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    2 years, 6 months ago

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Posted:  1 year, 7 months ago

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Old School Responds To Criticisms After Busting The Free Agency Myth

I read the original and the reply. I have had my Class A for about 8 months. I can't complain about my treatment so far. I work for a logistics company on call and am paid by the on duty hour not miles. Out over night (my option) as often as I like or many time out and home in my bed that night. I am staying with them as I have learned a lot and this particular company has never so much offered one word of criticism. I have cleared as much as $1200 or as little at $400 in a week. This works for me, others ?? Maybe not. I am grateful to learn at my own pace and if I want, I can go full time with this company upon asking. I am very happy with my company and situation with only being a CDL holder since July 1, 2017.

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

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Should a rookie driver become a lease operator?

I may have missed it, but how mechanically inclined are you ? I have been around cars for over 50 years. I have had in that time some Diesel engine experiences. I got my CDL about 6 months ago and I can assure you I knew very little about tractors when I started. I might have doubled my knowledge of them in those 6 months. That means my 12.5 % is now in the 25 % area. One major mechanical mistake or issue can easily set you back 25K. I would offer you drive on "scholarship" as a company driver for 5 years and then make an intelligent decision about owning or leasing at truck. P.S. I too owned a business with multiple employees for over 20 years and it was automotive related and if I was 30 years younger .... I'd still wait 5 years myself before I tackled this beast known as trucking on my own.

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

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How to not stall when starting from a stop...

Old School's advice is dead on. I was so use to gas engines with a stick (low torque) I was trying to synchronize slipping the clutch and revving engine at the same time. My veteran instructor taught me the massive torque of a diesel did not require higher rpms until you needed to actually move forward at a normal pace. We did practice on flat ground letting clutch out only with engine at normal idle and the tractor and empty trailer would still move without stalling or even shuddering the engine.

Hey Austin, This is a common problem for new drivers. You actually already know the answer - you gave it while asking the question. You said, "I hold the brake to long."

It's really quite simple, but it's one of those things that takes a little practice. If you're in school and pulling an empty trailer with a ten speed transmission, I'd say start out in third gear. With your right foot on the brake, start slowly easing off the clutch with your left foot. There are two slight changes that will happen as the clutch begins to engage. You should hear a slight difference in the sound of the engine, and you should either feel or see that the truck starts to slightly lean to the right as the torque of the engine pushes against the resistance of the clutch.

It is exactly at that point that you ease off the brake while continuing to ease off the clutch pedal. You can actually practice this procedure on a level grade. You should be able to get the truck rolling like this without any throttle. Try starting that way on a flat surface a few times just to get the mechanics of it down. Pretyy soon muscle memory will take over, and your confidence will increase, until you're doing it with ease.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

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Good Cell Phone Companies to use OTR?

I have Verizon and have 3 phones (family) with unlimited data on all. Comes out with all taxes to about $190.00 a month. I am not on a contract and can leave tomorrow. I am very satisfied with their coverage and customer service.

I am a Verizon customer, have been for decades. It's very rare that I loose a tower no matter where I am. Just as rare when a call to their customer service number is necessary. "Never" is close to the last time I had to call them.

Cost? Considering the phone is an essential safety and communication tool required to perform our jobs, at least part of it is a write-off.

Posted:  2 years ago

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I'm out...OTR not for me.

Yes, there's not a career out there that is for everyone, nor will you be the first or last to try driving and bid it adieu. I have an aversion to Chicago and recently drove thru there at rush hour 3 evenings in a row. It confirmed I do not want a route that will take me into Chicago. I will make sure I go south, west or stay regional from my Iowa base and stay away from Illinois as I explore my job options. Someday your feelings about OTR (like mine about Chicago) might change and you can try this again. Best of luck.

Hey Tim, the solitude gets a lot of people. I was surprised by the amount of solitude you experience out there myself when I first started. I wrote an article about it one time:

Solitude Becomes Every Truck Drivers Heaven Or Hell

I realized right away I had two choices: either learn to enjoy myself and embrace the solitude or find a new way to make a living. I learned to enjoy the solitude so much that it really became an integral part of my life from then on. I've pretty much always lived alone, and when I wasn't on the road I've lived way out in the middle of nowhere.

I'm an avid hiker and climber. I live in the Adirondacks and I go hiking or climbing quite a bit. Unfortunately there are 10 million people that would love to make a living taking people hiking. I hope that thought wasn't much of an influence on your decision to leave trucking because for every 10,000 people that would like to do it, one makes a meager living at it. Without extensive hiking experience and a way to tap into a large base of clients there isn't much chance of making any living that way at all.

In fact, while you're dreaming, let's not forget how many of us would like to make a living golfing or fishing or laying on a beach in Florida. But hey, if you can find a way to make a career out of hiking, that would be awesome.

I'm considering the possibility of raising and training wilderness dogs. I have a German Shepherd that's been hiking with me for years and I can put a harness on him and belay him up and down steep rock. He's also great at trail finding, he knows to be mellow around other dogs, he's in incredible shape, and he knows a dozen or so commands now like how to unwrap himself from around a tree, stay, choose a different route, etc. Just like it takes people a long time to build up their fitness level and learn how to navigate the mountains safely, it takes a ton of work for dogs to learn the in's and out's of wilderness and mountain travel also.

So I think there might be a market for raising and training dogs for hiking companions, wilderness protection (bears, wolves, moose, etc), and search and rescue. I may take a shot at that one day as part of my farming business. I'm currently looking to buy a farm now but haven't found the right place.

So best of luck to you in your next endeavor. And I don't think you should view it that you were wrong about this profession. You just won't know what it's like until you try, and you gave it a great effort. There's nothing wrong with saying that trucking isn't for you.

Posted:  2 years ago

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Abrasions on steer sidewall--how bad is it?

Like Brett said if it's in good shape structurally and only has cosmetic damage, use it in a non critical position then. No harm ... no foul. You can bet if that tire comes apart after being reused and causes injury or loss of life ??? The trucking company better hope no lawyer discovers that repurposing.

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Thanks Brett. Well it's changed now and I strapped the damaged one to the back of the cab to take back with me. I managed to get to a parking spot on the side of the road up here to take my 10, so I can finally just go to bed and forget how stupid this day went haha.

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Awesome. You handled it perfectly. If the company decides the tire is still good they can reuse it. No harm done. They might use it for a trailer tire or something, who knows? That's up to them.

You played it safe and made sure everything on the truck would pass DOT inspection. You informed your company about the situation. You also made them put it in writing that they were 100% certain everything was fine, which it turns out they weren't that certain, were they?

So in the end you communicated well, you took control of the situation, and you played it safe. That's how you protect your career, handle the risk/reward ratio, and stay safe out there over the long run.

Now you're safe and sound ready for a good night's sleep and a safe return to your home base for another load. Good on you, man. Well done.

Posted:  2 years ago

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Abrasions on steer sidewall--how bad is it?

"In writing" changes things dramatically in disputes or directives. Good advice from Brett.

Ok guys and gals, the rumors are true. Brett really is the trucking god.

I called the shop and explained that now that I can see it better during the day, I'm not sure I want to drive it 1500 miles back to Denver--looks a little worse than I thought. The shop manager assured me it was 100% legal and there was nothing to worry about since there are no cords showing. I asked him to send me that in writing--no problem.

He texted me this: "We're gonna have you stop somewhere to change it out."

Hahaha

Posted:  2 years ago

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Is Community College Training a bad idea?

I am barely ahead of you in time in this industry, but I have never heard of a contract requirement to accept a job that has no other incentives i.e. sign on bonus or free schooling. I will promise you there are plenty of longtime drivers on here that can shed some light on that being a fact or not. And perhaps I am mistaken that was your thought.

Sno-Boy that was one if the strongest reasons why I wanted to do it this way. I have worked in health care for a long time. My coworkers never understood why I would not accept sign on bonuses. To me it has never made sense to accept an offer for a company to "buy" me. I always stayed many years it just seemed fishy to me.

At the same timyI do understand many trucking companies may still require s contract.

Posted:  2 years ago

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Is Community College Training a bad idea?

I went the CC route and could not be happier. I am a free agent from day 1. I was offered a job by the first firm I contacted. I am still there but I am not obligated to stay and that feels good. I like my existing company yet if I feel like something is a better fit for me, I am free to go.

As I read more and more on this site I am realizing that most everyone is going through a company sponsored training. Am I making the wrong decision to goto a community college? I already have medical card, and learners permit. Orientation is tomorrow with drug testing. Then class starts mid to late October.

I chose this route honestly because I am not sure the direction I want to go with trucking.

I would appreciate your thoughts.

Posted:  2 years ago

View Topic:

Abrasions on steer sidewall--how bad is it?

Looks like it was some type of debris as it looks gouged narrowly and deep along with that abrasion.

I found this on my driver side steer tonight. Is this ok to drive with?

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I literally have no idea how this got there. I don't remember curbing anything today and the three backs I did today weren't even around curbs, so it's not even possible that I curbed it while backing. This definitely wasn't there during my post trip last night or my pretrip this morning either. Could this have happened on the highway somehow?? I did drive through some really heavy rain in Memphis today, so maybe I ran over something I couldn't see??

Posted:  2 years ago

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Log book leaves question

Thanks Big Scott

You can show and send the logs. I just left it pulled up on my phone.

Posted:  2 years ago

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Log book leaves question

Is this accepted by the various state DOT officers ?? So you pull it up on your phone and send or show it to them ?? Thanks.

When I got my truck it did not have People Net (Our on board computer) in it. I had to be on paper. I couldn't do it. I found an app called Keep Trucking. Kept my logs on my phone, like elogs and was able to email them to our logs department. Just an idea.

Posted:  2 years ago

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8 people found dead in tractor trailer

Just saw this as it got bumped to the top of the page. What is to say ? The linked NBC article covers the story as it was released by authorities. If I had originally saw this subject I would not have commented anyway as it is not relevant to my CDL career. If I want to comment on hundreds of other issues from A to Z, I will find an appropriate forum relevant to that particular issue.

8 Suspected Migrants Found Dead In Trailer

Posted:  2 years ago

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Log book leaves question

Thank you, as a "newbie" shall we just say "I have issues" and need to start over at times. 😀

No you are just required to have the current log plus the previous seven days. At Swift we have loose log sheets in a binder. We only use them if our Qualcomm goes down.

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Realizing ELD is drawing nearer daily, I am driving "on call" so I paper log. Is there any rule your paper log needs to be stapled together? Right now mine is 8 previous days loose leaf on a clipboard (out of a previously log that had been stapled.) If the staple marks are an issue, what if they had no staple marks (2 small holes top middle and bottom of pages?) I am thinking such as copier made log sheets. Thanks for input.

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Posted:  2 years ago

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Log book leaves question

Realizing ELD is drawing nearer daily, I am driving "on call" so I paper log. Is there any rule your paper log needs to be stapled together? Right now mine is 8 previous days loose leaf on a clipboard (out of a previously log that had been stapled.) If the staple marks are an issue, what if they had no staple marks (2 small holes top middle and bottom of pages?) I am thinking such as copier made log sheets. Thanks for input.

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

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Newbie

I saw the same thing in an initial class of 10. By the end of week 2, we lost 3 and were down to 7 at the end of the 6 week course. I think only 6 of us passed and were awarded our certification and CDL and that person was a phone carrier/user addict. I turned my cell off and left it in my car to even eliminate a possible misconception of looking or using it. Make sure your personal hygiene is projecting a person that is not a slob or uncaring. Dress respectable, you don't need to over dress but don't arrive for class looking like you're on a beach vacation. Do not doze off, pay attention so you don't need a second prompting to reply to an instructors question.

Awesome. We're all more than happy to help. The biggest thing on your written tests is to study. So many apparently don't. I know in my CDL class there were only about 4 who had no problems passing their written tests and 8 who sat in class looking bored and playing on their cell phones. One guy got sent home to change shoes when he showed up wearing sandals, and another for wearing flip flops.

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

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Some of the biggest misconceptions about becoming a truck driver

Wasn't paying attention to the fact it was for an article. I just thought it was a new thread. I try and talk to the younger crowd 20 to 40 that if you're not making a good living, take look at being a CDL professional. Schooling initially is short and tuition (in relationship to other post high school training) is extremely reasonable. It is a fun and rewarding profession if you apply yourself to being prompt, courteous and professional. The living can be quite nice if you decide to earn your CDL. Is it for everybody?? absolutely not, but show me a trade/profession that is. Biggest thing I tell the young crowd "if you're into even tiniest amounts of the so called no harm to anybody "recreational drugs" forget CDL as a career. You will get caught and you will be done in this industry if not for your lifetime, for many years. Wait until you out grow that part of your life or quit cold turkey and I mean QUIT. Sadly, I feel at that point I lose many listeners interest.

Ok the article is up!

Drivers Share Their Biggest Misconceptions And Surprises About A Career In Trucking

Sno-boy you missed the deadline by a short time but I may go back and add that in.

andhe78, we're all in it to make money, but you also have to be the type that's cut out for the job, otherwise the money won't be worth it. The failure rate or dropout rate for new drivers coming into this industry is super high. It's stressful, it's life-consuming to a large degree, and it takes an incredible amount of ambition and nerve. If you don't have the personality and life goals that fit with a job that has such high demands you're going to find the money isn't worth it. It pays decent, but it takes time to work your way up by learning your trade and developing a great reputation and relationship with the office personnel. Not many people are willing to meet the demands of this job and the lifestyle that comes with it.

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

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Some of the biggest misconceptions about becoming a truck driver

Best advice ?? "When you leave here ( school) you will have the BARE minimum knowledge that the state says you need to be granted a CDL" I have been at this about 2 months driving on an on-call basis locally 3 to 500 mile daily trips. Now have better than 10,000 miles and probably over 100 D&H and I learn and hit situations every trip I have no clue as to the issue. Luckily I have 3 really good friends hauling same product with same trailers and tractors that I can call and ask advice. Without their input (virtually every trip) I would be pretty well in the crapper. My one friend says "I've been at this 18 years and almost every round I discover or learn something new" Stop and think about that statement "rookies". As a rookie you need to retain mentally or write down tips... info... rules... regulations....general knowledge etc. This deal (driving) is not easy mentally and physically it can be demanding too. That said, I am enjoying myself and I like the challenge plus learning a new trade at an older age 60+ Way plus btw.

Awesome stuff everyone! I'm going to start putting the article together now. If there are anymore last minute thoughts throw em on here. The article goes up in a few hours.

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Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

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So, I can't get the parallel or alley dock

In my schooling I found out it worked way better for me to literally stop and think what my next move was going to be. Our teacher allowed us to take as long as we wanted to do a maneuver. I was trying to emulate a student or two that could alley dock or offset without stopping. After I stopped trying to do the skills without stopping, I put it in the box cones almost every time. Even today I may stop and think "okay, now I need to do ______" I still may even do a pull up (not inside the box) because it doesn't matter as no one is scoring or watching me.

Been at Prime for 2 weeks now and my trainer feels my pre trip and driving is good enough to test. We spent 5 hours backing yesterday (straight back and offset are no poblem). Alley dock and parallel park have me so frustrated though. I can't get it. No matter what I do. Mostly, I can't seem to 'see the solution' to fixing it when I mess up.

This is quite literally the hardest thing I'be done in my entire working life. I don't know if I'm looking for advice or what. I guess I'm just discouraged and not sure what I can do to make things less frustrating. 🙁

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

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Part time on call

I do return to my home base most all nights (other than once I stayed out) so this clears up the possibilities of other positions offered most likely won't recognize my experience. Worst they can do if I apply is tell me "no" eh ?? Thanks to you (and others) for the info, I was not sure what DAC's were all about and such.

Local is local. It sounds like you're doing a part time OTR/regional. Now if you were say running around doing loads nearby all day, starting and ending in the same place, that would be local.

For instance I'm an OTR driver. I go anywhere my company sends me whether that's east, west, Midwest, southeast, etc. The other day I had an appointment to get my truck serviced so the day before, they had me running as a local driver. I drove about 98 miles running a load of scrap into the local paper mill dropping that, and then hooking to a load of tall paper rolls and dropping that in one of our in town drop yards... Grab another load of scrap, take to mill, grab rolls, take to our yard, rinse and repeat. I did about 10 rounds during my shift.

The day my truck was at freightliner, I took a spinner truck and dropped a load at our South St. Paul terminal and grabbed one needing to come back to Cedar Rapids. About 550 miles round trip. That's what my company calls hub or flex. Each day I began and ended my shift at our cedar rapids terminal. Day 3 I went to our Chicago terminal and back. Those were technically all "local runs".

If you are staying out overnight that would be OTR/regional... Just working part time. I would think (due to reduced miles of part time) that as far as months or years of experience, they'd credit you with half the time.. Say instead of 6 months experience, they'd say you have 3 months, but I'm really not sure. Different companies may look at it different ways.

I hope that helps a little in trying to make heads or tails out of it.

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