Profile For Don

Don's Info

  • Location:
    CA

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    8 years, 1 month ago

Don's Bio

Started trucking in 2012, OTR Refer. Currently driving cryogenic tankers.

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Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

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Name three things you love about your company

That question brings up another idea: there are pros and cons to every industry, every company. The perfect job doesn't exist. So, the goal is to find the best fit, where the low points are tolerable, and the high points are valuable to you.

Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

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Introducing "The Road Home": TruckingTruth's New Podcast!

Great podcast. I learned to drive 5 years ago, and that syncs very well with my observations of myself and others.

Posted:  7 years, 6 months ago

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so i have road rage

Great post by Brett. Totally resonates with my experience, and how I've gradually developed over the years. The true professional doesn't get emotional about it. I'm not yet 100% but getting close.

One thing I noticed early in my career was how the fits of rage did three things:

1. Spends energy, and that wears you out -- the opposite of what you want in a 14 hr day, 70 hr week.

2. Distracts you. While fulminating over that driver's dumb, selfish, dangerous, etc, move, and maybe you're trying to send him a message about how rotten he is, what you aren't doing is focusing on the current situation.

3. Accomplishes nothing.

Posted:  7 years, 7 months ago

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Driving Close To Other Vehicles

The shuttle trucks I drove for Swift last year have a "distance blocker", whatever it's really called, that prevents you from getting close to the vehicle ahead of you.

On the interstate, when you get to something like 230 feet behind the vehicle in front, the accelerator retards till your speed matches the vehicle in front. You're not going to tailgate!

So to pass a truck that is governed 1mph less than you takes twice as long - several minutes - in the left lane as you crawl by, and as you block others.

When I last drove for Swift (first of this year) OTR, the front distance limiter (I'll call it) only kicked in when cruise control was on. Might call it "adaptive cruise control" to follow the vehicle ahead by about 3 seconds (max range of the sensor seemed to be around 4 seconds, so that's probably why it kept it at 3 -- maximum reliable range of the sensor). But it continually had false readings, disengaging the cruise control and even applying brakes. For instance, when the vehicle ahead was leaving the freeway and fully on an off ramp, slowing down, brake lights on (sensor seemed to recognize brake lights). Or when passing under a bridge, or something on the side of the road. So, it was a nuisance. And a potential danger if a truck behind was tailgating and the system applied the brakes.

Now I'm driving cryogenic gasses, and all of the companies doing it kick up the safety a notch or two (or three or four). At least one company (Matheson Tri-Gas) has video cameras on the road ahead and the driver, full time (not just critical events). Another company, Linde, says the cameras are only for critical events, but I've heard reports of drivers saying they've seen video monitors displaying it full-time. Don't know what to believe. Full-time cameras seem effective to promote safe driving, but I bet a lot of drivers won't drive for those companies because of it.

Best option, I think, is to keep the camera off the driver, at least until there is a critical event or tailgating sensor triggers.

Posted:  7 years, 7 months ago

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Driving Close To Other Vehicles

Never ceases to amaze, how so many truckers, including many who appear to be long-time veterans, drive so close to other trucks. Tailgating within 50' or less. Cutting close in front of other trucks after a pass. And even doing all of that when there is a wide open lane to the left. And they seem to think of themselves as some sort of hotshot truckers. 100% stupid. Don't care if someone has been driving for 40 years, it doesn't change the laws of physics.

Posted:  8 years, 1 month ago

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Swift

It's been a long time for me, and my training was with Central Refrigerated (now owned by Swift) but I'm almost certain you can have a few days off after over-the-road training is completed. Although they might wait to seat you in a truck until you get back.

Posted:  8 years, 1 month ago

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Dealing with low bridges and icy roads?

GPS is a good tool for finding a route, but as Bud wrote, don't bet your reputation on it. It can be wrong. And it might take a much more difficult route to save a few miles, which isn't worth it.

A few other resources:

1. With Swift you can request written directions through the Qualcomm. Sometimes they were written by the customer, who knows the local area. Other times they're a mess and even flat out wrong.

2. NY DOT offers a map on their website for truckers going in to NY city. Other state agencies might do the same, I just haven't looked into it.

3. With Google Maps, Street View, you can virtually drive down streets, read street signs (including bridge clearance, "Truck Route", "No Trucks", etc) before actually driving there.

4. Sometimes the customer will offer directions on a phone message.

5. Sometimes you can call the customer, and sometimes they're helpful :)

Posted:  8 years, 1 month ago

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Swift

I've been with Swift about 4 yrs now. Average about 2,500 mi per week and I push pretty hard. As a lease-operator I can go home anytime I want and spend all the time I want there, just have to pay for it (about $120 per day in lease payments on the tractor) so, I tend to stay out for 3 months at a time. Before starting, recruiter said company drivers can stay out 2 wks then have 2 days home. But after getting in, it was more like 4 wks out, 4 days back. And note that they may or may not be able to get you back on a particular day. It's dependent on setting you up with loads that will eventually route you there. If they're short on freight going to where you want to go, then no-go...

Posted:  8 years, 1 month ago

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Dealing with low bridges and icy roads?

In many places in America truckers are required to carry chains, regardless if they're used. Can be fined for not carrying them. Then when the roads are covered with ice, truckers are required to put the on to climb over hills and mountains.

I'll second what Phox wrote about low bridges. Make sure you know where your going before you get there...

Posted:  8 years, 1 month ago

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Newbie Here looking for some info please!

Four years ago when I was just getting started, I spoke with Schneider and they said a year of experience was required.

From what I've gathered Swift is a good option. Their sheer size (the largest of its kind in North America) allows for a good introduction to the trucking industry and to get experience as a trucker.

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