The Freedom Of Trucking: Blessing Or Curse? - New Article By G-Town

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Turtle's Comment
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Fascinating stuff, G. A very informative must-read for all.

Big T's Comment
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A notebook can be a very powerful tool on the road. I use swift's trip book to write all my load info down, but I also have a notebook that i use to make notes about my runs. Special instructions, parking, challenges, and a general evaluation of the run all make it into the book.

Old School's Comment
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G-Town, this is really good!

I love the emphasis on trip planning and familiarizing yourself with the locations and customers. I have developed a very similar strategy in my OTR work and find it pays dividends regularly.

Developing relationships has added a lot of value to my efforts. I have found that people who know me, and are comfortable interacting with me, will oftentimes be much more helpful to me than they will with other drivers. Just recently I had a conversation with one of my fellow drivers on our dedicated account who was complaining about the receiving personnel at one of our customers in Connecticut.

I've always had a great relationship with these guys and our operations manager tells me they often request me for the loads going to them. This driver was complaining about how they are unfriendly and not very helpful. After questioning him a little, it became clear to me how he had put no effort into the relationship. I have always communicated with them my whereabouts and my ETAs and they appreciate that information because it helps them be more efficient.

The other driver told me he just shows up on the day he's due, gets parked and then waits on them to come out and unload him. He clearly doesn't get how this adversely affects his efforts at making top pay out here. The "freedom" he has to operate in this fashion is clearly working against him. The freedom this customer has in allowing him to be a low priority of theirs has been encouraged by his own lack of diligence.

I loved these remarks from your article...

Be your own advocate by constantly evaluating your performance and your ability to handle the freedom that goes with it. To this day I still review my day, and critique how I handled situations and how best to improve where applicable.

That's exactly my approach. Even after years of doing this I still regularly discover ways I can improve my results by tweaking my efforts a little bit. Each day brings in a new set of variables even when dealing with familiar sites or customers.

Thanks for the article, and putting in the effort to communicate these important practices that translate to success out here.


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.


Operating While Intoxicated

BK's Comment
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"The Freedom of Trucking" takes on an even greater meaning when this article is combined with Turtle's account of his student from Ghana. Freedom can be something we take for granted at times, but imagine the meaning it has for Wiseman. And it doesn't stop there. He will communicate with all his family back in Ghana and all of a sudden Turtle is a goodwill ambassador to Ghana. And who knows how far that goodwill will spread?


Driving While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
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Great article G-town. I've been on this Grocery gig for about 4 months now and have relied on GPS more than I'd like to admit but have been pretty lucky. Sometimes it has tried to route me 10 miles out of the way but being familiar with the area I know that's not the best route. The Google Maps idea is a huge time saver. To me the Freedom is a blessing. I know what my job and responsibilities are and it's my job to get it done. With that being said I still have great support staff in the office if I need assistance but the only times I talk with them is if I see them and they have a moment to "shoot the S" or when they call me every afternoon for our 30 second conversation to see what route/stores I'm taking.


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.
PJ's Comment
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Great article G. Thank you for spelling these things out. I have found alot of drivers these days really struggle in this area. They just are not what we used to call self starters.

G-Town's Comment
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Thanks everyone. PJ mentioned the self-starter characteristic...I agree with that. Motivation is a tricky thing...not everyone is wired the same. However as you can plainly see; successful drivers all share similar DNA.

Enjoy your Memorial Day.

Remember those who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms w enjoy. And for forum members who military veterans...Thank You!



Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Grumpy Old Man's Comment
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As s brand new driver going through exactly what GTown describes, I can attest that it is entirely accurate.

In one respect, I have a leg up. I have been self employed for the past 15 years, and before that I sold cars which is about as close as you can get and still be an employee. Before that, self employed for 8 years. So I understood time management well.

I also had a trainer (the REAL trainer) who would not let me use GPS at all, and made me do all the trip planning and time management. He would correct my mistakes, but made me do it first. As a result, my week is usually planned out on Thursday for the entire next week ( I work Thursday to Tuesday). The last two weeks has been a little slow, but I have still had a minimum of 50 hours, though because of the holiday this week may be light. I read about other new drivers complaining they sit a lot and aren’t making money. I like to think because I get it done with no input from my dispatcher that he piles the loads in knowing I’ll get it done. Whatever the reason, I run my butt off. I still can’t understand how people find time to watch tv and do laundry. I run my clock out, eat, sleep, and repeat. They also give me very few loads that aren’t drop and hooks, once they found out that although Zi am hourly, I have no interest in sitting at a dock milking my clock.

I was just given a run home Friday. My dispatcher asked if I wanted to deliver it amp day or keep rolling. I said given the choice, I would rather roll. He said no problem, T-Call (our version of relaying s load) that load in Niagara Falls and I’ll get you a load out. I slept st home, loaded up and rolled out next day.

Old School mentioned relationships. I pick up at Purina, who require you to sweep your trailer. One lady there is known for the white glove inspection of your trailer. First time she asked me if I swept my trailer, I said yes ma’am, twice. Then I ran the dust mop through. She looked skeptical, went out to inspect it. She walked in 5 feet, said looks great, and sent me on my way. Next trip, she asked and I answered the same way. She looked up, and said, oh I remember you. You’re good to go.

I learned the hard way not to trust GPS. You may remember my tale of being escorted through a Portland ME by the police. This was AFTER triple checking the route. Rerouting screwed it all up. Though I have gone the same way 3 times now and it worked perfectly. Go figure. But now I always triple check it, and if it is s new stop or I don’t remember the way, I also write directions as well. And if it tells me to take a turn I don’t think is correct, I will stop and check it.

Above all, being nice to everyone I deal with has been a huge help. They go out of their way to help me. I always tell them I’m new, and they are always willing to help.


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.

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.


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.


Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
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Well needed 'courtesy bump.'

Carry on, peeps!

Thanks again, G !

~ Anne ~

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