Advice For Starting With Pam

Topic 27118 | Page 1

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JASON B.'s Comment
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I'll be starting at Driver Solutions a week from Monday. This will be my first trucking job. I'm 42 years old and have spent my entire life in Texas and Oklahoma. I'm both excited and very nervous. I've got a million questions, but my lack of experience makes me wonder what questions are actually important. So, I'm just going to ask for any advice about what is most important starting out? Does that make sense?

Rob T.'s Comment
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First things make sure you completely understand the contract you're signing for the training. They dont have any "gotcha" in there but this way you know what's expected of you and if you dont uphold your end what the ramifications are. Usually the contracts are for a set time period (1 year) or a set amount of miles (Roehl I believe Is 120,000 miles). In school do as your instructor tells you and you shouldn't have a problem obtaining your CDL. They make it relatively easy by giving you benchmarks to use while backing such as when you see this in mirror turn wheel all the way this way until you see this then turn opposite. The most important thing is doing everything with safety in mind. Backing is one of the skills that take the longest to get good, even then you'll have days you struggle. Dont be afraid to G.O.A.L. (GET OUT AND LOOK). The 30 seconds spent doing a G.O.A.L. is better than the hours of lost productivity dealing with police (if applicable) and your safety department. Dont worry about other drivers being impatient, as long as you get it in without hitting anything it's a success regardless if you did it with zero pullups or needed 20. Dont be afraid to ask questions that you think may not be important. I can assure you there are many people reading these posts whether they comment or not and they may have the same question. All of us volunteer our time to help new drivers or those considering a career be more prepared and become successful drivers. If time permits you should post a diary of your schooling experience over in the diary section.good-luck.gif

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hey Jason. It makes perfect sense. Here are some of the most important things I'd like you to know:

Read chapters 8 and 9 of our Truck Driver's Career Guide.

Our trucking podcast has fantastic information for you. I would focus on episodes:

1, 4, 5, 9, 10, 13, 17, 18, 19, 21

They're short and to the point. They only average about 12 - 15 minutes each. They're all critical to your success over the next few months. Most of the people who drop out of trucking their first year would have succeeded if they had understood the information I just recommended to you. If you're serious about your career, take the time to go through those recommendations. You'll be glad you did.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
JASON B.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks y'all! That is some excellent advice about backing. I do worry, as I tend to over correct when backing a trailer. Hopefully I can break that habit at school. I am working my way through the podcast. They are fantastic and very beneficial. I suppose one of my biggest anxieties, aside from backing, is venturing into the unfamiliar. I have spent my entire life in Texas/Oklahoma, only venturing out a few weeks at a time. It's going to be weird driving all over the US for weeks and months at a time. My big goal is to be able to eventually find a local or dedicated route that will get me home (DFW) weekly. But, I know I'm going to have to put in my dues and really learn the trucking business before that happens.

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."

JASON B.'s Comment
member avatar

Quick question. I know we stay away from negativity on this site (for which I am grateful). However, seeing some other reviews on other sites makes me wonder if PAM was a bad idea. Without being critical of them, are there other companies I should have looked into? And, more importantly since I will be starting with them next week, what can I do to make my experience better and eventually get the miles I want with PAM?

Noob_Driver's Comment
member avatar

Quick question. I know we stay away from negativity on this site (for which I am grateful). However, seeing some other reviews on other sites makes me wonder if PAM was a bad idea. Without being critical of them, are there other companies I should have looked into? And, more importantly since I will be starting with them next week, what can I do to make my experience better and eventually get the miles I want with PAM?

I attribute most negative reviews to people who didnt perform well. Granted some are probably reasonable people giving their opinion on their experience but for the most part ignore bad reviews. The disgruntled ones tend to be easy to spot for me now that Ive been out for just a short time.

I would say the number one thing you can do is keep your head down as far as complaints go. Dont whine to your dispatcher about loads and take what they give you. This seems obvious to most normal people but every week i hear from a driver complaining to his dispatcher about silly things.

Also communicate with your dispatcher regarding delivery times and your expected eta. It makes their job easier knowing where you are and what to expect. For example if you have an open appointment time for a delivery some drivers might not give an eta..... "Its open I can drop whenever i want" i hear that alot. Send a message telling them when you expect to make that delivery you might be pleasantly suprised with a preplan before you deliver.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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