Profile For Steven

Steven's Info

  • Location:
    Haslet, TX

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    5 months ago

Steven's Bio

I drive for J.B. Hunt Intermodal out of Haslet, TX. My region consists of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. As of March 3, 2021, I have 7 months of driving experience.

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Posted:  4 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Need help with issue

Craig. I would give you my perspective to just deal with it. I could tolerate it and I might even prefer your trainer if he's nice and easy to get along with. That's far more important than being weirded out. But I have to consider that you are not me.

So if you can't stand it. Here's how to carefully create a PC message to your training manager.

...

Actually, never mind. I'm drawing a blank. There is probably no way you can switch trainers without this coming off as bad. Your training manager will see through it and so will your trainer. It would be incredibly awkward. So you need to find something else he's doing wrong. Did he yell at you and make you feel uncomfortable?

Another idea is to intentionally fail at something. Start failing at backing the trailer, for example. Just completely start sucking at it. When your trainer inevitably gets frustrated, then request another trainer stating you feel like you need a third, different perspective on how to help you learn.

In this way, it becomes an argument that it's your fault, not his. You spare him his feelings and don't come off as a homophobe, which is what I think you are trying to accomplish.

Posted:  5 months ago

View Topic:

What is a Good, Safe Universal Speed

Hey everyone these are great answers and they helped me a lot. Thank you so much.

For the record I usually set my cruise at 61 even though I could go 65. I only go 65 when I'm trying to pass the rare vehicle going slower than 61. I've been told my average speed is one of the lowest on my board, yet I still get the same miles which I manage through sheer discipline (taking few breaks, eating once per day when my shift is already over, waking up early and ending early, etc).

I just wanted to see if I was crazy for going slower and I've just learned that I'm not. Thanks again.

Posted:  5 months ago

View Topic:

What is a Good, Safe Universal Speed

When I got into orientation with my first company, my trainer recommended that I should set my cruise control to 61 mph on the highways. Obviously one should go slower depending on conditions. But 61 mph was considered a very safe, good speed for most normal highway conditions.

Then I got into the real world and noticed that pretty much nobody goes that slow. I felt like a loser being the only trucker going 61 mph while all the rest were blazing past me going 65, 68, or 70, depending on what their regulators (or lack thereof) would allow.

What would you say is the maximum safe speed for an 18 wheeler? Do you think 61 is too slow under normal conditions? Is it really safe to go 65 mph, when considering the possibility of a steer tire blowout? How much risk is really reduced by dropping from 65 to 61?

I know going slower costs money. You get less work done. What I really want to know is if it's worth it to go slower?

Posted:  5 months ago

View Topic:

Questions about local driving

Done OTR Regional and Local.

Local blows.

If you have a work ethic, and you are willing to ride for the brand and move Freight for the full 14 hours available to you each day, your outfit will grab that brass ring. That means youll get to run a dull 14, and then you have 10 hours to be back for your fixed start time. That means, yes, you get to drive home, S,S&S, and then drive back to work. In time for your fixed start time. 10 hours after your end time. Not much time for a life.

Thanks for this, Mr. Curmudgeon. I was actually thinking of moving to a more local role in the near future. But I was also a little bit turned off by how long their days are. I'm thinking I like regional the best. Home frequently enough but not working 14 hours days and/or unloading trucks. Regional seems to offer the best balance, but obviously that's just my take.

Posted:  5 months ago

View Topic:

Questions about local driving

Steven, here's the problem. You extrapolated your "opinions" from your extremely limited experience. Then you come into a public forum to share your "opinions" as though they were reasonable expectations for all new drivers. You don't realize how misinformed you are, but you still persist in arguing your case.

That's fine, but we are going to provide some push back when you push ideas about this career that are not going to hold true for most drivers. It is not just our "opinion" that most of the time local type jobs don't work out for rookie drivers. It's been proven repeatedly. We see the stories of these failures often right here in our forum. A new driver lands a local delivery type job, has a minor accident, and then nobody wants to touch them. No one considers their local work as experience, plus they have an accident on their record. It's generally not a prudent way to start one's trucking career. That is something we teach regularly. You entered our sphere claiming we were wrong based on maybe six months experience, just because your experience differed.

.........

Thank you, Old School, for taking the time to write all this. I appreciate the lessons and you made some wonderful points.

Posted:  5 months ago

View Topic:

Questions about local driving

Steve, you call me a "harsh critic" when I explained how your "assumptions" (your word) are incorrect. The factors I wrote for you are based on observation and experience. With one "Rookie Solo Driver" post you want to tell us how things should be.

I have driven over the road, worked regional accounts and line-haul (where there's nothing that needs memorizing). And trucking companies have worked many of the kinks out of their operations to get the industry to work safely and profitably.

I do not expect you to get too far in this business if you continue trying to use your imagination but do not want to adapt your thinking to reality.

You do have to freedom to choose your company and your type of driving. But as a new Rookie Solo Driver, please don't drop into this forum and try to tell us how we are wrong.

Errol V. I gave you my opinion and I never really said you were wrong. I just have a different perspective.

I suppose my issue with your posts about me is that you attack ad hominem. Not every comment. But some of them. By continuing to point out that I'm a 'rookie driver' and you're not, you think that wins the debate hands down.

Attacking my assumptions is fine and I do appreciate you doing that for me. Attacking my credibility is an act of self-deception on your part. Credibility attacks are the single greatest mistake that most people make in a debate.

My assumption that regional and local gigs are easier than OTR is based on my experience. It might not be the years of experience that you think I should have. But it's still experience. My pay went up 50% by switching companies with 3 months experience and the new job was regional and easier than the OTR job I had before. I don't think I'm wrong.

When I first took my job with JB Hunt Intermodal, I was paired with a trainer for 3 days mostly so he could evaluate my competence. They had no regional trainers available, so my trainer was a local driver and we ran local routes in a day cab for 3 days in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area. My assessment of the job is that it was easier than OTR jobs. And my trainer was really good, a big part of which is that he memorized the routes and customers.

Again, you're not wrong in capital letters. It's a gray subject. It depends on what you find most challenging. If you think backing up in docks is the most challenging part of trucking, then local jobs should probably be considered harder. But if you're like me, and think driving new routes all the time and worrying about taking a wrong turn or where you'll go down for 10 hour breaks in unfamiliar territory is the most challenging, then you'll probably see OTR as a harder, more stressful job.

Finally, telling me not to chime in with comments because I'm a 'rookie' is probably not a good position to take. Sure, you should scrutinize a rookie comment a little harder. But that doesn't automatically make them wrong.

Posted:  5 months ago

View Topic:

Questions about local driving

Steven is a new driver who landed a nice position that he is grateful for. Unfortunately he thinks his experience is the norm. He obviously didn't care for OTR and thinks his disdain is felt by us all. It is unfortunate that he considers his limited experience to give him authority to make such misleading remarks. We will continue to try to help potential drivers understand the best ways to get established in the driving jobs they are looking for.

It is certainly true that there are a lot of local jobs available, but it is equally true that most of them require experience. There are always exceptions based usually upon location, but most of them require experience for good reason. Steven just happens to be in one of those areas. He just doesn't understand the real reasons why he was able to do what he did. If he has an accident he may discover some of the harsh realities we warn people of. I hope he doesn't have to figure it out the hard way.

He is seemingly unaware of how unusual his experience has been.

Hey Old School. Would you mind explaining to me the 'real reason' I was able to do what I did? I'm not being smart here. I genuinely don't know what you meant by this comment.

Mmmmmm. It's not that I disdain OTR. I just disdained the pay. I was making about $36K with my first company doing OTR. I didn't feel that was enough, not even for a rookie. But then I get 3 months of experience and JB Hunt offers me a regional gig that pays $55K.

I've read a lot of the posts on this thread. I know you guys shun job hopping. But I disagree in certain situations. If you were in my shoes, would you have turned down JB Hunt's job offer? I literally increased my pay by 50% and all I had to do was take a more enjoyable job.

And no, I didn't get my job because of the area I live in. JB Hunt has a pretty aggressive recruiting strategy nationwide. They make it pretty well known that they have regional jobs all over the USA (intermodal leans toward regional) and you only need 3 months to get one. It's how they market themselves. Why is this so unusual?

Posted:  5 months ago

View Topic:

Questions about local driving

Steven, you list yourself as a "Rookie Solo Driver" with two posts. Then you regale is with all these dirty "facts" that OTR driving:

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requires the greatest amount of skill and discipline because you are constantly visiting new shippers/receivers that you've never visited before. ... more unexpected situations (especially backing in random docks), more dilligent trip planning, more route analysis, etc. ... tractors ... have an inferior turning radius are significantly more challenging to back up than day cabs that local drivers use.

double-quotes-end.png

How do you come to this conclusion?

Local drivers don't always have the same route, the same stops. Most Pickup/Delivery (P & D) includes those "unexpected situations", and surprise, surprise, day cabs have a shorter wheel base than sleepers, but both being tied to 53' trailers, the turning radius is about the same. (I've driven both types of tractors.)

Now let me throw some arithmetic at you:

In OTR, you will be at a new-to-you dock about every 2-3 days. In between is miles/hours of interstate road, the easiest kind of driving there is. Yes, you have surface street and tight traffic for a while, but local driving has that local stuff all day long. With 4-8 or more stops every day.

Finally, there's a reason the Bigs don't like to put rookies on local assignments: they are more dangerous than OTR.

Hey Errol V. You're a harsh critic. But I can see your point. My assumption was that local drivers do usually have the same routes and stops. Even if it's complex, you will memorize it within a certain period of time. OTR, on the other hand, you will never memorize. There are too many routes and thousands upon thousands of customers.

Drawing on my personal experience going from OTR to Regional, I can say that my regional job is easier, less stressful, and it pays better all the same. And one of the primary reasons it pays better is because I memorized the routes and customers, so I can now work faster and more efficiently.

I agree that the routes of local drivers are not easier. Yes, OTR is a lot of interstate. Yes, local is a lot of complex city driving. Still, if you drive the same local route every day, I think you will memorize its nuances and it will become easier than OTR routes that you don't have memorized. I've known local drivers who have their entire city memorized to such an extent that they're walking GPS's.

OTR drivers will never memorize their routes. They will never be able to get comfortable. This is just my opinion. I do agree with you though that companies probably see it your way when making hiring decisions. I just don't see it that way.

Posted:  5 months ago

View Topic:

Intermodal with JB Hunt

My experience with J.B. Hunt Intermodal as a regional driver has been a positive one. I work out of the Haslet, TX terminal but I think the experience should be similar to PA.

Here's the advantages of Intermodal:

1) Each assignment will have one stop at a customer location and one stop at the rail yard. Since the rail yard is streamlined for getting in and out, you basically don't count it as a stop. That means your stops are cut in half in comparison to most other trucking jobs, who have to make time consuming stops at both a shipper and a receiver. Furthermore, the rail yard pick up/drop is always a drop and hook. This drastically reduces live loading and hard appointment times.

2) In the case of J.B. Hunt in Haslet, TX, their terminal is right next to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail yard. Literally across the street. That means half the time you have a guaranteed place to park for your 10 hour breaks if your'e a regional driver, when you happen to be ending your day near the terminal. This takes a lot of stress out of trip planning and worrying where you'll go down for the night.

3) Although J.B. Hunt is a mega carrier, they are surprisingly non-bureaucratic. I've noticed a laid back environment while working here. My previous company was a burden in comparison, speaking about how many forms you had to fill out over simple tasks and all the rules you had to follow.

4) They literally serve hundreds of customers in any given region. However, the 80/20 rule does apply and so you're delivering to the same 10-20 customers most of the time. This allows you to gain familiarity with your route, customers, and removes a lot of stress in your working life. I found J.B. Hunt Intermodal to be far less stressful than my previous OTR gig with a different company.

5) You get 2 days off during the week. That is awesome. If they really want you to work a 6th day, they pay out incentive money of, say $200, on top of your regular pay for that 6th day. You can easily make $55K in the Texas region, though this varies with the other intermodal locations. That's pretty good considering it's only regional and you get 2 days off.

6) They also have local gigs in intermodal, though these require 1 year of experience. Regional intermodal gigs only require 3 months experience, and so that's where I started because I'm a relatively new driver.

Posted:  5 months ago

View Topic:

Questions about local driving

Local driving jobs are more difficult to get than OTR or regional positions. I've heard the skill argument before. Some think local jobs require more skill. I disagree.

Honestly, I think OTR requires the greatest amount of skill and discipline because you are constantly visiting new shippers/receivers that you've never visited before. This means more unexpected situations (especially backing in random docks), more dilligent trip planning, more route analysis, etc. OTR drivers are also in tractors with full sleepers, which have an inferior turning radius are significantly more challenging to back up than day cabs that local drivers use.

Local (and regional) jobs are easier because you tend to visit the same docks repeatedly. After a 2 month learning curve you should be familiar with the route and all the customer locations.

I think the real reason local driving gigs require greater experience (usually 1-2 years) is because MOST DRIVERS want local jobs. That means an increase in driver applicants. And a higher level of choices means the employers can be pickier.

The biggest irony in trucking is that OTR requires the most skill, but because nobody wants to do it the carriers have to place new drivers in those positions. Easy jobs have senior drivers. Hard jobs have novice drivers. It's just the way it is.

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