New Driver

Topic 1668 | Page 1

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Dominic P.'s Comment
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I am done training, I have done my first load andI am currently on my first home time after training. I have also relised i am going Solo otr and i am heading in to my first few monts of driving heading into winter and with out ever trouching the mountians . All this has really intemidated atme, I know I have done all the training on the computer and class room. I also know that doingnit for real is way diffrent. I just hope I can get thought this winter with out any probloms .


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.

Tracey K.'s Comment
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You will be fine. We are all hear to talk you through it. Daniel B. has good experience in the snow so hit him up from time to time. I am sure he won't mind. Main thing is to take it slow. Remember this above all things, "THE SLOWER YOU GO THE MORE CONTROL YOU HAVE OF THE TRACTOR AND TRAILER."

And that's what you want. Control.

Let us know about your first day out by yourself. I promise you it is going to be a blast!

Drive safe.

Good work!good-luck.gif

Daniel B.'s Comment
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Dominic, before you need to make sure that you have the proper equipment for the snow and that your truck is healthy.

Since you just got your truck you need to do many things. Remember, it's now your responsibility.

Here's a to-do list:

Check your permits and make sure they aren't close to expiring of already expired. Check for IFTA.

Make sure you have the proper chains and the proper amount. Remember you need chains for the drive tires and one set for the trailer axle.

Make sure you have more than enough bungee cords and the keys to tighten the chains.

You're probably using the jake brakes all day right now, which is fine. But remember when the road is icy or wet you cannot use jake brakes. So don't get too used to them.

Make sure that you don't have any air leaks. Seriously. Dead seriously. You don't want to get a low air warning while going doing a hill. An air leak will just expedite the process of losing all air.

While the weather is good. You should practice putting on chains. It's confusing but it's much better to learn in the nice Fall weather than when it's 10 degrees outside.

This might be controversial and might sound wrong. But when the weather is bad you need to stop caring so much if the load will get there on time. A hot load will get cold real quickly in the ditch. You should care about making appointment times but don't ever risk your life over it. Personally, when the weather is very bad I turn on my "I don't care button". In other words, I stop caring about appointments and all that. I focus on myself and my equipment and take it as slow as I want to take it. They can always reschedule but I refuse to risk my life for the unhealthy, processed food that's in my trailer.

Take it slow and resist temptation. You'll find out soon enough. When the road is ice there will always be other truckers still driving it because they think it can't happen to them. If you don't think you can drive the road then don't drive the road! If you feel safe only going 40 then go 40 and let the fools around you pass you. You'll see them in the ditch soon enough.

Monitor the weather. Know of the dangers on your route. Do not be afraid to park because the road is to unsafe. If the weather is bad today, chances are it will be much better tomorrow.

Make sure you don't park below 50% fuel. You don't want to ever risk the heater eating up your fuel and then you lose your heater for the night. One time I parked with like 20% fuel and I woke up to an empty tank because of the heater. My truck wouldn't even move it automatically turned off. That was a miserable morning.

Pack extra food for emergencies. Sometimes a road will be closed leaving you to just sit there parked on the interstate because there's no where else to go. Make sure you have enough food with you to survive in case that happens.

This is all advice from the top of my head. I started training in December and went solo in January. I was a rookie in the middle of the winter and it was definitely wild. You will have problems. But remember to stay calm and think smart.


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

Dominic P.'s Comment
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Thank you I will do my best to keep the truck running it is 2010 int. Prostar wit 518k . I have already made the comitment being safe this winter,I am sure Inwill have a question or two over this next few months .I am glad ,I have a place to come if I have questions . I am exsited about this new career,and I just want to make as few mistakes as possable .Werner dose cable chains i ned to put a set on other driver have said normaly if you have to chain up with Werner you probaly do not need to be driving so they have said .

Old School's Comment
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Dominic, Congratulations!

You've got a whole family here to get advice from. We will help you in any way we can. Any time you've got a question about anything, you feel free to jump in here and we will do our best to point you in the right direction.

James925's Comment
member avatar

Well I don't think anyone can top what Daniel said, but I'll just echo a very important point he brought up. When the weather gets severe, stop worrying about if the load will be there on time, and instead worry about how you can keep complete control of the truck in inclement weather. One slip, and it's goodnight now. If you don't feel safe, pull over until you do. If you're dispatch calls you and asks why you're not moving, tell them you don't feel safe. No dispatcher worth their weight will argue with you about that.

You'll be fine. And also make sure you have plenty of blankets and warm clothes for the winter weather. It's amazing how cold it can get outside (and inside) the truck.

Good luck!


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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