What Are Top 10-20 Rookie / Student Driving Mistakes In First 6-12 Months ?

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Daniel S.'s Comment
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what are top 10-20 rookie / student driving mistakes in first 6-12 months ? i am hoping the answers are more specific like "downshifting mistakes" or "low clearance mistakes" or "not reading all the signs" or "not preparing for the route enough" or "bad backup setups/tips", "not setting tandems / weight balance correctly", etc. some of the ones like "not focusing on a parking arrangement" in your 10th hour of the 11 hour day is also along that line as well. thank you jt

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Daniel B.'s Comment
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Oh boy where do I begin lol.

#1. Just flat out doing stupid things. This could be anything from taking a curve to quickly to missing a turn.

#2. Grinding gears all day and still struggling with downshifting. Everyone grinds, but not everyone grinds like a driver on their first month.

#3. Fueling too much. Some loads are very heavy. I've had one load where I had to throw away some chains just to make the weight. Fueling too much can put you overweight. Coming in with full fuel for a beer load is suicide.

#4. Not having the fifth wheel in the correct position. There really is a perfect spot for that fifth wheel. Experiment with it and find your spot so you can have more weight off the drive axles. #5. Driving when the conditions are not ideal. As a rookie you just want to make a good impression. Sometimes you sacrifice safety without you knowing it. As a rookie you don't know all that well about the road conditions.

#6. Failing to trip plan. It's just a thing you learn over time. But it could make you late if you mess up.

#7. Not realizing that you can park at some shippers or recievers so you can unload or load while taking your 10 your break. Nothing sucks more than having to drive only 6 miles and having to start your clock when you could have just parked at the facility.

#8. Underestimating the stupidity of 4-wheelers. I don't mean this offensively. But the things that 4-wheelers do around trucks is astonishing.

#9. Taking downhills too fast. A lesson I learned the hard way. Don't take downhills fast. Remember you can always upshift but you cannot ever downshift. You can go down a hill a million times slowly, but you can only go down a hill one time fast.

#10. Taking in all the stress. Trucking is very stressful. You need you learn to forget and move on.

#11. Going for the difficult parking spots at truck stops instead of parking in an easy spot and walking an extra 15 feet. Most accidents occur at truck stops so its a good habit to be extra vigilant in them.

#12. Ensuring that you're legal for states that have a strict kingpin setting like CA. There's a simple answer - always scale the load.

#13. Talking in an unprofessional manner to your DM and/or shippers/receivers. These people literally control your life and happiness. Don't mess with them. Be kind, grateful, and professional.

#14. Not taking local directions seriously. This can lead to disasters. This can lead to low clearances, non-truck routes, and a whole lot of other headaches. Always plan every turn and study the route, especially when you're going into a city in the East.

#15. Not balancing your hours each day so you can always have hours coming back and you can always be driving every day. Working 11 hours then 3 hours then 10 hours then 5 hours isn't a good thing. Balancing the days is always better.

#16. Not being a member of TruckingTruth is also a mistake rookies make. They lose out on so much knowledge.

That's really all I can think of. Thanks!

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.

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Woody's Comment
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What a GREAT question, and an even better answer! I really look forward to more replies as there are things on the first list that I never would have considered.

Daniel B.'s Comment
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What a GREAT question, and an even better answer! I really look forward to more replies as there are things on the first list that I never would have considered.

I sure hope someone else will add to my list. This is a very good question!

Mark .'s Comment
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#15. Not balancing your hours each day so you can always have hours coming back and you can always be driving every day. Working 11 hours then 3 hours then 10 hours then 5 hours isn't a good thing. Balancing the days is always better.

Would you elaborate? Thanks

Daniel B.'s Comment
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#15. Not balancing your hours each day so you can always have hours coming back and you can always be driving every day. Working 11 hours then 3 hours then 10 hours then 5 hours isn't a good thing. Balancing the days is always better.

double-quotes-end.png

Would you elaborate? Thanks

Sure. Now this all has to do with hours of service so it might be confusing.

When your 70 starts you want to use it smartly. When it runs out you'll be having to depend on recaps. Recaps are the hours you worked a week ago that you get back. When you run out of hours you want your recaps to be able to still get you from point A to B. for example. If my delivery is tomorrow evening and its 300 miles away ill need an estimate of 6 hours to get there. But if I'm out of hours and I will have to depend on my recap hours to get me there on time and I'm only getting back 3 hours that'll force me to be late to the appointment.

So because I managed my time poorly a week ago, I'm now late for an appointment a week later. If I work 9 hours each day I would never run out of hours. 9x8= 72. So instead of getting back 3 hours on that day I would instead be getting back 9 hours and with those hours I would easily make the appointment.

It's basically so you can drive every day. So you won't have days where you're out of hours and not getting much hours back so you just have to sit there in a truck stop all day long.

I hope I explained it well. If not please let me know.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
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Mark, I'm going to let Daniel elaborate on that since he brought it up, but you can learn about it on your own by working your way through the High Road Training Program on this site. It is in the section on log books, and that section is worth it's weight in gold.

As usual it's hard to follow up on one of Daniels responses because they are just that good! But a couple of things come to my mind.

One is failing to maintain a proper following distance. This is the one thing that will save your career, and maybe your's or someone else's life if you will keep it as a priority. It is sometimes hard to do because of crazy four wheelers toying with fate, but no matter what everybody else is doing it's still your responsibility to watch out not only for yourself but also the safety of those around you. Your sometimes pushing eighty thousand pounds of raw inertia and momentum, not to mention crushing steel. It's an easy thing for a rookie to get caught in a jam when something on a clear and easy going day just immediately turns to madness right in front of you. Being aware of all your surrounding areas of space and keeping that following distance clear gives you time to hit an escape route from danger if necessary.

Secondly is not keeping in mind that your trailer tandems track on a different route than your tractor tires. I've seen numerous accidents at the truck stops. These are places where rookies get in trouble. They tear somebody else's truck up badly when their trailer drags across the front of someone's tractor. These tractor bodies are made of fiberglass and what usually happens is the poor innocent victim has 12 - 15,000 dollars worth of damage and the rookies trailer is barely damaged.

The third thing is not a specific thing like you requested, but I think it is an important reason for so many failures in getting a career launched in trucking. That would be not really being committed to seeing it through for a one year run. It's hard to relate to how important this is, but unlike most jobs, this one takes a lot of practice to really get the hang of it so that you start moving along in such a fashion that you are enjoying your career and making some decent pay also. In sports you never see any superstars being made out of guys that are sitting on the bench. They have got to be in the game to be developing their skills. It's the same way in this industry, you learn valuable lessons everyday that you are on the road. The day that you get bored and stop learning is the day you need to hang your keys up and find something else to do. This is why we have so many places like the Truckers Report that are full of whining cry babies trying to out do someone else's tale of woe on how the evil trucking companies ruined their life. Had some of those people started their careers with some better understanding of what kind of undertaking they were getting themselves into, and what it was going to take to see it through, we'd have a new generation of successful drivers out there instead of a bunch of quitters. It can be a tough job, and it takes some tough people to see it through. But the rewards are there for those who have what it takes to see it through.

Hope I've helped some, and I sincerely hope you can get out there and enjoy doing this half as much as I do!

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.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
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Ah, he jumped in there while I was writing my response. These youngsters are too quick for me!

Daniel B.'s Comment
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Ah, he jumped in there while I was writing my response. These youngsters are too quick for me!

Lol! Funny guy! I'm at a Walmart D/C in Riverside CA. Lets just say I have plenty of time on my hands haha

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Yeah, me too! I ran so hard last week that after 3400 miles I'm on a forced holiday today! Talk about not dividing out your hours evenly - I'm guilty! But I sure made my dispatcher happy. He owes me now!

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.
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