Comments By Chris M

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  • Chris M
  • Joined:
  • 5 years ago
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Posted:  4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Choosing a company based on your home location...

Every company has a "hiring area" that covers where the majority of their freight lanes are. As long as you are in that area, it does not matter if you are close to a terminal or the company headquarters.

Also, if you are not close to a terminal, the company will allow you to take the truck home and park at a secure location while on hometime.

So no, location does not matter, provided you are inside of the company's hiring area.

Posted:  4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Padlocking trailer doors

At swift you'll get an "enforcer" lock set which is a padlock and kingpin lock. The set is $80 if I remember correctly, and they deduct if from your pay. If you lose it you'll have to get another and they'll deduct it again.

Posted:  4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Padlocking trailer doors

At Swift if you pick up a loaded dry van or Reefer trailer from a terminal, you are not allowed out of the facility without a lock on it.

Also, when you send you're loaded macro, there is a check box asking if you put a lock on the trailer. If you say yes, and something happens to your load and it wasn't actually locked, you're terminated.

It is company policy that ALL loaded trailers are to be locked.

There is really no reason to ever not lock a loaded trailer.

Even with the paper rolls, sure no one can just carry them out. But let's say you're at a truck stop asleep during the night, and someone breaks the seal, opens the doors to see what's inside, and realizes they can't take anything. Do you think they'll be polite enough to the close the doors back and latch the handles? Nah. So if your doors stay open and you get a little rain shower during the night, now you've got a rejected load because you've got a wet roll of paper.

Seriously, always lock your loaded trailers. There is just no reason to skip that step.

Posted:  4 months, 4 weeks ago

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Flatbed and driving help needed, long post

Turtle mentioned the trick of letting slack into your strap to use it as a sling to get it over a high load. I completely agree with that and if I ever run I to you I'll be glad to show you!

Also, I'll add that the width of your trailer matters. Your load is allowed to be 102" wide, (securement does not count against the width), regardless of whether it's hanging over the rub rails or not. My company has a lot of flatbeds that are only 96" wide. This means if your load is hanging over by 3" on both sides, you're still legal.

Posted:  5 months ago

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Home time Parking

Blain's farm and fleet in Woodstock looks like a good place to try, depending on if that's close enough to you. They've got a pretty big lot and may be willing to work with you

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

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Home time Parking

You can ask around at any of the major retail stores, any place with a large parking lot. Think of any places you've ever seen a truck parked in your area and call and ask. Remember the age old adage, it never hurts to ask lol. Also you can check with self storage places. Often times they have even and boat storage areas and they may be willing to let you pay a few bucks to park there for a few days a month.

If you wanna say what city or town is closest to you I'd be willing to look at Google maps and see what I can find that might work.

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

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Swift Non-Smoking Trainers

I've got my dog with me. I've been asked on numerous occasions if I wanted to be a mentor and have always declined. I don't wanna leave my dog at home if I don't have to, and I would never want to put a trainee in the position of having to "deal with" my dog at a time that's already stressful enough.

Posted:  5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Welcome to flatbed

If you picked up a pre-loaded trailer, it would be very tricky (but not impossible) to put the belly straps in. Most flatbedders have some sort of homemade tool that they can use to fish the straps through those tight spaces.

Just to expand on this really quick, I bought an extendable paint roller from Walmart and took the roller part off. I use it for running belly straps through loads and it works like a charm lol

Posted:  6 months, 1 week ago

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Motion sickness and training

I struggle with motion sickness badly. I can get sick within 10 minutes of riding in the back seat of a car. I took the Dramamine non-drowsy formula. I took it on the greyhound ride from Atlanta to Salt Lake City, and also took it once I got on my trainer's truck and it always helped me. But eventually I got used to the truck and it was actually a lot easier than riding in a car. Good luck!

Posted:  6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Swift or Western Express?

I don't have any experience with Western Express, so I won't speak about them.

I've been with Swift for 2 years, and have not experienced anything like the horror stories that you can read online. Every negative I've experienced, has been handled with courtesy.

The biggest thing I can say about Swift, is there is a real effort being made right now towards attracting and keeping good quality drivers, and efforts to change their overall reputation.

In my experience, if you can't be successful at Swift, the problem is you, not the company.

Posted:  6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Blown-over trucks...gale-force-winds safety question

Office buildings very rarely blow over in heavy winds. Just food for thought.

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Log Management ... HOS

As for hounding the fleet manager, I don’t know, never been comfortable doing that either. Squeaky wheels get the grease but can also get replaced. Once again, may just be my outfit, but every decade+ driver I’ve talked to has said there is no need to hound the fleet managers-you get what you get. I honestly get all the miles I can handle most weeks, and have never once called my fleet manager to complain. I feel doing a good job with a minimum of fuss sends a statement of its own to my fleet manager.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. I have a great relationship with my driver manager (fleet leader/manager at other companies) and I never have to hound him for loads. I know that if I'm not planned when I get unloaded, he is very aware of that and he is working with our planners to get me planned ASAP. Me calling and hounding him only takes his attention away from another issue he may be in the middle of.

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Log Management ... HOS

Actually, I disagree with the thought that your method is the "only" or "best" way to get miles. I average 3400 miles per week and take a 34 hour reset regularly. The truth is daily clock management has greater impact on your miles per week, than managing yourself to have consistent recaps does.

Neither way is specifically "better" than the other. However, advising new drivers to "not accept" loads that require 10 hours of driving per day, is definitely flawed advice.

Posted:  7 months ago

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Reefer trailer

Yes that means that there is something requiring your attention. On your Reefer control panel, go to the page that shows your error codes or fault codes and see what it says. Don't ignore that yellow light!

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

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Knight-Swift merged but still different?

The Bass Pro Shops analogy is pretty much spot on. Basically, the corporations merged into a single corporate entity (Swift-Knight holdings I believe but don't quote me on that), but the two companies are still being run as separate operations. The biggest change was that Kevin Knight now runs both. But we don't use Knight equipment or facilities as Swift drivers.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

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Split Sleeper Birth Question

I understand your desire for a routine. I was the same way, and that's kind of why I chose flatbed. It tends to be the most routine of all the divisions, I think. However, you can never count on anything being routine in this business.

I just wanna second this really quick. I've done refrigerated, dry van, and now flatbed. I have definitely found flatbed to be more prone to some semblance of "routine" regarding day-night cycles at least. This really comes down to the fact that there are a higher percentage of customers who are not 24 hour facilities. A lot more 7am - 5pm places.

I typically am able to do 4/5am starts the vast majority of my days, fit my driving/loading/unloading into a 12ish hour window and repeat. As of the last 4 weeks, I'm averaging 3311 miles per week. Unless you're on a strict dedicated route, that is very rare in the dry van/reefer world.

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Moving closer to terminal worth it?

For OTR, no. Moving closer to a terminal will not affect anything. Move anywhere you want to as long as you're in their hiring area still

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Before sleeper cabs

My great grandad was a truck driver (unfortunately he passed years before I was born). My grandmother has a few pictures of some of the trucks he drove. He would tell her stories about his trips and he would take a blanket and pillow, and when it was time for bed he would stop and sleep on the bench seat just like that. I've got nothing but respect for those guys.

Posted:  8 months ago

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Time to buy a CB radio

The only way a cb is a waste of money is if you buy one and then choose to leave it turned off. At that point, yes you've wasted money.

I leave my cb on all day, and have had a few of those times where I was able to get off the interstate before reaching a major issue, and save time driving past all of the traffic that's sitting still.

Also, a few of the places I go to regularly, use a cb in the guard shack. They have a set channel that you tune to, and you use that to check in, and get your loading instructions. Very valuable there.

I've even had very intriguing conversations on the road with other drivers. If I get into an area where there are a couple of "unsavory" fellas spouting nonsense back and forth, I'll turn the volume down for a few minutes, but that honestly doesn't happen too often.

And lastly, don't forget that in a week the Colorado chain law is back in effect. That's the first sure sign that winter is right around the corner. The cb is VERY handy in relaying road conditions to other drivers not far behind you, as well as the oncoming traffic.

So yeah I would classify the cb as one of those valuable tools that you would much rather have when you don't need it, as opposed to needing it when you don't have it.

Posted:  8 months ago

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Trailer Socket and Pigtail

I carry a bag of zip ties with me. I'll get a trailer like that every so often. I'll zip tie the plug into the socket and then report it and get a terminal to fix it when I get the chance. I wouldn't take it upon yourself to try to fix it, just make it work until you get to a company terminal.

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