First Year Solo. Knight Flatbed

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TwoSides11's Comment
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The routes make it so I can't do those truck stops, also I don't know where they are lol. I will take a look at Truckerpath when I do my trip plan. I use a app called Hammer and they show a lot of truck stops and travel centers along the way. I prefer travel centers but where I end up they are not around or further out from my drop or pick up. I try and get as close to my destination as possible before shutting it down for the night. Also, practicing backing at those big name truck stops gives me better training I think.

Right now I'm at the Loves in Edon Ohio. The same Loves I stopped at when I had the flat on my drive tire and met a J.B Hunt driver. After fueling I go look for a parking spot. I see a flatbed driver and two open spots next to him, perfect spot. I do my set up and start to back in. I get extremely close to the other flatbed drivers truck with my trailer, so close that he gets out the truck lol. I manage to get in the spot but it was ugly. Before he gets back in I call out to him. Explain that I was a rookie driver and asked for tips with backing.

The drivers name is Eric and he was more than happy to talk with me. He gave me a very detailed explanation, writing in the snow, hand movements and reviewing my tire tracks in the slush. He told me what he does and suggested what I could do to improve my backing. He said I didn't do too bad but said when he saw the Knight logo and my set up, he knew I was fresh lol. My problem is I'm doing my set up like I'm still driving a tandem axle trailer. That has to stop and what Eric told me should help tremendously. We stood out in the cold for a little over an hr talking about flatbed work. Cool guy...

Eric is a O/O and has his own Conestoga trailer. Told me that is the only thing he uses and gets tarp pay without tarping a thing. That is the high life right there lol. Tarping sucks. Well more like un-tarping and folding them sucks in my opinion. Tarping the load is fine but I can do without having to pull them of the load and then fold them.

I haven't ran into a grumpy flatbed driver yet. No flatbedder has ever cut me off, everyone I've talked with has been nice and I noticed some drivers wave as they pass me. Even at the shipper/receiver, the ppl are friendly. I only had one problem with a guy at Cressona but everyone says he is a grumpy old man anyway. The drivers and workers in this line of work are polite, friendly and easy going. It's only been a little over 30 days solo so I haven't come across everyone yet lol. But so far I notice a difference in attitudes/driving with flatbed and dry van.

Having a good week so far even tho it's Tuesday. I have a 3 stop run. 2 in Ohio and 1 in PA. Hopefully I will be able to complete this by Thursday. I'm in a Conestoga trailer so there is NO TARPING!!!!!!

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".

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.
Davy A.'s Comment
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Very cool to hear. Just out of curiosity, how do you set up with a flatbed. I've watched the guys do it but can't see what to do differently.

TwoSides11's Comment
member avatar

Very cool to hear. Just out of curiosity, how do you set up with a flatbed. I've watched the guys do it but can't see what to do differently.

Honestly I don't see much of a difference when watching other flatbedders other than going further out from the spot. While I was talking to Eric, we saw a flatbed guy back into a spot. His set up was the same as dry van and the way I do it except when he turned back to the left he had his truck at a 45 degree angle. Then walked the trailer in the hole.

Eric told me he keeps the truck straight and pulls about 5 trucks or spots away from the spot he wants to back into. He is also about 6 feet away from the other trucks. Once the back of his trailer reaches the 2nd truck before the spot he turns the wheel right and gets the bend/arc and walks it in. ​

For the past week and a half I've been practicing with no success. Tried to do what other drivers suggested, watched videos but still no improvement. I set up further from the spot, put the bend in the trailer and try to walk it in, left/straight with the steers. I either jack knife the trailer or swing too far out to the right. If the parking spots are slanted at a 45 degree angle then I have no problem but if it's 90 degree like a alley dock I have no chance.

The past 4 days I haven't attempted to do a back. I look for rest areas now so I can just pull through. At truck stops I look for 2 empty spots together. If there isn't any then I just park along the side somewhere trying not to be in the way. Not saying I gave up trying to back, just taking a break from it. After a long day of driving, tarping and strapping, the added irritations of not being able to park is something I can avoid for a few days. It's frustrating because by now I should be able to back into a spot, even if I need 5 or more pull ups.

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.
Glenbob's Comment
member avatar

Don’t beat yourself up. I watched a million miler reset his set up four times for a wide spot at the terminal last week. I haven’t tried the angled spots yet. When your tired and beating yourself up know YOU have made a difference for me. Take care of yourself, stay safe. Everyone says one day it will click. My TopGun instructor drilled us to “drive the tandems” as every setup will be different. His saying was get the tandems straight in the hole then follow them in. I still need practice myself but once that clicked it’s sure helped. I understand that our terminals are planned get simulator’s in the future. If you have the opportunity to utilize one I highly recommend giving it a try.

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.

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".

TwoSides11's Comment
member avatar

I will share everything, the good, the bad and the ugly. The first week of February was smooth. I was able to strap and tarp loads in a timely manner, was able to get to every appointment early, also un-tarping and folding the tarps went well. The 2nd and 3rd weeks not so smooth. Didn't have to tarp loads last week because I was in a Conestoga trailer. I had runs with multiple stops but the problem was with the trailer. The curtain was out of alignment and the rails were bent making it impossible to open it myself. I had to wait for help at each of the receivers and I think that factored into being late for the last appointment and not getting more runs in that week.

This week seems like I regressed. Took me way too long to strap loads and tarping was a mess. On 2 separate loads my tarp came undone. The back flap on one and the side completely fell down on the other. Both tarps were done at the Hydro plant in Cressona Pa using the tarping station. I'm realizing that tarp machine isn't all that convenient. It's less work but if the truck isn't properly aligned when they lay the tarps down then it will be uneven. And the workers don't tell me if the truck is under the tarps correctly. I've met 4 different people at the tarping station, 3 of them are fine with me repositioning my truck, the other gives me a hard time. I find it better if I roll the tarps out myself, a little more work involved but at least I know the tarp is layed correctly.

Now the ugly... Last Friday Feb 11th I got myself into a little situation. 0774709001645311508.jpg 0317640001645311697.jpg Trying to avoid the stop sign, telephone pole and fire hydrant behind the pole I took the turn too wide and my diver side steer slid into the ditch. In my defense the picture looks like I drove into it, not the case lol. I got just a tad bit too close to the edge and that is how far the truck slid over. This happened as I was leaving my last stop. Very embarrassing sitting there waiting for the wrecker to pull me out. Fortunately no damage to the truck other than a bent license plate. Perfect ending to a rough week with that terrible Conestoga trailer....

At the end of this week on Friday I was given a dry van run. I had to find an empty in Allentown PA then drive to Home Depot DC in Perth Amboy NJ. Pick up a load from there and deliver it to another Home Depot in Breinigsville PA. That run was a headache. First trying to find an empty, I was sent to 2 different places, then going through the process of getting checked in and checking out at the shipper. Also at the shipper it took them almost an hr to find the loaded trailer I was suppose to take. The best part of the run was delivering the load to PA.

Its been over a month since I pulled a van and it felt weird. Surprisingly had no problems with backing the tandem axles. I did 3 90 degree backs on that run needing a pull up on each one. Wonderful!! lol. Now it's back to reality, dropped an empty at Cressona then picked up my load going to Salem, OH that is scheduled for 2pm on Monday.

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".

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Still following and wishing you WELL, good sir!!!

Ohio should be all cleaned up, pretty, and WARM for ya, by MONDAY!!!! dancing-dog.gif good-luck.gif dancing-dog.gif

Yeah, I saw your 'Go Straight, Turn Late' conundrum on the other thread. Sometimes the 'combo Jug & Button' is just what needs done; not for testing out, though!

New day, new way!! Right?!?!? You've got guts & gumption, I'll (we'll) give you that!!!!

Ya know... if you ARE more comfortable pulling a dry van . . . and can actually BACK that beast (lolol...) maybe switching IS in your future???? I don't know, man. When Tom pulled flats, it was concrete (Jersey Barriers & lennels secured by rebar, no tarps needed) so... I've got no clue there. Just looking at good ole' OLD SCHOOL'S avatar on here , makes me say NOPE, hahaha!

We're behind you no matter, 2 Sides. Best always;

~ Anne & Tom ~

ps; Thanks a bunch, for keeping up this diary. It will mean SO much, to future up & coming drivers!

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Just a thought, Im wondering if you might be looking consciously or unconsciously at the first axle on the skateboard when backing? I dont know if that would make a difference. Ive only done dry van so I dont know what its like, but I know If Im not looking at the back of the tandems and end of trailer in my peripheral simultaneously, my arc will get all out of whack. Also wondering if backing in dirt or snow would be easier because it pivots easier? One other question I thought of too, would the progressive nature of the arc be different on the flat bed? Like the way that the trailer turns faster and tighter progressively?

Once again, sorry to hijack the diary, Glad to hear parts and pieces are coming together for you and that youre hanging in there. Definitely appreciate the dairy.

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.
TwoSides11's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Momma Anne. I appreciate you and Tom. I do hope Ohio is clear and warmer by Monday lol. Didn't feel more comfortable driving the van, everything about it felt weird to me lol. Glad I can still back it with no problems but that didn't do me any good. Just confirms the fact I'm still trying to back the spread axle like tandems.

Davy, I'm still stuck in the habit of backing the skateboard like a van. With the van I look at the back of the trailer, not the axles. That's something that works for me. I'm doing the same thing with the skateboard, looking at the trailer. I was told to look at the pivot point which is between the two axles on the trailer. My eyes start out looking at the middle and back of the trailer to see if my arc is correct, then between the axles for a moment, then get fixated on the tail end of the trailer for the remainder of the back.

I know my eye placement and set up is wrong, I just can't fix it lol. I guess it's muscle memory with the tandems that's keeping me from backing the spreads correctly.

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".

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Momma Anne. I appreciate you and Tom. I do hope Ohio is clear and warmer by Monday lol. Didn't feel more comfortable driving the van, everything about it felt weird to me lol. Glad I can still back it with no problems but that didn't do me any good. Just confirms the fact I'm still trying to back the spread axle like tandems.

Davy, I'm still stuck in the habit of backing the skateboard like a van. With the van I look at the back of the trailer, not the axles. That's something that works for me. I'm doing the same thing with the skateboard, looking at the trailer. I was told to look at the pivot point which is between the two axles on the trailer. My eyes start out looking at the middle and back of the trailer to see if my arc is correct, then between the axles for a moment, then get fixated on the tail end of the trailer for the remainder of the back.

I know my eye placement and set up is wrong, I just can't fix it lol. I guess it's muscle memory with the tandems that's keeping me from backing the spreads correctly.

Well, this Ohio weather FINALLY broke, yay! How are things going with YOU, TwoSides?!?!? It's been awhile.

Sure hope all is still A'Okay with ya, man! Stop back~!!!

~ Anne & Tom ~ (and ALL the TT gang!)

good-luck-2.gif confused.gif good-luck-2.gif

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".

Chief Brody's Comment
member avatar

Any update? I've been thinking about you recently.

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