Comments By Sheffield Mick

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Posted:  7 years, 3 months ago

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Starting a Trucking Career in Winter

Hi AJ, I started up here in Michigan just before the start of the worst winter on record so far.......(this past year). I think I did it right as any fears I had of driving these big rigs are out of the way before the new ones arrive......as in driving in snow and ice. What ever your decision I wish you the best of luck.....I've been driving now for around fifteen months and don't regret my own decision one bit.....Take care

Posted:  7 years, 4 months ago

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Am I crazy to think I can do this at my age?

Just a quick note Dan, to let you know I was 55 when I first started training as a truck driver. I'm from England......never been in a big rig before I arrived here and I'm used to driving on the opposite side of the road to you ;-) .......and I still made it through with room to spare. I've been driving for over a year now....been to all 48 states and now driving into Canada as well. Just as a side note......I have a mate of mine that drives for the same company as I do that's 83.....and he stated at 82!

Best of luck my friend.

Mick

Posted:  7 years, 5 months ago

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Starting a new career at 56

Hi Guys, just a quick reply to this age thing..........work and trucking. I started my trucking career at age 55. I'm a mechanical engineer by trade and gave up on even trying to find work within this field. Now I would like to let you know about a friend of mine called Bob that I've met at Swift.......he started trucking at 82!

We both work for Swift out of New Boston, Detroit and we get together on the odd occasion for a coffee and a chat. Funnily enough we tested out on the same day. Which would make us both a year and couple of months out on the road. The good thing about working for a company like Swift is that you get choices as to which division you might like to get into. Both Bob and I worked OTR........Bob stayed with OTR where as I now work just Canada which means I'm home every weekend. Regular miles and yes it does have its moments, but life is ok. I wish you all the best of luck and anything you want to know about Swift or me please just ask.

Posted:  7 years, 7 months ago

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One year over the road

Congratulations Old School.....I'm five days off my own first year of driving. Staying the course and keeping rolling is the key. Thank you for all your posts, its been great sharing your experiences with you and I'm looking forward to many more adventures ;-)

Posted:  7 years, 7 months ago

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Accidents Happen

Sheffield, if hitting a curb is considered an accident then every truck driver in America has about 100 accidents a year. It sounds like your job is safe and after a short game of "pleasing the safety people" you'll be back out there doing your thing. I would definitely ask about your DAC report though and get a copy of it to see what they've put on there. Maybe they won't put anything on there, maybe they will. If they do, you just want to make sure the report is accurate. You wouldn't want it to simply say, "Preventable accident" without an explanation of exactly what happened.

Thanks Brett/Chris, I've already taken one of the tests and past. I have also had other tires blow out and never had a problem Chris. With this one it was the damage to the rim on the hub that caught me out. Like I said I could have fixed it and made it disappear, but the trailer was brand new and I wanted it done the right way. I will ask about my DAC report and see if anything is on there.....I'm sure my DM told me that nothing has been recorded......but it's always worth me checking.

Posted:  7 years, 7 months ago

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Accidents Happen

Got into some bad news this week......I managed to burst a tire on my trailer by going over the curb with it. I now know I could have gotten away with this and fixed it myself. But I followed the company rules and called it in......big mistake. In Swift this is known as a crash and carry's points to it. I got 12 points to go with my already 10 points for the police ticket I got which now gives me a grand total of 22. I now have to take a truck test and a safety test on a simulator. Swift pride themselves on getting their drivers up to speed on everything.....yea I know.....Swift don't have the best reputation out there as far as careful, cautious drivers are concerned. The tire damage came to all of $70 to repair (no damage to tire and just a ding in the hub) and I now get three days suspension and written up. The thing that gets me the most about this, is that I drove without incident throughout the worse winter in North America for thirty years.....without a problem

The good news is that I'm really ok with it....they know me now and I pull my weight, do the miles, get there on time and don't ***** and moan. Back at my own terminal today the staff (and safety manager) where joking with me about it....which means that my feet are firmly under the table. And as no police or DOT where involved I'm still classed as clean.....that's if I did want to move on to another company....right?

Posted:  7 years, 8 months ago

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Thoughts on my first year trucking

Thanks Guyjax, duly noted about Conway....I knew about UPS and Fedex, but not Conway with their own strict time schedules.

Posted:  7 years, 8 months ago

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Thoughts on my first year trucking

Well....by the end of April I will have had one years driving experience with Swift. I couldn't have picked a worse winter to start my driving career I know. Since starting with Swift I have had my ups and downs with they way they do things but kept with them for that all important first year under your belt. OTR has been a blast and I'm now doing Canada on a regular basis which gets me home every weekend. I have to admit to missing getting around and seeing America.....but I will give Canada a run for a while longer before making a decision to move on to another company. Swift are a good company to start out with and I have been given the miles to run to make a decent living.....So why do I want to move on. I guess I have around ten to fifteen years left of a driving/working career. (I'm 56 years old).....I'm new to trucking with just the one year experience and I guess I want to see if there are any better companies out there. I am seriously thinking of going to Conway and back to OTR.....as in all these things I'm still doing the research....asking their drivers...looking at how good their trucks and trailers are....etc, etc. I don't mind running the miles or doing the work....no problem there....but with my next move I hope to be staying with a company for more than just the year. I have to prove myself again I know and it will take time to do that, but I just don't feel settled at Swift....any thoughts or comments as always please let me know......as a side note.....I'm also looking at flatbed....you appear to get more miles doing that kind of work..

Posted:  7 years, 9 months ago

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How do trucking companies get away with it?

This company that your working for wouldn't happen to be Swift would it Joe??? That's who I work for.

Posted:  7 years, 9 months ago

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Joining the Canadian Team at Swift

Thanks Michael and Brett for your replies and for the information you have both provided. It might be the routine that gets boring after my OTR adventures, but I'll take it for now as I thinking of leaving Swift at the end of my first year. I love this site and I will keep my adventures coming Brett...

Posted:  7 years, 9 months ago

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Joining the Canadian Team at Swift

Hi guys, I'm still reading the forum but don't think I have the most interesting stories to tell. I do like to give my updates from time to time and if anybody has any feed back, good or bad, please feel free to let me know.

I will be at Swift Transportation a year in March which will mean I can look to move on as per the advice given from Brett. I might have cheated a little on that last bit.......let me explain. My over the road adventures have been some what restricted to the eastern region of America. In training I did do all the 48 states which was awesome. If you have read my past posts you will know that I've certainly had my run ins with my DM (driver manager) and always ask for advice from this site....if I'm not sure where I stand. Now for my moving on role.....still within Swift, which keeps with what trucking truth ask you to do......but with a different role. As of Monday I will be running Canada only. Home every weekend and most days if you so wish. I know only what I've been told by a couple of the Canadian Swift drivers so I can't confirm or deny anything else about it. Can anybody on this site let me know any further information on running Canada?

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

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Resets and Home time

No problems in getting my fourth day off.....as the rule book says.....you go out for four weeks you are allowed four days off. The weather here in Michigan might just keep me off a few more days. I will be changing my dispatch as well when I get back that way I can keep with Swift for the regulation one year. I don't think it will be long before I'm looking else where though. Drive safe out there in this weather guys..

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

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Resets and Home time

Thanks again guys.....I knew it. I'm annoyed at having my last two home times cut short by this rule that clearly was not correct. I will have to talk to our terminal manager about this.

My DM does try to play at being boss and yes she is new to this role. Before being DM she worked at the drivers reception window at Swift......I would imagine that this new role is a big step up for her.

Like you say Brett, I need to keep all of this on a professional level and just talk...believe me I have had to bite my tongue a few times. It will get resolved I have no doubt. Thank you all again, I really do appreciate the feed back guys.

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

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Resets and Home time

Hi Guys, still reading and very much enjoying the posts on here. I have now been with Swift Transport nearly ten months......I remember the one year rule for keeping with the same company before you decide to move on. I've been ok with Swift and I'm now getting plenty of miles with over 3,000 miles last week. I know this is the slow season and that could change.

I always come back to the forum with a question and this is no different. My DM and I are not seeing eye to eye. I've been out for four weeks, working Christmas and New Year, I should be entitled to four days off as it says in the rule book. But if you have down time where by I ran out of my 70 hours drive time......a reset.....this she thinks is part of my off days. Which would only allow me three days. My argument is that I would prefer to have all my days off at home. If I get caught out as I do because I run my driving hours up to the max then where ever I end up is not my choice. I don't class 34 hours in a truck stop a day off.....or a terminal. Any ideas on where I stand on this?

Please let me know either way.....I can take it.....even if I'm wrong ;-)

Posted:  8 years ago

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Coolers/Fridges in Trucks

Excellent Daniel, thanks for your advice....Sorry to read about your own DM my friend. Have you moved over to Prime yet?

Posted:  8 years ago

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Coolers/Fridges in Trucks

Hi Guys, I haven't written anything on here for a while now. I'm still out there running the miles......but still consider myself very much the rookie. Love reading all the posts and soaking up all the information I need to hear.

I now have a question......I'm looking at a plug in cooler/fridge for my truck that will sit next to me. The only problem I have been told is that if you keep it plugged in for more than four hours while the truck is not running it will kill the battery. Is this true and how do you guys keep your food fresh? My wife is cooking all sorts of good food but I want to be out for four to six weeks at a time. Thanks in advance guys ;-)

Still enjoying my time at Swift, getting the miles and although my DM does get on my nerves at times (just a little bit of a drama queen :-) I like her.

Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

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Macro 22

The bottom line is that when you get a load and the appointment time is at 8am and you are running late and they have to reschedule to 1pm that means you are late. Even if you make it to the rescheduled time. What they see if did you get it there when the customer originally wanted it there. Most places charge a fee to reschedule appointments so they have to pay a fee because you're late, spend time to get the load reschedule, and they might suffer a service failure because they couldn't get it there when the customer wanted it to be there. I don't work for Swift but I work for Central - we are sister companies so I'm almost certain that this goes for you too.

And your trainer never being late is complete bs. Sure, he may be a great driver but that doesn't make him immune to breakdowns or extended delays or road closures. Everyone has been late, I think he's just too proud or too much of an elitist to admit it.

As always guys, excellent and very informative reply's. I actually thought I seen you this morning Daniel. At the same customers yard. Obviously it wasn't......young guy and talked allot of sense about trucking in general. I'm always eager to learn my new trade and talk to drivers when and where I can

Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

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Macro 22

Just a quick question for you guys. When ever there is a problem and you are running late. We have to send in a Macro 22 on the Qualcomm. Does this new adjusted time, if its met, mean that as a company driver your marked down as not being late?

I ask as when I was with my trainer he said to another company guy that he had never been late this year......I being has trainee knew that we had put in a Macro 22 that day......(we had met the new deadline). I've been good at meeting my own times, but have also had to put in the dreaded 22 as I had to yesterday when my truck decided to throw up some read warning lights to stop the engine. I suppose I'm just trying to establish what boundaries I'm working with.

I'm still liking it at Swift and beginning to settle in with just a few nervous moments that I can do without....but then that's trucking. I have training tomorrow on a SIM to learn how to drive in winter weather. You have to give Swift credit, they do like to go into detail in training their people.

I'm also thinking of changing to the Canada run in spring of next year.....it would mean I'm home every weekend. Any thoughts from anybody on this one would be much appreciated....good or bad.

Just as a foot note....I love reading this forum and get to learn so much from it. Thanks guys.

Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

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Distress factor of living with a trainer?

I will tell of my own experience Todd......as I had two trainers. And I couldn't be out here now on my own without each one of them. I learned so much and yes I tried to be as respectful as I could....even though the first guy I thought was very controlling and used to enjoy lecturing me in the art of professional truck driving. I can laugh about all that now but at the time it was very annoying. We did have our fall outs and I have to admit I wanted to leave half way through. Thankfully he talked me around to staying....and I'm so glad he did. The second guy was easier going, but very low on any kind of conversation.....if it wasn't to do with trucking. More relaxed but strange with long drawn out silences that I did get used too. He did teach me how to back a truck though....invaluable now that I'm on my own.

In spite of it all I'm still here and I wouldn't have swopped either trainer. As it is I still hear what they have to say in my head when I find myself in sticky situation. And just as a throw away line the first guy now wants to employee me privately as he is an owner operator. No I'm not going to work for him....I'm not that crazy.

Believe me I had the same reservations as you....I'm 56 and don't do well sharing a hotel room with another person let alone a box. My last suggestion would be to just roll with the punches and keep telling yourself its only six weeks. Mine was six weeks and then a further two weeks. I am so glad I stuck at it......its not easy, but it can be done.

Mick

Posted:  8 years, 3 months ago

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What do driver managers do?

Thanks guys for filling in the gaps.....I'm sure she said she has fifteen drivers....perhaps she is just learning the robes. I also don't turn down work just because I think the miles are low, I will take them if I have the hours left. When I'm not sure I will turn the job down (don't want to run out of hours which has happened)......But the same job comes back to me when I have the hours available.....which leads me to believe that nobody else wants to take it. Would I be right in thinking this?

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