Soon To Be Veteran Looking At Trucking

Topic 23794 | Page 2

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Grumpy Old Man's Comment
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When I was a kid, I drove farm tractors towing wagons loaded with hay, tobacco, etc. many times very heavy loads. Never had an issue, never felt unsafe.

I drove one time with a tank of water, maybe 500 gallons, and never wanted to again. Granted 500 gallons isn't a lot, but the tractor was nowhere as big as a semi either. It pushed the tractor forward and back, and side to side on rough farm roads.

I have my tanker endorsement, but I never plan/want to drive one, and definitely wouldn't want to right out of the chute. Especially food grade.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

N/A's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for your service! Fellow vet here, and I’d like to say that this is a good career. I’m not sure how much research you’ve done on tankers, flatbed, dry van , reefer , etc., but have you ever considered LTL? These are companies that pull two and three trailers at once, usually two or three 28’ “pup” trailers.

You can start a good career with companies like Estes, Old Dominion, ABF, etc. You can be home every night, or you can be home every week (depending on which driver position you take). The salary is high ($70-125k/yr), and they’ve got retirement and health, dental, vision benefits.

The best part, they train. You apply for Estes (for example), and you’ll operate a forklift for three months. After that, you’re eligible to go to their school. It’s approximately four weeks with a driver (city & Linehaul), and two weeks in the school. They pay for the school, and they’ll pay you while you’re being trained. You will not have to pay anything back, only commit to this one company for two years. You will need your Tanker, Doubles/Triples, and Hazmat endorsements.

Of course, if your desire is to pull tankers, no problem. I understand that some drivers only want to pull this or that, and the thought of pulling doubles , especially placards hazmat, scares some people. Be careful not to rush into anything too soon. I made that mistake in the beginning.

God Bless, Chris

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Mik D.'s Comment
member avatar

I stumbled across this site in my search for info on trucking as a career after my life in the Navy. I always loved trucks from a young age and have done several cross country trips with family that drove so I do believe it's a great fit for me. My question is this, I've already decided that I want to pull tankers and know there is a bit of physicality involved with that. Will certain medications that have been prescribed for me due to a back injury prevent me from being employed? These are non-narcotic in nature and I only take them towards the night time or whenever I'm preparing for sleep and will be sleeping for 8-10 hours. In the Navy we were required to submit to random urinalysis and would only be required to notate that we were taking medication, so anything found would not be flagged. I'm already looking to get my CDL through a skillsbridge program or using my benefits to get it done after my current workday. I appreciate any comments and advice that is offered up. I'm looking for more military friendly employers that pull food grade tankers since Schneider requires tanker drivers to be clean shaven and that's not an option for me due to my skin type.

Besides being from the Navy( go army), I have been told by the company that I'm going to orientation for right now on greyhound, that a doctors release for no restrictions and a note from doctor, saying what was prescribed would be good for them...but like others have said, each company could be a bit different...in my mind a letter and note from doctor would be good..(company would prob ask for a letter saying you can work with no restrictions because of your back)

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.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

CJ has offered some bad advice...

Of course, if your desire is to pull tankers, no problem.

It is definitely a problem when an entry level driver runs a smooth bore tanker with no experience, right out of the gate. This is not new information, we have never wavered from emphatically suggesting to get at least several months experience with dryvan and/or reefer before committing and retraining on a tanker.

Please scroll back in the thread and reread Brett’s reply...

Dryvan:

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Robert D. (Raptor)'s Comment
member avatar

I have to agree with G-Town and Brett about Rookies driving smooth bore tankers. NOT A GOOD FORMULA! I drove fuel tankers for 3+ years and though I had baffles in my tanks, it wasn't as if I didn't have a slight surge. But food grade tankers with smooth bore tanks are a different animal.

Kamal, I understand your desire to drive tankers over boxed trailers. But get some experience first in dry van or reefer or flatbed before you progress into more skill needed endeavors such as tankers.

CJ

Telling a rookie to go ahead and drive tankers is a big mistake here. He doesn't have the skill level yet. Remember he still has to get the hang of shifting first. And with food grade pushing all over the road as you learn the art of shifting and trying to keep it from pushing you out into an intersection if you have to make a keep stop at a light. Then there are the tight curves in some on and off ramps. The list goes on and on of the why rookies should not drive tankers of any kind.

Schneider may have a good tanker training program, but it is still not a good fit for the community to have a rookie who has not driven dry van or reefer or flat bed down the road.

Kamal, remember you can have a great career if you take heed to many of the experienced drivers on this site.

I drove for 11 years total before my MC accident in 2010. But I'm better now and I'm going back at it now to the life I enjoyed. This is a performance based career you are getting into. Make a slight mistake in a tanker and you can expect a rollover. Which in many situations could be a career ending situation. What speed you take a dry van or reefer or flatbed in an on ramp or off ramp is too FAST for a tanker. So brother vet, think wisely about the freight you wish to carry.

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.

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

N/A's Comment
member avatar

Guys, you took the information wrong. I did not mean it was okay for a rookie to START out driving tankers. What I meant was that if this driver wants to EVENTUALLY drive tankers, then by all means, go ahead. The point y’all missed was this:

I understand that some drivers only want to pull this or that, and the thought of pulling doubles , especially placards hazmat , scares some people. Be careful not to rush into anything too soon. I made that mistake in the beginning.

But it’s all good. Some folks want to drive in the heavy haul division, but you guys don’t honestly think anyone would tell a newbie to do that, do you?

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

CJ I’m really glad you qualified your initial advice further and that your suggesting the “right thing to-do”.

Had you originally said this to Kamal:

If you want to eventually pull tankers, no problem.

...I would have offered resounding agreement, and probably the same from Raptor. Thanks for taking the time to explain yourself. Like you said, all good.

Robert D. (Raptor)'s Comment
member avatar

CJ

I'm glad you clarified yourself.

Guys, you took the information wrong. I did not mean it was okay for a rookie to START out driving tankers. What I meant was that if this driver wants to EVENTUALLY drive tankers, then by all means, go ahead. The point y’all missed was this:

When you see the the problems that one can have with tankers, they need a wide berth of experience.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Raptor thanks for adding your experience to this thread. My attention level notches up when the voice of experience offers their thoughts on subjects like this.

For two summers I occasionally delivered pool water on the weekends for my local fire company...something to-do on a Saturday when I had some hours left to use. Even though it was a ten-wheeler, it was still a major handful requiring a significant increase in finesse’ and looking far ahead to plan for gradual deceleration and stops.

By no means does this qualify me as an expert, but enough hands-on to realize it’s not something recommended for an entry-level driver.

Thanks again for adding your two cents, providing “actual experience” and reasonable advice into a thread that should not have become contrarian.

Robert D. (Raptor)'s Comment
member avatar

G-Town not a problem. I had to haul a 26 ft water truck for a fire some years ago and I told my my head dispatcher "Are you out of your mind". LOL I can laugh about it now, but it was scary going through two towns with three traffic lights each. I think the only thing that was different (besides the slosh) was that this was oval in shape and not round light my fuel tankers were. One of our drivers was bringing it down to the fire from Sacramento and he broke down with a fuel pump problem on his tractor. So lucky me I had to go get it. It was portable drinking water for the people at the fire station campsite. Just that 45 minute drive back to bring the water was enough to know I don't ever want to do food grade unless I have no other choice.

But I hope this is a good lesson to other would be newbies want to haul tankers. You really have to have your head wrapped around you.

Maube see you out there be safe and keep the rubber side down!

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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