Comments By Dan E.

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  • Dan E.
  • Joined:
  • 8 years, 3 months ago
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  • 16

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Posted:  7 years, 10 months ago

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Life of a tank driver

Wow, time flies. its been 5 months since my last post. anyways just wanted to give an update of my current situation.

first off, i have learned soooo much in the past 6 months ive been out on the road. the biggest thing i have learned so far is always always be alert and be ready to react in any situation. when you get tired and carless or in a hurry is when you make mistakes. ive had 3 incidents all of my own doing that has been negative and could have been avoided with proper rest and not being in a rush.

1) i was in port newark nj at a receiver for a dropnhook. easy enough except that i was in a rush to get hooked up and find a place to park for the night. i ended up not goaling and damaged another one of our trailers. wasent bad damage but enough to have to report it to road assist.

2) had 14 hours on my clock but was super tired( for some reason i didnt sleep much, dont remember why). got a load from port newark nj to st albans vt. was about 340 miles to the receiver. i knew i was going to struggle to make it but i tried my best. d rove straight to st albans about 3 hours early and found a rest stop about 5 miles from the receiver, i was like sweet ill take a nap for a couple hours before i have to get there and unload. well i ended up sleeping for 5 hours. when i woke up i immediatly knew i was late because it was sunny out and i was suppose to be there before there was light. i felt really embarrassed, but i explained it to dispatch and apologized. he never said anything to me about that.

3) i was in port newark nj getting ready to hook up to a loaded trailer and i was super tired as i had to drive from stratham.nh down to here with my clock winding down and little rest. well i got out of the truck to unhook my clean empty trailer and as i tried to get back in i had this big sinking feeling in my stomach. yes i locked myself out of the truck. had to call a locksmith to get me in. that took 3 hours and i ended up being late to my receiver. now i have a spare attached near my drive tires.

the conclusion i have come to realize is that i make mistakes when rushing andor tired. btw all these incidents happened between midnight and 2 am. so i try and avoid to do anything other than sleep or drive during those times.

so please do not rush yourself, i have to remind myself of that all the time. also whatever amount of sleep you need to function and be alert, please get it before starting what you need to do.

like a lot of the good drivers here, to make good money and be at or near the top you need to hustle and ive noticed you need to manipulate your hos logbook. for instance, you arrive at a receiver and immediatly log off duty so when your done you have a head start on those who log on duty unloading. however when i do that i usually end up with a nice load only to be a little sleepy and only getting 5 or 6 hours of sleep even though your logbook says you got 10 hours. i want to be available to my dispatch as much as possible but its tough to work like that all the time with less sleep than normal.

ive been with prime 9 months, 6 solo and did put an application in to howolding for their short haul gig. they said 20$ hour/ 50-70 hours a week home every other night and weekends off. i did the math and it seems like i could make a lot of money while being home more often, but do not get unpaid time off, so the most days i coukd take off in a row would be 2 on the weekend. with prime i can take up to 4 days in a row, but i would need to be out 4 weeks in a row. i really enjoy my free time and is one of the reasons i have looked into leasing with prime,. they let you take hometime whenever you want, and a couple of the prime drivers that lease that i have talked to said they make about 300 more per paycheck than i do. but i dont want to make a convo about leasing here.

i still really enjoy trucking and i feel like i could do this for the rest of my life, but at the same time the time on the road by myself for long stretches is getting to me. im a loner at heart and i love bejng alone, yet its tough to me. i respect the guys who make otr a living a lot.

Posted:  8 years, 3 months ago

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Any parking recommendations in City of Industry, CA area?

Can also check out rr&m truck parking. no idea what it is or if you have to pay, but looks like there is a lot of parking available according to google maps.

Posted:  8 years, 3 months ago

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Any parking recommendations in City of Industry, CA area?

Maybe the parking lot of the truck stop health clinic. I looked on google maps and see a truck with trailer parked in the parking lot, there is room if you look along the tree line by the sidewalk. Also if a police officer questions you, you can say you need to get some supplies from auto zone which is right next door.

Posted:  8 years, 3 months ago

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Life of a tank driver

I went with company driver because I didnt feel like i knew enough about trucking to go all on my own. Prime was good about it too! My FM asked me if I wanted to go Company or Lease, I said company and that was it and the end of it. Ive heard of some companies that push you to lease... I have seen a lot of prime tankers that are lease. Im not sure if they are doing good or bad, haven't talked with any of them about that yet.

I started as a B seat. I went to a private school to get my CDL License, I just felt like it would be easier since it was close to home. Prime does hire new tank drivers with no experience! Im proof of it lol.

Today I got up at 3:30am and started my pre trip, usually 15 minutes just going over the truck and trailer. Was about 90 miles to the receiver(Kerry Ingredients/Vesper, WI) and was a nice easy drive. The nice thing about small companies and companies that are stationed in small towns is that there are no tight turns getting there and very little traffic once there. I got there around 6am and was the only one there, the office wasn't even opened yet. They have a nice big dirt lot to turn around and park overnight if you are out of hours. So i got out and just walked around to see if i could find anyone. Didn't so i went back to my truck and took a nice nap. 45 minutes later a guy came to the truck, I gave him my papers and he told me to pull into this big garage with 2 ends. Nice, I don't have to back at all. Once inside i asked him if he needed any help he said no and I got back in the truck. 1 hour later he knocks on my door, and gives me a signed copy of the bill of lading and off I went.

That was one of the nicest receivers to go to. easy drive to get there, lots of parking, just pull through a garage, and wait 1 hour. Its not always this easy and relaxing but its not uncommon either. Once I get a load that I have to use the pump ill try and explain how that works.

Posted:  8 years, 3 months ago

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Life of a tank driver

I claim 2 exemptions on my taxes. Here is a breakdown of the exact pay from my last 2 settlements.

4) 2167 miles, 834.29 gross, -59.27 federal, -63.83 fica, -35.05 state = -158.15 total, + 173.36 per diem, - 35 for tanker tools that i need and -1 for fuel card charge. 813.50 net

5) 1055 miles, 406.17 gross, - 8.59 federal, -31.07 fica, -8.89 state = -48.55 total, + 84.40 per diem, -35 for tanker tools and -1 for fuel charge card. 406.02 net

cents per mile is 46. I was told by payroll that i get paid 38 cents per mile taxed and the rest non taxed.

I also do not have medical/dental/vision with Prime. I had it before starting with them and it is good till september then I will have to buy a plan with Prime. The benefits lady told me it starts around 65 dollars per week for just yourself. So you will have to add that if you do not currently have a plan.

At Prime they give you 1 day off for every 7 days on the road, and a maximum of 4 straight days. I took 3 days off last week, im not sure what will happen in the future, i guess it depends on how much I make and how much I miss home....

Posted:  8 years, 3 months ago

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Life of a tank driver

Hey there! my name is dan and i would like to share my experiences(very little) of what you do as a tank driver as well as other random observations. I am currently with Prime Inc. and have been driving solo for a little over a month so i'm a newb at this but i hope you will be patient with me.

Prime tankers haul food grade liquid, mostly oils. So far i've hauled coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter, and apple juice. I've never driven with a box trailer behind me except for cdl school so I cant really compare but i do find the prime tanks are pretty hard to drive smoothly. Accelerating was super difficult for me starting out and is still a bit rocky. Even the slightest bit of acceleration makes the truck rock forward then backward like 1 or 2 seconds after pressing the accelerator. Ive learned that when double clutching you have to wait a few seconds while in neutral or else i grind the gears and have trouble putting in in the next gear. Stopping is a little easier you just have to be really smooth and gentle with the brake pedal.

Most of the time i have carried at or close to full capacity. when loaded id say about 95% of the time i weigh around 78-79 thousand pounds. Only 1 time in virginia was i nervous i would get inspected, i was close to 80k and they had me wait on the scale for a couple minutes :o. When you get empty tankers have to go to a tank wash to get the trl washed inside. Not at the blue beacons but at local tank washes all over the country. I've found that most of them are nice and friendly. The nice thing about washes is that all of them have overnight parking and most have showers(albeit some i wouldn't wanna take a shower in them if you know what i mean) and laundry on site. My favorite so far has been the one in Kankakee near Chicago! They cook you nice hot food for free! (well technically not free since you are paying for the wash but you know what i mean). I've run as far north as Quebec Canada, as far south as Savannah Georgia and as far west as Eau Claire Wisconsin. BUT my next load has me going to Waco Texas, am excited about that. Not excited about loading in downtown Chicago....

Some random oberservations so far out on the open road. Yesterday in Ohio on the turnpike a trucker honked the air horn at me as he was driving by. A little background, it was snowing and the visibility was less than half a mile. Granted the roads were not slick but still I was shocked when the guy/gal did that, first time it happened to me. I was going 50, so yes i was a snail, but i thought the conditions called for it. Today i was on i80 heading towards Chicago and on that road the limit is 55 but seems like everyone is in a hurry. all going 65 and all(i mean 99% all bumper to bumper). I was going 55 and everyone kept passing me I kept saying smith system, smith system so i wouldnt join in on the fun, but sometimes its nerve wracking and frustrating seeing this chaos. Prime trucks are known to be one of the slowest trucks on the road and i make it worse sometimes trying to get my fuel bonus by staying at 57 all day even in good weather and speed limits of 65-70( ive heard that going too slow is a danger to other drivers). I feel like sometimes i am the loner, the only trucks i pass are when im going up a hill empty and on the side of the road!

Ill try and update this as much as possible with news observations and pics.

Here are my paychecks so far as a newb.

1) 2307 miles, 938.19 gross, 898.37 net 2) 2953 miles, 1353.90 gross, 1244.80 net 3) 2514 miles, 979.38 gross, 944.13 net $) 2167 miles, 834.29 gross, 813.50 net 5) 1055 miles, 406.17 gross, 406.02 net

For anyone interested Prime is a great company, and the tanker division is a nice way to start as well if you are interested in tanks.

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