Old Man Leaves Six-Figure Salary To Begin Training As A Trucker- Psychiatric Evaluation Pending

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Grandpa Clark's Comment
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I want to share my rather painful and embarrassing experience, in hopes that it may help someone else who may be tempted to NOT wear those cheap-looking safety glasses that are part of our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). I'm so thankful I had my glasses on when I went through the following experience.

In my second week with my driver-trainer, we were assigned to pick up a steel coil, just outside of Pittsburgh, PA. My trainer is a stickler for following the PPE guidelines and at this shipper , we were required to wear a protective vest, long-sleeves, helmet, gloves, and safety glasses. After successfully getting our coil cradle built, receiving our coil, and securing it, we had just finished tarping it and were preparing to pull out of the loading bay. We needed to get our paperwork from an office that did NOT require PPE, so my trainer took off everything except his reflective vest. It was very hot and I normally would follow his lead. Since we were leaving the loading area and going into the office area, the danger was over right? For some reason (I credit Divine intervention), I kept all of my PPE on. I can't say why I did it, as it makes no sense, but looking back I'm so thankful I did! Before I explain the mechanics of this injury, I have to tell a bit of background.

About 4-months back I injured my left knee. I was doing something really stupid: running on a treadmill that was on an incline after months (OK, years) of not running at all. Two days into my brief running career, my left knee was so swollen I could hardly walk and I was in extreme pain. Since I avoid doctors at all cost, I prayed that my knee would heal on its own. After about 7-8 weeks, I was 90% healed, with pain only when the knee was twisted a certain way. As long as I avoided that one movement, I was fine. I didn't want to delay my trucking adventure, so I went into this training period with a left knee that was still tender and in recovery.

Back to Pittsburgh. My trainer and I (in full PPE) walked to the office and found we had forgotten our load assignment number. I told him I would run back to the truck to get it. I quickly returned to the truck, grabbed the notebook that showed the number, and stepped quickly down from the truck. As I landed on my left foot, something under my boot (a small rock?) twisted my knee in a way that caused a sharp stabbing pain. This caused me to fall to the side as my knee buckled. All 240 lbs of me were falling out of control to my left when my face struck a concrete pillar. The corner of the pillar made direct contact with the left lens of my safety glasses, driving the glasses into my face, causing extreme bruising and a deep gash over my eye. Blood was pouring out of the wound and a truck driver in the next bay quickly came over to assist me. I put pressure on the wound and the bleeding eventually stopped.

I examined the safety glasses and was shocked to see a huge scrape in the plastic lens, directly over where my left eye would be. The glasses were destroyed. Had I not had my safety glasses on, I very likely would have sustained a very serious eye injury. As it is, the picture above was taken 36-hrs later when I finally admitted to my wife that I had suffered an injury. I thank God for protecting me and I'll never again ridicule the cheap-looking safety glasses that we are required to wear as part of the PPE package.

My wound healed perfectly with no medical intervention (thank you Lord!) and I did not miss any work as a result of this injury. Nearly 3-weeks post-injury, the last of the blackness is almost gone and the cut looks like it was sown up by the world's greatest surgeon! You can bet I always am quick to grab my safety glasses every time I get out of the truck to load or unload.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Grandpa Clark's Comment
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Amazed at how well the gash has healed!

PackRat's Comment
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OUCH!

Anne A. (and sometimes To's Comment
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Back to Pittsburgh. My trainer and I (in full PPE) walked to the office and found we had forgotten our load assignment number. I told him I would run back to the truck to get it. I quickly returned to the truck, grabbed the notebook that showed the number, and stepped quickly down from the truck. As I landed on my left foot, something under my boot (a small rock?) twisted my knee in a way that caused a sharp stabbing pain. This caused me to fall to the side as my knee buckled. All 240 lbs of me were falling out of control to my left when my face struck a concrete pillar. The corner of the pillar made direct contact with the left lens of my safety glasses, driving the glasses into my face, causing extreme bruising and a deep gash over my eye. Blood was pouring out of the wound and a truck driver in the next bay quickly came over to assist me. I put pressure on the wound and the bleeding eventually stopped.

AwhhhhMAN~!!! embarrassed.gif

One of the MAIN reasons, I'm not gonna try my luck in a truck, until my Rotator Cuff injury FULLY heals. No safety PPE for that, sadly.

Three point contact is still a struggle for me; and when I'm beat, I'll need some one to shove me butt first in, butt support on the way out.

Man, you got lucky, good sir. PLEASE be careful; take care of YOU and that knee, first & foremost!!

Let us know how it ends up for you with the upgrade; great stuff you posted, over in General Forum.. too~!

Always, man... ~ be safe.

~ Anne & Tom ~

PackRat's Comment
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Cliffhanger....?

Grandpa Clark's Comment
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Graduation! With my 2-day final evaluation behind me, I guess this will bring my training diary to an end. Our evaluations were completed at North Little Rock over Tue/Wed. Wed was a full=day and we completed all the tests, including the driving test. Wednesday was spent working through the last of the video content and we had a presentation from a Fleet Manager to explain the workflow process.

On Thu. morning we officially graduated and were given our silver Maverick keychain and the keys to our trucks. The instructors shook our hands, gave us our certificates. We were given our fleet manager's phone number and told to call them for information on the next step. And just like that, I became a company driver for Maverick Transportation.

I phoned Tina, my fleet manager, and she told me my truck was at the Laurinburg, NC terminal. I got a rental car and was getting ready to leave for the 13-hr drive back east, when another Maverick driver flagged me down. Chuck was headed to Charlotte, NC to recover an abandoned truck and had been advised to jump in with me for the ride east. At about 2 p.m, we departed the North Little Rock Campus and made our way east, arriving in Charlotte around 2 a.m. The truck had been left behind a shopping center. Chuck jumped in, examined the truck and found it in decent shape, started it up, and he was gone, headed back to Arkansas to turn in the truck. I continued on to Laurinburg, arriving at 4 am.

The shop manager directed me to Truck 208036 which is a 2020 Freightliner Cascadia with about 260K miles on her. She is an ex-trainer truck which is interesting. Maverick trucks have mid-roof sleepers, except for the trainer trucks which are condos. The truck was covered in a thick layer of dust, as the lot in Laurinburg is gravel and it had been parked for a while. I jumped in, turned the key and...it was dead. Not the greatest start to my career, but a quick jump-start, and she fired right up. I got inside, and saw that the interior was in very good condition and clean. I was so exhausted, I just laid down and had a quick 2-hr power nap.

When I awoke, I found my assigned trailer and found it did not have any equipment on it. The next couple of hours were spent getting my dunnage and tarps. After that I completed my inventory, I picked up a few remaining items and called my Fleet Manager for further instructions. She advised that I could deadhead home for the weekend, or, drive down to Charleston to Nucor Steel and take a load home with me for delivery on Tuesday morning. I told her I would take the load. (might as well jump right in!)

I left Laurinburg at about noon, and my expected ETA showed on my workflow as 3:30 p.m. My first stop was for fuel and truck wash. Unfortunately, the wash bays were very busy, but I was so disgusted with my filthy truck, I decided to wait it out. It took about an hour to get my wash, but after that, I was gleaming in the South Carolina sunshine, headed to Nucor Steel.

Ever notice that as soon as you wash your car, the rain clouds start to form? By the time I got to Charleston, the sky was threatening rain. I arrived in the midst of rush hour, worked my way through construction and found myself lost in the woods/neighborhoods just north of Charleston. Not a great way to start my first trip. I called Chris, who is another Maverick driver who has been on the Nucor account for 5-years. He lives about an hour from the plant and had told me to call him when I got close. Well, I was close, I just couldn't see how I get the 5 miles to plant with all the truck-restricted roads blocking my path. My navigation was primarily the Trucker Path App, and my tablet GPS, and both of them seemed to disagree on my next move. Thankfully, Chris was at home, getting ready to have dinner when I called. He laughed and said he got lost his first time too, and not to worry about it. He instructed me on the proper/legal way to get into the Nucor plant, and within about 20-mins, I was pulling onto the scale at Nucor for the first time.

I was assigned a load of steel beams and my work instructions from Maverick said "no tarp". I breathed a sigh of relief as it was just starting to rain. Unfortunately, when I got the shipper work instructions, it said the load had to be tarped. That seemed strange since Nucor has the steel beams sitting outside, exposed to the weather. I called Chris again to ask what I should do. He said, "sucks to be you", looks like your tarping beams. I got loaded by 7:30 p.m. and then began the adventure of tarping steel beams, in the midst of a downpour that seemed to go on forever. The load required both of my steel tarps and when it was done, I figure I added about 200 lbs to the load in bungees. The tarp job was exhausting and since the steel was wet, I was very slow and cautious when climbing on it. It was also very sharp on the edges. I finally finished the tarping at 11:00 p.m. Yes, it took me about 3-hrs to tarp the load.

Thanks to the rain, I didn't really need a shower, which is good, because there wasn't a shower available. Unfortunately, I also had no water on the truck and I was out of hours. I wondered how I was going to sleep when I was so thirsty, but my exhaustion made my thirst a non-issue. I slept until 5 am and headed for home, arriving at 1 pm. with my very first load. This concludes my training diary. Thanks for all your helpful advice and encouragement along the way! Sincerely, Steve

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

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.

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.
Grandpa Clark's Comment
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My First Load (please excuse the tarp job...my first attempt at steel beams)

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PackRat's Comment
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Congratulations!

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Grandpa Clark's Comment
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Congratulations!

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Thanks PackRat! I've appreciated your comments and advice throughout this journey. All the best to you.

Old School's Comment
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Congratulations!

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Now the real fun (learning) begins. Hang in there!

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