Introduction With A Life On The Road Question.

Topic 26823 | Page 1

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DMF's Comment
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First and foremost, I want to thank Brett for creating and maintaining this site. The information I have found here is invaluable. And, I would also like to thank all the veterans out there that take their time to freely share their knowledge and experiences. I hope to somehow "pay it forward" in the future as I have benefited from your giving.

I have had the idea of OTR for nearly 18 months now, and once I fulfill my obligations with a couple of remaining schools it is my intention to begin my training after the first of the year. I realize it will be the winter months, but that is partly by design, as I would prefer to experience snow and ice with an experienced driver vs just myself.

Okay, on to the question I have not been able to find here. Is it taboo, too risky, or simply not allowed to drop a trailer at say a truck stop and use the tractor only to shop for food, personal items or simply eat at a nice restaurant ? The 13' trailer I use here has a coupling device that prevents anyone from hooking onto a 2" ball and did not know if such a device exists for a 5th wheel? I will be more than happy to ask my particular company, but if it is so left-field thinking I would rather be embarrassed here.

I have more questions as it relates to the 11/14 & 70/8day limitations, but wish to do more personal research. Seems rather straight forward until pickup/delivery deadlines & delays are thrown into the equation. Thereby making time management a true challenge for my mind.

Again, thank you all for the help given.

Danny

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.

Turtle's Comment
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Welcome to The Forum!

The answer really comes down to an individual company's policy. If they allow it, then it's no big deal to drop the trailer and bobtail out somewhere. Drivers do it all the time. You'd have to clear it with the truck stop as well, but that isn't typically a problem. They just want to be sure you're not leaving it for a long period.

Bobtail:

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

Rick S.'s Comment
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As Turtle said - it's up to company policy whether or not you can use a Tractor as a "personal conveyance", some allow it/some don't (both from a using the truck, as well as a logs/compliance thing). Also, from a "leaving a loaded trailer unattended. Also (as turtle said) - you want to make sure the place you are leaving the trailer is OK with it being left.

That being said - there are "kingpin locks" that keep someone from hooking the box (and I believe many companies require you to purchase one), as well as "gladhand locks" that lock the airlines to keep someone from airing up the trailer and unlocking the spring brakes (not a mandatory purchase, but a good investment if you are going to leave a trailer somewhere).

Most companies allow you to take your tractor on hometime, and if you don't have a terminal nearby to leave the box while you're home, you will have to find someplace local to you to do so - AND YOU ARE GOING TO WANT TO SECURE YOUR TRAILER so it doesn't get "snuck away" while you leave it.

Good time management is ONE OF THE KEYS to being a productive/safe/complaint operator. The better you get at it - the more $$ you can potentially earn. As with everything else in the industry, nothing GIVE EXPERIENCE - LIKE EXPERIENCE.

Rick

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

DMF's Comment
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Turtle & Rick,

Thank you both for the information. I will look for and pick up a kingpin lock. Anything that will assist in avoiding a problem is time saved. Yes, I am hoping the company will allow me to take the rig home. As I understand it “time off” begins when I arrive at a terminal or park the tractor. One company I am seriously looking at is 5hrs away, and would prefer not to use 10hrs for personal travel. I do have a farm, no longer personally live there, but at which I am hoping to gain permission to park the tractor, trailer if necessary, within the Morton shed there.

I will add these to my questions for perspective employers. Thanks again guys.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Robert D. (Raptor)'s Comment
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Depending on the company, as Rick said, they do require you to purchase a kingpin lock. I'm at Swift and seeing we also have to have a lock for the back of the trailer when loaded they come in a set pack. I can't remember how much the set cost but I think it was around $250 for both. I use the kingpin lock when I don't want another Swiftie at the terminal to snag my trailer when I'm taking my trailer in for maintenance. Especially when you go to a dry van terminal and you have a reefer. They go fast there. This a great site to get and learn information on anything trucking. Good luck and don't be a stranger.

Raptor

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Tim F.'s Comment
member avatar

Turtle & Rick,

Thank you both for the information. I will look for and pick up a kingpin lock. Anything that will assist in avoiding a problem is time saved. Yes, I am hoping the company will allow me to take the rig home. As I understand it “time off” begins when I arrive at a terminal or park the tractor. One company I am seriously looking at is 5hrs away, and would prefer not to use 10hrs for personal travel. I do have a farm, no longer personally live there, but at which I am hoping to gain permission to park the tractor, trailer if necessary, within the Morton shed there.

I will add these to my questions for perspective employers. Thanks again guys.

I would hold off on buying any equipment for the tractor. Let’s get you through school first. When I went to Roehl they supplied the locks and the deducted it from our pay. When we left and returned the locks we received a refund.

Focus on getting your license first , then training and then you can worry about the tractor.

Good luck!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

DMF's Comment
member avatar

Raptor & Tim, Good points on both, I did a quick look at a kingpin lock via Amazon: $250! So, Tim you are VERY correct, would prefer they provide, but would like one regardless. And yes, I spend most of my time here in the CDL training area. It has been a minute since I have had to study, but the format with questions following truly make it easier. And this is information I wish to know, which makes it less a chore and more an adventure.

Oddly it is the pre-trip inspection that has me more concerned than a multiple choice exam. I have watched the video there numerous times and printed the worksheets, 7 pages! I hate to say it, but I typically only concern myself with fuel, oil, washer fluid and tire pressure on my SUV. Water pumps, alternators, air lines, break lines, heavens I did not know there was such a thing as a “slack adjuster” until now. The in cab items, I run through “as if” first thing when I leave in the morning. Kinda feel silly, but I need to hear myself say the list of items out loud, besides my wife has her own car, so I do not have to listen to her teasing :)

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

I bought one years ago, and have never used it. When I was driving at Roehl, drivers were required to purchase one of their heavy duty versions, which I kept when I left there. That's the one I use and keep on the truck in a thick plastic bag. I have used it less than five times. Gladhand locks are very effective, cheaper, and no nasty grease.

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

Like the others have said, it will be up to your company how they allow PC time/miles to be used. Also, they will have their own rules for dropping trailers and bobtailing. The only thing I would recommend buying before training and upgrading, would be a Rand McNally Road Atlas. Good luck.

Bobtail:

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

Joseph L.'s Comment
member avatar

DMF, Once you start driving and get experience your going to start learning what Walmarts allow trucking park, grocery stores , restaraunts, that are near by truck stops. For example in Ripon California, there is Save Mart grocery store about a five minute walk from the loves travel center and maybe a ten minute walk from the flying J next door. There are several restaurants and a super cuts in the same shopping complex. In Oregon I forget the exit but it's on the I-5 there is a Pacific Pride truck stop with a fairly decent size parking and directly next door is a grocery outlet store, less than a minute away. In Tennessee I stopped for fuel at a loves travel stop and directly across the street was a Dollar General store. In both Texas and Oregon there are a couple of truck stops and directly across the street are little bar b q shacks. As I said with experience your going to start forming a list of places that are trucker friendly. There are also several truck stops/travel centers, which have a small size grocery stores At the White's travel center in Raphine West Virginia (the largest truck stop on the east coast) you can shop for everything there from produce to underwear, after shopping, go get a haircut and then go see a movie all in the same travel center.

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.
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