Profile For RookieTrucker

RookieTrucker's Info

  • Location:
    IN

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    11 years, 9 months ago

RookieTrucker's Bio

Don't ask me about trucking. I have no clue what I'm doing out here.

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Posted:  10 years ago

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ORIGINAL BOTTLES OR NO?

You know, time and time again it ends up being the same thing. Our legal system is based on "Innocent until proven guilty" - unless you're a truck driver. Then it's guilty until proven innocent. And, oh yeah, you don't get to try to prove your innocence. I mean, what other profession is there where any law officer of any stripe whatsoever can pull you over with no cause and can fine you, put you out of service, or end your career based on whatever whim they have?

I wonder what's going to happen when they regulate everyone out of trucking and there's no one to haul freight anymore. I guess it will be a lot safer out there when there are no more trucks on the roads and no reason for anyone to go anywhere. Haha.

Posted:  10 years ago

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Continue with Road Test in another State

In Indiana they don't treat it as three separate tests. It's one test with 3 parts. Even if you fail the road test, after passing pre-trip and backing, you still have to do it all over again if you retest. So, yes, in Indiana you have to do the whole shebang.

Posted:  10 years ago

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Starting

First full day at FedEx. Hopefully this is the beginning of something good.

Posted:  10 years ago

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Pre-physical or not before school?

If you go to your doctor to get your physical chances are it will be OK for the DMV, but not for your company. Most companies only accept DOT physicals from their list of approved clinics.

When I went to Swift I was originally told I'd get a physical when I went to school. Then I found out Indiana required a physical to get my permit. So I talked to my recruiter and asked what I needed to do. I was told just go get a physical because I would need my permit to start school.

Unfortunately, one of the many things the recruiter never mentioned to me was that I had to get a physical from a Swift approved clinic. So I got down to Tennessee to start training and they told me I needed to cough up $40 for another physical because they wouldn't accept the one I had.

Posted:  10 years ago

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What do you do when you notice someone pulled your lock around the kingpin open?

Doing a good "pull test" before pulling away is critical. Anytime you stop - I don't where you are or how long you're there - do a pull test before you start driving again. I always did this. It was such a habit that I used to "try" doing it in my 4 wheeler sometimes before realizing, "Oh yeah....I'm not in a rig right now".

smile.gifPull Test (or Tug Test)

For those who aren't familiar with it, a pull test is a simple test to make sure your tandems are locked in, your trailer spring brakes are working properly, and your trailer is attached properly. When you're parked, all you have to do is release the tractor brakes but keep the trailer brakes locked. Then put it in 4th gear and slowly start letting out on the clutch until you feel the tractor pulling against the trailer. You shouldn't be able to move the tractor at all. If you start moving forward then either your 5th wheel isn't locked, your trailer tandems aren't locked, or your trailer spring brakes (parking brakes) aren't working properly (out of adjustment more than likely).

And let me throw this out there for the heck of it - if you ever suspect a problem with your trailer brakes there is a simple way to check. Right after you park it go back and check to see how much heat is coming off of the trailer brakes. Obviously you don't want to actually touch the brake drum or liners, but you should be able to tell that there is some good heat coming off each of the four drums. Sometimes you'll find one that's cold - indicating an obvious problem with that one. Other times you might find no heat at all coming from any of them - indicating no trailer brakes.

That's a good habit to get in, Brett, and I have since gotten in the habit of doing that, as well as checking my brakes every time I pull away from somewhere. I'd still recommend a visual check, though. At Swift some of the trailers were so bad that I could barely get the tandems to slide even when I could see all the pins were clear. Some of those trailers would pass your test, but I bet would slide if you brake hard at highway speeds.

Similar thing with a tug test for the fifth wheel. This past winter at a Costco DC, in the span of a month I watched 3 different guys (all O/Os, not newbies) drive out from under full trailers. Might have been with all the snow and ice we had that the locking jaws weren't quite catching enough. (Trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. Heh.) Also, if a trailer is sitting high you can slide the pin over the top of the fifth wheel. If you do a tug test, it will feel fine, but the first time you turn you'll lose the trailer.

Posted:  10 years ago

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Real Truck Driver

1 year, 4 months. I hated the company I started at, but around here they preach "Stick it out at your first company for a year", so I took that to heart. But I'm stubborn and didn't want to leave until I was sure I tried everything I could to make things work. So, I talked things over with my fleet manager and he asked me to give him some time to turn things around for me. I figured 4 months with little improvement was enough.

Really glad I took the advice because it did seem like it took a year to really start feeling comfortable doing the job and at least 90% of the jobs I saw listed required 1 year of experience.

Posted:  10 years ago

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Real Truck Driver

This is going to sound like a joke question, but there is some seriousness behind it...

Are city drivers still considered real truck drivers? I know this site is geared to new drivers and new drivers almost always start off OTR, but I'm getting ready to come off the road and start a city job because my 7 year old is a daddy's girl through and through and she's been begging me to come home ever since I started. But I'm afraid driving a day cab and going home every night I'm not going to feel like a real truck driver anymore. (Although with 20 to 30 stops a day I should get really good at backing! Haha.)

Trucking is weird. Just when you think you don't like the 14 hour days and being away from home and not sleeping in your own bed, you get out of the truck a few days and can't wait to get back in it. Several nights since I left my job I've wanted to climb back in my bunk and sleep at a truck stop.

I think I'm really going to miss being over the road, so if the government doesn't manage to regulate everyone out of trucking, I imagine I'll go back out when my daughter gets older.

Posted:  10 years ago

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Bad Habits

Another good reason to keep your dash (and truck) clean: A while back I read an article about DOT inspections and one of the officers interviewed mentioned that you are far more likely to get hit with a random inspection if your dash is piled high with crap. The thinking is that if you look like a disorganized slob, chances are you don't do pre-trips, either. Just something to think about.

Posted:  10 years ago

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What do you do when you notice someone pulled your lock around the kingpin open?

Just as another caution... Any time you are away from your truck you should check that no one pulled the pins on your tandems, too. Someone did this to me while I was inside a Sam's Club being unloaded. I drove 2 hours before this stop, so I know I didn't just forget to lock them or something. Luckily, I found out about it at a stop light about a block away, rather than when I hit the brakes on the highway. Even pulling up slowly to a light in the rain it felt like I hit a pole when they slid all the way to the rear. I've seen a couple of pictures of trucks on the side of the highway with the tandems ripped right off the trailer.

The simple reality is that you should always do at least a cursory pretrip any time you are away from the truck. There are just jerks out there and you never know when you'll run into them. So check everything someone could mess with. Check the fifth wheel. Check the tandems. Check your pintle locks. Make sure no one stole your license plate or placards or tried to rip your IFTA sticker off. Etc. Etc. It's all worth the extra few seconds. Remember: The life or CDL you save could be your own.

Posted:  10 years ago

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Leave a company before one year

I think the simple answer is that 90+% of companies want at least 1 year of experience before they will hire you. At least that's what I ran into in looking for another job.

Plus, it's odd, but there seems to be something magical about the one year mark. I heard "Stick it out for a year" over and over. Then around the 1 year mark I noticed that I started feeling a lot more comfortable driving a truck and like I was starting to get things figured out. It was like I had passed through something at my 1 year anniversary. Weird, but a year does seem to make a difference.

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