Comments By Patricia M.

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Posted:  9 years, 3 months ago

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Bad Planning or is it Just Me?

I have had a lousy time of it for the last few days. I'm wondering if there's another way I should have handled this situation. I feel I've been sitting at truck stops more than I should, and this last weekend I got the short end of the Home Time stick.

This is the first time I've asked for a home call. Sent in a request in plenty of time for this last weekend.

Friday I get a preplan to take a load from near Peoria, IL, to Memphis, arriving at 9am. No problem with that, I prefer driving "the third shift". As part of the deal, though, I have a load from Memphis to Ottawa (near Chicago - 498 miles), delivered 1:15am Monday. Meaning my home break is over around 3pm Sunday. That's roughly 30 hours I'm home - overnight.

But, some dispatching/scheduling issues on Friday get me out of the truck at 4pm, so my off time (after two weeks OTR) is 23 hours. Not even enough time for a 34 hour reset. I've been working off recap to the end of the week.

Drive to Ottawa, having to use some recap time I get back after midnight. Deliver, then get to a truck stop out of time - 1 minute on my 70 hours, one minute good for all day Monday! 9 hours comes back for Tuesday.

With a useless 70 hour schedule, my DM is "kind" enough to make a (you guessed it) 34 hour break, with a new pickup Tuesday afternoon 175 empty miles away. (Granted, this run is 700 miles). So, instead of relaxing at home for 34 hours, I sit in my truck waiting to reset my clocks.

My question is, can I work this kind of situation out so I can stay at home, instead of watching Freightliners drive by me for two days?

As a 13 year veteran and a former log specialist/driver trainer at a major food company with 1200 trucks, most companies now days are looking for the 3 week driver. They say 2 weeks out then 2 days at home, but to really make some money out on the road you will need to stay out 3-4 weeks then go home for 3 days. It is usually difficult to get you good miles and home time every two weeks because your load radius is really small. And now days with the way the 34 restart is structured you will need more than 2 days at home anyway to fulfill the requirement. I do not believe your dispatcher/driver manager is trying to "just give you the shaft" he/she is working the best they possibly can with the limited mile radius and required 2 week home time you have given them. Now, what you may have to do once you get home is turn your phone off. Let them know you are taking your time so you can fulfill the 34 hour reset, you will not be answering your phone, nor will you accept any loads until your 34 is complete. When you are home, you are on your time not theirs. If you allow dispatch to load you out early once, then they will do it again until you put your foot down. They do not do this to push you, or test you, they do this because the freight needs to move. Period. They do not get extra perks or bonuses based on how many loads they fulfill, it is all about customer satisfaction. So give the 4 week strategy a try, it's not as hard as it seems. You will see your miles increase and you will see your home time improve as well. Talk to your fleet manager he/she is willing to work with you to make you as much money as possible. Bottom line: if the wheels are turning, you are making money. They are happy, you are happy, family is happy. Bills are paid :D that's the goal right? Hope this helps. Happy trucking Trish

Posted:  9 years, 3 months ago

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Is working out possible on the road?

I work out all the time and I have a membership to anytime fitness. I hope to utilize this while I'm out on the road because health and nutrition is very important to me do any of you guys work out? If so could you spare a couple tips for someone who is getting into this industry. I'm just afraid of getting overweight or anything because I'm 6ft 200 lbs and I don't want to lose what I've bulked up to

There are tons of exercises/resistance training you can do in your truck. I had a set of the resistance bands (golds gym brand) which worked wonderfully. ( I would loop them around the fender mirror) l also did standing push-ups utilizing the top bunk which I could make harder or easier depending on hand placement. Sit ups/crunches on the side of my lower bunk, squats, and best of all, I would park in the very back of the parking lot the farthest spot from the building and would speed walk laps around the truck stop parking lot. You can also get a folding bike which will fit behind the passenger seat affording you an opportunity to "get away" from the truck stop all together during 34 hr. restarts. I also went old school and did jumping jacks and jump rope every morning before starting out. I utilized the salad bar and baked/grilled options from the menu. (when I ate in restaurants.) Most of the time I ate out of my truck. Salads, yogurt, nuts, fresh fruit (or canned in own juice when in a pinch) raw veggies for snacks. One more thought, then I will sit back. A yoga mat and yoga exercises are a great way to keep in shape and not lose what you have gained. The only draw back to this is finding a grassy spot that has not been over taken by other truckers pets... if you get my drift. A yoga mat takes up minimal space in your truck and a portable dvd player (battery powered) and the yoga exercise dvd's from walmart give you another great option. Hope this helps and happy trucking! Trish

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