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Posted By:  Brett Aquila

Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Is it ever going to get better?

ACO476, let me explain where I'm coming from and my reaction.

First of all, understand that I take my responsibility for helping people make their way in this industry very seriously. I realize that everyone's financial life is on the line here when they're starting out in this career and whether or not things work out for them is going to have a profound impact on their lives in some way.

With my experience I know exactly how to help people work through this sort of thing, and it's quite exciting for me to be able to help people out when they're facing difficulties, even after 10 years of running this website seven days a week. The pride I take in doing this and the enjoyment I get from it never fades.

So in a big way I feel like myself and all of the amazing people we have in our community are like the parents who are trying to help out the kids who are just getting started. And once the kids get going strong they come back as parents to help out with the next generation. I love it. Always have.

So when you came to us yesterday with your concerns, we gave you the perfect strategy for getting your situation resolved, and you almost executed on it perfectly. When you said you had received a phone call from the terminal manager, on the same day even, I was quite honestly shocked. Even I wouldn't have expected that.

I thought you might get a call from the fleet manager or maybe even someone in operations or something, but the terminal manager? Heck, I'm certain in 15 years as a top driver I never got a call from a terminal manager, and in the podcast I just put out today I explain how I had to go through three different people before I was even given the opportunity to speak with the terminal manager when I was facing a major crisis. And I had already been a top performer at that company for almost five years!

So I don't think you realize how cool it is to have someone in that position at a company that size return a personal phone call to a rookie on the very same day! That just doesn't happen. But it did. And when you said you missed the call and didn't call him back I was downright aggravated with you to be honest. I felt like the coach who just sent in the perfect play to get you into the endzone and you were going to make it in untouched until you inexplicably fumbled the ball at the one yard line!

DOH! How could you do that????

confused.gif

I just want you to understand that you're asking for a lot more miles but it isn't going to come easy. You're going to have to hustle hard to turn maybe 2,800 - 3,200 miles a week like the top dogs out there. You have to be aggressive when it comes to seeking out opportunities to get ahead and you're going to have to learn to be a really creative problem solver in order to weave your way around this country on a very tight schedule through an endless series of blockades everywhere you turn.

You're going to have to figure out how to get loads picked up and delivered early sometimes. You're going to have to lobby dispatch for more miles from time to time. You'll have to push the limits of the logbook and really learn how to manage your time efficiently in a big way. This is how the big dogs operate out there.

So it's not just a matter of asking for more miles and everything is great. When they flip that switch and start loading the miles on you, you're going to have to perform if you want to keep those big miles. You're really going to have to step up your game. You're in a competition with the rest of the drivers at your company. There's only so much freight to go around. To this point you've been classified as a "small dog" where they're tossing you the leftover scraps after the big dogs get fed. And as you can see, there aren't a lot of leftovers. Big dogs eat up a lot of the freight. So you have to be sharp, you have to perform, and you have to take advantage of every opportunity if you want your share.

My frustration wasn't only with the fact that you missed that phone call, but I can see that right now you haven't yet grasped how ambitious you'll have to be to step up to the next level. And that's completely normal for new drivers. Very few people have had careers that are this competitive and require this level of ambition. So that's one of the big lessons we teach new drivers - get out there and make things happen.

Don't sit around waiting for handouts. Don't make excuses why you couldn't execute on a game plan. Get out there with fierce determination to get all the miles you can get. The big dogs are aggressively lobbying dispatch for more miles all the time and if the big dogs demand to be fed, they get fed. If you sit back and accept 1,800 miles without complaint, it's likely you'll stay there. No one wants that to happen.

So when the terminal manager made that call and you didn't call him back, he almost certainly felt like, "Oh well. He must not want help that badly." And that's the last guy you want thinking that about you. He can push a button and give you 3,300 miles a week, put you in a specialized division you don't even know exists, assign you a new truck, or anything he wants. You had "the great problem solver" on the line and missed the call.

Yap, that aggravated me. I was disappointed.

Posted By:  LDRSHIP

Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

How to Land the Best Truck Driving Jobs

Ryan, I know you have rubbed many in this forum the wrong way. But, for what it is worth, the advice given here is accurate to a new driver. You do not have to be a yes man, at the same time, don't buck the system. Just like in the military, the more of a go getter who gets things done without having to be handheld the better you will do. Just like in the military, those that do the right thing without being told, do not get micro managed. I spent 17 yrs active. I have another 1 1/2 yrs before that in the guard. The Army values are MY values.

LDRSHIP

  • Loyalty
  • Duty
  • Respect
  • Selfless-Service
  • Honor
  • Integrity
  • Personal Courage

These are the values I live every day. How these values translate into my current job.

Loyalty - I am loyal to my company. I will not bad mouth my company to others.

Duty - I will perform every task to the utmost of my ability. I will strive to complete every task as efficiently and safely as I can.

Respect - I respect my coworkers and clients. I will give respect first. In return, I gain respect.

Selfless Service - I place the needs of the company before my own when I am on the road. By doing all I can to make my company successful, I become successful.

Honor - I am a man of my word. If I tell my company I will deliver freight at a certain time in a safe and efficient manner, I do so. Things happen beyond our control. But, that freight will not be late due to my fault.

Integrity - this goes along with honor. The caveat is, if you do mess up, own up to it. We are all human. When you make a mistake, own your mistake.

Personal Courage - have the courage to own up to your actions and inaction.

I am far from being a yes man. I am given a task, I accomplish that task. TBH, because I have proven myself reliable, the company doesn't meddle in my affairs. They give me freight, I move it. Yes, I am given fuel stops. However, if those stops do not match the route, I want to take, I have them changed. It is that simple. As long as I look out for the well being of my company, I do as I please!!!

Sorry everyone for another long rant.

p.s. Ryan, stop worrying about being a slave to the system. Instead worry about how to make the system work for you. Find a company that offers the freight, hometime, and benefits you desire. Then prove to them that you are the cream of the crop. I am not taking shots at you. I am telling you how to get it done and be successful. o7

Drive Safe and God Speed

Posted By:  Brett Aquila

Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

How to Land the Best Truck Driving Jobs

It's as simple as working them as hard as they possibly can, while paying them as little as they possibly can. It doesn't require any great speculations beyond that.

Excellent. Now we have something concrete we can discuss.

So when you get started with a company you're going to know the wage they're going to pay you and you'll also know the schedule of pay raises, at least throughout your first year. And it's also very easy to either ask a company what their drivers are averaging per week for miles, or better yet you know that an experienced, top tier driver at a major company can expect to average around 3,000 miles per week.

Now a rookie normally isn't going to know how to manage their clock real efficiently in the beginning, they're going to get tired a little easier being overwhelmed by so much going on in the beginning, and they haven't proven themselves to dispatch yet. So normally we recommend that a rookie figure on averaging maybe 2,200 - 2,500 miles per week the first few months, and maybe after the 6 month mark or so you can expect to get to 3,000 miles per week if you've proven that you can handle that many miles safely and reliably, and the people in the offices like you enough to give you the miles.

And let me emphasize that truck drivers are not all treated equally by trucking companies, the same way as it is for athletes or authors or mathematicians or anyone else that has a job that's performance-based. The best performing drivers with the best attitudes are going to get far more miles and much better treatment than the lower tier drivers. That's why you hear so much complaining in this industry. The companies aren't screwing these guys who aren't performing, no more than a coach is screwing a player by making him sit on the bench while a better performer gets a bigger contract and more playing time.

If someone wants to play this game they will be given the opportunity to strap on a helmet and show what they can do. If you can't hack it then you're going to be sitting the bench while the better players are playing. You can cry til you're blue in the face but no one will care. You had your chance, you couldn't get it done like the next guy, so you make half the money and get half the playing time. That's the reality of it.

So they're handing out work, and money, based upon who is most likely to get the job done safely and efficiently, just like coaches play the best players and publishers print books by the best authors. That's not unfair. That's in fact perfectly fair. And regardless of anyone's opinion about it, that is how it works and that's not likely to change. I've been in trucking since '93 and it was like that long before I showed up, and will be like that long after I'm gone.

So If you perform, you get paid. If you don't, you get the leftover scraps if there are any after the bigs dogs have eaten. It's a harsh reality for a lot of people. But it is the reality in this industry and many others, and it's that reality that we're trying to help people understand so they can execute a strategy that's going to put them in the best position to get the most miles and the best treatment. The top performers are thrilled. They have it made. They're getting the most work done, which is obviously going to help keep the company profitable and successful, so the company relies on them heavily to haul the most important freight. It's really an obvious and super basic premise.

You also don't have to worry about companies pushing you to work illegally because they all have electronic logbooks. I came up through the paper logbook era and did the "running two logbooks" thing and all that. Nowadays people don't have to worry about that with the major carriers.

So there's really a decision you have to make at some point, and that is whether or not you're willing to be part of a team, and whether or not you're willing to go to the same lengths that your teammates are willing to go to in order to get the job done. Because in our experience your biggest concern should not be whether or not management is out to hurt you. Your biggest concern should be whether or not you have the work ethic and talent to perform at the level of your peers so when it comes time to hand out the miles you're one of the big dogs on the top of the list, not one of the bottom feeders hoping for some leftovers.

That's how it works in this industry. Many people hate it. Many people fail. Many, many people will tell you the entire industry is one big scam and everyone is out to get you. But as a top tier driver who was indeed willing and able to outperform the majority of my peers I've always loved this system and I've always thrived in it. But doesn't that make perfect sense? I'm fired up about competing. I love to compete. I've played sports my entire life and I still do a ton of things like rock climbing, hiking, snowboarding, and all kinds of other fun stuff that's challenging and risky. So when I figured out trucking was a huge competition, both with myself and between each other, I was totally onboard with it. Right up my alley.

If you could turn your paranoia toward your future peers, the top tier drivers who are trying to steal your miles, instead of toward the management who is simply dishing them out to the best performers, you'd have your eyes on the real competition - the other drivers within your company. That's who is going to steal your thunder. That's who is going to steal your paycheck. There's only so much freight to go around. You're not guaranteed your fair share. Know that going in. There will be winners, and there will be losers.

Posted By:  Old School

Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

How to Land the Best Truck Driving Jobs

The fact that this business is performance based is the most relevant issue to success at this. Unfortunately that reality escapes most driver's understanding of how to succeed at this. If you have a dispatcher who doesn't like you, then it is incumbent upon you to figure out how to rectify that situation. That is part of what being a top performer at this is all about. People think when we talk about performance we are just talking about a driver's endurance and ability to stay in the seat for lengthy periods of time. That is such a small part of how you succeed at this stuff. Here is a small list of important things that you will need to excel at if you want to be a top performer. These things can enable you to turn your present trucking job into one of the best trucking jobs ever...

  • Understanding how the whole process of getting good loads works at your company.
  • Being patient when you don't understand why something is happening that negatively effects you.
  • Being flexible with the demands of dispatch. They are generally looking out for your welfare, even if you don't comprehnd the big picture.
  • Being customer service oriented.
  • Being flexible and willing to do what ever it takes (within the law of course) to make things happen out here.
  • Understanding that everything does not revolve around you.
  • Understanding the rules and how to manage your time and your logs so that you can put yourself into position for the best loads.

Notice how each of those things start with the words "understanding" or "being?" That indicates that they are your responsibility. Moving freight is a team sport. There are a lot of players involved in this game. To reach your personal goals at this you need to be a star on the team, and there is not a star on any team who can maintain his level of play without continual steady support from his teammates. Driving truck is a very individual endeavor, but it requires a lot of folks in the background to keep you moving. If you cannot be the type of person who consistently conducts them self in a way that causes others to count on you and respect you, then you will have a tough time of this. You need the support of the players on this team that no one ever sees. You may be the only face the customers see, but if you can't garner the support of your teammates in the offices, you are doomed. It is not their job to keep you happy or satisfied, they can just as easily move on to support another driver who understands how this whole puzzle fits together. Their job is to move freight efficiently, and if you as a driver are clogging up the flow of their work then you will start getting passed over and those really nice loads which could be yours will go elsewhere.

I remember when I lost my first dispatcher at Western Express - he quit and went to another field. I was devastated, I considered him a big part of my success, we worked together so well. When I met my new dispatcher, he was not at all the type of person I would ever want to spend anytime with, and he and I would never have been friends under any circumstances. In short, we didn't care for each other. After just a few weeks of working together he called me one day to tell me that I had turned the most miles out of 1,500 drivers the previous month - I was driver of the month! He told me that he had no idea that I was that kind of a driver, but he was glad to have me on his board. You see, I had accomplished that under my other dispatcher, but now he was aware of what I could do. While he and I never really enjoyed each other's friendship, we did work together well because he wanted to move freight, and he supported me in a way that helped him look better to his managers.

Knowing how to be a top performer, or a "star" on the team, and yet understanding the importance of the whole team effort will go a long way toward your success at this business. You can have a great career doing this, but you have got to understand where your focus needs to be. Those who's focus is on the best company to work for as their way to success at this, find themselves continually disillusioned and changing jobs. What is really odd about that is that they keep moving to companies that have hallways of photographs of very satisfied "million plus mile drivers" on the wall, and they don't ever stop and ask themselves "how in the world did those drivers manage to hang in there at this sorry company for that long?"

Posted By:  Old School

Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

How to Land the Best Truck Driving Jobs

Over the years I have witnessed many a newcomer to our forum ask these very common questions...

- Which is the best company to drive for?

- How does company "XYZ" treat their drivers?

- How many miles can I expect from company "XYZ"

They are very good questions, because we all certainly want to be working for a good company that treats us well in our jobs, all while keeping our wheels turning so that we are making some good solid money. We all want to get started off on the right foot and do well at this, and the trend of thinking that you will find among most internet active drivers or ex-drivers is that our success depends on whether or not our company treats it's drivers well, and "gives" them lots of miles.

The problem with this common thinking is that there is almost always a huge disparity of experience between drivers who happen to be employed by the same company. I started my career at Western Express, a company that many claim is a second chance company. Well, to be honest with you, they just happened to be the ones who gave me my "first chance." During my time there I got my education in how you succeed at trucking. The primary thing I learned was that success at this has little or nothing to do with your employer. I honestly would still be there today were it not for a very appealing opportunity that presented itself to me running a dedicated flat-bed account at Knight Transportation.

All trucking companies want their drivers to be turning lots of miles. Think about it - they make money the same way their drivers make money, by moving freight. The more miles their trucks are turning, the more they increase their revenues. It is such a simple formula. Why would a trucking company ever want their drivers to be sitting around doing nothing? The simplicity of it escapes the logic of most drivers.

That begs the question of why their is a disparity of experiences among drivers. While I was at Western Express, I very seldom found another driver who was happy with his situation there like I was. Let me tell you, I was very happy with that job. They kept me busy, I made some decent money despite their low starting wage, and I saw just about every corner of this great country. We've had a recent new member in here who keeps making a comment that goes something like this: "If you happen to get a dispatcher who doesn't like you then you are not going to do well at trucking." They have also made some remarks about their perceived ideas of our "ridiculous creed" here at trucking truth concerning not bad mouthing companies. The truth is that we have no such creed, and the reason we don't bad mouth these companies is because it makes absolutely no sense to bad mouth a company who has some very successful drivers there who have consistently outperformed their peers and have had great success there. How can we declare them a "bad company" when there are current drivers there who are enjoying great success? If we consider it logical to bad mouth them because they have some drivers who are doing poorly, then why don't we consider it logical to sing their praise because they also happen to have some drivers who are doing very well?

Continued...

Posted By:  ∆_Danielsahn_∆

Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Trainee From H3LL (Ranting...)

Probably one of my biggest fears, is being placed with an awesome trainer, and then, a week or so into training, being told "i am not cut out for this." I really don't think it will happen, because of my motivation, and determination to succeed, but ya never know, poop has a funny way of poking it's head out when least expected.

Sue. Remember one thing, You Did NOT Fail!. You did everything you could, to help someone be a good, and responsible driver. If they don't, or can't grasp the lessons, because of their apathy, it is on them, not you. Documenting, it all, and keeping the student coordinator updated on her progress, is all you can do. You did all the right things. Don't blame yourself, although sometimes, it is hard not to. I have trained many an up and coming chef, and sometimes I have had trainees that had absolutely no business using a knife, and sometimes not even a potato peeler! I had one person not know how to fry an egg, and even after a demonstration, sunny side up, was a challenge, and they could never grasp the over easy, over medium, over hard, or the difference between poached, and basted. It kinda hit my ego, that I couldn't teach a person to fry a friggen egg. It stung. But i realized, that some people just are not cut out to be in a kitchen, full of many things that can seriously harm a person.

You are doing her a favor, by giving her the hard truth that she just might not be cut out for career. But most important, you are saving the general driving public from a potentially dangerous driver, and your company from the liability.

Keep up the great work.

Stay safe

Posted By:  Brett Aquila

Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Podcast 10: Terminal Rats Are Derailing Trucking Careers

A lot of truck drivers like to gossip and complain. It's got nothing to do with how successful they are or will become. It's just human nature. They complain about customers, dispatch, load planners, equipment, the weather, their wives,.... and everything else under the sun. There are guys at my company who have been there over 30 years - Top-tier, cream of the crop, decorated and highly paid drivers.... and if you encounter them in the lounge, guess what? They're moaning and groaning about something, most likely. Big deal! If your desire to succeed is so fragile that you can't handle being around some guys b.s.'ing, blowin' off some steam, or whatever, then you don't belong in this industry.

Well you completely missed the entire point. Did you even listen to the podcast?

First of all, I never once said that a person couldn't be successful if they complain. What I said was that a rookie is going to be misled if they listen to these terminal rats complaining constantly about their company and the industry. They're going to think they're working for the wrong company or they've made the wrong career choice.

As a rookie coming into this industry you're going to face an endless barrage of difficult challenges including erratic sleep patterns, highly stressful life or death circumstances, separation from your home and family, an overwhelming amount of laws and procedures to learn, and of course the nightmare of learning how to drive a big rig in bad weather, heavy city traffic, and very tight backing situations, all with a very tight schedule and very long days.

A new recruit, if they want the very best chance at surviving their first year in this business and going on to be a happy and successful driver, needs to be highly motivated, optimistic, and committed to their new career. They need to believe in themselves, believe in the path they've chosen, believe in the company they work for, and dedicate themselves to learning their trade.

So when they come across experienced drivers, who they look to for guidance and encouragement, and these drivers do nothing but cry and complain continuously about everything under the sun it completely rattles their cage and shakes their entire foundation. Now they're seriously doubting themselves and everything about their already perilous position in a big way. They no longer think they're with the right company. They no longer believe their hard work will be rewarded. They no longer believe that trucking was the right choice in the first place. They no longer believe that the staff at their company is really part of the same team.

Instead the new driver goes on high alert and they become cynical. They think they're being misled or taken advantage of. They think the company is going to use them and toss them aside. They think anything that happens which they don't fully understand must have some sort of an evil motivation behind it.

Now, instead of enthusiastically pursuing their new career they're ready to throw it all in the trash and head home to look for a better career. Instead of developing great relationships with dispatch and the rest of the office staff they now view them as the enemy and no longer care about getting along with people. Instead of showing the commitment to their company and a willingness to prove that they deserve the best miles and the best treatment they instead stop putting in those great efforts and they no longer do it with a great attitude because they feel it's not going to lead to anything good.

Now what situation is this new driver in? Now he's underperforming, he's not getting along with the staff, he's showing a terrible attitude, and he's miserable and stressed out all the time. He's no longer interested in working for the company or pursuing this career, and his company no longer believes that he's going to turn out to be a hard working, safe, reliable professional and the entire situation unravels. Before you know it this once optimistic, motivated, and dedicated new driver with a great attitude is now sitting at home without a new job, without a new career, and completely disillusioned with trucking in general. Many times these people will simply become convinced that trucking is a lousy career and toss it aside permanently.

If your desire to succeed is so fragile that you can't handle being around some guys b.s.'ing, blowin' off some steam, or whatever, then you don't belong in this industry.

So as you can (hopefully) now see, this issue has nothing to do with being able to handle being around a complainer. This has to do with a rookie driver trying to find the proper guidance and the encouragement he or she needs from those with more experience so they can be successful in this incredibly difficult and stressful new career. If they get nothing but misguided horror stories, conspiracy theories, and cry babying it's going to seriously derail their chances of success.

So the message I'm trying to get across to new drivers is that there are a ton of people in this industry that do nothing but cry and complain constantly. Ignore them. Instead, pursue the guidance and encouragement of experienced drivers who love what they do and have figured out how to be happy and successful out there.

Posted By:  Turtle

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc. CDL training. Springfield, Missouri

03/19/2017 1902hrs Cleveland, OH

Yeah I know it's been a little bit since I last posted. I can't say its because I haven't had the time, since I did. Truth is I just got lazy I guess.

I survived my first week solo. The thrill of running my own show was counterbalanced by the fear of... well... running my own show.

One load in particular almost got me screwed up.

I was to pick up four metal coils, totalling 47k pounds. When I got there, the loader operator dude asked me how I wanted them loaded onto my trailer. I answered him as honestly as I could:

"Umm I'm not sure, this is my first time."

As embarrassing as it was to say that, it was the truth, and I sought his advice on what was standard. Now don't get me wrong, during training I did haul steel coils twice. But each time they were just put on our truck and we secured them. I don't recall ever being given the option of loading them suicide, shotgun, or eye to the sky. Didn't occur to me that we would have the option how they are loaded. I was basically just following my trainers lead.

Now it's on me. No room for error. I know how to secure coils, but I just didn't know which way would be best to load them.

So after I showed him my ignorance, he kinda smiled as if this wasn't the first time a newbie showed up to his warehouse. He showed great patience explaining the different ways he could load them, and what most drivers normally do.

In the end I got em loaded and secured like a pro, and learned a valuable lesson: Never be afraid to ask for help. You probably won't be the first to ask. When it comes to securing a load safely, I won't take chances.

After dropping off this load, I was sent home for home time. Spent a few well earned days at home relaxing and setting up my truck. I planned to ship out on Tuesday morning, but that big storm that hit the Northeast had other ideas. Once I figured out I couldn't get out ahead of the storm, I messaged my FM to request a couple extra days to sit it out. He said no problem, good call. It made me feel good to know he agreed with my desire for safety.

The load I'm on now was scheduled to deliver Friday, but delays at the shipper put me just enough behind that I couldn't make it by close of business Friday. Therefore I'm now babysitting this load until Monday. So now I'm just sitting at my 90, waiting till they open up tomorrow morning. I could have sat at our terminal, or a truck stop for the weekend. But by waiting here, I'll get in a 34, and be unloaded and dispatched on a new load before ever starting my clock.

Oh yeah, the best part of being on my own truck now? My wife is with me! We are finally living out our dream together. It's been a long road to get here. But the rewards are oh so sweet. I don't know what the future holds, but at the moment we're loving life. That's worth something.

Peace

Posted By:  Old School

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Frustrations with Werner Enterprises, I'm finished with them

NUMBER FIVE:

You thought you could manage a pleasant balance of family life with your new trucking career. I know you are convinced that Wadham's holds this magical formula that is going to enable you to be a big part of your family's life, but most local/regional drivers find that it is just as frustrating. You will get home on the weekends alright, but you are going to be exhausted and needing to re-charge for the next long week ahead. If a person does well at this job, they are a top performer, and that takes commitment and work that you (at this point) have shown little understanding about, or inclination to aspire to.

I could keep going on and on because you have laid out a virtual litany of misunderstandings about making a decent start at this career.

I would appreciate it if you would do me a favor, and this is for your benefit. Please take the time to click on these links and listen to these Podcasts. They will give you the opportunity to hear some common sense about how to understand the whole business of breaking into this career.

Boot Camp

Sticking With It

Do You Have What It Takes?

Why Is Training Rushed?

Posted By:  Old School

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Frustrations with Werner Enterprises, I'm finished with them

How about this if wadhams turns out to be most of what i want i will come back here with a glowing review. i know several people in trucking and they all think this is a positive move. one guy i know actually drove for werner early during his carrier. another guy i know works in the milk hauling divisions.

I don't want you to think I am being rude or mean, but I do want you to understand what our issue is with not only your post, but your whole approach to getting started in this career. You simply don't understand how one makes a good start as a truck driver. We could care less about your glowing report about Wadham's just as much as we disliked your slanderous report about Werner. They both indicate that you are trying to circumvent every thing that we teach folks about what you need to do to succeed at this business.

You made so many blunders in your start, and then you started blaming Werner, until we pressed you and then you switched the blame to large carriers in general. The blame game does not fly in this career, and according to your statement above it sounds like all these people that you "know" and listen to, have just about ruined any chance of your success.

I am really taking the time with you to explain these things so that hopefully some other newbie coming in here and reading this thread will benefit from our wisdom, I am beginning to have my serious doubts that you will.

Let's just start with your huge list of blunders from the start...

NUMBER ONE:

You decided to start on a Dollar Store account. We tell people all the time to not do this, it is a brutal job for a rookie.

NUMBER TWO:

You started during the Holidays. That was a big reason for you sitting at a hotel. Duh... Yes those folks who are training drivers would like to spend a little time with their families - the very thing that you've been ranting against. Trainers are available when they are available. It was bad timing on your part, but that is just part of being the new guy, you might have to wait a little while for a trainer to be available.

NUMBER THREE:

You thought you could go to a local job right from the start after you finished school. Look, I'll give some consolation to you if you were mis-lead by all these people you know, or maybe even the school personnel, but if you had been in here asking some of the professionals who have been doing this for years we could have set all this straight for ya. We always recommend that you go with an Over The Road job for one full year at the start. That is the industry standard for being considered experienced, and that is what the local companies need so that they can get you onto their insurance policies at reasonable rate. There are rare occasions when a new student driver can land a local job, but those opportunities are few and far between. Quite often that newbie ends up in an accident due to the rigorous requirements of driving a big rig locally, and that ends their career prematurely because no one wants to touch them now. They have no over the road experience, and they have an accident on their record - they are basically cut off from most trucking opportunities now. It is a bad way to start, but you are going to find all this out on your own doing a regional North East job. I drive the North East all the time, I have some regular customers there on my dedicated job. It is tough up there, even for an experienced driver.

NUMBER FOUR:

You thought this job would not require you to drive at night. Truck driving is all about making your self productive and efficient. This is a performance based job. You will soon discover that successful drivers in the North East drive at night, because that is the way they get the most done. If you have got to drive in the day time, you are going to be exposing yourself to so many more risks up in that area, but you will learn, or else you will be back on line slamming another company for their deceptive hiring practices.

Continued...

Posted By:  Older Newbie

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Frustrations training with Prime on the road

Oh does all this sound familiar. It is! To just about everyone here I suspect. Having just gone through my training and getting my own truck I really do understand your frustration. My trainer and training was with Werner, doing the Dollar General account. It was intense, hard work, extremely frustrating at times but in the end just as satisfying.

Just like you were saying, there were times when I wondered if in had made the wrong decision...I couldn't seem to do anything right it seemed. Especially backing !

And needless to say that's about 75% of what that account is about...backing in tight spaces, at all hours in crazy traffic. It was as though my brain had been erased from the time I was in school to then. As everyone has already told you, this will pass. This industry is very different from anything many of us have ever done before and there is a HUGE learning curve.

I have been in my own truck just a little over 2 months. It's exciting, scary, intimidating and when things go well, one of the best feelings I've ever felt. Yes there are days when it takes 10 or 15 mins to back properly...but then there are days when you get it right, it slides in perfectly and you climb out of the cab feeling like a million bucks.

As others have said, keep something in mind before you make a decision to either quit or beat up on yourself...

The next time you're at a truck stop, or at a loading dock or just tooling down the superslab, keep something in mind...every driver you see,every one, has been a rookie too. You aren't alone!

Any driver that says they didn't struggle with some aspect of this career is not telling you the whole story.... that's polite for saying they are not telling you the truth. The honest ones will tell you that every day they learn something, even after years of driving. And they will also tell you that they have bad days backing too.

This is an industry that quite literally is always moving, changing, evolving. There is so much to learn in such a short period of time that it does weed out the faint of heart. It should frankly. There is a lot at stake when you drive a 73 ft, 80,000 lbs vehicle loaded with who knows what around people, little cars, buildings...the world. Too many things can go wrong for the wrong person to be behind the wheel. But, and I suspect the others will agree, if you are willing to do your time, be patient, be tenacious, not give up and don't expect to be handed a free ride...you will make it.

It isn't easy...but nothing worth doing and doing well ever is.

Good luck,

Tony

Posted By:  Old School

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Frustrations training with Prime on the road

Adam. I'm thinking it sounds like you are going through all the familiar frustrations of any newbie at this career. There were times when each of us felt like we were not going to be able to make it through our training. You are exhausted at times from lack of sleep due to the new experience of sleeping in a moving truck. You are running on adrenaline half the time because of the excitement of the whole experience of commandeering a big rig across the country. You are probably not eating right, nor sleeping enough. You're having to meet some crazy dead lines. You are wanting to hear your trainer tell you that you are doing good, and all you ever hear is what you are doing wrong. It is an all out stressful time - that is the only way I know how to describe training for this career.

There is actually a good reason why training is soooo hard. It tends to separate out those who can't dig deep enough to make it through. We tell people all the time to look at it like "Boot Camp." That is what it is at times, It can be demoralizing, or it can be something that makes you dig deep and find out what it is that you are made of. Breaking into trucking is not easy, if it were we would have a lot of folks out here wanting these jobs. You are embarking on a really difficult journey that only gets better the longer you hang in there and practice doing the things that make for success out here. Some days it can be like forcing yourself to get in that seat and keep going, while other days you will be quite content to roll on down the highway clocking off the miles.

Driving on the interstate isn't all that trying, it is all the little stuff like maneuvering in and out at the shippers/receivers, backing into docks, or parking at truck stops that can take all the joy away from a rookie's experience. I was just speaking to a person the other day who quit trucking while in training, and here's the reasons he gave me for why he decided against it.

- It is too difficult trying to find parking at night when I am exhausted.

- I can never seem to get my truck backed in once I do find a parking spot, and I am too tired to put any effort in at that point.

- I'm stressed out all the time when I get to a new place to pick up or deliver, because I don't even know where to go when I get there.

- I'm never comfortable because everything is totally new to me, I can't deal with all this stress.

Absolutely all of his reasons were things that every rookie faces, and somehow he thought they were special to him, and he was beating himself up over all of this as if he were a loser with no skills to be able to do this job! Heck, we all went through all of that, and occasionally still do! If you need a different trainer, Prime will accommodate you, but I say your focus needs to be on developing as a driver, and putting your will into this whole exercise in tenacity. It will pay off, but you have got to have something in you that pushes you to succeed at it.

Take the time and listen to this Very Informative and Inspirational Podcast, I think it will help you understand what you are facing. Right now you are focusing on your trainer's shortcomings, and there may very well be some, but I think the source of your stress is just a regular experience that all of us faced.

By the way, all trainers are not equal, and I had one who never pre-tripped his truck either. Heck I had to show him where his brake shoes were and that they were getting thin! You can still be a successful driver when you have a less than stellar trainer - I am living proof of that. In fact I wrote a little article about my training. I don't know if you'll find it helpful or not, but Click Here and you can read it.

Posted By:  Brett Aquila

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

**TruckingTruth's 10 Year Anniversary!!!**

Today Is Our 10 Year Anniversary!!!!

The Story Of TruckingTruth

In late 2006, on a whim, I looked around the Web to see what was available for those considering a career in trucking. To say I was horrified by what I found would not be an exaggeration.

No one was giving honest, legitimate advice purely intended for the benefit of those seeking it. It was your typical company-bashing, face-saving, finger-pointing, simple-minded baloney that would drive people away from the industry or sabotage their careers almost immediately.

I knew these types well. I knew why they were complaining, I knew why they were failing. I had 1.5 million miles under my belt. None of this was a mystery to me. So I decided to set the record straight and bring a different perspective. I immediately began writing a short book on the subject and picked up the domain TruckingTruth.com to share how I felt about trucking.

You see, I loved my years on the road. It was the most grand adventure imaginable! Getting paid to drive a beautiful American Big Rig coast to coast at 21 years old was so exciting I don't think I slept the first two months!

Even in school I was bouncing off the walls with excitement. Every evening I would walk down to the Interstate to watch the trucks pass while Bob Seger screamed "Roll Me Away" in my headphones. I'd sit there night after night dreaming of the day, just around the corner, when it would be my turn to live it instead of just dreaming it.

After graduation I landed my first job and was overjoyed! I vividly remember many details of my first day. I remember conversations word for word, the scenery we passed, and even the meals we ate that day in early September, 1993.

I remember meeting my trainer in the gravel lot at Gainey Transportation. Great guy! We got along splendidly. I remember walking up to his window, reaching up to shake his hand, and running to the passenger door after he said with a smile, "Come around the other side and climb in".

Climb in???? Did he say climb in??? This is IT! I've made it! I'm finally doing this for real!!!

I remember he let me take over at the first rest area. I drove to South Carolina and we hit my first real truck stop where I had a roast beef sandwich and french fries for dinner. I drove a while longer and we spent the night in a rest area in Virginia before finishing our run to Maryland in the morning. By lunchtime the next day we were on our way to Sacramento, and I had never even been as far west as Ohio! OMG we're going to California! I thought I was going to come unglued I was so excited! I don't know how I avoided going into cardiac arrest.

That was over 23 years ago and I still remember it all like yesterday. Over the years driving only got better. I piloted everything imaginable across all 48 lower states and throughout much of Canada. After 15 years I decided to retire because I felt I had exhausted every idea I had for finding fun and adventure as a truck driver. It was time for new adventures.

From my experience I learned trucking was an amazing career for the right person, but an utter nightmare for the rest. I wanted to be perfectly honest with people so they knew the hardships and sacrifices involved, but also understood the adventure of it all. For those ready to take their shot I wanted to give them a solid, actionable strategy and the right perspective for surviving that first year on the road.

My hope was to build a strong community of like-minded people who felt the same way I did about their career and mentoring new drivers. The amazing community we have here today is the best part of TruckingTruth. It is the lifeblood, the personality, the heart of who we are.

I can't begin to express my respect and appreciation for those who have shared their time, their stories, their feelings, their lives with us so we could learn and grow from it all together. I'm torn because I want so badly to thank a bunch of special people individually, but I'm too cowardly to do it. I'm afraid I'll leave someone out!

But from the bottom of my heart I thank you for all you've done to help so many get their careers underway and to promote a lifestyle of pride, humility, and professionalism. In our first ten years we established ourselves as the most trustworthy and professional community in the trucking industry. The next ten we're going to have an even bigger impact on the the industry and I'm more excited than ever for the opportunities that lie ahead!

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Our first 10 years:

Total Visits: 15,056,697

Unique Individuals: 9,153,137

Pageviews: 53,966,419

Registered Users: 67,468

truckingtruth 10 year anniversary logo

Posted By:  Bud A.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Terminated after 3rd week of OTR Training

The Safety Manager said he'll put on the letter that I quit because no alternate Mentor has been available to finish my training (because I was told on Friday that I'd be with a new trainer next week).

How should I approach the next company? Would they see this as a negative?

Thanks in advance. This is quite a bummer and embarrassment.

It's a good thing that they'll report it as voluntary. As suggested above, you can tell prospective companies that you left because a mentor wasn't available for you to complete training.

I would leave out discussion of the trainer that you had unless you are asked directly. Tell the truth if you are asked. I think "personality conflict" would cover it and be understandable. I'm trying to think of a better way to say it. I'll post again if I think of a better phrase before someone else provides one.

And as stated earlier, backing a spread axle trailer is a little more difficult since they don't move in the nice arc you expect. It's still an arc, but it's slower than backing tandems -- or as I think of it now, tandems swing around weirdly fast.

Now please don't be upset when I say this, but I'd be really surprised if backing is what your trainer was really concerned about. I'd be less surprised if his concern was that you weren't paying enough attention to your surroundings, or that you weren't getting the securement down quickly enough in his opinion, or something else besides backing. And I'll also say that, having trained flatbed, it's not hard to imagine a scenario where learning to drive a big truck and learning securement at the same time is just a little too much to do all at once. There's no shame there. I have had my days where it was a little overwhelming.

Now that the company's decision has been made, and if he hasn't already spelled it out for you, I'd consider calling your trainer and saying something like, "Hey, it's over, I'm no longer with the company. I still want to drive a truck, and I really want your honest feedback. What was your single biggest concern about me doing that with this company?"

If you decide to ask him, and if he responds, don't argue with him or defend yourself, and don't judge yourself, just give him the chance to boil it down for you. It could be very valuable feedback for helping you determine how to proceed. On the other hand, he might be a jerk and it could be something that you decide to ignore. Either way, it's worth asking for that feedback, since he has a unique perspective on it as an experienced driver who has observed you closely for some time.

Please let me tell a story. (Boredom alert!) In my last management job before I started driving, I had a client who was known to be a real jerk. He once insulted me unnecessarily and unfairly in such a way that I stewed about it for a couple of days, inventing numerous responses that would have surely gotten me fired had I said them out loud to him.

This jerk had a saying that stuck with me, though. "All feedback is good feedback." I think it's true to some extent. I may not like the feedback, and I may not like the way it's delivered, but it is good feedback.

For example, the feedback he gave me when he insulted me was to question my command of the English language. It was good feedback.

He is from another country and English is not his first language. In fact, he speaks it with a noticeable accent. He questioned my understanding of English when I asked him to clarify a short, ambiguous sentence he had written in an email. I needed to know because the intent of the sentence could be read two different ways, and each way meant taking radically different action from the other possible meaning.

Now, I didn't ask him in order to insult his command of English, though I'm sure he took it that way. I asked him because both meanings could make sense and I honestly couldn't figure out which meaning he was trying to communicate with those seven words.

So, while his insult was ridiculous, it was good feedback, though not the way he intended it. The real feedback had nothing to do with my understanding of English. It had to do with my understanding of his insecurity about his abilities in English, and his leadership insecurities generally.

After I calmed down, I completely changed my approach with him and actually got him to help me do my job, though sometimes without him knowing he was helping me. Yes, i manipulated him. I was a manager after all. Part of the job.

Unfortunately, he later insulted my boss and a couple of his subordinates, which resulted in his reassignment to another position (and another city) within his company. I had to figure out how to manipulate an entirely new person to get things done for my people.

All this to say, what your trainer has to say now may still be valuable, even if you hate the guy. Don't get me wrong, there's a chance that it won't be useful, but if it is, it could be very valuable.

I understand that it's a bummer, but there's no need to be embarrassed. This is a tough business to break into, and you're not the first person this has happened to. I have no doubt that tens of thousands of people who didn't finish training at their first trucking job are out there driving trucks today. Apply to some other companies, learn what you can from this experience, and press on. It will be ok.

Posted By:  Old School

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Got any fun snow stories ? Words of wisdom ?

Several years back I got caught in a blizzard in Indiana. The highways were in really bad shape and I was just moving slowly and trying to power my way through until I could get to a truck stop. It wasn't long before I managed to get to the Flying J I was planning on stopping at. It was crowded, but I managed to find a legitimate parking spot and got myself parked and settled in for the duration. Within about an hour the highway department closed the interstate and every one had to get off. We were literally stuck there at the truck stop for four days in extremely cold temperatures.

It got crazy! The trucks were piled in everywhere. People had to park in the parts of the lot where you would usually drive your truck in between the parked trucks as you try to find a spot. If you were like me and got there early enough to find a real parking spot, then there was someone parked perpendicular to your truck, right there in front of your truck! They were parked three or four across in between the rows of properly parked trucks. Most everyone was idling their trucks to keep the fuel from gelling. I can't remember the temps, but it was well below zero most of the four days. Some of the folks whose fuel was low when they parked were having to use five gallon fuel cans to walk over to the pumps and purchase five gallons at a time to walk it to their rigs to keep from running their tanks dry. The Denny's restaurant in the truck stop actually ran out of food on the second day because they couldn't get anything delivered in due to the interstate being shut down. The silly truck drivers who had no provisions with them were having to beg for food from those of us who were prepared. I ended up feeding three or four truck drivers parked close to me for a couple of days.

Here's the view I had from inside my truck for several days during that time...

truck driver's windshield covered in snow caught in a blizzard in Indiana

Once they finally opened up the roadways it was still chaos because no one could move their rigs. Some of us were just physically blocked in. Others had their brakes frozen up. Some of us had gelled fuel. Then some of the ones who had a clear path ahead of them couldn't get their rigs to move - all they could get to happen was their tires spinning on the ice! I remember watching one Swift driver just spinning and spinning his drives. I assume he was hoping to melt the ice and eventually get going, but it didn't turn out that way. What he accomplished was an eventual sideways movement which put him in a collision with the truck next to him! (Here's a good spot to insert a winter driving tip: When stopping in a heavy snow fall, once you get yourself in a parking spot pull your rig forward and back several times to pack down the snow that is in front and behind your tires. This will help make it a little easier to get that rig rolling when you do start again.) The Flying J had so many upset tuck drivers complaining to the manager (imagine that - a truck driver complaining!) that they were blocked in, that they called the highway patrol in to help try to organize a plan to get the trucks moving out of the parking lot.

After that big storm, they had plowed the roads and put down salt but it was still pretty treacherous on the roadways. There was such a thick layer of ice underneath the snow that the plow and the salt seemed to have little effect on it. Things looked like this for most of the next day, and I sat it out one more day just to make sure I didn't end up in the ditches.

snow covered road after blizzard in Indiana from truck driver's window

Things like this happen every once in a while, but you just have to take it all in stride and let the adventure your on help you build a bank of memories and good stories. Not all our memories as truck drivers are good ones, but most of them are. I actually kind of enjoyed the stay at that Flying J - It was amusing in a convoluted way. I didn't make much money that week, but it was still an interesting week, and one I will never forget.

Posted By:  Brett Aquila

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Truck Accident in Cali

What can I do about this?

Well it depends what you mean by "this". Do you mean you'd like to fix:

  • Your sloppy driving?
  • Your crappy attitude?
  • The fact you're driving an 80,000 pound building on wheels and almost killed two people but don't even realize you should have prevented the whole thing?
  • The fact that your company is giving you an opportunity to fix your screw up but you're such a bonehead that you're here insulting them as if they're the idiots that almost killed someone and you're the one in a position to do something about it?

Folks, when you're trying to evaluate this industry and decide which company to work for you're going to find a lot of guys like this around the Web. They always have their "poor me" stories. The way they tell it they're always the victim of circumstances and they're always being mistreated by their "bad company", or in this case their "buffoon of a company".

But when you take a closer look at the full story you normally find that the one pointing fingers at everyone else is usually the one to blame. This is the type of person (and therefore the type of driver) that runs around bashing companies and criticizing their instructors and constantly pointing the finger at everyone but themselves. According to their side of the story it's always as if they're the only competent one and everyone around them is idiots.

Did the driver of the car make an aggressive move? Sounds like it. Is this something a professional driver sees 1,000 times a day and should be well prepared for? Absolutely it is. If you ask any top tier driver or any safety manager they'll tell you in this case the blame falls squarely on the truck driver. It makes no difference if the car made an aggressive move or not. It makes no difference who was given a ticket at the scene. You must know where all of the vehicles are around you at all times and you must know what they are doing at all times. You never make a move without knowing that the space you're moving into is clear.

This exact same scenario and many others like it literally happen every single day out there. No one drives a big rig 500+ miles in a day without having a number of people aggressively take space around them. They'll cut into the lane as you're changing lanes so they don't have to be behind you. They'll pull out in front of you from a stop so they don't have to be behind you. They'll pass you and then jump in front of you and hit the brakes to take the next exit because they didn't want to be behind you for another ten seconds. See a pattern here? Four wheelers will risk their lives on a regular basis just so they don't have to be behind a truck. This kind of stuff happens all day long out there. It's routine stuff that should be easily handled.

Unfortunately in this case Lionheart assumed he could move over into the newly formed lane without watching his mirrors because:

no one was behind me on my right. How could there be, the lane had just opened up!?

So you see? No one could possibly be there so no sense in looking, right? Geez.....you simply can't make assumptions when you're the captain of an 80,000 pound machine.

Either way, I have decided to dump this buffoon of a company. I can tell you folks MANY things about them but I realize that this site doesn't condone that talk.

....says the guy who just wrecked someone and doesn't even realize it's his own fault.

Ya know, it was bad enough that you came here as a professional driver to bash the driver of the other vehicle, not even realizing you should have prevented the entire thing in the first place. But then you had to take it up a notch and squash your own company against the barrier, too? Why would you do that??? They're letting you keep your job! They're allowing you to make amends for your mistake! You almost killed someone and you're going to come here bashing the company that not only invested the money and equipment and trainers up front to put you behind the wheel of a big rig in the first place, but then they stuck by you even after you screwed up in a big way?

booooooooo!

You made a huge mistake but this time luck was on your side. No one was injured, no one was killed, and you didn't even lose your job over it. You should thank Stevens profusely for allowing you to keep your job and immediately set out with the intent to make it up to them. They invested in you when you didn't know the first thing about trucking. They stuck by you when you screwed up. Heck, they'd probably even forgive you for coming here and bashing them publicly for no reason. Instead of causing even more damage by quitting your job you should wake up and realize you're lucky to have a job with a company like that.

Folks, I can tell you for a fact that Stevens is a very, very forgiving company. This is far from the first incident we've learned of from drivers at Stevens and each time Stevens has stuck by their drivers. That means a lot in this industry because as you can see by Lionheart's willingness to criticize his company and quit them altogether, loyalty is not something you find very often in this business.

Posted By:  Brett Aquila

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Socializing at the truck stop

For me it depended upon my mood also. I've always been a loner by nature so most of the time I grabbed a newspaper (a collection of thin sheets of wood pulp with text printed on them in ink containing the day's news which could be bought for 50 cents from a metal box outside) and went to a booth in the restaurant and had me a nice, quiet dinner.

But sometimes I was just in the mood to chat. That's when you go to the counter at the truck stop restaurant and join in on the neverending roundtable discussions.

Warning: sitting at the restaurant counter instead of a booth can be hazardous if you're not prepared. If you sit at the counter:

  • You should not expect to sit quietly and eat in peace. You are now in the discussion, like it or not
  • If you say the name of any President, past or present, you have less than 45 seconds before a fight ensues
  • If you say the name "John Wayne" out loud you will make at least two new friends and one may even want to hug you. But you better know your John Wayne movies
  • If you say "NASCAR" without mentioning "Earnhardt Sr" you will be given one chance to correct your error or no one will talk to your "Jimmy Johnson Pretty Boy Lovin *ss"
  • If you're in the South, just say real slowly, "The South's Gonna Do It Again!!!!" and you might get free pancakes and you'll definitely get some redneck solutes, which come in many different flavors
  • If you're in the North just talk real fast and call the person next to you some horribly insulting names for no reason and they'll assume you're from there and you'll make friends easily

Hope this helps!

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Posted By:  LDRSHIP

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

School or pick a company? And how do I choose between company driver or owner operator?

My training was even shorter than Brett's. I had 3 weeks in class. 4 days a week. Out of 12 days, 4.5 was classroom. I tested for my CDL 1 day before my school was done. I had 2 days of practice at orientation followed by a day "testing" to get a job offer. I spent 2 weeks with my trainer. Of those 14 days, I was off for 4. I spent 1 day driving in final processing. After that I was in my own truck on my own. All of us feel unprepared. It comes down to having the confidence in yourself and your judgement. Having the guts to put yourself out there and get the job done. Principle for backing a trailer is simple. In a single swivel point you turn the steering wheel the opposite direction you want the trailer to go. The desired effect is not immediate so you must plan ahead. After that the ONLY way to improve is to "just do it". Take it slow and GOAL as much as you need. Here is a free tip. The greater the wheel base the less reactive the trailer. So with tandems all the way back the trailer turns slower than all the way forward. Idk what other info you need. No one can teach much more than what I have told you. There is no great secret. It is a simple principle that takes time and practice to master.

I will tell you what I will share with you my company's method for executing a "tight 90 degree" backing maneuver. First you need 2 rags. Make sure you are straight in a large open lot. Place a rag next to the mid point of the tandems. Turn your steering wheel all the way to the right. Backup until your truck is at a 90 degree angle to your trailer. Walk back and place the second rag at the midpoint of the tandems. Pace off the distance between the rags. That is your lead distance. When setting up you drive about 6 feet away from the front of the obstacles you are backing in between. As you pass your "spot" you continue forward until your mid marker/turn signal is in the middle of the "hole". Turn the nose of your truck about 15 to 20 degrees to the right the back left to straighten back out. After the rear of your trailer passes the "hole" you come to a stop. Go to the corner of the obstacle closest to your cab next to the hole. Walk straight out until you meet the path of your tires. Turn to face down the side of your tractor/trailer. Pace off your lead distance. Mark the ground. Pace off the difference between where the middle of your tandems are to your mark. Start at the front edge of your step fairing and pace off that distance in the correct needed direction. Mark the ground. Drive fed/back until the front edge of your step fairing aligns with the mark. Get out and make sure the mark for your tandems is aligned mid tandems. Turn your steering wheel all the way to the right. Back up until your Cabo's 90 degrees from your trailer. Turn your steering wheel all the way to the left. Begin backing until your tractor is perpendicular to your "hole". Get out and pace 8 to 10 paces from the front step fairing moving forward. Mark the ground. Drive forward until the front edge of your step fairing is aligned with the mark. Turn your steering wheel all the way to the left again. Begin backing again. Once your trailer is halfway into the hole. Look to see if you need to do a pull-up to straighten out or if you are good to continue backing. Use pull-ups to straighten out as needed. I hope this helps. The method does work.

Drive Safe and God Speed.

Posted By:  Brett Aquila

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

School or pick a company? And how do I choose between company driver or owner operator?

Let me also address this also:

From my experience in a big company so far, I'd say it's easy to fall through the cracks as far as getting actual training. After backing into someone's fender I asked about getting more training in backing and was told I could go watch the students backing in the yard. It just seems like a "paint-by-numbers" system, where if you're not one of the unlucky ones you're just out of luck.

For starters, there's a difference between needing training and needing practice. Most of what you're taught in trucking will require you to spend a lot of time practicing out there in the real world on your own. They're going to train you how to do things and then send you out there on the road where you'll perfect your craft.

A lot of people have the impression that they should be able to practice all they like until they feel they're ready and then go out there and do it for real. Again, the comparison to the Marines where they train you for a very long time before you're going to see any real action. In trucking they don't do it that way. They give you the minimum training you need in order to know how to do something and then send you out there expecting that you'll take your time and be careful while learning to get better at it.

There is no amount of training that can prevent someone from bumping into another truck while backing. That isn't a lack of training. It's a lack of care on your part. You didn't get out and look. How many dozens of times did they tell you to get out and look when you're in close corners? And yet you didn't. You didn't need more practice. You needed to make better decisions.

So the company knew that no matter how much money they wasted on fuel and parts letting you practice backing up in the yard it wasn't going to prevent you from bumping into someone the next time. You were already trained properly. You just didn't execute properly that particular time.

Josephus, what I'm trying to do is help you understand that what you've experienced so far is just the way it is in trucking. Your experience the first few months is almost identical to most drivers nationwide. It's the same pretty much anywhere you go. I think you've decided that the reason you're feeling like a faceless nobody or not getting enough training is because you're with a large company or you're with the wrong company. I want you to know that in my opinion that's not the case.

The problems you're facing stem from the fact that your past experiences and your current expectations are completely different than what you're experiencing in trucking, and understandably you're not too thrilled about some of it. You feel the way things are being done is inferior to your ideal way of doing things so you've concluded your company must be doing it wrong. But in reality they're doing it the same way everyone does it. Your experience wouldn't be much different anywhere else. The biggest differences between the large carriers are the color of their trucks and the spelling of their names. But the way they train people and the way they operate is all very similar.

Your problem isn't with your company, it's with trucking in general. And I would say there's a small army of people that would totally agree with you. Trucking leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to the way training is done. And the part about feeling like a faceless nobody? That's just OTR trucking, no matter the size of the company. You're out there alone doing your job. There's no one there to pick you up when you're having a tough day or guiding you when you're in a tough spot. You're expected to motivate yourself and figure it out. Get the job done. There are no parades or support groups or local VFW-type getaways or commercials on TV thanking truckers for all they do. You just go out there and do your job, collect your paycheck, and go home for a visit with family and friends once in a while. That's trucking. For some people it's perfect, for many it's a nightmare, and for most it's somewhere in between - decent, but far from perfect.

I don't think changing companies will change how you feel about the job or the industry. It will just be a different name on the truck. You may be able to hunt around after your contract is up and find a job or a company that is better suited to your goals and your preferences, but trucking is still trucking and not all that much will change.

Posted By:  Old School

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Anybody left a higher paying job in corporate America for trucking? How did it work out for you?

Here is why we stress taking an Over The Road job first. Learning to drive and safely maneuver one of these gentle giants in all kinds of situations just takes time. No one goes to truck driving school and gets a certificate for proficiency. The only certificate you will receive is that you have had a measly 160 hours of training. Even after a year of doing this on a daily basis, you are still just barely scratching the surface of being proficient at this trade. By getting on with a major carrier who hires rookies as OTR drivers you are allowing yourself to ease into what can be a really demanding career. It's not all wonderful sunsets and adventure - in fact that first three months can be more like terror and stress on a daily basis. This also reminds me of why I like the Paid CDL Training Programs. By taking that route the company actually has a considerable investment in you and are more likely to cut you a little slack if needed to get you to the point of being a professional. At the same time, the major carriers will allow you some mistakes just because of their sheer need of drivers to move freight, and their understanding of just how difficult it is to get this down so that you can manage all the many facets of becoming proficient at this. The local jobs can be much more picky about their recruits simply because there are plenty of experienced drivers who would like to move to a local job. They have a pool of less risky candidates to choose from, and can save considerably on their insurance rates this way. There is a reason why it is less expensive to insure a driver with a good safety record and that reinforces the argument why it is difficult to start as a local driver.

You can also take a look at the numbers of successful attempts at starting this career and get an idea of how difficult it is to make a start in this career. The first company I was working for was generally hiring around 150 new inexperienced drivers each week that I was there. When I inquired what was happening to all these new drivers I found out that only about ten percent of those new drivers ever made it to the 90 days mark. That is an incredible testament to the problems associated with making a decent start at this, and that is pretty much an industry wide statistic among the OTR companies who give rookies a chance at proving themselves.

I do not recommend starting out as a local driver. There are those who have had success by taking this route, but they usually don't realize just how fortunate they were. Another thing to consider is that when you take a job with a major carrier as an OTR driver you can often times move over into a division of that some company that will give you better opportunities at being home more often. Paul W, G-Town, and Errol are great examples of this unique opportunity within these large companies. If you can prove yourself, even for about three or four months, they will usually be willing to move you into something that is regional or dedicated that will often allow you to be home for weekends or maybe three or four days each two weeks, which should make it more agreeable to putting in a good solid year with that first employer. There is ample opportunity out here if you make a good start, but the difficulties of accomplishing that good start are multiplied exponentially by starting out as a local driver.

It is much smarter to establish yourself in a way that will allow you a few mistakes, than to cripple your future career by trying to circumvent the well established path to success.

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