Heading OTR With No Training. Just A Tad Intimidating

Topic 24438 | Page 1

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Elijah R.'s Comment
member avatar

I got my CDL in July 2018. I got a job the day I got my CDL with a local company driving a day cab Freightliner hauling empty containers from the Port of Tacoma to Spokane, WA. I hauled a 43' flatbed with full tilt so we could deliver them to mostly residential customers. Got tons of excellent backing experience. Backing down curvy dirt driveways and around houses. In December (5 months later) I was layed off as no one is buying containers during winter months. I just got hired by Extreme Transport to go OTR in 48 states. Since I have miles I'm not going out with a trainer. Next week I'm heading out on my own with my own truck. So I've been studying bridge laws and how to move my tandem around since that's Nothing I had to do with my previous job. Anyone got any tips or advice? Any kind about anything would be appreciated

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.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

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".

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Welcome Elijah!

Yours isn't exactly a path we normally recommend to get into the OTR field. Yet here you are, so let's make the best of it.

First, at minimum I'd recommend looking into the following sections of the High Road CDL Training Program.

-Rules and regulations

-Weight and balance

-Cargo securement

You'll get some excellent information there that you may not have thought of.

Yes, going OTR can certainly be intimidating. You'll be suddenly faced with many situations, and not a clue how to deal with them. Number 1 rule - BE SAFE! I can't say I'm thrilled that they are throwing you out there without at least a minimum amount of training. But hey, you can do this. Just slow down and do it safely. The rest will fall into place.

Good luck man. Be sure to post up any questions you have over in the General Discussions area of the forum. Lots of folks over there willing to help at any time.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Yes good luck...don’t worry about bridge law, it will never apply to a 53’ trailer, the spread is beyond the minimum bridge laws that were established when trailers were much shorter and the distance between axles was less.

KingPin law however? Yes, that applies and is different for each state, some have no law, others like Cali are very strict. This should be considered when planning a trip and scaling a heavy load.

Click on my profile and go into my photo gallery, scroll until you see 2 charts for KingPin-tandem settings and diagrams for each state. I’ll repost it if you can’t locate it.

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".

Solo's Comment
member avatar

After only having been in OTR this past week (1st of 5 weeks of OTR training), I can't even begin imagine heading out there w/ no training.

Hats-off to you and others that did it the much much much harder way.

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.

Aubrey M.'s Comment
member avatar

Buy a motor carriers Atlas and learn to use it if you aren't familiar with it.

Don't trust any gps solely (even if cmv specific)

Be hyper aware of road signs

And if it looks like you shouldn't turn down a road, don't, even if not specifically prohibited at least until you can verify that is where you need to go.

Set your king pin length for the strictest state you'll be going through from the start in case you have to have the load reworked to scale out properly.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards
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