Scared Of Becoming A Truck Driver. Please Help Me!

Topic 11718 | Page 2

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G-Town's Comment
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mountain girl's Comment
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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.

Newbie solo guy's Comment
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Moutain girl,

Your words really helped me focus more and opened up my eyes to see things in a different view. I do have the confidence just need the practice out there otr. I will follow all your advice and keep my fears separated and not think of any of my financial issues while I'm on the road. I thank you for the great words and wisdom. I'm so happy I found this forum as it's really helpful to hear from experienced honest drivers.

God bless everyone in this trucker community!!

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.

Andy S.'s Comment
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The only way to get over the nerves is to do it. You stated you have the training, you have the knowledge and the motivation. Don't let your mind wander to the what if's, think about the positive aspects. The increased pay seeming to be your primary motivation at this point. 3,500 miles seems high for a weekends home and possible one night a week run. 2,500 to 3,000 seems more likely. Just remember, you can do infinitely more than you think you can do. Keep your head in the game and be safe.

Good luck!

Errol V.'s Comment
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Mountain Girl knows what she's talking about. She has posted experiences of all these "fears" here on Trucking Truth. You can look them up.

Imagine you (yes, you) are standing on the tiny platform for a trapeze act in a circus. Holding to the support pole, you look down and then at the swinging trapeze swinging in for you to grab. Most untrained people would get scared (anything)-less and would rather go for a double root canal than to grab the trapeze bar.

flying-trapeze-o.gif

But the Trapeze guy does this three times a day, plus practice, and it's no big deal. Both of you really do have the arm strength to hold the bar, and could easily grab the bar when it comes in. What is the difference between Mr. Chicken and Mr. Trapeze?

The trapeze artist 1. does know what to do, and more importantly, really understands the risk and knows what to do if he misses (There's a safety net below.)

In truck driving, same deal: It's snowy freezing cold, you are on I-80, Wyoming at the top of a hill. The newbies would rather walk because they've never experienced this. But their mentor starts talking them through it: "Slow way down. Watch for bare pavement because it may be 'black ice' .... ".

All this to explain fear is being in a situation where you are afraid of the consequences and aren't sure what to do to get out of the situation. Confidence, on the other hand is recognizing the situation and knowing what to do to manage your way out.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Steve J.'s Comment
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Brett's Book (free online version)

mountain girl's Comment
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Your words really helped me focus more and opened up my eyes to see things in a different view. I do have the confidence just need the practice out there otr. I will follow all your advice and keep my fears separated and not think of any of my financial issues while I'm on the road.

-Newbie solo guy

I was glad to write it out. It makes me very happy that it helped you.

It's like riddin' a bike, Man. You'll remember a lot when you're back in the saddle and soon you'll be even better at it than you were before.

-mountain girl

smile.gif

P.S. Hey, Errol. Thanks for the kind words, Bro.

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.

The Persian Conversion's Comment
member avatar

Man, so much good info in this thread, thanks MG!

I will only add that I totally agree with others who have stated that 3,500 miles a week is going to be a stretch. Especially when you'll only be working 5 or maybe even 4 days a week! Unless you plan on running dual logbooks and cheating the system to drive several hours beyond the legal limit each day, it ain't gonna happen.

Realistically, I would plan on averaging about 500 miles a day to account for weather, traffic, etc. On many days you might be able to make 600. On the very best days you just may crack 700. But you will never hit 875 miles in a single day, which is what you would need to do for 4 days straight to run 3,500 miles in a 4-day work week.

Even running 700 miles a day for 5 days straight is just not gonna happen.

So I would seriously take that into consideration before taking the plunge, since it seems your only real reason for doing this is to make more money than you're making right now.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

Daniel's Comment
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Man, so much good info in this thread, thanks MG!

I will only add that I totally agree with others who have stated that 3,500 miles a week is going to be a stretch. Especially when you'll only be working 5 or maybe even 4 days a week! Unless you plan on running dual logbooks and cheating the system to drive several hours beyond the legal limit each day, it ain't gonna happen.

Realistically, I would plan on averaging about 500 miles a day to account for weather, traffic, etc. On many days you might be able to make 600. On the very best days you just may crack 700. But you will never hit 875 miles in a single day, which is what you would need to do for 4 days straight to run 3,500 miles in a 4-day work week.

Even running 700 miles a day for 5 days straight is just not gonna happen.

So I would seriously take that into consideration before taking the plunge, since it seems your only real reason for doing this is to make more money than you're making right now.

Personal experience (regardless of driving day, OR night shift): I drive 650mi/day. Of course, there are days I've hit 750mi. but we're governed at 65mph.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

Newbie solo guy's Comment
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I called today to verify the miles and was told 2700-3900 miles per week. That is in 5-6 days which makes more sense to me now. It's about 450-490 miles one way so each round trip is 900-980 miles. They say I can legally do 4 round trips per week. I can see 3 round trips, but how can I possibly do 4 round trips? Thats closer to 4000 miles now. What do you guys think? I'm new to this so I'm not trying to kill myself out there. I think I can manage 3 round trips weekly, but 4 seems crazy. shocked.png

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