6 Months Into My First Trucking Job

Topic 22778 | Page 1

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Robert 's Comment
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Six months update on my first proper trucking job. Sorry it's a bit long but it may help one or two newbies like me.

First of all this job is not for the faint hearted. Lots to learn. I mean lots. Rarely a day goes by were everything goes as planned. Take last night. I-376 Tunnel and surrounding roads closed in and out of Pittsburgh because of protesters. Try using navigation to get your way out, nav systems like Waze are geared towards car drivers, and even my trucking navigation app kept wanting to send me back onto roads affected by the protest. In the end got on the phone to my wife who saw where I was and managed to get me along an alternate route, unfortunately this involved negotiating along small narrow residential streets with vehicles blocking the road and low trees and bridges to worry about in the dark. To make matters worse an alternate route was affected by a landslide and completely closed off. Very very stressful. This is a route I have done many times but did not anticipate any problems so in future I intend to familiarise myself with the area I am going in case there are any unexpected road closures. I made it back but I know there were other drivers from my company were still out there trying to find a way back.

Other info for people starting out- dropping and hooking trailers, always check the 5th wheel is locked and secure by going under and shining a torch and making sure it is secured properly, know of one or two instances where people haven't checked and they have pulled away and trailer has dropped, in one example it happened with a loaded trailer into the start of the journey resulting in trailer breaking in half.

Do a good pretrip on trucks and trailers. I know for a fact that some drivers hook up and are away, I have come across some pretty serious issues after doing a pretrip, ones that would have been longstanding, it amazes me when I see drivers jump in a truck at the start of their shift without checking anything, or same with hooking up to a trailer.

Check your load. Sometimes my loads will be strapped but never assume this has been done correctly. Get in and check and make sure it is tight and if necessary add an additional strap or use a bar. Cranking gear on trailers can be difficult to rotate and can work different directions so bear this in mind! Recommend buying a dash cam, got one for $20, some people are very dangerous on the road, not a day goes by without there being some idiot pulling out in front of me or cutting me up and if the worst were to happen I would have a bit of protection.

Reversing-do it slowly, never be afraid to get out and look especially if you are instances where you have to do it blind side. If you are in a lighted place like a dock area with other drivers around at night dim your lights so you wont dazzle other drivers trying to park up.

Keep to the speed limit, no excuses. Easy to drift over especially if you have a truck that will go 75 or so especially on a turnpike with a full load!

Delays are inevitable. Do not go over your 14 hours. Its your call whether you think you have time to fit in another run. Dispatchers just want the load out whatever but it's your call. You will find some places you go to are slower than others at unloading or having spare trailers, you will get to know which ones! I have had one instance where I had to take a full load back on account of them not being able to live unload or having an empty trailer I can take back, our company does not allow driving distances by bob tailing except in extreme circumstances.

Have a positive attitude. Goes a long way. Be polite. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Most truckers want you to do well but I have been disrespected by one or two other drivers for absolutely no reason. Some drivers think they own the truck, on one occsion I was an hour late in returning with the truck I share for no fault of my own and he resorted to personal insults. One or two drivers had warned me this guy was a 'nasty piece of work' and they weren't wrong ! To resolve this I told him what I thought of him, and the next day asked my boss could I use one of the spare hire trucks-problem solved! Thankfully its the type of job where 95% of your time is on your own so I can easily ignore the arseholes, every company has them but you will find most fellow truckers want to see you succeed and do well, and will do everything they can to help!

Hope this post helps some of you, good luck out there, overall it is a very good job!

Dispatcher:

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.
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