Profile For John S.

John S.'s Info

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    Rookie Solo Driver

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  • Joined Us:
    6 years, 5 months ago

John S.'s Bio

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Posted:  5 years, 10 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:  5 years, 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:  5 years, 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:  5 years, 11 months 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:  6 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:  6 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:  6 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:  6 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:  6 years 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:  6 years, 1 month 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.

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