Profile For PlanB

PlanB's Info

  • Location:
    NC

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    1 year, 4 months ago

PlanB's Bio

No Bio Information Was Filled Out. Must be a secret.

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Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

View Topic:

What constitutes a 'lousy load' in freight hauling?

To me a lousy load is one that I am forced to spend way more time on then I feel necessary, preventing me from moving on and competing more loads.

For example my current load I am less than thrilled about.

Deadheading 1247 dispatched miles didn't bother me.

But...

The meat load im waiting on has a very wide pickup window and may not be ready until Thursday morning. I've been waiting since early Tuesday. Detention is not paid until the shipper has held me 2hrs past the appointment window. By then I'll already have been sitting for 2 days.

Once it's finally ready the delivery is 1339 dispatched miles, and delivers Saturday afternoon.

Spending 5 days on 2586 dispatched miles is great while solo, but I'm training someone right now and as a team would normaly complete 4k+ miles in that time.

My normal dispatcher never has me sitting around this long. But he is off and I'm not familiar with the dispatcher who assigned me this. Plus it's right after Christmas/New Years so you have all these driver's coming back on the road from their time off coinciding with customers cutting back on production/shipping after Christmas.

Trucking is just like the highways we use. It's got it's up and downs, you just gotta roll with them.

On the plus side we both easily got 34s! (Not that we needed them yet, but silver lining and all that...)

Posted:  3 weeks, 1 day ago

View Topic:

I can never see any reason under the sun why trucks should ever be overweight.

Our trucks have Right Weigh gauges on the tractor and trailers so you can identify problems before you leave the shipper. Only problem is every time both my gauges were in the red and I notified the shipper they said go get a scale ticket and come back. Sometimes the nearest scale is an hour or more away. Every time dispatch has told me to just go get the scale ticket and bring it back so they will rework it.

At one shipper that had a scale on site it took forever to get them to rework because I was scaling at exactly 80,000 lbs. Only problem was that no matter where I put my fifth wheel or trailer tandems it wouldn't axle out. And I only had 1/4 tank of fuel at the time.

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They kept telling me to go side my tandems and try again. I've already tried every hole! Driver you'll be fine once you burn some fuel off... Ummmm I've got no damn fuel to burn! Once I actually put fuel in the truck, I'll be over gross! They finally took off 2 pallets.

The thing to remember is they are trying to get as much freight moved for as cheap as possible so they'll pack as much in as they can. Once the freight leaves their yard it's no longer their problem. The driver is now responsible.

I picked up one meat load that the bills said I only had 39k in the trailer. I scaled at a bit over 80k. It takes over 46k in the trailer to max me out. I told the shipper this and they just shrugged their shoulders. They took off a tiny bit to get me just barely legal.

On another occasion I was "rescuing" a load from an overturned truck. Both the wrecked truck and our truck were old body style 2018 Cascadias and both were team trucks. Bills claimed only 41k lbs so we didn't expect any weight issues. After the freight got transloaded onto our trailer I noticed the right weigh gauges were both waaaay in the red. Dispatch asked me to verify at a cat scale nearby. The truck scaled at 89k gross! Dispatch couldn't believe that could be accurate so they sent me to another cat scale 30 miles away. Still 89k gross!

I don't know how that truck made it from Georgia to Idaho at that weight, but we did find a receipt for a trailer tire blowout repair 1 day prior to their wreck. And they were on a county highway that paralleled the interstate and just happened to avoid a scale house.... Makes ya wonder.

Posted:  3 weeks, 2 days ago

View Topic:

What is the toughest single skill to master as a student semi driver?

#1 Space Management. This goes for maneuvering both forward and in reverse. It takes time to really understand how much space a 70'+ truck requires to menuver. Also the tighter the maneuver the more you will need to account for trailer off-tracking. Many people forget about this and run their trailer into objects or ditches. When backing the ability to make the best use of the space available to you will make your life so much easier. The "set up" is the key when backing. Until you develop the understanding of what you can do with the space you have available, you end up trying to perform the same backing menuver in every situation, which doesn't always work.

#2 Time Management Understanding how to manage your 4 DoT clocks can make or break your ability to make appointments on time. You often need to plan out your stops several days in advance so that your DoT clocks are in your favor. You don't want to be that driver calling dispatch trying to explain how you accidently started your clock to early and now don't have enough time to make an appointment made days in advance.

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

Game: My stupid thing for the day lol

Found a mud hole in a customer's dirt overnight parking area. Had to get a wrecker to pull me out. This was my 11th day solo.

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I'm now much more careful in dirt lots. Mud = Bad!

About 3 months into my solo career I was docking at a cold storage facility that has you back in with doors shut. I had one of the newer trailers with the self opening trailer tails. I had closed the tails but as I was backing into the dock they reopened. I had no idea I had damaged the door until a worker came out and told me.

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Not even a scratch on the tails...

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Luckily a worker saw it happen. Later they had me back into a second door with a spotter watching. The tails again opened up as I was backing. They opened up the dock door so I could back in without risking damaging a second door. Later that day I started stocking zip ties on my truck to secure those damn tails.

I was sure I was going to get blamed for the accident and damage but never did. I assume the customer employee seeing it happen, plus all the problems Prime has had with that type of trailer tail spared me. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out I was one year "incident free" and was eligible for a gift at the company store. Still haven't gotten back to pick that up...

Prime has since started modifying these type of tails so that they have a mechanical way to lock them in the closed position.

More recently I again had a trailer with self opening tails. This one had not yet been modified so still had no mechanical closure. I had just closed the tails and was grabbing onto the right handle to open up the doors. A sudden major gust of wind caught under the trailer tail like a sail and it flew open with force. The tail hit me square in the face and knocked me backwards clean off my feet. Stunned I found myself laying on the pavement. The guy backing into the spot next to me jumped out "Holy s**" are you ok!?.". I replied, "Yea I'm ok... Except for my pride." Had busted open my forarm also, but I honestly didn't even notice the injury until a few minutes later. Where the hell is all this blood coming from??? Oh cr*p!

I now am extra careful when dealing with those damn trailer tails.

Then there was also the time I was drop/hooking in the rain at 3am at a Walmart DC. I couldn't find the row "R" I was told to drop in so I jumped out real quick and asked a yard jockey for help. Went back to jump in my truck and the door was locked. Reached into my pocket where I "always" have my extra key.... And I'm overcome by that sinking feeling as all I feel is empty pocket. I climb up and look inside, and see my extra key sitting on top of the dashboard. So there I am standing in the rain, parked in the middle of the main drive right in front of the docks for hours as I call every tow company and locksmith in the area and not a single damn one is answering their phones. Finally I call the local small truck stop and the nice lady gives me the cell phone number of a local body shop owner who also does lockouts. He was there within the hour.

To this day I have no idea why I took the key out of my pocket or why I put it on the dash...

Have had my small share of bumps and hurdles, but still going strong out here.

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

What kind of docking maneuver is this?

That's some really advanced multi spacial three dimensional docking right there.

I wouldn't recommend attempting, ever.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Prime PSD phase

Switching from day to night driving comes with the job, your going to have to get used to it.

During Primes PSD there should be no distractions to the student driver or the Instructor. That's means radio playing, CB radio should be off, and no phone or headsets in use by either person. The instructor is to be in the passenger seat and alert at all times the student is driving. That's Primes policy.

It's honestly harder on the instructor than the student since the instructor is just sitting there for hours on end, but they need to be alert and actively coaching the student.

Also before you left the terminal the instructor was supposed to physically introduce you to your fleet manager and logs auditor. That's not always possible but she should have at least brought you to their desks and given you one of their business cards so you had their contact information.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Frozen Brakes

I forgot to add that my trainer had banged on all the trailer drums. Then he set the trailer, released the tractor and banged on the tractor drums. The truck had been parked with the tractor brakes set and trailer released.

Even tho the trailer brakes were set the thing started rolling when he banged on the tractor. I'm guessing maybe ice had formed between the friction material and drum and prevented the brake from holding. He cursed himself for forgetting to chock the wheels.

Never hurts to use chocks, but it can hurt if you don't.

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Good thread.

I'm guessing we chock the wheels because we have to release the brakes before we tap them?

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Since you are only attempting to free the trailer brakes, there is no need to chock the wheels. Leave the tractor brake set, only release trailer brakes.

Perfectly safe and absolutely frightening that a trainer didn’t know this leading up to narrowly escaping being run over by his own trailer.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Frozen Brakes

Very important to chock your wheels. When I was in training our brakes froze and we could not rock them loose. My trainer suffered a moment of absent mindedness and forgot to chock the wheels. He was under the nose of the trailer banging on the rear drive brakes when he found the last stuck wheel...and the truck started rolling back towards him.

The spot we were in sloped down behind us down to a very abrupt drop. Lucky for him there was a very tall curb at the rear of the spot that the trailer tires didn't jump.

That would have been an awkward call to my dispatcher explaining how my trainer ran himself over.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

CB Question(s)

They still have them .

They have a padded tray with velcro straps to secure the radio. Power and coaxial hookups are in the back of the tray.

You wouldn't notice it if there wasn't a radio sitting in it.

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Unfortunately they arent used as often or as they should be. the new cascadias dont even have the cubby hole for them, at least not the 2019 i was in.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

CB Question(s)

Those 10 meter radios that the cb shops modify to transmit on 11 meter (cb) bands are technically illegal but no one enforces it.

The only issue I have with those radios is sometimes the cb shop does a bad job and the radio blasts static all over the cb bands. Then they crank up the echo because they were told it makes your voice sounds "fuller."

When they key up the mic all you hear is inaudible echos and static follow by a religiously loud and annoying Roger beep.

The stock 4 watt radios work just fine. No reason to blast static 10 miles up the road.

Posted:  1 month, 4 weeks ago

View Topic:

Padlocking trailer doors

Had a conversation with my old trainer about this. He was leaving the Prime terminal with an empty and had forgotten to put his lock on. He was told they can't allow him to leave until he put the lock on. They said not only is it a company policy but it's a seldom enforced law/regulation post 9/11 that all trailers but be locked in transit.

Honestly I have no idea if that is true or not, but I keep my lock on all my trailers empty or loaded anyway. I don't want any surprises next time I open those doors.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Prime CDL training

If your going to Springfield Missouri you will have to switch your driver's license to Missouri and get a Missouri CDL permit.

I believe students going to Salt Lake City Utah must get their permit from their home state and bring it with them to orientation.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Health question for Prime

Call your recruiter and let them know ASAP.

Posted:  2 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Seeking Advice About Backing

If you have a basic understanding of how to manipulate the trailer, it's time to cut the cord.

After I completed my TnT phase at Prime my trainer offered to have me stay on his truck. He knew I still needed to work on my backing, and we were just getting into winter. It worked in his favor to have a driver he can trust on his truck for the slower winter months. It also worked in my favor since I still sucked at backing and had no winter experience.

After a while he needed to take some time off the road to handle some stuff at home, and wanted to fit in a vacation. So he left me to run his truck solo for a few weeks. I still sucked at backing, but he basically said I'll figure it out.

Now normally whenever I was approaching a situation where I knew I would have to backup, my anxiety would go through the roof. Heart rate doubled and would start sweating. I knew how to backup, but I always brain locked while I was doing it. My brain was my own enemy.

I absolutely hated having my trainer there watching. It drove my anxiety up even higher knowing that he was watching my every mistake.

Now that I was alone on his truck the first time I approached a backing situation I just paused a moment and thought, "It's just me and you now, and I've gotta get your big @$$ in that little hole. Let's get it done."

Not having my trainer there for some reason helped me remain calm. I also realized that I have no one to fall back on if I can't get it done. I need to stay focused and get this done, because my trainer isn't there to jump in and save me.

That was the moment when it really clicked for me. Don't rush. The other trucks can wait. If I messed up, it doesn't matter, just reset and do it again. If I messed up again, reset again, they can wait.

The most important thing is to never let yourself feel rushed. When you feel rushed you make mistakes. Mistakes that create bigger problems.

If you get yourself into a problem, STOP! Take a moment to think about what you need to do to fix the problem, and then SLOWLY put your plan into action. Do not ever make a rushed decision.

I've gotten myself into a few sticky situations, and seen other drivers do the same thing to themselves. In every situation if I or they had stopped and taken a few moments to think their situation through, we wouldn't have gotten ourselves into those situations.

I facepalmed myself a few times I struggled to alley dock into a tight spot, then after I was done I realised there was plenty of room and I could have turned it into an easy straight line back.

Always stop and take time to evaluate your entire situation. You'll get done faster.

Cut that cord, get out there and have some fun.

But most importantly...

Do not rush!

Posted:  3 months ago

View Topic:

Favorite Bluetooth Headset

I use the same headset. Better to just plug it in for 30 mins every 2 or 3 days.

On mine the low battery warning comes on just a minute before the unit shuts down. It's more of a courtesy beep that the unit is about to shut down.

Gives me just barely enough time to interrupt my wife and tell her my headset is about to go dead. She then scolds me for forgetting to charge it again, and usually before she is done the unit shuts off.

Love my Blue Tiger Elite tho.

Just picked up my Blue Tiger Elite for almost free at Prime store. Had $90.00 in points & they sell it for $98.00, $40.00 less than at the truck stops that carry that model. Battery life is excellent. I don’t talk much on the phone but I do listen to my music. Haven’t charged it for 2 days & it’s still not asking for a charge.

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

I'm headed to Springfield Prime Fri

I read the same posts you did. The ONLY thing that I felt was vague was if that 2k was before or after setting aside tax money.

After I finished training I stayed on my lease trainers truck. He was no longer my trainer, now I was a co-driver. I was fresh out of training and he went home for 3 weeks and paid me 50cpm to run his leased truck while he went on vacation. I ran a lot of miles those weeks and he showed me his settlements after he got back on the truck.

He paid me the 50cpm, and I made very good checks those weeks. As I was a company driver on his lease truck he had to pay my social security benefits and he paid the company contribution towards my medical benefits. After paying all those expenses plus the trucks expenses he still made a good amount of money those 3 weeks. I've seen a lease trucks solo settlements while being run by a fresh out of school driver (Me).

That is why Austin's claims are in no way unbelievable to me. I did it.

And saying $2k after ALL expenses is too vague. No one serious about running a successful business will go on such a vague statement.

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Is there an official 'Ten Commandments of Trucking Safety'?

We are taught in school to be ready for the hill and be in the required gear at the summit before you start your decent. The risk if that you take the truck out of gear and then miss your shift. Now the truck is accelerating under it's own weight down the hill out of gear. You will fry your service brakes quickly trying to slow down that truck enough to get it back in gear.

I have run into experienced driver's who claim they can downshift on downhills because "they know how to shift" but I would never risk it.

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

I'm headed to Springfield Prime Fri

Have you ever leased or run a truck at all?

He is right now.

Who's trying to share their experiences and who's spewing out the rainbow barf?

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Everyone who enters trucking must make their own risk/cost/benefit decision. Are the benefits of trucking worth the risks of being on the road. Are those benefits also worth the cost of not seeing your loved ones.

What you mentioned above is just another risk/benefit evaluation taken to the factor of worst case scenario.

You will come to your conclusion. I will come to my conclusion. Everyone else must make their own.

Just because your conclusion is different than someone else's, does not make either of you wrong.

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Of course. The question is do you think people looking into this industry want to calculate the risk/cost/benefit equation with accurate numbers or glitter farts and rainbow barf?

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

I'm headed to Springfield Prime Fri

I think our difference is what you are referring to as "hard, cold reality", I believe should be followed by or replaced with "in my/our opinion".

Austin O. stepped up and put forward his experience. What followed appeared to me like an entire defensive line dogpiling a quarterback. Everyone on this site tries to share their experiences for the benefit of others. But we don't agree with Austin's experiences so we're going to pick apart his every word and tell him why we think his experiences are wrong. Brett you took his comment of 2k on the weeks he runs and you multiplied that out to 100k a year. Austin never once claimed he maid that much. He clearly wrote to the contrary, but yet you keep bringing up that number that you created.

Whenever someone who leased or owned a truck shares a negative experience, or claims that they didn't do much better than a company driver, the angels of TT sing their praises and thank them for sharing their experience of why you shouldn't lease.

Yet when a company driver had a bad experience or doesn't do well, TT advises them to look in the mirror for their problem.

Here a guy who leases shares his positive experiences and those singing angels become charging linebackers trying to sac that quarterback.

PlanB, I've noticed you've shown some hostility and frustration toward us recently and I suspect it's because secretly you'd like to buy or lease a truck yourself and you don't like what you're hearing. Otherwise I don't know why you would act like we're wronging people or being hypocrites. The only people who get frustrated with us are the people who don't like what they're hearing because it goes against their hopes. But realize that we're going to give people the hard, cold reality at all times. That's what we do. If you'd rather have someone feed you a bunch of BS you'll have no trouble finding it, it's almost everywhere on the Web. Just not here.

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

I'm headed to Springfield Prime Fri

Ok now if I don't mess up the formatting again I'll respond to this half.

Risks, not risk. Your example is only one risk of a multitude that L/Os expose themselves to, many of them unrelated to safe driving and maintenance. Company drivers don't have to worry about that, and they can take home almost as much.

Slip and break your leg. Who is going to be home staring down a lease payment, insurance payments, potential repo, etc while the truck is parked and algae is growing in the fuel tank? Who is going to be collecting workman's comp with no truckly worries?

Are the risks worth the marginal increase in pay?

Everyone who enters trucking must make their own risk/cost/benefit decision. Are the benefits of trucking worth the risks of being on the road. Are those benefits also worth the cost of not seeing your loved ones.

What you mentioned above is just another risk/benefit evaluation taken to the factor of worst case scenario.

You will come to your conclusion. I will come to my conclusion. Everyone else must make their own.

Just because your conclusion is different than someone else's, does not make either of you wrong.

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