Profile For Nick M.

Nick M.'s Info

  • Location:
    Sheridan, WY

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    1 year, 5 months ago

Nick M.'s Bio

No Bio Information Was Filled Out. Must be a secret.

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Posted:  6 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Why do drivers stay OTR over LTL?

Personally, I like the adventure of being OTR. One week I’m in Florida, a few days later I’m in Oregon, etc. I never know where I am going each load, so the spontaneity keeps the job interesting. I don’t see myself driving in a city everyday or doing the same route over and over.

Posted:  6 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Any tips, advice on flatbed and spread axle trailers?

My advice:

There is no such thing as over securement. I have had several flatbedders come up to me at shippers and try and tell me how to secure my load and that I didn’t need so much securement. Don’t listen to any of that unless its useful tips and tricks to make your job easier. Secure it until you feel comfortable with it, and as long as it meets DOT standards and your company standards. I always throw an extra three or four straps or chains just for peace of mind. It doesn’t take that long.

Take care of your equipment. Use edge protectors when necessary. I have seen some loads put cuts and tears in straps. If that happens don’t use that strap and get it replaced. If you don’t have edge protection, get creative. Socks, cardboard, and other miscellaneous materials can work to save your straps and tarps.

Take care of yourself. You will get dirty and sweaty and nasty so take the time to shower. Flatbedders need more showers than the average telf ruck driver just due to the nature of the work. Some loads can be frustrating but don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Stay calm and don’t get in a hurry. There is no room for shortcuts in securement and safety is your most important job. Also, know that every load you complete is more experience under your belt and the job will get easier as time goes on.

Learn as much as you can. Watch Youtube. Look at every flatbed that passes you on the highway and notice how other loads are secured. Watch how other flatbedders secure their loads at shippers. It is amazing how much you can learn just through observing how other people perform the job. I have picked up numerous tricks just by being observant.

My last bit of advice is just to enjoy the journey. Starting in trucking is by nature intimidating and nerve-wracking and it is even more stressful getting into flatbedding. It’s easy to get caught up in the lifestyle of trucking, and alot of times I have to remind myself to just enjoy the journey along the way. Get out of your truck and go walking. Take breaks at rest stops and get out and stretch. Eat at mom and pop restaurants. Find new places to park that aren’t major chain truck stops. Be adventurous. As a new trucker I played it safe and didn’t want to do much exploring, but the more confidence I gained I found myself finding opportunities to have new experiences and have some fun out on the road.

Posted:  6 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Try Flatbedding!

Flatbedding is it’s own beast within the trucking industry but I have found that there are many benefits to going this route, as long as you are willing to put in the extra work.

The first, and most important benefit, is that most shippers and receivers operate on regular business hours so it is much easier to maintain a regular “normal” schedule while you are out on the road. On pick-up days I am usually scaled and parked before the truck stops start filling up at dinner and am long gone on the road before anyone else is even thinking about waking up. This allows me to drive through cities and avoid rush-hours without any major set backs, ensure I have a parking spot at a reasonable hour, and get a shower in before the evening crowd comes. Because most shippers and receivers for flatbedders are closed on the weekend it is often easy to squeeze in a 34 hour reset and start the week off with a fresh clock too. Also, load and unload times are usually shorter at shippers and receivers, but this too is not always the case, just a general observation that seems fairly consistent.

The second benefit, and this might not appeal to everyone, is that there is some physical work to get you out of the truck. Sure, tarping sucks, but many companies compensate you for it. Most are $30-$50 a load, but mine is $100, so it’s often worth it and adds a significant boost to my paycheck. You don’t get paid for securement on an untarped load, but the securement usually isn’t that time consuming. It’s also good exercise for you brain as every load is a puzzle that needs to be solved. How do you secure this load so it is safe and legal? Every load is different. Some are easy and some are a royal pain, but doing this work allows you to work out your body and your mind and offers a welcome break from the monotony of driving day in and day out.

The third benefit is that many shippers and receivers are in “truck-friendly” areas, i.e. industrial parks and areas. Also, because you will most often be loaded by a forklift or some other machinery, the areas you go into to load and unload usually have plenty of maneuvering room for the truck, as there is space available for the loading equipment to maneuver around you. This is not always the case, but I have found it to be pretty consistent. Drivers always joke that flatbedders are the worst at backing because we usually don’t have to do it as much as the dry-vans and reefers and it’s true. Other than the occasional shipper who has a loading bay, I only back up to park for the day!

The final major benefit is that flatbedding companies usually pay a little more money per mile, especially as a newer driver. The company that I started with started me at 47 cpm and after a year you are already at 58-60 cpm. Other larger mega carriers don’t pay inexperienced drivers that much, you just need to find a flatbed carrier that has a training program, as there are many that do not a require you to get some experience running dry-van or reefer first.

There are other minor perks as well, such as you get to haul some pretty cool stuff from time to time, and you can always see what you are hauling, whereas in a dry-van there is often times you have no idea what’s back there. There is always new ways to challenge yourself when it comes to securement and there is alot of stuff to learn. I always study every flatbed truck I see on the road just to see what tips and tricks I can pick up for my own securement! There is also more opportunity and options in the world of flatbed as you can go heavy-haul, RGN, or stepdeck.

WIth all the benefits, there are some negatives too, and to be fair I will put them out there for full disclosure. The biggest downfall is that often times you are exposed to the elements when securing and/or tarping. The summer heat can be miserable and you will get sweaty and dirty! And in the winter everything freezes and the tarps won’t cooperate. On loading and unloading days you will need to shower, so overall you can expect to need to shower more often than you might if you were driving dry-van. Another negative is there is more responsibility. You are responsible for that load and it’s proper securement and the last thing you want to see when you are driving down the road is freight shifting or falling off your trailer and killing someone. It’s easy to get flustered and be in a hurry but there are no shortcuts with securement! Finally, there are some days when you just don’t feel like doing the physical part of flatbedding but the job has to get done anyways. I personally don’t have many more negatives than that, but I am sure other flatbedders might so leave a comment!

If you are looking to start a career in trucking and don’t mind the extra effort involved, consider flatbedding. It’s a little less monotonous than regular trucking and allows you to get some exercise and think a little bit. It’s not for everyone, but you never know unless you try.

Posted:  1 year, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Gaming and Trucking

I ended up going with Melton Truck Lines

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You won’t be able to use it on your trainer truck but when yo go on your own then have at it. I have a ps4 in my truck for when I am bored or get stuck resetting somewhere. My trainer had an Xbox he played on his truck and he offered me to play it but I declined. Honestly by the end of my drive shift all I wanted to do was call home and sleep.

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Who did you end up going with, Nick??

Hope all is well!

~ Anne ~

ps: Sorry for hijack.. only gamer here is my Xboxer teen son downstairs, not yet a driver! LoL~

Posted:  1 year, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Gaming and Trucking

You won’t be able to use it on your trainer truck but when yo go on your own then have at it. I have a ps4 in my truck for when I am bored or get stuck resetting somewhere. My trainer had an Xbox he played on his truck and he offered me to play it but I declined. Honestly by the end of my drive shift all I wanted to do was call home and sleep.

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