Profile For Jim S.

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    1 year, 4 months ago

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Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

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Omnitracs/Qualcomm issues self help

A little PSA for those who may have the same issue I have. QC locks up, display flashes off and on, touchscreen unresponsive. Talked to Omnitracs support and they told me it was because communications were lost. Probably the WIB cable or antenna. Self help is to find the black box (for me it's in the side box, under the bunk), unplug the cable that has a square attachment to the black box, replug after 10 seconds, touchscreen works again. Oh boy.

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

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I PASSED At Smith & Solomon in Philadelphia

Congrats! I also got my CDL at S&S. And I drive for Werner. Not yet 100% automatic, I had a manual for about 5 months earlier this year. They recently gave me an automatic. In some ways, I like the manual better, particularly when backing into a dock. But I don't miss it in heavy traffic. Good luck and drive safe! Might see you out there sometime.

Posted:  9 months ago

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Truck stops, Food, Points, and Showers!

I'm a pretty new driver, about 4 months or so, and I typically run the northeast, but I'll give you my take. I saw 4 recruiters at CDL school, went with Werner as they had more options for a newbie of those I spoke to. There are several companies, so choose what is right for you. But as they tell you here, unless you're young and strong, stay away from dollar store accounts as you'll have to work your butt off.

I have a couple of go-to truck stops I like to frequent, but mostly because they're on the route I normally drive. T/A is my first choice, Love's second. I like Petro as well, but don't normally run across them where I usually go. I don't usually have to pay for parking unless I stop near Baltimore, but it can be free if I fuel there or buy $20 worth of stuff, which can include dinner.

I mostly stop at particular places if they're company fuel stops, though not exclusively. Heck, I've spent more than one night sleeping in a drop yard, or a service plaza on the turnpike.

I like the restaurants at T/A and Petro with their buffets, the others seem to have chains at their stops. I can eat at a chain anywhere, I prefer their own branded places when I'm on the road. Healthy food, too. You can buy fruit, hard boiled eggs, cheese, etc. at truck stops or service plazas, so you don't have to eat junk food.

Hope this helps.

Posted:  9 months ago

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Just had my first 2500 mile week

And I ain't done yet. Still have to drive 135 miles tomorrow to get home. This is kinda unusual for me as I drive a feeder route in the northeast, normally not much over 2000 in a week. This week I took several loads to Ohio from eastern Pennsylvania and back again, which is why the extra miles. Almost had my first 600 mile day as well, 594 yesterday. Whew! Time for a hot meal and a shower in the morning at the truck stop.

Posted:  10 months ago

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Anyone pay for CDL to get local/regional job?

I did. Paid $4k and took up with Werner. Run in the northeast, out of a drop yard near Philly, home weekly. It can be done, you'll have to do your homework and find the right fit for you.

Posted:  10 months ago

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Manual??

Not all major carriers run exclusively autos. I drive for Werner and have a manual. But it is older, all new trucks will be auto.

Posted:  1 year ago

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How long did it take you to get good at backing?

I'm sitting at a truck stop in Maryland right now, been here for several hours. Watching the trucks park and try to. Got lucky and found a pull-through spot when I got here, as I'm not that good at backing yet. How long did it take you, and what tips or tricks can you share to help out a new guy?

Posted:  1 year ago

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Just finished training at Werner

Exhausted doesn't begin to describe it. My 56 year old body can't take the hard work of unloading trailers. I put in a call to driver placement today and requested something that is no touch freight. They have something for me. This run is exhausting me so bad that I won't be a safe driver if I continue.

If you bet the under, you won. ☺

Posted:  1 year ago

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Just finished training at Werner

I've heard stories from other drivers on dollar accounts. One fell from the trailer and had the rack system fall on him, breaking his pelvis. Can't say it won't happen to me, but I also know enough to be careful. Fortunately for me, I'm in my 50s and have a lot of life experience, and I don't have unreasonable expectations. Sure, it will be a lot of work, but I'd rather do that than sit on my butt all day.

My trainer had me practice backing into a dollar store in his hometown while it was closed. A 90 degree back around the building to the back door. Not easy at all. I've got some ideas that could help like investing in some cones and placing them on the ground to help line me up properly. I'll get used to it, it'll just take some time.

I'll be sure to post pictures. Thanks!

Posted:  1 year ago

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Just finished training at Werner

I'm now a qualified driver for Werner! Spent 4 weeks with my trainer hauling doors from Vermont up and down the northeast US, including NYC. Had a really good trainer too. He made it a point to go over trip planning and doing lots of backing. Got my truck today, but it's already in the shop. After it's done, I get to take it home for the weekend before I start my new route on Tuesday.

And I've already run into a number of terminal rats as they're called here - complainers and whiners, mostly young people. I'm going to do a regional dedicated account for Dollar Tree and I'm not listening to the complainers.

We'll see how it goes. Wish me luck.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Passed my test today

Took my CDL test this morning. Did well on the pretrip (84 out of 90), nailed maneuvers perfectly (straight line backing, offset parking and parallel parking), did enough on the road test to pass. Next week I go to orientation at Werner. Feels good to get it behind me.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Uber Autonomous car kills pedestrian.

There's some interesting information in this article concerning this subject.

Uber's Self Driving Cars Are Struggling

Per the article, "As of March, Uber was struggling to meet its target of 13 miles per “intervention” in Arizona..." That is, having the human behind the wheel take over (if they're not too busy texting to do so). If this is the case, if human intervention is required every half hour or less at city speeds, then what the #@%! is it even doing on the road being tested? It should still be on a closed course where it can't hurt anybody!

And I don't give a rip what the company says about it technically not being their fault, as the pedestrian was jaywalking. That pedestrian is still just as dead. Are they going to make the same excuse if a toddler or somebody's dog runs out in front of it, too? Happens to me all the time, and I don't need the "intervention" of a co-driver to keep from killing them.

I shudder to think of how that system would work in Philadelphia, with pedestrians constantly jaywalking in front of you, cars constantly cutting you off in traffic, etc. If it's going to kill a pedestrian in such an easy environment as in this case, it wouldn't survive an hour in Philly.

I hope they get slapped with a huge lawsuit, and the "driver" gets cited for distracted driving.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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The Web Of Lies And Misinformation

Awesome stuff, like all the articles I've seen here. I'll give you my own take on the subject. I think many people are focused on the negative. Ever watch the evening news? Negativity abounds.

People also have a penchant for believing what they want to believe. And leaning towards whatever fits their own worldview and preconceived notions. There are technophiles who think that automation will eliminate the need for truck drivers, and there is no convincing them otherwise. There are others who demand that companies bend to suit them, rather than realizing that us newbies have to prove ourselves first.

Good example of that last point - students I'm currently attending school with. Some refuse to consider jobs with certain companies because, "I don't want to touch freight." Others think that companies are going to bend over backwards for them because of the reported driver shortage (which I think is at least partially a myth or Walmart shelves would be empty), not considering for a moment that there are plenty of other CDL students in the pipeline who are willing to take their place and won't refuse the loads they refuse, etc.

I've got my test scheduled for April 10th, and plan to take a short vacation the next weekend before I take my first trucking job, probably with Werner (talked to them several times already). And I'm planning to go regional in the northeast, as it suits my requirements. I know, it's better to go OTR as a rookie, but I didn't move to Philadelphia to go on the road for 3 or 4 weeks at a time, being home weekly is important enough to me that I'm willing to put up with driving in this area. Nice thing about Werner is that they have multiple contracts in this area, so I can make a change after I prove myself if I don't like my route at the time and not have to leave the company to do so.

Point is, I know I'm going to have to prove myself as a safe driver and someone who is willing to do what it takes to get the job done before I'll start getting perks like better routes or time off. May take a few months, could take a year or more. No matter. Thanks to the folks here, I'm going in with my eyes open.

Posted:  1 year, 3 months ago

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Oh, the nerves!

Interesting. I'm going through CDL school in Philadelphia right now. Looking at about 3 to 5 weeks til I take the test. I'm finding pre-trip and yard maneuvers to be the easy part. Been on the road twice so far, and taking my road test in Philly traffic is not something I'm looking forward to. In fact, that is seriously stressing me out. But I'll survive. If others can do it, then I can too.

Posted:  1 year, 3 months ago

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End of 2nd week at CDL school

Two weeks down, a few to go...

My first week at Smith & Solomon in Philadelphia was all classroom to prepare us for the written test. With that out of the way, I took to the yard last week with some of the guys (there's one girl who shows up irregularly, the rest are guys). First up, in-cab pre-trip inspection. I think most of us have that down now, including the air brake check. We moved on to the cab front, under the hood, and the rest of the vehicle. Lots to know for the test, so I don't mind making sure I have good notes early, giving me a few weeks to review it over and again so I can pass the test.

We moved on to some yard maneuvers - straight line backing, offset parking and parallel parking. I've managed to get a reasonable handle on those, though I want to make sure to practice a lot before test time. This week we're going to the road - likely taking the bobtail out to a big empty lot (by the stadiums, most likely) to practice shifting before hitting the road with a trailer.

It's starting to get a bit fun. I anticipate about 4-5 weeks until I'm ready to test. Some guys were anxious to get out on the road last week, so now they're playing catch-up with the maneuvers. I'm trying to progress at a steady pace in the order that the instructors want to present the material (the order I described), then spend a couple of weeks practicing everything again and again.

Also, I filled out applications with Covenant and Werner, with positive responses in email. I'll check into a few more companies as I go along, hopefully I can get pre-hired so I can go right into a job when I'm finished.

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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End of first week at CDL school

Thanks for the heads-up! I'll go in forgetting everything I know and let them teach me.

And yes, great game and great victory. It's great to see the city happy.

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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Local or regional in the Northeast?

Thanks, all! I'll be sure to look into those companies. And yes, fly Eagles, fly. It was a great game, and I'm glad they were able to bring it home.

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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Local or regional in the Northeast?

Hi, all! I'm currently in CDL school in Philadelphia, and am hoping to land a local or regional job in this area. So far the recruiter from Covenant has paid us a visit and told of a regular regional route around here with home time every week. That's not bad, and I've heard Werner has something similar. Anybody familiar with options in the NE USA that would get me home at least weekly, if not daily? I'd imagine there has to be something available, as the NE isn't the most popular place for truckers to drive.

Thanks!

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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End of first week at CDL school

Just finished my first week at CDL school. I'm going to Smith & Solomon in Philadelphia. This week was entirely classroom based in preparation for the written test, which I passed on my first attempt. Next week I start driving in the lot to get used to the big rig.

My experience - I'm 55 years old, college educated and a former computer programmer. It's becoming increasingly difficult to get programming jobs with advancing age, so I'm turning to trucking as it can supply a decent (or even good) income. My hope is to land a local or regional position after I'm finished with school. Driving a tractor trailer won't be completely alien to me. Although I haven't been behind the wheel of one yet, I have driven a bus before (learned while in the military a number of years ago), can drive a stick, and have towed my car behind a large U-Haul several times (which makes me familiar with backing a trailer - same principle). We'll see how quickly I take to it.

Cheers!

Jim

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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What did you do before becoming a truck driver?

Hi, first post here. I used to be in IT as well, as a programmer. My last IT gig ended about a year ago, and I've been bouncing around doing other things since (Walmart and a call center - both yuck!). I recently moved back to Philadelphia (go Eagles!) and have been struggling to find work here. Unemployment in this city is still around 10%, despite the supposedly improving economy. I waited far too long for companies to get back to me, so on Monday I start CDL school. Six weeks from now I should be taking the test and moving on with my life.

I figured for quite some time that my IT career would come to an end. I'm in my mid 50s, and it was getting harder and harder to stay employed as a programmer. If I had a choice, I'd actually be working in a racing stable at the track right now, but I need more income than that would pay, at least for a few years, so trucking here I come.

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