Profile For Dutch

Dutch's Info

  • Location:
    Athens, AL

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    5 years, 9 months ago

Dutch's Bio

I may be too old to stir the gravy, but I can still lick the spoon. - Irving Zisman

Page 1 of 11

Next Page
Go To Page:    

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

How many drivers stay at the first company they drove / drive for ?

Butch, it's not just the trucking industry that will hold out raises on a veteran employee. Most companies play the pay scale like a card game, and will keep a employee who has been there over a decade, lower than a younger employee that they just hired. This is because in most cases, the veteran employee has no idea what the new guy is making, and the company has to compete with other companies pay scale when they are hiring in new employees. It can be harder for the trucking companies to do this, simply because they advertise their pay scale in their literature and on their website.

I can recall several instances over the years when I was a tig welder. A new young not so bright employee, would inadvertently reveal what they were making to someone in the shop, and before the shift ended, everyone in the shop knew what they were making. This would in turn cause so much trouble for the company, they would either fire the new employee, or threaten to fire them, if they ever again spoke of where they were on the pay scale.

The reason companies do this type of thing, is because when you do the math on all the money they are saving company wide, it can be a substantial savings. Lately, the trend has been to get 1 employee to do 2 or 3 peoples job, which can save the average company $30,000 to $60,000 a year. They can save a lot more money that way, than they can maneuvering single employees out of $1 an hour here and there. Trucking companies operate differently though, so if they are the type to cheat an employee, they will do it by cheating them out of mileage, detention, breakdown pay, etc.

When it comes to the trucking companies who have a major focus on training new drivers, most of them are getting major subsidies from the federal government when the new driver leaves their company and the training is completed. In reality, they can't afford for all their drivers to stay on the payroll, because they have so many new recruits coming up through the ranks, that they don't have enough equipment to issue to the new drivers, if no one moves on for a better job offer. In reality, this is what they expect most employees to do, who want to climb upward through the ranks of the trucking industry.

Think big picture. The federal government needs freight moved to keep the economy thriving. They don't care what the logo is on the side of the truck you are driving, just as long as the freight is getting moved.

Your question reminds me of what one of my welding instructors told me back in the 80's. He said "When someone offers you a dollar more per hour, take them up on it. That is how you climb the pay scale. In that line of work, it could take a welder 3 to 5 years to get a $1 raise, so I found his advice to be spot on over the years.

However, some folks like to stay in the same place regardless, because they don't like the uncertainty of change, in any area of their lives.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Just want to drive

Christopher, your experience was pretty much the same experience I had during my first 6 months. However, instead of quitting, I stuck it out for 6 months, and established my driving record with no accidents or tickets. At that point, it was easy to get other companies to take a serious look at me, and by the 7th month I was averaging $1000 per week.

You simply gave up, and quit too soon, and now it's going to be hard to find a reputable company to take a chance on you, because you don't have an established driving record for them to consider. If you do find another company, it will most likely be one that is self insured.

Few industries allow a new recruit the ability to make so much money, in such a short period of time, but there is a price to be paid during the first 6 months to a year. If a new driver cannot deal with the negatives of first year driving, they would probably be better off just working a local job for the wages they are currently making.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

GPS on your truck equipment

E, I have a two part strategy.

First, I compare my overall route suggestion, with my GPS routing, with my Road Atlas. This gets me familiar with where I am going, as well as which cities I will pass thru. I also make a notation on which streets are listed as a bypass. It is always helpful to be looking for the bypass truck route, and take it, in order to avoid potential tickets, low bridges, traffic jams, narrow city streets, etc. In some rare cases, the bypass will be a waste of time, but you will learn about these situations over time thru trial and error, and talking to other drivers.

Secondly, I send for my local directions, which are usually provided and updated by other company drivers. Sometimes the driver will provide a slightly different address to enter into the GPS, than the one given in the primary load assignment. This is because the primary address if for administrative offices, not the shipping and receiving dept.

Once I have entered into the GPS the correct address, I will then go back to my history page, and select the same address again, only this time, I will enlarge the map, to show the street view of the area of my destination. Then using my pen or stylus, I can check the names of specific streets. This will allow me to familiarize myself with the general area, compare it to my local directions, as well as highlight and route thru any specific streets. This can make it super simple to follow the local directions, which can sometimes be critical to the local traffic flow, as well as the customers preferences on how they want their carriers to be routed in and out of their facility.

The final thing to keep in mind, is that you MUST know when to ignore your GPS, when it tries to send you in the wrong direction, and eventually it will do this. The only way to know when to ignore the GPS, is to know where you are going without it. In essence, your GPS can provide assistance in confirming you are taking the correct route, but it is always wise to know where you are going without the assistance of the GPS. It may in some cases help some drivers, to mute the volume of the GPS, while keeping an eye on it, and noting where it is telling you to make your next turn. If you ever find yourself considering ripping your GPS off the dash and throwing it out the window, turning the volume down can take the edge off.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

The Irregular Sleep Cycle of a Truck Driver

44, to a large degree, your ability to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, will be determined by your company's resources, as well as their commitment and focus on making their drivers happy and content.

Once you have accomplished the goal of going to work for a quality company, who are willing to work with a driver who is willing to work, success can be as simple as calling your operations manager, and asking them to make the load planners aware of your preferences. One thing that can always make things swing your way, is for your strategies to be based on four factors, in this order.

1. Safety 2. DOT Regulations 3. Company Policy 4. Weekly Mileage

You see, if you never make your preferences known, and are willing to sleep and drive all over the clock, as well as park your rig anywhere and everywhere, the load planners will prefer that, because it makes their job much easier. However, violating company policy by parking in areas your company doesn't approve of, or failing to stay awake behind the wheel can certainly be problematic.

I had a conversation once with my terminal manager about this general situation you are asking about, and the reasons why I prefer to try to maintain a fairly consistent schedule. His reply, was that if I had in place a successful system, which satisfies everyone concerned, (Safety Dept., Log Dept., DOT, etc.) that the company will work with me to keep me productive. Having said that, I will always do what I can to be reasonably flexible, in making any load assignment work, as long as I can protect myself and my license.

Personally, I feel that a company's overall philosophy is the major factor here, and whether or not they cater to their drivers makes a HUGE difference in driver retention.

One small example I will give you is my company making internet access available at my home terminal. Right now, I am sitting in Marietta, GA. in my tractor outside the terminal, surfing the net, in a safe environment. They certainly don't have to furnish internet access, or have our terminal located in a safe part of the Atlanta metro area, however their commitment to our safety and happiness is a huge priority. You can bet, that when the time comes to have my tractor serviced, or have a trailer inspection performed, I will not hesitate to turn down the next load and head for the terminal, to make the company's priorities my priorities.

Sometimes it helps tremendously to have worked for a sub par company, in order to really appreciate a company that goes out of their way to retain their drivers. I was having a conversation the other day with another driver. I told him that if I got an offer from another company for a nickel more a mile, I would be afraid to take it. He asked me why? I replied that I would be afraid of what I would have to put up with, for that extra nickel.

Unfortunately, these issues are not really something you can discuss with most recruiters, because recruiters are sometimes guilty of telling people what they want to hear. Ditto on drivers who are guilty of the same thing, because they will pocket $1000 plus, when responsible for recruiting a new driver.

I would sum things up, by saying that once you have found a company that allows you to cover all your legal bases, while at the same time protecting your license and maintaining company policy, while consistently running productive miles, you have found yourself a home.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Starting to doubt if I should continue pursuing trucking as a career

Deezo, you will begin to settle down eventually. However, you can never let your guard down, when you are sharing the road with the public, or just simply rolling through a parking lot. In reality, this is one of the biggest reasons truck drivers make above average money. If it were as simple as driving a car, anyone could pull it off, and then the pay scale would be close to minimum wage.

The problem right now, is that you are having to multi-task a lot of different things, and it is difficult for most people at first. Once you have done these things over and over, the multi-tasking will seem a little easier.

Remember, repetition is the mother of skill.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Load lock replacement

Rainy D,

If the company made me purchase the load locks, then I would consider them my personal property.

Having said that, I suppose that it depends on what your company's policy is, regarding swapping/replacing load locks. I would get with my driver manager, and explain the situation at your earliest convenience.

Even though my company pays for my load locks/load straps, I'm not happy anytime I have to give up a set, because replacing them is usually a bit time consuming.

One thing you might want to start doing, is anytime you find yourself at a customer location, where there are mt trailers that belong to your company, check inside all of them, not just the one you are hooking to. Sometimes when the customer unloads a sealed trailer, they throw the load locks/load straps back inside the mt, making for an opportunity for you to pick up an extra set.

Personally, I prefer the straps, and have 3 sets on my truck, 2 of which I obtained in the above manner.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Gloves and shoes

I wear standard thickness Manilla leather work gloves, which soak up most of the diesel fuel and oil they come in contact with. You would think that they would eventually become saturated, but the insides of my gloves stay clean.

As for shoes, instead of buying $100 plus sneakers like I used to, I go to Walmart and get the cheap $18 sneakers in tan and black. The reason I switched to these sneakers, is because I have found that the tan color doesn't show dirt as easily as the black sneakers I used to wear. Also, since I am not spending hours standing in them, I don't feel the need to invest in a quality shoe like a Red Wing, like I used to wear when I was a Tig Welder. About every 6 to 9 months, I throw them away and buy a new pair.

I also keep a pair of Lacrosse knee high rubber boots on the truck. Sooner or later, you are going to get caught in a monsoon, or a super muddy drop yard or parking lot, where the drainage is less than effective. When that day comes, it will be worth all the days you kept those rubber boots on the truck, "just in case." You will find that it is a regular occurrence to service some customers who do not maintain their drop yard areas well, and some of them have pot holes so deep, you will have concerns about the skirting on your tractor being damaged.

When you find yourself in a situation like that, sometimes they only way you can get access to the landing gear crank, or tandem rod, is to wade through ankle deep water, in order to get hooked and get rolling.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Goodbye Kenworth, hello Freightliner

In our tractors, the hard braking event goes off, anytime the speed of the truck drops 9mph or more in 1 second.

As for moving from one tractor to another, I have clocked myself and it usually takes me around 6 hours to move all my stuff, but I am also taking time to spray the entire interior of the truck with 2 large cans of Lysol, vacuuming out all the cabinets and storage areas, and also using Clorox wipes on any surface that might need cleaning.

Any truck that someone has lived in, is going to be similar to a hotel room situation. I'm not going to get graphic, but most people cannot even begin to imagine some of the stuff that goes on behind closed doors. I remember watching a report on television years ago, where they tested the inside of a motel room, to see what traces of substances they could find. You don't even want to know. There was even stuff on the ceiling, that had absolutely no reasonable explanation for being up there.

The reason I take time to clean the interior before I put my stuff in, is because if I put my stuff in, and then take it back out to clean it, then all my stuff will need cleaning as well.

I dunno, I might be OCD. You know Howard Hughes was OCD, and he liked to line the wall with Mason jars he personally topped off, but the only thing I use Mason jars for is when I buy my pipe tobacco in bulk, and need to divvy it up.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Top 10 things you absolutely have to have in your truck

Three of my best accessories are my sine wave inverter, my boot dryer, and my leaf blower I use for cleaning out my trailers.

I also keep a few briar and corncob pipes on the truck, and a decent selection of tobacco, to help pass the time anytime I am having to wait.

I also keep on the truck all the items Persian listed, as well as a small hand broom. I use it to sweep up my truck into a small area, which makes my recharageable battery last longer in my hand held vac.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Trip planning

Clyff, first order of business is to write down all your load info. You can use any blank piece of paper, but the truck stops sell trip planning books that work great, allowing you to just fill in the blanks.

You will need this info repeatedly when dealing with customers. Info like pickup numbers, drop numbers, trailer numbers, telephone numbers, stop offs, final destination, as well as contact numbers, in case you need to contact the customer. You will also make note of Interstate exit numbers, as well as local directions that will take you off your main route right into the shipper or receiver.

As far as the route planning itself goes, if you have a GPS, you will enter your customer addresses, as well as your fuel stops. Once you have the info entered, you can then check your GPS to see if the GPS is routing you the same route that matches your company's suggested route.

Sometimes the two match perfectly, but sometimes they do not. It is imperative that you look at your Road Atlas, and get a mental picture of where you are going. One thing I did in the beginning, was to write the name of the city beside any bypass that was along my route. That allowed me to get a better mental picture of exactly which route I was taking in getting the big picture.

I have had some drivers tell me that they just enter the destination address into their GPS, and away they go, with no real idea the route they should be taking. I would advise against this, since your GPS can and will route you needlessly to places you don't need to go, only to have you turn around and go back in the opposite direction you came from.

One thing I will mention here that I feel is a huge blunder for some drivers, is that they do not follow their local directions given by the company. Most of the time, the address provided that you enter into your GPS, is the administration address for the company offices. It will be close to the shipping and receiving dept., but not exactly where you will need to be. Once you leave the Interstate in a 70 foot truck, you will need to know exactly where you are going, by following the local directions EXACTLY as they are given, in order to lead you into the correct driveway. Also, with todays GPS technology, once you have the address entered for your customer, you can go back to your past history and select the same address again, which will allow you to zoom in and out, and follow the route the GPS in taking you into the customer. If it doesn't match, you can take your ink pen or stylus, and highlight certain streets, and route through them, forcing your GPS to match your local directions.

Also, now would be the time to check your Road Atlas index for any low bridges listed along your route. It is a fairly quick and easy process in most states, but some of the older cities have quite a long list. Also, be advised that there are low bridges in some locations, which are NOT listed in the Road Atlas index, so this is one reason it pays to make an honest attempt to follow your suggested route provided by the company.

Over time, the process becomes a lot easier than in the beginning, and once you have been with the same company for awhile, you will begin to service customers repeatedly, which will make the entire process much easier. In fact, over time you will make some runs where you don't need to bother writing down any directions, because you will remember exactly where you are going, and how you will be processed once you get to the customer.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

This is what the industry needs!!!

The reality to it, is that Dad Bod is in, and has been for quite some time, and I'll tell you why.

Rarely does the average female want to date or marry a guy who looks better than she does. She realizes that everywhere they go together, and every picture they have taken, she will be standing right beside him for comparison. Also, everyone knows that the last thing a woman wants, who spent 3 hours in the bathroom getting ready earlier in the day, is to be upstaged by her man.

This is a classic example of understanding how the female psyche works, and actually how simple things can be concerning women, if you just realistically accept the laws of female fizzicks (the female force.)

I actually had a female friend tell me once, the reason most women prefer a man who is taller than them. Yep, you guessed it, it's the size comparison thing again. Some folks think that women want a big guy for protection, but in reality, they have firearms and divorce attorneys for that stuff.

So go ahead, have another corndog. Your woman will thank you for it, and if you get too carried away, no worries. She will not hesitate when the proper time comes, to issue her man a proper exercise and diet regimen.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Why do drivers do this?

I know a driver who backed in with his trailer doors already pinned back, and then at a certain point decided that he needed to pull up and reposition to get in the dock correctly. During the process of pulling up, he caught the hood mounted mirror of the tractor sitting in the dock next to him with the open door on his passenger side, and tore the guys hood half off.

Later on, once he got about a year and a half in with that company, he lost his dedicated run. When he couldn't get another dedicated account that got him home every weekend, he started looking for another job. He told me that the accident mentioned above cost him more than one job opportunity, and that it would take 3 years for it to drop off his record.

He told me that no matter how many scowls he is issued by other drivers, he will never open his doors again until he can straight line back into the dock.

This type experience isn't as bad as divorce, but like divorce it can be educational.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Goodbye Kenworth, hello Freightliner

Errol, my guess is that there was no actual critical event at all, with that many showing on the display. Most likely the motion sensor that sets it off went bad, or possibly a glitch in the Qualcomm software. Either way, your truck probably just came out of the shop to take care of the issue. I absolutely love my 2016 Cascadia. My only issue, is that they made the dang thing so aerodynamic, rainwater just clings to the door mirrors and resists running off. In my older model Freightliners, I could use the heated mirror element to help evaporate the water, but in this new one, the water seems difficult to get rid of. I need to try some Rain x and see if there is enough airflow to get the beads to roll off.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

"Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine"

double-quotes-start.png

I forgot to add, the level 3 inspection I got was in Tennessee, about an hour and a half east of Nashville.

double-quotes-end.png

Is that what was going on in those old weigh stations? The had one at the 250 east bound and another at the 325 west bound this afternoon when I came east on I40.

Chris, yes! They were somewhat hidden back inside the tree line. He asked me a lot of questions about what I was hauling, where I picked up, and where I was delivering, after he got my bills in his hand. I told him my trailer wasn't sealed, and that I would be happy to remove the lock, and let him look inside. That seemed to satisfy his curiosity, and he never asked me to remove the lock.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

"Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine"

I forgot to add, the level 3 inspection I got was in Tennessee, about an hour and a half east of Nashville.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

"Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine"

Early in the week, I ran north thru Charlotte, up to I-40, and then west to Knoxville. There were Smokey's around nearly every turn until I got to the Tennessee line.

I ran back down to South Carolina, dropped a load, picked up another, and headed back thru North Carolina again this morning. Didn't see a single Smokey in North Carolina, but I passed a level 3 on I-40 around 10am. The only thing they checked on my truck were my elogs, and licensing on tractor and trailer. They wanted to see the previous 8 days on the Qualcomm, as well as the time I had left on my 70 and 14. Never asked to see my load tab info.

My guess is, they are getting an early start this year in every state.

Not only should you watch your speed, make sure all your licensing and medical cards are current, and should you find anything that needs fixing during your pre trip, ask your company to send someone out on a road cal,l to fix it on location.

Right now is not the time to be running a couple loads with a minor issue, until it is convenient to get by a company terminal to save the company a few bucks.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Who to start with?

Jeff, I realize that you want to get started with the best company possible, as well as earn as much money as you can your first year.

In reality, your first year will serve to establish your safe driving record, as well as prove to yourself and everyone else that you won't give up easily, at the first sign of adversity. You should probably view your first year as something similar to pledging a fraternity, or prospecting for an MC.

You see, those recruiters you spoke with, are talking to a whole bunch of potential recruits, who haven't shown anyone what they are made of. They have simply picked up a telephone, and asked a few questions. Since there is a high attrition rate, they really have no way of knowing who will excel, and who will be a goldbricker. So right now, they probably don't seem to be taking you very seriously.

They don't really need to worry about those details early on. They just know that statistics tell them that out of every group of 30 drivers who attend school, X number will get a license, and 1 year later, X number will still be driving successfully in the industry.

My suggestion would be to make a list of the things you like most about each company, as well as a list of the things you don't. Through process of elimination, simply pick the program that seems to appeal to you the most. Things like tuition incentives, school location, company terminal locations, hiring areas, etc.

Once you have established a 6 month to 1 year driving record, you will then actually be ready to take a serious look at a long list of companies, and actually have some of those companies take a serious look at you.

Remember, right now, the training company you choose holds all the best cards in the game. Once you establish yourself, you will then be holding a few valuable cards, that you can then play to your advantage.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Night parking

G-Town, the location that I am referring to is in W. Memphis AR, and visible from I-40. I shopped there, but I probably would never spend the night.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Night parking

A interesting story about a Walmart location. I ended up bobtail one day, and knew there was a Walmart in the vicinity, so I headed over. When I got there, there were the dreaded low clearance bars, blocking the entrance. Not to be discouraged, I decided to find the truck entrance around back, used for deliveries. Since the dock area looked to be all that was available on one end of the building, I decided to cruise thru the back, and see what was available on the other end.

As soon as I came around the corner, there was an area with 4 tractor and trailers, and also a single bobtail parked there. I did my shopping, and when I got ready to leave, I found a hidden entrance that went right past an apartment complex. This entrance was not easy to spot from the main road.

Just like most days in trucking, it pays not to give up easily.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Night parking

Juan, Lowes can be driver friendly, and they usually have free Wi-Fi, but again, it's wise to ask permission.

Company terminals can sometimes be the only place I consider safe, in some of the larger cities. Our terminal in Marietta is in a great area, with safe shopping and eating fairly close by, including a Twin Peaks location, as well as a Tilted Kilt.dancing-banana.gif

If I get a load offer, that will force me to spend the night in a risky spot, I will usually pass it up. However, sometimes when the customer allows overnight parking, if they have a controlled environment, I will usually consider staying there.

It helps a lot, to have had the experience of servicing a customer during daylight hours, which will give you a sense of knowing how controlled the environment is, and survey their surroundings going in. Once I find out I can overnight park at a particular customer, I will make a mental note of it, and then use it to my advantage at a later time if needed. Kelloggs near Mason Rd in Atlanta is a good example of this. While it is close to the 285 loop, it happens to be in an area where I feel comfortable spending the night.

Also, you can ask some of the customers at random, what kind of neighborhood they are in. Most of them will be upfront about it, and sometimes it will shock you, when they just come right out and tell you that the area is not safe at all.

Since we are not allowed to carry a gun on the job, I make it a priority to avoid criminals, the same way a criminal avoids the police. If you can stay out of sight, you can stay out of mind.

Page 1 of 11

Next Page
Go To Page:    

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More