Profile For James H.

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    Rookie Solo Driver

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    11 months, 2 weeks ago

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Posted:  1 day, 2 hours ago

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Vermonter thinking of getting a CDL

What you're describing can be done and has been done, although I have no idea how common it is, or whether it's available in your area. Why not contact local driving schools and see what they offer, and ask where their graduates get hired. You might need some flexibility in work hours at your current job to make it work.

I attended a school where I was able to arrange my driving sessions around the instructor's and my availability. I made a bit over $40k my first six months working ~12 hour shifts 5 days a week with a local, home daily job. Whether you can do the same will depend on who's hiring where you are.

But this is the part that concerns me

Cannot take a cut in salary due to mortgage, family, etc. So what are my options?

There's no guarantee that you'll make it as a truck driver, or that you'll even want to. The attrition rate in school and in the first few months of driving show that this work clearly isn't for everyone. Will you be able to return to your old job and salary if you wash out as a driver? How much of a financial cushion do you have if it takes a while to get going in terms of income?

Posted:  3 days, 22 hours ago

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What kind of trucking job do I want to look for?

On a road I've never been on, and I don't know which lane I need to be in, I end up stuck in the wrong lane, especially when there is a lot of traffic. Sometimes the line turns solid before I can even see the sign that says what lane I want to be in.


If this is happening to you, you're not looking far enough ahead. The first of the Smith System keys is Aim High in Steering, and it will be stressed in any CDL school, that you need to be looking as far ahead as possible (while keeping your eyes moving to scan near and far, right mirror, left mirror). Do this, and you'll have time to position yourself properly. Basically, any time you need to make a quick reaction, you already messed up by not recognizing the situation early enough. This isn't about only driving roads you're already familiar with. It's about using your eyes properly, and knowing how to process the information your eyes gather.

Posted:  6 days, 2 hours ago

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Is this normal for school has mine over enrolled?

This sounds nothing like my experience at private CDL school. I spent as much time as I wanted in the classroom watching their videos on pre-trip, coupling, etc., etc., and 100% of my time at the range and on the road was 1 on 1 - just me, the instructor, and the truck.

Posted:  1 week, 6 days ago

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160 Driving Academy

I would ask the school what companies their graduates go to, and if you have a sense of what kind of driving you'd like, be sure to ask about placements in that part of the industry. My employer offers external driving school tuition reimbursement up to $5,000 for drivers who obtained their CDL within one year of starting work with them. So effectively all I did was front the money. Since they do it, I assume other companies offer the same.

Posted:  2 weeks, 2 days ago

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Managing expectations after getting out of truck driving school. Are my expectations realistic?

Linehaul for an LTL company will be home daily, and an overnight shift. But as a rookie, you won't get first pick of dispatch times. It could end up being 11p to 11a, but it could also be 8p to 8a or 9p to 9a, and until you build up some seniority you have to take what's left over after everyone else makes their bid.

Posted:  3 weeks, 4 days ago

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Happy to be alive

Similar thing happened to me about a month ago, and whenever I think about it, my blood runs cold for a minute. I was westbound on I-78 just past Newark International Airport, crest a rise, and there's a car with its nose against the guardrail, and its rear end sticking out into the right lane, where I was. It must have just happened because there were no emergency vehicles on sight or anything. It was sometime after midnight and very lucky for everyone involved, the center lane was unoccupied, so I could just move over. I'm not al all sure I would have been able to stop in time if I had to.

That Smith System principle about Leave Yourself an Out? Yeah they're not kidding.

Posted:  3 weeks, 6 days ago

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I just left Veriha Trucking that I sign an 18 month non compete with

Wow I never in a million years would have believed there are non-competes for truck drivers. They're usually used in professions like law or architecture or engineering, so that someone doesn't go out on his own or to the competition, and take their clients with them. And it's only for senior-level people, not junior staff who haven't really formed strong client relations yet. I don't think Veriha has any legitimate concern that any of their customers would switch carriers because you went to work for someone else. I could see making you pay a reasonable amount for tuition costs, but that's it. I wonder if anyone has ever challenged this kind of non-compete in court. To me it seems totally excessive.

Posted:  4 weeks, 1 day ago

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Paths To Making GOOD money as a truck driver?

A driver starting out won’t make 100k because they have to wait and bid for a run with higher mileage.

This is correct, but we still do OK. I made just a bit over $40k in my first six months as a truck driver. That's at rookie pay scale, mostly doing the lousy run no one else wants (fewer miles, more time working the dock), and includes my first three weeks devoted to training, at a straight hourly rate. I have no problem believing my colleagues with more seniority are well past $100k/year. Actually I'd be stunned if they aren't.

Posted:  1 month ago

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I hate Jeans

Wear clothes you don't mind getting permanently dirty. The air and brake lines tend to collect grease, and until you get the hang of things you'll also brush against greasy surfaces when you reach under the trailer to pull the release arm and when you're poking around and under the engine compartment during pre-trip.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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I Think It's Time to Move On

I am a morning person so I dont think I would fare well driving at nite but I think I would like the work


You won't know till you try. I was always an early riser since childhood and wasn't at all sure I could adapt to the nocturnal schedule of a linehaul driver. It turned out I've adapted pretty easily. I get to the terminal about 8 pm, usually finish 11 hours later, sometimes a little less or more. I come home, take care of my chores (my main reason for not wanting to go OTR is that I think it's important to pitch in toward all the day-to-day work it takes to keep a household running), and try to go to sleep between 11 and noon. Get up sometime between 5 and 6, walk the dogs again, and then my significant other and I sit down to dinner (being able to do this every day is very important to her and me both). My terminal is only 10 minutes from home, so that helps.

I only do 5 nights a week, although there's almost always weekend work available for those who want it. It feels like a three-day weekend every week since I'm off all day Monday until 8 pm. It just means powering through Saturday with no sleep if there are things we need or want to do that preclude a nap. I sleep REALLY well Saturday and Sunday nights, and grab a short nap Monday afternoon, then start again.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Some questions about truck driving

Local, home daily doesn't necessarily mean P&D, a/k/a city driving. You might do linehaul, where your only stops will be at your company's various terminals. The terminals are specifically located for ease of truck access, and in my experience most are within a few miles of an interstate highway exit. Sometimes the yards get cramped and congested, but everyone there works for the same company, and will usually be willing to help out a new driver who is struggling.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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After 3 months, I’m quitting

On another note, do drivers who do triples have to back?

In addition to backing the trailers in to their doors after you've broken your set, you also have to back up when hooking your set: you back the lead trailer up to the following trailer, with a dolly staged in front of it. You'd do this once for doubles, twice for triples. And you also have to back the dolly into place. The dolly turns really fast so it requires some getting used to, but once you get it close enough you unhook it from your tractor and can roll it into place by hand.

Posted:  2 months ago

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Starting at central transport In pennsylvania

a big thing I hear is the working on the dock part of the job, while I am not thrilled I believe I can suck it up and make it happen

To each his or her own, but I don't mind the dock work aspect of being a linehaul driver. It's a nice change of pace to go from being alone in a truck to being in the midst of the hustle and bustle for a while and then back again every shift. Granted I started in late April, so I haven't had to do it in freezing weather yet.

Posted:  2 months ago

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Newbie Here! Best advice for a woman thinking of jumping in...

when you hire on with a company with your CDL in hand, the company doesn't have a penny invested in you. Have an accident? There's the door, the company has no financial stake in keeping you. Can't make your pickups or deliveries on time? There's the door. The company isn't out anything by letting you go. On the other hand, with company paid training, they have an investment in you. They are more inclined to overlook certain things in order to get a return on their investment.

This is a perfect example of the fallacy of sunk costs, and any well-run company knows to avoid it. Regardless of how much money they have or haven't spent training you, they need to hire and retain safe, reliable drivers. If you are one, or show that you are developing into one, they want you. If not, not. Throwing good money after bad is not a smart business practice, and allowing a likely liability to continue driving your trucks just because you invested in training her is really not smart.

To the original poster, if you're considering doing private CDL school, ask them where they place their graduates, and contact the companies you're interested in and find out which ones will hire inexperienced drivers who successfully complete that program. Right now there's an industry-wide shortage of good drivers, so you will have the opportunity to prove yourself.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

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My First Day Solo

I too have forgotten to roll up the landing gear it is a good thing you caught it before damaging them. Just remember to take a LAP before driving. L= Legs A= Airlines P= Pin, or "be a PAL" P= Pin A= Airlines L= Legs.

I do FLLC - Fifth Wheel (visual inspection that the locking jaws are hooked), Landing Gear, Lines, and C can be chock if I'm taking a trailer out of a door, And or connections if I'm hooking to a dolly, to make sure the pintle hook clasp is down and the chains are in place.

Posted:  2 months, 2 weeks ago

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How do you put a photo up


Let's try this.

Posted:  2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Help! CDL school didn't teach me to down shift

No they did not teach me to downshift. They told us to slow down coming to red lights and if it turned green then to proceed and let the truck catch up. If we had to stop at a red light/ stop sign they told us to reset back to 4th gear.

Around here, as part of the test you're required to pull to the side of the road - not blocking any signs or driveways, set your brakes and four-way flashers, and describe what you'd do as far as placing your triangles. Then safely reenter traffic. And you're always supposed to downshift to sixth before coming to a stop. So slowing and downshifting is unavoidable even if you somehow hit nothing but green lights.

My first and only job is with an LTL carrier, and the driving audition they gave me was the first time I'd ever driven an automatic transmission truck. I still prefer a manual for backing into a dock or coupling the doubles I pull as a linehaul driver, since I like being able to feather the clutch and can be more gentle and in control. Although I've gotten OK with the automatic.

Posted:  2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Automatic restriction

I believe in most states you'd only have to take the road test portion of the hands-on testing - you're all done with the pre-trip and backing maneuvers.

Posted:  2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Scared about a DOT Physical

If you do the local private CDL school route, be sure to find out where they place their graduates. Since it seems you have a specific job in mind, ask what schools they accept. And check with a few other employers so you have options. I did private school, and one of the companies I contacted told me their safety department doesn't have that school on their list of approved facilities. I ended up getting hired for a local job I'm very happy with so it turned out fine for me. But a few phone calls now will ensure your training gets you where you want to be.

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

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New job twist: a Russian company


I do know though that the most important thing is to pay your taxes. So I don't see how 1099 can be illegal if the bottom line is paying taxes to the government.

I would want to be very sure about insurance. If you're an independent contractor, you may be required to carry your own insurance for operating a CMV. Both I and my significant other have worked as 1099s, and we had to carry our own Professional Liability/Errors and Omissions insurance, since we weren't covered by the companies we were contracted with. Different line of work, but the same concept may apply.

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