Direction To Go?

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Ohioman1972's Comment
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Day 2 of training. For the first week I am training with a local dry van driver/trainer. He said I am progressing "ahead of schedule" and he used the term "impressed". I really needed to hear that after all the negatives. Now - reality check. I still struggle on downshifts. Upshifts a little - but I'm learning to float. Downshifts I tend to hammer the accelerator and miss the gear, and slow way down til I get the bailout gear or coast to a stop at a red light. I backed into a tight dock, and a tight space at a busy rest stop, hauled an empty trailer in high wind with nothing hit, and jammed 17 gears. I have the rest of the week to work on shifting, then I'm going to a flatbed. Likely an automatic. As most of the tractors are automatic in this leased fleet.

But I want to be proficient as possible in shifting with the time I have

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.
Old School's Comment
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But I want to be proficient as possible in shifting with the time I have

It's quite possible you are as proficient as possible. Give yourself a break man! Your post says you're on "Day 2 of training." Nobody shifts a big rig smoothly during their first few weeks. Lighten up - there's way more important things to be proficient at than shifting gears.

Ohioman1972's Comment
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But I want to be proficient as possible in shifting with the time I have

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It's quite possible you are as proficient as possible. Give yourself a break man! Your post says you're on "Day 2 of training." Nobody shifts a big rig smoothly during their first few weeks. Lighten up - there's way more important things to be proficient at than shifting gears.

I get that. It’s getting better. If I get into a standard it’ll come to me.

Backing is getting better. I feel very comfortable in regular driving conditions on the highway. And that’s a lot better than while in school!

Today a loader yelled at the trainer who was spotting me while backing up to a metal forklift ramp. He didn’t have time to wait while I was being trained lol I cant wait to have a handful of stories to tell.

Ohioman1972's Comment
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So after 7 days training, I was given a truck. I feel good that they had that much faith in me. No accidents. But I’m learning that the camaraderie of Truckers isn't what I thought it would be, or at least not as I understood it as a kid... Been looking for places to shut down at hour 9/12 instead of the lady hour... Truck stops and rest areas don't seem to have rhyme or reason on what time they fill up and I already got a 3 minute violation...

So much to learn!

Ohioman1972's Comment
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So... here I am. Contemplating my choices. At the same time, overly fatigued and falling asleep on the toilet in the shower suite. There were 5 AvaIlable and it’s like 9 am. I think I’m still in Haegerstown MD... Adjusting to the “You will start Your day When we tell You to start You Day lifestyle because sometimes they know how to work a couple loads all over the country like a heavy night at LaGuardia Airport... Then there are times like these... leave Wilmington OH.at 7pm, Have the wrong paperwork from the shipper that’s not your fault, be told at 4am that you can’t unload until 6... so I’m done unloading. I’m in the shower suite. I think I remembered clean underwear but there is no deal Breaker If I didn’t. Half of what I hear is like a dream....

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.

PackRat's Comment
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It is a tremendous amount to adjust and take in just the bare essentials, especially during the first month. Keep a very close watch on yourself, because at this point, you have no idea of your limits. Therefore, you will not know when you are exceeding them.

Stay as rested as possible because stress leads to fatigue, and that leads to poor decisions.

Ohioman1972's Comment
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Speaking the last post I made, I didn’t proofread it.. I have absolutely no idea half of what I was trying to say. Anyway, I’m not really sure if this pertains to all companies or if I need to just keep looking for a new play after I’ve got a few months under my belt. From what I’m understanding, dispatch used to run like clockwork, but now it’s a nightmare since we got a new backhaul dispatcher. Basically, I was complaining about being told to wait for a day for a back haul, rather than heading back. I’m still on 90 day probation, so I don’t have the luxury veteran drivers have of telling dispatxh they knew where he was and should have had something ready by now. The company pays the same for fully loaded, deadhead , or bobtail miles. I know that my expectations were way different than what it actually like but being very new to this industry, I had a large buffer zone.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

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.
Ohioman1972's Comment
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So I’m still in the early phases of learning the capabilities and limitations to the tractor trailer. And while I still haven’t driven in snow or ice yet, there are some situations that get my tension levels high.

I’m happy that I’m losing anxiety for backing in at truck stops. Yeah it’s still there but I’m calmer. However... driving down mountains with lots of curves. I don’t want to encroach the other lanes and don’t want to tip. Especially in construction zones with narrow lanes. Example I-40 at the TN/NC border. I’m the one that has the line of trucks behind him...

Also high winds especially with an empty trailer. The videos of the trucks turning over due to winds is etched in my brain. I don’t want to learn the hard way...

PackRat's Comment
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Taking it slowly as you gain experience is a wise move.

The truck driver that moves under the speed limit on the downhill grades, or while traveling through construction zones is never the one laying on it's side, or being talked about on the evening news.

Ohioman1972's Comment
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Ok so I’m driving out of Chicago at 2am Saturday. I went over the skyway bridge. After the toll booth, a double goes wizzing by me. In the slush. In the high wind. I see him down the road, his back trailer on its side, on the 2 lane with no real shoulder. Looks like a car may have hit from behind. Triangles are up.

Few more miles down the road, still no real shoulders, a blue car is speeding to pass in my left. I’m doing 45mph. She’s a young girl, I can tell because when her car went into a skid, and she was facing me, I could see the look of horror on her face. I did a controlled brake, no stab needed. She skidded back into her lane and lightly tapped the concrete rail.

So I hope that’s all I have to report this winter

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