Triletter Update - A Year After CDL School

Topic 1045 | Page 2

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Old School's Comment
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Congratulations Larry! Sounds like you're off and running. I think you'll be fine. Melton is a great organization and they've been doing this for a while, they know what you need as far as the load securement training is concerned. As you get to be around other flatbedders and are exposed to other new and different ways that others are doing things you will probably begin to develop your own style and way of doing things, but at the beginning just go with the ways and methods that you learn at the orientation, they will serve you well until you get a better feel for everything.

If you pay attention to what other drivers are doing while you're sitting and waiting at a shipper or receiver you will often times pick up little tips and tricks that will help you be faster or more efficient at securing and tarping your load. Don't be too shy or embarrassed to go ask another driver about something you see him doing that's got your curiosity up most of them are glad to show you what they think is the best way of doing something.

You'll find that everyone has developed their own little tricks and methods that work for them and it won't take long until you are doing the same thing. I have a little method that I came up with for throwing my straps that often draws a crowd when I'm doing it. It's really a simple concept, but I'm amazed at how many drivers tell me they've never seen anyone do it that way. I don't know if I can explain it here or not, but basically it starts with the way I roll my strap.

I roll mine with the hook on the outside of the roll rather than having it in the center of the roll when it's completed. That way I can hook it first and have one end anchored while I'm sailing the other end over the load. That's not all that unusual, but you'll find a lot of drivers like to throw the end with the hook on it for the additional heft the hook provides in assisting to get it over the top. Now, here's the part that seems to attract attention, when I'm throwing the strap over the load I form a little sling with the strap that holds the rest of the rolled portion in it's grip. The sling is about 24 inches or so long and with that sling you let it swing back and forth a couple of times and then with the momentum you are creating it only takes a good flick of the wrist and the strap sails over the top unrolling itself as it goes. For me it just seemed like a practical way of doing it, but a lot of people tell me they've never seen it before. Maybe for me, after thirty years of self employment, my mind works a little differently, but my mind tends to naturally look for better and more efficient ways of doing things.

And remember not all advice is good advice! Take what you learn from others if it helps you, but if it doesn't seem to work for you then filter it out. Like I said you will develop your own methods of getting this stuff done. At the beginning you'll feel like your taking too long to get some things done, but as you get accustomed to your own style of getting it all done you'll get more efficient.

Larry, I'm in a Western Express flat-bed truck, unit #1102, if you ever see me at a shipper or receiver come introduce yourself, it would be my pleasure to meet you. Good luck out there, and don't despair at the beginning if it seems overwhelming, it only gets better after that initial nervous start!


The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.


Operating While Intoxicated

Larry E.'s Comment
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Starcar and Old School,

Thank you both for the tips. I like the idea of helping each other out. If I am just sitting in line, I might as well be out there helping someone else so I get better at it. Also, I believe in 'what goes around comes around' so the more I pay it forward the better.

At this point, it is just anticipation of the unknown. I KNOW I can do it. I just have to be able to lighten up on myself so I don't over think it. I am often my own worst critic.

Look forward to meeting you Old School. Now every Western Express flatbed I see I will be looking for a number.

Is this a great life or what!thank-you.gif

Starcar's Comment
member avatar are gonna make a truly great skateboarder !!!! We don't get into the really awful situations that the reefer drivers get...sitting in dirt lots...having freight turned down..etc. But we do have our exciting stories !!! But its more of a brotherhood than any other part of trucking...So don't sweat the small stuff...learn all you can, ask all the questions you want, and continue your adventure !!!!


A refrigerated trailer.

Tracy W.'s Comment
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I keep a list of the rookies after they finish school and go with their first company.

Oh no! I'm on ANOTHER list! :)

PR aka Road Hog's Comment
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Hey wait a minute ... what's wrong with reefers? I was thinking about going reefer...


A refrigerated trailer.

Larry E.'s Comment
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Tried to update a couple of times this week, but phone and site had issues. Got my new home away from home; 2013 KW T660 with just under 30K on her. Moved in and will be on the board at 1100. Nervous as all get out, but really excited to get crackin' at this new challenge. I will update as I can. Melton has made me feel very welcome.

Larry E.'s Comment
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Into my second week on my 3rd load. First was a 36k coil suicide from Liepsic, OH to Talladega. Picked up a load of flat steel in Birmingham and dropped it in Dubuque; gwt 79,660. Now on a load of elevator parts all different size boxes and crates. Straight forward to secure, but a nightmare to tarp.

I deliver mid morning in Arlington, VA just off of the beltway. I'm 2 hrs out in Maryland trying to gauge the timing since there is no parking at the delivery site so can't be early. Sort of stressing about it. Hope a couple of the other guys delivering to the site stay at this truck stop to talk with them. Didn't realize we were all gong to the same place until they had left since I was loaded last.

Heat has been kicking my butt since I sweat so much. Loving it most of the time. When I get tired or frustrated I either take a break in the cool cab or remember that my Ironman triathlons were at least twice as long as any securement/tarping to date. Only soreness I have hade is in my hands from rolling tarp flaps and stretching bungies.

Being slow, but safe!


Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Old School's Comment
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Larry, it's good to hear from you with an update! Thanks for checking in with us and letting us know how you're doing. I'm really glad your enjoying the flat-bed job. We've got a few more flat-bedders among us here lately, and I'm glad for some of the new folks coming in to be able to be exposed to what a flat-bed driving job is like.

Don't worry about going slow with securement and tarping, like I told you before you will develop you're own methods and style of getting the job done, and as that development begins to take shape all of a sudden one day you'll realize that you're a flat-bedder now and it all seems to be going just fine without near the amount of struggle that you were going through at the beginning. Having a load secured safely always trumps having it secured quickly.

I still remember how my hands would ache at the beginning particularly that month I spent with my trainer. Of course he was convinced he was making me a better man by never touching a tarp himself, so I did all of that. I can remember always trying to get my tarps rolled up nice and tight because they were easier for me to handle when they were like that. My hands would hurt so bad sometimes after rolling those tarps they would literally be shaking when I got back in the truck. The good news is that I don't even notice it anymore.

I'm sure we're gonna meet up one day, because the places you just mentioned picking up and delivering to are the same places I go to fairly often. I get coils in Leipsic OH all the time, and I delivered a coil from AK Steel in Ashland Kentucky to Precision Strip in Talladega Alabama just a day or two after you were there. I'm in New Jersey tonight with a load of pipe that I picked up in Bessemer Alabama.

I agree with you about the heat, it can really make it tough out there, but about the time we stop complaining about it we're going to be wondering how it got so cold all of a sudden. Like a steady and faithful rhythm the circle never ends, and the world keeps turning. The seasons come and go and we hopefully get a little wiser as we get a little older.

Keep up the good work!


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Larry E.'s Comment
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Old School,

I'm putting lots of things both you and Starcar provided me. Getting the company reporting system down. Securement is coming along, but each load is so different than the last. Under a load of construction steel; felt like a monkey climbing all over it. I am certain I will regret this, but cooler weather is going to be much welcomed; securing in 108 degree temp isn't fun or particularly safe!

Get my lap top and a couple other supplies when I make it through the house tomorrow which make for better posts and living conditions in the truck.

By the way, I paid forward a bit with one of your guys the other day. He had been trying to tarp a load for 4 hours and was clearly flustered. I showed him what I had been taught and he was gone in about an hour must be learning something!

Loving this job in spite of the trials and tribulations thrown at me. Had my first level 1 and got dinged for a loose strap. Was 10 miles from lctc when I hit the scale. Had crushed one box and didn't want to over tighten that one. Not what I wanted in the first 2 weeks with the company, but have a better idea what to look for; could have probably tightened the load before going into the scale house. Chocked it off to a lesson learned and moved on.

Hope to see you out here on the road; Melton truck # 9118.


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Starcar's Comment
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The funny thing about DOT and straps and tarps....if the load calls for 10 straps, and you put on the 10, but decide that an extra 2 would make it more secure...DOT expects ALL 12 straps to be matter if the load only calls for 10...I've been dinged on an extra strap being loose...dang it...


Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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