Profile For Pete B.

Pete B.'s Info

  • Location:
    VA

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:
    Pete B. On The Web

  • Joined Us:
    2 years, 1 month ago

Pete B.'s Bio

Striving to be a safe, productive, and courteous driver, and living up to my bobble head proclaiming that I’m my “Wife’s Greatest Hero.”

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Posted:  1 day, 7 hours ago

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Help your fellow driver

That’s a great story, Turtle. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back until your arm falls off. You deserve it. That was exemplary behavior. I’d pat you on the back if I could.

Posted:  1 day, 7 hours ago

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My student upgraded!

I’m sure there’s a truck there somewhere amongst all those devices.

Congrats on your student’s upgrade, I’m sure his training was top-shelf.

Posted:  5 days, 6 hours ago

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Here Is What It's Like Pulling A Tanker

Uncanny timing for this post CWC... earlier today I was thinking along these very same lines, that pretty much all of the discussion re: tankers is very doom-and-gloom, unlike reefer/dry van and especially flatbedders, who all seem to really enjoying talking about the particulars of their jobs. But that's the nature of this business. Then I thought about what it is that I really like about pulling tankers, and I've realized it's not so much pulling tankers as it is driving a big truck. There are aspects of tanker life that will keep me in this line of work until I'm done driving. They include, in no particular order: it's soooo much easier parking my 48' trailer than the 53' vans and flatbeds. I have gleefully backed into many-a-spot that the longer rigs have bypassed because they don't have the room in front to swing their tractors around to get backed in. Some spots are shorter because there is a light post or some other obstruction at the rear of the space, but just the right size for me. I also love backing in between two longer rigs... I back up all the way into the spot, so that the front of my tractor is recessed, behind the two on either side. Makes it near impossible to get the front of my truck clipped by some idiot that we've all seen on Youtube.

Additional parking options: I'm able to park at nearly every shipper and consignee that I visit, which allows me to get loaded or unloaded off the clock, saving precious hours. Because so many of the sites I travel to are in secluded areas or on the outskirts of towns/cities, there's almost always a dirt or paved lot for us trucks, or a parking lane of some sort that can be used. And again because a high number of facilities I go to are usually on the outskirts of towns, and near travel lanes, there is quite often a truck stop located at the exit I need, and close enough to get to the site off the clock. In 20 months of driving, I've had to pay to park only once. The tank washes provide parking as well, which CWC has already mentioned. I haven't been to the tank wash in East St. Louis, but I have been to the one in Kankakee, IL, where they always have barbecue prepared in a crock pot. There are several tank washes that provide towels with the showers.

I don't slide my tandems or my 5th wheel. They're fixed. That I can't do anything about the weight, however, has caused me some stress. For instance, I recently picked up a pre-loaded trailer from a shipper; the trailer was supposed to be filled to 45,000lbs, but it was closer to 46,000. While taking this load from Pennsylvania to California, I only had to scale once at a weigh station... I crept along the lane very slowly, letting a long line of trucks build up behind me. When I got onto the scale, I braked harder than was necessary, putting the liquid into motion (in this case, 'surge' was a good thing!) The weigh station staff didn't have time to allow the surging liquid to settle to get an accurate weight, which would have taken 4-5 mins., so I immediately got the green light to continue back onto the interstate.

I see box trailers swaying in the breeze during windy conditions; yes, I feel the wind too, but my trailer has a much lower profile and is more turbulence-friendly with the curved sides of my trailer.

Familiarity: this is what I know. I've developed a comfort zone now, and don't see myself leaving it. And besides, the 53' dry vans and reefers just seem so dang big!

I get mixed reception at the shippers/consignees/tank washes... I'm always early, which has been appreciated and sometimes gets me loaded early and on my way. While the majority of consignees are happy to see me, I have been to a few that weren't expecting me, or didn't have room for my product and turned me away. That's probably not worth mentioning, it's happened less than 10 times out of hundreds of deliveries. A benefit of working for a large company like Schneider is that I have not experienced the wait time mentioned by CWC; we have an abundance of trailers at all of the tank washes. In fact, I've never had to wait to get one cleaned. Today, for instance, I dropped my dirty trailer, drove around and found the clean & empty assigned to me for my next load, hooked up to it, and gone. That's the way it usually works out. On occasion the assigned trailer I need is still dirty, so I call in and simply get another trailer assigned, one that is ready to go.

I never let the contents of my trailers bother me... the really harmful HAZMAT chemicals, the lethal stuff, I don't touch anyway. In those cases I'm always instructed to just stay in my truck. I've been issued all the PPE I need to off-load the milder HAZMAT chemicals, the flammables and less corrosive materials. Additionally, the chemical suit works great as a raincoat, and the FR coveralls help keep me warm when the temps are well below freezing.

So that's about all for now... just realized what time it is and I need to get some sleep. More for later. Thanks for starting this CWC!

Posted:  5 days, 9 hours ago

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New food tanker driver

Schmeltz, that's really great to hear. You're absolutely correct, the tanker jobs will be there waiting for you. Whatever else you decide on your first year, do it safe, do it well, enjoy the experience... you've shown a great deal of maturity, flexibility, and humility with the ability to listen to our collective voice and decide against something you spent time looking into and had pretty much made up your mind with. Those traits will serve you well in this industry!

Posted:  5 days, 11 hours ago

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New food tanker driver

Navypoppop, thanks for the compliment, I appreciate it. Unfortunately I think we've lost this one; he's disappeared from this thread. He has used words like "researched" and "challenge," which sound familiar, because ironically enough I used those same words before I became a tanker driver, and I think at least one moderator tried to sway my opinion as well, but no amount of research or willingness to embrace new challenges can prepare you for the demands and tests of driving a tanker. I just think it's irresponsible for companies to put new drivers behind the wheel of tankers, with no prior experience of driving a big truck. Patrick B. listened; hopefully others will too.

Grump Old Man, weaving in the lane and swerving like you described will not be caused by the surge; that's distracted driving right there. You'd be well-served to stay clear of that type of behavior; make a quick pass or back off...

Patrick B., thanks for reading this thread, I'm really glad it helped you with your decision!!

Posted:  6 days, 6 hours ago

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New food tanker driver

Schmeltz, I started my driving career pulling tankers, and from my experience I firmly believe no one should be allowed to drive them without at least one year's experience pulling dry van's, reefers, or flat beds. It's just not safe. On top of learning to drive a big truck, which you haven't done yet, you've got to learn the intricacies of driving a tanker full of liquid; it's not the side-to-side or front-to-back sloshing that poses real risk... it's the slow surge of the liquid creeping up the sides of the tanker that you don't even notice until you are well into the curve... cresting a hill and starting down... your momentum builds incredibly fast and if you haven't begun using your jakes before starting down, you're going to have a helluva time getting your speed back under control. It's not that you can't learn it, but why risk yourself and others' safety? Get a year's experience driving a big truck, then go after the tanker.

You seem pretty stubborn and set on this particular job; I don't know anything about Caledonia, how thorough their training is... but pay attention to your speed. Whatever the posted speed limit is on a curve, any curve, you need to be at least 10mph slower if not more than what the posted limit reads... when you're climbing hills in the mountains, as soon as you reach the top downshift and turn on your engine brake. It doesn't matter that you starting down incredibly slow... it's much easier to shift into a higher gear and let gravity increase your speed than to get halfway down the hill and then try to brake and downshift to slow your truck. Best of luck to you.

Posted:  1 week ago

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Discussion on Roundabouts

I usually find myself occupying most of both lanes, when there are two. I’m driving in the outer lane, but trailer still off-tracks into inner lane. The four-wheelers afford me space... even though I’m going at it slowly, I’m not in the roundabout for very long. Unlike The Griswolds.

Posted:  1 week, 1 day ago

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What are some hobbies you do?

Those are fantastic, G-town! What extraordinary attention to detail. Because you make them yourself, those are probably the coolest models I’ve ever seen, whether it be plane, train, or automobile!

Posted:  1 week, 5 days ago

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Schneider vs us xpress

The trucking career is difficult to make a good start in. The training is minimal and the real learning comes while you're a rookie solo driver. That causes a lot of people to blame the company for their issues. It takes extraordinary effort to get through that first year's learning curve, and it's only those extraordinary people who usually survive it.

Honestly, I would put those questions and doubts about how these companies are to work for out of my mind. Each of them are great companies to work for. Focus on your commitment to developing yourself as a driver. I recommend you do an over the road job first. You'll ease yourself in to all the little tricks that will help you develop into a professional driver that way. Each of the three companies you've mentioned have plenty of other opportunities you could move into after you've gotten through that really tough first year.

1. Land your first job, determined to develop yourself into a safe productive over the road driver. Focus on your performance, not the company's.

2. Finish that rookie year as safely as you possibly can.

3. If your interest in certain other types of trucking jobs has developed, then request to be moved into those certain accounts.

Any safe and productive driver will certainly have his requests honored if they are needing drivers in the areas you might have developed an interest in. Swift probably has the most diverse set of opportunities available due to their size, but I'm not trying to sway your decision. Each of them will be great places to work.

This is quite possibly the very best response or post I’ve ever read on this site... every person “considering a career,” “preparing for school,” “in CDL school,” and “rookie solo drivers” should acknowledge that they read and understand these concepts.

Posted:  1 week, 6 days ago

View Topic:

Schneider vs us xpress

I cannot opine about US Express, as I know nothing about them, but I can tell you that with Schneider you will receive excellent training, very well-maintained equipment, and helpful, friendly, and courteous treatment from support staff. As a young tanker driver I made friends with experienced drivers who were happy to make themselves available to me when/if I needed advice; I expect the same comraderie exists among the dry-van drivers.

Posted:  1 week, 6 days ago

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This... I'm completely stunned. 2nd year in a row

Wonderful news... congratulations Susan!

Posted:  2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Just a funny trucking picture to brighten your day

On the way inside the OC I tossed my trash bag... and missed.

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Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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Return to trucking advice

Good morning Roger, There are plenty of trucking companies that will provide you with CDL schooling... just click here to get started: Company sponsored CDL schools

If none of these companies work for you, nearly all the others offer tuition reimbursement; also, this list may not be comprehensive, so feel free to contact a company and inquire if they have their own school, if you like one that’s not listed here.

Re: car carriers, there’s not much information here, because no one with experience has contributed much. I can tell you that in my travels around the country, I’ve seen very few classic cars being hauled around, so I would think that it’s a very specialized niche that might be difficult getting started in. Anyone paying to have their classics moved is probably going to want someone with experience as well, recent experience, driving a big truck and hauling cars with a big truck. You might consider making that more of a long-term goal of yours. Good luck getting back in, hope this helps.

Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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Auto Carrier question

SJ, just as an FYI, pretty much all of the information available on this site is provided courtesy of first-hand knowledge and experience (which makes it so great)... I don’t recall anyone posting anything about hauling cars, so I wouldn’t expect a section about car haulers to be added without first-hand knowledge or experience. Brett’s a one-man show with regard to content, so unless he employs someone(s) to perform research, your best bet is to ask Google about the car-hauling experience.

Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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New Year, New Moderator!

Hey, that’s awesome news, Brett and Turtle! It’s really great to see a relatively young driver who benefited from this site give back so much! And get recognized for it. Congratulations!!

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Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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Welcome back, Old School!

Taking great liberty, I’d like, on behalf of everyone in the TT and Knight/Swift families, to welcome you Old School back to the highways and byways of this great country! Not that I’m stalking you or anything, but I think I read somewhere that Jan. 3rd was your projected return date to The OTR Lifestyle. I hope that your recovery went according to schedule, because you know, we got metal to move. And I’m sure there’s a waitress somewhere in Cressona wondering where the heck her favorite customer runn oft to.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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Why you should always check your fifth wheel.

I checked my 5th wheel after walking a bit during my 30, and had to laugh when I saw this; guess I won’t have to worry about anyone monkeying around with my release handle tonight!

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Posted:  3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Home Sweet (bitter sweet) Home

'Unfortunate' would have been a better choice of words.

Posted:  3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Night shift

JoAnne, I only use the yellow-tinted glasses for driving at night. Works great. I have a pair of 'regular' sunglasses for daytime driving.

Posted:  3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Home Sweet (bitter sweet) Home

I hope your recovery is speedy and successful; Merry Christmas to you and your family, I know they're loving having you around, even if under disagreeable circumstances.

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