Hwy Training Without Living In Truck?

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G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Whenever I hear people my age or older complaining about how a lot of younger people are "snow flakes" I always think that they have always been around. And several times a week I am proven that I was correct. This posting is yet more evidence. I really hope OP that you find out what you want and what sacrifices that you need to make to reach your goals.

....the OP is at least 50 years old.

Kurt G.'s Comment
member avatar

John T, I'm with you, I was concerned about having to live in a truck with someone else. We all have issues we struggle with, and maybe there is a problem that you don't want to post here. This place likes to employ the "tough love", but unfortunately sometimes, in my opinion anyway, it can cross over in to unnecessary insults and piling on.

In any case, to do some piling on myself: if you want to drive a truck, do something about it *today*. As has been pointed out, you can't wait or you will have wasted your training. You should call a Schneider recruiter today. They have the shortest training i think, you can deal with it for 5 or 6 days. I should point out that when I started there I was told that during training the student would stay in the truck while the trainer stayed in a motel (or was it the other way around?), but that's not really what happens, you both stay in the truck. I think maybe they have you sign a paper that says you won't stay together in the truck just so that if something happens later they can say they told you not to.

Anyway, get out there and do it. It might be true that trucking is living on someone else's terms, but it's also true that once you get past training you'll be on your own and you won't have to go through that again. Good luck.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Kurt G wrote:

This place likes to employ the "tough love", but unfortunately sometimes, in my opinion anyway, it can cross over in to unnecessary insults and piling on.

Other than the "cheesy" reply from Big Scott, there is some really good information/advice in most of the replies here, void of insults and the tendency to feed off someone else's negativity.

So my opinion? 5-6 days of one-on-one training is very short. I think that has worked for some, but..., a big but. Although I believe Schneider is a really good company (not bashing them Steve), their training is "sink or swim" in the truest sense of the concept. Some "newbies" can handle it, some can't.

Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

John T, I have many thoughts in response to this one, but I will focus on just three.

1) I was 53 years old when I started in this career, after a long time in another field. I had a stale CDL-A, and a company took a chance on me and gave me a shot. I was trained by a local driver for ultimate OTR Regional work. His environment was 100 air miles or less, and he hadn't done a log page in, by his estimate, 8 years. So, new guy rides with him, works with him, does log pages for every day. Even the 17 and 18 hour ones. I thought I was doing the logs as practice, because that is what he and my terminal supervisor told me. I found out several months after finishing my six weeks with him that they were all entered into the system, since I was system loaded as OTR70. I had a face to face with Safety and Log Audit to discuss, and stave off, a disqualification for significant log violations. Being trained by a local driver for OTR is like an Orthopedic Surgeon being trained by a Dermatologist. It's medicine, but lordy are they different types of medicine. I would NOT recommend that course of action for anyone else, and in my exit interview after 14 months, I made the same recommendation. My trainer was a great local driver, and I learned a lot about local stops, backing in general, blindside backing specifically, driving around in Chicago during business hours, daycab operations, etc from him, but I did not learn any of the nuances and requirements of "life on the road", logging, how to maneuver an aircraft carrier in a space designed for a PTBR, or truck driver time management in the 8/11/14/70 hour realms.

2) The time spent with a trainer, while possibly quite uncomfortable for you, would likely be very well spent. Especially if you have no one that you can fall back on as a personal, non-judgemental, resource. I was fortunate that my older brother is a former Wyoming Tech trained Diesel Tech turned OTR driver, and he was more than willing to help me out during phone conversations. He has traveled all of the lower 48 and three Provinces, and has a nearly photographic memory, so was a tremendous resource on truck stop location, trip planning, hours of service, maintenance tasks, and even just moral support when the lows hit. When G-town said something about Trucker-dum, I put the "b" on Trucker-dumb with some of the mistakes I made. Mistakes likely not made had I spent six weeks with another OTR driver in a condo sleeper, living the dream, or nightmare, or combination of the above.

3) Getting put outside of our comfort zone strengthens us, and makes us appreciate even more those things that give us pleasure. My advice to you, should you care, would be to go forward and learn the OTR process on the company's terms and with someone that has an interest in helping you succeed. You will learn things from your trainer that you'd not likely get from a local trainer. You will, most importantly, learn how to manager your time to maximize your income potential. You will likely need to do OTR for a year before many of the local outfits will consider you. I work for an outfit now that has both local and regional positions. I was hired on to work local four years ago. Eight months ago I made my boss a happy man by saying I wanted to go back OTR.

Read the resources here, particularly the one in Trucker's Career Guide, Company Training. (Sorry, I haven't mastered the links process here yet..)

Good luck to you as you work through the choices. Peace.

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

John T, I have many thoughts in response to this one, but I will focus on just three.

1) I was 53 years old when I started in this career, after a long time in another field. I had a stale CDL-A, and a company took a chance on me and gave me a shot. I was trained by a local driver for ultimate OTR Regional work. His environment was 100 air miles or less, and he hadn't done a log page in, by his estimate, 8 years. So, new guy rides with him, works with him, does log pages for every day. Even the 17 and 18 hour ones. I thought I was doing the logs as practice, because that is what he and my terminal supervisor told me. I found out several months after finishing my six weeks with him that they were all entered into the system, since I was system loaded as OTR70. I had a face to face with Safety and Log Audit to discuss, and stave off, a disqualification for significant log violations. Being trained by a local driver for OTR is like an Orthopedic Surgeon being trained by a Dermatologist. It's medicine, but lordy are they different types of medicine. I would NOT recommend that course of action for anyone else, and in my exit interview after 14 months, I made the same recommendation. My trainer was a great local driver, and I learned a lot about local stops, backing in general, blindside backing specifically, driving around in Chicago during business hours, daycab operations, etc from him, but I did not learn any of the nuances and requirements of "life on the road", logging, how to maneuver an aircraft carrier in a space designed for a PTBR, or truck driver time management in the 8/11/14/70 hour realms.

2) The time spent with a trainer, while possibly quite uncomfortable for you, would likely be very well spent. Especially if you have no one that you can fall back on as a personal, non-judgemental, resource. I was fortunate that my older brother is a former Wyoming Tech trained Diesel Tech turned OTR driver, and he was more than willing to help me out during phone conversations. He has traveled all of the lower 48 and three Provinces, and has a nearly photographic memory, so was a tremendous resource on truck stop location, trip planning, hours of service, maintenance tasks, and even just moral support when the lows hit. When G-town said something about Trucker-dum, I put the "b" on Trucker-dumb with some of the mistakes I made. Mistakes likely not made had I spent six weeks with another OTR driver in a condo sleeper, living the dream, or nightmare, or combination of the above.

3) Getting put outside of our comfort zone strengthens us, and makes us appreciate even more those things that give us pleasure. My advice to you, should you care, would be to go forward and learn the OTR process on the company's terms and with someone that has an interest in helping you succeed. You will learn things from your trainer that you'd not likely get from a local trainer. You will, most importantly, learn how to manager your time to maximize your income potential. You will likely need to do OTR for a year before many of the local outfits will consider you. I work for an outfit now that has both local and regional positions. I was hired on to work local four years ago. Eight months ago I made my boss a happy man by saying I wanted to go back OTR.

Read the resources here, particularly the one in Trucker's Career Guide, Company Training. (Sorry, I haven't mastered the links process here yet..)

Good luck to you as you work through the choices. Peace.

GREAT ANSWER! *like

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
John T.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for all the information. All kinds of things to learn, and there's more and more with each branch of the industry.

Chuck S.'s Comment
member avatar

Check with Knight ... they have a trainer who runs out of Phoenix ... and is home every night... good luck

Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

John, your best option is likely to come to grips with spending a few weeks with that "weirdo" and try and learn all you can from them about this business.

If you're going to be a trucker for 10 or 20 years, spending a few weeks jammed into a box with a trainer to get started will ultimately have been a small price to pay.

If you absolutely cannot handle OTR training but really want to become a truck driver, the options are limited but one could be to find a local delivery company that trains. Not many do, it is an awful job, and wouldn't be considered "experience" but an OTR company should you choose to train later. But...it fits your "ask". A company I have heard that does this is Gordon Foods. I sure wouldn't want that gig, but maybe you do.

I just got my class A CDL , and I have no interest in being cooped up with some weirdo in a truck for weeks at a time to be trained over the road. Are there any companies that would train drivers on the highways and mountains within a 600-1200 mile radius of their home area? I'm 50 years old and living with some stranger in a small area on that person's terms is not going to work for me. I'm in western Washington and finished CDL School a month ago. I would appreciate any information I could get on this subject. Thank you.

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.

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.

Over The Road:

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.

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.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

If you are abosolilty against living in a truck you can find a LTL company such as Old Dominion, XPO, Holland Regional. They all offer training depending on where you live and you are home every night so no sleeping in a truck.

But remember for OTR you are a stranger and potential weirdo to the trainer as well. And he or she is welcoming you into their home with no clue as to how you are to live with.

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.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

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.

John T.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks again for all the information and insight. As soon as I pass their physical and UA I will be driving a fuel delivery truck.Fortunately all their trucks have 10 speed manual transmission so I will still be able to get that experience.

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