Prime Student 1\7\17, Got A Few UNIQUE Questions, Not Appearing In Forum , Would Appreciate Veteran Responses !

Topic 17569 | Page 1

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Hayden D.'s Comment
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Hey, I'm very excited to start my career in trucking ! I have limited experience in delivery and regional box truck driving. I've finally decided to start my career doing what I love ! So far anyway. I've been reading this message board for a few months He have been trying to learn as much as I can, also very happy to see all the posts and active involvement from all the senior truck drivers, it's all very encouraging, and gives a great variety of information and perspectives about trucking ! I do have a few questions, some PRIME specific, some not, that I do not see a lot of in message boards.

1, During the two ( 2 week ) sections of training on the road, what should I expect in terms of learning to deal with road conditions ? From Missouri, will I be going NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST ? Will I need to put chains on tires for snow covered mountains ( I've heard of Donner's pass ) will I be given easy lanes to learn basics and build on that, or will they maximize the limited time with the trainer's and send me to the worse\dangerous conditions to learn\demonstrare skill while the trainer is there to catch any mistakes before they become problems ? Anything I should be aware of about cold, have a good jacket, a few sweaters, and T shirts. I know it can get very cold, and colder... Am thinking of North Dakota. What about traffic, the idea if driving in fast, heavy traffic ( think new jersey, I've done it in a box truck) in a 53 foot trailer terrifies me, specifically having to change lanes, quickly an safely.

2, I have family in mid Florida area, I can stay with. But have no obligations or need to be home. I could and would like to take home time anywhere. A few days off in California, Nevada (Vegas, but I don't gamble much) , Alaska ( if I'm lucky). More realistically, either end of a major shipping lane for maximum miles after ( "reset" ? ) Also have no problem with teaming, and am accustomed to 70hr, 6 day, labor intensive work week.* Will this freedom\ availability, and desire for a long work week give me an edge, or Anykind of advantage for miles ! As a new guy, or after becoming experienced ?? *

3, I hate to ask something like this, but How do I know if I'm getting a good trainer ? I want to learn the details, and be good not "just get the job done" I'd like to build a quality reputation for the work I do. Is there any red flags to be aware of that might signal I'm not learning what I need to ? I know there are a few obvious things (tailgating, just checking off the inspection without actually doing it ) but truth is, being a student, If it wasn't something very obvious, I might not realise it, and learn some else's bad habits, have that reflect on me as a driver, and have no idea. I know everyone wants the "best" instructor , and no one wants to be a mediocre instructor, sometimes they ( instructors) can be new, or tired as well. Anyway I can get a good one without being rude enough to ask ? Again, I apologize for asking, but I am curious about it.

4, Food, I imagine your limited to truck stops, and places within 3 miles of the exit and space for your truck n trailer to get good food, and whatever you can take in the truck. What are your thoughts on this ? ... I've seen a nice folding grill with wheels, a space for a propane tank the size of your forearm, and push button ignition. Would easily fit in a truck.

5, about living healthy relative to driving. I'm physically healthy, fit, under 28. I have been drinking coca cola as 90% of everything I drink sense 15, And Kool aid before that. Besides this I eat healthy, and do moderate exercise. I'm thinking of removing caffeine, and sugar completely from my diet. Am also thinking of "training" my body to be awake and go to sleep to try and match the legal hours of operation as a truck driver. I'm thinking being as healthy, as possible, and being either sleeping or driving as much as possible would make me less tired, and more alert for longer while driving, than any dependence on caffeine or anything similar ?

Experienced truckers, has anyone tried this ? Did it make any difference ? Is it practical or worth doing as it relates to getting miles or being a safer driver ?

6, self defense. Is this a problem ? Obviously be aware of your situation, surroundings. Park at the well lit truck stop, not the dim gas station with burn out sign lettering. Has this ever been a problem for anyone ? What are your options, and obligations ? ( This will vary by state, and company you drive for) I do not carry a gun, doors not always been locked,at home ( had big dogs, with open space for them to chase threats (squirrels).) I imagine the trucks aren't bullet proof, and won't be "taking one for the team" but this seemed like a good subject to put forward, if just to learn what it's like out there. This being said, I've been in "iffy" looking places across the country late at night, and it seems to me people won't mess with you, unless you give them a reason. Like arguing, cursing at them, or paying for something with a handful of hundred dollar bills. Common sense _ safety right ?

I realize I am basically trading years of my life (or home time with wife n kids, if I had them) for security, and the trade skill, and career opportunity of being a truck driver. What are my chances of meeting a beautiful woman, the love of my life, while being a trucker ? Veteran drivers your thoughts on this too, would be most appreciated.

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome, Hayden! I don't think I can address all of your questions, but I'll take a stab at a couple of them.

1. You will be leaving Springfield in whatever direction the load takes you. That's hard to predict in advance.

If you get into snow or ice, your trainer is almost certainly not going to let you drive through it before you have your CDL. After you have your CDL , hopefully you'll get a chance to drive through some easy snow to get a feel for how the truck handles.

Hopefully your trainer will have you drive on some secondary roads, in cities, etc. It is part of the outline Prime gives the trainers to have you drive in different conditions. Generally you start out easy with some interstate driving, then move to more challenging things as you develop your skills.

There are lots of threads on what clothes to bring.

2. You can and will get resets in all sorts of places that aren't home if you run your 70 hour clock out regularly (my preferred way to run, but not everyone's). Some places are better than others for resets, but better and worse is completely subjective.

3. Finding a good trainer is a crap shoot. Remember that you're interviewing them at the same time they're interviewing you. You don't have to agree to a trainer if you get a bad feeling, though it might take you a little longer to get rolling if you turn one down.

No matter who you get, you're going to learn some bad habits, since there are no perfect trainers. Just keep after yourself to continue to improve, especially after you go solo.

4., 5., and 6.: There are lots of threads on these topics. Try the search bar to find them. As far as personal safety, a little common sense goes a long way.

I am the last person to ask about finding the love of your life. I found mine more than 35 years ago, and I still don't understand what the heck is going on with that most of the time. It's much easier to explain how to haul a load of dynamite over Loveland Pass in winter than to explain relationships with the fairer sex.

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.

Interstate:

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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