I Am New And Looking For Advice

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Robin F.'s Comment
member avatar

I am considering a major change in life. I have worked in retail and merchandising for several years and in January my husband's well paid pharmaceutical job will be ending due to company closure of the facility he works at. I have a very good woman friend who was a trucker and loved it and suggested I think about a career in trucking.

I'm looking for up front advice ladies....don't worry about hurting my feelings. I've spoken with Steven Transport and have an opportunity to go to CDL school with them starting in January. I have always loved travel and I've always been interested in trucking. I am about to turn 44 and wonder if this is the kind of career I could be successful at. My main concerns are 1. Safety for solo women truckers and 2. Can I even learn to handle a semi? ok..that's the biggest worry...I'll be honest...lol. I've never driven anything bigger than a large SUV before....

I'd love any input you could provide and don't worry about me, I can take tough love!

Thanks so much,

Robin

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.
Kim T.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome Robin!

I am a 55 year old woman who worked in a law firm for over 20 years. In August I put my last child in college, walked away from a career I knew very well, and went to Prime CDL school in Springfield, MO. I am now a CDL holder and am working through the second phase of OTR training with a trainer (30,000 miles). I’m loving it and am so glad I made the decision to do this. I’m not sure about Stevens, but most companies are switching to automatics and, for me, that helped in my training a lot. As for whether you will be able to handle a big truck, you won’t know until you try. I will say it is a completely different experience than driving a car, even a big SUV.

The advice I can give as to safety is this...be vigilant, know who is around you, don’t walk between trailers, park in well lit areas. There are always dangers for solo women wherever they go but just be aware.

Good luck and let us know if you have any questions.

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.

Robin F.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks so much for the welcome! I'm at the point of I'm not sure of what I need to know, you know? I think my husband thinks I'm nuts, but if he can't find a job someone's gotta make enough to pay the bills, LOL..

What did you find were the difficulties for you when you began driving? I have also never driven a stick successfully, so there's worry there....Stevens says I'd be set up with a female trainer, which is a boon I think?? Or maybe not. How is Prime for training?

Robin

:)

Welcome Robin!

I am a 55 year old woman who worked in a law firm for over 20 years. In August I put my last child in college, walked away from a career I knew very well, and went to Prime CDL school in Springfield, MO. I am now a CDL holder and am working through the second phase of OTR training with a trainer (30,000 miles). I’m loving it and am so glad I made the decision to do this. I’m not sure about Stevens, but most companies are switching to automatics and, for me, that helped in my training a lot. As for whether you will be able to handle a big truck, you won’t know until you try. I will say it is a completely different experience than driving a car, even a big SUV.

The advice I can give as to safety is this...be vigilant, know who is around you, don’t walk between trailers, park in well lit areas. There are always dangers for solo women wherever they go but just be aware.

Good luck and let us know if you have any questions.

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.

Kim T.'s Comment
member avatar

Everyone I worked with told me I had lost my mind when I put in my notice. lol

Like I said earlier, I don’t know about Stevens’ training but at Prime I didn’t get my CDL permit or my physical until I got there. Other places are different. I took the High Road training on this site a couple of times as well as studied Daniel B’s Pre-trip Guide on here and they both helped me tremendously. As far as actually driving the truck, backing has been my biggest headache. I’m getting better but it scares the bejeesus out of me.

I have a female trainer and she is great. It’s mostly about personalities when you are in a small space with someone for so long. It’s all about how you handle situations. I’ve heard great things about m/f, m/m, and f/f training partnerships. But I have also heard bad things. Just make the most out of it. Of course you can always talk to someone in safety or your dispatcher if your training situation isn’t working for you. They want you to succeed and be safe.

Prime’s training is really good. Orientation week is fast paced and you have to get so much done in a short time period. After that it goes at your pace. However, they don’t want you taking forever to get your CDL and getting on the road for the TNT phase of training. If you have questions there is always someone you can ask. In about a week and a half my trainer and I have almost 10,000 miles of my 30,000 knocked out. If I didn’t have to come back to WV to transfer my license and her taking home time we would still be out there.

Just like a trucking career, training is what you make of it. If you are a slacker you are going to fail. If you put a 100% into it, you will succeed.

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.

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi, im a trainer at prime and have written a ton of articles that touch on training, marriages being affected, sexism, and the road culture. i wrote about safety in the sexism article.

Stevens and prime would both give you awesome training and provide a ton of opportunities.

My time is limited now, but ill answer you later tonight.

check out this link... Rainys Articles

Robin F.'s Comment
member avatar

I got an email from Prime today. Apparently I would have to get my CDL Permit and DOT Medical Card in CT before I go there. Steven's training would start in January and I think Prime would be sooner. Still doing my research and I think my biggest worry is actually handling the truck...Thanks so much for your input, it's very very helpful as I try to decide what's the best route to go.

Robin

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Prime and many of the mega carriers are no longer training on manuals. i never drove a stick before i came to prime and just turned mine in. i now have an auto and hated it for a month. however, its growing on me.

everyone is nervous about backing and doing it. you would be dumb...and frankly i wouldnt want you on the road if you werent nervous.

we do it, you can too. after awhile, its really an easy job in general. its the learning that is hard. it took some people 2 months to downshift the manual and most people 6 months to have the backing click.

this is a total lifestyle change though. there is no 9am to 6pm or whatever. if i finish my day at 2pm, my hours come back at midnight.

it has its advantages though. i basically have no boss. they send messages "pick up here and take there". i can go weeks even minths without calling my fleet manager. i sleep when and where i want, shower and eat when i want and no one bothers me. do it safely and on time.

the rig takes getting used to. prime knows that which is why training is so long.

if they are having you get the permit at home, they will send you to Pittston PA for orientation. Prime usually has classes every monday.

again, steven is awesome too, but i have no first hand knowledge.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Kim T.'s Comment
member avatar

Rainy is always on point and always has great advice.

Once you hear from Prime and get your information to them, approval goes pretty quick. Because I went to Prime training in Missouri I got my permit and physical when I got there. Like Rainy said, Prime has classes starting every Monday. They will work with you on works best for your starting date. When I was preparing to go and making travel arrangements I was originally scheduled to get on the Greyhound late Saturday night and arrive in Springfield very late Sunday night. I knew I didn’t want to start class as a zombie so I asked if I could come a day sooner. No problem.

Let us know which direction you decide to go and how you are doing. I have a post in the General section talking about my training at Prime. It may give you a little more insight into the roller coaster ride that is training to drive a truck.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Rainy is always on point and always has great advice.

thanks but thats cause Rainy has screwed up so much out here and has no problem humiliating herself to help others.

heres an article that willput your mind at ease.

Nervous About Going Solo?

Robin F.'s Comment
member avatar

I am very tempted to go to Prime because everything I'm reading here seems like they are the best place for a woman to drive. Although Stevens has it's very good points, apparently you get a truck that is pretty young to start with, which is probably something that normally wouldn't happen. It's just deciding if I can handle the vigors of the road, being away from my husband and stepkids that much, although if it comes right down to it if he can't get a job that produces I have to make hard choices, like it or not.

It's just something I have been drawn to and nothing I've done has really been a career for me. I feel like this would be that thing I've been needing in my life.

Robin

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