Owning Your Mistakes

Topic 10998 | Page 1

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Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

Sometimes you screw up out here and it costs you money, time, and effort. (There's your Oxford comma, Errol!) As much as I hate to publicly admit when I screw up, I'll share my latest mistake with the hope that it helps someone else, somehow.

Our load of drywall was supposed to deliver on Friday. We had plenty of time on the load to make it by the beginning of the delivery window in Utah In Friday. The plan was to get empty as early as possible so we had the best shot at a high-paying weekend load with lots of miles on it.

We loaded out of Oklahoma heading to Utah. I drove my shift and then my trainee took over in Denver and I got in the bunk.

He woke me up just outside Laramie. It was snowing on Sherman Summit and he had followed another truck up the exit ramp. There's a three or four mile 5% downgrade with curves after the summit, and it was his first time driving a big truck in the snow.

We weighed about 77,500. It wasn't terrible, maybe two or three inches of snow and traffic was still moving so there were tire tracks to follow. The temperature was right at freezing, but it wasn't icy. The radar indicated that the snow stopped before Laramie, which was about 12 miles away and showed a temp in the mid-30s. Jakes were out of the question, of course, but I would have driven it going very slow down the hill. I couldn't, though, because I was out of hours.

I did some quick calculations and figured we could still make the delivery by the end of the window at 1500 if I started driving right when my 10 hour break was up. I let night dispatch know what was going on. We pulled into the rest area there and slept some more.

It was a great plan until I overslept by an hour. I woke up to find a message from my FM asking for our ETA. He could see we weren't moving but hadn't gotten the message from night dispatch. I let him know what happened and he came up with a plan to drop our load at the terminal in Salt Lake and get another load out for the weekend.

So, because I overslept we had to unstrap and untarp and then retarp the load with a yard tarp, which cost us added effort for no additional tarp pay. I also won't get all the money for the load that I would have if we'd delivered it since someone will have to drive 20 miles to the receiver on Monday and there's only so much money on that load.

Now, I could complain about all this and look for someone else to blame. I don't like to admit to myself or anyone else that I screwed up, so the easy thing to do would be to look for some cause other than myself to explain how this situation came to be.

For example, I could blame my trainee for not driving down the grade. After all, it was only four miles and the snow stopped at the bottom of the hill. Why couldn't he suck it up and go down the mountain? That's trucking, after all!

Or I could blame my dispatcher for not paying me to retarp the load on the yard. What, am I working for free out here while he chills at his comfy desk?

But the simple truth is that it was my fault that I overslept. If I hadn't done that, we could have delivered the load on time.

My trainee did exactly the right thing. He didn't feel comfortable driving down that grade in the snow at 2:00 a.m. He's only been driving six weeks and this was his first time in snow. In fact, I plan to buy him dinner when we stop tomorrow to reinforce the idea that he did the right thing by keeping us safe.

And my dispatcher busted his butt to fix my mistake. I caused him some extra work on a Friday, so I owe him, not the other way around. The good part is we didn't have to sit all weekend waiting to deliver this load. My dispatcher found us a good load that we could pick up after hours at a shipper right in Salt Lake. He made it easy for us to keep rolling.

I suspect that if I had a habit of complaining and yelling at him, we might have sat in Salt Lake City all weekend. I have a buddy on the same board who complained and yelled at him about not getting any loads to the East where he lives. His next three loads took him to California, Montana, and Arizona. After a week out here in the West, he's finally heading back east.

Admitting your own mistakes and owning your part of whatever situation you find yourself in is a big part of keeping a good attitude. Maintaining that good attitude pays off big in the long run, not just in trucking, but in your whole life.

Like I said, I'm like most people. I don't like to admit my mistakes, and especially not publicly, but I'm hoping that this might help someone new to trucking understand something about the practical part of what can happen and how to deal with it productively. If you can keep an even keel no matter what, you will get help from others when you need it most, and you'll save yourself a lot of wear and tear from stress.

Shipper:

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Bud, first, it's always good to own up to your mistakes, and this one also helped your trainee without making him feel "chicken" on the snowy roads. Also, posting it here is great so that others can see some of the situations that can come up on the road.

The rule for Oxford commas is still debatable, no one knows what you're talking about and why should I use extra pixels when I really don't need to?

rofl-3.gif

The Persian Conversion's Comment
member avatar

Great post Bud! You had me worried there for a minute, I was expecting you to say that you let your trainee drive and got into a wreck! Glad it all worked out okay :)

PPGER's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for posting. It is always best to do the right thing and the safe thing, even if it costs us a little. I can't help but think that it would have cost a lot more if the trainee had tried to drive down the grade when he wasn't comfortable and lost control of the rig. Good decisions by all! And like you said, your past behavior toward your dispatcher made it a lot better when you needed some understanding on their end.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for a great post Bud...and the Oxford comma. Where does Errol get those pictures?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Q. Where does Errol get those pictures?

A. That's my Halloween MASK!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Scott O.'s Comment
member avatar

Q. Where does Errol get those pictures?

A. That's my Halloween MASK!

looks like the guy from super trooper..

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Q. Where does Errol get those pictures?

A. That's my Halloween MASK!

double-quotes-end.png

looks like the guy from super trooper..

license and registation, chicken F***er. Can't wait to see number 2 (started filming it)

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Miss Miyoshi's Comment
member avatar

Great post! Proof that you draw more flies with honey than vinegar. (This saying never made sense to me, because who REALLY wants to draw flies anyway?

Also, Oxford commas always, and two spaces after periods!

Scott D's Comment
member avatar

Just get a large, Farva.

I don't want a large Farva, I want a liter of cola.

Do we have liter-a-cola?

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