Profile For 18 Wheels of Steel

18 Wheels of Steel's Info

  • Location:
    Flint, MI

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    4 years, 1 month ago

18 Wheels of Steel's Bio

After more than a decade of screwing around and working minimum wage jobs, if any at all, I decided to get serious about life and learn a marketable skill. Now for most of my Millennial generation, that would mean go to college for 4 to 6 years, rack up tens of thousands of dollars of debt and still maybe not be able to get work.

I decided to take the road less traveled and get a skill that may involve getting my hands a little dirty and not involve a nice cushy desk job. Anathema to my generation, I know. But I love driving, and getting the opportunity to see the country on someone else's dime while making my living was just too good to pass up. So now I'm here.

I've recently graduated CDL school, and am about to be teamed with a trainer with my company in preparation for going solo. Will update as time goes on.

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Posted:  3 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Logging hours at the truck stop.

That's what I did! The POS still kicked me back to the drive line. I never got out of 3rd gear in the lot. I'm not sure if I exceeded the distance required to kick it into drive time or what. Maybe because I spent like 45 minutes circling and resetting?

I'm not even sure what my problem was, I've parked in harder spots than this, but it just wasn't clicking today.

I'm hoping this is something that dispatch can edit on their end tomorrow morning. I just did my 6 month review a couple weeks ago, and when he pulled up the compliance screen on the computer, it was totally blank. I'd really like to keep it that way. It's a nice counterbalance to those two preventables.

18 W's, you'll easily survive this crisis. The QC considers you are in driving mode since the engine was on, and the truck was in gear.

Next time, the moment you start getting into a parking spot, manually switch your time to On Duty, and you can take all the time you need, even driving SLOWLY around the lot.

Posted:  3 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Logging hours at the truck stop.

Since it reverted back to when i first started trying to back, it actually put me 22 minutes over. I guess the FMCSA book says drive time is all time at the driving controls. it doesn't say anything about private property or anything like that, so i guess i am screwed. My compliance has been perfect thus far, but i do have a couple minor backing incidents, so who knows what is going to happen to me. I really hate having to worry about this stuff, but I guess I will find out one way or the other by tomorrow.

My company isn't that strict about it. If you're a few minutes over once in a while they don't say anything. In fact I think they actually appreciate it if you're doing it to get a load delivered. A while back I was 1/2 hour over my 14 because I got stuck behind an accident, and I was told not to do that. We're supposed to pull over and call in, and I guess they send a tow truck or something.

Posted:  3 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Logging hours at the truck stop.

I did, they told me to send a message describing the situation on the QC. This was night dispatch I dealt with so they told me I have to wait until my actual DM arrives tomorrow morning. I'm just trying to figure out if this is actually a violation of HOS or not.

I suggest contacting your driver manager and speak to them about what happened.

Posted:  3 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Logging hours at the truck stop.

So today i got to the truck stop with about 15 minutes of driving time left. I switched to on duty and attempted to back into my spot. For whatever reason, i was having a rough time at it and kept having to reset, even circle around the lot to try and set up better. I managed to take a good 45 minutes to finally get parked.

During this time, the QualComm kicked me back onto the drive line, retroactive to when the wheels first started turning, giving me a nice little HOS violation on the QC.

Now, since I never left the parking lot, that entire time should have been considered on duty, not driving, right?

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

May Trucking

I've heard nothing but good things about the company. anxious to get started training. do you do the 48 or 11 western?

All 48.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

May Trucking

Greetings fellow May Driver, or soon to be May driver I suppose. They are a pretty good company, especially for an Entry Level Driver. I went solo about 2 and a half months ago. Let's just say we could've done a lot worse in choosing a company. They know we are new drivers and are going to make mistakes and screw up at first, and are very forgiving of that. My miles have been great right from the get go. I've been consistently putting down 2500-3000 a week right from the start. I think you will be happy with your choice.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Backing fun!

I do pretty well with my tandems in hole 7. Not too much tail swing and the tandems react fairly quickly.

As far as having a bad spotter, I was at a reciever in NY and accidentally rubbed the rubber on my trailer doors on someone's mirror, moving it just a hair. No damage, just a rub. But this guy jumped out of his truck, yelling at me and then proceed to say that he was an experienced driver and knew what he was talking about and began telling me what to do. I followed his directions for a few minutes and then realized I was going to hit the truck on the other side and started correcting. At this point, he jumped up on the passenger steps and was hanging in my window yelling at me and telling me to keep going which would have caused me to hit the other truck. So I raised my voice and brought out the inner ChickieMonster and told him to get the heck off my truck. He started saying if I hit his truck he was going to call the cops. Right then a yard dog showed up and told him to get down and move his truck. Turns out he was parked too far over in his spot!! The yard dog very kindly helped me to get in my door and told me that I was doing just fine and that the other guy obviously couldn't park because he wasn't in the door properly.

I say all that to say that sometimes you have to be assertive and tell someone to back off when they are giving you bad instructions. Don't just blindly follow someone's instructions. Just because they can back up well doesn't mean they can help someone else do it!

And for the record, I would never have someone else drive my truck. For one thing, if they were to dock too hard, they would set off my camera and then it would be my job. Second, that's my home and sanctuary and I don't want some stranger in there. If this had been at a shipper/reciever, I would have taken Rainy's approach and got a yard dog to put it in the spot.

Also (and maybe this is just my jaded point of view), but there seems to be two types of guys who will try to help. The first is the good kind. He remembers what it was like to be a struggling rookie and wants to pay it back for the times that he was helped in those difficult days. The other is the self-important King of the Truckers, who can do no wrong, and sees it as his duty to get the stupid rookie into his spot without hitting anything. I've encountered both types, and both have at times put me in a bad spot. It's the same solution for both, ignore or drive around the lot and come back and try again. I do feel kinda bad when I have to do it to the first type, but again, hurt feelings trump safety meetings in my opinion!

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Backing fun!

I do pretty well with my tandems in hole 7. Not too much tail swing and the tandems react fairly quickly.

As far as having a bad spotter, I was at a reciever in NY and accidentally rubbed the rubber on my trailer doors on someone's mirror, moving it just a hair. No damage, just a rub. But this guy jumped out of his truck, yelling at me and then proceed to say that he was an experienced driver and knew what he was talking about and began telling me what to do. I followed his directions for a few minutes and then realized I was going to hit the truck on the other side and started correcting. At this point, he jumped up on the passenger steps and was hanging in my window yelling at me and telling me to keep going which would have caused me to hit the other truck. So I raised my voice and brought out the inner ChickieMonster and told him to get the heck off my truck. He started saying if I hit his truck he was going to call the cops. Right then a yard dog showed up and told him to get down and move his truck. Turns out he was parked too far over in his spot!! The yard dog very kindly helped me to get in my door and told me that I was doing just fine and that the other guy obviously couldn't park because he wasn't in the door properly.

I say all that to say that sometimes you have to be assertive and tell someone to back off when they are giving you bad instructions. Don't just blindly follow someone's instructions. Just because they can back up well doesn't mean they can help someone else do it!

And for the record, I would never have someone else drive my truck. For one thing, if they were to dock too hard, they would set off my camera and then it would be my job. Second, that's my home and sanctuary and I don't want some stranger in there. If this had been at a shipper/reciever, I would have taken Rainy's approach and got a yard dog to put it in the spot.

That's about the same deal I had, with the guy not seeing that I was going to hit on my drivers side from not being able to get back in front of the trailer fast enough. Generally, if they are putting me in a bad spot, I just ignore them then they seem to go away. Never had anyone get that aggressive about it though. I would've done the same thing in telling him to take a walk.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Backing fun!

I agree with not letting someone else drive your truck. How would one explain that if he happened to hit something?

Or is this a common practice in the trucking world to allow more experienced drivers to assist in this manner?

I wouldn't let anyone drive my truck, regardless of how hard of a time I was having. If they screw up and hit something, I know I would be on the hook for it.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Is this mean??

Some docks have straight flat pieces of metal sticking out, about 1/2 inch thick, right around where those rubber pads are that you back into. If you are off center to the dock door, you'd hit them with your open doors right about where the hinge is. I'm sure that would do some damage.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Backing fun!

double-quotes-start.png

Wait...does having the tandems all the way to the rear help when there is very little room out front? I had mine all the way to the front...

double-quotes-end.png

Definitely not, especially for an inexperienced driver. Having the tandems all the way back lengthens the pivot point and will also cause the trailer to respond much slower to steering adjustments.

The inverse, having the tandems in the one hole although at times might be necessary, beware of trailer overhang in the opposite direction. Easy to side-swipe another trailer, wall or worst case, a tractor.

The majority of my backing is done in holes 6-11.

OK, that's what I thought. I've been keeping mine all the way to the front whenever possible. I know about the overhang, and do lots of GOALS, especially as I enter the space, to the possible frustration of my fellow truck drivers. Oh well, their frustration is better than my having to report to safety again...

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Backing fun!

Wait...does having the tandems all the way to the rear help when there is very little room out front? I had mine all the way to the front...

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Backing fun!

Nice. always good to have someone give kind words rather than be rude. :)

True.

I forgot to point out to be careful of advice from a spotter though. The first guy who came along, sad to say it, didn't really know what he was doing and nearly backed me right into the driver next to my spot's headlight.

Be sure to still get out and look and don't be afraid to ignore the guys instructions if you think he is putting you in a bad spot. I did so, and the first guy walked off no doubt upset, but i'd rather hurt someones feelings than pick up another preventable. I got out and looked for the second guy as well until I was confident he wasn't going to put me in a bad spot. At that point, it was just a matter of straightening back out so I just needed to be sure I wasn't going to hit the side of the trailer on my drivers side. But I still got out and verified his spotting.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Backing fun!

Well, I didn't notice that my appointment time for delivery had changed, and wound up stuck in Atlanta a day early. With maybe an hour left on the clock, it was off to find a spot. I finally got to the petro off 285 and found that there was a spot left. An easy, sight side 45 degree back...or so I thought. Unfortunately, a couple people parked in an unauthorized zone, leaving me very little room to get back in front of the trailer. I basically had to pull forward where the back of the entire trailer was past the spot, and just slightly bend it into the spot.

It took many resets and many GOAL's but I finally got it at the right angle to walk it in the spot. It turned into a slight blindside at the end since it was so hard to get the front end back around. Fortunately, I got a spotter at the end to help with that part, mostly by saving me a bunch more get out and looks.

After finally getting in the spot, I was feeling a little down about struggling so hard with the spot. I talked to the guy in the spot next to mine and got some confidence building words. He basically said that he had seen several guys try for this spot tonight and none of them got it. He then said I was a pretty good backer to have pulled it off. He also had some choice words about the drivers who had parked inappropriately and had made this spot so difficult, but those words cannot be repeated here. After a rough day, that was exactly what I needed to hear.

Posted:  3 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Two preventables in three weeks

Small world! That's normally where I park my truck when on home time. Right there off I-75, Mt Morris Rd exit. Seems that's about all that truck stop is used for, judging by the fact that there is generally as many dropped trailers there as trucks. Of course, I must keep truck and trailer connected and bum a ride home, but it's a small price to pay to not have to drive back from Gary, IN!

Just noticed you hail from Flint. I lived for several months in Mt. Morris.

Posted:  3 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Two preventables in three weeks

Chances are you're OK. For Now.

I've had two scrapes myself, though more than two weeks apart. My first I punched a hole in a warehouse wall with a trailer door. Second, right under my nose I backed my front fender into a yellow post. I was looking in the mirrors at the time. Post got tilted, my truck got a new hood/fender piece.

You have gone over the incidents in your mind a hundred times already. I bet you'll nev-ver do those things again, right? And you can recognize the situations that caused those accidents.

Read that last paragraph again. Think about what happened. This is what you should bring up in your talk with the safety person.

The waiting between calling Safety for the first time and that face-to-face can be agonizing.

I hope you're right. You can bet I'll never forget those trailer tails, provided I get that chance. It was the easiest back of my life too. 3 or 4 open docks on either side. I'm normally religious about getting out and looking, and had i done that this time, I'd have noticed the tails and closed them. But I got overconfident and paid the price. It's probably a good sign that they at least gave me another load after this screw-up. But I'll be a wreck until the safety meeting, regardless. I guess we will see what happens.

Posted:  3 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Two preventables in three weeks

I've picked up what will no doubt be my second preventable today. The first was three weeks ago when I put a scrape on the side of my trailer while backing. Today, like a total bonehead, I backed into the dock with the trailer tails open, knocking the dock door off its track. The tails were not damaged.

I'm under a new load now, and have to report to safety when I get to the next terminal, probably after delivering this load. I'm a nervous wreck. I started out so well, but now two bonehead mistakes, and I fear my time as a driver is finished. This is for May Trucking if anyone has first hand experience.

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

New driver less trucks- will it be a real job killer?

I was kinda worried about this until I actually started driving. I could see the technology used as a sort of auto-pilot where when a driver hits a nice relatively straight stretch of interstate with light traffic, he or she could activate the auto-pilot. But in heavy traffic even on the interstate near big cities, or in bad weather, or in some of these very curvy stretches of freeway, I doubt it. And forget city driving. I'd think from a safety standpoint, you'd need all the 4-wheelers to be automated before you could trust a big semi being driven wholly by computer.

Another angle to consider is the liability aspect. If your driver-less truck malfunctions and plows into the back of a traffic jam, killing many people, who is liable? Assume the carrier can prove the truck has been properly maintained. I'd think the blame, and potential lawsuits would fall directly onto the manufacturer. I'd think manufacturers would be kind of leery about such a thing.

And even if (and that's kind of a big if) these trucks were actually safer than human drivers, it wouldn't take but a few of the aforementioned incidents to leave a bad public perception of this technology, in my estimation.

A final thought, such a truck would be susceptible to being hacked, either by thieves who would get it to pull over, then steal the cargo. Or worse, terrorists who hack the truck and turn it into a 40 ton battering ram.

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Brake Squeal. How to stop it...

The only thing that would really fix it is to take off the brake shoes and sand the "glaze" off of them. (Glaze being a thin layer on top of the shoe material that overheated and became very smooth). That being said, unless you're a trained mechanic, messing with your brakes would be a big no-no. Although annoying, glazed brakes are not a big deal.

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

1st Time Run with May Trucking!

Congrats! I just went solo with May about 2 weeks ago. For a company that hires Rookies, they are pretty good. Good luck out there!

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