The Clock And Parking

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Half Pint's Comment
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I previously worked for a company where I planned my routes and didn't have strict requirement on where to park. Now I drive for a company that routes me, my fuel stops, and wants specific place to park like only rest areas and truck stops. No pull offs, no ramps. I'm going through an adjustment about how to run my clock to find parking.

I prefer to start running at 0300 but if I get a late load and have a full clock that means I will only be able to go a few hours down the road to be able to get myself on that schedule. I don't always have that option now and it makes me look bad. But finding parking at midnight is almost impossible.

Another problem I have is getting over my nerves of having to find parking and manuever in the dark. I guess I've been pretty lucky this past year, either that or I've done myself a great disservice by not doing it so I could learn.

Considering I'm at a new company, have a new dispatcher , and recent issues as explained in my recent flatbed post, I really need to step up my game.

Another question I have is, do I only take a ten? For example, on a long run if I leave at 0300 and I stop at 1300 or shortly there after, I take a ten and I'm leaving at 2400 or 0100 depending on when I shut down. My clock will consistently move back. Or do I wait until 0300??

Also, this is my first winter running solo. I was a team driver last winter. How do I work my clock around bad weather, bad roads, and finding parking?


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.
Susan D. 's Comment
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I stop only for my 10 hour break if I have hours to run and miles to go. The minute my 10 is up, I'm on duty doing my pretrip and preparing to roll.

Unless there is an absolute firm delivery or pick up time, I arrive as soon as possible. The name of the game is bump up every arrival time that you can. You'll get more miles this way. You'll quickly learn which customers load or you can deliver to 24/7. I've found its easier to ask forgiveness than it is to ask for permission lol. I'll show up way early, play dumb and say something like "gee, I was told to be here at xx time" and if they're open, they'll generally take me earlier. Just be polite, professional, and offer to leave if being there way early is a huge problem lol. I've delivered more than 24 hours early by doing this. A good attitude and a smile helps.

Parking. Paid parking is my go-to when I'm having to shut down later in the evening and in an area where I know parking is scarce. I avoid rest areas at night, as they're often overcrowded, tight, and it's easy to get trapped in when it's time to leave. I also overnight at any customer that allows it, that way I can roll out with a full fresh clock after being unloaded, loaded or whatever.

Parking on ramps etc is dangerous. Someone could easily hit you and how would you explain to your company that you weren't in a LEGAL parking space? For this same reason, I don't use "creative" parking spaces at truck stops. I won't say I've never parked on a ramp, but in 3 years, I can easily count the number of times I have on one hand. Knowing how dangerous it is, I do not sleep well at all. I've done it when there was a fatality accident closing the interstate leaving me out of hours and I had absolutely no other choice.

I also use the trucker path app to help find parking and have a notebook where I've written down little safe spots that aren't listed there.


Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).


Operating While Intoxicated

Half Pint's Comment
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Thank you Susan. Very good advice, I appreciate it.

RealDiehl's Comment
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Hey, "T". Just wanted to say Hi and thank you for that little group you created for us MTC graduates. You commented on my training diary while we were in school together and I didn't realize until now that it was YOU. Happy Thanksgiving and stay safe!

Half Pint's Comment
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Hey, and you're welcome! I hope you're well and successful out there!

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
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Best advise my trainer gave me for trip planning is 12 hours, 550 miles, where will I park this truck? This is a 70 foot long beast. My company does not want us parking on ramps, they reimburse paid parking.

Matthew N.'s Comment
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Personally, I start at 0300 myself. I like that shift due to parking is always available when it's time to shut down, after a long day of driving it's difficult to become tired when the sun is still high in the sky and its nice and quiet on the road when I'm still trying to wake up.

I run on recap only (or at least try to). Yesterday I drove 562 miles, shut down at 1300 and didn't start again until 0300. As long as the load allows. It doesn't always happen that way but know you're not the only one that does it.

Turtle's Comment
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Susan nailed it on the head. I agree 100% with everything she said.

With me, every decision I make regarding HOS begins with one question: "What gives me the best advantage?". I probably spend an inordinate amount of time crunching the numbers in my head and figuring out the best way to manage my clock. 9 out of 10 times the best advantage comes from arriving early. I often push my HOS to the limits, parking with only a few minutes left. Yes that often means driving into the night and taking a shot in the dark at finding a parking spot. So far I've only had to pay for parking twice, both times in CA. Each of those times was reimbursed by my company also. I've never parked on a ramp or on a shoulder. Trucker Path can really be your friend. It'll show those little mom and pop truck stops that always have parking. In fact, you can find some real gems that way. Easy parking, great restaurants, friendly personal service, outside of the mega chains.

So on each and every trip you need to look ahead and see how best to gain an advantage. In our flatbed world, I can tell you now that the best way is to get in and get out. Appt times are merely a suggestion in most cases. First come first served.

If driving into the night let's you get there in 2 shifts vs 3, I'd do it. If doing 8 in the sleeper lets you start earlier, then you can do 2 off duty at the customer to complete a split, I'd do it. Whatever it takes. Again, it's all about the advantage you can gain over the others. You want to stand out? That's how you do it.


Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Half Pint's Comment
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Thank you everyone. I appreciate the explanations and examples.

Parrothead66's Comment
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If you’re with Western Express flatbed you can probably park at most Lowe’s stores without a problem.

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