Local Drivers- What Do You Bring In Your Truck To Help You Through Shift?

Topic 31913 | Page 1

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John G.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi all, **if you're a tldr guy, skip to the bottom for a numbered list of questions. If you wanna be Dr. Phil, learn about my background, and hear about my first week driving local end dump, start here!

The past 10 months of my life have been the hardest period of my life. I decided to quit my teaching job of 8 years where I was well-liked, comfortable, had summers off and took (past tense) a lot of anxiety medication to handle the boredom from repetition.

How long can one teach the same subject without going insane? This year the students were less and less engaged in class, while deeply hypnotized by their cell phones. I'm only 30, but I can already feel the age gap widening in communication-I had not experienced this before covid, but I was known as one of the most liked teachers by students. We had engaging discussions, we learned a lot and this disappeared. I was teaching to collect a check and hoped for good interactions and learning moments. Students told me this- I am not bragging.

During this school year, I got my CDL for the second time, but this time was different-I busted my ass prepping for the test with the intention of driving full time when school was over.

Before, I hauled containers during summers for an owner operator , but this was a side hustle with no benefits-I still had benefits from the teaching job.

Except for my trucker friends and girlfriend, I got nothing but flack from parents, since our family values education. Last year when I saw a 15 year teacher makes only 10k more than me, I stopped seeing teaching as an option if I want a comfortable life. I felt immense guilt towards the job (which didn't always treat me well) and my family. But ****, I want to make money and I love trucks, I put my windows down when driving next to them to hear the exhaust. Enough background, let's talk about my first week.

I got hired as an end dump driver at a yard 45 min away from my house. We leave the yard at 5 or 6 am, which means I wake up at 4 to get there.

On my way, I get a big cup of coffee, a bottle of water and healthy snacks (protein cookie) to last me till lunch. During lunch, I get a bigger meal, but not a coma-inducing carb bomb

The trips are about 30-50 min from one site to deposit shale at a concrete facility.

I am on a special meal plan, I am an athlete, and my nutritionist has me eating healthy snacks every 2 hours so I'm not hungry.

I was able to make 6 of 7 loads on my first solo day.

There was one curveball- I took the road test in a tractor trailer. When I got there they told me I will start in a super tandem (fancy dump truck). I had never driven a dump truck before, I have just hauled containers. I am still figuring out the quirks with these, as I've noticed they feel top heavy. I'm not mad about this- the manager told me I will drive a tractor trailer in a month or sooner if I feel comfortable. I got a clean bill of health from my trainer, who only spent two days with me.

A couple things I noticed: -there is not lot of time to jerk off. This isn't a bad thing, but a new feeling for me. It's back and forth with the loads with an occasional stop at a gas station to pee, get a snack and drink. I also don't **** during the day, so as one can imagine I get some nasty gas by the end of the day and all hell brakes loose when I get home. But at least I can stop and pee, and this was one of my biggest fears. The cab has a camera inside, so I can't go in a bottle

-at the end of the day i feel accomplished. I even stayed later than a few other drivers to clean the truck

-I also feel tired, but not bad. My clinical anxiety has almost disappeared, since I work a full 12 hour shift

****TLDR Here are the questions for local drivers.

1. What do you do to motivate yourself to keep going? On m first solo day, I could feel the motivation and hustle to get the **** done. I made less food stops than the day before

2. Good coolers for a small cab? I find cold drinks wake me up well. I also eat a half a small bag of chips, it's enough to get me going

3. How do you handle post lunch fatigue? I pulled over to sleep for 10min, but couldn't sleep so I kept trucking and drank a Starbucks. I want to improve on this

4. What do you do at the end of the day? When I get home I have mixed feelings. I want a good meal- I usually eat my first real meal of the day, I eat gas station snacks throughout the day. I feel tired, but I still have to workout. When I get a rhythm to the new job, will I be able to workout again after work?

5. Entertainment? I have a 4G phone, and I'm wondering if I should upgrade to 5G. I listen to podcasts, audio books and radio shows. I have yet to get bored

6. What do you do for comfort? The seat don't recline in a dump truck and the ride is rough. My back is sore, so I stretch and workout. I'm thinking of trying a purple seat cushion

7. What are handy items to keep in truck? I got cleaning supplies, air fresheners and put a light sunscreen since the windows aren't tinted and I don't want nasty skin, but I'm enjoying my tan!!

8. Bonus question.. Do the older trucks powered by ISX, 60 series or C15 drive better? My truck has a paccar and it's an auto. It feels gutless and I kept getting passed. My truck is auto, the ones passing me were old, mid 2000's manuals. My goal is to be an owner operator in a year and I want an old school truck with a big engine and a good seat

Thank you


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.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.


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".


Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

I'm home everyday so I'll try to cover as much as I can.

1. Money, honestly that keeps me plenty motivated.

2. I personally do not use a cooler, less stuff to carry

3. I do not really eat a lunch, I just eat a few small snack items.

4. Since I do not eat a lunch my first meal is when I get home. I used to do the gas station snacks as well but it gets expensive and unhealthy.

5. I'm usually driving so my 4G phone is good enough.

6. Can't really help you there, fortunately we have good seats and a fairly smooth ride. Best I can say is keep experimenting with different seat positions.

7. I keep a can of spray lube, pliers, wire ties, wire cuters, spare pair of gloves. Plus my personal bag.

8. Please do not buy a truck, it is a horrible time to do so. Next year probably will not be any better.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

1) I always feel the motivation and need to get things done. My goal is generally to make the most amount in the least amount of time.

2) I use a regular small cooler for drinks. I use those blue ice packs because they're reusable and don't leave a mess. Flavored water is my go to.

3) I handle post lunch fatigue by eating a good lunch. My lunch is usually a bag of microwavable steamed vegetables, grilled chicken, boiled eggs and avocado. Takes about 20 minutes to prepare and I make it when I get home and throw it in the fridge. I try to avoid carbs and sugar, but sometimes a peanut butter and jelly hits the spot. The times I have been fatigued, I stop. A 20-30 minute nap works wonders.

4) when I get home, I walk the dogs for 30-40 minutes. When I get back, I start prepping lunch for the next day. I put water to boil and put chicken in the air fryer. While the chicken is cooking and I'm waiting for the water to come to a rolling boil, I take a shower. Then I microwave the veggies, throw it all in a Tupperware and put it in the fridge and then I go to bed. To help with sleep I wrap my head with a folded over towel to cover my eyes and ears (because it's day time) and I turn on the a/c (even in the winter) because it keeps the dogs quiet.

5) wife has 5g, I have 4G. I can't tell the difference. I watch sitcoms when I take a break (Seinfeld, South Park, King of the Hill etc) and I've never had an issue. Sometimes I listen to YouTube videos while driving (premium plays in the background the way music does) and it works fine.

6) Not an issue for me. My Peterbilt is very comfortable and has a bunch of seat buttons that gives me too many options. If your back is sore, it's probably a lumbar support issue. Roll a towel and put it behind your lower back while driving. If that helps, then invest in something better and you should be fine.

7) I keep rubber grommets for glad hands and a pick to change them. I keep a hammer, a bottle of coolant, mirror wipes and a spray bottle of soapy water to find air leaks. I wipe down the interior every Saturday and air fresheners give me a headache.

8) Newer trucks focus on fuel efficiency. I won't get into the o/o stuff.


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.


Hours Of Service

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

I'm also local and home every night. I do pretty much the same as the guys mentioned. We are slip seat so my go bag has plenty of bleach wipes and enough zip ties and tarp straps to get me home. If I expect a long wait for unloading I'll bring along a small pillow. It makes a whole of difference to take off my boots and turn sideways, even if only for 15 or 20 minutes.

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