Scared Of Becoming A Truck Driver. Please Help Me!

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Newbie solo guy's Comment
member avatar

Hello everyone,

A little bit about me:

14 years+ dispatcher and operations manager experience in the industry. Class A cdl for the last 8 years. Past fleet owner running reefers from Chicago to Texas. I lost everything in the past. As my family is growing being in an office is just not paying the bills anymore. I have 2 months otr experience but that was 4 years ago. I have a friend of mine that hired me and I have orientation next week. Dedicated run drop hook on one side live load on the other 3500 miles weekly. I feel comfortable driving, but scared. I feel safe. I need practice still backing up, but something inside me still makes me nervous and scared. Please don't laugh at me, but I'm being honest. I'm really scared to leave my job with benefits, dedicated time, 40 hours a week, etc. How can I get over this?confused.gif

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

mountain girl's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

I'll give this a shot.

shocked.png

Let's try to separate the different types of fear and anxiety you're experiencing right now, so you can focus.

Instinctive Fear

Instinctive fear will keep you aware and alert. That's healthy fear. This is the fear that you allow yourself to listen to and never doubt because it's dead-on accurate. Something is wrong. You don't know exactly what ...pay attention to this. It's the fear that was built into our ancestors minds and passed on to us to protect us. Use it.

Lack of confidence

The lack of confidence, I think, is the thing that gets one into trouble because it causes one to drive timidly. You can't be timid. You have to be a little bold, tempered with excellent judgement. The fear that's borne out of lack of confidence is not only detrimental to one's career, it clouds one's better judgement and keen senses, and it's exhausting. Simply exhausting. When you feel this, pull over. Clock in a 10-15min break. Talk yourself through why. Then turn the truck back on.

Apprehension - caused by lack of confidence due to lack of skill

Whatever is causing you to feel apprehensive, take care of it. Resolve it. Spend at least 25 hours in a yard somewhere, practicing your backing or whatever it is you feel less skilled in, but backing is a biggie. There are the mechanics of backing and then there is this intuitive feel to backing that took me a year to achieve - that's with 10-20 backing opportunities a day. The sooner you get the mechanics down, the sooner the intuitive backing will develop in your mind. When that clicks, you will say to yourself, "Oh, now I see what she means. Okay, I got this," and the skill becomes more fluid and less strained. This is when it gets fun.

Apprehension - due to fear of the unknown

If you are apprehensive about unknown situations, yards you've never been to, scenarios you haven't dealt with yet, take five minutes, pull over and get information before you arrive so you don't end up under a low bridge or in some impossible alley-way. Use every resource in those five minutes possible. Google Earth for photos of a site, trucker friends, email someone here for help, dispatch (you would know whether or not they're a good resource), road maps, etc. and when you arrive at an unfamiliar yard, pull over before you pull in and walk the place on foot. GOAL. Take it slowly. How your drive IN to a site or yard will be based first on how you're going to get OUT of it.

I do agree with Old School and so wish I could have and could still go with an OTR company for a year. It's not practical for me. If you cannot go that route and you must jump into this particular job for financial reasons then you have no option but to grab it by the horns and do it. This is where we have to man-up and roll, right?

Keep all the above fears, anxieties, apprehensions in their separate compartments.

I urge you, while you're behind the wheel, what you really cannot afford is to bring your financial worries into the cab with you - not even that underlying anxiety we feel during the day, when we're under financial pressure. You cannot be in the mindset that tells you, "Man, I have to take this run, lalala, because I need this job so badly, because I need to pay off this bill, fill the fridge, make that car payment etc." Or even, dispatch will be ticked off at me for not delivering on time, lalala, and I need this job. Those thoughts have no place during duty hours. Period. I say this because that thinking, that anxiety, that kind of fear is going to cloud your mind and cause you to make decisions in your driving based on your fears about your finances. This is the negative, left brain, self-critical, stifling fear. Do you see the difference here? This fear cancels out your trained and instinctive fear that you use to stay keen.

Your job and your paycheck will take care of the finances. You got the job. Finances = done. Out of your mind.

When you're on the job, the decisions you make: whether or not to drive that tractor that has a DOT fail, whether or not to take that run when you know a storm is brewing, whether or not to take that run because your instincts are screaming at you not to, for some unknown reason, whether or not to cut just one corner and skip topping off your oil or your windshield wiper fluid ...

....must be based on the question of whether or not it's safe - completely free and outside of any financial influence. Period.

NOT by, "I gotta' get this done. I really need to make some money this week."

Your financial worries will dull the very instincts and training you need every hour of every day, to keep you from doing stupid s***, okay? It's like basketball. Your team might be the higher scorers. You're driving in difficult traffic like the pro. But your basketball team loses the game because it keeps fouling out. You make mistakes like bumping into dumpsters and the little, seemingly harmless boo-boos add up.

To put this another way, your finances will be taken care of just fine, if you base all your decisions on safety first.

Tell your mind "...I am keeper of the keys so you must chill!"

-John Cusak, Say Anything

-mountain girl

smile.gif

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

DOT:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

With no recent experience your fears are well founded and good. They need to put you with a trainer for a minimum of a couple of weeks.

Thirty five hundred miles a week is going to be a challenge to do consistently for a new driver.

As far as getting past your fears, my recommendation would be to start this at a company like Prime who could provide you some good solid training while also paying you some top wages. Then after a year you could "roll the dice" with your friend.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

With no recent experience your fears are well founded and good. They need to put you with a trainer for a minimum of a couple of weeks.

Thirty five hundred miles a week is going to be a challenge to do consistently for a new driver.

As far as getting past your fears, my recommendation would be to start this at a company like Prime who could provide you some good solid training while also paying you some top wages. Then after a year you could "roll the dice" with your friend.

I totally agree with Old School on this. You are waving several red flags that indicate a lack of confidence, and rightfully so. Taking one step back in order to go two steps forward in the future is the wise and prudent path to take. Good luck.

Rob S.'s Comment
member avatar

You said that you have previous 2 months OTR experience. How was that like? Why was it only two months? How comfortable were you driving then? Also, not that your friend is not honest, but 3500 miles a week is high. How about if you only get to do 2000-2500 miles, will the math still work in your favour? It sounds like you don't want to take the risk on being a trucker. Could you go back to your old job if trucking does not work out? I know, too many questions to ask yourself but you don't want to make this decision lightly. What does your heart say?

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Greg M.'s Comment
member avatar

Take your time. You can always get into trucking.

Jerry Escondido's Comment
member avatar

Hello everyone,

A little bit about me:

14 years+ dispatcher and operations manager experience in the industry. Class A cdl for the last 8 years. Past fleet owner running reefers from Chicago to Texas. I lost everything in the past. As my family is growing being in an office is just not paying the bills anymore. I have 2 months otr experience but that was 4 years ago. I have a friend of mine that hired me and I have orientation next week. Dedicated run drop hook on one side live load on the other 3500 miles weekly. I feel comfortable driving, but scared. I feel safe. I need practice still backing up, but something inside me still makes me nervous and scared. Please don't laugh at me, but I'm being honest. I'm really scared to leave my job with benefits, dedicated time, 40 hours a week, etc. How can I get over this?confused.gif

My friend, I Kind of know just what you are feeling. From reading your post, if I understand it correctly, your worrying about what the future will could bring.

This may sound stupid, but this thought, has got me through more than one rough spot in my life;

Things are bad where your are at, you have the basic skills to begin a new career, so don't worry, it can only get better from here.

Throw yourself all in. Learn all you can from other drivers. READ BRETT'S BOOK. Things will be better because they can't get worse.good-luck.gif

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Newbie solo guy's Comment
member avatar

With no recent experience your fears are well founded and good. They need to put you with a trainer for a minimum of a couple of weeks.

Thirty five hundred miles a week is going to be a challenge to do consistently for a new driver.

As far as getting past your fears, my recommendation would be to start this at a company like Prime who could provide you some good solid training while also paying you some top wages. Then after a year you could "roll the dice" with your friend.

Thanks for the feedback and input Old School. I've already went through training and even tho still feel a little nervous. I appreciate the great advice.

Newbie solo guy's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

With no recent experience your fears are well founded and good. They need to put you with a trainer for a minimum of a couple of weeks.

Thirty five hundred miles a week is going to be a challenge to do consistently for a new driver.

As far as getting past your fears, my recommendation would be to start this at a company like Prime who could provide you some good solid training while also paying you some top wages. Then after a year you could "roll the dice" with your friend.

double-quotes-end.png

I totally agree with Old School on this. You are waving several red flags that indicate a lack of confidence, and rightfully so. Taking one step back in order to go two steps forward in the future is the wise and prudent path to take. Good luck.

G-Town. Thank you for the input I do agree with you and Old School and thank you both for your feedback and support.

Newbie solo guy's Comment
member avatar

You said that you have previous 2 months OTR experience. How was that like? Why was it only two months? How comfortable were you driving then? Also, not that your friend is not honest, but 3500 miles a week is high. How about if you only get to do 2000-2500 miles, will the math still work in your favour? It sounds like you don't want to take the risk on being a trucker. Could you go back to your old job if trucking does not work out? I know, too many questions to ask yourself but you don't want to make this decision lightly. What does your heart say?

The 2 months I drove before was okay same feelings. I only drove 2 months because I did not like the idea of being OTR with my family, but now I need to make move as being in the office is not paying the bills anymore. Plus with this dedicated run I will be home weekends and maybe 1 day during the week. If I only ran 2000-2500 miles I would probably make the same money as I do in the office. I will not be able to go back to my old job as I'm leaving without notice since I had this opportunity pop up recently. My heart says I need to make a move and go because I'm in deep financial problems, legal issues with IRS bankruptcy etc. The run that I was offered I can make double my current income. Thank you for all your input.

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Newbie solo guy's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Hello everyone,

A little bit about me:

14 years+ dispatcher and operations manager experience in the industry. Class A cdl for the last 8 years. Past fleet owner running reefers from Chicago to Texas. I lost everything in the past. As my family is growing being in an office is just not paying the bills anymore. I have 2 months otr experience but that was 4 years ago. I have a friend of mine that hired me and I have orientation next week. Dedicated run drop hook on one side live load on the other 3500 miles weekly. I feel comfortable driving, but scared. I feel safe. I need practice still backing up, but something inside me still makes me nervous and scared. Please don't laugh at me, but I'm being honest. I'm really scared to leave my job with benefits, dedicated time, 40 hours a week, etc. How can I get over this?confused.gif

double-quotes-end.png

My friend, I Kind of know just what you are feeling. From reading your post, if I understand it correctly, your worrying about what the future will could bring.

This may sound stupid, but this thought, has got me through more than one rough spot in my life;

Things are bad where your are at, you have the basic skills to begin a new career, so don't worry, it can only get better from here.

Throw yourself all in. Learn all you can from other drivers. READ BRETT'S BOOK. Things will be better because they can't get worse.good-luck.gif

Jerry,

I really appreciate the advice and thoughts. I think I am going to go all in and hope for the best. I do have the basic skills just need to get over this nervous feeling. I think anything new in life is a challenge and over time things will get better. I did go to Kansas City NE unload and come back without any problems 2-3 times to help out a friend in need. I feel safe and confident with my driving just need more time to practice and get over all these scary thoughts and being nervous. I really appreciate all your help and support. Thank you for everything. Where may I find Brett''s Book? I'm interested in learning more.

Thank you

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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