Profile For Butch S.

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    4 years, 2 months ago

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Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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How about dangerous loads ?

I'm ready. Ready to go for it. The switch to long haul trucking or other than flat Florida trucking. I'm wondering dose anyone out there know where I could land a job moving highly dangerous cargo ? I know I'm crazy for wanting this but I'm super stoked when I get the chance to transport anything out of the norm. I'd like to haul oversized / overweight permit needed loads or crazy risky dangerous nuclear waste pre planned routs with briefings and debriefings and possibly with escorts. I have all endorsements plus the TWIC card. I've looked locally but I'd also like to get out of Florida for awhile too.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Floating the gears, double clutching ?

Thanks for the info. Again TT is the best place to go to get great and helpful info.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Floating the gears, double clutching ?

Hello everyone. I've been driving dump trucks and the occasional tractor trailer lowboy all older model trucks since the early 90s and I've never had to double clutch. Is something new ? Or only used during training ? I saw in a resent post by Mario " Should I Learn to drive manual ? " And it made me think. I've always used the clutch only to start from a dead stop then floated the gears the rest of the way with the execption of having a total brain fart while slowing and not remembering my speed and last gear I was in. I'm ready to go OTR witch I've never done before but super excited to do so and have only been a local driver in sunny flat Florida and I am wondering are the new trucks different ? Are there odd eaton fullers out there ? Or am I safe to keep on scratching ( actually grinding ) the gears without using that 4,000 pound , 7'9" travel clutch pedal?

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Getting a compatible trainer ?

Thanks very much for the info. Yes I do understand that my trainer isn't there to become my best friend he or she is there to do just that train me. I'm just trying to cover all the what ifs before I make the career switch to OTR.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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I need to pick my first company

Holy cow Tim !!! That was a excellent post . After reading what you wrote id say we are in the exact boat with a few differences. Your question about how much should you expect to get paid is a questions I don't think I've asked yet but I'm going to follow this post to see what the other drivers have to say. Brett sent me some info on a post I did about " where Do I stand " and it was super helpful. I posted it a few days ago so it isn't hard to find. As for your CDL traing I am self taught and achieved my class a in the early 90's where I simply went to the DMV building picked up a free CDL book and read it about 20 times. ( only cause I'm a Dumas and can't retain anything I read unless I read it over and over and over ) Today the info is free online well at least in florida it is. I had did the same to achieve my Hazmat endorsement about 10 years ago but let it expire and just a few months ago I went to the DMV and took that test with little studying and passed and I also got the tanker and multiples endorsement. You may be able to do that where you live. Here you can take the test then you'll get a permit where you'll have to find a class A driver to let you ride/ drive with for the expectance then find a local company who will do the actual driving test ( like a Pepsi coma you or a beer company ). Once givin the ok you'll go back to the DMV with the signed papers and wala your new class A licenses. All together about 400 bucks other than the pratice driving. That might be tough. I then went to a TSA office and applied and got a TWIC card. I've been driving straight truck with a trailer weighing up to and over 80,000 lbs ( illegal of corse but had to be done get the job done) ( but since the crack down with DOT officers out there I haven ran over weight for a years now and thankfully I never been stopped or hurt any one and checked during those stupid runs ) off and on for the family company since the early 90's and on a few occasions drove a day cab with a lowboy weighing in around 80,000 total gross weight hauling a old POS excavator where from what you posted about your diving expectance I believe you will do better than ok. I have never done OTR but I want too soon. Some of the other drivers may want to smash my skull in when I say this but I personally feel that driving a big truck ( 10 wheeler or more ) is much easier than a car or " four wheeler " maybe it's the better view or the slower speeds or even could be that awesome feeling of being King of the Road while driving. The advice I can say is in a four wheeler I feel you are kinda stuck with having to go with the flow of traffic where in the truck you do what you need to do for safety. Shifting a truck is also easier I think than shifting a car. The trucks seem to work with you and you can float through the gears where as a car you have to clutch all the time. And a car is very jerky. I've floated the gears in a jeep one time but I think I was causing damage. Also in a big rig you have to plan your stopping ahead as much as possible and also a tip is to look way further down the road to see what might be coming up where as in a car due to the lack of sight you can't do that as easy. I'd like to help more but I think the experienced OTR drivers will have better answers for you. But don't worry to much about achieving you class A and the actual driving it will all come to you in time. Best of luck to you

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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How many drivers stay at the first company they drove / drive for ?

Thank you for the advice and I will be checking in on this again for even more info. The info you four have given me is a great help and I hope it will also answer questions others in my place my have on this topic. Once again thanks and I hope to meet some of you one day out there and buy you lunch just to show how much I appreciate the advice and info.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Getting a compatible trainer ?

Hello everyone. I am fixing to start a new chapter in my life as a OTR driver and have another question about it. I'm a Tobacco free Christian also a clean minimumlist who likes to keep things squared away (organized) and clean. I try to eat healthy too. My question is how do the companies choose a compatible TI ( training instructor ). I imagine your training time can be a huge disaster if you and your TI are on completely different sides of the fence. I'm aware that there will be sone differences between the two. But how long does a trainee have to wait for a comparable TI ? Or do I need just to suck it up and become a 2 pack a day second hand smoker during my trading time on the road. Also while in training where do you sleep and eat ? Are you basically running as team drivers? Are the runs dedicated Runs ? Any info would be greatly appreciated and if any of you can add more info other than the questions above will be a huge help. Thanks again from a wana be OTR driver.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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How many drivers stay at the first company they drove / drive for ?

Just thinking again and was reading and seeing that is seems drivers make lateral moves a lot in this industry. I'm currently employed and have been here for 26 years with the exception of a few months ( family business so lots of crazy drama ) and as a post I posted a few days ago about " where do I stand " I'm really wanting to go OTR and I'm doing every bit of research as I can. I have even went as far as getting a TWIC card and all endorsements except passenger. This is how I am. I've been a hour early for everything my entire life. So to my question. How many of you have stayed at the same company you started with. I see a lot of posts saying " get a few years in then move to where they might pay you more" dont the big companies out there want to keep good safe drivers and wouldn't they pay you a fair amount if you were ? Or do you really need to switch companies to make more or enough money ? I'm leaning toward flat bed work or actually my dream is radio active super sensitive cargo with armed escorts driving but that may take awhile to get to. Thanks for any info.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Where do I stand ?

Butch,

Some additional things to think about. Reading Brett's book; Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving will provide information on what life as an OTR driver is like. Considering your level of experience, parts of the book may not apply, . However overall I think you will find some valuable takeaways helpful as you wrap your head around OTR trucking.

In addition to the link Brett posted yesterday (Company Sponsored Schooling), the other TT link that will help with your research is Trucking Company Reviews. This link outlines a summary level review for each of the primary and secondary carriers you could consider as future employers. Once you have narrowed the field of prospects you can then use this link to Apply For Truck Driving Jobs available.

One last thought, during my orientation with Swift, there were two experienced drivers with several years of local experience. Swift gave each of them a road and yard test (backing) to evaluate their skill level. Based on the results of those tests, an abbreviated, 2 week version of road training was custom developed to help familiarize and mentor these drivers on the procedures and additional skills required to perform as an OTR driver. For instance most communications with driver management and planning is accomplished with a small, dash mounted computer called a Qualcomm (Swift's standard equipment). There are other brands of this device but overall you will need learn how-to send and receive information through this device and also monitor and manage your electronic logs. Other examples are getting "in" and "out" of shippers, shipping paperwork, effective time management, finding empties when you need one, and a variety of other tasks and procedures you will need to perform as an OTR driver. Hope this helps to give you a realistic expectation level. Not that my opinion matters, most companies appreciate experienced drivers as new employees.

Let us know if you have any additional questions and try to keep us posted.

Good luck!

You have no idea how important your opinion and "most" of the other drivers opinions are to me and I'm sure to anyone wanting to do what you do. They is to become a OTR driver. I research endlessly on the trucking life and have found a lot of helpful information. As of now though this web site ( Trucking Truth ) is by far the best due to the fact you and other drivers are answering my questions. Of corse I do find in the review blogs about companies the few drivers who are very vindictive and they have made the selfs very clear that they are not trying to help anyone but trying to hurt the companies their not getting along with. Thank you for the info and I hope some day I can pay it back to you and others I'm sure I'll be bugging in the near future.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Where do I stand ?

Hey Butch. Most OTR companies are going to want to put you through some sort of training. You'll probably go on the road with a trainer for a few weeks or more to learn how to handle the logbook, how to manage all of the company paperwork and procedures, and how to manage your time on the road.

I think the best place to start would be with one of the Company-Sponsored Training Programs which are companies that have their own CDL training. Because you already have your CDL and a lot of experience in similar equipment you'll skip anything they can let you skip and move on to later parts of the training. They're going to want to get you on the road as quickly as possible.

You could probably land an OTR job with a smaller mom-n-pop company that might let you go on the road without a trainer but you're probably going to find that going on the road with a trainer for a short time will save you all sorts of grief. Just having someone there to show you all of the in's and out's of living and working on the road will prevent a ton of mistakes and confusion. So I would recommend applying to a bunch of the company-sponsored programs and see who is willing to give you a shot.

Thanks for that info. I defiantly would like to go through a training program for those exact reasons. Being the type of individual that measures twice before cutting and always preparing for the what ifs hopefully will get me through the beginning transision or basic training of the OTR life smoother. Of corse I have endless other questions about some concerns like in a " I ate to many spicy tacos emergency " other than pulling over and using the sleeper as a restroom what do you drivers do? I'd guess running teams you would have to be really close with your instructor before that would be acceptable. Anyway thanks again for the info. This form page is priceless.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Am I the slowest truck on the road when hauling 40k lb load??

One thing you had mentioned is what everyone around you is doing well at least speed wise. Every driver out there isn't set up exactly like you are. Yes some drivers are running a ultra light loads or empty desperately seeking another load and when they pass you it dose make you feel like your the retard clogging up the flow of traffic but the truth is the same as the others have said to you. Your heavy and it's going to take you longer to move and stop. A lot of us drivers have the same anxiety. I've drove dump tucks in an area packed full of ten wheeled dump truck with drop axels wondering why I'm the slow guy. It's not that I'm the slow guy it's cause I'm moving more weight. A lot of trucking/driving is psychological and as hard as it could be to do we could try ignoring everyone else on the road without forgeting about safety. That feeling of frustration when it's not going the way we want it to go is very strong and with the passing of every truck that leaves you feeling like your in last place is building up on you last nerve isn't anything other than us in this position losing our cool. You may have a slightly underpowered truck or you may be in a area that calls for more than most trucks can keep up with but in time this worry will be something you'll be able to share with a new driver that's asking the same questions your asking today. Stay strong and don't loose your cool you got this.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Where do I stand ?

I'd like to switch to OTR but I don't know where I will stand or what I should expect with my credentials. I've been driving 10 wheel dump trucks towing trailers hauling heavy equipment and a endless supply of building materials up to and exceeding 80,000 lbs ( only to get the job done or for the boss ) since the early 1990s in flat land Florida. I have all endorsements hazmat, tanker, multiples a 10 year passport and a TWIC card but no OTR experience and never had to keep a log book. What should I expect from a company ? Where should I look to fulfill my dream as a OTR driver ? I'm not expecting top pay or any special treatment. Just looking for suggestions and advice on where to start and what to expect. Thanks for your time, advice and ideas on how I can fulfill a life long dream of living on the road as a OTR driver.

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