Comments By Skar Hed

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Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Questions

I believe USX will hire you if you completed school any less than five years ago, and there is no additional training requirement. I'm sure others do the same, especially when demand for drivers goes on a little upswing.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Current US Xpress drivers, any input?

When I went through training with USX a couple years ago, my trainer told me that they were real strict on the road test and if you failed it you were done...sent home, not given a second chance. This made no sense to me but this was an experienced driver and trainer saying this. Well, he was full of sh8t. I failed my test miserably, having been trained on an automatic and tested on a manual. was sent out for 50 hours of 'shift training' with a new trainer. Came back, was less than perfect shifting but I passed.

I know there have been people sent back out for more training again AFTER being sent out for more training. After training for 5 weeks the company has three-four grand invested in you just in pay, hotel, bus tickets etc, not to mention the considerable man hours put into your training. They're going to keep plugging away with you to eventually get some return on that, unless you prove absolutely hopeless.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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What did you do before becoming a truck driver?

I was a 20 year old liberal arts college dropout with no mechanical or 'blue collar' aptitude or experience whatsoever but fell into the boat biz, eventually owning my own business in yacht finishing and refinishing. Did well enough to work 4 or 5 months a year and travel the world blowing my money during the other 7 or 8. But twenty years of breathing dust and paint fumes was more than enough, I disliked the sales aspect of the job, and really never had any interest in boats other than the money to be made from them. If that money was any less than a two- three grand a week I was miserable and couldn't wait for each day to end. Went to nursing (RN) school but left after one semester due to intense loathing for my cold, phony, careerist instructors and the way they taught & ran the program. By then I was at an age where trucking was probably the best option left for me and I am happy enough with it. But would I have done it all differently if given the chance? Oh yes.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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So screwed on the drug test

You were sent home from orientation. Which means you weren't even hired yet, much less driving, so there is a good chance the lab reported to the results to no one but you and your employer.

I failed a urine test by the first company I went to work for, they sent me out for training while awaiting results, I failed and took a three day trip back home, thinking I had blown it. I had another job in ten days, passed the drug test and had no further problems. The results weren't reported to DOT...they don't report pre employment drug screens.

If you have your lab form from the failed test call and ask them who they report results to.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Is Per Diem good or bad?

Less money withheld from your check is always a good thing IMO, especially if you owe the IRS anything, because if that's so you're not going to get that refund, huge or otherwise.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Automatics VS Manuals

What are some your guys thoughts on the autos? I personally prefer a 13 or 18 myself

I personally find absolutely zero appeal or advantage of a manual over an automatic and wonder why anyone else does. If you're completely familiar with your manual transmission it takes maybe five percent of your attention off the road. If you're not, like a new driver in training might not be, it can take as much as half your attention of the road, or more, as in my case. When I was training, having never driven a stick before on any vehicle, virtually my entire attention was focused on it unless I was on a long stretch of interstate and I was probably a danger to everyone around me. For absolutely no good reason. It's obsolete technology.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Fired for company policy, now what?

Out of curiosity, did the margarita mix have alcohol in it or was it one of those non-alcoholic mixes you have to add the booze to? Because if there was no alcohol in it I'm not sure it's a fireable offense. Just because something is intended to be mixed with alcohol doesn't mean anything. They can say, "No alcohol or alcohol-related products" but it would seem that would be hard to enforce legally. Because Sprite and 7-Up are also commonly mixed with alcohol but it's not a fireable offense to have it in the truck.

You'll also need a copy of your DAC report to see what they put on it. That's going to have a big effect on how difficult it is to land a job.

Yeah...I thought margarita mix would be everything BUT the alcohol, and if that's the case this is nuts. Really can't believe someone would be fired for that.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Footwear

I wear boots at all times on duty. I haven't even owned a pair of sneakers in years.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Starting orientation/training with US Express

You'll definitely make more money, about 30 percent more, but for me it isn't worth it....not even close to worth it. You lose the ability to really determine your own schedule, most of your off duty hours and what little sleep you can manage to get will be while moving, of course the obviously unfavorable nature of sharing cramped quarters with someone you're probably not in love with (to say the least) virtually 24/7...and that's if everything goes RIGHT. If it goes wrong you get a partner who steals from you. Or is so lazy he puts himself on duty before a stretch of ten hours spent idle at a truck stop, so he'll only have to work four hours the next day. Or so lazy he defecates in a bucket when you leave the sleeper berth rather than walk 100 yards to a toilet. Or perhaps all three and then some.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Any USX drivers want to share....

It shouldn't take you six weeks unless you need extra work . I think they go by 180 driving hours, which you should do in about a month. If you fail your road test you may be sent out for another 50 hours of, for example, shift training for those having trouble with a manual. (This has the added benefit of guaranteeing that you will be issued an automatic after upgrade) One recommendation that I would make is, work hard, follow your trainers instruction, but stand up for yourself.

You are NOT 'a guest in his house', as so many trainers like to put it.

You are a company employee in a company vehicle and so is he.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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MAKE SURE YOU PASS YOUR DRUG SCREENING

Put it behind you and apply somewhere else. I failed a drug test from the first trucking job I was hired by, like you it took me a week to find out. I was way the f#!* out in Wyoming trainer and had to spend three days in the top bunk kicking myself just to get home. But I had another job within 10 days, and kept it. The lab may not have reported the results to anyone but the company, as mine didn't. If you still have the sheet from the lab, call them up and ask them.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Is trucking going towards all automatics?

The percentage of automatics is steadily increasing and will continue to, but old ways and habits die hard, even when there is no rational justification for continuing them. Manual transmission should go the way of the crank start. If holding a phone to my ear for ten seconds is 'distracted driving', what is having to shift a couple hundred times in a day ? No matter how good you are at it, it requires some attention, and for those not so proficient, it requires A LOT of attention.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Frustrated

A.) A woman is at no inherent disadvantage to a man in this job.

b.) Would I do it again...become a truck driver ? That depends. If I was 22 or 32 I definitely would have gone into something else...something with more pay, chance for advancement, intellectual challenge, etc. But I was in my mid forties when I started this and most doors have closed to you by that age. I did the right thing. I do all right financially, 52k aint what it used to be but my bills are about zero because I stay out 6 weeks at a time minimum and rent my house out, and while I won't say I love the job, I almost never hate it, which for me is just as good.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Newbie truck backing problems...

I dreaded making deliveries for about the first month I was on my own because I was NOT good at backing and was drawing some really tough spots. After 4 to 6 weeks it got a lot better. Two things that helped me were a.) Understeer rather than oversteer. b.) I don't know if others will agree with this , but I would always set my tandems all the way to the rear for anything other than a wide open space. Getting rid of that trailer overhang helped me more than anything. You get the wheels in straight right away and you know you are home free.

Posted:  5 years ago

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Help me pick a backpack

First of all, are you under age 40 ? Preferably well under ? Because few things look goofier than an old man wearing a backpack.

Posted:  5 years ago

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Truck must haves

Cigarettes. Blow Pops. 350 watt inverter. Laptop. Cheap used books. Powerade.

I do fine without a microwave, fridge or cooler.

Posted:  5 years ago

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Am i out of line here?

You weren't out of line at all until ''I have taken these crappy runs''. That sort of message really isn't going to help you. Save your complaints for situations like the previous ones you mentioned, when you really do have something to complain about. There will probably be plenty of them.

Posted:  5 years ago

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Will a school accept me NOW??

I 'know someone' who failed a pre employment drug test, maybe even two, and was still able to get hired on at a large carrier within a year. If you still have the paperwork from your drug test, call the lab up and ask them if they reported their results. Just because you took a DOT drug test, unless you were employed and driving at the time it may not have been reported to anyone but the company you applied to.

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