Profile For James H.

James H.'s Info

  • Location:
    NJ

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    5 months, 4 weeks ago

James H.'s Bio

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James H.'s Photo Gallery

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Posted:  17 hours, 38 minutes ago

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Different states with different driving cultures.

Where I come from, a left arrow on the floor is always accompanied by an arrow on the light in front of it. And when the arrow is green the oncoming traffic light is always red. I’ve never seen a solid green with floor arrow combo in my life.

This assertion caught my attention. This photo, which I hope I attached correctly, is the southbound approach of Canfield Ave to Route 10 in Randolph NJ. It is right down the street from the Randolph MVC and is on the route of every CDL road test given at this location, including the one I took. There's a dedicated left turn lane, but no left turn only phase on the signal timing. I've never heard of anyone flunking the test for the reason the OP gives. I think he just had a brain freeze. It happens, and luckily in this case the stakes were low. Retaking the test is no big deal. Nobody was injured, so it's OK.

0184577001620571673.jpg

Posted:  1 week ago

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Company CDL school tuition

I own my cars, and insurance is not required in NH.

Wow is this really true? So if I'm driving my (hypothetical) $85,000 Mercedes to my (again, hypothetical) summer camp on Lake Winnipesaukee, and some uninsured kid with no assets and no job T-bones me, I'm SOL.

Posted:  1 week ago

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XPO Local LTL For New CDL Grads?

If you do P&D, you'll make the hourly rate for the first 8 hours of your shift, then time and a half for anything after. If you're doing linehaul, you'll make that rate for any time working the dock, and while doing non-driving tasks like hooking and dropping your trailers, and fueling the tractor. The actual driving for linehaul is paid at something like 58 cents a mile. BTW these rates all go up on May 30 when a company-wide 3% raise takes effect. I doubt there's a contract, rather you'll get part of the bonus at 6 month, part at 12 ,etc.

Posted:  2 weeks, 1 day ago

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First official load turned down....

Did you at least check out the receiver's location on Google satellite view? The area in the East Bronx near Co-op City is not so different from most suburban locations, while other neighborhoods have roads and buildings built to accommodate horse-draw freight movements, not 53-foot vans.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Feasability of buying a truck and hiring another driver to keep the wheels rolling - CDL but no current experience

I would recommend you spend some time driving and getting first-hand experience of the industry before making that kind of capital investment. If your business plan makes sense, it will still make sense in a year or so, but you'll be better informed about how, and whether, to do this.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Things Are Bad, Running Out of Time

Eugene - the indisputable fact is that you CAN do this. You have successfully backed. Not consistently enough for you, or apparently for your company. But you have done it, and you can do it again. It's demonstrably not beyond your physical or mental capacity. As noted earlier, nerves don't move the trailer, and for that matter neither do the fates, or random chance. Specific control inputs (steering, braking, acceleration) have specific, repeatable effects on the truck's motion, every time. Without knowing the specifics of your situation, I'll suggest that one possibility is that you make a steering input, but don't get the desired result because you haven't given it enough time. So you steer back the other way, or oversteer. I did, and sometimes still do this. I'm creeping along so slowly, or am at a complete standstill, so no matter how much I turn the wheel, it does nothing.

Anyway, this is meant as a pep talk of sorts, so please take it as such. Go get 'em!

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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New CDL Driver looking for advice

; I am in a situation that not let me go in a bad experience with of them. I need to start ASAP without surprise I have no problem to be out of hone for months but again NO surprises.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by no surprises, but I think I can guarantee that the experience of becoming a professional driver will be full of surprises, not least the things you learn about yourself. And there will be bad experiences, but also many positive ones. As has been discussed on numerous threads in this forum, the way to succeed is to approach your training with a humble willingness to learn and complete commitment. Truthfully, you can go into a good training program and get a less-than-good trainer, or vice versa, but the main determining factor in your success will be you, your adaptability, and your effort. All the training programs you mentioned, and plenty others, have produced successful drivers. Check out the training diaries on the forum to read about people's experience at these companies, but remember, every good or bad review, etc., is a single person's perspective, and shouldn't be taken as anything more. Good luck and welcome!

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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CDL Training through company that isn't well known...

I would ask Mom and Pop where their graduates have been hired. Or, if there are particular mainland carriers you're interested in, you can check with those companies. I also did private CDL school, and one of the companies I was interested in told me that their safety division doesn't approve inexperienced driver hires from my school, so that was a no-go. They did say that once I have three months experience I can apply as experienced, so maybe that's an option for you. Job hopping is generally frowned on, but relocating halfway across the Pacific Ocean seems like a legitimate reason to switch companies.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Per Diem pay for truck drivers

I believe IRS uses last 3 years to pay out SS benefits so now I have to work harder without per diem lowering my gross pay for year, to get SS benefits back up to higher pay out..

Steppenwolf

I don't think that's correct. Your Social Security benefits are based on your lifetime contributions. This is from the ssa.gov website "We base Social Security benefits on your lifetime earnings. We adjust or “index” your actual earnings to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. Then Social Security calculates your average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most."

You might be confusing it with certain defined benefit pensions, which often are based on your final 3 years. This is famously the case with government employees, and why police officers nearing retirement get first dibs on overtime, so they can max out the basis of their pensions.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

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Did people in your circle support you when you started?

My friends tell me to go for it! They think it's cool.

My best friend however thinks that I have lost my mind.

Hope this helps!

Those closest to me think both these things at the same time. That I'm nuts, but also they understand why I'd want to do it and admire my willingness to go for it.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

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Air brake question for NJ CDL / CLP holders

, and won't have any restriction on your CDL. Good luck with everything! To clarify - you won't have an Air Brakes restriction on your CDL. Similarly if you do your road test on a vehicle with a manual transmission, you won't have an Automatic Transmission restriction.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

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Air brake question for NJ CDL / CLP holders

I just got my NJ CDL. The air brake test isn't part of the written Learner's Permit test - it's part of the Pre-Trip Inspection, which is part 1 of the 3-part license test, followed by backing maneuvers and on-road driving. As long as you do your pre-trip in a vehicle with air brakes, you'll do the air brake test (or automatically fail), and won't have any restriction on your CDL. Good luck with everything!

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

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Intro, and a possibly naïve question

From what I’ve heard, the biggest reason truck drivers can’t stand New Jersey isn’t the traffic or the unfamiliar patterns:

It’s the complete lack of truck parking.

I've heard that as well. There are a couple rest areas on I-80 not far from where I am that usually look like they're not entirely full, and a small truck stop with parking for a dozen or so rigs on US 46, which is the old highway that I 80 parallels in New Jersey. I used to wonder how they stay in business, since their gas and diesel prices tend to be far higher than anyone else. Now I see that it's because drivers jump off 80 when their clock is running out.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Intro, and a possibly naïve question

Hi James,

If you're just coming into the field, learning how to drive a semi just to see what it's like, then go right ahead and go for it, be careful and have fun with the experience.

If you're actually considering a career, I'm afraid you are coming in with unrealistic expectations as most people do. People give all the positives and none of the negatives. They don't tell you that most local routes require you to start at 3am, they don't tell you it's 14 hour days, snow, public bathrooms, and generally an unhealthy lifestyle.

I absolutely intend to have fun with the experience; if you're not having fun do something else. But it's my nature to be very conscientious - I wouldn't have been in a position to take early retirement if I made unhappy clients - and if an employer trusts me with this responsibility I will absolutely give it 100%. I think I've read enough here and elsewhere to have a reasonable expectation of what the job entails, but I do appreciate the heads-up. I think I'm torn because the OTR lifestyle actually sounds appealing, seeing places I've never been, tackling new tasks in new environments every day. And I've spent enough nights roughing it in the woods that a sleeper bunk and indoor plumbing at a truck stop seems pretty posh. It's more about being fair to the people at home. And in my case it's not like I need to be out on the road to provide for the family. But then again, my kids are grown, and my actual responsibilities are the least they've been since I was a teenager. But it's not that different from the same basic challenge lots of drivers wrestle with.

I have applications in with a couple carriers, and assuming they're interested, I'll see what they have to offer and go from there. Thanks again for the thoughtful reply.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

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Intro, and a possibly naïve question

Hi all. I've been lurking on this board a while, and did the high-road online training. I'm vey impressed by the thoughtfulness, camaraderie, and positive outlook of most of the contributors. A few weeks ago I got my Class A CDL with tanker, hazmat, and doubles/triples and am weighing my next steps.

I'm currently in northern NJ, but lived in NYC most of my life. Just given the population density and economic activity around here, as well as proximity to Newark's air and sea ports, there has to be plenty of demand for drivers right around here. FedEx and UPS, as well as Amazon and Vistar, have facilities literally within walking distance. I'm sure I need some experience before these places would consider me. But driving around here doesn't faze me, so eventually that should be a plus. I'm sure it's a whole different ballgame when maneuvering a tractor-trailer, but decades' worth of traveling all over NYC by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, car, and the occasional U Haul has at least gotten me comfortable with traffic, pedestrians, double-parking, cabs that cut across three lanes of traffic to pick up a fare, etc. Quick story - several years ago when I was teaching my daughter to drive, She had to do a U-turn to avoid getting on the Triborough Bridge. There's an elevated subway station there, as well as on-ramps to the BQE, so she had to navigate through traffic, the swarms of pedestrians coming and going from the train station, buses pulling in and out, and the support columns for the elevated line. After she did it, I was in full-on proud papa mode and told her there were probably people from Kansas or somewhere who've been driving 35 years and would have pooped their pants if they had to do what she just did. So while I understand why a lot of drivers prefer to avoid this area, for me it's home, flaws and all.

I took retirement a couple years ago and have been keeping busy with various things, both paying and not. But like many (mostly) boys, I always thought trucks were incredibly cool, and admired the drivers who can handle these beasts with style. So in November my partner bought me truck driving school for my birthday! She probably thought this was just a one-time bucket-list thing like going sky diving, but now that I have my CDL and am talking about next steps, she's still supportive, although with a little skepticism. She says she's OK with me being out on the road while she takes care of the dogs, but I'm sure there's a limit to this, so getting back home frequently would be best. And we're fortunate to be in a situation where maximizing my pay is way down on the list. If I wanted to make money I'd go back to full-time work in my former field. I'm doing this because it seems challenging, adventurous, rewarding, and fun. So I need to balance my wanderlust with my responsibilities back home. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

My stupid question is about driver-assist technology. Back-up cameras have been standard on passenger vehicles since I think the 2015 model year, and blind-spot sensors and lane departure alarms are pretty common too. Do any carriers use these on their fleets, and if not why not? The only discussion I found on this forum was from several years ago, and seemed to be about whether an OO should invest in a camera, and the response was that you'd need to mount it on each trailer and might be too much hassle. So apologies if this is an old topic and I'm just not good enough at searching.

Anyway, thanks to everyone!

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

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Best backing videos on YouTube?

I would hope that the company won't punish or dismiss you for being 'bad at backing' as long as you don't hit anything. The fact that it takes you seemingly forever, and a dozen or more GOALs, just shows that you're careful, willing to check and double-check, and take seriously the possible consequences of messing up. They should value that in a new employee. As others have said, the skills will come with repetition, but the safety-oriented mindset is what you need from the start.

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