It’s Been A Month

Topic 30013 | Page 1

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DV ChiliMac's Comment
member avatar

Can’t sleep, second weekend in a row being away from home, perks of the job as I tell my fiancé, it’s just perks of the job.

Started trucking March 11, 2021...this career path has been a very challenging and difficult process, but I’ve been through worst scenarios...I take the mistakes that I’ve made and continue driving forward... I will be very honest in these posts of mine, I won’t leave nothing out because then how am I to learn, I love constructive criticism because it helps pave the way.

My first week, I drove from Selah, WA, to Denver, CO, took myself to the wonderful TA truck stop, where I clipped a trailer with my driver side hood mirror, Smooth Move DV Chilimac...Rookies, I tell you

Second week, up in Washington again, now, this is where I’m going to get a lot of crap, and that’s fine, I’ve learned from it...you ready? I took out a fire hydrant, I kid you not, I wondered the same thing, who put that there?!? Now, stupid me, I left to go fix my tire and wheel, because apparently, I took that hydrant out with a very large sized Boulder, at the local Commercial Tire, dispatch calls me up, I gave the story that I thought I had only hit a large rock, had no idea I dragged the Boulder into the hydrant, and he tells me, that I’m wanted back because I did in fact, take out a hydrant...

Week three, I’m still recovering mentally, because that hydrant incident, I came away very, very lucky. Just a warning, thank you Officer, you’re a a good man in my book. Now, week three, wasn’t so bad, no incidents, well, not to that extremes measure, but I did get cited for skipping on a weight station, now stupid me again, I didn’t know I had to go inside because I was overweight by 400 pounds on my tandem , Wyoming personnel told the highway patrolman that stopped me about 5 miles down the road to cite me...$440 later, I should have told weightmaster I had his old lady back there...

It’s definitely a learning curve, but I have a much better mindset, I’m doing better, now if I can only fix the way dispatch does things...probably have a better chance at trying my luck drinking the water out in Michigan than chase those dreams, right?

DV ChiliMac signing off...hoping to get home to see my family next Wednesday...fingers crossed.

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".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I currently sit at 11,615.9 miles.

Can’t sleep, second weekend in a row being away from home, perks of the job as I tell my fiancé, it’s just perks of the job.

Started trucking March 11, 2021...this career path has been a very challenging and difficult process, but I’ve been through worst scenarios...I take the mistakes that I’ve made and continue driving forward... I will be very honest in these posts of mine, I won’t leave nothing out because then how am I to learn, I love constructive criticism because it helps pave the way.

My first week, I drove from Selah, WA, to Denver, CO, took myself to the wonderful TA truck stop, where I clipped a trailer with my driver side hood mirror, Smooth Move DV Chilimac...Rookies, I tell you

Second week, up in Washington again, now, this is where I’m going to get a lot of crap, and that’s fine, I’ve learned from it...you ready? I took out a fire hydrant, I kid you not, I wondered the same thing, who put that there?!? Now, stupid me, I left to go fix my tire and wheel, because apparently, I took that hydrant out with a very large sized Boulder, at the local Commercial Tire, dispatch calls me up, I gave the story that I thought I had only hit a large rock, had no idea I dragged the Boulder into the hydrant, and he tells me, that I’m wanted back because I did in fact, take out a hydrant...

Week three, I’m still recovering mentally, because that hydrant incident, I came away very, very lucky. Just a warning, thank you Officer, you’re a a good man in my book. Now, week three, wasn’t so bad, no incidents, well, not to that extremes measure, but I did get cited for skipping on a weight station, now stupid me again, I didn’t know I had to go inside because I was overweight by 400 pounds on my tandem , Wyoming personnel told the highway patrolman that stopped me about 5 miles down the road to cite me...$440 later, I should have told weightmaster I had his old lady back there...

It’s definitely a learning curve, but I have a much better mindset, I’m doing better, now if I can only fix the way dispatch does things...probably have a better chance at trying my luck drinking the water out in Michigan than chase those dreams, right?

DV ChiliMac signing off...hoping to get home to see my family next Wednesday...fingers crossed.

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".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

ChiliMac, welcome to the world of rookie OTR driving. The one big thing you know now is you can't feel anything in your seat from a bump or crash from the tandems. Let me guess - your boulder got caught on the right side of the trailer?

The first week or so is Hell Week for a rookie solo driver. Here's my TT diary of my first week adventure in the asphalt jungle: My First Week Adventure As A Swift Driver.

Later I backed my trailer to a dock but I accidentally ripped a hole in the sheet metal wall of the warehouse I was backing up to. It was on the right side. Yes, I soon had a face-to-face meeting with the Safety office, but I was soon on my way with a dispatched load.

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.

Tandems:

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".

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".

DV ChiliMac's Comment
member avatar

Good Morning Sir,

You are correct, right side of the trailer, indeed it was. I’ll definitely give that a read. I’m just happy I’m not alone in this venture.

ChiliMac, welcome to the world of rookie OTR driving. The one big thing you know now is you can't feel anything in your seat from a bump or crash from the tandems. Let me guess - your boulder got caught on the right side of the trailer?

The first week or so is Hell Week for a rookie solo driver. Here's my TT diary of my first week adventure in the asphalt jungle: My First Week Adventure As A Swift Driver.

Later I backed my trailer to a dock but I accidentally ripped a hole in the sheet metal wall of the warehouse I was backing up to. It was on the right side. Yes, I soon had a face-to-face meeting with the Safety office, but I was soon on my way with a dispatched load.

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.

Tandems:

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".

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".

Old School's Comment
member avatar
It’s definitely a learning curve, but I have a much better mindset, I’m doing better, now if I can only fix the way dispatch does things...probably have a better chance at trying my luck drinking the water out in Michigan than chase those dreams, right?

Hey "Chilli Mac." I can remember as a rookie driver not understanding how dispatch did things. It seemed at times they were trying to torture me. It has been a lot of years since those days, and a lot of water has passed under the bridge. Any message from dispatch now gets me giddy and excited. Everything I get from them is considered a challenge that I am longing to prove myself on.

As a rookie, I didn't realize how much control I had over dispatch. Let me explain. There are two things that help you control how you are dispatched. The first is your record of putting forth a stellar effort and proving yourself highly productive. That is something you don't have just yet. It will come, and it will speak volumes to your dispatchers. It will speak highly or poorly of you. It will dictate the types of loads and the miles that come your way.

Secondly, you can help dispatch a lot by providing them with accurate ETAs (estimated times of arrival) and PTAs (projected times of availability). This is something experienced drivers do regularly. I never leave with one load without my dispatcher knowing exactly when I will be ready for my next load. That helps them greatly in their efforts to dispatch me efficiently. Here's an example... I get dispatched a load from Delhi, LA to Farmington, CT. The load is ready to be picked up Friday night. Once I am loaded and ready to roll or rest, I send my dispatcher the ETA of 0700 Monday. Then I send him the PTA of 0800 Monday. I am going to be there a little earlier than that, but I want to make sure I am MT (empty) by 0800. I will have time to roll after I get unloaded Monday morning and I will be using my time efficiently by being able to get to my next shipper and getting loaded that same morning.

Do you see how that works? I made sure they knew what I needed. I have been doing this for years with seldom a hiccup in my system. Occasionally dispatch may call me and want to know if I could do something a little differently so that it might be more helpful for their current disaster they are dealing with, but for the most part they know what I can do and am capable of doing. I turn some big miles this way and I get to do it on the kind of schedule I like to work with.

If I were going to need a break after getting unloaded in CT, I would just let them know with that PTA. I would put it as 1700 on Monday. That would allow me a ten hour break after unloading. That way I am in control of how they dispatch me. That allows me to get the proper rest and run the most miles I can. They have a lot of drivers they are tending to. They don't necessarily have the time to keep up with everyone's habits or available hours. If you can keep them informed of what you are doing and what works best for your schedule, you are giving them a great deal of help in keeping your hours managed efficiently and in the way you like to do things.

Build yourself a really solid reputation and keep them informed of your times of delivery and availability. It will make a world of difference in your happiness in this job and it will help you to increase your income. Always make sure you are doing what you say and executing your plans just as you have laid them out for dispatch. They will love you for it.

One more thing I want to point out. I always try to have available time left to drive after unloading. That way I can get my next load started. Did you notice if I needed a ten hour break after unloading at 0700 in CT, that would put my PTA @ 1700. That is a terrible PTA. It is too late in the day. I would probably end up waiting until the next morning before they could have me picking up. Always try to plan out your loads so that you can be ready for your next load as early in the day as possible. This is especially important on a Friday. You don't want to be forced into a 34 hour break over the weekend if you still have available hours to work and drive. You can accomplish this same thing by unloading late in the day and then taking your ten hour break overnight. As long as they have an accurate PTA at a decent time of day, they can do their best to keep you moving efficiently.

Keep them confident in you with your performance record and your accuracy at providing them proper ETAs and PTAs.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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

Questions about the PTA for Old School

What happens if you get delayed at the receiver and your PTA is shot? I know you would send another message informing dispatch of the situation, but what happens to your pre planned load they had for you? Does that time get moved if possible? If it can’t, are you just stuck sitting there waiting for dispatch to find something else?

Is there more leeway on times on a dedicated account versus general company dispatches?

Old School's Comment
member avatar

That's a great question Dave!

Here's how I handle an unexpected delay. I try to get some information from the receiver as soon as I get checked in. If they tell me it is going to be three or four hours and I was expecting just one, then I send a message to dispatch letting them know of what I am up against. Then every hour I update them with a new message. Oftentimes I may have a pre-plan in place, but they don't actually dispatch it to me until they receive my MT (empty) call. That gives them some options. If the pre-plan was critical that I get there at a certain time, they can maybe find another driver in the area, or they may be able to update the customer with a change. Everything they do is based on the information I am giving them.

This brings up some other areas a driver can manage. Your handling of your clock at shippers and receivers can make a huge difference in your results out here. If am going to be sitting waiting, I am going to put myself on the sleeper berth line. Under the new rules you can actually extend your 14 hour clock by taking advantage of the rules. Every little thing you can do to help yourself out here will come back and help your paycheck stand up a little taller.

I have been doing a dedicated account for so long that I often am able to know ahead of time how long I can expect to be at certain customers locations. That alone helps me manage things in a way that is efficient, and it helps me produce accurate information for my dispatcher. My dispatcher once told me that I was the only driver he had who was doing this for him. He also noted how I was the only driver averaging 3,000 plus mile weeks. He connected those two things together and said it was easy for him to keep me moving like that.

I actually started doing things this way before I was on a dedicated account. As a general OTR company driver I did the same things. I would sometimes have to guess at unload times, but I would still do my best and if I needed to change my PTA, I would update it as soon as I possibly could. They still liked having that framework to go by. A little adjustment here or there is usually not a deal breaker. When we don't provide them with that framework, they are guessing or estimating what we will do. That's why they surprise us sometimes and we wonder, "What are they thinking?" They much prefer to have drivers who can give them trustworthy information. They realize we cannot be 100% accurate, but the closer you are to being accurate most of the time, the closer you are to being trusted and depended on for the very best of loads.

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.

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.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

As always, Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions in detail.

Being a former small business owner I understand how important communication is. Used to drive me nuts when my crew left me in the dark wondering about their progress on a job. I never did that as a foreman to my bosses, if anything I over updated them. Sure wouldn’t leave my dispatcher in the dark, especially when my paycheck potential lies in their hands

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.
DV ChiliMac's Comment
member avatar

I appreciate that response, I’m appreciative of the info given and I will definitely be taking all into consideration and placing where I can.

I for sure let my dispatcher know what’s going on, but there are times it’s just one ear and out the other haha

double-quotes-start.png

It’s definitely a learning curve, but I have a much better mindset, I’m doing better, now if I can only fix the way dispatch does things...probably have a better chance at trying my luck drinking the water out in Michigan than chase those dreams, right?

double-quotes-end.png

Hey "Chilli Mac." I can remember as a rookie driver not understanding how dispatch did things. It seemed at times they were trying to torture me. It has been a lot of years since those days, and a lot of water has passed under the bridge. Any message from dispatch now gets me giddy and excited. Everything I get from them is considered a challenge that I am longing to prove myself on.

As a rookie, I didn't realize how much control I had over dispatch. Let me explain. There are two things that help you control how you are dispatched. The first is your record of putting forth a stellar effort and proving yourself highly productive. That is something you don't have just yet. It will come, and it will speak volumes to your dispatchers. It will speak highly or poorly of you. It will dictate the types of loads and the miles that come your way.

Secondly, you can help dispatch a lot by providing them with accurate ETAs (estimated times of arrival) and PTAs (projected times of availability). This is something experienced drivers do regularly. I never leave with one load without my dispatcher knowing exactly when I will be ready for my next load. That helps them greatly in their efforts to dispatch me efficiently. Here's an example... I get dispatched a load from Delhi, LA to Farmington, CT. The load is ready to be picked up Friday night. Once I am loaded and ready to roll or rest, I send my dispatcher the ETA of 0700 Monday. Then I send him the PTA of 0800 Monday. I am going to be there a little earlier than that, but I want to make sure I am MT (empty) by 0800. I will have time to roll after I get unloaded Monday morning and I will be using my time efficiently by being able to get to my next shipper and getting loaded that same morning.

Do you see how that works? I made sure they knew what I needed. I have been doing this for years with seldom a hiccup in my system. Occasionally dispatch may call me and want to know if I could do something a little differently so that it might be more helpful for their current disaster they are dealing with, but for the most part they know what I can do and am capable of doing. I turn some big miles this way and I get to do it on the kind of schedule I like to work with.

If I were going to need a break after getting unloaded in CT, I would just let them know with that PTA. I would put it as 1700 on Monday. That would allow me a ten hour break after unloading. That way I am in control of how they dispatch me. That allows me to get the proper rest and run the most miles I can. They have a lot of drivers they are tending to. They don't necessarily have the time to keep up with everyone's habits or available hours. If you can keep them informed of what you are doing and what works best for your schedule, you are giving them a great deal of help in keeping your hours managed efficiently and in the way you like to do things.

Build yourself a really solid reputation and keep them informed of your times of delivery and availability. It will make a world of difference in your happiness in this job and it will help you to increase your income. Always make sure you are doing what you say and executing your plans just as you have laid them out for dispatch. They will love you for it.

One more thing I want to point out. I always try to have available time left to drive after unloading. That way I can get my next load started. Did you notice if I needed a ten hour break after unloading at 0700 in CT, that would put my PTA @ 1700. That is a terrible PTA. It is too late in the day. I would probably end up waiting until the next morning before they could have me picking up. Always try to plan out your loads so that you can be ready for your next load as early in the day as possible. This is especially important on a Friday. You don't want to be forced into a 34 hour break over the weekend if you still have available hours to work and drive. You can accomplish this same thing by unloading late in the day and then taking your ten hour break overnight. As long as they have an accurate PTA at a decent time of day, they can do their best to keep you moving efficiently.

Keep them confident in you with your performance record and your accuracy at providing them proper ETAs and PTAs.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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

DV ChiliMac's Comment
member avatar

Hey there Delco Dave,

I was set to be in Redmond l, Oregon for a load after Costco on Friday, but by the time I would be done unloading the location in Redmond would be gone for the weekend, this caused me to spend the weekend in Oregon and missing out on family time. :( Perks of the job, pointless to send me to Utah to be home just to turn right back around and get the load first thing Monday morning in Oregon.

Questions about the PTA for Old School

What happens if you get delayed at the receiver and your PTA is shot? I know you would send another message informing dispatch of the situation, but what happens to your pre planned load they had for you? Does that time get moved if possible? If it can’t, are you just stuck sitting there waiting for dispatch to find something else?

Is there more leeway on times on a dedicated account versus general company dispatches?

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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