Profile For John S.

John S.'s Info

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  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

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  • Joined Us:
    2 years, 5 months ago

John S.'s Bio

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Posted:  1 year, 11 months ago

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Got placed out of service

In the US we mostly fuel at specific Pilot/FJs and the machine says elligible for fuel-n-go so no receipts. Still, i always mark 15min for fuel and 30min break on my paper log. So say On-Duty from 9:00-9:15, Off-Duty 9:15-9:45. In reality, I pulled in to TS at 9:07ish and pull out at 9:37ish. For stations that give out receipts, it will say 9:15 so looks/is legit.

Posted:  1 year, 11 months ago

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Co driver being woke by customer during sleeperbirth

On customer's premises you have to go by their rules. Sometimes you can get some leeway if you play nice, which may be hard to do if you're jolted half-way through your sleep time, understandable. I've had customers ask for my truck keys, made wait in some lounge or shipper office, asked to unhook the trailer and wait bobtail outside the gate etc. Out of all the schemes I think the simplest one that accomplishes what they're trying to do and one I mind the least is removing the trailer air-hose and putting a lock on it. Then the guy that removes the lock also hands you the paperwork. Dont even need to go inside. Just pull-up close the doors and off you go.

Posted:  1 year, 11 months ago

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Backing Practice™ 22 Elite Spice

This looks like a typical rookie trap i'd usually fall into in the first few weeks solo trying to avoid blindsiding at all cost. But it's probably a relatively easy blindside 45. That's why the other driver asked if he was in the way, probably a regular and knew it was a blind side and you may need the extra room setting up.

Posted:  2 years ago

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Messed up for the Truck Drivers in Long Beach and LA Ports

The contracts were written in such a way that they had no choice but to walk away empty handed - no truck, no job, no money.

People really underestimate how ruthless and how fiercely competitive the business world is. The trucking industry has 3% profit margins. It's one of the worst industries you can be in as a business owner, and yet people flock to it in great numbers. It's pretty sad, really. It ends badly for a lot of people.

And it is the fierce competitiveness that leads some companies to develop rutheless schemes that prey on the ignorant. Yes, all business is tough, but I think we'd all agree that the business savvy of your average port truck driver is not at the same level as someone starting a tech company or a million dollar restaurant franchise, so they (truck drivers) are easy prey.

Brett, maybe it would be a good idea to expand that small section on company leases to warn others of the truth potential pitfalls behind some of these contracts?

Posted:  2 years ago

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Game: Backing tips From Trainers

Couple of simple tips from my trainer that helped me enormously:

1. As the corner of trailer is about to enter the alley, stop and check if the trailer is lined up straight or almost (+/- 5-10 deg) going in the hole. If not do a short pull up and correct and dont worry about the tractor being straight. Trailer is more important. 2. Do very short pull-ups, like 5-6 feet to straighten the tractor out. The short pull-ups dont change the position of the trailer much and 3-4 short pull-ups can straghten even an almost jacknifed tractor while hardly changing the position of the trailer.

But it's the really tough backing situations when out solo that will teach you the most. We have a couple of clients where we go where there's a wall about 70 feet from the loading dock. So if you execute your maneuver perfectly, you end up with the trailer bumping the dock and the tractor at about 30deg angle inches from the wall. Zero pull up room. Took me over an hour the first time I went there. Almost cried, and swore, a lot.

Posted:  2 years ago

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What trucker gps is better? My qualcomm keeps getting me into trouble...

I've been using the CoPilot Truck Navigation App on a Nexus 6P for the past couple of months and have been satisfied with the results so far. It's subscription based and you can get a free trial for 14-days before buying. That's what I did. US pricing should be under $10/mth or $100/yr.

I like that it stores complete NorthAmerican maps on the device (<2gb) so uses very little data (for traffic alerts). I tested in some really tough routing in downtown and old Montreal, with uber tight streets, no-truck zones and numerous low bridges and it routed well. I know the city well (lived here for almost 40 years) and was pleasantly surprised by some of it's routing suggestions as in "Wow, yeah, that makes sense for a truck, why didnt I think of that route?"

That said, it makes mistakes and as previously mentionned, it is but a single tool and you need to double/triple check against Google and RM, plan your trip, use common sense and always RTFS (Read The F*** Signs).

Posted:  2 years ago

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Solo week!

Congrats. Take it easy, take a deep breath, relax, concentrate and go slow.

My only other advice is if delivering to Costco stores, be on time and preferably a bit early. They run a tight ship slick operation and dont like late deliveries and may refuse a delivery depending on floor space. I just had them refuse a delivery a few days ago after showing up 3 hours late because of a dispatch error. I had 28 pallets of potting soil but they had no more room on floor to receive it at that point. The upside is when I show up a bit early or on time i'm usually in/out in under an hour for a full truck load. Nice...

Also, if they are anything like they are up here in Canada, the loading dock setup seems like an afterthought and designed by someone clueless to trucking. Each one is different often have the setup area shared with customer parking spots. Not a problem at 5:30am, but show up after 8am or so and customers start taking up those parking spots and it can make for some messed up maneuvers to bump that dock...

Posted:  2 years ago

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TruckingTruth Article: Self Driving Vehicles Are Coming Soon You Say? I Say Please Stop Clowning Us

Good article Brett.

Funny, I just had a close call with a four wheeler yesterday that made me wonder how an autonomous truck would have reacted to. I just picked up a load at a paper mill that was 67K worth of huge paper rolls stuffed into a tridem axle trailer and so was grossing over 100K. Yeah, because Canada, f**k eh? Anyways, I was on a rural two lane passing through some small town. Speed limit is 56, and I usually cruise at 58. But when rolling through these towns I always back down a bit, to low 50s just to have an extra safety margin, especially loaded to the limit like I was...

As I crested a hill and started my descent, off-throttle, jakes doing their job, a four-wheeler backs out of a driveway on the right and straight into my lane and is stopped pointing the wrong way (he wanted to go in opposite direction). I did not see him prior because he was hidden by motorhome parked in the same driveway. I slam on the brakes and realize there's no way I'm stopping in time and start looking for a way out, I had a few seconds to make the decision. To the right was the aforementionned motorhome and a gathering of a handfull of people, probably friends and/or relatives. To the left, there was a minivan heading in the opposite direction. Further to the left, a ditch, more driveways with cars and a few people. Lose, lose, lose. So I just maintained by heading straight, hard on the brakes and braced for impact praying the four wheeler be gone when I got there...

Fortunately, the idiot in the four-wheeler managed to get his ****box in gear and move into the opposite lane literally half a second before I got there, still doing at least 35... The minivan driver managed to slow down enough to avoid impact as well. As I passed the motorhome I saw what was probably a dozen people standing there, their eyes and mouths wide open. As the minivan rolled by and disappeared in opposite direction I caught a glimpse of the family and kids inside. As I looked back in my left mirror, and those people on the opposite side of the street? Were a father mowing the lawn and kids playing in the driveway...

I was shaking so badly it took me at least 20-30 seconds to get the truck into right gear and start accelerating again. Plus another couple of hours to get the puke feeling out of my stomach...

Now, what would the AI driven truck have done? How do you program for such a situation and who decides on the ethics code? Imagine the tragedy and the news headlines If myself or the AI would have chosen the other options:

1. Go right, plow through the motorhome and kill 10-12 people.

2. Go in the opposite lane, wipe out the four wheeler who is now there AND the family in the minivan.

3. Go further left, into the ditch, certainly roll the 40 ton trailer right on top of the playing kids and the dad mowing the lawn.

As a former Programmer/IT guy I understand the challenges with autonomous driving technology. It would take technology/processing/AI power far more advanced than what we have today. But computer technology advances at an incredible pace. If you would have told me 15 years ago about what Siri in your smartphone could do, I would have laughed at the notion of a smartphone, nevermind Siri...

The problem is that where we do not know how far we need to go to get there. Forget specialized road infrastructure. Aint gonna happen fast enough. I think the key is how quickly we can develop advanced AI. It could take 20-50 years. Or it could happen in the next 5.

Here's an interesting read on AI if you havent seen it yet. It's long, in two parts but I think worthy of some of your weekend downtime:

The AI Revolution

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

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Logbook Rules: How Would You Make Them Better?

Sounds like you want the Canadian HOS rules.

14hrs on-duty, 13hrs driving. You can extend the workday to 16 hrs with 2 hrs worth of breaks (of at least 30 min long each). You need to have 8hrs consecutive break. Can split sleeper in two any which way.

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

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The Mysterious Split Sleeper Berth Rule

Good stuff OS,

I actually have one of the HighRoad examples bookmarked for future reference. See Example #26. Note the 14hrs driving time on Day 2... Haven't had the opportunity to use this yet, but I'm sure the time will come soon enough.

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

I've made it!

Also a new solo driver here. I was a bit sceptical about those thermoelectric coolers but gotta say they do work fantastic. I got the Mobicool W45, but I imagine they all work the same...

The only other equipment I got was a RoadPro 12v Food Warmer. I use it with aluminum loaf pans with a bit of water under the pan to steam heat up my pre-made home meals I freeze and pack in the cooler at the beginning of the week. Does take 25-30 minutes but the result is fantastic piping hot and moist meals, better than a microwave, IMO... I also use it to boil water for coffee/tea.

I was planning on getting the company max allowed 1500W inverter installed and a microwave, but the current setup does a decent enough job that I'll hold off on that expense (and space) for now.

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Another career journey begins, enabled by TT

Hi guys,

Just a quick update. I'm done with orientation and training and all went really well. Company is sending me out solo starting tomorrow for the regional division!

Got my truck assigned this past friday. It's a 2005 International with a C13/10-speed. It ain't nothing to brag about but I went over and as far as I can tell it looks mechanically solid and all maintenance was done to it recently. But I'll take what is given to me and will try to make the most of it.

The dispatch seems like a nice guy. His plan is to start me out slowly and ramp up from there depending how I do. The company also has a great support structure in place for new drivers, so I wont really be left on my own.

Still can't believe I just pulled the trigger on this career mid-january and here I am going solo before mid-april. And loving every minute of it so far!

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

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Crossing to and from Canada

Yeah, 13hrs driving out of 14 hrs on-duty. Also more flexibility with off-duty splitting and split sleeper options, and can defer off-duty to next day to extend driving hours etc. Although if you are just going to London it probably wont come into play much. Can read more here if curious and have some time: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/060555

Nothing really wrong with Québec. I'm from Quebec myself and have a love/hate relationship with the province. The rest of Canada just loves some Quebec bashing and vice versa, I guess kinda like west coast vs. east coast for you.

Not sure what to do around London. For me it's just the town where I turn right onto Hwy402 towards Sarnia and onto I-69W towards Flint & Lansing. Or about the half-way point marker from Toronto to Windsor/Detroit, lol.

If heading further up the 401, Toronto traffic is a mess like any major metropolitan area. But the EnRoute service areas with their Tim Hortons every 40-50 miles are super nice.

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

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Crossing to and from Canada

If clean background, no DUIs and valid passport = no problem

It's not all that different up here. Well, except Quebec but even then....

Just remember 4.1m = 13'6" and 100km/h=62mph and you should be good.

Which part of Canada will you be running?

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

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Looks like I am going to be a Swiftie!!!!!

That's awesome Victor, congrats! smile.gif

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

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Another career journey begins, enabled by TT

No problem Garth, no offence taken.

And thanks Victor!

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

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Another career journey begins, enabled by TT

Brett, Garth, Dan, Tractor Man, thanks for the welcome.

Yesss, I'm super fired up and excited to get started next Monday. After a long dark winter in so many different ways, I'm really looking forward to spring weather and hitting the open road in this beautiful part of the continent.

I know I have so much to learn, but learning is something I love to do, and take pride in learning as much as I can about anything I do and doing it well. I have no doubt this career will keep me learning hopefully until my retirement, 15-20 years from now, or maybe beyond. As long as them AI driven autonomous trucks don't take over, haha... ;)

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Another career journey begins, enabled by TT

Indeed and pardon application is in progress. Although at this point a Cdn pardon will not clear it from US databases...

I actually lived life for the past 25 years thinking I did not have a criminal record. I was sure that it was an unconditional discharge that gets wiped off the records after 1 year or at least that's what I (wrongly) understood when pleading. It was only when I requested a pre-employment screening report which came back "not clear" and then submitted the fingerprints to RCMP to get the records is when I realized it was a summary CC conviction. I really wish a former employer would have flagged this in a background check years ago. Or even that I would have been stopped and questioned about it at the border years ago... Would have dealt with it then.

You should have gotten a pardon back in Canada. It would have saved you a lot of headaches

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Another career journey begins, enabled by TT

Continued...

As I got back to my car in the parking lot ready to head home, I got a call from Company A and they were ready to hire me as a US driver and asked if I was ready to start on March 20th or 27th! One week orientation and some driving practice, one or two weeks local/regional runs with a trainer and then Solo to US! Now here's the best part. In case I have issues crossing to US, they will help me with getting a FAST card and while this is in progress (might take a few months), they will have me running regional Ontario-Quebec-Maritimes provinces corridor, home every weekend! Plus, they have a local terminal 15 minutes from my home! And they run paper logs (double-edged sword for a rookie, i know...)

No brainer really, I decided to go with company A. Will start next Monday March 27th!

My simple plan: -Work hard
-Keep a positive attitude
-Be professional
-Develop a good relationship with Dispatch
-Listen and learn
-Do the PTIs religiously
-Dont hit anything!
-Stay away from terminal rats (thanks Brett, that last podcast was full of awesome stuff as usual)

All check, feel free to add and wish me luck!

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

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Another career journey begins, enabled by TT

Hello all,

First post and intro as I've been lurking on here for a couple of months, soaking in the tons of information. Thank god I found this site early on while researching this career!

A huge thanks to Brett for this site and all the moderators and regular contributors to this forum! The information on here is priceless.

I am (was) and IT Professional for almost 25 years. After losing my management level job a few months ago, I was left disillusioned and plenty of soul searching ensued as to what do I want to do until retirement. Like for many, driving a big American rig was a long time dream that was sorta kept in the closet, mostly due to the stigma associated with that career choice.

Thankfully I am at a point at my life where I no longer care or live by any such prejudices... And my wife fully supports me, the kids are now big enough (15 & 11) to be relatively low maintenance and think this is cool (for now at least). My mother, well, she looked like she was ready to jump into her grave (as Brett put it) upon hearing about my career change, lolll. She handled it a bit better after I explained to her that no, I will not be loading/unloading 40,000 lbs of Idaho potatoes and chances are relatively slim of me dying in a fiery crash...

So I signed up for a private trucking school in middle of January, passed my CLP a couple of weeks later and got my CDL on March 7th. I tried getting pre-hires but things work a bit different up here in Canada. Basically every single employer told me to get the CDL first and then call them for a road test. So literally on March 8 I started calling the companies back.

Now this is where things got interesting and a bit different from what happens in the US. I do have a minor misdemeanor on my record that goes back 25 years ago, was not what the US CBP calls a crime of "moral turpitude" (murder, drugs, sex, aggravated violence, theft etc.), and I was always eligible to cross the border and did so literally a hundred times over the years for work and pleasure. I was upfront with all the companies that I applied for of course but all the big players (Schneider, Challenger, TransForce etc.) flat-out refused to even consider me upon finding out... As one recruiter put it: "You can cross the border a hundred times without a problem and then on the 101st time they can turn you around. It just takes one overzealous agent. We cant take the risk". Since 90% of jobs in Canada require crossing to US, man was I dejected at that point...

I didn't give up though. Kept going down the list and calling. I then saw one company that was holding a Saturday March 11 open-house/interviews/road-tests at a town about a 90 minute drive from my place, so I figured my best bet would be to show up and present myself in person. So I did. Showed up early and was the first one on site. Road-test went well, interview went well, then I explained my situation. The recruiter said they've dealt with cases like mine a few times, but said they would need to review with legal and then decide if they would offer me a position. Fingers crossed... BTW, the company is a medium-size carrier (about 400 trucks) and is considered a "bottom-feeder" by many up here for various (usual) reasons. But having been on here just long enough to learn that most of what I've read elsewhere is probably not true and if they would give me a chance, I'd take it, do my best and find out for myself...

There was one more company left on my list. Company B. Another medium carrier so-called "bottom-feeder" with about 300 trucks, and the reason I left them for last is that they do mostly US West coast runs in teams. But if that was my only option I was ready to take it. I applied online and literally 20 minutes after hitting the send button I got a call and an invite for a road test on March 16. The "road-test" was actually done on a simulator. Was an interesting experience and an impressive rig, 13-speed, clutch, grinds gears and all. In a simulator they can throw all kinds of scenarios at you that cannot be replicated in real life. Four-wheelers slamming brakes in front of you, another one attempting a suicide pass on a two-lane road, a biker jumping on to the road from a parking lot, a low clearance bridge, a car stopped partly on the shoulder and another truck coming in opposite directions, climb an 18% grade with 45,000lbs load from a dead-stop, followed by a few 10-15% descents and climbs, etc. It was INTERESTING/FUN to say the least. I did fail to note the low-bridge sign, and parking on the simulator was a disaster. Other then a 90 degree turn with a straight back, I struggled with all other scenarios. But instructor said I did much better than average and with a couple of hours of yard practice backing up i'd be ok and definitely good enough to hire.

Interview went very well. What they would do for my record is make me attempt to cross the border and report to US customs with a letter of employment and ask to have a look at my record and confirm if I would be eligible to cross with a CMV. If not, ask whether or not do I need a waiver. In that's case the company would support and help me to get the necessary documents. One week orientation would start on 27th, then first two runs to West-Coast with a trainer (not a team run). 4th week out as a team. So I had my first offer from Company B. Yay!

To be continued...Sorry for long post...

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