Newbie Questions About OTR Homelessness And Sleep

Topic 18585 | Page 1

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Steak Eater's Comment
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I've spent the last couple of days browsing this website. What an awesome resource. As a prospective CDL student I have a few questions;

(1) It looks like my time with my wife is very short (cancer). My only other family is a son who is Active Duty in the Army. When I am left alone I am exploring options to help payoff some of the medical bills we have incurred and OTR driving (and living!) seems a possible path to accomplishing this. Is it realistic to travel full-time for 3 or 4 weeks at a time and then take time off (3 or 4 days?) at a location where my son is stationed? How long is it reasonable to expect to be able to live in this manner? My wife and I traveled in an RV for years so I'm not unaccustomed to small space living. And material possessions (things) don't hold much appeal to me. I'm primarily looking for a way to live cheaply (but happily!) and payoff some big bills / bank some money over about a 10 year period with the added bonus of being able to see my son once a month.

(2) I'm worried about the sleep schedules of an OTR driver. I worked nights at one point in my life and hated it. Will I generally have the option to be well rested and sleep primarily during nighttime hours if I choose to drive during the day? Is it generally my choice to make?

I'm appreciative of any answers. I wish I knew someone I could ask in person but this is a career pretty far outside anything my friends or family have ever done.

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.

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Eric G.'s Comment
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Steak Eater, first off I'm sorry to hear about what your going through. As for the career stuff your looking to get answers on. i myself will be doing basically the same thing your doing. I will have a home base, but I plan on just doing my days off wherever my last drop or next pick up is. As far as i know, as long as you get with your Driver manager , or Fleet Manager and let them know where you need to be for your days off they will do all they can to get you there. no promises though. but if you have days off you can always travel to go see him. I know if you work 3-5 weeks in a row, then get 3-5 days off, a flight across the states for about 5-6 hours each way, but you get to spend 2-3 days with your boy. Not a bad option either.

As far as sleep schedules, really your load will determine that. for example lets say you pick up in Chicago, and have a drop off in Tacoma. One thing I do is route my trip, how many miles, how many driving hours will it be, If I have 3-4 days to get there, I know it will take 3 the first 2 I can drive the schedule that fits me. the last day the day I have to make it to the receiver I have to schedule my driving and sleep around what time I need to be at the receiver and be in the loading dock. some places will let you park when you arrive early, and you can grab a nap, others only want you there a specific time before your delivery time. like I think Walmart is only 1 hour before your scheduled delivery time. so if your early you may need to find a local Truck Stop and shut it down, until you can arrive and make your delivery.

hope this helps.

Fleet Manager:

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.

Driver Manager:

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.
Rainy D.'s Comment
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First off...so sorry about your wife!

Second...yes you can drive four weeks and take four days off anywhere in the country. Most of the larger companies run all 48. My ex was army and I visited him at ft benning and Bragg.

I'm a homeless trucker...saves me HUGE amounts of money. I'm paying my car off a year early before I tackle other debts. Being homeless makes it much easier to deal with the inconsistent pay also. For example, I only got 1700 miles two weeks ago due to having to go into the terminals for some testing. The next week I was stuck in bad weather and had a breakdown, so only 1900 miles. But this week will be 2900.

If I had home bills it would be harder to deal with.

As far as sleep...it truly differs not only with the company but the divisions. I run reefer so I do have a lot of night appointments. I sleep when I want though other than the appt. If I want to run a few hours then stop for a nap I do. Sometimes the customers have set times for frozen foods...say 8-5pm and fresh food 6-11pm. Nothing can be done about the appt times.

However when you get a 2000 mile run that takes days...it's much easier to run the schedule you want. Say you have a 0300 appt. You can park as.close as you can duringn the day...get up for the appt and go backnto sleep if need be. Also...I sleep the couple hours at the customer.

It's a lot of broken sleep with shorter runs or towards the end of the week when my 70 clokc is lower...but I rest up later.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Steak Eater's Comment
member avatar

Thank you both for such informative responses. I'm grateful for the information provided.

I could deal with needing to be up on occasion for a delivery / pickup, but I'm not looking to put myself in a position where I would need to be driving nights or unable to stop and take a nap if something kept me awake the night before. I guess there is more flexibility than I'm seeing from the outside. I'm not opposed to putting in a solid day of driving regularly, just not wanting to be getting into another "night shift" occupation. I've never felt rested trying to sleep in the daytime.

Being near my son on my few days off every 3-5 weeks is pretty crucial. Maybe I should focus my job search in the larger companies if that's a priority for me? If (when) something happens to my wife he will be the only social connection / family I have. I think I can tolerate the being alone on the road, I'm not willing to go a couple of months without seeing him at whatever base he's at in the continental US.

Tractor Man's Comment
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To give you a short and sweet answer, You will always have at least 10 consecutive hours off. Mandatory Federal Law. I won't even get into the 8-2 split. Plenty of time to eat and sleep. Maybe even SHOWER!

smile.gif

Steak Eater's Comment
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. I'm paying my car off a year early before I tackle other debts.

Not having a car payment is one of the areas I was hoping to save money. Is there a reason you keep a car without a residence? (Not trying to nose into your business. If it's too personal, I apologize).

Old School's Comment
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She likes fast cars. It's hard to get that thrill in a big rig that's been neutered down to 62 mph.

Eric G.'s Comment
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I have my Ram 1500 and I am keeping it too, and paying it off early as well. you bring up a good point why keep it if I don't plan on being around that much to use it. For me it is for 2 reasons: 1. I don't want to default on my loan. I want to keep my credit on the up and up. (first time it has been on the up) 2. when I do earn home time that I take, or maybe vacations in the future, I may wish to travel, or use it. I could just rent, but I really love my truck.

PackRat's Comment
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She likes fast cars. It's hard to get that thrill in a big rig that's been neutered down to 62 mph.

Quicker to and from the dungeon, too!rofl-3.gif

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Oh youz guys are a laugh riot!!

I kept the car cause 1.). Its my dream car and I special.ordered it expecting to keep it for decades.

2.). I came to Prime expecting to do my year and try to a local job but found I love it here...no reason to leave...plus local means more bills.

3.). It is still financed so much harder to sell once on the road

And yeah I love that HP...but now the mustang feels like a toy car...even my Bros Lincoln aviator felt "childish" lol

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