Comments By B_Dawg

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  • B_Dawg
  • Joined:
  • 8 years, 3 months ago
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Posted:  5 years ago

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Swift Walmart account, Pottsville, PA

Appreciate the input, guys!

G-Town, I read your "Day in the Life" article as well as the Freedom one. both excellent and informative reads. It's a shame map reading and trip planning isn't something they spend more time teaching new drivers. Much of the stress I experienced from driving came because I wasn't preparing for the trip or managing my time efficiently...a habit I developed because neither of the trainers I had spent any time doing it, either. Just set the GPS and go!

Anyway, I'm still very much a work in progress, but thankfully I have this site, YouTube and Google maps to use as tools. There's always something to learn and hearing stories from both seasoned drivers as well as fellow greenhorns like myself who are all going thru the same learning curve is not only fun but it's an invaluable teaching tool. To say this "job" is a challenge is an understatement, but it's also very rewarding and the only job I've ever had where at the end of the day I felt real pride in what I accomplished. I don't think I'd be happy doing anything else.

Thanks!

Posted:  5 years ago

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Swift Walmart account, Pottsville, PA

I have an opportunity to take a Walmart account with Swift, running out of Pottsville, PA. any info on the account would be appreciated. I was told no slip-seating and "possible" weekly home time. the account runs PA, northern MD and DE, but was wondering how consistent the home time will be since I live in south NJ and Pottsville isn't exactly "close". if I'm taking a 34 every week I want it to actually be at home, otherwise I might as well stay OTR.

Another concern is, I enjoy OTR because of getting to see parts of the country I wouldn't see otherwise, and the variety. I'm wondering that, for me at least, a dedicated run might get a little "stale" after awhile despite the benefits of getting home weekly.

Thanks in advance, guys.

Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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Endorsements: from day 1, or later?

I got all my endorsements at once, and that's what I recommend. all the information is fresh in your mind and even though you may not need them, it's good to have them.

Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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Followed GPS onto Frozen Lake

There was a driver who drove onto the Boardwalk in Atlantic City because he was following the GPS...so those of you who have been there can just start picturing how many red flags he ignored accomplishing that little feat.

I try not to rely on GPS. I use it mainly for the highways and interstates, and I'll cross-reference with Google maps for the shipper/receiver locations and any areas I'm not sure of...especially when I'm forced to detour. I've had two trainers and neither of them used anything other than GPS and neither had time or desire to teach me the atlas, so I had to teach myself and admittedly, I really need to get better at using it. I also call the shipper/receiver because there's just too many times where the address on file is the OFFICE address and the warehouse is 2 miles away. when I call, I always ask for someone from shipping/receiving because office people and security may very well know the area like the back of their hand, but the directions they give don't necessarily take into account the fact you're in a 70' truck.

bottom line, using multiple sources is awesome but no matter how many tools you use, if you ain't got no common sense to react to what your eyes are telling you then you shouldn't be driving.

Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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Just Got Accepted Into CDL School

Congrats!

best advice, stay patient. truck driving is 99% mental. most driving mistakes happen when people try to go too fast. don't be afraid to slow down. you're not there to impress anyone. don't let other students be a distraction.

the unfortunate problem with many CDL schools is getting seat time. at my school, we spent most of the time watching while we waited for our turn. don't get frustrated and don't let that time go to waste. leave your cell phone in your car. when it's your turn, listen to your instructor and focus on what you need to do. when your turn is over, watch! you can learn a lot thru observation. if there is an open truck on the lot, don't be afraid to ask your instructor if you can go over and practice your pre-trip.

the truck can be intimidating, but remember it's just a machine. it will do exactly what you tell it to, so you need to develop a feel for how it responds to your controls. learn to tune out distractions and focus on what you need to do and you'll be fine!

Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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Seeking advice from drivers dealing with asthma and sleep apnea

Really appreciate the input!

@Susan, it's complicated. My lab study indicated I have sleep apnea. When I was sent for the calibration test to see how much pressure the mask needs to apply, that is what the insurance denied. Apparently, it's mild enough they want to "treat it with weight loss" and my doctor agreed. He didn't even recommend an APAP. My appeal is still under review, so we'll see what happens. In the meantime, I have an appointment with an ENT on Friday and I'm going to see what he says. If I do get the green light from my company, I may check into getting a portable nebulizer for emergencies.

@Rainy, I have tried pillows like that before and they didn't help much. I can't sleep on my back, so I end up on my side with my arm under the pillow...which is probably why my right shoulder makes the strange noises it does.

As for my asthma, I have an Advair inhaler that I take twice a day and an albuterol inhaler I take as needed. At night, I take Singulair before bed, which also helps for allergies. Thankfully, my asthma is also mild but it's triggered by the standard things you'd expect such as dust, pollen, cigarette smoke, etc. and it's worst in the fall, which I'm told is because of the bacteria that breaks down leaves after they fall.

I have taken Zyrtec for allergies. I'll be sure to check with my company to see if it's allowed.

I'm still waiting for a decision from my company's review board, but I'm hoping for an approval. I've lost 17 lbs since January and I think most of that is from pacing back and forth. I'll keep y'all posted.

Posted:  5 years, 5 months ago

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I made the grade today!

Awesome man! congrats! don't sweat not passing on the first try. lots of people don't. I didn't (failed parallel). the important thing is you got back to work and got it done. one of the proudest moments in my life when I walked up to my instructor and he said: "nice job, DRIVER!" and I still remember the look on his face. some advice: when things happen out there on the road, and those moments hit where you're wondering what the h*ll you got yourself into, remember that feeling. remember what motivated you to go for your CDL and all the work it took and all the sacrifice your wife made to support you. it will help get you thru those days. best of luck to you out there!

Posted:  5 years, 5 months ago

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It's not my fault I failed

Well, I ain't no trainer but I was a student ;). I certainly don't envy you those next 100 hours but I do applaud you from being professional and accepting the challenge. many trainers I am sure would request a new student. I always took responsibility for my mistakes. as far as I'm concerned, if you aren't prepared for the responsibility then don't even get in the seat, because once you grab that wheel that's exactly what you are doing...accepting responsibility. if you don't succeed, if you make mistakes, it's not anyone's fault but you. you are the driver.

the thing is, the "test" doesn't end. drivers are tested everyday by any number and combination of 1000 different things. if that dude is throwing a tantrum now, over a failed test, then how is he ever going to handle real situations when he's out there on his own? failure is an excellent teacher if we're willing to learn from it so we don't repeat the same mistakes.

Posted:  5 years, 5 months ago

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Seeking advice from drivers dealing with asthma and sleep apnea

So, brief backstory I have been off the road for about 6 months having asthma and sleep apnea checked out. My apnea is apparently very minor and I don't require a mask, at least at this time. My asthma is mild and infrequent. I have an albuterol inhaler that I use only in emergencies. I take Breo/Advair in the morning and Singulair at night before bed to manage the condition. My doctor has given me clearance to return to work, and I feel I can do so without limitation. I submitted the return to work forms to my company to review and I expect they will want a new physical and possibly a second opinion from their doctors...so this could very well be rendered moot depending what the review board decides.

I know there are drivers out there, including flatbedders, who function perfectly fine with asthma and allergies that are much more severe than what I have. I'm curious to hear any advice or tips. What precautions do you take to avoid triggers and prevent an attack? Situations drivers have to deal with everyday like being stuck in gridlock or being parked at truck stops and shippers/receivers or dealing with hot weather, etc when your limited in what you can do to avoid triggers. I'm sure there are things I haven't thought of. Your experiences are welcome!

Obviously, I won't know for sure how my body will respond until I get back out on the road and am actually in those situations. If my condition worsens in any way or I can't keep it under control then I'll need to find a new career, and I can accept that. I worked hard for the opportunity to be a truck driver, and if my doctor sees no reason to pull me off the road then I'm darn sure going to try and make it work!

Posted:  5 years, 12 months ago

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Making a change

Starting Monday I will begin orientation and securement training for Swift. nothing against dry van or reefer, just always wanted to run flatbed. so, we'll see how this goes.

wish me luck!

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