Taking The Plunge

Topic 30737 | Page 1

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Drew D.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey everyone,

Been poking around at the idea of trucking for awhile. I currently work for AAA Washington and have about 6 years experience operating a Hino flatbed with air brakes around downtown Seattle and other various tight areas of the city. I also have a couple years of wrecker experience backing cars into tight spaces and all of the situational awareness that comes with that. I know backing a full sized trailer and a car into spots is different, but would any of these skills transfer over even slightly? I am planning on paying for my own CDL school when I move out to Boise in a couple of months. And I have to admit, I am slightly nervous for the first time about getting in a truck. I never had too many white knuckle experiences behind the wheel of a freightliner, International, or a Hino, but for some reason I am a bit unsure of myself here. I still want to do it regardless because I need something more than what I am doing now. And my wife fully supports me going OTR for a year or two to pay the dues before getting a local gig in the greater Boise/Nampa area. Any beginner tips, advice, or words of wisdom? I am already familiar and okay with being in a cab for 10+ hours. I currently do this right now in my current profession. I actually prefer the concept of long haul trucking because I don't really care for people all that much and the idea that my interactions can be limited is appealing to me. My goal ultimately would be to get a semi local or regional gig after paying the dues. My boys are both very young and I want to get the grinding done now so I can be present later on.

Thanks!

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.

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.
Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome to Trucking Truth, Drew~!!!

Glad to have you; ask away!!

Check out our 'starter pack' .... if you've not, already:

This site has SO much to offer~ ask & peruse, away!

~ Anne ~

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.
TwoSides11's Comment
member avatar

Hey Drew. I think you'll be fine and yes the experience you have will transfer over. I drove a pickup truck with a 12ft trailer for work for years and that help me with the skills part of the driving school. Just make sure you pick the right CDL school and ask ALOT of questions while attending. I was also nervous but when I got in the truck it got less intimidating. Once you get use to the size of the truck and trailer and how it turns the "unsureness" will go away. I haven't been hired by a company yet, starting Schneider in about a week so I don't have any pro tips for you. Read the links that Annie A provided if you haven't already, they are very informative. Hope all goes well for you and good luck.

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.
Drew D.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you! I plan on taking full advantage. I am very excited and pumped to begin this journey!

IDMtnGal 's Comment
member avatar

Howdy Drew!

I sure wouldn't move to western ID (from Mtn Home to Ontario, north to McCall) anytime in the near future while housing prices are at record highs! It's getting ridiculous down around Twin Falls (Magic Valley area) also....but I'm going to take advantage of the high prices and lack of houses/bare land and sell off 3 one acre lots soon 😁

As for schools, we recommend going thru company sponsored schools because with them, you will have a job that will get you the year's experience you need for most companies.

In 2014, after talking with a couple schools in Boise, I went thru Sage TDS in Twin Falls. They brought in recruiters from May Trucking and DOT Foods (Burley ID) but those companies didn't offer any jobs at the time. The other students and I were on our own to get a driving job. For some reason, Sage was closed down about a year after I went through there. They didn't teach anything more than what it would take to get our CDL. That's all most schools teach. With company schools, they want you to succeed and will work with you to get you proficient.

Read the links Anne left for you. If you have questions, just holler, we'll get you answers.

Laura

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.

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.
Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

Yes, your backing experience will help you. We highly recommend going through paid training. Why pay a few grand out of pocket when you can get the same training for free. Yes you would have to work at that company for at least a year. You will need that year to be able to get a better local job.

For example CFI trained me for free. I paid zero out of pocket almost four years later, I'm still here. Why? Best job ever. I sit in a comfortable chair, see this beautiful country and get paid well. Your first year is the hardest because there is so much to learn.

We are happy to help here. Best of luck.

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

Drew,

I agree with the others: go for it. You already have a head start. The best backers I observed in my training were farm boys who backed equipment and wagons everyday from the time their feet could reach the pedals. My brother in law was a farm boy. He never backed a 18 wheeler, but I saw him back his tractor hitched to a bailer and a hay wagon (3 separate pieces) into the barn with a 90 degree turn and up a ramp barely wide enough to accommodate the equipment. To this day, it was the most amazing backing feat I've ever seen, but it was just a routine thing for him.

Before I was able to start trucking, I was in construction. I've had multiple trailers over the years and backed them up on a regular basis. Was it the same as backing a tractor & 53' trailer? No, but at least I understood the principles of backing, as do you from your experience.

You seem to fit the profile for a natural OTR truck driver. My first advice to guys like you is to learn G.O.A.L. My only mishaps as a driver were when I disregarded the principles of G.O.A.L. Good luck, man.

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.

Drew D.'s Comment
member avatar

Drew,

I agree with the others: go for it. You already have a head start. The best backers I observed in my training were farm boys who backed equipment and wagons everyday from the time their feet could reach the pedals. My brother in law was a farm boy. He never backed a 18 wheeler, but I saw him back his tractor hitched to a bailer and a hay wagon (3 separate pieces) into the barn with a 90 degree turn and up a ramp barely wide enough to accommodate the equipment. To this day, it was the most amazing backing feat I've ever seen, but it was just a routine thing for him.

Before I was able to start trucking, I was in construction. I've had multiple trailers over the years and backed them up on a regular basis. Was it the same as backing a tractor & 53' trailer? No, but at least I understood the principles of backing, as do you from your experience.

You seem to fit the profile for a natural OTR truck driver. My first advice to guys like you is to learn G.O.A.L. My only mishaps as a driver were when I disregarded the principles of G.O.A.L. Good luck, man.

Thanks for all the useful input!

Also, As far as the Get Out And Look thing, that isn't a problem for me. When I have to back stuff into really tight spots in the greater Seattle area, you are constantly having to get out and evaluate elevations and obstacles. Especially when you are in a wheel lift and there is a divot that can rub a tailpipe or bottom out your boom/stinger. But thank you all for the great advice. As far as homes in western Idaho, we have a significant amount of money to put down so im not overly concerned there. And I plan on being with an OTR company for at least a year if not two. My family has already signed off on this and they accept that it is a sacrifice they are willing to make for a better living later. Besides, I love long haul towing so I can't see this being any different as far as enjoyment goes.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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