Profile For Optical

Optical's Info

  • Location:
    OH

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    3 years, 7 months ago

Optical's Bio

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Optical's Photo Gallery

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Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Postcards from the Road! (Post Yours Please!)

Had to stop and snap this one. Was somewhere in Southern Georgia/Northern Florida area in the early morning...

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Posted:  2 years, 12 months ago

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Keeping yourself out of a jam: Interstate, Freeways, Secondary Roads, Backroads

Another thing to keep in mind, the local police aren't some monster to hide from. If you do happen to find yourself in a situation where the only option is a u-turn or you can't figure out the escape. You can call the local police and they will help. More than anything, they don't want you on their streets tieing up traffic any more than you want to be sitting there wondering how the hell you're going to get out of the mess you've found yourself in. A very close person to me is a driver and they've called the local police more than a couple times. They've come out and blocked traffic while she pulled u-turns and gave her safest directions to get to where she needed to go.

Missed turns, wrong turns, general mistakes happen. Just don't be afraid to ask for help and know what tools you have at your fingertips and how to use them.

Posted:  2 years, 12 months ago

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A cautionary tale about Wilson Logistics...

Even before orientation you can get sent home. I first went through a companies "Get Your CDL" program and while at the school there were people who were sent home for various reasons(not meeting DOT physical standards, having a birth certificate that was too damaged, not having the RIGHT birth certificate, etc). When you're just looking to get your CDL there's so many things that need to be PERFECT and any one of them can disqualify you at the moment. It's not JUST DOT, it's also the BMV, school, medical examiners....it's a rough road to get started and a lot rougher for some than it is for others.

I'm still VERY new, but I had a rough start myself. Got my CDL fine, got through orientation, but in training I had a very unfortunate incident that could've ended my driving career. Instead I did, what I call, an application blast. I applied to something like 30 companies in 1 night on my phone. Woke up to 15 calls the next morning. Got turned down by a few of them, and almost got hired by 1. Got to the day before I was going to pick up my rental car. Company had already paid for it and given me the information. Then I got a call from my recruiter saying they were pulling the offer. So, with some help, encouragement, and advice from the people here on this forum, I applied and got in with my current company and I love it. I'm now 6weeks solo and having a blast.

Point is, don't back down and don't give up. I'm working proof that it can all work out. good-luck.gif

Posted:  3 years ago

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First official load turned down....

I think you did the right thing.

I would touch base with your manager on why you would turn it down.

I did let him know that it was mainly due to the lack of confidence in my own driving skill.

Posted:  3 years ago

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First official load turned down....

So, I coming to the end of my 10hr and I get a call from my dispatch asking if I would do a load to Bronx, NY. Immediately I can feel my heart speed up. I hate to turn down a load...I have only ever turned down our 'cookie' loads due to not being in that great of shape and those being loads that we unload as drivers. This time, I had to due to actual fear and nervousness. I don't feel confident in my in-city driving. Even in other cities and towns I get nervous. It being New York, and everything I've seen and heard(all of the horror stories), I feel like I'll do some actual damage to something. Coupled with my recent past as a driver(an accident that is still not fully resolved yet and almost ended my career as a driver 3weeks into training) compounded my anxiety. I know my dispatcher was a little disappointed, I could hear it in his voice even though he tried to hide it and didn't say as much, I do feel bad that I've let them down.

I don't know if there is a question here other than "Should I have taken it?". I guess I'm more nervous in the fact of having another incident that results in another black mark on my already tainted record for the time. Or did I do the right thing in turning it down? I'm in my 7th week solo and know I shouldn't turn down any loads being this new. I feel like the privilege of turning down loads and taking the more appeasing loads is a perk of experience that I just haven't earned yet. At the same time, I just didn't have a good feeling about this one due to lacking confidence in my own driving in cities.

Posted:  3 years ago

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Got upgraded!

Momma Anne told me to come update this thing...lol.

So far, everything is going well. Haven't hit anything yet....not TOO hard anyway. Settled on a nice little flexible schedule that works really well for being so new on the road. I try to run 3am-3pm....depending on the load and the appointment times.

Currently I'm learning, by experience, about running recaps. It's nice in that you stay busy and aren't sitting for too long...but right now I'm on a load that I don't know if I'll be able to make in the hours I have. I should've taken a 34...but I'm stubborn and wanted to run recaps. I head home for a good chunk of home time next week, so trying to stay busy until then.

Backing is starting to click together now. I can really notice how I'm seeing it all differently. It's not something you can really TEACH...but everyone has change their own perception in how they see the effects and machinations of backing up a trailer in their own time. You can be TOLD what to look for, or how things work...but until you really change your preception...it'll be a struggle. So, I'm happy about that....I'm not a pro by any means, but I have gotten to the point where when I screw up a back...I know almost immediately WHERE I screwed up and I file it away for analysis at a later point. I also know almost immediately how to fix the situation now. Instead of stopping and sitting there trying to work through it in my head like I used to.

P.S. Anne and Tom, Luke said hi. I ended up giving him a ride home one night. He moved to Ohio, so he drove his truck to the yard and rode with me on a load close to his house.

Posted:  3 years ago

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The Driver Toolbox - So To Speak

Yo I was justing thinking about this the other day. Definitely bookmarking this page for when I start my career in trucking.

Thanks, Optical!

No problem. I know I've built my own personal stuff up and was told a few by some other drivers.

Oh, Gorilla Tape...GREAT for doing a quick patch job on an air hose to limp it to a shop or to hold something up in the truck.

Also, straps of Velcro. You'll find a use for it.

Posted:  3 years ago

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CRST BUMPS DRIVER PAY

From what I've heard, if you read the announcement closely, it's an 18cpm bump to the TRUCK not to the individual driver. Making the individual cpm lower over all.

This is just what I was told from a friend whose still with CRST currently. Very well may be that he read it wrong.

Posted:  3 years ago

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The Driver Toolbox - So To Speak

Weigh My Truck app, be careful in Kalifornia. My company told me that digital copies of scale tickets aren't valid in Kali. If you get the atlas, spend the extra money and get the large laminated one. You can use dry erase to mark out routes. I learned that trick from Susan. I still don't know why drivers can't spend $60.00 of reward points to purchase a CB. My CB definitely help me avoid backs ups and road closures this winter. The Windy app sounds like a useful one. I will have to download.

Yeah, California DOT won't accept the digital scale tickets but when you weigh with the app it tells you the physical ticket is available for an hour inside the building. So you can still go in and get the printed ticket.

Posted:  3 years ago

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The Driver Toolbox - So To Speak

This started as a reply in the CB thread but it got to the point where it was better suited as it's own thread.

So the Driver Toolbox is something I've come to call the collection of things you SHOULD have in your truck as a driver. Not just actual tools(in terms of hammer and screw drivers) but more so tools of the trade you could say. So I figured I would make a list of my current Driver Toolbox and see what you guys consider to be in yours. Maybe add to my own or you guys add to yours.

1. Hard copy Rand-McNally Motor Carrier Atlas - This, without a doubt, is a must have in your truck. Even if you don't use it THAT often to trip plan, it has an absolute AMAZING amount of information in it and at your finger tips. Too much to really list here but pick one up. You won't be sorry.

2. CB Radio - A CB radio can help you get up-to-the-minute information from other drivers in your area. Even if you don't actively talk on it, other people do. You an get instant information about traffic ahead of you, questions answered, or even ask for advice on rerouting in case of heavy traffic jams.

3. GPS - This is always up for debate, but I feel these do help. Just remember to not rely COMPLETELY on it. It is not the end-all be-all answer to your trip planning. There are 2 main companies out there to look at and they both have their pros and cons. Rand-McNally with the OverDryve series is pretty nice, it's made by the same company that makes the coveted Motor Carrier Atlas and has a lot of bells and whistles to it. I personally use their OverDryve 8 Pro II. Garmin, being the second one, while not as feature heavy. It does it's job well. From my own observations the trucking community is split between those who love Garmin and those who are Rand-McNally followers. The choice is up to you and I would say do your own research. Just know that it is, again, NOT the end-all be-all to your trip planning needs.

4. Phone apps - There are A LOT of apps out there that are super helpful. Here are just the ones I use and what I use them for. A. Trucker Path - I use it to see truck stops and truck parking in my area and to see how full the location is. Each location is updated with how full it is from other truckers, so if you do pick it up, update the location and help everyone else out. B. AccuWeather - I use it to check for weather advisories in my area and along my route. C. Windy - This is a great weather app. You can see wind direction and speed, accumulated rain and snow fall, thunder storms, weather radar, temperatures, amongst about 30 other different layers. You can customize your quick view to only have listed the layes you want to quickly check. D. Weigh My Truck - More of a convenience app than anything. Allows me to quickly get weighed at scales without having to disturb the people inside too much. E. Truckers Slide Calc - A super awesome app that tells me what hole to slide my tandems to when given weight information from a scale. I enter in the values of my steers, drives, tandems, and what hole my tandems are currently at and it tells me what he to slide to and what the weights will be when slid. Can verify with a re-weigh if need be as well. F. Transflo - Super helpful to transflo paperwork to the company without having to look for a truck stop and a parking spot.

5. Pocket Truck Stop Guide - Really neat little book to help find those little, hole-the-wall, truck stops and diners. Super, SUPER, handy and cool. Love this little thing.

6. Work Gloves - Face it, grease and road grime are a thing.

7. Tandem Slide Stop - Super handy little brass ring. Put it into a hole or 2 in front of the hole you want your tandems to be in and GENTLY slide your tandems until it stops them and your right in the hole you want to be. This thing is awesome. Takes the guess work out of when you slide your tandems.

8. Misc Stuff - Some misc things like pens and a clipboard to do paper work with.

9. Load Tracking Booklet - This is awesome to help keep track of dispatched miles, shipper/receiver addresses for each load and their contact phone numbers, load numbers, pick up numbers, trailer number, date, amongst other information. You can find these for fairly cheap at most truck stops.

10. Battery Powered Leaf Blower - Really only if you pull reefer. SUPER handy to blow out your trailer with and works A LOT better than a broom. Just move big pieces of wood from the pallets with your hands and use the leaf blower to blow out everything else. It's awesome....just remember to charge the battery.

That's about all I can think of I would consider right now. What do you guys have in your Driver Toolbox?

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