Broken Arrow, OK
Rookie Solo Driver
Well, things have changed in a big way. It's been an INTENSE last 8 months. Finished truck school, passed my CDL after 4 tries, got hired at Crete, went training OTR for 9 weeks and learned a LOT, and now I've been solo almost 5 months. It's been an experience....! I'm 50 years old, married, and looking to relocate out of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a couple years to follow my new career. ANY suggestions or advice you more experienced hands can give me is greatly appreciated on any of it. Nice to know ya!
Posted: 5 years, 2 months ago
Yeah, a rookie. Who the hell am I to give Advice? I've been OTR for Crete for almost 5 months, and obviously my advice is geared toward rookies even more clueless than Me! Lol. This is kinda spur of the moment, and not necessarily in order of importance. It's just me spouting off what I can think of that might help more inexperienced drivers than myself.
#1) Before you start, ask yourself if you REALLY want this. I've had a ton of different jobs: I've waited tables, cooked, managed, trimmed trees, worked HVAC, and office work. Trucking is DEFINITELY the HARDEST thing I've ever done, from the schooling, through OTR training, to the job itself. It involves a LOT of sacrifice: missing your family, shifting sleep schedules, unhealthy food, and just plain chaos, clueless panic and stress. I have nothing but respect for what I'd originally pre-judged as roughnecks who sat on their butts all day and just had to be able to stay awake at the wheel. It's SO much more than that. You will spend days missing your home so bad it causes you physical pain. You will have days you literally want to tear your hair out, leave the truck, and never come back. For real. You need to know if you're ready for this lifestyle. If you have the slightest doubt, run! Really, this is intense.
#2) Be very adaptable. Know that no matter HOW bad you wish a situation would be different, it's not just going to go away. You'll just have to deal with it as best you can. Either that, or walk away- which REALLY isn't an option. I got my truck 'stuck' in a warehouse lot: no matter which way I tried to turn the truck, i couldn't get out of my spot. This is what I mean by wanting to panic, tear out your hair and bail. Luckily, a veteran got me out safely, and I'm still driving. Lol. But you will come into similar scenarios on a regular basis. Just know that, try to always plan what you're doing BEFORE you do it, use common sense (VERY IMPORTANT!!!), and pray. Lol. If you can't adjust to things going wrong in a split second unexpectedly, you aren't going to make it. Be prepared as best you can for the unexpected.
#3) SAFETY. BIG ONE. Use it. This requires being extremely aware of your surroundings in relation to your truck and trailer, and using the knowledge to maximize your safety. Are you watching your speed and following distance? Are you making good turns? It is way too easy to let yourself get rushed and flustered by the delivery schedule, and not think, and end up doing something stupid- worst case, causing an accident. DON'T RUSH!!! EVERY time I ever had mishaps (in other jobs), I was rushing things. You're in a huge, heavy tractor and loooong trailer. They can do a LOT of damage, and you wouldn't even know it. I tore a door off a trailer- I thought I'd caught a gust of wind! If the warehouse people hadn't told me, I'd probably have continued on my merry way, spilling product all over the road like a dumbass. That's the worst mishap I've had trucking, and hopefully the last. But I've lost tools I forgot at yards. Why? I was rushing in a near panic state and plumb forgot them. Don't go there. Take a deep breath, slow yourself down, THINK about what you're doing, and constantly be checking yourself, your truck, trailer, and belongings. You'll be glad you did.
#4) Remember your trailer! One of the things my trainer was constantly frustrated with was I turned too sharply, like I was bobtailing with no trailer. Thankfully, I lost that habit, because it can get you in BIG trouble in a BIG hurry. You could fold your trailer on a sign (or God forbid, a pedestrian!), and you could blow out your tires. Tires are about the most important part of your truck, as far as driving is concerned. No tires equals no traction, no braking- you get the picture. You'll wait at least 2 hours getting them fixed/replaced. Talk about jacking your delivery schedule and adding to your stress! Not to mention the real headache if DOT cites you for them if you're caught driving with flats. I don't have much experience with DOT (Thank God!), but my understanding is if you encounter them and anything's iffy with your truck or paperwork (registration, permits, physical card, etc.) Then you could be in for a very LOOONG day. Don t give them any excuse to inspect you, though sometimes they just will no matter what.
Well, I'm about out of space for more. Hopefully, this will help all the virgins out there. I make NO claims to be any kind of authority on driving, believe me. These are just opinions and tips based on my own VERY LIMITED experiences as an OTR driver.
Remember, don't rush, Think about what you're doing BEFORE you do it, and above all, BE SAFE!
Posted: 6 years, 6 months ago
So just what ARE these 'Good routes' I keep hearing about?
Gentlemen. I'm about to enter trucking school, and have done lots of research on this site. There is a LOT of experience and great insights here, from both the older, experienced guys AND newbies alike. Some of the best advice I've read came from rookies! Very impressive. My question to you is this: I keep reading that if you prove yourself to your companies, dispatchers, etc. you'll get better pay, and the best routes. What exactly constitutes a 'good' route? Is it mileage, less traffic? I don't have a clue. Please fill me in!
Posted: 3 months, 1 week ago
I have a question I haven't seen addressed on any of the YouTube videos I've watched, and hope some veterans can fill me in. I've got the basic idea of how to put tire chains on, but how MANY tires do you do at once? The videos always show 1 tire as an example, but I really doubt anyone does that. Do you do 2? 4? I'd love it if someone enlightened me. Thanks