Tanker Specific For New Driver

Topic 23131 | Page 1

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Mini Me's Comment
member avatar

So I will soon be a new holder of a class A license. I have been offered a conditional position with prime in the food grade tanker division. I have been reading the previous posts on tankers, more specifically the concerns with rookies in tankers. My situation is that I have been driving tankers (class b) for 21 years. So I do have the basic understanding of how the liquid reacts, albeit on a much smaller scale.

Do you think that the experience in driving small tanks will make for an easier transition in to handling a large tank? Or should I still consider reefer for the experience and learning curve?

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

What type of tanker? 10-wheeler, tri-axle? Smooth bore or baffled?

Food grade tankers are a smooth bore design, there is nothing to slow the inertia created by the liquid, except each end of the tank.

Baffle:

A partition or separator within a liquid tank, used to inhibit the flow of fluids within the tank. During acceleration, turning, and braking, a large liquid-filled tank may produce unexpected forces on the vehicle due to the inertia of liquids.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Mini Me, that's a great question. We generally discourage newbies from tanker jobs, but you present an unusual set of circumstances. Personally, I still like the idea of you learning to handle a huge combination vehicle without the added stress of the tanker behind you. I think you'll find plenty of challenging moments just getting accustomed to handling a big rig. I still like the idea of going refer first. You can always switch over when you consider yourself ready for the next set of challenges.

I remember we had a member named "Roadkill" who really wanted to be a flatbed driver at Prime. He started out pulling reefer just so he could get the basics of driving a big rig down without burdening himself with having to learn the additional load securement practices. After about six months he decided he enjoyed pulling refrigerated loads so much that he abandoned his ideas of being a flatbedder.

I'd go with the refrigerated loads first. Then when you've got six months or so experience you can decide if you still want to pull a tanker. I think that's the most prudent approach.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Rob S.'s Comment
member avatar

You already have some tanker experience so you understand that the load will try to kill you. If Prime is willing to train you, I think they will ensure that lesson is reinforced before they turn you loose solo. Accept what they teach and follow their practices and you should be fine. To me, reefers have two big drawbacks, lumpers and that extra engine right next to my bed.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

Pete B.'s Comment
member avatar

As a tanker driver, I’m a big proponent of learning to drive big trucks first, pulling refeers/dry vans/flatbeds, before going the tanker route. There are just so many scenarios that trainers & instructors cannot prepare you for, that you and the 4-wheeling public will be better off you learning in something other than a tanker. I’ll never stop being amazed that Schneider and Prime (and others I don’t know about) allow brand new drivers to pull their tankers.

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.
Mini Me's Comment
member avatar

G-town---For the majority of my career I was driving smooth bore tankers between 1500-3000 gallons. Fire engines and water tankers for the fire dept.

Old School----That's pretty much what I was thinking. I am comfortable In a tanker, I just have 0 experience in driving a combination vehicle. I'm thinking my experience in smaller tankers is what prompted the recruiter to offer the tank position. I'm just looking to make the best of my new career and hopefully make the best choices to lead me in that direction. I'm definitely open to driving reefer. Thank you for the response.

Side note. Great site with a wealth of knowledge for new drivers such as myself.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

Here is a little perspective to help in your decision. Tank the max capacity you have hauled now double it, Take the weight of the liquid you have hauled, now double it, Take the amount of surge you have experienced, now double it. Take the length of the vehicle you have driven, nod double it. Finally take away a completely rigid frame and put a single pivot point in as well. With all the liquid weight on one side of the pivot and and the controls on the other. Not to mention your liquid will outweigh the tractor.

So how confident you are ready to drive a 7 story building on wheels with 6k gallons of water slapping you around?

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