First Solo Week. I Did NOT Anticipate The Amount Of Stress!

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RWD's Comment
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I just finished my first solo week. I honestly don't think I have ever been so stressed in my life than with this job.

My first load when I got my own truck was a 30 mile relay. Grabbed the trailer at our Wilmer, TX yard. I decided I would go try to park at a truck stop close to the receiver. This was a Saturday and little did I know in the Dallas area truck stops were jam packed on weekends. The whole time just going from truck stop to truck stop I am a nervous wreck. These are things I got comfortable doing with the trainer sitting there but when it was just myself in a new truck, my own truck with no one to correct my mistakes I was honestly have serious anxiety. I did not expect to have this amount of nerves, I thought I would be fine after training but I was wrong.

Well I circle three different truck stops not able to find parking. Finally, at a pilot/flying j there was an idle air NOSE IN spot. This is my first day and I'm like oh hell yeah, don't even have to back. Once I got into the spot it hit me, I can't see anything when I have to back out of this spot, I'm not even sure I know how to back out of this spot. Well that just added to the stress. Then of course a nice gentleman comes knocking on my window saying I needed to pay $10 for this spot, which I did, because I had nowhere else to go and was hungry.

I grab some food and suddenly a thought hit me. I don't have any paperwork for this load, where was I supposed to get the paperwork? I call my trainer, "Hey man, where do I get the bills for this load." He said I was supposed to get them from the terminal I was just at earlier in the day. Freaking lovely, just paid $10 to park here, now I have to leave and get the bills. Waste more fuel going 30 miles back to the terminal, get my bills. Finally get to the receiver the next morning and actually got in there without a hitch, maybe 3 or 4 pullups but damn were the nerves real by myself.

The first two or three days were all pretty much this way, problem after problem, stress after stress. I have had my GPS take me down random ass roads I wasn't supposed to be going down. I've got turned around and lost trying to find a customer in a whole cluster of distribution buildings, then took a wrong turn through the car parking lot trying to squeeze myself around that tiny lot. I've had to make U-turns at dead ends when my companies address for them was wrong. I've embarassed myself backing at truck stops. I've went on wild goose chases to yard after yard looking for an empty trailer. I've rushed and stressed about tight delivery times and have lost quite a few pounds due to just not having time to stop to eat. I've gotten so worn out and frustrated at times that I've wanted to quit, but through all of it, I've kept on trucking.

The funny thing is each day it got a little easier and a little less stressful. Today I felt was a turning point, I had a really good day. I knew exactly what I was doing at the shipper and receiver, and when I was finally loaded and hit the interstate on a 500 mile load, i cranked up the music, rolled the windows down and felt really good. It's the first time being solo I felt this way. Yes, I have a lot to learn, there will be more problems and stress, but today was the day I said to myself, I can do this and it's going to continue to get better.

That's my experience so far through my first week. My three days home time is coming up on the 24th, just a few days away. I need it, I still haven't been home since orientation started, I went through training and now solo. I need to get a refrigerator, a microwave, a blanket, and stock up on food. That's it for me, hope you all are well out here :)

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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.

Old School's Comment
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You're doing good. You now know why you're called a rookie. Get used to it. Nobody becomes a trucker overnight. I liked this statement...

Yes, I have a lot to learn, there will be more problems and stress, but today was the day I said to myself, I can do this and it's going to continue to get better.

Hang in there. There's going to be a few more times when you want to tell them to "Take this job and shove it!" But you have to realize you're either your worst enemy or your best advocate. That's how trucking works. You'll make something of it or you'll curl up in the fetal position and beg for someone to knock you in the head. I think you've got what it takes. Just stay focused and "git 'er done!"

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Make some lists:

Hooking/Dropping a trailer

Things to do at shipper/receiver

Messages to send in on PeopleNet

Clip these onto your sun visor for the next six months. Follow them!

As for missed turns, go on Google Maps before you arrive at the customer. Use the street view and the satellite view. GPS units are never completely accurate, so if a street looks like a neighborhood, or a road is actually a cow path, don't use that road.

Stay at the dusty terminal in Wilmer. Lots of food places deliver there, free showers, TV lounge, fellow drivers. All of the major cities in Texas will have limited parking at the truck stops. This goes for most other states, too.

Your stress should go down with more experience. The first week, month, and year are the hardest.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

RWD's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the sentiments Old School. I'm hanging in there, I think the home time will really do wonders for me with the time off and being able to fully equip my truck with what I need.

RWD's Comment
member avatar

Packrat, yes! I told my trainer to tell me the steps and I wrote them down in my notebook. Every time before I hook, unhook, pickup, deliver, I read my notebook step by step to make sure I don't miss a step. I'm paranoid i'll miss something. I promise you if it weren't for that notebook, I would have left my CFI padlock on a damn trailer somewhere haha.

Thanks for the tips, I didn't try delivery out there at Wilmer, didn't realize anyone came out there.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

That's good that you are teachable. Some that arrive here on the TT site are not.

smile.gif

Those notes I spoke of? I still have mine attached to my sun visors on two thick pieces of cardboard.

I also have three sayings printed there:

"The only easy day was yesterday."

"There is nothing coming my way today that I cannot conquer with the help of Jesus."

"Don't Make The Evening News!"

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

RWD, everyday is a good day when: You're still upright & not pushing up daisies. You drove your entire shift & didnt hit anything. You got out & looked every time you were the least bit doubtful, no matter how many times it took. You weren't late for pick up or delivery.

The best advise I can give you is remember to breathe, take your time, trip plan & watch your clock! You're doing better than me in my first month out. Keep up the good work & enjoy that hometime you're earning!

Mike B.'s Comment
member avatar

Not trying steal your thunder this week was my first week as well. I love hearing how rookies are different. I did my first successful back by myself a few days ago. I am going the less stressful route when shutting down. I use rest areas but I prefer rest areas or shipper/reciever lots over truck stops. To me they are more quiet. And down right beautiful. Only once this week did I not ask for help with backing. The rain up in VA and above is what stressed me out the most. But RWD keep your head up and breath when you get a stressful moment just a deep breath and thank God its over. Im truckin right beside you bro. We got this because God's got us.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Mikey B.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds like you have a good attitude about it all. Just remember, the closer the truckstop is to big cities the earlier it fills up especially on weekdays. Most truckstops have more available spots on Saturday and Sunday as lots of drivers take off on the weekends. I use the Trucker Path app to both see how many total spots they have and they give a rough idea if they have spots open or are full. Unless I'm almost out of time I'll still pull in if it's a large truckstop even if it says it's full as someone is always leaving at the larger stops. I would also add fueling to the list. Did I change to on-duty fuel stop, did I put my fuel card away, did I replace both fuel caps, did I replace def cap.

Feanor K.'s Comment
member avatar

Just hang in there. It gets easier and the reward is well worth it.

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