I Must Be A Special Kind Of Crazy...

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BlueAppleDuckie's Comment
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Hiya folks, I've been poking around here on trucking truth for a while now, I am taking the high road training for my cdl permit, and am going to be looking into company sponsored training.. and oh boy, where do I start? Frankly, I am astounded at some of the things that folks complain about being some of the drawbacks of driving a rig.

Some background on me, from when I was tyke I wanted to drive a rig. I loved them, the "road trains". I was the small child who would hear the approach from up the road and be so excited to stand waiting to arm pump and hope that they say me and tooted back. I hooked up the wagon to my big wheel, and then to my trike when I was bigger, cause riding wasn't enough, I wanted my "trailer". Then I got the amazing opportunity to travel across the US with my grandmother in her RV, every summer as soon as school was out we were on the road, campgrounds,rest stops, sometimes dropping in on family I had never met before that lived in other states.. I loved every minute of the road, and just dreamed of the day I could drive it. Unfortunately I was led to believe that my very poor eyesight absolutely prevented me from ever driving a rig. (I was foolish and naive to believe it) (my vision corrects to 20/25 with glasses, and I NOW no that it is the vision WITH correction that counts, even for a CDL [I was told by family that for a CDL, your uncorrected vision counted]).

Well from there life happened, I got married young, had a child (who is grown now), got divorced, and made my way through life scraping by in retail/minimum wage jobs ,living with roomates, just to keep a roof over my head. Hated living in an apartment, hated living in NJ, so I moved to Ohio, bought and own a house here now (mortgage free now), and I sit in the house still dreaming of road life. Talking to folks, I finally hear from someones mouth "Are you nuts?! If your vision corrects for driving, it corrects for driving!" and looked it up myself finally. Low and behold I have been misinformed for years and years, and my dream is actually a possibility for me. So I am here, and I could not be more excited about starting driving as a career.

Layovers in a hotel? Awesome! I love new environments. Sleeping in the back of a rig? A lot more roomy than in my VW Jetta years back The money.. I have earned less in a month than some of the low paying jobs get a week, and worked that job 7+ years

Whenever I could scrape the money together for a road trip I would pick a place, grab a map, plot a route and jump behind the wheel to go.

I MUST be a special kind of crazy, I own my home, lock stock and barrel, and yet, all I want is to roll.

I suppose everything comes to us at the right time. It would have been a bad choice when my son was young... but damn! I am so excited I could explode!

Alright, a bit of logic here. I know it is not going to be easy, in any way, shape or form. I am 43, female, and short (5'2"), but being small is something I am more than used to having to make up for with effort. I have a girlfriend at home, we've been together 10years this October, and I have no fear at all of being away for months at a time, she will be there, and our pets will be well cared for.

I am planning to go for company training for a few reasons, currently I am unemployed and broke, and I'm worried that the work history will be a problem. Unfortunately here in Warren Ohio, the only work I've been able to get is seasonal retail. I'm hoping the companies will understand that THAT is just another big reason I want to get into trucking. What kind of work history are they looking for really?

I am afraid I won't be able to learn the shifting right. I've read on here that never driving a manual car is not a problem, and can actually be a good thing (no muscle memory problems), but I still worry about that. I am worried about backing, and quite a bit scared of screwing it all up in training. Reading hear about GOAL, and folks just saying "don't be worried about how long it takes as long as you get it safely(not hitting things)", helps that a bit.

Currently my top choice is Roehl. I am finding that pet policy is a big deal for me ( I want my dog with me, eventually), the fact that they have a pet and a rider policy is huge to me. I'd like to bring my gf to see a new place or two on occasion down the line. The fact that they have so much available in different fleets, and even go so far as hometime plus I just find incredible. I really like having a single company with multiple options for me after my first year in, rather than be looking for new companies after that year.

I haven't contacted them yet, I want to finish the high road training here first.. which is ridiculously awesome by the way.. you are all awesome for that. Can anybody else answer if I have to have my passport first or not? In some places it says passport is required (for canadian routes) and in others it doesn't mention it at all. I would plan to get the passport after I was getting paid as a driver, but as of now if they require it I might have to look someplace else first.

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.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome to Trucking Truth, Duckie. It does take a special kind of crazy to enjoy this job; and I LOVE IT!!!

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Roehl Transport is an excellent choice. A huge plus to their program is you are an employee from day one and actually get a small salary while in their school.

My daughter had been interested in them and she was told while in school they pay for your room but your transportation to class every day from the motel is on you. She didn't end up going to CDL school.. had a baby instead lol.

Company sponsored schools are great, but you can also have your CDL school paid for by WIOA funding. To apply just visit your local unemployment office. In that case, you attend a local school, but be sure to choose your school carefully because some are better than others. And now for my shameless plug.. if you did go the WIOA route to get your CDL, check out my employer, West Side Transport. Awesome company with pet and rider policy and we have some very nice opportunities for Ohio drivers. Oh and staying out for months at a time isn't necessary. We have home daily (if you're near Columbus), home weekly, and home biweekly options. It's no touch freight and often drop and hook. We do not have a CDL school, but do hire brand new drivers which complete a 30 day paid training program. Size or special agility/strength requirements is not a concern at West Side. What they want to see is honesty and a willingness to work hard.

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.

WIOA:

WIOA - Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (aka WIA)

Formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the WIOA was established in 1998 to prepare youth, adults and dislocated workers for entry and reentry into the workforce. WIOA training funds are designed to serve laid-off individuals, older youth and adults who are in need of training to enter or reenter the labor market. A lot of truck drivers get funding for their CDL training through WIOA.

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.

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.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi. On my 41st birthday I walked out of my job of 18 years and headed for a company sponsored school. That was two years ago and I'm still at the same company with no plans on leaving.

Your concerns are the same as everyone...backing comes with time. I was the only one in my class of 76 who never drove a stick. No big deal. Training in my company is usually one on one OTR from the time you get your permit so I got plenty of practice before the test.

Be sure to specifically look for the passenger policies of companies. For insurance reasons not all companies allow passengers even if they do pets or vice versa. And many companies charge a pet fee or have weight limits or limit the number of pets. For example, at prime we can have one pet up to 30 pounds.

Be sure to stay away from leasing, at least for awhile. Learn the craft first before making huge decisions like that.

As for the employment, yes they want stability. If you couldn't hold a job then will you last the length of the contract? Be upfront and provide whatever W2/you can. Even if seasonal, if you returned to the same company every year it will look good. If you helped take care of a sick loved one or were in school then provide letters or documents for that. Some companies are more strict than others.

Good luck

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.

BlueAppleDuckie's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the heads up about WIOA Susan, going to check that out as an option too, though company sponsored has more appeal to me... I tend to be a fast learner (am confident i can pass for my clp already) so a ton of book and review time is not really up my alley. I am definately going to look into West side anyway; the more I know, the better.

Rainy; Thanks for the encouragement, and I will be sure to check the specifics on the pet/rider policies more carefully now, thanks for the heads up on that. As for my spotty/ seasonal employment, I figure all I can do is be honest, and if I cant get into the company/training that I am hoping for, I'll just go to my next on list down the line, and worry about being picky about pet and rider policies after I have my CDL and more than a year behind the wheel. If the option isn't there for me now, it will be in good time.

I figure at the very least, I have a clean bill of health(DOT physical will be no problem) I am drug and alchol free (have been my whole life) , have had two tickets in my whole life (one improper turn, one speeding {minor}.. both of them being more than three years ago. (If I thought I was getting my cdl ever in my life, I would have fought both of them, as it was I paid them just cause it wasnt worth the hassle to me at the time) Never been in an accident in my 25+ years of driving ( most of that in the NY NJ PHILLY area, a huge accomplishment imho *snicker*) but including drives from nj to michigan, and nj to ohio and back in a 20ft uhaul midwinter in the snow. So Im not one of the folks who only ever drove from work to home or the store and back. Life would have been too boring that way!

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.

WIOA:

WIOA - Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (aka WIA)

Formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the WIOA was established in 1998 to prepare youth, adults and dislocated workers for entry and reentry into the workforce. WIOA training funds are designed to serve laid-off individuals, older youth and adults who are in need of training to enter or reenter the labor market. A lot of truck drivers get funding for their CDL training through WIOA.

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.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
a ton of book and review time is not really up my alley

You might want to consider that you're about to be driving an 80,000 pound building on wheels down long, steep mountain grades and through heavily congested city traffic. Not knowing one important thing you needed to know can kill you, or someone else. Trucking is far more complicated than simply driving a big car, which is the mistake most people make in their thinking when entering this industry.

Use our High Road Training Program and study hard. There's a lot to 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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Paul F. 's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

a ton of book and review time is not really up my alley

double-quotes-end.png

You might want to consider that you're about to be driving an 80,000 pound building on wheels down long, steep mountain grades and through heavily congested city traffic. Not knowing one important thing you needed to know can kill you, or someone else. Trucking is far more complicated than simply driving a big car, which is the mistake most people make in their thinking when entering this industry.

Use our High Road Training Program and study hard. There's a lot to know.

I used high road, and I'm still in training, a few minor errors aside. High road prepared me well for what I was about to embark on. 👍👍👍

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

BlueAppleDuckie's Comment
member avatar

Wow, I didn't realize how bad that sounded. A better coice of works would have been "a ton of classroom book and review time is not up my alley". Mea Culpa

I have never learned well in a claasroom environment, independant study of materials has always worked better for me learning and retaining knowledge. I choose my pace, study the parts that I need more understanding of, and lightly review the things that I have already memorized. In a classroom they always seem to stress the points that I have down pat, and gloss over the parts that I have problems retaining. Classrooms tend to mess me up and slow down my learning rather than helping me.

The High Road here is just about perfect. I learn materials at my pace, can review things I struggle with freely, and I dont have to repeatedly go over something I have completely understood and absorbed at the expense of time I could spend on something I need a better understanding of.

I appreciate the concern Brett, and definately want to thank you for this site and the High Road training. It is a godsend to someone like me who learns better independantly.

Paul, thanks for the words of encouragement, and I hope to have a similar success with High Road's preparation.

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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