group), etc... are all places we deliver to on a regular basis. Because of this we have the same deliver times as the reefers do. Most of those places do mass appointment times. I will take McLane as an example. You will have an appointment time sometime between 2200 and 0400. However, sometime between 2200 and midnight, they will come beating on doors and shuffle everyone thru the gates at one time. Since I like to drive during the day means I always end up doing those deliveries during my 10 hr. Sysco and PFG tend to have morning appointments. Sometime between 0400 and 0800 depending on the individual warehouse. Again, once the receiving time starts everybody gets shuffled thru at one time. GFS and Krogers are 24 hr operations. Your appointment times tend to be more varied and you are held to an actual appointment time. They will take early, but only if they can work you in.

Generally, if I am going to a food distribution place I will have an appointment time. If I am going to a dry stock merchandising place I tend to have an appointment window. (This date between 0800 and 1600 for an example). If it is a drop and hook , it typically is sometime on a specified date. Granted none of this is set in stone. I have had drop n hooks with a specific appointment time before.

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I always have my students drive at least a couple days that go overnight. Like sambo said night driving is different than days. There's nothing to look at except for the striped lines, it's dark, and you get tired and bored faster.

My current student found out that she can't drive nights because she gets tired too quickly so now she can go tell placement that she can't do an account that has night driving. It's always better to figure there stuff out during training instead of your first week solo when you have all the other stresses to deal with.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Chris, you asked this legitimate question...

I'm just curious about which may be true?

I say it is a legitimate question simply because you are brand new at this, and here you are getting conflicting information from your various trainers. Welcome to Trucking! Truck drivers are famous for giving out all kinds of advice and information that could be considered by the truck driver parked next to him as totally bogus and outrageous! We are like that, we all think our opinions are the best!

Look, you are going to be hauling a reefer I assume, and by all means there are going to be times when you need to drive at night. The truth about this whole situation is that you are the captain of your truck, and when you are a solo driver you will manage it how you see fit. Certain loads may require you to do some night driving, but you will develop your own style of getting things done, and if you want to be really good at this and make some really good money, you had better get accustomed to the idea of driving during conditions that are not ideal. I mean we are truck drivers, we do what it takes to "git er done." Sometimes we drive in a snow storm, sometimes we drive through the desert in 110 degree heat. We push through heavy rains, and the dark of night at times.

I was surprised at Isaac's remarks about his trainee who discovered she "can't drive nights," so she is going to tell placement that she can't work on any of the accounts that require night driving! That's great, she just cut her options and income potential way back in my opinion. What surprises me about this is that she is just a trainee! She hasn't even had the time to try to develop herself as a driver. This is a career where we have got to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone at times so that we can become the best that we can be. There is a very competitive environment out here in this career, and the folks who recognize that and push themselves to be the best, end up being the top tier guys and gals who really enjoy this career. Have you ever noticed how many whiners and complainers there are on truck driving forums? These are the folks who are constantly complaining that they can't get enough miles, they aren't making enough money, and their dispatcher doesn't treat them right. Well, if you will dig below the veneer screen they put up to protect themselves you will discover that many of these are the folks who tell their managers things like, "I can't drive at night, or I won't go to the Northeast. During the winter months, I only runt the I-10 corridor between Florida and California, and if all possible I'd like to be home three times a month!"

Listen, I do not recommend that you limit yourselves by coming up with your own "I can't" list. There is not a dispatcher in this world who wants to have to work with a hamstrung driver like that. If you are content to settle for the crumbs that fall from the table, well, then I guess you would be okay. As for me, I want to be feasting on all the good things this career has to offer. I drive at night all the time, I take the trips that many of the drivers on my dedicated account refuse because of their difficulties. I started my day yesterday at four P.M. and ended it at four thirty A.M. I'm going to be leaving now at two P.M. and ending my day at approximately two A.M. tomorrow, then I'll rinse and repeat it again so that I make my destination on time up in Connecticut. This will be my third paycheck in a row that has take home pay nearing seventeen hundred dollars. I'm only telling you that because I want you to see why you want to learn to excel at this stuff. To the victors go the spoils! I'm not a complainer, I am a person who accomplishes things, and those are the folks who are relied on heavily at this job.

Remember that this career is competitive.

What does an athlete do? He practices all the time, he hones his skills. He never stops trying to improve himself. He analyzes where he is at, and he works on his weaknesses. It is the same way for the top tier drivers out here. We push ourselves to excel. We are the equivalent of the guy who is the "go to man" on a professional sports team. When the team needs a victory, you want to be the guy who knows how to score. Nobody gives the ball to a guy who doesn't know how to shoot a three pointer in the clutch, or balks every time he needs to drive into the lane for a lay-up.

You have got to learn to press through a lot of things in this career. Start now, early in your career, and take charge of your fears and/or your preferences and overcome them. Learn to be a top performer in all conditions, and all areas of the country. I bust out some really big miles, partly because there are so few people on our fleet who are willing to do the things I do. Be the guy who is willing, and work on being the guy who is able. When you put those two things together you will come out on top at this thing we call truck driving.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I used to run reefer , I took a lot of all night or would run nights because I could get more miles in without traffic know I run a flat bed. Most of my appointment are arrive during business hours. But that's not always the case. A few months ago I was sitting in Reno, it's about 7am just getting done with a 34 and I get a call from dispatched asking if I can do a special run for them the load picks up at 1700 hours and has to be in L.A. first thing in the morning the 3 other drivers in front of me had already turned it down so I took it, it payed expedited any ways so that's more money for me. The receiver is a 24 hour shop. I get down there around 3am off load. Take 8 hour in the sleeper and role to another load, and am in and out of L.A. with out dealing with to much rush hour traffic. Don't limit yourself by saying you can't run this or that. Or you won't run these loads or that state. Some of my best money I have made out here by doing things that are not fun or easy. Also if your dispatcher know your a hard worker you will move to the top of there bored for favors so when you want to take a 34 at the house on your kids birthday it just might happen.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

Like Old School said, when you are on your own, you are captain of your ship. Any time you are driving your butt is on the line. Yes, to be competitive in this industry you will have to push yourself. However, you also need time for your body to adjust. You will basically be in charge of your own income. Also, pulling refer, you may have an appointment at 2am, requiring you to drive at night. I hope all the info you're getting helps you to make an informed decision. Good . Stay safe.

Isaac H.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, i guess I'll bite. OS.

My student was offered 4 accounts, two of which have a significant amount of night driving. She opted not to take those and chose from the other two.

Is she going to make significantly less money because of it? No. In fact she's going to make more because the one account she took pays more than the ones that require night driving.

And by the way, just in case you forgot, driving safely is much more important than trying to one up your fellow drivers for more miles.

Having a elite -take no prisoners-every person for themselves attitude to Jack your fellow truckers is borderline low brow, and bush league. There's enough freight out there. Get it there safely and on time. Pretty simple.

And that's pretty much all I'll say on this topic.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

And by the way, just in case you forgot, driving safely is much more important than trying to one up your fellow drivers for more miles.

Having a elite -take no prisoners-every person for themselves attitude to Jack your fellow truckers is borderline low brow, and bush league. There's enough freight out there. Get it there safely and on time. Pretty simple.

Isaac, I am not sure why you seem to be offended and took my remarks so personal, but it would help if you would point out to us where I encouraged anyone to drive unsafely.

Look, I do my best in here to help folks be the best they can be at this. If you could explain to us how after almost five years and over 5,000 posts of tirelessly giving of my self to help rookie drivers understand the secrets to success out here, I am considered by you to be an elitist who tries to one up his fellow drivers and "jack" his fellow truckers, we would appreciate it. You see I not only want to be a great truck driver, but I'd like to be a great communicator also. You have really got to do some amazing mental gymnastics to come up with the conclusion you did here in your response.

Any coach of an athletic team pushes his players to go beyond what they perceive are their limits. That is all I did here.

When we are rookies, as was the trainee you referred to, we are just barely figuring out how many wheels are on an eighteen wheeler, and that is no time to start telling ourselves what we can't do just yet. We need to take the time to develop our habits and practices at driving on a professional level. I can guarantee you that your trainee just a few prior weeks to getting on your truck probably thought they would never get the whole double clutching thing down, but they persevered because they had some motivation - they were going to get their CDL , and they knew they had to push themselves to get to that point. Now that they've gotten that far they just need someone to keep them motivated to push the limits a little further. I never mentioned anything about being unsafe, I merely laid out some reasons why a person doesn't need to be limiting their earning potential at such an early point in their career.

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.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

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