First Year Solo. Knight Flatbed

Topic 31282 | Page 2

Page 2 of 12 Previous Page Next Page Go To Page:
TwoSides11's Comment
member avatar

Hey Old School, I know your not trying to get on me. Please feel free to question any of my actions that seem off to you. You are an experienced flatbed driver and I would be honored to learn from you.

As for that load I un-tarped, it was dropped indoors at a different location around the corner from the original place I was suppose to drop it at. I was told to un-tarp it, otherwise in my inexperience I would have left it tarped. You are right, when picking up an empty they do have tarps strapped to the trailer, over on Brady Ln.

I've told you before that I think Knight's flatbed training is insufficient. I am just trying to help you out with a little information.

Insufficient is an understatement. Please feel free to help with more than just a little information lol.

I came to Knight as an experienced flatbedder. That helped me a lot. I feel for the new guys like yourself. It is a lot to try to figure this out on your own, and they have a habit of expecting you to just jump in there and figure it out.

It is a lot to try an figure out and Knight isn't helping much. My DM thought one load at Cressona was enough training I needed and it wasn't even a whole day.

I think I will enjoy doing flatbed but maybe not with this company? I don't want to give up just yet and apply to a different company but the lack of training is a major concern. Honestly, the thought is in my mind to call Maverick....

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.
Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey, Hope all is ok.

TwoSides11's Comment
member avatar

Update week 1

First week done and it wasn't bad. Flatbed is hard work and slow with the tarping and strapping. Definitely not boring because you are moving around more at the shipper/receiver. Followed a driver to the first stop and he showed me strapping and tarping. Went to drop it off myself. Did fine other than folding the tarps wrong. Went home for the weekend, only did one run.

Monday, start of my 2nd week I followed a different driver. He showed me more in depth of how to secure a load and tarp. And let me do it with his help.

0667056001641437524.jpg

0681352001641437605.jpg

This driver met me at the receiver and he showed me how to take off the tarps and fold them correctly. He is patient with me. Knowing I'm new he takes the time to explain each step then has me do it. I don't make him repeat himself, I'm following instructions and taking notes in a notepad.

We got separated going to the receiver and I had to back into a parking spot without him there to help, or should I say try and back, I couldn't do it. I did my 4 week training in a dry van with tandem axles, I have no clue on how to back a spread axle trailer. To me it's hard with no prior training driving spread axles.

The first week I had a lot of space in front of me and multiple empty spots in a row to back into a spot at a truck stop. Yesterday was more crowded and congested. Spent almost an hr trying to get in a spot before I gave up and parked along the curb. I got really frustrated and started 2nd guessing flatbed driving and working for Knight. Had to calm down and sleep it off. The driving isn't bad even though it tracks shorter than tandem axles, I got a feel for how to do turns and keeping my rear axles in my lane around corners. The problem is me being a brand new driver and being thrown into this without the proper training.

Once again my DM took the driver away from me and expects me to do this on my own with only 2 runs of experience. None of those practicing backing which is one of the hardest things to do. Today, the 2nd driver I followed did walk me through a back while at the receiver. He went into details on how to turn and had me stop and tell him what I thought the trailer would do while I was turning it. I was able to back into a spot tonight myself with little problems. Not the spot I was aiming for but I got it in. Luckily there were 2 spots together empty. Definitely need more practice backing spread axles.

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.

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".

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

TwoSides11's Comment
member avatar

Hey, Hope all is ok.

Appreciate that Davy, yea today was much better. I wanted to drop the load at the truck stop and go home yesterday lol. The driver I followed had me back into a spot while we were at the receiver and he went step by step of what to do. He called me back this morning, said his phone died and he was sleeping last night. It worked out. Got it backed into a spot tonight, up here in freezing cold Fort Wayne Indiana...

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

It's going to be like this for awhile because you're a new driver, then you go into another new platform (flatbed trailers) within the first two months. Everything is going to be different all over again, and you will be a failure many times. The key is to never give up. Nobody started out as an experienced driver. Keep trying and each time will get a bit easier. By the end of this month, you'll be doing things easily that were impossible when January started.

As others advised, don't be afraid to ask for help, especially from other flatbed drivers. The worst that can happen is they tell you no, but 75% of them are going to help you, though. Obviously, any questions will get answered on here, too.

Stick it out, hang in there, and I promise if you give it a solid effort, you'll come out of this a success. Anybody can give up, but less than 1% of all drivers have a CDL and get paid well to drive a big truck.

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

Thanks PackRat. This is a struggle so far. Not only am I dealing with the difficulties of being a rookie driver but I'm also worried about my lack of training with flatbed. I see what Old School meant when I was searching for a company that pays more CPM. That is the least of my concerns because the first yr is about learning. So much wisdom on this site, I am grateful for stumbling upon it.

I am determined to see this flatbed driving through. In the beginning I didn't know what I wanted to haul but now I definitely do, flatbed all the way! Even after I had to strap a load outside in 17 degree weather lol

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

TwoSides11's Comment
member avatar

Jan 6th 2022 0554216001641504850.jpg

0093846001641504890.jpg

My first load strapping myself. 42k lbs of aluminum sows. In Kendallville Indiana, It was 17 degrees and I had to strap it outside. Quickly realized I do not have the proper winter gear lol. I need to buy a warmer coat, boots and gloves for this job.

Waited 2hrs for my turn to get loaded and it took about 45min, if that, to get loaded. Then took me about an hr and and half to strap everything down. When I first saw the load I instantly panicked. The guy loading it asked where on the trailer do I want it? Shoot, I have no clue. I told him I'm new and to put it where most other drivers would have it put. He was understanding and said "I got you" He said the way he loaded it would prevent the back from swaying while driving... I asked his advice on how many straps I need and he said one on each row would be enough. I did not like that answer at all lol. I was thinking 2 on every row.

When he was done loading it, I called the driver I followed yesterday and asked him. Took a pic and sent it to him, he told me 2 straps on the front row and 2 on the back. 1 strap for everything in the middle. Also told me to use the corner protector so the straps won't get cut up. I wasn't able to do 2 straps for the back because the winch doesn't have a latch to lock the strap and the other ones won't slide over to that position. 3 of the winches were missing a latch.

That was rookie mistake. When I was on my 5th strap going to put it into the winch, that is when I noticed the latch was missing. I had to reposition all the straps. I already threw them over the first 5 rows so I had to walk around to the other side throw them back over then hand whine them back so I could slide the winches over. Lesson learned, always check your equipment and set everything up before you start! Finished them but not feeling comfortable about it. The straps are tight but something feels weird about it.

While Im driving I keep looking at the straps. They were moving more than I was comfortable with in the wind. The driver I called told me to check them after an hr of driving and every 3hrs after. 45min goes by and I stop at a Loves to check the straps. The straps are still tight but I really don't like how they are shaking while I'm driving. The forth strap, the first red one, i could see in my mirror is doing a slight Miss America wave, back and forth. Hope that they are correctly strapped down and won't fall while I'm driving.

Walking back to get in the truck I look down.... Flat tire on the front outside drive tire, of course, why not. Yesterday I got held up getting this load because I was leaking oil and had to stop at the Indianapolis terminal to get it fixed. Glad I'm at a Loves though but I have been waiting for 3hrs now. My 14hr clock is shot! Only have 4 1/2 hrs left and counting. Haven't even been seen yet. It's going on 530pm and I'm not driving this in the dark. I will get up early tomorrow morning and continue the drive to Cressona,PA

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.

TwoSides11's Comment
member avatar

While waiting at Loves for my tire to get fixed, I spoke with a J.B Hunt driver that was parked beside me. Older guy in his 60's, says he has been driving for 38yrs and has done flatbed for yrs before switching over to dry van.

Conversation started when he asked me to help him remove snow from the top of his trailer. He had a load strap and asked if I could throw it over the top to the other side. He was on one side and I was on the other with the ends of the strap and we walked to the back knocking off big chunks of snow from the top. It worked, he thanked and paid me for the help.

We then talked about driving, our personal experiences on the road and I ask him for tips with flatbed. After hearing my story he says I should find another company if I want to do flatbed or switch back to dry van with Knight. His reason for saying that was if I strap a load down wrong and it happens to fall off the truck while I'm driving, the blame is solely on me. I'm responsible because I chose to drive. He says there is no way I should be solo right now with the lack of training I received. I don't disagree with that and I have been thinking about applying to another company.

I ask him for his advice on the load I had strapped. He takes a look and says it's no good. The straps aren't tight enough and I definitely need 2 straps on the back row. I show him the trailer with the busted winches and he laughs. He advised me to buy a ratchet strap from Loves and put it on the back. So I buy a $40 strap smh. I put the strap on and go Incredible Hulk tightening the rest of the straps. The tire was fixed at 10pm and I just stayed at Loves and left in the morning.

I leave at 7am, while I was driving I'm looking again at the straps and they are stiff. No movement in them whatsoever. Now I'm feeling more at ease than I did yesterday. I do my hr check and they are good. Check them again at the 3hr mark and still nice and tight. The whole drive there is no movement in those straps. I made it to the Carlisle terminal and didn't finish the run because my tractor is making me uneasy. Pulling to the right, heavy shaking in the steering wheel afyer 40mph and feels sluggish. Has been that way for 4 days but got worse. I put it in the shop and go home for the night.

I don't believe in coincidences. I was at that Loves at that time for a reason. The J.B Hunt driver parked next to me for a reason. The flat tire was a blessing, giving the driver time to come and park next to me. Also, I moved to a different spot because I wanted to practice backing before the lot got too busy. Who knows what would have occurred with my load if I didn't listen to the feeling I had and pulled over. I'm not a religious guy but I do believe in a higher power. And the workings showed last night.

0025082001641609311.jpg Yes, I do know how to use a ratchet strap. I used them constantly in my previous line of work. It looks a mess because it was freezing outside and I didn't have the tolerance to stand there and fold the excess strap neatly. I just wrapped it around and called it a day lol Also in the pic you can see the 3 useless winches smh

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Twosides,

You need to get a couple of stake pocket winches for when you don't have a winch where you need it. I have the cheaper ones in the bottom link, but I had to buy a narrower locking pin because they don't go down far enough to slide the pins that come with it through the hole

Stake Pocket Winches

Stake Pocket Winches

You can crank down on these with your winch bar. You can't roll up the entire strap into these, but, as I mentioned before, I fold my excess up into the rub rail. I have some small Velcro straps that I to secure the excess to the main strap. I often use the folded excess as edge protection. In your picture, where you have the vee board edge protection, I put the folded excess on the corner, underneath the strap. When I tighten the strap down it binds the excess. The edge definitely won't cut through the part of the strap that secures the load and I have yet to have the edge cut through my folded excess.

Where to put a relatively balanced load on a trailer? The middle. Or if you have a 48' spread axle or 53' trailer with the axles open, just to the rear of the middle. With the axles at least 10' feet apart you can have 20,000 lbs on each axle. So you're safer putting more weight toward the rear.

Where is the middle? The midpoint between 1) your kingpin and 2) the middle of your tandems. Use your stake pockets, which are two feet apart, to measure. Or just count the stake pockets between the kingpin and the middle of your tandems and divide by two. Hang a bungee at that point. So when the forklift operator says where do you want it loaded, tell him the bungee it the middle. 9 times out of 10, he'll say "got it."

I don't agree with the guy about going back to dry van. And many on this forum may disagree with my perspective, but hear me out. Dry van can be even more risky than flatbed.

See the link below to a dry van driver on this forum whose career ended because of a load that was not properly secured.

Dave Reid Career Ending Rollover

Unlike flatbed drivers, who have to secure EVERYTHING we haul, dry van drivers rarely do anything other than load locks, which in my opinion are a rather pathetic attempt at securement. I've spoken to dry van drivers who have hauled very similar loads that I secured with two chains per bundle. When I asked them how the shipper secured the load in their dry van: "they put some nails through the pallets into the floor." WTF?

While you do have some risk of something coming off your trailer, because of your improper securement, at least you have to evaluate and secure every load. I understand that very rarely do dry van drivers haul loads that involve evaluation of the securement. But, when they do get that load, like Dave did, they don't have the flatbedders' perspective to understand the problem or maybe fully realize the risk involved. When everything you haul is on an open deck, you think about it at least twice.

I'll try to follow this threat better and provide advice as I can. But think critically about all the advice you get. Even mine.

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.

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".

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Anne A. (and sometimes To's Comment
member avatar

Excellent post by Chief Brody, for sure. I still keep in touch w/Dave on Facepalm on occasion; he's not driving. Again. Yet. If ever. Hella nice guy, though. Sadly, 'nice guys' don't always finish first.

2Sides, Tom hauled flatbed concrete 'only' when he had to, when asphalt wasn't flowing due to the cold. He/we HATED it. Nobody trained nobody with his gig, either. It was 'fly by seat' too, sadly. We almost lost a load of lennels (Jersey Barriers/small) going into Cleveland. Took a right curve exit, then going left onto the overpass, and ....... It hopped, coming off of 70, and we heard it & I saw it in my mirror (passenger.) It was an OH FML moment...we pulled over into the nearest area (school !) and ... grabbed straps like nobody's business, and did ALL that fun stuff. AFTER we had hauled it for 2 hours, with no clue. It was on a tripod, and supposedly secure with the rebar, to the trailer. We 'crash coursed' ourselves on YouTube (and here!) after that day. I can still SEE it. We were clueless. I commend YOU for trying to learn, here there & everywhere, man!! (He'd probably bash me for telling this story for the umteenth time, but .. I WAS THERE.) MAD respect, y'all deck guys!

One thing Tom DID say, is why the short stack was at the back, and not the fore of the trailer? Hmmm... Would that've made a difference? Who knows; it's just how 'HE' (the non expert in flatbed/open deck) would've loaded it.

GLAD it all worked out, in the long run. YES, God had a plan for you to STOP at that t/s that day, and meet that old hand. A flat tire WAS a blessing. You helped clean his snowy van, and he advised you HUGE. Best 40 bux you ever spent, probably. That strap & a long handled paint roller is a trick Tom still uses to this day. (We didn't have to worry about snow accum on tanks, haha!)

In addition to Dave Reid's experience; re read this epic post, if you haven't already.

Life, Death, and Resurrection

I really hope in the near future, all this is just a blur, a hiccup, and yet ... a memory with a happy ending!

Stay safe, stay blessed. I for one, do believe you SHOULD HAVE been trained more &/or better, upon the asking.

~ Anne ~

Fm:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Page 2 of 12 Previous Page Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

This topic has the following tags:

Knight Transport Advice For New Truck Drivers Backing Challenges Driver Responsibilities Flatbed Load Securement Truck Driver Training
Click on any of the buttons above to view topics with that tag, or you can view a list of all forum tags here.

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More