One Rookie Move After Another...sigh

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Kat's Comment
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I've been out with my trainer for about two weeks now, and this past week I had a couple of days where it was just one thing after another. LOL I have learned some things though.

Lesson 1: Never fully trust the QC navigation system.

I had switched over from nights to days, and we had been going through an area where truck stops and rest areas were not that frequent. I really had to make a stop. I asked the QC to route me to a truck stop, and Love's pops up about three miles off the interstate. When I get there, it's on a busy city street and is a convenience truck parking! I didn't know how much longer I could wait, so I woke my trainer after pulling off the road sitting parallel between the parked cars and the road. She told me to put the 4 ways on and run in, and she stayed up long enough to help me navigate through tiny streets back to the interstate. What kind of truck stop has no truck parking???

A couple of hours later... I had about an hour left on my clock, so I was looking for a spot to stop as close to my time being up as I could get. I asked the QC again to find me something. She tells me to get off the next exit, so I do...but there was no truck stop visible. No problem, I tell myself...I've had to drive a little way away from the highway before. I put my trust in her, and what does she do?? She led me down a dead end road with virtually no place to turn around. There were no signs either until you got to 500 feet of the end. I woke my trainer, and she backed us out of there. As it turned out, the dead end road was an access road that ran very close to the highway, so even though she TOLD me to turn specifically on that road, she was trying to get me back on the highway going the other direction to a truck stop I had passed.

Lesson 2: Homeland security guys in New Mexico have no sense of humor.

The day after the dead end incident, I had to stop in NM at one of those security checkpoints. Mind you, I am reading every sign to reduce the chances of me doing something else stupid. I pull up to the guard and roll the window down.

Him: Are you a US citizen? Me: Yes Him: Why did you come through this line? * I'm confused and looking around to see if there was another line. Him: Did you not notice that you are the only semi in this line? Trucks are supposed to be in the other line up there. (He points up to my right.) Me: I'm sorry. I didn't know there was another line. *He looks at me suspiciously. Him: Did you not see the sign? *I'm furiously thinking back through all the signs I read, and I shake my head no. Him: You didn't see that GREAT BIG SIGN right there beside the road? Me: No, sir. I didn't. I'm sorry. *Still thinking about those signs I read... Him: Are you ok to drive?? Me: Oh, yes sir! Him: Are you sure?? Me: Listen...I'm just really new at this. I'm really sorry. *He gives me another "look" and motions with his hand for me to move along. Him: Be safe.

My trainer had been in the sleeper this whole time listening. When we were pulling off, I told her that I seriously had been vigilant about signage, and I hadn't seen one. Don't worry about it, she tells me. The funniest thing was that we DID see signs saying the checkpoint was coming up and had been joking about messing with the officer. So driving down the road, I'm just shaking my head.

Lesson 3: Sometimes you need X-ray vision as a super power.

A little while later, somewhere in AZ... So far it's SIGNS: 2, KAT: 0... Nature calls, so I looked up a truck stop (from the book this time) and headed to a Love's that wasn't too far away. It turned out to be a smaller one, and driving in, I didn't see a sign for the truck entrance, but I DO see a tanker in the parking lot near a turn in. I stop and notice that cars are parked too, but it looked like the driveway went all the way around the I turn in and head that way. Whoops!! That driveway dead ended into a drive through, and there was not enough room through the parking lot to complete the turn and follow the driveway on out. I sat there, stupified that I did that...and then I woke my trainer up...again. I explained what I had done and why as the store manager was heading for us and another guy from the parking lot offering to help. As it turned out, that fellow was kind enough to stop traffic while my trainer backed us out of there. The sign for the truck entrance had been covered by a tree...

The last couple of days have been better. I just have to laugh at myself sometimes and be thankful that I have a trainer with the patience of Job. I was feeling pretty sorry for her...LOL


Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).


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HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Scott M's Comment
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Kay- Love what you wrote, thanks for sharing. The "patience of Job"- it's been a long time since I've heard that. Thankfully most, if not all of us, have not experienced having 10 children die.

Sounds like you've got a good trainer.

Susan D. 's Comment
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Ahhh... Those first weeks of fun. Just wait til you go solo. You might cry then, but 6 months later you'll be laughing about your adventures.

First and foremost, whatever you do, dont panic. Panic causes more mistakes that are harder to fix. Stop, set the brakes, turn on your 4 ways. BREATHE! Look around and figure it out. If you find yourself in a real pickle, ask for help if some is nearby or by calling 911 and asking police to stop traffic or whatever is necessary to get you turned around safely without damage.

This was the advice my safety department gave us brand new drivers during orientation.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
C T.'s Comment
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Not sure what company you work for, or their routing gps, but that QC is nearly useless. If possible, when you go solo, I'd get a truck gps to help you out. I rely mostly on my atlas, followed by my rand McNally. Lastly I use maps on my phone to scope the area and get a visual.

ChickieMonster's Comment
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In smaller towns there are Love's that are only for cars. Let me guess, you were in Kansas?

I always try to plan out where I'm going to stop before hand or have my husband check trucker path. I always look for the big signs on the highway if I just have to run in for the bathroom. I know that I can pull thru the fuel island, run in and be back before the person behind me is done.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
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Use trucking path app and only go to TA Petro and Flying j with 200+ spaces for awhile.

Lots of love and pilots are either fuel only or so small u want to scream.

Learn the rookie stuff now... lol. You still have them as sue said but you'll laugh later. It's worth it though.

Big Scott's Comment
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I think you need to learn how to back out of those situation without having your trainer do it. Sure you would have to go at a snails pace, but what practice with an experienced guide. Good luck and stay safe. Glad you are getting along great. I bet you won't make these mistakes again. :)


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob S.'s Comment
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It sounds like you're doing fine really. You didn't panic and make things worse. Small mistakes beget big mistakes if you let them. Keep smiling.

Cwc's Comment
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I'm going with Kansas also. Not to many Love's are gas only and the one that comes to mind is just off 54 I think. Goggle maps on your phone is great for several reasons. 1. It can help you find truckstops 2. If your picking up or delivering in a busy area or will be arriving after hours and you wanna know if they might have enough room for you to catch a nap before they open google earth... 3. Errol V's Backing Practice threads.... he wouldn't be able to post them without Google maps/Google earth....

Also slow down... This will help you more than you think when it comes to finding shippers and recivers... as well as the correct entrance to the truck stop....


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.

Kat's Comment
member avatar

It wasn't Kansas.... Haven't been through there yet. LOL I don't know where I am half the time anymore. We had to have been in Texas....

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