Profile For Iron Emu

Iron Emu's Info

  • Location:
    Jacksonville, NC

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    1 year, 9 months ago

Iron Emu's Bio

Still green, OTR flatbed.

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Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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IMPORTANT Update: Another LEGENDARY goal of mine met, plus an explanation.....

I'm a bit late for congratulations, but either way, congratulations on accomplishing a goal! Good driver trainers don't receive near enough acknowledgement, and while I heavily respect what you and them do, I couldn't do it myself. I'm not a good teacher, so thank you for shouldering that responsibility to help keep the rest of us safer.

Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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How often do you interact with your dispatcher and boss in person?

Even if you talk to your dispatcher, or driver manager (whichever term is preferred), on the phone I recommend making sure you get anything confused over the ELD. It allows you to go back and review the information, also if something goes wrong AND you followed direction to the T, then you can say look I did what I was told and you have proof. I haven't had this happen to me personally but I've heard stories. Never hurts to have a copy of instructions either way. Any time I return to my home terminal, I can go see my driver manager. I don't know if it means anything to anyone else but I like being able to put a face to a name, and it reminds me that it's another human being I am dealing with. I do one have one complaint with messaging over the ELD, and that is the time spent waiting on messages to come through rather than calling. This is only a real problem at night and on weekends when my manager typically is off and I have to wait to get ahold of someone that doesn't know me at all, and is probably a little overwhelmed. I'm getting off topic. Once a month or so to answer the original question.

Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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Advice from a rookie...

Rushing yourself is the number one reason I've seen people make mistakes that left them with their face in a palm. Saw a guy try to drop a trailer but was in such a rush didn't unhook his airlines which resulted in them being ripped out if his truck. I've always double checked everything before dropping a trailer but after that it's now a triple check. This is all fantastic advice, it never hurts to ask for help if you need it like you mentioned with getting stuck. I know they are out there, but I've yet to run into any drivers that just wanted to be jerks for the sake of being jerks.

Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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Training question

My training was 4 weeks, the trainer was awake and watching the entire time I was driving the first two weeks. We did mostly shorter runs during that time, around 600 miles, and mostly in the North East around cities which was out of my comfort zone and I am thankful for the way it was done. Aside from those first two weeks where he was awake for every moment I was driving, he also overwatched load securement the entire time. Only offering advice toward the end on how it could be faster or more efficient with time management. Brett you are right though, toward the end of the time I was thankful to have what was the closest to being by myself I could get. We did have a big conflict of personality but it never got in the way of the mentor/pupil relationship, though that was probably the worst part of being with a trainer. What are the odds you get a trainer that is someone you would actually want to talk to or hang out with, you know? Just gotta stick it out, and maintain your professionalism.

Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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First Time To Seattle

G-town even if you were being mean it would be understandable, a failure of planning can be (and was) dangerous. I believe that was the name of the pass I was on though, and going back now and looking at it on a map it should have been indicative of the nature of the road. This goes further to prove my point in my initial post about being careful in the area, well not just in that particular area as you have pointed out and I now have to amend, but in any area you really don't know.

Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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First Time To Seattle

G-town, while I know you are right about the time frame differences and optimal path given the geography, at the very least some gradient signs would be nice. I'm sure you are right that as I, hopefully, spend more time in the northwest I will become more comfortable and accustomed to the combination of weather and terrain. The only way to be more okay with it is to keep working it. Old School, I run with Western Express and I do indeed have chains in my possession. I had misunderstood the question. I love it though, a couple of other guys I knew who were Marine/Navy started doing it and it seemed a great way to keep in shape and drive a rig. Still have a workout routine aside from the work but it helps.

Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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First Time To Seattle

Chains aren't necesarry right now in this area (still in Oregon right now on my way back with a gravy run) cause their isn't snow on the road. The ice was there and it was like a random land mine waiting to ruin your day. But their is absolutely no doubt to the beauty of the state, none. I got a couple good photos, but it is gorgeous. Just whoever planned that interstate was drunk I'm certain.

Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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First Time To Seattle

I got a load heading to Seattle, Washington as the title says and it was my first time up in Washington period. I just wanted to throw a word of warning out to any new drivers like myself, I've been through the mountains and in the snow in several places, if you've been through West Virginia in winter then you know it gets sobering really fast under full load. But nothing I've been through prepared me for this morning. 90W through the mountains, which is basically all of Washington from my experience, will not only sober you; It will put you in your place. This is the first time I've been legitimately scared, and I don't mean like spooked. The only time I can remember being more fightened was boarding a helicopter to go in country. I'm not trying to scare anyone, you will see alot of trucks on this route and I have no idea how some of them were doing the speeds they were but please take it slow your first time. I don't know the name of this particular section, but their is an area where your only warning if a steep grade is a small yellow sign, their is no mention of the actual grade. You come around a bend and it's just a straight shot down with a sharp left hook at the bottom where it runs to a cliff wall. A more experienced person than myself probably knows what I am talking about. If you are prepared for it isn't that bad I'm sure, probably still a little scary but not what I came to considering I'm a calm guy who keeps his head cool under most stress. Thank you for your time.

Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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Share A Cool Moment From Your Day

This was a cool moment from the other day, it wasn't really fun. Actually kind of creepy, but cool to me sort of. It will make more sense when I tell you.

I was at a Pilot, at the Christmasville Rd exit near Jackson, TN. Went inside to grab a drink and was on my reset at the time. As I walked out I glanced over at the fuel islands where you have to walk by anyways and in the lane closest to me was a stepdeck flatbed with a big can shaped cylinder arranged eye to the sky if that makes sense. Either way. The container had only one sticker on it that said Biohazard warning, the top of the container or the lid I guess was chained to the base of itself with these massive thick chains and then the base was chained to the trailer. I had never seen a biohazard load before, so I looked at the placards which I didn't recognize as a flammable or anything, but they were official and didn't seem familiar. The trailer had no company name on it, so I look at the tractor. Also no company name, just typical designation such as weight, number, etc. I stared at it for a moment and realized the driver who was pumping fuel was just staring at me. Not blinking, just staring. I turned and walked away, as I got to my rig which was within eyesight of the fuel aisle I looked back and he was still staring at me but the fuel nozzle was put up now. He got back in his tractor and left.

It was really weird, kind of creepy. Still cool.

Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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Automatic Versus Manual Transmissions: My Experience Thus Far

I believe the 3rd gear issue he may be refering to is the inability to just remain in the gear at low speed, such as pulling through a yard or parking lot. It jumps around alot and in some instances with mine the truck has stopped entirely while it tries to figure out what it wants to do.

Also update! I had a couple mentions about putting the auto in manual selection mode to correct the above issue and some hill climb/descent issue I had previously. Unfortunately their is one of 3 possibilities before me:

1) The company I work for has disabled that ability in their trucks, or at least the Cascadias, and it will not go into manual select and hold. 2) I'm retarded and can't figure it out despite following what seems like simple instructions. 3) No one on here has any idea what they are talking about.

I very seriously doubt even the plausibility of 3, the odds of so many more experienced people being wrong just seems impossible. 2 is a possibility but I hope I'm not so clueless.

Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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Automatic Versus Manual Transmissions: My Experience Thus Far

Semper fi brother. 0311. 1/2 Charlie Co. You are correct, it doesn't make you less of a driver, and I didn't intend for it to mean that way. Everyone has their preferences, and judging from experience you would know better than me as far as longevity of advantages vs disadvantage. Most of the industry is switching over, and while at this moment I can't see those advantages of it, they have to be there. Well written.

I've been trucking for 11 years and have driven both. I was one of those truckers that used to think that if you didn't drive a manual you werent a real trucker. I was wrong! Our company went to an all auto fleet over the last 4 years and when I started with them we were about 1/2 and 1/2. One thing is driving in a city is SOOO much easier. Less fatique, less grinding, and getting all worked up dealing with drivers cutting in front of you as you inch up in tight traffic. With auto's you don't deal with that. After being on an Auto for these past years I can say I prefer the Auto. I mean at the end of each day I am not as tired and my leg doesn't hurt at all. That being said, an auto is a pain to back up, until you get used to how your specific truck operates. It took me about 3 months to get used to the lag time that was needed for the gearbox to auto adjust into reverse. Once you get used to it, it is not an issue unless your in a hurry and you try to rush the electronic shifter into gear. Now, on the open road it doesnt really matter.

Some people will tell you that Auto's suck on hills or downgrades. They don't!! You have to get used to your truck and KNOW your truck. Auto's do perform differently then manuals going on a downgrade because the auto's adjust themselves differently. The trick I use is a the "jake", use it when your RPM's get to that sweet spot before the auto gear box ups you to another gear. It works for me all the time and I deal with hills all the time in the Blueridge mountains since I haul mainly building materials.

Driving an Auto doesnt make you less of a man or a driver. Many of the big box companies are going all auto's and several are already there. A few companies like TMC and McElroy who swore up and down that they would NEVER go to auto's are getting them now. The main reason from what I have seen is they last longer and fuel economy goes way up. I mean I average 8.6 MPG last quarter, and I have had months where my Average was as high as 9.1. (Granted that depends on environment and weather, which do play a huge part in fuel economy). One of the biggest expenses that companies pay out is fuel.

Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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Any female flatbed haulers here

Brett, you are 100% correct, I should have forewarned that. Don't take unnecessary risks, don't get other people hurt. Definitely. From my brief existence I've realized often when someone takes a risk like that, they aren't the ones that usually pay for it. Can't tell the number of times I've seen a drunk driver that walked away from a crash fine but killed innocent people. The company I work for was very clear that if I tried flatbed but with my trainer I didn't feel safe with what I was doing, as far as securement goes, I could switch over to van division. Another note is if you are securing a load but you can't figure out if you did it right, call someone from your securement team, take a picture, send it to them. If you can't get ahold of them for whatever reason, which hasn't happened to me yet but just in case, most of the time their are other guys securing loads around you. They will help. Securing a tarp in a snowstorm, I've had help from drivers from other companies as long as I helped them back. I know not everyone is like this, but their is a certain comraderi of the road that reminds me alot of my time in the service. Their are bad apples, but most of just want to do the job, do it safely, and efficiently. Sometimes that means helping the green people, signalling to them it's okay to change lanes, or that their is another vehicle on the shoulder by hitting the marker interrupt a couple times before you change lanes.

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

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Any female flatbed haulers here

Terri D, my general philosophy in life is to take the straightest path to what you want. I know it isn't always the fastest, but often times the challenges make you stronger. I was nervous about driving a semi period, even more so about flatbed with how much more responsibility goes in with load securement, but it is the path I decided would be the most rewarding simply from proving to myself I could achieve it, I've got a long way to go before I will consider myself very good at what I do, but I know I can do the job. I used the philosophy on most things in my life, admittedly with mixed results in some instances, as this is not true for relationships. Lol. Either way. Just my opinion.

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

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Automatic Versus Manual Transmissions: My Experience Thus Far

Sorry it has taken so long to respond, running alot. The international automated is difficult in reverse, drove one a couple times, it does have the rev and then launch backwards. I know that I will adapt to it, it's just irritating. CWC is correct that you will almost always favor what you learned on.

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

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Automatic Versus Manual Transmissions: My Experience Thus Far

I had tried selecting a gear I wanted, but after a few seconds it just did whatever it wanted. On a downhill that meant almost always going into "ecocruise" which is a complete idiom. It is common knowledge in the auto/diesel world where I started, that modern petrol and diesel vehicles use less fuel if you leave them in gear while going downhill, in fact some use none, as opposed to going to neutral where the engine has to keep itself going instead of letting kinetic energy from the wheels do the work.

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

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Automatic Versus Manual Transmissions: My Experience Thus Far

This may have been beat to death in other posts but I did not see any, just wanted to give my honest opinion after having driven one for awhile. Driving a 2016 Freightliner Cascadia with the highly touted, and supposedly best, first transmission to be build from the ground up to be automated. In Summary, I do not like it. I would borderline to say they are dangerous.

Pros: A perfect shift every time, easier on the leg (I never considered this an issue but I've talked to some older guys that mentioned this), the Jake is my new best friend. That's about all I got to be honest.

Cons: It is buggy at low speeds (jumps around in the gearing ALOT), can't lock it in a gear for climbing or downhill (This may not be true and if I am wrong, please correct me and tell me how. Please.), the massive lag between hitting the throttle and the transmission trying to remember that it is a transmission (This is the most dangerous thing to me as the delay varies alot and if you are trying to get moving, for some reason that's a necessity, I've just sat there for as long 3 or 4 seconds while it tries to decide what it wants to do.), the fuel economy I'm experiencing is less than .2 difference in favor of the auto while having way more headaches.

I'm not enjoying this change, and it is almost enough to make me consider jumping companies if I could find one who would guarantee me a good old cog box. I probably wouldn't cause I have a degree of loyalty to a company that has treated me well in every other department, but still.

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

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Any female flatbed haulers here

I've seen a couple female flatbedders out there, not a ton, but enough to make me believe not only is it possible for you to do it, but you should if you have the itch. TMC is a good company, probably the nicest company trucks on the road honestly. I've got a friend of mine that went with them and the only issues he has are they won't allow a pet, and they are extremely thorough in the cleanliness of their trucks. I'm talking you have to get it washed every single week. The founder is prior service Marine Corps First Sergeant if I remember right and my friend and I are prior service Marine Corps as well. It wouldn't bother me about the cleanliness thing but it has the potential to cut into your overall profit without good planning. That being said, something I've learned in my short 27 years on this planet, if you have an itch to try something and you doubt yourself, you will always be left wondering what if? I think you should go for it. Side note: My company, in the last two weeks, I've only had one pretarped load. None of them were very tall, but the tarps are quite heavy, and is probably the most physically exhausting part of the entire process. Not trying to deter you, just my experience. Go for it!

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

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New Grad, Should I take this local job?

If you have no OTR experience, don't take this job. Hone your backing skills OTR then try yard jockey. Sometime more money is not better.

I have to agree with this. Very new myself, running flatbed right now, and backing is still a challenge. Not only that, but to me, OTR is the best place to learn to get in and out of a multitude of different obstacles. It builds confidence in yourself and your ability, just don't get ****y, that's when the truck will bite back.

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