School Or Pick A Company? And How Do I Choose Between Company Driver Or Owner Operator?

Topic 16714 | Page 4

Page 4 of 7 Previous Page Next Page Go To Page:
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I just want to learn how to back trailer up like I was told I would learn here.

And what we've been trying to tell you is that you're out there learning how to do it right now. Keep practicing until you figure it out. That's how it works. That's what you need to do at this point. You don't need hand holding. You need to learn by trial and error.

I mean, what the h*ll do you expect anyone to do for you to teach you how to back up after five months out there? Do you think there's some sort of magic formula for backing up a truck that everyone is keeping a secret from you? Do you want people walking along beside you tell you, "A little left, a little right, a little left......".......I mean, what is that going to do for you? Nothing.

You learn by doing not by being told what to do. You don't need anyone to hold your hand at this point. You just need to get in the truck and get out there and do it. Most people are running solo within two or three months of stepping into a classroom for the first time. I went to school for 7 weeks and out with a trainer for 2 before going solo. Nine weeks from my first day in the classroom and I was on my own running solo and I figured it all out just fine. Everyone else has a very similar story and they all figured it out too.

98% of everything a savvy veteran knows was learned after going solo. Only about 2% of what you need to know to be a top tier driver is taught in school or in training. The time for instruction is over. The rest you learn by doing. When backing you turn the wheel left the trailer goes right. You turn the wheel right the trailer goes left. There's nothing more to know about it. You'll get better with practice. Just keep working at it.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

I've said this before and I'll say it again. When I completed company training and passed my upgrade testing-- my backing skills were horrible! I knew it, my company knew it, my trainer knew it, although he sure tried his best to pound the "how-to's" into my thick head and oversteering arms lol.

I was not alone and that phenomenon is COMMON amongst brand new drivers.

What my company was most concerned with is: that I GOAL as many times as necessary to back my truck without harming anyone or causing any damage. They also only looked "for improvement" from my original pre-training backing "test". A monkey could have shown improvement lol.

I learned how to back by practicing, asking others for help, trial by fire, and the sheer determination to master backing. I didn't feel competent at backing for a good 6 months. THIS IS NORMAL!

During company training, I was given so much information it was difficult to impossible to retain it all, however, during orientation, I was handed this nifty blue folder that contains everything I could possibly need to know regarding policies, procedures, macros needed, etc. I used that folder daily in training and still pull it out on occasion, if I'm in doubt about anything.

You say we aren't listening, but I promise that we've heard you loud and clear. Your expectations of your training simply aren't in alignment with the reality that is company training. We were also told that it was up to us to gain knowledge we needed during our company training and that we would be held accountable and must take responsibility for how much (or how little ) we took from that training.

Tractor Man's Comment
member avatar

Take it upon yourself to practice backing when you are at one of the MEGA DC's. Go to a far back corner and hone your skills. I have been Solo for 6 months now. I have the confidence and skills to back in practically any situation. However, the other day, backing up to a dock with NO LINES, and not another Trailer within 3 spaces on EITHER SIDE, I looked like Sue's Monkey trying to hit that dock door. You would have sworn I had never backed a Trailer in my life. I was laughing at myself, ( I'm sure others were too) I felt like a complete idiot! Some days are just like that.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

My training was even shorter than Brett's. I had 3 weeks in class. 4 days a week. Out of 12 days, 4.5 was classroom. I tested for my CDL 1 day before my school was done. I had 2 days of practice at orientation followed by a day "testing" to get a job offer. I spent 2 weeks with my trainer. Of those 14 days, I was off for 4. I spent 1 day driving in final processing. After that I was in my own truck on my own. All of us feel unprepared. It comes down to having the confidence in yourself and your judgement. Having the guts to put yourself out there and get the job done. Principle for backing a trailer is simple. In a single swivel point you turn the steering wheel the opposite direction you want the trailer to go. The desired effect is not immediate so you must plan ahead. After that the ONLY way to improve is to "just do it". Take it slow and GOAL as much as you need. Here is a free tip. The greater the wheel base the less reactive the trailer. So with tandems all the way back the trailer turns slower than all the way forward. Idk what other info you need. No one can teach much more than what I have told you. There is no great secret. It is a simple principle that takes time and practice to master.

I will tell you what I will share with you my company's method for executing a "tight 90 degree" backing maneuver. First you need 2 rags. Make sure you are straight in a large open lot. Place a rag next to the mid point of the tandems. Turn your steering wheel all the way to the right. Backup until your truck is at a 90 degree angle to your trailer. Walk back and place the second rag at the midpoint of the tandems. Pace off the distance between the rags. That is your lead distance. When setting up you drive about 6 feet away from the front of the obstacles you are backing in between. As you pass your "spot" you continue forward until your mid marker/turn signal is in the middle of the "hole". Turn the nose of your truck about 15 to 20 degrees to the right the back left to straighten back out. After the rear of your trailer passes the "hole" you come to a stop. Go to the corner of the obstacle closest to your cab next to the hole. Walk straight out until you meet the path of your tires. Turn to face down the side of your tractor/trailer. Pace off your lead distance. Mark the ground. Pace off the difference between where the middle of your tandems are to your mark. Start at the front edge of your step fairing and pace off that distance in the correct needed direction. Mark the ground. Drive fed/back until the front edge of your step fairing aligns with the mark. Get out and make sure the mark for your tandems is aligned mid tandems. Turn your steering wheel all the way to the right. Back up until your Cabo's 90 degrees from your trailer. Turn your steering wheel all the way to the left. Begin backing until your tractor is perpendicular to your "hole". Get out and pace 8 to 10 paces from the front step fairing moving forward. Mark the ground. Drive forward until the front edge of your step fairing is aligned with the mark. Turn your steering wheel all the way to the left again. Begin backing again. Once your trailer is halfway into the hole. Look to see if you need to do a pull-up to straighten out or if you are good to continue backing. Use pull-ups to straighten out as needed. I hope this helps. The method does work.

Drive Safe and God Speed.

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.
Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

I guess I should add that the method is for a sight side back. I also should add always maintain clearance around your tractor and trailer. If at any point you think you may be in jeopardy of hitting anything. Stop and GOAL.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

While I was training there were exactly 42 backs recorded over a period of six weeks. At that time it seemed like a lot...

After 3 months of solo OTR I was adequate. And then,...I took an assignment on a Dedicated Walmart account delivering groceries to their stores and Sam's clubs. This forced me to back on average 5 times per day. It wasn't until another two months that I was barely above average.

Practice and repetition is the only thing that will help you become a proficient backer. Not watching others do it, or video, just you and your truck, is the only way.

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.

Brocephus's Comment
member avatar

I had actually quit this forum after this thread. The company I signed on with treated me like crap from the day I showed up right up to a couple of days after my two week notice had passed when my DM was texting threats to jack with my DAC. My expectations where based on what this company advertised. I've changed those expectations based on my experience in this field I proved myself to this company and the logs back me up. They threw me away. End of story.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I should add that I had moved from OTR to a regional route that was "Home every other weekend". I only had 3 months to my 1 year anniversary, but thought that if I could get at least every other weekend off I could work on my place and still run. "Well, it's every other weekend if you put in early enough and there's an open spot. The spots go to teams and trainers first." So I went from otr with some home time to regional with even less home time. Huslted. Fell for a gimmick. I only had a few months to my 1 year anniversary and wanted to get a full year in with a single company so I sucked it up. And got treated like crap. You might even say that I got treated like a number, by a company that indeed did pay for my training, and sent me a lot of "you've been driving for too long" qualcom messages as I tried very, very hard to get their loads delivered on time. I put in my two week notice on my 1 year anniversary, was called and promised "every weekend off." Awesomeness. Except that when I didn't get "every weekend off" my dm didn't like to respond to any questions about it. Per usual. Just like family. Then on the bus back to my home the dm lit up my phone ****ed because I had the audacity to quit after being misled and outright lied to repeatedly. Fortunately my DAC is clear. But even if this company offered me $1 a mile as a company driver to return, I would still hesitate, because something is seriously wrong with them. And if you stick in the butt naysaying brow beaters can't handle the truth then gfy's.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
if you stick in the butt naysaying brow beaters can't handle the truth then gfy's.

Brocephus with that parting shot, you probably just revealed the biggest reason you have struggled at trucking. You're a totally class-less fool who can't recognize honest help and advice when it's offered to you completely free with no expectation of even the smallest token of gratitude.

At least you did one thing right by resurrecting this old thread that caused you to quit our forum. You brought to the forefront a lot of great advice that you still don't comprehend.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Brocephus, I just reread this thread and instantly remembered you. Things ended for you exactly the way all of us experienced drivers knew it would end for you - miserably. How else could it end? You're a miserable dude who just doesn't get it and doesn't listen.

And if you stick in the butt naysaying brow beaters can't handle the truth then gfy's.

rofl-3.gif

You know who couldn't handle the truth and went and f'd himself? You did pal.

Things never went well for you because you simply don't get trucking. Your attitude is awful, you're a know it all, you've expected everyone to do things the way you wanted them done right from the start, you expected your hand to be held all the time, and obviously you don't know how to get along with people. You've cried and cried continuously from day one that no one would train you properly, no one would treat you properly, no one would keep their promises and yet your company has a ton of drivers who are perfectly happy making a great living.

Why do you think others are happy and doing so well but you're always so miserable?

See I know the answer to that because I've been in this business for 25 years and I've watched guys like you step on their own feet more times than I can count. I've known guys who were in this industry 10 or 20 years and never figured out how to get along with people and make a great living. You should read Old School's recent article on how to be a top tier driver because even after a year out there you clearly haven't figured it out:

What It Takes To Be A Top Tier Driver

So you can cuss us and blame your company and point your finger at everyone except the guy in the mirror all you like. The only one around here that's going to believe that you did everything right and the company was 100% the problem is you. In this forum we have experienced drivers working for every major carrier out there and they're all making great money and they're extremely happy with the company and the way they're treated. At the same time every one of them has come across a ton of drivers at their own companies who are miserable and absolutely hate the company and blame them for every problem they have.

In 15 years out there I can't tell you how many times I came across miserable drivers within my own company, and in fact quite a few times they even had the same dispatcher I had! They'd cry and complain and blame our dispatcher because they couldn't get any miles, they were lied to, they were mistreated, blah blah blah. If you let them talk long enough eventually they'd reveal the real reasons that things weren't going their way. It was always things like they wouldn't drive at night or they wouldn't run the Northeast or they'd argue and complain every time they got a load they didn't want. After a while I just quit listening to those types altogether. Unless they figured out how to make it in this industry they were always going to be miserable. And you know what? Some people never do figure it out.

We have a name for these types. They're called "Terminal Rats" - here's a podcast I did about em:

Episode 10: Terminal Rats Are Derailing Trucking Careers

Move on to a new company and get back to us in six months. Let us know how it goes. Maybe with a fresh start you'll approach your new company with a better attitude and you won't make enemies of the people who feed you the way you did with your first company from day one.

  • Make every single appointment on time
  • Get along well with the people you work with
  • Don't cry and complain all the time
  • Keep lobbying for more miles

Do those four things really well and you'll be well on your way to a much better experience. Keep the same attitude and approach you've had from day one and you'll get the same results.

I have to admit I have my doubts. After a full year in this industry you should have figured this out by now. Most people who are miserable after a full year are just too hard headed to figure out they're shooting themselves in the foot and won't change their ways. The experience never gets any better for them. They just continue to F themselves the way you have.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Page 4 of 7 Previous Page Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More