Sick Of OTR And Living In A Truck

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Scott O.'s Comment
member avatar

I completed one year OTR 2 months ago. I took a short paid vacation, and then got back in the truck OTR.

I certainly am not as excited as when I started a year ago. In fact I just can't see how I even lasted a year in this situation. I now understand the comment, "mobile jail cell" I heard when researching this career path. I feel like I'm starting to go crazy. I'm sick of people jerking me around all over the country. I'm tired of all the 12-14 hour days, I never feel like I get a break since I live in the truck. I hate being stuck 24/7 with a reefer unit - most of all right next to my ear while trying to sleep. Earplugs don't cancel all the noise and the high frequency vibration agitates me.

The poor planning, the customers that make you wait hours on end, the breakdowns and of course throwing an extreme fit of rage when I haven't had a good night's sleep for weeks and the stupid elog is ticking down the minutes and I can't even find a parking place to sleep.

Also, have you noticed how no one appreciates truck drivers even though without us they wouldn't even have food, or - in the case of the snotty (yes 90% of the time they have a snotty attitude) warehouse receptionists - jobs?

I'm thinking about going local, but that seems difficult, and requires an investment for an apartment and car as a minimum. And then of course, what if that local job ends up being even worse than OTR?

I think I can relocate anywhere in the country for a great local job. I'd love banker hours, but that's probably not realistic. I was thinking either linehaul or some sort of out and back tanker position (basically a linehaul position) would be a good fit. But is that sort of position realistic with just a year of experience?

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I do local food service delivery and is rare I don't work less than 12 hours a day. I'm usually only home long enough for my 10 hour break. I have to fit sleeping, showering and eating into that time, not to mention to commute. in my situation i also have to save some time for the wife and kids. Not every local job is like this, however from what I've seen it's quite common. Daniel B has a decent schedule, 7am to 5pm if I recall correctly, Monday thru Friday but he also had a few years experience.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I do local food service delivery and is rare I don't work less than 12 hours a day. I'm usually only home long enough for my 10 hour break. I have to fit sleeping, showering and eating into that time, not to mention to commute. in my situation i also have to save some time for the wife and kids. Not every local job is like this, however from what I've seen it's quite common. Daniel B has a decent schedule, 7am to 5pm if I recall correctly, Monday thru Friday but he also had a few years experience.

Sorry, I mistyped. It is rare that I work less than 12 hours. Most days are 12 to 14 with the occasional 16 mixed in. Being local I'm eligible to go over my 14 once a week, but not over the 11 driving. I've gotten alot faster with unloading my truck so I'm only needing to use my 16 maybe once a month.

Big T's Comment
member avatar

Have you noticed how many drivers don't appreciate the general public? After all if they weren't buying stuff there would be a lot less need for drivers.

Sounds like you have a serious case of burn out going. What about trying different freight? Does your company have dry van options?

Get a hotel once in a while if you are going to live on the truck. You still need down time and relaxation.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Cwc's Comment
member avatar

Tanker might be something to look at. You pick up clean tanks and drop the dirty at a tank wash. They usually have a shower and laundry facilities at them and best of all... Free parking.

They generally pay more for pulling a tanker but for good reason, if you currently find yourself hitting the brakes at the bottom of a hill just before a turn because your going to fast... this might not be for you.

With one year in you can probably find a company that will take you. The company I work for won't talk to you without two years.

As someone else mentioned your burnt out. It happens and you need to be able to recognize it. Take a few days and go to a hotel. Rent a car and go do something that doesn't involve a truck or truckstop. Life is still happening all around you, take a little time to enjoy it.

Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

Hey Scott, I feel your pain, but I think you could make things a lot better for yourself. Of course I do not know just how you operate now, but in any case I will try some suggetions based upon what works for me. I live in the truck also so I know how it is.

As Big T said, you might consider switching to dry van freight, and getting a hotel now and then.

I have currently been on the road continuously since January 15th without taking any time off. I am schedule to take a week off soon. Anyway, more than five months straight out here, and I am not burned out at all and I love this gig.

If you actually enjoy driving and would like to figure out a better way to keep doing so, consider these tips:

1) Anytime you have a chance to get within a half hour or so drive of a friend or relative, call 'em up and see if you can make plans for the evening...have them come meet you at a truck stop and go out for dinner or whatever...relax and chat.

2) If you get a long trip and could cram some of it into 11 hour drives so that you could then stop and take a 34 at a friend or relative's house, do that.

3) If you get a long run and could cram some of it into 11 hour drives and take a 34 at a location of interest to you....get a hotel, sit in a hot tube, eat a pizza, go for a hike...whatever you like to do.

4) As you are driving, if you spot an interesting thing you'd like to explore, stop and do it if your appointment schedule allows. If you do not have time to stop, make a note to stop there another time and try and plan your trip so that you can.

5) Splurge now and then on a nice dinner....a concert....a comedy show....a ball game - whatever you like. Desirable last minute tickets might be expensive, but so what - you aren't doing it often, and you don't have the expenses of an apartment and all that.

6) Always take time for a nice, long, hot shower. Ideally every day, but at least every other day. Spend an hour in there if you feel like it.

7) Stop at a theater and go to a movie or two. I have parked for the night several times at movie theaters. Just do it on a mid week night when they are slow, and go in and speak to the manager for permission.

8) By now I'm sure that you get the idea - stop and smell the roses, or whatever it is that you like to smell dancing-banana.gif

I completed one year OTR 2 months ago. I took a short paid vacation, and then got back in the truck OTR.

I certainly am not as excited as when I started a year ago. In fact I just can't see how I even lasted a year in this situation. I now understand the comment, "mobile jail cell" I heard when researching this career path. I feel like I'm starting to go crazy. I'm sick of people jerking me around all over the country. I'm tired of all the 12-14 hour days, I never feel like I get a break since I live in the truck. I hate being stuck 24/7 with a reefer unit - most of all right next to my ear while trying to sleep. Earplugs don't cancel all the noise and the high frequency vibration agitates me.

The poor planning, the customers that make you wait hours on end, the breakdowns and of course throwing an extreme fit of rage when I haven't had a good night's sleep for weeks and the stupid elog is ticking down the minutes and I can't even find a parking place to sleep.

Also, have you noticed how no one appreciates truck drivers even though without us they wouldn't even have food, or - in the case of the snotty (yes 90% of the time they have a snotty attitude) warehouse receptionists - jobs?

I'm thinking about going local, but that seems difficult, and requires an investment for an apartment and car as a minimum. And then of course, what if that local job ends up being even worse than OTR?

I think I can relocate anywhere in the country for a great local job. I'd love banker hours, but that's probably not realistic. I was thinking either linehaul or some sort of out and back tanker position (basically a linehaul position) would be a good fit. But is that sort of position realistic with just a year of experience?

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Big Scott (CFI Driver/Tra's Comment
member avatar

If you think of your truck as a jail cell, you have problems. Seems like you need an attitude adjustment. Like others have said maybe you need to try dry van. It also sounds like you are not managing your clock well. Do you have a good relationship with your fleet manager? Do you let them know when you need to rest? What company do you work for? How old are you? What are your long term goals? Working local or line haul won't be much better hours and you will usually share a day cab with others.

You have gotten some great advice. We are here to help. Good luck.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

Line Haul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

I run Linehaul and typically I work 10-11 hours a day sometimes like today it was 13 hours. Luckily my commute is 7 minutes so it is really nice to come home at the end of the day even if it is only a few hours. Most of linehual is run at night, I start at 9:30 PM and it takes some getting used to especially for weekends. Luckily Old Dominion does a good job at making sure everyone keeps trucks clean but it is still annoying having seat and mirrors moved daily. But the money is really good and for me it takes a lot of stress going to the same places every day and not having to worry about finding customers or their attitude.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.
Kurt G.'s Comment
member avatar

I know exactly how you feel. But as the saying goes, a change is as good as a rest, maybe try a different OTR company and something other than reefer. Like someone said above, a local job can be long hours, you may end up missing the days when you just had to park the truck and you were off duty. There are some jobs in between. I worked a "home every week" job for a couple years, and on my time off I either stayed in the truck or got a hotel room, so I needed a car but not an apartment.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Scott O.'s Comment
member avatar

Some really great suggestions here. A lot of suggestions were the reason I decided to go OTR in the first place. I've been losing the most sleep over figuring out who to apply to. I need to make over $1,000 per week to justify going to a different company.

Problem is, how can you know how a company is going to be until you're there? I have my list of questions, but there's so much more to it that can't be figured out from a Q&A

My cdl is based out of South Dakota, but I'm originally from Santa Barbara. I still have family out there, and it's always a pleasure to visit. I wish I could find a dry van company that does southwest regional , and would let me bobtail up there every other weekend for 3 days off. That would be awesome.

Does anyone know about those tanker jobs where they load at wineries in that part of the state and then ship them across country to unload somewhere?

What y'all have said about the local jobs actually being more stressful is what I've always consistently heard.

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.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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