Can I Physically Handle Trucking?

Topic 24125 | Page 2

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Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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As a man I have no problem asking another driver for help when needed, infact today my lead trailer was too low even with the airbags lowered so I asked the spotter to pick it up, this is not the first time nor last either. I had a 20k pound trailer too low and it took every thing I had to get a few cranks in to be able to get under it but those are far and few between.

You should be ok just don't be afraid to ask for help we have all done it and we have all helped at one point or another.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Robert D. (Raptor)'s Comment
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Cynthia H.-

Don't let the fact that you are a woman make you think you can't do this. You can! If you were able to lift that luggage from the scale to the catwalk, you can do this. Think about what others have said. Don't pull the "meek little mouse" routine. But this a decision you will have to make for yourself. Apply to as many as you can, and see which ones come forward. If you have a good driving record and clean background, then the rest will fall in place. I'm coming back into this adventure at 65, and though I might have lost a little muscle mass from driving before. I'm going after this with both barrels loaded. If you are at least 5' you can do this!

So what are you waiting on????

Raptor

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Cynthia, most of the job types you'll run across in trucking are "drop and hook" (simply swapping trailers) or "no touch freight" (just like it says).

Physically the hardest thing you'll deal with are landing gear cranks, and tough door latches. Both are covered here.

A help for for latch problems: sometimes the way the ground is causes the trailer to not be square. If the door won't get closed, pull forward a few feet, and that may straighten the trailer up.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

You can do it Cynthia. I'm 60, and prior to 3 years ago never did anything resembling physical work....I'm allergic to it. I always worked at a desk, though I did drive limos and buses part-time, so I suppose I got a little exercise helping the ladies wearing heels to get in/out of vehicles rofl-1.gif

The least physically demanding truck driving gig is dry van OTR. I'd suggest heading into that first. The fitness test adminstered by most companies for dry van work is very simple. You'll need to move a little weight, and be able to squat and demonstrate getting under a trailer, maybe demonstrate being able to get into a trailer. That's about it. Some companies will check to be sure that your pulse/bp doesn't increase too much when you do those things....so if you smoke, quit, and don't quaff a bunch of caffeine prior to the test. You'll do fine, and in the remote chance that one company doesn't want you, another one will.

Hello, I have thoroughly enjoyed the wealth of information on this forum. I am motivated when I read Rainey D's comments. I especially enjoyed reading her article CVle about her first year as a driver because I'm very nervous. I'm still considering trucking however I don't want to end up in debt and no job. How soon in orientation do they let you know if you will be able to physically tackle the job of truck driving. I have no upper body strength so I'm worried about moving tandems , cranking look sending gear, etc.

Hello, I have thoroughly enjoyed the wealth of information on this forum. I am motivated when I read Rainey D's comments. I especially enjoyed reading her article CVle about her first year as a driver because I'm very nervous. I'm still considering trucking however I don't want to end up in debt and no job. How soon in orientation do they let you know if you will be able to physically tackle the job of truck driving. I have no upper body strength so I'm worried about moving tandems, cranking look sending gear, etc.

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.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Dm:

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rainy 's Comment
member avatar

The least physically demanding truck driving gig is dry van OTR.

How so? They still crank that landing gear and probably more often than reefer , no? They probably climb into the trailer more often cause most times i just get a washout and they would jump in to sweep it out. And dry van still uses straps to secure the load wheresas I use load locks in reefer.

Flatbed yes, very physical. Tanker yes, dealing with hoses and pumping very physical.

Ive been training more often than I did last year and im getting lazy cause even the little physical work i normally do is being done by students.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

The least physically demanding truck driving gig is dry van OTR.

double-quotes-end.png

How so? They still crank that landing gear and probably more often than reefer , no? They probably climb into the trailer more often cause most times i just get a washout and they would jump in to sweep it out. And dry van still uses straps to secure the load wheresas I use load locks in reefer.

I started in reefer and now am, happily, in dry van - thus, I'm familiar with both. All I can say is that my life is much easier overall now. I get a lot better, more consistent rest, which to me makes the physical demands much easier.

I suppose some of these factors will vary with the company and particular assignment....and this is just my opinion based on my experiences.

With reefer, it wouldn't be unusual to have a live load at 08:00 and then a live unload at 02:00 850 miles away followed by an 06:00 live load 125 miles away, the third day after that prior pickup (so that 02:00 unload would have to be done during the "break") . This along with the reefer racket (and lack of APU previously) all add up to less than pleasant times making whatever physical work needs doing that much more difficult. Maybe not everyone puts up with this nonsense, but I did, because I always took on as much as the dispatcher would give me, so they gave me lots.

Now, I have almost all open window drop and hooks. I sleep just how I want to almost every night, seldom set an alarm clock, don't have to park at customers anymore, and earn more $ 'cause I still hustle. But it is all much easier....plus I'm getting closer and closer to the $ I used to earn in my office gig. In fact I'd say that I've passed it on a net disposable basis since now I live in the truck and have few expenses so I can save more than before....and I'm not breaking a sweat :-).

Yes, there is more cranking of landing gear but that is easy...just put it in the easy gear to start with.

Yes, there is more in and out of trailers but climbing up a couple of steps isn't a difficulty for me.

Sweep!?! I haven't done that since I was a student. I'm not sweeping anything....I have a cordless blower that does all the work. I have a broom just in case but haven't used it in a couple of years. I usually cleaned the reefer with it too if possible, in order to save time. Of course if I'd just had a meat load or was about to pick up eggs or something then I'd have to go for a washout.

Straps? Yes, but I rarely have to apply them...maybe twice a month...and I find them easier to put in than I did the load bars (assuming one wants the load bars to actually stay in place). But neither is a big deal to me.

Flat bed? Old School, Turtle and others can have that....much too hard for me.

Tanker? Not if I have to haul hoses. Just not period really. Folks in this former helped me learn that tanker isn't right for me....I almost switched into that

I have a bad back due to a congenital thing and am generally allergic to exertion ;-)

I'm 60...I've never done any hard phyical work...and am really enjoying this dry van drop and hook gig.

To each their own. I love my current gig.

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.

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.

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

TWIC:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Todd Holmes's Comment
member avatar

Cynthia, most of the job types you'll run across in trucking are "drop and hook" (simply swapping trailers) or "no touch freight" (just like it says).

Physically the hardest thing you'll deal with are landing gear cranks, and tough door latches. Both are covered here.

A help for for latch problems: sometimes the way the ground is causes the trailer to not be square. If the door won't get closed, pull forward a few feet, and that may straighten the trailer up.

Are trailers that flimsily constructed that uneven ground will cause doors to jam? Sounds like the 1992 Corvette coupe with targa top I had. The book said the car had to be parked on level ground or the four screws for the removable hard top would not line up to anchor it down to the body pillars and windshield header. The fiberglass body had that much give in it. I hated driving the car with the top off because it shook like the devil.The soft-top convertible (roadster) 'Vettes have a much more rigid frame and are heavier.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Cynthia, most of the job types you'll run across in trucking are "drop and hook" (simply swapping trailers) or "no touch freight" (just like it says).

Physically the hardest thing you'll deal with are landing gear cranks, and tough door latches. Both are covered here.

A help for for latch problems: sometimes the way the ground is causes the trailer to not be square. If the door won't get closed, pull forward a few feet, and that may straighten the trailer up.

double-quotes-end.png

Are trailers that flimsily constructed that uneven ground will cause doors to jam?

I don't know about the "flimsy" aspect, but yes, if the trailer isn't level the doors can get difficult to impossible to latch.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Rainy 's Comment
member avatar

Air loss in the tires too

NW Kayaker's Comment
member avatar

It makes complete sense that a trailer door on a trailer might be hard to close on uneven ground. If you consider how a trailer is constructed - essentially a long box with an opening at one end - even if it is a very rigidly built trailer, all it takes is the opening to be just a little bit off from uneven ground to make a door hard to close. It's all physics, really.

On a different note, I have really enjoyed the responses I have read on here. I was worried about the physical aspect of the job as well. I'm 49 years old and am actually in better physical condition than I was in the military. It's just not knowing anything about the physical aspect of trucking got me concerned.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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