Disappointed But Now Experienced And Rewarded

Topic 22568 | Page 1

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classA's Comment
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Greetings to all, the Experienced Drivers - The Inexperienced Drivers - and those considering being a Truck Driver smile.gif

I have been away from the Forum for quite a while as I have been literally driving my life away over the last 3 years. It's been disappointing in many ways, yet also I have gained quite a bit of experience which finally has become rewarding in a sense. For those of the Forum who are Experienced, you will find this post truthfully in reality. And for those who are considering Driving as a career, I hope you find some insight into finding your fit in the CDL industry.

Truck driving school was disappointing for me in many ways as I was expecting a clear-cut "here's how you do the work" type of training, which obviously it wasn't ..... because as anyone with Experience knows there are too many variables depending on the Driver path you choose. In school you are provided the very basic foundational skills of how to operate a tractor in driving a trailer. It's like when you were in basic high school and you are taught the basics of mathematics, English, history, etc. which you then can take and build skills towards a career of your choosing - being a Doctor, Psychologist, Lawyer, Accountant, Mathematician, or even a Professional Truck Driver (which truly is a multifaceted job that engages in all of those fields daily).

Doctor - the Driver must constantly assess and treat his or her body daily for optimum function (eating, exercise, rest, treating minor injuries). Psychologist - the Driver is given time to think about everything to the extreme (especially OTR for long periods). Lawyer - the Driver needs to know the laws regarding Transportation (weight limits, Hazardous Materials, load securement). Accountant - the Driver should accurately calculate how much money is spent as opposed to how much is earned driving (cost vs expenses). Mathematician - the Driver has to calculate his or her time accurately based on the load assignment (HOS regulations, ETA, NAT).

Of course those are rudimentary basics of each, but you get the picture. Let me now give you an overview of the life of a Driver as I have experienced it in various career-divisions. Local - I spent 7 months as a Switcher Driver at a manufacturing facility processing Inbound trailers to and from 65 dock doors for 8 hours a day and then home daily (bonus with good wages, but rather challenging as I was doing 2 things constantly which I never liked to begin with - backing and driving in the dark hours). OTR (lower 48-States) - Most of my driving time has been OTR living in the truck basically for 4 to 8 weeks at a time driving as far NW as Canada, as far SW as Mexico, as far NE as Maine, and as far SW as Miami, FL with every State in between with the only shower at a Pilot or other truck stop. Regional (Western US - Mountains) - I have driven in the Pacific Northwest for deliveries within a 5 State region with both a Straight-Truck and 42-foot Trailer Combination utilizing lift gates and electric pallet jacks rated at 80 k. I have driven on Dedicated Western accounts for Target with 53-foot Trailers rated at 80 k and Anheuser-Busch with quad-axle trailers rated at 110.000 k. I have pulled Hazmat hopper double-trailers and pneumatic tank Trailers rated at 105 k. Additionally I have functioned as a Driver Trainer showing New Drivers how to successfully do the jobs. Now I have a gig where I am running 53-foot Intermodal Containers to and from a local rail yard where I am home 99% daily and every weekend!

I have used Paper Logs, Qualcomm , and PeopleNet systems. And all with the tools of the CAT Weigh My Truck and Trans Flo applications.

Be it known that the Qualcomm is truly the most Driver-friendly.......in my Experience. And if you haven't used the CAT weighing and Trans Flo applications (and you utilize those tools) then you MUST check them out for their time-saving benefits (after all as a Driver, time is critical to your success and your employers - which essentially means you will get the driving opportunities).

Here's my 2 cents per se on it all. Find your "fit" as a Driver (what are you looking to achieve in life). Each facet has it's own limitations as well as opportunities to earning a substantial amount of money (and we all need that). But to be successful you MUST find your FIT (what works for you) in order to be successful at it. For example, a good-looking pair of shoes which are 2 sizes too big for your feet will only cause you grief in the future because it will adversely affect your posture, your work productivity, your success, and your life in whole. Find what "fits" you, as an individual.

Why do you think there are so many Truck Driving jobs? Because it's a shoe that many just simply cannot fill and subsequently they find something else to do.

Be encouraged - there is much money to be made as a Professional Driver. But first be sure to get every feather in your hat which you can (Doubles/Triples, Hazmat, Enhanced Driver License, etc.) so your options are many. Driving a Truck is a lifestyle and you have to know how to live it successfully in order to be successful at it.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me and I'll be straight with you in response. I don't have time for games, life is real and Driving is a Profession that only few can do truly well.

Peace.

Rodney

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Intermodal:

Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight that is moved by truck from the shipper's dock to the rail yard, then placed on a train to the next rail yard, and finally returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.

In trucking when you hear someone refer to an intermodal job they're normally talking about hauling shipping containers to and from the shipyards and railyards.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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.But to be successful you MUST find your FIT (what works for you) in order to be successful at it

Great post. This right here says it all.

Slowpoke's Comment
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double-quotes-start.png

.But to be successful you MUST find your FIT (what works for you) in order to be successful at it

double-quotes-end.png

Great post. This right here says it all.

Indeed it does Daniel, I have often said not every driver is for every company and not every company is for every driver. It is the very reason that you will hear some say fantastic things about the company they work for while others have nothing but disdain for that very same company. Company 1 needs triangle shaped drivers to fit in their triangle shaped openings Company 2 needs square shaped drivers to fit in their square shaped openings, and Company 3 needs round shaped drivers to fit in their round shaped openings. With that said, their are those rare drivers who will be able to fit themselves into any shaped opening their carrier may need. On the other hand there are those who continuously try changing the shape of the opening that the carrier provided and find themselves frustrated that the carrier doesn't want to change the shape of that hole. Those that fit the opening provided by the carrier or those that fit themselves into an opening are usually fairly happy about their job or career choice, while those that continually beat and berate the hole shape they find themselves in are usually very upset with their job or career choice. If you do enough reading here, you will quickly see that most of the regular contributors find themselves as those that fit, or that fit themselves into the opening provided by the carrier, by contrast, in looking through other websites that have become little more than crying towel places, it is easy to see the other faction that never found the right place to fit.

Regards as always, Slowpoke

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
LDRSHIP's Comment
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There must be a LOT of round shaped companies, since there are a LOT of round shaped drivers out there!! rofl-3.gif

Bran009's Comment
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Hey now! I'm fluffy, not round! rofl-2.gif

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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And I am more on the oval side smile.gif

Jason (Driver @ShipEx)'s Comment
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Great Post and so very true

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