What Is A Day Off?

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Steak Eater's Comment
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I've seen posts indicating different time-frames so maybe it's different for each company. Is a day off a day by name or 24 hour period or some other time-frame?

Bill F.'s Comment
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Hopefully a day off is a 34 hour reset. Unfortunately it can be a maintenance problem instead.

Last Shadow's Comment
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It don't always work for me, but usually I take my 34 hours reset at a terminal so the shop can look at my truck if needed, do laundry, go grocery shopping, it works to perfection sometimes, but that's what I considered a day off, home time is sacred not to be confused.

Hopefully a day off is a 34 hour reset. Unfortunately it can be a maintenance problem instead.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

ACO476's Comment
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I leave work on Friday afternoon and return to work Monday morning. That's considered two days off. If I do a 34 reset, I consider that one day off.

Old School's Comment
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Is a day off a day by name or 24 hour period or some other time-frame?

Steak Eater, it's a great question. I think the whole concept of having a day off is completely misunderstood in the trucking business, and it goes back to what we try to teach people all the time when we tell them that this whole career is a lifestyle, not just a different job that you are going into. There are long hours involved in this career, excessively long for those who have been accustomed to working 9 - 5 type jobs where you are at home with your family on the weekends. For me, I had always worked 70 - 80+ hour weeks for years before I started doing this, and it seemed like a full time vacation to me with all the scenery being thrown in their while I was getting paid to roll down the road while working.

Some people manage to make this stuff enjoyable out here while others just seem to slog through it with disdain. If by a day off you mean being home with your family, then that is going to be typically about once a month (for several days) on most OTR type jobs - some are a little better, but that is about average (More on that in a minute).

There are lots of times when you can take a day off from working though, and you just have got to kind of learn to "roll with the punches" out here and keep yourself focused on enjoying the career. These days off will be sometimes spontaneous. Such as a delay in your schedule, like a receiver won't take you early, even though you got there a day ahead of schedule, or something like that. Or maybe you have just literally run out of hours and you have got to park the truck for a 34 hour reset. I really make a point to enjoy these times. Other folks let this kind of thing driver them nuts. I have known drivers who cannot stand to take a 34 while out on the road, they feel they should be at home if they are taking time off. Not me, I do what I can to make it enjoyable. I will search out a nice restaurant, or take a nice lengthy walk in the area and learn about it's history or it's culture. You can Uber over to a near by area that you find amusing or entertaining. Don't just sit there in your truck and let anxiety and misery about your current situation just build up in yourself like steam in a pressure cooker. Get out of that truck and live a little!

Here's a photo of a place down in Port Fourchon, Louisiana that I took a day off at while doing a 34 hour reset. It is a nice area, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself there...

20161013_142154_zpstmp8a316.jpg

Here is a link to a thread where I posted about A Trip I Took Down There to that area. I'm trying to help you see how a successful Over the Road driver tries to set his mindset to enjoy life on the road. I'm hoping that exposing you to some of my own experiences out here will trigger something in you that helps you learn how to not only deal with the lifestyle, but come to enjoy it also. There are plenty of folks out here who do nothing but complain about the career that I find both fascinating and rewarding. Perspective can be a vital compass that sets your destiny in motion one way or the other.

Continued...

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.

Over The Road:

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.
Old School's Comment
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I once had my daughter Abigail riding with me and we planned our trip so that we could take a day off and spend it at Silver Dollar City Follow that link and you can see how I do things out here and how I enjoy taking some time off at places on the road. As long as you are delivering on time, you can take some of the crazy things about the schedules of these loads and work them to your own advantage. Sometimes I will work them so that I deliver early and make a little more money that week, at other times it makes more sense to enjoy some time in an interesting area that I find myself in. The point is that you are in charge of how you want to do your days off.

Now, back to the idea of taking a day off at home. When I am at home, I do two things that are important for all rookies to understand. First thing I do when getting home is send a Qualcomm message that gives my PTA. (projected time of availability) That tells my dispatcher when I will be ready to return to work - this is important. New guys sometimes get pushed a little by their Driver managers to get back to work. You don't want to be too pushy about your time off, but nor do you want to be pushed around by your DM. If you've been out there for four weeks, then you have earned a good 3 or 4 days at home - take them, guilt free! Just don't expect much more than that, and be prepared to roll when your time is up. If you've been out on the road for six weeks, you still should only expect about 3 or 4 days off. You are in a sense holding their equipment hostage, and they need it moving.

The second thing I do is either turn my phone off, or I just don't answer it if it is my dispatcher. He can leave me a message if he desires, and I will listen to it when I am ready. I am off, and I focus on enjoying being with my family. Recently I was taking some time off at home and my dispatcher texted me about a day before the PTA I had given him with an opportunity to run a really nice load with 2,600 miles on it. I was grateful for the chance to do it and I responded positively to his offer. But as you can see, he knew I wasn't going to answer the phone, so he sent me a text and left the option of responding up to me.

One more thing about this whole time off thing. You need to always have your focus on being a top performer for your driver manager. This is something many folks don't ever seem to lay hold of. Once you have established yourself as a "go to guy" you will start to reap all kinds of benefits. One of which is getting a little more time off when you need it. I have had some medical issues lately that required some minor surgery, and I have had no problems taking as much as ten days off at a time on several occasions. Once they know and respect your abilities, they show an entirely different approach to dealing with you. Once you are an experienced driver with a great track record, you will have a lot more freedoms and perks than the regular old "Knuckleheads" who hang around in the drivers lounge complaining about how the company just doesn't "give" them enough miles to survive.

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
6 string rhythm's Comment
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For anybody interested, I'll describe a day off for a local driver in LTL. Somebody's gotta represent LTL here!

I'm linehaul , and I work 5 days a week. I'm also daylight. On my current schedule, it takes about 10.5 hours for the run. I leave my house around 10:30 am and get home around 10:30 pm. So it's like a 12 hour day on average, including my commute to and from the terminal.

I get two days off a week. My weekend starts Saturday night and I don't go back to work till Tuesday morning. I'm on a Tues-Sat schedule.

Most P&D guys are working Mon-Fri, averaging about 50 hours a week, and have start times typically in the early morning and finish up around supper. They're off Saturdays and Sundays.

Most linehaul drivers work nights and are Mon-Fri. So, keep in mind that the morning of your first "day off," you're usually sleeping or taking some kind of a nap during the day in order to catch up on rest. Most guys will flip their sleep schedule to sleep at night on the weekend in order to be with their family / friends. Then they'll take a cat nap before going in to work on their first day. It varies how you approach it. It can be a chore, and it's certainly a lifestyle.

I enjoy working days, so I don't have to worry about losing a day off or 1/2 a day on my weekend to catch up on sleep, BUT during my week day I have limited time to do anything. Now, I do have more time than most linehaul drivers because of my schedule, but I'm still somewhat limited during my work week. It's definitely not 9-5, but I'm not paid like I'm 9-5 either! I don't know many employees that get paid between $70-100k a year and put in only banker's hours.

So there's a glimpse into a day off for a driver in LTL - linehaul or P&D.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.
Steak Eater's Comment
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My question was pretty poorly worded. Instead of "What is a day off?" I should have asked "How long is a day off?"

Despite some excellent answers, I'm still not following the timing of days off for an OTR driver. If I have 2 days of home time coming to me and get "home" at 3:00 pm on Friday, when is my two days of home time over? Sunday at 2:00 pm, Monday morning, or some other time?

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
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I don't know many employees that get paid between $70-100k a year and put in only banker's hours.

You think putting in 55 hours a week is banker's hours? Even in Manhattan they don't have bankers that work that hard. You're putting in almost as much time as most guys driving OTR or regional.

Steak Eater, that will vary from company to company and division to division. Most companies that get you home on weekends will tell you to expect a 36 - 48 hour average time off. Most of the time you won't be on a set schedule of any sort so this will vary quite a bit. You might get home Friday night and be off until Monday morning, you might get home Saturday morning and be off until Sunday night.

Expect your home time to average 36 - 48 hours on the weekends.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

I don't know many employees that get paid between $70-100k a year and put in only banker's hours.

double-quotes-end.png

You think putting in 55 hours a week is banker's hours? Even in Manhattan they don't have bankers that work that hard. You're putting in almost as much time as most guys driving OTR or regional.

Steak Eater, that will vary from company to company and division to division. Most companies that get you home on weekends will tell you to expect a 36 - 48 hour average time off. Most of the time you won't be on a set schedule of any sort so this will vary quite a bit. You might get home Friday night and be off until Monday morning, you might get home Saturday morning and be off until Sunday night.

Expect your home time to average 36 - 48 hours on the weekends.

You missed my point. I said BANKER'S HOURS, not my hours. I don't know many people that work BANKER'S HOURS ( 9-5 ) and get paid 100k.

Why would I call 55 hours a week banker's hours? That's my whole point.

confused.gif

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

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