Howdy, Visual Aids, Reefers

Topic 26014 | Page 1

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midnight fox's Comment
member avatar

Hey everyone, first-time poster here.

First I just gotta say I checked out a few forums, and yours definitely struck me as the right place to go. Strangely enough I owe a lot in my life to having spent time on forums, learning the ropes in different domains, and if it’s alright I’d like to continue the tradition by pestering y’all with a few questions.

Long story short, I’ve been living in Romania for a decade and it’s nearly time to come back home. I’m a published author who expects to keep doing it for a long time, but from the standpoint of financial stability and towards potentially starting a new family, counting on continued success with it feels a bit too much like trying to catch lightning in a bottle.

So I’m coming into it with the goal of doing long-haul and racking up as many miles as I can from the get-go, to save as much money as I can upfront and still have the option a couple years down the road of course of looking for something more regional or local, with more home-time, once we’d have those savings to make everything easier.

At first I’d been reading that it’d be better to seek out an accredited truck driving school, to pay up front and not be bound to a certain company or to be indebted to them. But then I’d read that a lot of these bigger companies who offer to put you through their own training and to take it out of your pay actually have more incentive to train you well, and since it’s advised to stick with one place for at least the first year of driving anyways, why not, right?

So my first real question there is some of the ones I see advertising on here, for example, are offering rates that basically say if you’re driving say 2200+ miles a week, you’d be looking to make up to $50k. How common is it for first-year drivers to have the chance at running that many miles; are there certain of these companies who might have greater odds of being able to make that happen, provided I hit all the right marks as a driver? The idea is once I’m solidly trained, I’d like the opportunity with the highest ceiling for getting good work, to make the most of fulfilling those goals.

Adjacent is the type of freight being hauled; I’ve been reading about trucking as far as being recession-proof goes, and ideally I’d look towards getting experience with something like reefer hauling. How would that possibly factor in choosing between companies? Naturally the aim would be that if things go south economically, if I was already a go-to guy on some of those dedicated routes, maybe I wouldn’t be one of the ones who get cut.

Thanks for the chance to seek some input on this! Ahh, and one more thing: meanwhile as I still sit over here, are there any good resources available, like visual aids that would help give me a better sense of how to approach different backing and turning scenarios? Like those little diagrams on driving tests that show you each step and the angles for parallel parking…

Thanks for your time! :)

Dedicated Route:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to Trucking Truth.

Yes it’s possible to make 50k your first year; but it’s a stretch, 40k is a reasonable expectation. One of the things that trips folks up in the beginning is to think too far ahead of where they are; at the beginning.

Take a good look at the TT starter links:

Read the career guide and Brett’s book; both are designed to ground your expectations at a reasonable level. The High Road is designed as a self-serve training curriculum designed to enable success passing the permit tests and beyond. Best place to start...

Backing? You will be taught the basics in school; right is left, left is right and have an opportunity to practice. Backing is one of those skills mastered by repetition, repetition and more repetition.

This link you may find interesting...but try not to get too hung up on it...

Backing Practice

Good luck!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

There are some youtube truckers who make video tutorials. If you're a visual guy looking some of them up might help you in that regard. I do watch some from time to time myself, as well as actually watch people back at truck stops.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar
I’ve been living in Romania for a decade

This maybe a problem when you start applying, have you maintained a US drivers license? If not you may have to get one and wait a year before being hired.

midnight fox's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

I’ve been living in Romania for a decade

double-quotes-end.png

This maybe a problem when you start applying, have you maintained a US drivers license? If not you may have to get one and wait a year before being hired.

Ouch. Good point, I have not. That's going to be an insurance issue on the company's end, isn't it?

I'd figured it'd be up to a year before I make it back. If I can find a way to fly over soon meanwhile to get my license up in South Dakota or something, where you only have to have a motel receipt for it, it shouldn't mess with my timing much. But damn wasn't expecting to incur that expense.

I'm right in assuming that's only an issue with getting hired, and not getting the CDL , right? That'd give me some leeway maybe, time-wise, if I went the trucking school route before it'd be one year since I had my regular license again.

Thanks for pointing that out, that would've really, really hurt if me and my plans would've walked into it blind.

Thanks for the links G-Town, I'll check them out. I've seen some great YouTube videos for this. Going to search for those little diagrams if they're out there still. Stuff like this, if anyone knows a good source:

0935950001562332539.jpg

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
That's going to be an insurance issue on the company's end, isn't it?

Actually that's a state issue. Most states require you hold a regular driver's license for a year before allowing you to apply for a commercial license. There may be a small number of states that don't have this requirement, but I'm not familiar with which ones they are.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

midnight fox's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

That's going to be an insurance issue on the company's end, isn't it?

double-quotes-end.png

Actually that's a state issue. Most states require you hold a regular driver's license for a year before allowing you to apply for a commercial license. There may be a small number of states that don't have this requirement, but I'm not familiar with which ones they are.

Thanks, Old School. If what I'm finding is correct, there's a distinction in the requirements between having a valid regular driving license and having a year (or two) of driving experience.

I have family I could lodge with in Iowa and Wisconsin, and it seems Wisconsin says they only require a valid license, doesn't mention experience. Iowa says two years of experience, but it's not clear to me that this has to necessarily be the last two years; I had my license for a good while before I moved here.

Going to have to call up the DMV I guess to get a final word from both states, but it sounds like maybe I'll be in the clear without having to fly back.

Thanks again!

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

I failed to mention that some states will be okay with it if you previously held a license for a year or two. I think you can get it done, just verify it with which ever state you decide to declare as your residency. Just be thorough and make sure you've covered all the bases before you make the leap.

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