Finally Starting The Journey

Topic 30725 | Page 1

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Derrick M.'s Comment
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Becoming a truck driver is something I've considered doing for many years now and I'm finally getting started tomorrow. My first day of CDL training at the NC Truck Driver Training School (Johnston CC) starts tomorrow! It's been a long time coming. I've always wanted to give it a shot, but the timing was just never right.

I'm 49, kids are out of the house, basically debt free, my wife is totally onboard and I'm ready to take the plunge. I've been working in the IT field for 20+ years and have hated it for about 20+ years. But, it paid the bills so I took the "safe route" and stayed with it. Tired of doing something I hate and can't stand the idea of doing this another 15 years or so until I retire. It's time to do something that I've always wanted to do and go outside my comfort zone. I've always taken the "safe route" in life and well.... Life is too short for that.

My CDL school is weekends, so it's going to be Decemeber before I finish up and actually get my CDL. I'm still going to continue by IT job during the week while going to class on the weekends. So hopefully, come January I'll be ready to start driving!

My next task, figuring out where who I want to drive for. I'm really leaning towards Schneider to start with. I like what I hear about their training and their safety protocols. The school I'm attending has a stellar reputation when it comes to training as well, so I think that combined with Schneider's training that should put me in a good place. I know the pay probably won't be that great. I'm willing to suck it up for a while to get the experience. Money isn't the main factor in my decision, but obviously I still want to make as much as I can!

But, I haven't definitely decided on who to go with. Still researching and listening. I want to go OTR , at least to start with. Maybe for 6 months or so, then look at something regional or local. I'd really like to try and go with someone that runs OTR in all 48. It doesn't look like that happens with Schneider from what I've read?

Just wanted to say hello and listen to any advice you guys want to give an old man making a career/life change! I live in Sanford, NC so I'm about an hour from the Raleigh area to the north, about an hour from Fayetteville to the south, about an hour from the Greensboro area to the northwest and about 2.5 hours from Charlotte to the west.

Sorry that was kind of a rambling/all over the place post. I'm excited!

Thanks in advance for any and all the info you guys provide!

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.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

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

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hello Derrick, and welcome to our forum!

Have you seen the Training Diaries Section of our website? You should spend some time in there. It will help familiarize yourself with truck driving training and also expose you to some other company options. Schneider is a great choice, but there are plenty of others just as worthy. If you want to run the lower 48 there are plenty of options available to you.

Jumping into the trucking career is a great challenge. Don't underestimate it. You will be tempted to quit at times, but it is always best to keep yourself motivated and push through any difficulties that try to persuade you to give up. Trucking is not an ordinary job. It is an extraordinary career that requires extraordinary people. It is as much a lifestyle change as it is a career change. The training is hurried, and requires a person to process a lot of information in a short time. It requires learning new skills quickly and efficiently. It’s no walk in the park. It’s a big challenge. How we respond to those challenges helps formulate our future in this career. It is all about personal responsibility and personal accomplishment. It is a completely performance based business. The best performers get the best treatment. That's why you will find so many whiners and complainers online going on about how badly trucking treated them. You've got to strive to be your best in trucking. Mediocrity reaps no rewards in this career.

I think you will find trucking absolutely refreshing and different from IT work, but that will make it very challenging as well. It is completely different and it will cast you out of your comfort zone entirely. There will be many an experience that will be unnerving for you. That's okay, just learn to roll with the punches and take each day one at a time. You may be surprised to find there are a lot of former IT workers out here driving trucks now. It is a career that has gone through a lot of changes and many have decided they've had their fill of it.

We wish you the best, and we hope you will stick around and enjoy being part of our conversations. You can learn a lot about this career just by participating in this forum. If you have not previously seen these areas on our site, then I must recommend the following places for you to read as you find the time. These are some great places to start. There is a lot of other information here for you, but these are great for getting started.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Derrick M.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the welcome and the information! I'm both nervous and excited. This is a big leap and big change, but I won't know if I don't give it a shot, right?

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