First Week Finished

Topic 23307 | Page 1

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Robsteeler's Comment
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Well, this was an interesting week, to say the least. My first day, started off with a run up to Bordentown, NJ to pick up an empty at a shipper , then a pickup in Bridgeton, NJ. My assignment said Clement Papers was my pickup location for a load going to Pittsburgh.

Okay, so I know Bridgeton because I used to work there, so I typed in the address on my Qualcomm gps and headed out. Before I left, I googled it but no Clement Papers came up, closest thing was Clement/Lassonde Pappas but a different address. I arrived on the street. First place looks tiny, so I keep going. I see the second place, pretty big complex and the address I noticed online. Okay, so let me turn around. End of the street has a cross street that loops around so I follow it. Intersection looks tight, so I figure I’ll button hook. Swing wide but I let myself get a little deeper than I wanted. (Rookie dummy)There’s a telephone pole and I noticed a fire hydrant there too. So, slow and careful...I’m nervous about blocking the intersection (I need to get over that) so I’m happy a guy from the plant rolls up on a golf cart. I wave to him and point down in front. He looks over and nods. I’m good? I mouth. He nods again. I slowly creep with the wheel at the stops. I go by the pole, all is good. Crunch. Damn.

I finally get out and look like I should have done from the start. Front plastic bumper lip is caught on the large nut of the hydrant. It’s brittle plastic, so it just carved a hole in it. I was told NEVER BACK UP ON A STREET! About nine hundred times in orientation, so I felt I had to just finish turning since it didn’t do anything to the hydrant. Completely my fault because from this guys perspective, it probably looked fine. He’s not a driver so he might not have realized that the truck would swing in a turn. Learned my lesson and I will check myself before I wreck myself next time! A couple more inches of gash. No real damage to anything, but I immediately reported it.

My company gathered my information and let me proceed. So I drive in to the guard shack lane and talk to the guy. Turns out the small place down the road was the right one. So I got turned around and went down there. Very tight dock area. I start to back and I’m just about to stop and GOAL, when I get air horns. I get out and guy in his truck yells out the window that I’m gonna hit him. Total drama queen, I was more than ten feet away. I told him I was just about to get out and look when he blew his horn. Another guy was waiting to dock, so he got out and said he’d spot me. Yeah, I needed a bunch of pull ups, but it was super narrow and not like anything I’d done before. The guy helped a lot, then he swung around in his truck and popped it in in one go! 😆

I hung around there for almost four hours waiting. Killed the morning, so I headed out into heavy traffic. I need to figure out trip planning a lot better, because when the gps got confused in a construction zone, I missed my turn in Delaware after the bridge. I seemed to also forget everything that I just learned in orientation about planning as well. Reroute steers me south, then across Maryland. Dear God, so many hills! Running out of hours, and I’m so unprepared that I don’t know what to do. There’s been no places to pull over. Even the roadside for a quick google search was out. Too narrow. So I drive and pray. I see a rest stop ahead, yay! Crap. NO TRUCKS sign in big letters. Keep driving... another rest stop appears ahead eventually and I see lots of trucks, so I pull in. Trucks everywhere along the roadway in so I’m worried I won’t be able to find room. One open spot ahead! I pull in and breathe a sigh of relief. I get out and use the bathroom and look around. Nice scenic place, but only vending machines for food. Mr. Former Boy Scout forgot the Scout motto again it seems, and I wasn’t prepared. So, I ate crap from the machines and laid down to sleep emotionally be continued


The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.


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.
Rob T.'s Comment
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Sounds like a rough start to your new career. Things will get better. Learn from the incident but dont focus too much on it. Many times drivers are too focused on a "minor" incident such as yours and end up having a much more serious accident within the next few days or weeks.

About backing up on a street i completely agree. On thursday i had taken a route i dont usually take because i had a new stop on me. In order to make my right turn i needed to use the entire road i was turning onto (buttonhook). There was a box truck there at a stop sign so i needed to wait for them to move first. It was only a 2 lane road so he only had to watch traffic from 1 side and instead of waiting for a break in traffic from other side HE BACKED UP. The result was him crunching the entire front end of a prius behind him. I actually felt kinda bad for the guy since he was trying to help me but then i said thats his own dang fault for backing up on a street without a spotter. To clarify for those reading, when we refer to backing up on a street its completely different than backing into a dock from the street.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
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That sounds like a fairly normal start. We all have some crazy rookie stories. Hang in there. You've already proven to be resilient - a necessarily quality when starting this career!


ChefsJK's Comment
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I bet you went to the Graingers in Bordentown for you empty huh, lol.

Don's Comment
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Rob, as a new driver myself, I don't feel I have the "road cred" to tell you what you did wrong. I will only state that we are too new to "guestimate' and just go "onward hooaa....!" when backing or getting around something. I am not going to entrust any one else to "help" me when backing, nor when trying to get around any object, pole, building, truck, etc.. If I hit something by listening to their "you're good"s, it will be all on me. When/if the company comes a knockin', I won't be able to blame the guy "who told me I was fine". You experienced what listening to someone else who has no risk to his job involved when "helping" can cause. Believe me when I say I have gotten myself into (and out of) some 'situations' when missing or taking a wrong turn or going down the wrong street/road. G.O.A.L and figuring out how I m going to get myself out of a mess has been invaluable in my driving education, not to mention a sense of pride in that I did so without scraping, or hitting anything. Well, I have rubbed a trailer tire on a curb or two, haha. In the future, G.O.A.L before a manuever, not afterwards.

Bird-One's Comment
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Sounds like a typical first week haha. As far as blocking traffic goes I was the same way you'll get over it eventually. As my old man used to say when he drove "if they honk tell them to stop buying stuff" haha. I deliver to Aldi's in Chicago alot and if it's a store I've never been to before when I think I'm a few hundred yards out I'll throw on my hazards and hug the side till I have eyes on. Traffic goes around no problem.

Deb R.'s Comment
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I don't totally trust a spotter; I will GOAL, and say something like "I really appreciate your help, but I just have to get my bearings so I know what I'm doing". It will get easier, really, it will.

Robsteeler's Comment
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I bet you went to the Graingers in Bordentown for you empty huh, lol.

Yep. 😆

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
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I tell students to write down the route and any parking on a note pad and clip it to the air vent. Call the customer ahead of time if you have questions. If you dont have a phone number, message dispatch and get one. NJ and most of the northeast have roads too narrow for trucks to get lost. Folloeing the GPS blindly is how a truck wound up on the Jersey boardwalk.

I know you and Don are against team training.... but THIS is where team training comes in. instead of you being alone right now, you would have had a trainer with you to help. And would probably have had that person another month. By the time you get off a team truck, you have a much better idea about the turn radius and truck response. In addition, the trip planning is drilled into your head...if you have a good trainer that is.

Practice in truck stops during the day while their empty to get a better idea of turning room needed. Be sure to GOAL everytime yoi back up. i still will GOAL two or three times if i have to in a tight place. The more you praxtice and trip plan, the less stressful this job will be.

Keep in mind you now have an incident on your record. Many companies have a 3 strike rule for newbies. Take it seriously but not obsessively. Be prepared. Get an ice chest or cooler with your fuel reward points and keep some fruit, lunch meat or at least drinks in case food is not available.


Steve L.'s Comment
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You may wanna use the Trucker Path app (free) to trip plan and view (satellite) your route before heading out. I do this a lot because addresses and/or business names aren’t always current.

Also, I’ll sometimes leave the Trucker Path up if I’m going somewhere unfamiliar. That way I can keep an eye on where I am if I go “out of route” or need to turn around.

I hope this helps.

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