Trucking At Night Versus During The Day?

Topic 19786 | Page 3

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Unholychaos's Comment
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I'd just like to chime in and point out that there are a lot of places in this country, mostly on the coasts, where you're going to be hard pressed to find parking after 5pm, making it advantageous to start early and shut down early. I spend the majority of my time running the west coast, and generally try to be parked no later than 4 pm. Yes, that means I have to drag my carcass out of bed at 2 or 3 in the morning most days, but it beats the hell out of having to park on an off ramp or a wide spot on the shoulder because there is no safe truck parking left at any of the truck stops or rest areas.

And if you see no problem with parking on the shoulder, I invite you to Google Bhandal Bros. Manny Bhandal nearly lost everything because one of his drivers chose to park on the shoulder one night. Parking on a shoulder or off ramp is nothing but **** poor trip planning, plain and simple. If you can't trip plan to find a safe place to park, you need to not be on the road.

I agree with fatsquatch. I try to do the same thing, start my day early and run as hard as I can until around 1500 or so. Yeah that may mean starting at around 0100-0300, but it takes ALOT of stress out of backing at the end of the day which, as statistics point out, is how the majority of accidents occur. Backing in a crowded, poorly lit truck stop at 2200 just spells disaster especially for rookies like myself who are still uncomfortable with backing.

So to answer OP, driving at night has a huge advantage if you can physically manage it and if your load allows it, if just for the end of the day shut down. You may have to bear with trying to sleep in 90+ degree heat this time of the year, but in my mind, that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make to make my life easier.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
millionmiler24's Comment
member avatar

Night driving can have great advantages for rookies.

1) No traffic so easier to relax

2) No traffic so easier to slow down to read signs

3) can run more miles with less traffic

4) can easily find parking at the end of the day

5) can grab up the loads others refuse due to not wanting to drive nights and....have hours to relay/repower loads for drivers who couldn't make it. This can be advantage for a couple reasons. Dispatch will see you as a go to person who can get it done, and you could wind up with more miles.

6) sometimes it is better to get through bad weather conditions at night without all the traffic.

7) in many areas high winds die down at night, although the day drivers may have shutdown due to wind.

However, its hard to read signs, see driveways, and find parking if you need to shutdown. Back roads can be scary at night, and winter sucks when the sun goes down.

Thanks for this response Miss Rainy. THIS is exactly why I PREFER to drive NIGHTS over DAYS, however, I am more than glad to drive BOTH if the load calls for it. When I was on the team account at Werner, my co driver hated driving nights and I LOVE driving nights so thats one reason why we got along so well. We made some good loads then because we worked so well together. When I do get my CDL back and hopefully end up driving again (hopefully for Werner) then I want to reteam up with him and do this again. You got to understand as a rookie driver, you are ALWAYS going to have your PREFERENCES, however you always must do what the LOAD CALLS FOR unless you feel UNSAFE or you know in your own mind that conditions are TOO UNSAFE to continue. Ultimately when you are solo or even when its your turn to drive on a team truck, you must remember: YOU AND ONLY YOU ARE THE CAPTAIN OF THAT SHIP. You make that decision. ONLY YOU know whats best for you. That is why we recommend here to stick with your first company at least BARE MINIMUM 1 YEAR. Some drivers may need longer than that to truly learn everything out there. I hope I am accurate in saying this, but one thing is for sure: the experienced drivers and the moderators on this site have been trucking for many years and I bet you they learn something NEW EACH DAY they wake up. We are always learning new things daily. Thats one of the things that makes us who we are. Someone please correct me if I am wrong about any of this.

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.
Errol V.'s Comment
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Fatsquatch moans:

Yes, that means I have to drag my carcass out of bed at 2 or 3 in the morning most days,

For me and maybe most people this isn't really that big of a problem. Driving solo means you don't have anyone with you, and in a truck with the window shades shut you can't really see what time it is. So hitting the sack at the ungodly hour of 4pm (not 9pm) isn't all that bad.

My preferred OTR schedule is close to what Fatsquatch says: Pull in to a truck stop around 2-3pm. (You really do get a pick of spots at that time.) The next morning around 2 you get up and get your coffee. You have traffic free roads and with good planning, you'll be early for those first-come delivery sites.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I'm considering getting back into trucking which I haven't done since before the "14-hour rule" was implemented. I just want to say I used to relish night driving because the traffic was so much better. When I learned about the 14-hour rule though I figured that was the end of night driving, all because some drivers complained about "circadian rhythms."

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I figured that was the end of night driving, all because some drivers complained about "circadian rhythms."

Yeah, I can still remember the day I first read about the "new 14 hour rule".......I was just floored. I thought it was the dumbest possible idea. It's actually the "sleep experts" who claim we must always have 8 straight hours of sleep, but they apparently forgot to consult the "work experts" who generations ago figured out that after an 8 hour day the mind and body start to slow considerably and could really use a break. And not just a 30 minute break.

Not to mention, it's fantastic to get to stop for a couple of hours here and there for bad weather, heavy city traffic, or construction backups and then continue on later when everything has cleared out and you have open roads ahead of you.

Tyler B.'s Comment
member avatar

I am a Greenie, with about 3 months of time under my belt. I run in a Team truck, so I have already found that sleep schedule will rotate as after 12, & 10, your catching 2 hours of the previous lunar day compared to a standard Drive day. Always be safe. I have a CPap machine, so I HAVE TO show that I use it for a minimum of 4 hours every day/night. Means, I schedule sleep. I try to land a minimum of 8 hours of sleep during that 10. I average 7. You really have to Schedule your sleep in this game. I did Time in the service, & watch times also rotated. So I got real good at scheduling rack time & making sure I got sleep. With Refer, I have found that drop/Pick-up days can run longer, normally maxing out the 14. Again, learn to manage your Hours of Service. But on those days just expect to not have a Max day behind the wheel, & be comfortable with getting what you can, getting to a safe stop to take a 10, & then rolling from there. If your flexible, responsive, & "Always Ready" when the DM/Dispatcher says game on, your going to earn a lot of good loads. But if you are unable to adapt, your going to be mediocre & find rough seas ahead. As Bruce Lee said, "Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless - like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. be Water my Friend." He would have been a very successful Trucker

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I put out a new article today based on this conversation. It includes a lot of quotes from people here along with my own ideas and advice. You can read it here:

Trucking At Night Versus During The Day - What Should Be Your Strategy?

Check it out!

Kalman D.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm fairly new to trucking. Started in April and run for YRC so not exactly typical OTR. I generally run doubles so i avoid resr areas and service plazas between 10 pm and 6 am. Generally so packed it's hard to even drive through without backing up(beyond my skills with doubles at this point). Far less traffic in the cities ( GW bridge is even doable at posted speed limit). And less of a line at the pumps in the truck stops. However, if you're scheduled to have a load somewhere, it's supposed to be there when its due. That means you'll run any hours unless you're local. Of course I'm used to working third shift too ;)

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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.

Adam A.'s Comment
member avatar

It really boils down to you're going to be all over the map as far as schedule I've been driving solo now for last 3 months and I have yet to have a week where I don't flip flop from Days tonight's and Back Again it all depends on how fast your runs have to get to their destinations and how much you have play with your schedule in order to get there on time right now I really prefer to run starting at two or three a.m. and that way I actually get a place to park a truck stop no later than 3 in the afternoon

Paul F. 's Comment
member avatar

I am finishing up training and have driven both nights and days. Each has its advantages, but I've found that even having a good "night" sleep I'll still be drowsy until the sun comes up, them I'm fine. I think it has something to do with the circadian rhythm, but a 5 hour energy and roughing it out for a bit I've done it. I've never felt that I was dangerous driving. If I did, I would take a nap.

That actually seems to be that one thing about this industry I came as a surprise to me that being a complete lack of any type of sleep rtthm sometimes i sleep during the day sometimes I sleep at night sometimes i sleep in the afternoon sometimes I sleep in the evening there's just no rhyme or reason but the loads going to get there so you got to do what you Gotta do

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