LTL Trucking - My Linehaul Job

Topic 4501 | Page 12

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Old School's Comment
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Hey 6 String, although most of us are not that familiar with the Line Haul work, it sounds like you're experiencing the gamut of the emotions and the highs and lows of trying to just get your feet wet in the industry that we try to prepare the new OTR drivers for. It can be a brutal baptism when you are getting started. One of the suits at my company told me the average stay at our company for new drivers was 90 days. That first year can be so tough, but it is also a huge adrenaline rush, Success comes on gradually, and it steadily gets better and better. I wish you every success, keep hanging in there. It only gets better from here.

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.

Line Haul:

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.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
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Everything is rushing at you so fast that it's not funny. Believe me when I tell you that one day not to much longer down the road, 9 months to 1 year, you will be calm while driving and driving like a pro through your routes. If you can get past the dangerous part, 3 to 8 months you will have it made. It's this rush of emotions that you are having right now that usually scares those that can't handle it back home. Control those and push them aside. The only one I want you to keep close and become a personal friend with is fear. Fear is healthy and it is what will keep you from going around a curve to fast or riding the bumper of the car in front of you.

You will get through this very stressful time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
6 string rhythm's Comment
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Thank you gentleman. I appreciate your encouragement. Guy, you and I talked briefly on the night of my maiden voyage. I appreciate your post. I know it will get easier, I'll just have to manage the stress and emotions until that happens. I'll definitely hang in there - it's well worth it. Not hitting anything, being safe, and getting my freight moved from A to B is my immediate goal. Familiarity with my routes will come with time and then I'll be able to settle into my routine - I love boring. I know I'll get there.

AJ D.'s Comment
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Great Thread !!

This is really getting my mind prepared for what's coming.

6 string rhythm's Comment
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Week 2 coming up. I'll dispatch tonight and won't know until then whether I will be out the full 5 days or not. I'm supposed to expect to be out 5 days at a time as a new driver, so that is what I'm geared up for. I'll get to come home this Monday morning and catch Monday Night Football with all the recaps of this Thursday and the weekend. My Steelers are playing Cleveland on Sunday - can't wait to hear how they clobbered the Brownies.dancing-banana.gif

To all of you - the majority of you - who are going OTR and will be out for weeks or months at a time, my hat is off to you drivers. You have my utmost respect. I suppose if that was what I had to do then I would put myself in the proper mindset to push through. Being gone this past week (4-5days) was the longest time my wife and I were ever apart. I got to come home for 3 days at the end of this run and I couldn't imagine only have 3 days off while being gone for 3 weeks (your typical 7 out, 1 day home OTR schedule), only to ship out for another 3 weeks or so. I don't think OTR drivers get paid enough. You definitely have to love the lifestyle, or grow accustomed to it.

I've already got some butterflies heading into my second week. Wondering where I'll be dispatched, what obstacles I'll have to overcome, if I'll get enough rest during my 10 hours off. I'm one more week experienced this time around and I will continue to build off my experience. My same, basic goals are in front of me: don't hit anything, be safe, move my freight from A to B, take my time and don't get in a hurry.

What to know my secret weapon against the stress of the job? Being thankful for my job. It's already been helping me deal with the stress. While nobody would blame anybody for being stressed out from driving through NYC and Jersey City their first few days of trucking, how one handles stress is completely up to them. It's a mindset and takes some mental strength. I take comfort in knowing that with each dispatch I'll be a little more experienced, and hopefully wiser. Wisdom is the result of applying your knowledge and experience towards the next encounter or experience. I want to learn from my mistakes and grow from them. This trial by fire is not comfortable, but I'm looking forward to seeing the fruits of my labor - being a better driver, a more confident driver. I never want to lose that healthy fear that Guy referred to above, but it will be nice to not have as many butterflies floating around in my belly. smile.gif

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

AJ D.'s Comment
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Good luck to you this week, buddy. Drive safely :)

6 string rhythm's Comment
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Hello folks. I'm a smidge wiser this week than I was last week. Getting experience on the job is a real bugger, and usually the really bad experiences are the ones that make you a better driver. But I'd like to say that with each experience comes more familiarity, and with familiarity comes the ability to enjoy my job more. That first week was ROUGH, from getting used to the long night shifts to getting lost in NYC / Jersey City. The thought of quitting had to be pushed out of my mind many times. I would remember what I've read on this forum - you never should quit on a bad day. And it takes quit a while to get adjusted to this line of work. I survived.

This week, the worst experience I had was having to get heavy on the brakes while approaching a stale green light that turned yellow. It was at night and there weren't any drivers approaching the intersection which would've triggered the light, so it was kind of random. I was pulling a set of empties on a return back to my home terminal. Man, did those brakes GRAB. It jerked me forward in my seat. I knew that when bobtailing or pulling empty trailers you need to be more careful with braking, but now I REALLY know. I'll chalk it up as a freebie - nobody was around, I didn't lock the brakes up, and I won't forget the experience. Also, I noticed how much those empty double trailers wiggle waggle with gusts of wind.

So far, I've been all over the NE - Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, throughout PA, Delaware, Maryland, and south like Virginia.

The big thing I'm seeing now is managing my time. I know I'll improve with the time it takes to hook up and break down my sets of doubles , but it does eat into my on duty time. Getting familiar with each terminal takes time too - I've already spent close to 20 minutes hunting down empty trailers, just because I don't know where certain terminals keep them in their yards. When you're running tight schedules as a line haul driver, every saved minute counts, and enables you to take yet another run to make more money - or to make it back without getting stranded!

Getting into a routine will make any driver more efficient, and potentially more safe. I'm still coming up with my own routine for pre trips and hooking up / breaking down doubles, but I can see my time improving. And if you stick to a routine, you won't worry about missing important safety checks during your pre trip. I'm assuming most drivers have a routine. I couldn't imagine not having one - I'd constantly wonder if I remembered to check something that needed checked if I didn't have some kind of routine. Not having a routine will waste time, especially if you're triple checking stuff that you already checked, or even worse, you could miss something all together.

I feel extremely fortunate to have my linehaul job, and I work for one of the best LTL companies in the business. So on my bad days, not only do I try to become more grateful for having my job, but I think about the family I"m supporting - it gets me through the tough, stressful experiences. I still can't believe how fast everything has gone, from graduating trucking school, to landing my first (and hopefully last) trucking job. I love driving a big rig, and I've been getting great satisfaction in seeing my skills progress (like backing trailers into tight spots). The night shift is tough, but I know it will be temporary. I'm constantly keeping my eyes ahead on the prize - being home every day, having my day schedule and going to the same place all the time, and having two days off a week with my family.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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

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.

Line Haul:

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Good to hear from you, buddy.

Drive safely...

AJ D.'s Comment
member avatar

When you say your backing skills are improving, is this with single trailers? I know you run doubles a lot and don't back those things up much... So you must be getting some different loads?

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

When you say your backing skills are improving, is this with single trailers? I know you run doubles a lot and don't back those things up much... So you must be getting some different loads?

Running linehaul , I only pull doubles. Most of the time, except for my home terminal where we have yard jockeys that break our sets, I have to break my sets and back my pup trailers into doors or spots on the yard. A lot of these yards are small with tight spaces to back into. That was what I was referring to. Also, backing and maneuvering 53' or 48' trailers is much easier than pup trailers because pups move very quickly. It takes some time to get used to how fast they respond to your steering wheel movements. I'm still getting used to how they handle when backing and setting up. Dollys respond even faster when you back them to get lined up with your tail trailer.

I do have the option to run some drop and hook city runs if I have extra time on my clock. The P&D guys mostly run 48' and 53' trailers.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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