First Week Of Solo Finished With Flubs And All - And There Were Allot Of Flubs! Part II

Topic 25464 | Page 1

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:
Chris L's Comment
member avatar

Part II: Thursday Morning up and early I headed out with another trailer full of sparkling water beverage to a distributor in Nottingham, Maryland. I made it down to the distributor with about an hour left on my 8 hour clock it took about two hours to unload so I had 3:55 left on my clock and I had to get to Elkton, Virginia for my next assignment So I planned my route out and the easy way to get from Nottingham to Elkton was to get on 95 south and go till I hit 66 West then 81 south to the exit I needed to get off for Elkton! pretty easy Right?

So I plug the address into the GPS and head out every thing is going ok till I get to the interchange for 95 and 695 there is two signs for 95 one says 95 to New York and DC the other says 95 South express way So I'm like good I'll take that route since I did not see any signs that prohibited trucks on that section of the expressway I would take that. But of course the Qualcomm started to tell me I need to make a U-Turn so I missed the turn on the expressway.

So now I' driving down this three lane road and Qualcomm is telling me to make a U-Turn well I listened to it and Guess what you can't make a U-Turn with a 53 foot trailer on a four lane road with a median in the middle of it! It took me about 15 Minutes to unscrew my self from that disaster once again I got lucky it was mid afternoon and traffic was light I finally got onto 695 look which got me to 70 which I followed out of Baltimore to Frederick then the Qualcomm had me take US 340 South and run the back roads meanwhile my clock is running out I finally get back to 81 and finally make it to the Pilot at exit 291 with 33 minutes left on my clock. Since I took the back roads and burned up my time I had to call my Fleet Manager and tell him I would not be able to pick up and would have to pick up in the morning. he was cool with it and would reschedule my delivery appointment.

So Yesterday Morning I left the truck stop at 5:00 A.M. sharp and headed down 81 to Harrisonburg where I had to exit to get to Elkton once again I was confused and I got off at the wrong exit and I had to find another place to turn around this time it was a shopping plaza on the left side of the road so as I made a left hand turn I'm looking at my trailer and it's super close to the median / curb I'm like I can't catch a break I got by that and into the plaza parking lot and then back onto the road in the correct direction towards the Miller - Coors plan in Elkton. I get there with no additional problems and I go to drop off my empty trailer and then pick up the full on I'm taking back to Syracuse.

As I go down the assigned row of empty trailers I find the row I'm supposed to drop on and the spot for the trailer. The space was the third spot from the end where the pavement ended and it was on my right side It would have been to tight to try a blindside back so I did what my trainer advised me to do when you can always make a U-Turn and do a see-side back. So I did just that I had to back up a bit because I was about 5 feet away from the parked trailers on my right and I need to be closer as I made my turn I back up and the pull forward to start making my turn as I made the turn I looked out and I see my trailer has lined up with the slot I have to back into WIN FOR ME!!! so and easy back into the slot with a couple of adjustments and it's off to pick up my loaded trailer.

I secured the load, scaled out under weight on all the axles and it was off to Syracuse. The week was long and I learned allot. The week was long and exhausting but I did learn a couple of takeaways from the week One: Get a better GPS and also consult my Road Atlas and Directions and do better planning. Also I'm going to make myself a departure checklist so I will remember things like sliding the Tandems forward after I'm finished unloading, and of course better time management. Next week begins soon I can't wait to see what challenges I encounter!

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".

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.
Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

Chris, I really enjoy your detailed accounts. I recognize almost all the issues you are dealing with because I did the same stuff and learned the same lessons. Pretty typical experiences for the first days.

When you miss a turn or take the wrong turn, don't always believe the Bi-Polar Ms. Qualcomm when she tells you to make a U-turn or "drive to the road behind you". There are almost always alternate routes. If you can safely pull over, stop and punch "re-route". Wait until you get an alternate route that might add a little extra mileage but won't get you into those dangerous turn arounds.

I've learned to be super cautious and picky about where I turn around. If I can't identify a truck friendly entrance and a truck friendly route to a truck friendly exit, I just move on to a better location. Once I got in a bind and stopped the truck, put on the flashers and got out to actually take about a 10 minute stroll to see if I could get out of what I was about to get into. Good thing I did because I would have gotten into trouble deep.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. PLEASE........Do not trust your GPS. Spend the extra time planning your trip. Use your Atlas and Google Satellite view on your phone or tablet or computer. DO NOT use the routing from Google maps, just the great overhead view it provides. Think of it as a real detailed electronic map ( because that is what it is). You will save yourself tons of grief, stress, or God forbid......worse. Write down tirn by turn instructions. The detail on G maps is great for this. Example: Turn Rt on Main St, go two blocks, Turn L past McDonalds, 3rd driveway on Rt leads to docks.

You got lucky this time Chris! That botched U Turn could have been disasterous. I am really trying to help you here.......not scold you. Im glad you escaped unscathed

smile.gif

P.S. There is no such thing as a "better GPS". They are not magic boxes, just a tool, and many times a very unreliable one.

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

My "out of route" adventures are numerous. Nothing angers me more than the "make a u-turn" suggestion. Every time I hear it I yell at the Qualcomm , "I'm in a a g'damn truck! I cant make a f'ing u-turn!" I don't think the Qualcomn takes it personally though. You probably know this but the reroute button can help sometimes.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.
Tractor Man's Comment
member avatar
You probably know this but the reroute button can help sometimes.

Never trust the re-route! The minute you go out of route, the GPS is just trying to get you back to the spot you deviated from the route. It does not know or care if it is a one lane dirt road through farm land or not. The best course of action is to pull over as soon as possible when safe, turn on your 4 ways, pull up Google maps on your phone, find your location and a way out of your predicament. The further you travel blindly, chances are you will get deeper in trouble.

Junkyard Dog's Comment
member avatar

My "out of route" adventures are numerous. Nothing angers me more than the "make a u-turn" suggestion. Every time I hear it I yell at the Qualcomm , "I'm in a a g'damn truck! I cant make a f'ing u-turn!" I don't think the Qualcomn takes it personally though. You probably know this but the reroute button can help sometimes.

As I say this I'm assuming we all have a brain. I have made every mistake each of you have made and probably a few more. But like they say we learn more from our mistakes than our successes. Don't know if any of you have been in the Lumber Bridge North Carolina area coming in off of Highway 74 going north? GPS is totally worthless. I had to go there yesterday it was my second time back to Lumber Bridge the first time even though I was less than 10 miles away it took me almost 3 hours to get to the shipper... A chicken plant. Got the same load sent to me yesterday coming from Gaffney South Carolina and I plan my route off the map instead of the damn GPS that screwed me the last time. So I get there in good time go to the transportation office and they let me I know somebody for my company already picked up that load... at least this time it wasn't my dispatcher it was the load planners. Somebody assigned the same pickup number to two different load numbers. Wouldn't have been so bad except I drove about 40 miles on two-lane roads in an absolute downpour. So they assign me a load going out of Gaffney South Carolina... So I had to retrace my steps. Over 300 miles and 7 hours off my 70 hour clock. I politely messaged my dispatcher I hope I'm compensated for this on the Qualcomm because they were switching out our phone lines. Didn't hear back... I will call him first thing Monday morning.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.
Donna M.'s Comment
member avatar

I think every load out of Gaffney is on a two lane rode. They are 55 mph and every curve is 45 mph.

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

You probably know this but the reroute button can help sometimes.

double-quotes-end.png

Never trust the re-route! The minute you go out of route, the GPS is just trying to get you back to the spot you deviated from the route. It does not know or care if it is a one lane dirt road through farm land or not. The best course of action is to pull over as soon as possible when safe, turn on your 4 ways, pull up Google maps on your phone, find your location and a way out of your predicament. The further you travel blindly, chances are you will get deeper in trouble.

Yep. That is how I ended up in downtown Portland Maine

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

I hear what you guys are saying about being somewhat skeptical about the reroute feature, but it usually gives a reliable alternative route, at least in my experience. Where it can get you into trouble is in the more densely populated areas. If you are near a residential neighborhood, it can and will route you through that neighborhood and the route may not be truck friendly. But out on the open road and Interstates it's probably not going to get you in trouble. However, in that case it's just going to do what you would do anyway: Take the next exit ramp, reverse direction and go back to the correct exit. The tendency for new drivers is to not want to stop and take the time to double check on the bi-polar Ms. Qualcomm. New drivers have that urge to keep pushing onward and damn the torpedo's. I have learned from my navigational mistakes that in the long run, you will save time by stopping safely and evaluating the situation and figure out your next move to get back on route.

When I was in school, my classroom instructor told us that we would learn from our mistakes. First we would learn how to correct our mistakes. Then we would learn how to not make those mistakes in the first place. Those were words of wisdom.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Interstate:

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Bruce is skeptical...

I hear what you guys are saying about being somewhat skeptical about the reroute feature, but it usually gives a reliable alternative route, at least in my experience.

Your experience is a few months. Very limited sample size. I could write an entire chapter for Brett’s book...

Entitiled “GPS Failed Again”.

Do not trust it. It is far from foolproof and only a fool would assume otherwise.

Army...you hit the nail in the head; trip-plan”. Appreciate an honest assessment of your experience...something others will benefit from and hopefully not question. Army’s experience is consistent with mine and all of the other experienced forum members.

Use all of the available tools and NEVER rely on GPS.

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More