55 And Only One Career

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Brian H.'s Comment
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I'm not much of a storyteller but here's mine. This year my 2 siblings/partners decided they wanted to sell the family business. I was reluctant at first, I was hoping to step aside in the next 5-7 years. I was concerned about what I would do now. I have been in one industry all my life, 47 years. The industry has matured to where there is little growth and technology has impacted it so that my skill sets are no longer valuable. And to be truthful I'm burned out.

But how did I end up here?

Last year 2020 covid canceled our family vacation to Disney. After 2months of lockdown, we decided to rent an RV and travel out west. While doing my self-education on youtube I stumbled onto trucker vlogs and became obsessed. I reminisced about my childhood dream of being a trucker. Having grown up watching “Movin On” with Chet Atkins and Frank Converse and then “BJ and the Bear”.

I did not connect the dots immediately to go into trucking after the realization that I would need to make a career change. Again I was doing some googling for jobs for those in their 50’s and trucking came up. So I spent the beginning of 2021 researching truck driving and Trucking Truth was a part of that.

Where I'm at now:

I enrolled in May at a private CDL school. I go to weekend classes and while I'm still working in the family business every day. I have passed my CDL permit and have my Tanker and Combination endorsement. I'm in the process of getting my Hazmat endorsement. I've been through the 40 hours of classroom instruction. Just got into a semi-truck for the first time last weekend. Did straight line backing without any difficulty. The offset backing was OK but needs polished. There are 4 of us in class so I should get plenty of time in the seat. I'm using Daniel B's pre-trip inspection guide to help me on the pre-trip portion. This weekend we're going to keep practicing the (Straight Back, Offset Back, and introduce the 90degree back) Thanks to all those that share their knowledge and advice. I'll be back with more updates and questions I'm sure. Brian

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.

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

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Claude Akins. Not Chet Adkins.

Welcome to the Trucking Truth site!

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

I'm not much of a storyteller but here's mine. This year my 2 siblings/partners decided they wanted to sell the family business. I was reluctant at first, I was hoping to step aside in the next 5-7 years. I was concerned about what I would do now. I have been in one industry all my life, 47 years. The industry has matured to where there is little growth and technology has impacted it so that my skill sets are no longer valuable. And to be truthful I'm burned out.

But how did I end up here?

Last year 2020 covid canceled our family vacation to Disney. After 2months of lockdown, we decided to rent an RV and travel out west. While doing my self-education on youtube I stumbled onto trucker vlogs and became obsessed. I reminisced about my childhood dream of being a trucker. Having grown up watching “Movin On” with Chet Atkins and Frank Converse and then “BJ and the Bear”.

I did not connect the dots immediately to go into trucking after the realization that I would need to make a career change. Again I was doing some googling for jobs for those in their 50’s and trucking came up. So I spent the beginning of 2021 researching truck driving and Trucking Truth was a part of that.

Where I'm at now:

I enrolled in May at a private CDL school. I go to weekend classes and while I'm still working in the family business every day. I have passed my CDL permit and have my Tanker and Combination endorsement. I'm in the process of getting my Hazmat endorsement. I've been through the 40 hours of classroom instruction. Just got into a semi-truck for the first time last weekend. Did straight line backing without any difficulty. The offset backing was OK but needs polished. There are 4 of us in class so I should get plenty of time in the seat. I'm using Daniel B's pre-trip inspection guide to help me on the pre-trip portion. This weekend we're going to keep practicing the (dStraight Back, Offset Back, and introduce the 90degree back) Thanks to all those that share their knowledge and advice. I'll be back with more updates and questions I'm sure. Brian

Howdy, Brian, and welcome to our community!!! (From a fellow Buckeye, and her truck driver hubby!)

Tom (my other half) got RIF'd out of the IT industry in the late 90's; he was a farmer's boy prior to that. He's been trucking since 2003; Ohio is a great place to live for the industry/profession!!

Check out Brett's book, if you haven't already:

And, even though you are still in school, you can get a JUMP .. here:

Apply For Truck Driving Jobs

Isn't Daniel B.'s pretrip guide AMAZING?!? He stops in on occasion; he's got his first born he's contending with here lately, as we know.

So glad to have you!!

~ Anne ~

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.

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

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Spunkybubbles5 's Comment
member avatar

Your story reminds me a lot of mine. I’m 51 and considering a career change. Looking into my childhood dream of becoming a truck driver. I’m at the beginning of this journey. Still doing research and studying for my CDL. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s nice to know that there’s someone else out there like me pursuing their childhood dream at our age. :)

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.
Brian H.'s Comment
member avatar

I was back in class last weekend. We had Memorial Day Weekend off. We've begun our on-the-road training portion. Saturday all 4 of us spent the day taking turns hurting the transmission. Going straight up and down an empty section of State Route 40 in Ohio. Running through the gears as instructed. I've driven manual transmissions before but never double-clutched. I felt pity for those that had no experience and needed to stare at the gear shift before shifting. And cringed during the gear grinding sessions. By the end of the day Saturday I felt more comfortable upshifting as long as I remembered to flip the splitter when going from 5th to 6th. My instructor told me to get into the habit of flipping it up as I go into 5th from 4th gear so it would be ready when I needed to go into 6th. That helped a lot. I just need more seat time to get the downshifting. I end up holding in the clutch when I rev the engine to get the RPM's back up, during a downshift.

Sunday we each took a 2-hour turn at the wheel driving through small towns navigating left turns and right turns. The amount of distance you travel into an intersection before you begin turning feels abnormal. I've begun practicing with my personal vehicle, going a little farther than I normally would. Well, I've got to go now and work on my pre-trip memorization.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Brian feels it:

The amount of distance you travel into an intersection before you begin turning feels abnormal.

At first, yes it does. Remember, your tractor (power unit) is longer than most automobiles. Then the trailer is hooked to the back end of that. And you can see the trailer tandems are 50 feet behind that.

Keep this in mind: in all the truck driving you do, you are actually pulling or pushing those tandems to be where you want them. This never happens with a car, and is unlike what you do with a small boat or utility trailer on your pickup.

So a basic rule is to drive your truck along the outside of the turn path. Right turn? Keep your left wheels over to the left.

Second: Drive straight, turn late. Turning either left or right, drive straight into the intersection, then turn into the ->second<- lane out on the new road. Going right onto a two-lane road means that when it's safe, you'll go out and turn right into the oncoming traffic lane. No other way around that.

After a while still this won't seem any more "abnormal" than the usual stuff you do with an 18 wheeler.

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".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Errol V. Thanks for your comments and insight. This past weekend we each got 5 hours behind the wheel. Things have started to come together more. I test next Monday at 12:00. I sure hope having a CDL with no restriction is worth it. Id hate to get an immediate fail because of a missed shift. An then only end up in an Automatic

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
Id hate to get an immediate fail because of a missed shift. An then only end up in an Automatic

A missed shift isn't an immediate fail.

What's wrong with an automatic? No matter what your license claims you are capable of driving, there's a 99% chance you'll be driving an auto shift transmission.

Brian H.'s Comment
member avatar

Old School, nothing wrong with automatics. I find the shifting can be an added degree of difficulty. That I chose for myself, so I would not have any restrictions on my license. Hoping to make me more marketable. And if I'm more than likely to end up in an auto-shift transmission, I question my decision. And by missed shift, I mean panicking and keeping the tractor out of gear for longer than allowed. If I pass Monday it's all water under the bridge, I'm just overthinking things. We go out this coming weekend to run the road course to become familiar with it. And then get back on the skills pad, it's been 3 weeks since I've done any backing. I feel that will settle my nerves a bit. Thanks for the comment update more later. Back to pre-trip memorization.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

It's all good Brian. I just didn't want you to think you were going to be anything special by not having that restriction. It is very doubtful you will be in a standard shift truck. Almost any company that can hire you will be running auto shift transmissions. The auto shift transmissions are really nice. Once you learn how to operate them in conjunction with the Jakes and the cruise control, you will find they handle every situation quite efficiently. Mine takes me down a mountain much better than I ever did in a manual transmission. The trick to them is understanding how they work in coordination with the Jakes and the cruise. Once you get that figured out they are a dream.

Wishing you the best on your test! Hang in there, you've still got a lot ahead to keep you challenged.

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