Profile For R0adRa93

R0adRa93's Info

  • Location:
    Hammonton, NJ

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    4 years ago

R0adRa93's Bio

I currently hold a NJ Class B CDL and am working towards obtaining my Class A. For quite a few years I been looking for people just willing to teach me how to drive using their trucks. After getting fed up I learned that my local school district offered FREE training for driving a school bus. I figured what the hell it's getting me closer to driving a Tractor Trailer.

So, I applied for the position was told to get my permit and pass the written test and they will get me to pass the road test. So I did just that, I paid $125 for my permit, passed general knowledge, air brakes, passenger and school bus endorsements, paid $70 for my physical and $86 for my background check. Handed all the information to the District Transportation Manager where she set me up with a trainer and within 2 weeks I passed my road test.

Long story short, I didn't end up working for the school district something about the School Board not wanting to hire me. So instead I have been with STA for over a year.

I really started looking into trucking schools in the past few months. I have since paid $40 for my new permit and passed Combination, Doubles/Triples, Tanker and HazMat all thanks to this site.

I have been in school since August 10th and am still there working on passing the road test. I made it as far as the road portion on my first test and on my second and third attempts I didn't make it past alley dock. On my fourth attempt I passed. That was on December 10th.

On December 20th I left New Jersey to start driving for MCT which is a division of Comcar. In early February I passed the company road test and was assigned my own truck and I have been soloing since.

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Posted:  3 years ago

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Deuce and a Half

I know about wide turns, stopping distance, space, lane usage, and mirrors mirrors mirrors. Anything else?

Backing, parallel park both blind side and sight side 90 degree alley dock offset left offset right

Off setting is pulling straight ahead from your spot and placing the trailer to the left or right of your spot it's fun :-P

Straight line backing is easy but you gotta do it about 100 feet that's fun! and you gotta do it all the way through the cones keeping it straight until your front bumper is past the last set of cones.

Oh and yes...

PRETRIP PRETRIP PRETRIP!

Everything in the pretrip portion of the test is in the pretrip chapter of the CDL Book! Touch explain what you are looking for, gotta go deep! NJ just changed their tests to conform to US standards and according to the NJ MVC it's supposed to be uniform across all states. *shrug*

Posted:  3 years ago

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Had my first (and hopefully only) accident

@rainyd I am SIX OH NINE THREE THREE SIX SIX OH SIX SIX :-D I am from Hammonton in Atlantic County! What's your Home 20?

Now on to accidents... When i was in training I was in a total of THREE accidents! Seriously, I did EVERYTHING my trainer told me to and every time I hit something! Anyway here is the list:

1) I hit a trailer, the dang thing was leaning so bad it looked like it was going to fall over at any moment. My trainer told me to turn hard left and then turn right so I did JUST that and I hit the trailer next to us, neither of us saw it as it was a pup trailer and I thought i saw a dock in my west coast mirror.

2) I rubbed the mirror on a truck. My trainer was DIRECTING me outside of the truck at a truck stop and we are backing the truck in and I stopped and he said, "Why did you stop for?" I responded, "We are awful close to that truck" He said, "No you aren't you have at least a foot! Keep going!" No sooner did he say that then when he saw the trailer rub up against the mirror. And he says to me, "Why didn't you tell me you were close to the guy's mirror?!" He took the heat for that one.

3) I made a wrong turn in MA and was looking for a spot to safely turn around and my trainer told me to use the U TURN light to turn. I was like, "We aren't allowed are you sure?!" He said, "Just do it!" So, I took the u-turn and a lady lost control of her car and slid under the trailer between the tandem and the ICC Bar. Bent the hell out of the ICC Bar and mud flap but wrecked her car...

I was involved in ONE accident after I started driving on my own. I was parked in a parking spot at a TA and I was 4 hours into my 10 hour and I was sound asleep when I was awoken to my truck a rocking and a shaking. My first thought was 'earthquake' then i heard metal and my next thought was 'OMG I am going to die!' I jumped out of bed opened to the curtain and I saw a trailer rubbing against the front of my truck. I flip the key to the run position and I blew my air horn causing the CR England driver to stop. He wrecked my grill, bendex sensor, hood and bumper. He also wrecked a mount on the cab.

I am still with the company and am given hazmat loads to top it off. I have to admit I am so gun shy when backing that I pull forward to straighten out even though I have plenty of room just because I am so afraid of hitting something else. It took me 10 minutes to back into the spot my truck is currently sitting in. Just saying, accidents happen, yeah I don't want it to happen again but still pretty scary.

Posted:  3 years, 1 month ago

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CCC, CT,CTL.MCT

I drive for MCT for the most part I like it. I get miles, my dispatcher is awesome, breakdown is on top of repairs. Issues are all me pretty much, I am not a people person, I don't like to answer to many people, transitioning from my own business to having to answer to Safety and Dispatch and whomever else is a big change for me. To make things a little easier for myself with the transition I just see my relationship with my dispatcher as a partnership more so than a manager employee relationship. He gives me the miles I run those miles. I submit my paperwork via transflow by 12:00 Central Time on Tuesday I get paid on Friday. I generally average about 2500 miles per week.

This week for instance the shipper rescheduled my pickup and I had to sit for nearly 3 days and was paid detention for those days I sat. My dispatcher alsow orked to get me off that load and get me moving again.

Benefits are pretty good, I have health, vision, dental, AD&D, Life Insurance and a retirement program I barely had time to read through. They want to get you home more often than I requested. I was out 20 weeks straight before I had my first home time (my request) and as luck would have it the truck broke down. I sat at the TA for 3 days waiting for the truck to be repaired but they did everything they could get me home in time for my daughter's baptism. Breakdown worked hard to get the parts delivered over night to the TA as the shop was not getting anywhere with the dealer.

I was set to be home on Wednesday I got home late Friday night. On Saturday I had to meet with a client of mine, shop for the BBQ, setup the VFW, setup the grill and be rested and ready for the Baptism the next day. The rest of the week we visited family and spent time together. The week ended on a Saturday and I am out here until July 4th which is my older daughter's birthday.

Again, they want home time to be much closer but I prefer to make money and support my family. We have accumulated a lot of debt and I need to get it all straightened out. I am always looking to keep my options open but MCT as well as Comcar is a pretty decent company.

I know that MCT has Lease Purchase and Owner Operator options and I am considering one of those options not for money but for my own sanity. I don't have to deal with management as much as I do now and it turns into a more B2B type of relationship which is what I am used to dealing with. I have owned businesses since 2004, 2 IT Companies, a Cleaning Company, an auto shop, a taxi leasing service, a full blow cab company. I have to say, running businesses is what I enjoy. I also enjoy driving, and waking up in the morning knowing I get to drive this beast is the highlight of my day. I wish I could have a pet on board, i wish I didn't have to worry about little things like hard breaking events and if I am in trouble when safety wants to talk to me. I really don't like that stress, I rather have the stress of making a truck and insurance payment every month than the stress of having to be disciplined.

Sorry I got long winded, in the end I would much rather stay with MCT than move because I do like the company and the atmosphere. I also know that I am the one that gets in the way of almost everything in my life. LOL

I forgot, the trainers are awesome, some focus more on the skills than on other parts of the job. Just be sure to do what they tell you to do and don't be afraid to ask questions and be sure to DO everything that the job entails. The ONLY thing i did ONCE was submit the transflow form. As it pertained to my trainer's check I didn't want to screw that up. Everything else I insisted on doing, from route planning to fuel calculations it was all on me. He guided me but he let me do it all, he seemed a bit uncomfortable about me doing EVERYTHING but he got used to it as I wanted to be a professional with my job. Granted he had to handle the EFS checks but I filled them out I put in the requests and I put the items on the shelf. He just had to sign the backs of them.

Posted:  3 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

My Wireless World

I started driving using a verizon prepaid phone and a straight talk hotspot. The phone cost me $35 / month and the hotspot cost me over $350 in my first month. I went with a verizon reseller for $185 per month for unlimited wifi on Verizon's network. My hotspot works on their network all i had to do was swap the SIM card out for a Verizon SIM.

I also learned while driving through MO that Verizon prepaid does NOT work in all of Verizon's service areas. I switched over to a post paid plan and it costs me a whopping $25 per month. (My friend let me jump on their plan) I use less than 125 MB every month on the data side of the plan so I don't share in the data pool it's just the phone service and that's the price $25 / month. I only use 125 MB because I connect the phone to my hotspot.

Before you go off and scream "HOLY CRAP $185" just remember it's on Verizon's 4G LTE network and I gobble up data like it's going out of style from Streaming Amazon's Prime Audio Service while driving to streaming Movies from Netflix, Amazon Prime and VUDU while parked. I purchase seasons of The Walking Dead and Supernatural from VUDU and watch the episodes the day after they air with NO commercials as I own the season. it's like pre-purchasing the Blu-Ray without having the disc as it's all digital. I also play MineCraft with some of my friends on a server I run out of a colo facility in DE . We all chip in like $5 per month to maintain the server costs. It's a lot more fun to play MineCraft with a group of friends than playing it by yourself. My data usage is between 90 GB to 120 GB per month.

I just wanted to share what I do for entertainment while On the road. :)

Posted:  3 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Growing Anxious

I am at my 6 month mark. I love the driving, I don't mind dealing with the shippers/receives or even the occasional breakdown. This week has been one of those weeks... I was dispatched to pickup a load on Sunday and the shipper told me I had to come back wednesday to pick up the load. So I had to sit, in the mean time my dispatcher made arrangements so i could start rolling again yesterday.

Yesterday, I ended up in the shop due to my air horn malfunctioning.

Today I went into the shop because I heard air leaking from the trailer tandems. I pulled into the loves and the mechanic was a real "winner". He was rude, and the night dispatcher manager called me and had a talk with me and basically told me that if the tires are running low the trailer has a system in place to air them up so just drive. I refuse to drive unsafe equipment and if the system is running to air up the tires that means that there is something WRONG with the tires! Anyway, After only driving 272 miles today I had it, I shutdown at the loves and I am relaxing. This entire week I kept telling myself 6 months to go, 6 months to go and I can find something else.

I have been in business before in the past and I am not too shy of going to owner operator route, I just want to learn more about the business before I obtain my own authority. I heard about wives at home dispatching their husbands on the road. I think I would much rather do that than have to deal with the red tape of a corporation. I am not liking this whole, "answering to a boss" thing. I had a hard time working at STA for the same reason, I had to answer to 3 different supervisors. I am dealing with almost the same thing here. Bottom line, I just want to roll and make money! If the weekend dispatchers were as awesome my current dispatcher I wouldn't have an issue.

Yes, I have to admit I am in the shop more than I am on the road it seems but that's because I am ANAL RETENTIVE when it comes to my pretrip! I want it all working 100% and I refuse to move on unless it's to a shop if there is a single item out of spec.

Posted:  3 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Cypress or CCC ? Jacksonville Florida

I work for MCT which is a division of Comcar I am quite pleased. The CCC I know of in Florida is also part of the Comcar family. I really like the benefits package offered by comcar and they are focused on safety so anything wrong with the truck let breakdown know and they'll get it fixed. BTW Breakdown handles all of comcar not just a single division so it's nice to know that it's all of comcar that focuses in on safety. They replaced 3 newer retreads to even out the axle because they had to put a single new virgin tire on that axle.

Posted:  3 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Hard Breaking Events

So I had 3 HBEs this year... I am really worried that I may be terminated over this last one. The VP of Safety called me today about it and asked me about the first one and I explained it was my first time driving in the snow and the snow plow blew snow all over my windshield and I couldn't see anything making me apply the brakes harder than I should have. He then told me how he doesn't think I should be driving. I am currently looking for another company to jump to...

I absolutely LOVE driving! I wake up every day quite pleased. Today is the first day I actually am worried about losing this... I went almost 6 months without seeing my family, I work hard, I am on top of my pretrips I report items my trainer told me don't worry about. I don't know why I am screwing up like this though! I am looking for stale green lights in this case the light changed quickly and I didn't want to run the red... If I did that and someone hit me it would have been worse!

Posted:  3 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Considering Moving On

I really like MCT I really do, they have done a lot of things right by me. I am just sick of being in the shop for a few days every couple of weeks. I was supposed to be home TODAY after being away since December 20th.

I am looking into getting into a unionized shop, I rather work for a company beholden to a collective bargaining agreement than one that can set their policies to whichever they choose.

Any thoughts on companies that have union shops, or any suggestions on unions as Teamsters is the only union that comes to mind.

Thanks!

-R0adRa93

Posted:  3 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Hitting metal bricks on the road?

This is my 5th month on the road and I'll tell you from experience talk to your safety department to find out for sure. Generally act of nature and not being able to avoid **** on the road is considered unavoidable. Hell, the company work for their policy is, if there's an animal on the road don't avoid it HIT IT! I have killed so many animals because I refuse to swerve an 80,000 lb truck... The saddest was a cat, damned thing was running around in circles on the interstate I could have swore that dumbass was probably rabid. I also braced myself to slam into a coyote and it grew a brain at the last second and got out of my way.

Posted:  3 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Stick vs. auto?

Your first job sucks.

I have to say, I am very happy with my choice. I spent some time researching companies just because I was looking for certain items. Are there some things I want that this company doesn't offer? YES I want a pet on my truck and they won't allow it. I am fine with that for now as a pet would complicate things a little bit. The recruiters said that the trucks don't have inverters I was prepared to buy my own when the shop mechanic explained to me that every truck has inverters. As my goofy luck would go as soon as I finish pretripping my truck my inverter was beeping like crazy and the shop replaced it that day.

I average about 2,200 miles every week. My pay checks are pretty solid and I get the home time I require. They actually want me to take more home time! I haven't been home since December 20, 2015. I miss my kids but they need cloths, food, shelter. I rather them have that than be out on the street.

My dispatcher is awesome, I also make it a point to communicate with my dispatcher at least daily and I keep things more personal as I see us as a team, if I make money i am happy and if he's keeping me rolling he's happy as he's hitting his goal of $3,000 per week on my truck. It helps to understand what your dispatcher's set goals are and what you gotta do to make him/her look good because that can only help you in the long run. It's about personal relationship skills. I know of one driver that complains constantly but he doesn't talk with his dispatcher he just keeps it all to himself and he expects his dispatcher to know what's going on in his head. I am up front and direct with my dispatcher. Even the overnight/weekend people. I am very polite with them and I keep them entertained with jokes; however, when the fuel pump stops with 10 gallons of fuel and I am at 1/4 of a tank remaining, they want the store to fix the problem. That takes A LOT of time, when it happened to me a second time, he tried to get me to go through the time consuming option and I had a load due. I said to him, "listen, I have a load due in a few hours, I don't have time to sit, but I need fuel, so either give me a new location to fuel or I'll drive this truck until it's dead on the side of the road. I am NOT going to sit here for hours waiting for the fuel associate to reset the fuel card." I realize that is not how to talk to people, but I have learned that I have to be proactive in life to get what I want done, as no one else is going to do it for me! The lesson here is for you to talk with your dispatcher, don't ASSUME anything, communication is key!

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Mail Sending Problem

A quick update, I talked with Congressman Lobidondo he's also a fellow trucker. Anyway, He told me this is a great idea, however, the post office will not budge with JUST his urging. I asked him if the petition will help and he said to continue. So that's what I plan on doing. A single congressman can not do it by himself. It takes 2/3rds of congress to pass anything and that means we need enough signatures to sway 2/3rds of congress both the lower house and upper house.

I created a flyer maybe some of your families at home could post in local grocery stores and the like. If you are like me and have a printer in the truck maybe you could print some flyers out and post on the community boards in truck stops.

Flyer PDF Version
Flyer JPEG Version

Thank you for your support!

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

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Kingpin jumps over the fifth wheel! Oh My!

High hooking scares the **** out of me...

I constantly am mindful where my drives are but you know there's always that ONE mistake in not paying attention and BOOM I gone and done messed up!

I had no idea how I would resolve such an issue thanks for posting!

As soon as my rear most drive axle is under the trailer I get out and look at the height between the apron and the 5th wheel. More times than I can count the trailer is ALWAYS higher. I lower the trailer so that the apron is resting on my fifth wheel and the landing gear is hovering just over the ground, I get into the truck and continue backing until the kingpin hits the front of my 5th wheel. At that point I get out with a flash light and look to make sure that the jaws are latched around the shank of the kingpin. As long as that's all done I then roll up the landing gear the rest of the way and attach the hoses and wires then complete the pretrip on the trailer. (YES I climb under the trailer and look at everything including the brake lining as there has been a few cases where the mechanics forgot to put the brakes back on the wheel.)

Then again, i am super anal and I report everything little thing wrong with my trailer and if I am NOT sure about the tires I ask breakdown for a mechanic to double check my tires. Out of the 10 times I was in the shop, only ONCE were the tires ever replaced. That was my last time at the shop they put all new tires on the Right side of the trailer that was 4 new tires (I was only concerned about 2 I thought the other two were OK). The mechanic said the other 4 were in good shape.

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Mail Sending Problem

This should help get the word out...

There’s a petition to require USPS to install mailboxes at truck stops across America

Thank you Anchorman! WE are at over 400 Signatures, congressman Lobidondo's office is in contact with me now, it's awesome!

We need to keep getting the word out. This is just a small piece to what I plan on doing... Small things first!

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Mail Sending Problem

double-quotes-start.png\

The link to his petition (which I've signed & would be happy to share on social media) says he's trying to send postcards to his daughter.

Good luck man!

Thank you! :) We are up to 26 signers! :)

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Mail Sending Problem

There's also the issue of that stupid rebate at the truckstops for stuff we purchase... I mean seriously, I lost $200 because I have not been able to get mail out. It's quite infuriating.

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Mail Sending Problem

I've been to nearly twenty truck stops and not a single one had a blue mailbox... I don't trust the truckstop to mail my letters. I trust the post office too. All the truckstops tell me where the Postoffice is... How the beep am I going to get a semi into the post office parking lot?!

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Mail Sending Problem

I have noticed that sending mail is a big issue at truck stops many of them the USPS just recently pulled their blue mailboxes from the locations.

I have decided to open a change.org petition to get us back our mailboxes!

https://www.change.org/p/frank-lobiondo-require-the-usps-to-have-a-blue-mail-collection-box-at-truck-stops?recruiter=9570640&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink

I am also considering starting another petition to get congress to look at this bogus CSA scoring system and making us drivers guilty and having to prove our innocence even if we do the CSA doesn't have to adjust our scores! Which is a complete load of bull...

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Training for my CDL in New Jersey

I just graduated from School in NJ The NJ test is harder than it used to be. You need to parallel park the truck both blind side and sight side perform a 90 degree alley dock getting the ENTIRE truck into the box straight line back offset the truck to the left and to the right -- That is pull the truck straight out of the box then bring it to the right or to the left.

So much has changed with the CDL permit and test in NJ.

First you need to take the general knowledge once you pass the general knowledge then you can sit and take the other tests. Then once you pass General Knowledge, Combination and Air Brakes you then take the paper permit up to the payment desk to obtain a plastic permit basically it looks like a Driver's License except it says, "Commercial Learner's Permit" with your endorsements and Class of Vehicle you are to practice on.

Of course you went through that process, and you notice is a real royal pain in the buttocks.

I originally had the paper permit then I had to get the CLP due to having to renew the permit. It was a mess then and that was at a facility that issued both the permit and the tests.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

SOLOING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No Problem Chad.

Now, after they discovered the problem with *my* truck they decided to put me into a "newer" truck. Before even loading my things into the truck, The first thing I did was look at the tires and they were all matching across the drive axles. I looked at the spring bushings and they were good, I checked all the other items for the pretrip and everything looked good. I get out on the road and she's vibrating and pulling hard to the right. *sigh* The older truck only had those few items wrong. This truck has a laundry list. PUlling hard to the right, Vibrates, doesn't want to start, desk drawer needs to be fixed, my seatbelt needs to be better mounted...

If they could only let me keep ONE truck fix it and let me drive it. :-D

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

SOLOING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Might be a dumb question...what is a CV?

A CV is a Commercial Vehicle.

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