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Posted By:  Brett Aquila

Posted:  3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Dispatch question

Hey Larry,

The others have given good feedback. I'll see if I can add a little here.

if they get a nasty attitude, i have a habit of matching their energy

Amen, brother! Most of us are that way. I know I've done that plenty in the past and regretted it plenty. I try to keep my energy unaffected by those around me, but easier said than done. However, it's a powerful tool you can use to turn this situation around.

I've learned that a great approach to a situation like this is to switch from stating facts to asking questions. Instead of sharing facts about how you feel and what you want, ask your dispatcher how he feels about your performance and what you can do to get more miles and help him do his job.

Look for questions that might get you two on the same page, like, "Man, it must be tough trying to please all these drivers and the load planners at the same time?"

Show an interest in his job and what he goes through daily. Dispatchers have an incredibly hard job, and most truck drivers don't know 5% of what their job entails, myself included! Looking back on my career, I wish I had spent more time speaking with dispatch and getting to know their job better. I learned a good bit about how companies operate, but I could have benefited from learning more and getting to know people better.

Right now, he may feel you're complaining too much, even though that wasn't your intention. He may feel you're making too many demands, though that wasn't your intention. He may feel that you have one set of demands he must meet, while load planners have a different set of demands to meet, and the two conflicting sets of demands are causing him grief.

None of this is to say you've done anything wrong. I'm just trying to give you some possible insights into why he isn't responding well to you.

Asking questions will allow him to drop his guard a little and express his feelings and opinions. Once he sees that you're a true team player and you're willing to do whatever you can to make things better for everyone, himself included, he'll be less defensive and more open to conversations.

Maybe you could offer to buy him lunch next time you're at the terminal and get to know him a little better. Show an interest in his job, his life, and his needs. Learn all you can about the difficulties he faces doing his job, and find out what you can do to make life easier for him. If you make his life easier, he'll almost certainly do the same in return.

Finally, what the others have said is true - there isn't much room for pleasing drivers when dispatching freight. There is a list of available freight and a list of available drivers, and the load planners have to make those two lists work together. It's not easy.

We all get caught up in our own challenges at times and lose sight of the fact that everyone we meet has their own challenges. It's super hard to humble yourself sometimes and start a conversation that focuses on helping someone else. But doing so may just be the best way to help yourself at the same time.

Posted By:  PackRat

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Have things been slow for the rest of you?

I think it depends in the freight. One of our big customers had a fire at their plant. Nothing going in or out of their right now. So I think that's affecting us a bit.

Starting last Friday, I have waited an average if 3 - 5 hours per day for the next load assignment. Prior to this, I have never waited for a load assignment. Not once.

But I've heard freight is slowing all around.

Am I the only one that's noticed this for the past two years? Mysterious fires, livestock deaths, planes crashing into DCs, company sabotage, factories shut down for months by the government for a two hour fix? This shyte is not random IMHO.

Posted By:  Chief Brody

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

Next newbie question- HOS concerns

As others have mentioned, you really won’t understand the HOS until you’re driving and you have to put them into practice. Brett has an entire section in the High Road Training Program. See G-town's link above.

As you learn them, I would categorize understanding HOS into three categories: compliance, management, and leveraging.

Compliance is pretty simple. As G-town says, you most likely will have an ELD that will calculate your hours of service and give you information about available hours. In fact, there was a thread recently about voice-command for the Omnitracs. Omnitracs, does not display all of your hours while driving. But, if you wake up Omnitracs with the “Hello Omnitracs,” command then say “Available Hours” it will tell you what you have available for your 8-hour clock, 11-hour clock, 14-hour clock, and 70-hour clock. The only caveat about compliance involves the clock extender that I describe below.

Management involves HOS in relation to trip planning. Do you have hours to make it to the shipper or receiver? Where will you stop for the night based on your available HOS. Again, you won’t really understand this until you have to put it into practice.

Leveraging, as others say above, involves using the HOS to not only to be more productive, you can also leverage HOS for lifestyle reasons. I use the “clock extender” quite often. With the 8/2 split, both the 2-hour break and the 8-hour sleeper birth “pause” your clock. I was at a tank wash for 5 hours yesterday. I checked the “will pair with Sleeper Birth” button so that it paused my 14-hour clock so I could use all of my 11-hour drive clock. I then took a full 10-hour break last night. So, I have a full 11/14 today. The caveat involves you MUST go into sleeper berth if you use the “clock extender” such that your 2-hour, or more break, plus your sleeper birth adds up to at least 10 hours. If you don’t, you will have a violation, but your Qualcomm will not tell you.

You can also leverage HOS for lifestyle reasons. Recaps vs. 34-hour resets is a personal choice. I like to have the day and half off each week where I can see the sights. I had a 34-hour reset in Rapid City, South Dakota, rented a car, and saw Mount Rushmore. You can also use the 8/2 split to see sights along your route, take a shower, or have a nice sit-down meal. I try to make it to Sonny’s BBQ when in Florida or Soulman’s BBQ in Texas when I’m in those states.

When you start driving and put the HOS into practice, if you consider these three categories as you learn the HOS, you can really use them to your advantage. And don’t be afraid to ask questions on this forum. A lot of experience here that can help you be productive and enjoy the adventure.

Posted By:  G-Town

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

Next newbie question- HOS concerns

NaeNae wrote:

Make a note that it's important, and bounce back to the beginning and go through all the helpful links provided. Trust the process. Getting ahead of yourself is a good way to get confused and or frustrated.

Etch… this is solid, prudent advice. Might not resonate right now… but it will. One step at a time.

Posted By:  Turtle

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

Sometimes the Grass is Greener on the Other Side

Sometime back I mentioned in another thread how it isn't always about finding the place where you make the most money. And it isn't always about finding ways to improve your performance such that you can make the most money. Often it isn't, and shouldn't be, about the money. It's more important in my view to position yourself in such a way that you can strike a balance between money and happiness. It's up to us to improve our positions in a way to hopefully take advantage of both.

Take Chief's case, for example. He made slightly better money in flatbed, but wasn't happy. Recognizing that, he searched out alternatives and found a different niche to experiment with. Doing so may end up positioning himself for better opportunities. At the very least he'll be more comfortable and happy in his current situation, and this can allow him to avoid rash career decisions. Rather, he can focus his efforts on positioning himself for a possible next move.

One never knows what opportunities will arise. Taking the advantage of forethought will undoubtedly position yourself for those opportunities. "Plan the work and work the plan", my dad always told me. Think ahead to what you'd ultimately like to achieve or where you'd like to end up, and map out a plan to get there.

The difficulty involves first, being realistic about your own priorities.

Absolutely true. I planned from the beginning to position myself for a driving job that would hopefully bring me the perfect balance of time off with my family and a decent pay to afford me the things I want. I wasn't simply content to just wait until the next thing came along. Instead, I recognized what I had to do to get there, and worked diligently to make it happen.

If any driver reading this has both a lot of time at home AND gets paid over 100,000 please chime in.

I don't know if what I have qualifies as "a lot of time at home". I'm away from home 4 1/2 days a week, but have 2 1/2 days off and 27 paid days off a year, and should make north of 120k this year. That never would've happened if I just remained content where I was and simply tried to increase my performance. I had to put myself where I needed to be. Obviously this gig won't work for someone who wants to be home daily. However, the WMPF does have home daily runs up for bid, which brings up the point made by Banks:

It mostly depends on seniorty and what's available.

That's true, and also a solid reason to do what I described above, which is to think ahead and understand what it will take to achieve whatever goal it is you have. And take the steps NOW to position yourself to get there.

That may mean biding your time, gaining the necessary experience to qualify for a better job. Or it could mean making the jump to get in somewhere now in order to start gaining the all-important seniority it takes to get the sweet runs. I kinda had to do both.

Plan the work, and work the plan.

Posted By:  Chief Brody

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

Sometimes the Grass is Greener on the Other Side

This post really is in response to Rob T’s post titled “When Should You Put Your Foot Down.”

As some of you know, I recently transferred to the Prime tanker division from the Prime flatbed division. I’m on the “inedible side” of the Prime tanker division. I transferred because I got tired of tarping metal loads. But before I transferred within Prime, I researched other companies. This is how this post relates to Rob T’s post—when looking at other companies, I didn’t even consider any “home daily” jobs. Primarily because of what Rob T has shared about his daily schedule and the frustrations he’s had with balancing work and home life.

Many of the posts on this forum involve the “trucking lifestyle” of OTR. The prevailing wisdom involves that people don’t survive their first year because they don’t really take to heart the time commitment of trucking. It’s easy to have the perspective that the job “consumes” all your time, which to a certain extent it does. In my opinion, the key involves developing strategies to turn your driving time into “me” time, such as listening to podcasts, audiobooks, talking on the phone, etc. And then managing your breaks such that you get of the truck to walk for exercise, explore surrounding areas, or stop during the day at interesting places.

Another common thread, both from prospective drivers and drivers with some experience involves finding those golden regional, local, or home daily jobs so they can get home more and spend more time with family. What I found in doing my research for other companies is the tension between the economic realities of the trucking industry and driver quality of life. There was a recent thread about linehaul guys making $100,000 per year. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the linehaul guys have pretty brutal schedules, which makes sense. Generally, if you want to make a lot of money, you have to work hard. Same thing with the home daily driving jobs. The company wants to maximize their revenues so they schedule as many loads as possible in a day, which makes the job challenging for the driver.

This is one of the reasons why I focused my job search on private fleet jobs. To a certain extent, it’s the proverbial cutting out the middleman. If a company contracts with an outside carrier to haul their goods, that outside company needs to make a profit. If the company has enough freight, it makes economic sense to have private fleet operations that eliminate the profit aspect of an outside carrier. Take Walmart for example. In addition to a huge volume of freight, they are able to leverage their 800-pound gorilla status over their vendors. I’ll let Turtle comment more on this.

Back to me. While I didn’t realize it when I switched to the tanker division, it is so much better than flatbed. First, I haven’t even hauled any metal, let alone tarp it. In addition, I’ve learned that Prime’s inedible division started when Prime bought out Milky Way Transportation in 2018. Prime essentially acquired the entire going concern, equipment, employees, and customers. So, even though Prime is somewhat new to the inedible side, many of the customers we serve were long term Milky Way customers. I mention this because it’s a very different dynamic in the Prime tanker inedible than Prime flatbed as I’ll explain more below.

First, we serve a very small number of customers, which makes for more consistency—going to the same shippers and receivers all the time. And because we have a small number of customers, we have a lot of drop and hooks. Then because we are a small division, tanker generally is known as the “unicorn” division because we have fewer tanker drivers than any other division, the intimacy of the operations are better. You get to know the support staff better. I know all the staff at the “tub,” which is Prime’s in-house tank wash in Springfield and can resolve issues in person with them. And because we have so few trailers, they keep detailed notes of any issues with a particular trailer. In addition, my FM often works at the “tub” and I have had several conversations with him about all facets of the inedible tanker division.

The other good thing about the Prime inedible division, is that most of our customers revolve around St. Louis. Thus, I am always driving through St. Louis and get to spend many nights or even 34-hour resets at home.

The pace is slower than flatbed, which is good for having more free time, but I’m making a little less money than I made in flatbed. I’m still making the money I need to make. It’s just that there are certain nuances where you have more down time. For example, many of our customers replenish their storage tanks every couple of days and they have to schedule a steady stream of trucks to keep product in their storage tanks. Thus, if you arrive early, they may not have room in their storage tanks so you have to wait until the use more product to off load.

As the title of the thread says, in my opinion, there are “better” jobs out there. The difficulty involves first, being realistic about your own priorities. If you want to make a lot of money, you’re probably going to have to run hard. If you want to be home a lot, and have quality time at home, you’re probably going to sacrifice some money. If any driver reading this has both a lot of time at home AND gets paid over 100,000 please chime in.

Posted By:  Davy A.

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

CB radio

I'm guessing it's an issue with cable/antennas. Especially if the antennas were stock.

Once it's hooked up, and you're around somewhere with people on it, simply ask for a radio check.

FWIW. The kenworths mounts are on the mirrors and are notoriously bad at connecting. One of my stock ones broke and I replaced them both with 4' firesticks. It's a good idea to make sure both are the same brand, size and shape. Also if I recall correctly, isn't it supposed to be 18' of coax between the two and the radio?

I have that same radio, works well. I leave mine on all the time, most of the communication is civil, some isn't. Very useful for hazards and weather ahead. Be courteous and civil, don't engage in the bad conversations.

Know what mile marker you're at, so you can warn others heading the opposite direction. For instance. You see a wreck and back up westbound while your heading eastbound. "Hey westbound, you have a wreck at the ( insert mile marker). Back it down. Left lane is closed." You can be saving someone's bacon, especially in hilly terrain where they may not have line of sight on traffic. I have routinely been helped by it and helped others.

I rarely get in a long conversation as well. Also some customers use the CB for communication. Look for a sign at the gate.

Also fwiw, when I was a kid, we had to have a license back then for the CB. Also 5 and 10 meter. My dad was a HAM op. W6IXP.

Posted By:  RealDiehl

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

May need help moving on from Roehl

Just so we're clear I should have no problem with them telling me to go to Appleton to pick up my newly truck assigned truck and when I get there there is no truck?

Just so we're clear I should have no problem with them telling me, after I've gone to Appleton, to go to Marshfield to pick up my newly truck assigned truck and when I get there there is no truck?

I'm not demanding a brand new truck, I do have an expectation that if information is conveyed to me that it be accurate. Apparently it is no big deal that I have bills to pay and other obligations in life that I have to put on hold. It appears that venting my frustration and looking for answers equates to me being entitled.

You are human. You are jumping into a profession that is totally new to you. You are filled with uncertainty and may have certain expectations about the way things are supposed to work.

No...emphatically no. Being frustrated and annoyed that things aren't going smoothly does not mean you are acting entitled. That word is thrown around too often IMO. You have every right to be frustrated. It's the same reaction anyone would have when plans get messed up. It's human nature.

Your challenge now is to manage the frustration, roll with the punches, and do your best to work through any unforseen setbacks that may occur as you begin your career as a driver.

If/when you're faced with another bad situation or setback, and you're not sure how to handle it, post a question on the forum and ask for advice on the best course of action.

But first try to communicate with your fleet manager to clear things up. Good communication skills are essential to becoming a successful driver.

Posted By:  N P.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

CB radio

My advice to folks who are new to CB's is if you're going to invest in one, invest in it. I'd have it P&T right from the start so you're optimized from day one. On the road a cb will never stop giving back, so imo its always money well spent. You don't need the best of the best but one should at least get a moderately decent radio set-up. Also, put some thought and research into your antenna placement and how the wire is ran. It is very relevant to your range and how much interference you will deal with. Once you have a radio set up and working, the next thing I would invest in is an external speaker, and a decent mic (and for the love of god no roger beeps!). Another accessory you will find value in is a decent mic keeper, a retractable one.

When you use a radio for the first time or after making changes it is always good practice to do a radio check...You can just say something like: "Can I get a radio check".. "I just replaced 'x', can someone give me a radio check".. etc.. Then you can ask what their "20" is (20 means location) to get an idea of your range as well as ask for feedback on how you sound to them. Likewise, any time you hear someone else asking for a radio check it is common courtesy to relay back to them that you do hear them, as well as if you notice any distortion or audio issues.

Always be respectful and be mindful of how you're conversating and don't talk to people any way different than you would face-face. We all have our differences, but when it comes down to it we're all in this together and we're all experiencing many of the same problems, stresses, and idiots out here. A lot of folks tend to grow an auxiliary set of balls thinking they're big and bad behind their mic.. they eventually learn the hard way they're not.

Another good rule of thumb.. nobody wants to hear "Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-lam)" distortedly coming through their cb's speaker while they're listening for traffic hazards. Keep your music off the CB, including any background music when you're broadcasting.

A cb is great for getting intel on hazards with time enough to plan for them but CB's don't identify and broadcast these traffic hazards themselves. Try to give back the best you can and identify hazards with their location any time you are able. It's also courteous to thank individuals who relay you information.

Ryan, I hope you don’t mind, but I want to piggyback on your CB topic. I plan on getting a CB soon, but have never used one before.

I’d like to see comments about current CB etiquette for new users. A tutorial would help us new users.

Posted By:  Truckin Along With Kearsey

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Which company to go with for not as experienced driver

One issue most new drivers face is time management. Smaller companies have problems dealing with this because they do not have the spare trailers or additional drivers to relay a load of you are running behind or have mechanical issues. Smaller companies often want more experienced drivers who can deal with time management and weather conditions better

Posted By:  Truckin Along With Kearsey

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

No CFI reviews?

Hey X100.... When you do your job, you get noticed. When you stay at one company for awhile, you get noticed. One thing that makes me laugh is when a driver ridicules me for working for a mega but then tells me he changes companies every 6 months. In 7 years I have not wanted to seriously leave. I contemplated it twice. But after weighing my options made no sense. If that driver was so smart, then why is he not happy where he is?

As with G Town, I have a team in dispatch, road assist, payroll, logs and night/weekend dispatch. They are the same people all the time. My brother laughed recently and said "yep. You are a #... Your number is 10/4 cause that is all dispatch says when you want something."

I know what pistachios and soda my fleet manager consumes, what favorite candies the weekend guys like, one of our techs collects VW bug miniatures. If you take the time to get to know people, they will know you. The owner of my mega hugs and kisses me every time he sees me. He ordered his staff to find me a position that would be flexible when my mother was ill. He approached me in person to thank me for my plight to help women drivers.

My mega is not a trap for me. It got me out of the trap of working as a federal employee. Yay me! 😂

And thanks for complementing my article. You should read my others. I try to hit most of the topics newbies consider.

Posted By:  Rob T.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Which company to go with for not as experienced driver

Did you move the truck while over your hours? Did you PC to the shipper? Did you run without being logged in? Did you accept the ELD edits? Well I'd say you allowed that behavior. I refuse to run over my hours especially if my company was telling me to do it. Why have you chosen to go with smaller companies? Mega carriers get alot of unnecessary flak online but I guarantee whoever was telling you to break the law wouldn't be employed anymore at a mega carrier.

Posted By:  Moe

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

When am I in the clear?

100 percent 💯 grats 🎊 🎉! Follow the advice given you here and you will do well.

On a side note, now that you are accepted, please know you dodged a real bullet with that edible, if even a trace amount had come up in testing that would have been a career killer. Once you get your CDL you will be held to a higher standard and subjected to random testing (both federal and company), don’t let a moment of weakness destroy your chances at a lucrative opportunity.

Personally I would re-evaluate my relationships and limit contact with those who could cause me to get into trouble or use or perhaps seek counseling.

I am not trying to over react , talk down to you or judge, but now especially - you can’t give into temptation- seriously!

Good luck and keep us posted

Moe

Posted By:  Pete B.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Bunk heaters with Schneider Trucks?

Hi Brayson, hope you’re enjoying your time with Schneider. Yes, your bunk heater should work; in fact, now is a good time to run it and make sure that it does work, before cold weather hits. Even in the desert, where it sounds like you spend a good deal of your time, the overnight temps can get a bit chilly. Test it now, don’t wait until it turns cold like everyone else does, when the shops become overwhelmed with broken bunk heaters. Your APU will not blow warm air, that is the function of the bunk heater. And no, Schneider does not disable them. The control panel is very, very small. It should consist of a power button in the middle, with a blue button on its left and a red button to its right. When you press the power button in the middle, the little screen should come on. Ask an experienced driver or shop tech, whichever is more convenient, next chance you get, to walk you through this. The shop techs are *usually* super helpful (just kill them with kindness… or Snickers bars).

*As an aside, Thermo King does manufacture APU’s that do control/put out heat, that is why you see the heat setting on your APU controls, but Schneider does not install those particular APUs in their trucks… they are significantly more expensive, and APUs are already stupidly overpriced.

Posted By:  Old School

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Any true OTR companies??

This is such an interesting conversation to me. I want to share a slightly different perspective. My perspective is based on my own initiation into the OTR lifestyle and career. I started my career at Western Express. The very name of the company indicates it might not be a "true OTR company" as the OP calls this unicorn he's searching for. You really don't need a true OTR company. What you need is to be a true OTR driver.

Let me explain...

As rookies we all have issues that typically do not get resolved to our satisfaction. Look at BK's responses and you'll see a guy who is disgruntled with his first trucking job. His solution is to switch companies. He goes for the usual misguided thinking that says a smaller company with a family atmosphere will be the solution. Nathan is kind of barking up the same tree. He is disgruntled with his current employer and he is convinced he needs to switch companies. I never thought that was a good way to approach this career when I was a rookie. I always questioned everything I was doing and experiencing and tried to find a solution where I could have influence on my situation.

Look at what Nathan complains about...

Not breaking 2,000 miles a week, sitting for hours waiting to be dispatched (4-7 regularly)

Those are legitimate and frustrating things to be experiencing in a trucking job. My question is, "Why do we blame it on our employer?" Do you actually believe they are happy with you only running 2,000 miles a week? I think not.

Every time I encountered issues like this I would ask myself, "Is there something I can do to rectify this situation?" I usually found ample opportunities for me to improve my situation. When I was not getting dispatched quickly I decided it must be because they had no idea when I was going to be available. I resolved to never leave a shipper's location until I had sent in an ETA (estimated time of arrival) and a PTA (projected time of availability) to my dispatcher via the macros the company prefers us to communicate with. Guess what happened? I started being pre-planned on loads in just a few short weeks. They saw that I was accurate with my information and they started acting on it regularly.

Accurate information is vital to the logistics business. If you can't give them accurate estimates you will not be getting dispatched quickly and efficiently. If you are accurate, they will know how to keep you moving.

No driver wants to live on 2,000 miles a week paychecks. No trucking company wants drivers who are only running 2,000 miles per week. My first experience with realizing my miles were low made me look at my time management practices. I discovered I was burning up my 70 hours but not turning enough miles. That meant the problem wasn't my dispatcher or my company. I decided to get a grip on things and learned to be efficient with my time. I always looked to myself for the solution.

One of the biggest problems in our industry is driver churn. Why is that? Drivers always play the blame game and then move on. Nathan claims his company is only a shell of what it used to be. That's funny because the company has grown exponentially in the last few years. Big Scott is doing great there, and so are a host of other drivers.

We've got to learn how to deal with our issues as drivers. We've got to learn how to improve our situation right where we are. I have switched companies one time in my career. I did it reluctantly because I knew I had a good thing where I was. I made the decision based on the fact that I saw some real potential in the opportunity that was being offered me.

My point in this rambling is that we fool ourselves so many times in this career because it is super easy to make a few phone calls and have a new job. That does not mean progress. It just means a new set of circumstances which in most cases will prove to be unsatisfactory to us in a matter of months. How can I predict that? It's easy. Look at the great numbers of people who are constantly switching trucking jobs. They are never satisfied.

I think if you are a true OTR driver you will figure out how to make this career work where you are. You will learn to communicate effectively with your team in the office and you will prove your mettle so that they can depend on you to do what you say you will. Our dispatchers remember us by the last mistake we made. That is how it works. When you screw something up, they pay for it. They don't forget that very easily.

To get the best runs and all the miles you can handle you have to be super legitimate. You have to be like a star player on an athletic team. You have to be able to accept the pressure that says we are going to give the ball to him/her because we know they will score. If you can't play the game like that then you have to settle for being less involved. Don't settle for less. Explore your capabilities and stretch your comfort zone. You guys can do better in this career right where you are. You don't have to find a better company. You just have to be a better player.

Posted By:  NaeNaeInNC

Posted:  2 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Backing Tips

I have a mental list of every truckstop that I ever cried in frustration over, that made me question my sanity, question my ability, and question my future. Every time I run across one, I either choose the exact spot that I struggled with (Wytheville VA, TA, Lower lot, first angled sight side) and prove to myself that I can do it. Usually, it sails right in, and I prove to myself that I just needed practice.

We get caught up as humans, in "perfect" when sometimes, all that matters is "good enough."

A successful back-up to me, means that I got it where I needed it, and I didn't tear up any trucks or property. That's it. It doesn't matter how many pull ups and GOALS I needed. It's in the hole, and unscathed.

One of my old school buddies (former Swift Mentor) gave me some sage wisdom.

"Some days, you can back it up a gnats @ss. Other days, you won't be able to get straight in an empty parking lot with double wide spots. Relax."

Posted By:  G-Town

Posted:  2 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Backing Tips

Practice, practice and more practice. It’s the best teacher by far! Although our friend Moe backs only when necessary, if you really want to improve, don’t miss an opportunity for additional reps.

About the 6-9 month point of experience, things will get easier and smoother. In the meantime, take your time, GOAL before you commit to a setup and avoid the temptation to over-steer when making adjustments (smaller is better).

I’m of the Turtle School of thought when it comes to backing… all feel. But keep in mind… repetitions, hundreds of them is what it takes to get to that point.

Good luck.

Posted By:  David D.

Posted:  3 months ago

View Topic:

Straight trucks

We are all doing the same thing...driving from A to B safely hauling goods to customers...thats it. If someone thinks that the difference between vehicle classes is primarily driver experience then it sounds like that individual has very little experience themselves. We all know guys making good money driving a box truck who do their job and go home to the Mrs which is what we are ALL doing. I attribute two things to guys who think that a vehicle class has to do with experience; inexperience themselves or fragile egos. This is the same argument about the WNBA vs NBA. NBA brings in more money so players make more but they both require the same skills while both playing the exact same game (as for pay). When it comes to driving abilities, I fail to see the difference other than one having a kingpin and locking jaws and one doesn't. Both can bump docks, load securement, strap down flatbed loads, dump buckets, tanker, etc. Me myself, if instead of managing trucks and driving OTR chem tanker I could make the same amount of money while being home everyday driving the Oscarmayer Weiner mobile I would TOTALLY do it! It all has to do with what you're willing to accept risk wise which directly correlates to pay and lifestyle. Only people in my experience who drive Class 8 vehicles that think box truck drivers are beneath them are guys who have big egos and small.... well you know rofl-3.gif

Good luck in you endeavors and stay safe out there! -Dave

Posted By:  G-Town

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Swift academy

OMG the horror! Quick everyone into the bomb-shelter, Swift is on the move!!!

If I had a dollar for every time I replied to one of these, I'd be rich. Can't determine if Angelica is a one-post-wonder or if her concern is genuine. Time will tell...

I'll spare you the details unless you want to discuss further (Angelica)... if I had it to do all over again, my entry path into trucking would still go through Richmond Virginia, attending the Swift Academy. I had an awesome 9 year run with them, no regrets. If not for a quality of life decision to drive locally, I'd still be there. I stay in-touch with the majority of the friends I made there and still sincerely recommend them to anyone seeking a trucking career.

Angelica, all rookie drivers make mistakes, lots of them. And some of the mistakes are both dumb and very dangerous. Swift does not have a monopoly on internet worthy follies... they just happen to hire more entry level drivers than most of the other companies offering Paid CDL Training Programs. Simple...

Fear not Angelica...the safe Swift drivers far outnumber those earning a social visit with their safety director. Trust what this forum offers and ignore all of the internet fodder about Swift or any other TL (Mega Carrier). It's 99% BS, written by either former drivers, knot-holers (who have never driven) or former employees let-go for any number of policy and safety violations. The sources of this misleading information lack creditability and reliability.

And for the record... Swift was not purchased by Knight nor was Knight purchased by Swift. It didn't happen that way, false information. It was a merger, a merger of equals with both companies maintaining brand and operational autonomy.

Carry on.

I'm about to start at swift but now have second thought because of the horror story's and been told that other truckers don't like swift drivers and that they r the laughing stock of truckers I'm just wondering if swift academy was a good choice

Posted By:  Pacific Pearl

Posted:  3 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Bored to tears.

One thing to remember - truck driving is a BIG TENT. Whether you just want a temporary vacation from truck driving or a permanent change of scenery you have options. There are plenty of jobs that would value your CDL and driving experience:

Airport Shuttle Bus Driver

I personally know a woman who makes $300-400 A DAY, not in wages (this job starts at $25/hr), but TIPS! Yeah, it's not a, "no touch" freight job, you do load the bags into the bus/van and unload them onto the curb, but it's not unloading 53' of half-ton pallets with a hand truck kind of thing.

Tour Bus Driver

There's not enough money to get me to be the ringmaster about the circus that is a modern Greyhound bus but tour buses are typically retirees and tourists from other countries. They tend to be well behaved and have higher than average incomes.

Incident Response Team Member

Not all CDL jobs are about hauling freight. There are plenty of government jobs with pensions, ridiculous benefits and lots of PAID downtime that require CDL's too.

Concert Tour Drivers

Whether you like the band, the pay or the groupies there of plenty of opportunities in entertainment hauling the performers and their gear. As a driver, you're part of the crew - put up in a hotel, catered food and great pay.

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