Rookie Solo Driver
New Grad June, 2017. Driving Heavy haul container loads from mid Oregon to Seattle and Tacoma. Peterbilt Conventional with a Cat engine and 13 speed. Started late in life. It was on the bucket list. Had a long career in healthcare in ER and flying around in Helicopters. Did a lot of traveling. Saw a ton of stuff. Even worked on a ship for a while. Yup, still trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up.
Posted: 5 years, 5 months ago
Great Thread! I started in June, 2017 right out of school driving local heavy haul container loads to Seattle and Tacoma ports. I had my TWIC card from a previous life. I had approx 5 hrs of training/driving the truck back from Seattle. My orientation was 2 hrs. I have been driving 2 - 3 days a week ever since. I get paid per load. It's about 526 miles round trip. Talk about a shocker. Basically they handed me the keys and said be careful.
My first load was 2600 lbs over weight on my drive tandems! The company paid the ticket but it was up to me to sort out getting it right before hitting the road so the scales officer said. I explained that it was 1st day of ever driving a truck. I have to hand it to the officers at the scales. They were very helpful and let me go over the scales as many times as I needed to until it weighed out right. I didn't really know anything about drop axles on a 4 axle trailer but I learned real quick. I love a challenge!! So I maxed out my drop axle. Over the scales I went. Still 900 lbs over one the drive tandems. Next maneuver was to slide the fifth wheel. It was basically rusted in place. With no lubricant on site I found a can of Lysol in the truck and sprayed the hell out of the locking pins. I dropped the landing gear on the trailer, let the air out of the suspension on the tractor, pulled on my trial brakes, hit the fifth wheel slide button on the dash and gave her hell back and forth till it broke loose. All the while calling the truck boss and texting the safety manager. They were telling me to do the things I had already done. Next time over the scales I got a green light. I was on my way. Whew!
When I got back to the yard I told the safety manager that we needed to have a more comprehensive training session on weighing my truck before I leave on another trip. We spent 2 hours at the yard scales with a loaded truck till I got it right. No more over weight tickets!
The way I look at it is this company took a chance on me and for that I am grateful. Hauling 95000 lb loads straight out of school is not to be taken lightly. (No pun intended.) I stepped up to the plate and took on the challenge at hand. I thought it through every step of the way. I asked questions alot. I didn't care how stupid I looked. I rather look stupid asking the question than looking stupid later when something bad has happened. I stopped every time I thought there might be a problem with the truck and made sure there wasn't. When I stop at a rest area I do a walk around, look under the truck and trailer and thump the tires. I do a thorough pre-trip and post-trip every time without fail! I never fudge on my logs. I also carry a can of WD 40, some basic tools, and window cleaner now.
Even after this short time I feel confident in what I do. But I remain cautious and careful. My mantra is "No scratches, No Tickets!" In other words my goal is to have a safe trip every time, not hit anything, and drive with in the speed limit. After all, it's my license, my livelihood. Do I want to do OTR? You bet! Next year I'll have 6 months in and will explore that option then.
As Flatbed Chick on YouTube says, "Drive safe, Wear your seat belt, and enjoy the ride" :-)
Posted: 5 years ago
Sexism In Trucking From A Woman's Perspective
Very refreshing to hear a woman's point of view that isn't just man bashing. Your article is exactly what I taught my daughter when I was raising her as a single parent. It's not about gender, race, etc, it's about being the best you can in whatever you do. Good job Rainy!