My Experience With Trucking So Far...

Topic 12603 | Page 1

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Daniel N.'s Comment
member avatar

It has been a while since I posted a topic on here, but I felt like I need to get some things off my chest here, as many of you can relate, having been in the trucking field for a good while or more. I "upgraded" to a regular driver on January 6th. Got a rental car from the company and drove down to Atlanta, Georgia to pick up the truck I was assigned to. The truck was dirty and messy on the inside, but it was drive-able at the least. I managed to do a few loads before being able to come home recently for a few days. But what surprised me was that PAM Transport is a company that focuses on team driving, mainly, but when I upgraded, I had to go solo due to there being nobody near where I lived within 100 miles. I would just like to say that I was constantly freaked out and frightened throughout my experiences being solo. Even after my training, there were THOUSANDS of questions going on in my mind and so many things that I just didn't know anything about, ranging from proper use of other macros on the Qualcomm to good choice-making in general, like finding a proper spot to park without getting in anyone's way. I've felt like I went through hell these past few weeks, and it really has given me some crazy little nightmares that constantly wake me up several times during the night. The fear of the unknown is what really scares me. So not only have I been stressed about route planning and getting to the shipper/co-signee on time, I've also been trying to figure out how to make things happen, such as going to a shop to fix up this truck or how to handle certain situations that arise. Too many things are wrong with the truck now, some of which has came up within the past week, like the Engine Break not working half the time and ABS light/Triangle lit up randomly. There's a million and one things we, as truck drivers, have to focus on, and there's so many things that work against us, making our experiences with trucking anything but pleasant, at least for new drivers like myself. I've had to make many tough choices within these past few weeks of driving by myself. I guess being solo has its rewards also, but for this company, the pay is not one of them. Parking is pathetic at the later hours of the day, backing is always tricky if not downright impossible, shippers/receivers take forever to get you going, often times finishing right before or past your 11/14 hr clock, and numerous places where parking is illegal, whether you're out of hours or not. It is crazy. All this I've faced, no paycheck has been above $300, so it is like hell but without the good pay.

This is how I feel about the trucking industry/this company ever since I got out to drive on my own. I know it is very rewarding if you give effort, but I try my best and I still can't quite go an hour or two without worrying about something. Thanks for reading my little rant.


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.


Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.
Hrynn's Comment
member avatar

Everyone gets those feelings of intense worry/stress when they first go solo. It can be very nerve wracking being out there on your own dealing with the backing, lack of parking, hours of service, trip planning, and everything else with no one beside you to guide you through it. You just have to stick to it. You will get the hang of it. Most people I've talked to didn't lose that feeling completely until they had passed the six month mark (myself included). It's tough, but do your best and remember if you have specific questions about anything, the people on this forum are usually happy to help you out.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

Daniel, when I first went solo, I worried about everything too. I had a special fear of shutting down too late and not being able to find a parking spot within my allowed hours. And I understand the fear of the unknown. Some of us have minds that like to spin different scenarios, and too often those thoughts turn negative and fearful.

So let me give you some positive thoughts to consider. I've been solo a little over a year now and those fears and worries are almost completely gone. Why? Because with experience, I have learned some things and improved some skills that have given me a lot more confidence.

For example, now I can back this truck in pretty much anywhere there is room. I might not nail it the first time, but I know I can get it in there without hitting anything, and pretty quickly, too. This means if the only thing left later in the evening is a tight spot between two trucks at a truck stop or rest area, instead of getting butterflies and passing it up, I go for it and pull the brakes (with a sigh of relief) when I'm parked.

I also have a better idea of how to trip plan. If I have to drive until 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. or later to get 'er done, I look far ahead and come up with a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, and a "go to hell" plan (exit ramps, vacant lots I can see on Google, side streets in industrial parks). Having a clear plan really alleviates a lot of fears. It takes some effort and time, but even when the schedule is crowding your mind and telling you to get moving, it's far better to take a few minutes to think it through before you head out, rather than trying to figure it out while you're driving. You need all the attention you can muster when the truck is moving, so settle the things that you can (like where you'll park, how to get into the location, etc.) so you can focus on driving.

All of this, and some other things (like being familiar with routes because you've actually been down that road a couple times), come with experience. There's no real substitute for that. But keep in mind that millions of others have done it successfully and safely, and so can you.

You're still new - give yourself a break! No one on this forum will tell you that the first year is easy. What we'll tell you is, take your time, relax as much as you can, and don't hit anything. If you do that for a year, a lot of these anxieties will just sort of melt away because then you will have some experience. There isn't any other way to get that besides plugging away at it a day at a time till you have a bunch of days in a row of doing it.

I'm still learning a lot every day, but some of the things that really sapped my confidence initially have just vanished into thin air with the little bit of experience I have. Keep going, keep improving your ability to control the truck, keep learning where and when it's a good time to shut down and when you can keep rolling.

I can't help you too much with the Qualcomm or the best way to keep your truck maintained since I don't work for PAM, but I'll wager there are people who work in the office who will help you figure it out if you ask them. They know you're new. Just call them and say, "Hey, I've never had this problem before. Can you help point me in the right direction so I can take care of this?" Someone in the office might be burned out on their job and give you a gruff answer, but stay polite and ask someone else if you get absolutely no useful information.

And as far as the money goes, it will get better as you gain experience. Most of this stuff just takes time. We're here to help, so I hope this helps!


Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.


Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.


Hours Of Service

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

I'm right there with you. Been solo less than a month. Stressed out and worried about every thing.

Finally told myself that I must only think about the next move. One step at a time. Drive the truck. Get there when I can and screw the schedule, as they have more time than they are showing you. Don't think about the backing until you are looking at the hole. Got a company drop yard ? Go there and practice backing. Much less stress when you are alone. Relax and do it one step at a time.


Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Roughly a year ago I upgraded to Solo with Swift. In that first week or so, I counted 13 issues. Just like you I thought at times I was in over my head.

Read & laugh: My First Week Adventure As A Swift Driver

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