Survey: Your Biggest Worries And Most Important Questions

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Brett Aquila's Comment
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I love turning to our community for ideas. You guys always come through for me! Right now I'd love some ideas for future podcasts and articles.

When you were considering the idea of becoming a truck driver:

1) What were your biggest worries?

2) What were the most important questions you wanted answers to?

These can be short, simple answers. Just give me a short list of ideas like:

Can I get enough home time?

What happens if I'm on the road and there's an emergency at home?

How hard is it to shift and back up a truck?

How dangerous is winter driving?

Is the testing difficult?

How can I find training when I have no money?

I would love to get a huge variety of answers. Just give me a few of the biggest questions and worries you had when you were first considering the idea of becoming a truck driver.

Thanks!!!

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

One thing I have been contemplating is:

Should I just take the basic permit test and say one endorsement(hazmat), then study all the other endorsements hard and go back the following week for those?

I will be taking my permit test on my own here in PA right before I fill out the all company application on this site so I’m ready for the companies that require you to have permit in hand if accepted. I’m concerned about cramming all that info into my head for one long test and possibly getting things mixed up. Granted, I may just be overthinking it, I have always tested well but I will have the time to go back to DMV for the rest of the endorsements

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Dave! You're the first contributor.

To answer your question, many people have taken all the exams in one shot after studying our High Road CDL Training Program and flew right through them in less than an hour. I'm referring to the permit and all of the endorsements.

If you would prefer to break things up, I would do the permit test first, then go back for all the endorsements. However, I think that's unnecessary. You can retake the tests many times if need be. If you fail anything you can retake those the next time. You won't have to retake anything you pass the first time.

So I think it's worth studying everything and taking every test in one shot. If you use our High Road you can be 95% certain you'll pass every test in one shot.

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.
PurebredCheezehead's Comment
member avatar

I am interested in reading some of these myself!

I know one of my BIGGEST worries was "can I really learn to drive this huge machine?" And OH MY GOD the parts you have to learn for the pre-trip! I had only driven a little car(which I never was a mechanic on as well) prior to going to school for truck driving so it was REALLY intimidating. I didn't even have to bend over to go under the trailer and had no clue what an axle was, and what the hell is a tandem axle? lol Needless to say I learned it all, and I like doing a pre-trip everyday now. I know I am heading out on the road with all my parts in place and in working order. I am sure I have a few more concerns/questions I can come up with. This one sticks out as I will never forget how I was feeling that first day in school and it will hopefully be helpful to someone who is thinking, "There is NO WAY I can learn all of this" It can be done.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I know its talked about in the forum a bit, but parking for hometime. When I was considering OTR before I found this site I assumed I needed to work for a company with a terminal nearby to park at for hometime. Maybe give some examples of places people have parked. One concern I had was what happens if I end up sick on the road and cant drive whether its bodily functions or being dizzy and lightheaded. Its definitely not something many people are willing to talk about but we've had conversations here that have mentioned 5 gallon buckets for emergencies. My only worry is that some people may read that and choose not to pursue this career because they take that as us saying get used to it that restrooms aren't accessible.

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.

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.

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.

Moe's Comment
member avatar

I think a great podcast would be one on motivation and discipline. The motivation to keep moving ahead when things do not go your way or when the plan does not go according to plan (like say you have taken the CDL skills test 4x already and bombed each time). How do you motivate yourself to keep trying? What are the hard questions to ask of yourself? Am I doing all that I can? Am I really getting this? Why am I doing this struggle right now?

Another suggestion I would like to add is health and fitness. Frankly it needs to be addressed. Our culture is really unhealthy - I AM UNHEALTHY. Overweight , smoke about 6 or 7 cigarettes a day. I am not saying this to be preachy, picky , hypocritical or self absorbed, but Americans as society are UNHEALTHY. No wonder we have an obesity epidemic in our country and countless millions of Americans rely on BP pills. Cholesterol meds, surgeries, CPAP machines *I realize sleep apnea is not just conducive to weight, I myself have a cleft in the back of my throat which causes blockage at night, so even as I lose weight, the doctor has told me that I will more than likely be on this CPAP the rest of my life* ; dont even get me started about the millions more who pop anxiety and depression meds to be able to cope with life.

Brett, About two plus years ago when trucking was suggested to me, I initially scoffed at the idea. Sadly my perspective on and my experience with certain truckers had told/shown me that it was an industry that I wanted nothing to be a part of, for the health habits alone, again FOR THE HEALTH HABITS ALONE. A lack of hygiene on the part of alot of drivers, the fast food, buffet guts. The casual joking about high blood pressure and the haughty ways that some drivers had about them. I honestly and sadly told myself I didnt want to be like that and also lower my intellect to that level. I realize how arrogant that sounded on my part and I feel a bit of guilt, but I frankly had my own issues at the time and didnt want to associate with guys who didnt even care if they had a heart attack due to very preventable choices in their lives.

To this day I know if 2 drivers who will use energy drinks in place of water and one wonders why he cant get his BP under control even though I, his wife, kids and doctor have told him multiple times to quit the drinks. It's a turn off franky when an industry has a reputation for folks not willing to take pride in themselves

On the flip side, I know of more than 1 driver who is making concerted efforts for their wellbeing. So there is good to combat the bad.

Just my.02 cents and thoughts

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.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Rob S.'s Comment
member avatar

When I came here my biggest questions were,

1. Will it pay enough, soon enough to meet my budget requirements?

2. If I arrive at school with my head on straight is it going to be possible for me?

3. If I'm successful, what opportunities become available to me later?

Of course, I know the answers now but those were my main concerns.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

You guys are awesome! I have a great list started, so please keep em coming! I need way more.

I honestly and sadly told myself I didnt want to be like that....It's a turn off franky when an industry has a reputation for folks not willing to take pride in themselves

Moe, I'm a big believer in associating with good people and avoiding people who live at a level that's lower than you aspire to. There's nothing sad or arrogant about saying that. When possible, only surround yourself with people that inspire you, people you respect and admire.

One of the big missions we're on at Trucking Truth is to raise the level of pride and professionalism in trucking. Back in '93 when I started driving people openly laughed in my face when I told them I was going to become a truck driver. One person laughed and said exactly one word, "Hemorrhoids!" and walked away. That was all she had to say.

Sadly, it's no different today. We're swimming upstream with this mission, but we'll continue the fight. Look around the Web and it's clear the overwhelming majority of truckers do nothing more than blame, complain, and criticize. That hasn't changed in decades.

I firmly believe the #1 reason there's a shortage of truck drivers is the reputation of our industry. Almost no one respects truck drivers, nor trucking as a profession. Almost no one takes this career seriously.

Trucking driving is a noble profession, and driving a big rig is one hell of an adventure. Truckers are the lifeblood of the economy. We get everything where it needs to go. Heck, we know the Post Office for, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," inscribed on New York's James Farley Post Office in New York City.

Heck, if they think the efforts the mail delivery folks put in is impressive, truck drivers must be superheroes!

Keep this list going, folks. I need way more, and I really appreciate it! This will help us build better materials to prepare new drivers for their careers.

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

Maybe something along the lines of types of people/former careers and divisions of trucking they are attracted to

For example, I have been in landscaping and construction my whole adult life and flatbed or tanker interest me due to the physicality of those divisions as well as being familiar with a lot of the cargo. I also have experience working with crane operators and securing loads from my days in the laborers union which may be helpful in flatbed

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Check out this link Dave:

Careers before trucking

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