Profile For Lucky13

Lucky13's Info

  • Location:
    Berwyn, IL

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    9 years, 5 months ago

Lucky13's Bio

Experienced driver. Started out OTR, now driving local intermodal. Been driving for 3 and a half years now and still mostly love it. I enjoy helping new drivers and students learn about trucking and life on the road.

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Posted:  7 years, 7 months ago

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Trucking

As long as you can pass your DOT physical, background checks and have a decent driving record, there's a job in this industry that can fit anyone's needs/lifestyle - regardless of their age, sex, marital status... You just have to get your experience before a lot of those doors will open up for you. No, 35 is not too old.

I totally agree. If you're in good enough shape to pass the physical, 35 seems actually pretty young to be in the driving profession. Many people have started a career driving in their 50's and they do great. No worries, kid! I'll be 50 this summer and I'm still rollin'!

Posted:  7 years, 7 months ago

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Pheonix AZ traffic

FYI....winter is snowbird season in Phoenix, so traffic is heavier there in winter months. My wife and I were there on vacation in December and experienced some pretty heavy traffic. They just had a Super Bowl there too, so add for that too. After Spring Training is over, say late March, traffic will drop off dramatically. Until then, hope you can find safe places to park. I tried Walmart or shopping malls if there were no spots at a truck stop.

Posted:  7 years, 7 months ago

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Good words from my DM

Heh. You get a screen full of compliments, then a crappy load for the weekend. Isn't that just like a dispatcher? That really gave me a chuckle. But seriously, if your DM is asking you to train, I would go for it. It will help your company to have a good trainer on board, but more importantly, it will be helpful to you. You will probably learn even more than the drivers you are training. By taking responsibility for training another driver, you will reinforce the aspects of driving that helped you become a successful professional. You will become more aware of your strengths and your weaknesses. It is undoubtedly a challenge, but one well worth accepting. In my current job hauling intermodal freight, I have trained several drivers now and I learned something by training each one. Good luck! Let us know how it turns out. I have to admit though, I have no idea what a PSD or a TNT trainer is. Can you fill me in?

Posted:  7 years, 7 months ago

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Swift Enclosed Auto Transport?

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I didn't think cabovers were still being made.

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Freightliner makes them still butt just not in the US. I would love to have a cab over condo. Would be alot easier dealing with tight parking places.feb-05-freightliner-argosy_9a47d.jpg?i

I would love a cabover for intermodal work. City driving, tight corners, and crowded railyards would be a lot easier in that rig.

Posted:  7 years, 9 months ago

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Advice, owner operator?

Sorry, I think my reply was directed more at Karl, but anyway, if you're a new driver, especially one in training, stay the heck away from company lease programs. It's the absolute worst deal out there. The payments are usually impossible to make unless you run teams, and even then, the numbers are not in your favor.

Posted:  7 years, 9 months ago

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Advice, owner operator?

Ricky, the best advice I can give you after driving for 3 plus years is.....wait. That may not be easy to do, but I can match every rose-filled picture that a lease operator tells me with a horror story. A truck is a big expense, and it takes big dollars coming in to keep those wheels rolling. Most lease operators have to drive team with students or they won't be able to make those weekly payments. In the time I've been driving, I've thought about owning my own truck. Owning, not leasing. For now they are just thoughts, and maybe that's all they will be. There's a good bit of cash to come up with when you want to own a truck. After that, there is the risk of starting a new business, and the headaches that come with it. Many drivers at the company I'm with have sold their trucks and gone back to being company drivers because the hassle and expense of ownership wasn't worth the extra money. Keep in mind they were owners, not lease operators. Leasing a truck from the same company you get your loads from is the worst deal in trucking, no matter how good they make it sound. The payments are so high you have no choice but to keep driving team or you will constantly be in the hole. Your best course is to learn trucking and to survive your first year or two. At that time, you will have gained more knowledge and experience, which will be a great aid to you in making an informed choice. Good luck in completing your training. After you're done you'll be assigned a truck that the company will maintain for you. They'll buy all that fuel too....and the tires, the repairs, the license plates, the insurance....etc. Have them pay all of those big bills so you won't have to.

Posted:  7 years, 9 months ago

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Still rollin' after 3+ years

Hey everybody! Been thinking about checking back in after being away for awhile. Glad to see so many drivers and soon-to-be drivers using the forum. I think this is still the best place to get the straight up info if you're considering a career in trucking. Even after I had been driving a bit, the study questions here helped me pass my hazmat endorsement test. I've been driving for about 3 and a half years now. At the present, I drive local intermodal in Chicago for a small, family owned company and it's been going pretty good. I'm glad to say that I still love the trucking lifestyle. Yes, the hours are still long, the job is still hard, but not nearly as hard as it was starting out. I'm home every night, and the pay sure ain't bad. I have to say I'm a lucky man to have a wonderful wife, a happy home, get to sleep in my own bed at night and never be far from a hot shower. Sometimes, though, when I'm driving in tight Chicago traffic, the old romance of the road comes calling. When that happens, I just want to just put the truck on I-90 and keep going until I get to South Dakota. Maybe someday I will get to do that again. Until then I'm still happy to get up when it's still dark and put the big truck out on the highway. I love the sound of that big motor running, the tires whining, and seeing those white lines go ticking by. Thanks to everyone at TT who keep it a great place to come back to. I'll try and come back more often. I enjoy helping new drivers out. In the last couple of months I have been asked to train our new drivers for intermodal work. Some training days are a rewarding experience☺ Some other days, not so much.😨For those who have never driven intermodal, it's a whole world apart from van freight. First, you have to find the dang railyard, and that can be a feat in itself. I'll try to write some about that. I'll close by wishing all the drivers and students a happy and SAFE holiday season. Keep on truckin'!

Posted:  7 years, 9 months ago

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Hi, I'm Ryan and I'm new here.. Should I go over the road?

Well Ryan, it sounds like you have a big decision in front of you. All I can add is that from my year and a half of OTR driving is that it was one of the greatest adventures of my life. It was also one of the toughest. Trucking is just like that I guess. It's a paradox of sorts. Sometimes you love it and can't imagine doing anything else. Sometimes you ask yourself if you are absolutely nuts for doing what many people are not capable of doing. If I were a single man I would hit the road again starting tomorrow, but alas, I am not. I love being home at night and the happy home I am lucky to have. I'll close with this: Have you ever seen the sun rise over the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah? Ever drive through Flagstaff on I-40 and see the beauty of the desert? Ever cross the Mississippi on your way into Memphis at midnight and see the moon's reflection on the water? Do you want to do any of that? If your answer is yes, then I can tell you that an adventure is out there waiting for you. You will see all kinds of places and meet some very unique people, plus you'll get paid to do it. The experience you gain will have tangible value. Sometimes Ryan, you will never know until you try. Good luck!

Posted:  9 years, 1 month ago

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Going down a new road....again

Hey everybody! Seeing Jakecat back kind of makes me feel like it's "old home week" here at TT. I think I joined just after he did. Anyway, I've been driving for 2 years now. I was OTR for a bit over a year, then went local since last November. About 2 months ago I was ready to go back to regional. Driving nights from 18:00 to 06:00 every day was getting to me. Fortunately, the manager switched me to day shift, which was a lot better. Still, I felt that better opportunities were out there, so after doing some research, I decided to go with a smaller company here in the Chicago area. I'll still be driving days, though now it will be local Intermodal. The company I left had 15,000 trucks. The new place has 50. What a change that will be. They are also a family-owned company that is a whopping 10 minutes from where I live, so I'll be laying out a lot less dough at the gas pump. I went through the interview and passed the road test, so now I'm just waiting for the drug test to come back so I can train for 2 days. It will be helpful I'm sure just to learn the equipment and getting in and out of the rail yards. I'll also need to get my HAZMAT endorsement, which I've already started studying for here at TT. I'm glad that TT has something here for experienced drivers looking to learn more as well as plenty of material for new drivers just starting out. I know I've said this before, but hopefully I'll come back a bit more often with updates and to offer some help to new drivers if I can add anything that is useful.

Posted:  9 years, 1 month ago

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What's up? Long time....

What's wrong with swift? and may I ask why you are leaving them, again and for good?

Sorry, They were just on my radar...

I just thought that I should clarify my comments. I drove for Swift for 2 years and for that period of time they were good for me, and I was good for them. I went to Swift Academy and had a Swift mentor that was pretty good as trainers go. I wouldn't turn any new driver away from them. I just think that as an experienced driver, there are many more options available for me that offer better pay and better equipment. For new drivers, those opportunities are not yet available. Many small to medium sized trucking companies now will not hire drivers with less than 2 years experience. Therefore, new drivers simply have fewer companies to choose from when starting their careers. That doesn't mean that Swift or any other company that trains new drivers are bad companies. They're not. I just felt personally that I had gone as far as I was going to go where I was, and was ready to move on. I'm glad I'm doing that. At the same time, I'm glad for what I learned and grateful that the folks at Swift treated me well. When you feel like you're traveling down the same path over and over, it's time to find a new one, so that's what I meant. Hope that makes what I said a little clearer.

Posted:  9 years, 1 month ago

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What's the Difference?

Dry van for one is "contained" no need to worry about tarping or tying down the load. Flatbed loads always need to be tied down, and may need to be tarped due to weather and cargo. Flatbed is just usually considered more of a hassle due to the extra work by many drivers, however a lot of drivers prefer flatbed so its just a matter of preference really. Flatbed loads being exposed are also more of a liability due to things that could fall off the trailer and cause an accident, as well as a liability for theft or vandalism. We have a few flatbed drivers here as well as dry van drivers, not to mention refer, tanker, and hazmat drivers too. There are just many different types of loads, and they all have their unique positives and negatives.

I would only add a bit to Charles' reply by saying that generally, flatbed loads pay a bit more per mile for OTR loads, though the rate varies from company to company. Also, flatbed drivers usually get "tarp pay" per load for the extra work of chaining and tarping different loads. Flatbed loads are usually a lower height than van freight and tend to be less box-shaped than vans, making them less susceptible to wind and making clearance hazards less of an issue. Flatbed loads are usually on the heavier side, though, and are subject to more regulations by the shipper, carrier, and last but not least, the DOT. They have to stop at scales more often and their weight is watched very, very carefully. Like most jobs that pay a higher rate, flatbed work is just that-more work. Some flatbed drivers have told me they feel their work is more rewarding and offers more variety than pulling a van every day, and for them, maybe that's enough in itself. I've never done it myself. Didn't feel like getting dirty and sweaty then driving for 10 or 11 hours, but that's just me.

Posted:  9 years, 1 month ago

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What's up? Long time....

How is everyone? Been a long time....sorry I am not around much, seriously Brett, my CPU doesn't like this new forum!!!! BUT I think I got it fixed(who woulda thought you could have bad cookies in your cpu?????)

Anyways, thought I would let everyone know I am not dead, and still driving, and should be around more.

Hey Jakecat! Great to see you returning. I've been gone awhile myself. Still driving, fortunately! In fact, I'm switching away from Swift again-hopefully for good this time! How ya been? Are you still with Schnieder?

Posted:  9 years, 5 months ago

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Sometimes I really miss the open road

The perks of the travelling lifestyle are what make it worth doing.

Yep, you said it Brett. The trucking lifestyle is unique and difficult in it's own way, but carries with it rewards that don't come any other way. I've seen the sunrise in Searchlight, Nevada and the sunset in Laredo, Texas only because I was an OTR trucker. I was able to have a really honest conversation with my wife about a week ago about how I'm just not as happy doing local stuff as I was a year ago. Yes, I was gone for periods of time, but I got home for every major holiday. I got home for Memorial Day, Father's Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, etc. Plus, I took 4 days home time in Phoenix last year and bought my wife a plane ticket so we could have some time out west together. We were apart sometimes, but we also had some really good times enjoying the traveling lifestyle. I think we're going to do some more talking and I'm going to do some soul-searching over the next 30 days or so and see what I come up with. The traveling life is definitely not for everyone, but for me, the adventure of trucking and traveling are worth the hardships. There is truly nothing else like it.

Posted:  9 years, 5 months ago

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Qualcomm and Critical Events

During my OTR days I ran out the clock several times. I ran right up to 14 hours on-duty once just as I pulled into the entrance at the terminal in Memphis. I stopped the truck right away and switched to off-duty. Once ran right up to 14 hours on-duty delivering a load just outside of Austin, Tx. I got in a truly awful traffic jam going west on I-20 about 40 miles east of Dallas. There was a semi-trailer that caught fire and traffic was diverted onto 2 different state highways which immediately backed up for miles. I was going to try and shut down in Austin but there isn't squat for truck stops right in Austin. I delivered the load just as my clock ran out. Another time during my first month on the road I had to have a load repowered when my 14 hour on-duty clock ran out. A 2-hour live load turned into 4 hours, then I got lost on some country road in N.Carolina in the middle of the night. Not fun. The good thing was my company understood what happened after I told them straight up what was going on. I would advise any new driver to plan trips very carefully so as not to run out of hours before you can pick up or deliver your load. Whenever I could and it was permissible, I would try to shut down either at the shipper or receiver or really close so I would have maximum drive hours for the next load. With the presence of electronic logs, accurate trip planning becomes very, very important.

Posted:  9 years, 5 months ago

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Sometimes I really miss the open road

Now that I've been driving local for about 5 months, I sometimes find myself missing the sights and experiences that only come with being an OTR driver. I saw some truly unique and beautiful places last year. From the mountains of West Virginia, to the red desert of Arizona, to the California coast; it's a great, big, beautiful country out there. Lately I've been wondering if I was happier waking up in a different place every day or if I'd rather get home every day. With my schedule of working nights, I don't get much time with my wife anyway. Right now I'm off on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so weekends are still work days for me. Sure, the money is good and steady, but I have to say that local driving can get monotonous. Same roads, same docks, same work every day. I'm thinking about looking into maybe the regional Intermodal fleet. That would get me some longer runs and I think it still pays pretty decent. I have the phone number for a manager on that fleet. I may give him a call and post what I find out. Stay tuned...

Posted:  9 years, 5 months ago

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Back with Swift after false start with another company

Hey everybody! Thanks to all for reading and weighing in on this important topic. After thinking about my experience in trying for the new job, as well Brett's response, I have to agree. The company can ask for whatever records they want to ask for, and it's my decision whether or not to provide them. In my case, the new company didn't feel comfortable putting me in one of their rigs without a detailed history from my doctor regarding the medication I take. That's their right. I just felt that the multiple medical releases I had provided should be enough. That's where we disagreed. Brett, I appreciate your perspective. Thanks for taking the time to address issues here for new and experienced drivers alike.

Posted:  9 years, 5 months ago

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Back with Swift after false start with another company

It's been quite a while since I posted here. Last December or January, I believe. I like the new Forum, btw. Well, at that time I had decided to leave Swift for another company which promised a regional route, better wages, and decent home time. I'm sorry to say it didn't work out that way. I won't mention the company again. I've heard many drivers are happy there. I wasn't. For starters, no sooner did I get signed up for orientation when I was told that the regional position had been filled and that I was to be assigned to the Intermodal division. I was not thrilled to learn that. Then, after passing a DOT physical as well as a fitness test, a drug test, road test, and a backing test, the safety manager demanded a whole lot more medical information than I was willing to give. Basically, because of an ADD medication I take, the safety manager wanted all of my doctor's notes for the past 2 years. That basically meant I had to release my medical records in their entirety to the company. I wasn't going to do it. In fact, my doctor even advised me against it and offered to send any approval they needed. The new company wouldn't let me work until I handed over the information, and refused to e mail or fax my doctor and state exactly what information they were looking for. This was after my doctor had sent every medical release the company requested. Finally, after 2 weeks of sitting at home not making any money and little or no communication from the new company,I called Swift back and said I wanted to work. Fortunately, Swift took me back and reinstated me in the same local fleet with the same schedule and pay as before instead of making me go through the re-hire process. It was a costly and upsetting ordeal to go through. I don't like to complain, but I have to say I'm not impressed with being treated the way I was. The safety manager's attitude and actions just said to me-"We don't care. Give us everything or go away." I went away then, without even being assigned a truck or doing anything other than going through orientation. I was a bit surprised that they spent money hiring me and then didn't give a rip what I did. I could see that reaction from them had I lied on an application or had tickets or accidents on my DOT record. Neither was the case. I also passed all of their physical and driving requirements. To tell the truth, it made me mad and really soured me on some of the promises that trucking companies are making right now. Some of them are desperate for drivers and with that comes desperate promises. I still love driving and am glad to be a trucker, but thinking about whether or not I want to stay local. More on that later. Anyway, I'm glad to be posting again in the new Forum.

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