Life On The Road. Some Bad And Some Good.

Topic 22451 | Page 1

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Big Scott's Comment
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Out here we are more in control of our work life then some people realize. On Moday I picked up a loaded trailer in SC and it had to be in Michigan by 06:00 on Wednesday. The trailer had light issues and a bad tire. I contacted road service and dispatch and took it to the nearest TA. Got there around 14:00 checked in and waited. Around 04:00 I was out of the shop and parked. At this point I was exhausted. I called dispatch to see if there was any window on the load. They said no. I told them I was exhausted and needed sleep. They checked and there was nobody close enough to repower me at this point. They told me drive as far as I could and they would repower when I got closer.

I slept a couple of hours and rolled. I got to my fuel stop in KY and figured if I did an 8/2 split I would have the hours to make it on time. I communicated this with my FM and went to sleep. When I started my clock, I realized I had goofed. I did not have enough hours to make it without a 2 hour break. If I took that break I couldn't get the load there on time. It was now after midnight on Tuesday. I called dispatch again and discussed the situation with them. I found a truck stop I could get to before my clock ran out. They spoke with the planners and found a team to meet me and deliver the load. We swapped trailers, I pulled back into my spot and passed out.

Several hours later I woke up. That was when I realized I had left my lock on the trailer. Being exhausted cost me a lock and embarrassment. I messaged this to dispatch. I had previously discussed with my FM that after delivering I would take a day off to reset my internal clock. Now I was taking said day off. I told him when I would be ready to roll. So I messaged him to please find me a good load. He messaged back that he was working with the planners to find one. Then he calls me. He said they were pre-planning me on a load. As he said that the load messages came through. I thanked him. I just got a 1500 mile load from OH to Laredo, TX. Woo hoo! He knew I needed the money.

Brett talked about What does it take to be the best. One of the things he mentioned was communication. Because, I was in constant communication with dispatch the load was delivered on time. We have a job to do and it is up to us to do it as best as we can. The company can only help if we communicate with them.

Rainy D wrote about Trucking is a culture shock. In this article she also talked about how we can do this job however we want as long as we get the load there safely and on time. Because, I communicated that I was taking a day off, I got it.

If that trailer didn't have all those problems, I could have rolled and the load would have been a piece of cake. Instead it was very stressful. Now, I off to pick up this load and take it to Laredo. Stay safe out there.

Fm:

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
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I contacted road service and dispatch and took it to the nearest TA. Got there around 14:00 checked in and waited. Around 04:00 I was out of the shop and parked. At this point I was exhausted.

This part is confusing. You had to wait 14 hours to get a tire and some lights fixed? If so, why were you exhausted? Didn't you sleep all that time?

Big Scott's Comment
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Was waiting all day for them to get me in the shop. So, I didn't sleep for fear of missing the call. Normally I have no problem sleeping and sleep like the dead. However, if I'm waiting like this, I can't sleep. My mind won't shut down and the slightest noise wakes me. Thus my exhaustion. Also, I had been up since about 1 or 2 am as I delivered a load in Tennessee early that morning, then drove to South Carolina to pick this load up. By the time I was parked after repairs were made, I had been awake for over 24 hours. Hope that clears it up

Old School's Comment
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One of the characteristics of successful truck drivers is their flexibility, or being able to roll with the punches. That sleep/rest issue is something you're gonna need to work on. Look at how you started this conversation...

Out here we are more in control of our work life then some people realize.

Then you made these conflicting statements...

Was waiting all day for them to get me in the shop. So, I didn't sleep for fear of missing the call. Normally I have no problem sleeping and sleep like the dead. However, if I'm waiting like this, I can't sleep. My mind won't shut down and the slightest noise wakes me.

All of a sudden you're acting like you had no control over the situation.

You really should have rested and slept during that time. Anytime I find myself in that situation I simply tell them, "I've got to get some rest. If you call and can't get me, please come knock on my door. I'll be parked right over there." They deal with truck drivers all the time. They know we sleep at strange times. They will gladly come wake a paying customer.

I understand what you're saying, and am not even trying to correct you or scold you. I'm just pointing out how a professional driver learns to deal with delays like this. It's important that we are ready at a moment's notice to go into action. We can't do that if we don't figure out how to grab some rest when we need it.

Sleeping like a trucker is just as important as working like a trucker. It's all part of your time management.

Turtle's Comment
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I don't know man, I would have been sacked out. Tell them where you're parked and they'll first call you, then they'll knock on your door. This is what they do. You won't be the first driver that needs to sleep while waiting for them.

Turtle's Comment
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Oops OS beat me to it while I was typing. Not trying to pile on you, and I'm glad things worked out.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Big Scott, I loved everything you said about communication and that was an excellent example of how to do it right. Kudos to you.

But of course the guys are right about the sleep thing. You cost yourself a ton of money and caused dispatch a pile of headaches all because you didn't sleep when you had the chance. That's the kind of stuff that's really difficult to teach, and it's also the kind of stuff that separates Top Tier Drivers from the rest.

That situation should have never happened, and I believe it won't happen to you again. Think it over for a bit. I think if you had to do it again right now you would have gotten a shower, fuel, dinner, a full night's rest, and when that trailer was ready you would have shot out of that place like a bullet and made the delivery on time yourself.

Great communication is critical to your success out there. Keep doing that. At the same time keep looking for ways to handle each situation more efficiently. That same situation is going to happen 100 times in the future. You'll keep finding more creative and efficient ways of handling it.

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.

Big Scott's Comment
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Actually, I didn't cost myself a ton of money. I do roll with the punches, but I will not destroy myself in the process. As, I said earlier, I couldn't fall asleep because my brain would not shut off. The point was that by being in constant communication with dispatch, the load was delivered. If I had waited until the last minute to make dispatch aware of what was going on, that would have been a major problem. Also, by the time I got out of the shop, I no longer had the hours in my clock to get it there on time. I was coming up 5 hours short no matter how I figured it. This is what I let them know. The fact that I hadn't slept had nothing to do with me not being able to make it. I left there 3 hours after getting out of the shop.

My FM made sure I had a good load before he went on vacation. I will get this load delivered in time to get another good load on this check which I will be paid while I'm on home time next weekend. I take every load they give me with a thank you. I always let dispatch know if I even think their may be a problem. I feel like I am treated like royalty here. All I want to do is get the loads there safely and on time and get paid. I have a great relationship with my FM and think highly of our whole dispatch department.

Fm:

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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I usually ask the shop how long it will be and if it is too long i then make an appointment for 8 hours later and sleep. that way i have a definite time to be up and sleep well.

i do the same at customer. if they say "its gonna be awhile" i flat out tell them im going to sleep.

i cant sleep without a load either, so my FM preplans me every load.

Fm:

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.
G-Town's Comment
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So for the truth as I see it...and I know I am not alone in the possible, unpopular thoughts I am about to share.

Big Scott you were the biggest contributor the the "Some Bad" aspect of your post. This is sincerely meant as constructive, unreserved and not arbitrarily critical.

Communication is very important...yes! It's on Brett's list and you appropriately referenced it. Is that all that matters here?

Without a focus on other important elements and traits like Efficiency, Creativity, Safety and Flexibility, communication is nothing more than talk. Lots of talk with limited performance value. Almost like buying time while searching for the answer.

Big Scott you stated that Brett, Old School and Turtle missed your point. With all due respect, I think not. You completely missed their's. They all basically suggested the same thing without saying this: "when the bell rang after sitting for 14 hours waiting for the trailer repair, you weren't prepared to run". You took a nap. You should have been fresh, ready to roll when the light turned green. It's that simple. Almost seemed like you brushed it off as irrelevant and focused only on "communication", basically ignoring their collective coaching. You are better than that, I know it.

You are a really nice guy, contribute a lot of good stuff here and have a positive and powerful influence over many new drivers. An unofficial Ambassador of CFI. That's great, really important. It's easy to follow likable people. Lead by example and show them none of us are above learning from others on this forum. I'll be the first to stand up and state I learn from folks on here all the time and humbled when reminded that I don't know it all, far from it.

Brett and Old School...both zen masters of effective clock management and preparation. Seasoned, experienced, and battle tested. If there was one person I'd pick to team with, OS would be my first and last call. I know I can learn a ton from him, because I am NOT an experienced "long distance OTR" driver. Regional Dedicated is very different from what he does.

And our "super sophomore" friend Turtle, proving he has what it takes to be a top performer in every way. He called it out...sleep when you can. I'll add to it; sleep and rest when you must.

Point being, when they all offered the same observations and instruction where corrective action should and could be taken, it's wise to consider and apply their sage advice in the future and "Coach" others with same as they pass through the halls of this forum.

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.

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