Graveyard Shift In Training - How Soon Is Too Soon?

Topic 32292 | Page 1

Page 1 of 3 Next Page Go To Page:
Lil'RedRidingHood's Comment
member avatar

Hi, got a little bit of a situation on my hands, and know this fine community can tell me what is normal and what is not.

I just finished my first 3 1/2 days of training and am on my three day layover. Long 1300 mile run (one way) - dedicated 4 drive-shift route;—which explains the awfully short work week.

Just to fill in some blanks: I’ve been welcoming all, including dirty porta potties, napkin baths, energy bar on the fly for food, because THIS shows me from day one what I must do when running hard. I’ve been pulling 500+ mile shifts, 8-9 hours, and asked to go to 10.5, but handed over wheel on 2 occasions when I felt unsafe to drive. The other 2 short-shifts were due to other reasons, like needing to shut down in a particular place (not my decision). I have drawn the line at not eating or drinking (I will pass out). I can drive 5 hours and not pee.

Trainer has a pleasant personality btw. Their teaching (each thing) is effective, albeit erratic. Our personality match could be better, but it’s not awful.

But for this one issue, I would not be posting….. GRAVEYARD SHIFT:

Week 1 was to have been night pickup, but was changed to day shift 6 hours before pickup (drop / hook) & we have window.

I was thankful, as the thought of running heavy hills & city driving - graveyard shift and running hard;—scared the crap out of me.

Now we are to do graveyard again. Not split, but full-10 graveyard shift. We got no backing / fueling etc in last wk, due to tight schedule (I’m fine w/that).

This coming run / week we will do backing training, chains etc, in the dark.

So—question: How soon during solo-phase is too soon to run full on graveyard? What is normal?

I’m not too worried about chains / backing etc. He will NOT like my speed doing it, I know that. But I will back, safely, within my limits.

I’m scared I will crash my body, which sure could crash the truck & kill everyone on the road. My stamina is not to 11 hours yet. I get so tired. I don’t want to kill anyone. Being stressed & not eating properly will be so much worse at night. I have brought it to trainer’s attention. He wants graveyard and is also upset I take too long to eat.

Am I being a baby here? Is graveyard full 10 normal right away?

I’m looking to learn what is normal before I talk w/anyone at terminal.

Last: This is a good company, with a good program. Yes I may seriously ask for a different trainer, if for no other reason than the 3-day reset every week.

Thank you so much for your input. Love you guys!! thank-you-2.gif

Lil’Red

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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

How long is the overall training period? You're likely going to need to drive overnights if you switch trainers though it may be less. Can't recall the carrier but there's a mega that prohibits trainees from driving between midnight and 5am. If your trainer is doing a relatively good job stick with them. Training is such a short time in the grand scheme. Most of us have horror stories of training but we used that as inspiration to push harder to accomplish our goals.

The schedule you run is pretty much dictated by the load you're running. In general reefer drivers tend to flip flop their schedule alot and drive alot of nights because of when that product is typically received. Flatbed typically has more "normal" hours due to when their customers are open but they still need to have a funky schedule to make deadlines. Many dry van drivers say they have alot of drop/hooks and a large window to make it there so they're able to run a more consistent schedule during daytime hours if that's what they desire. I've been driving overnights for the past 3 1/2 years. Some days are harder than others. Once you're on your own truck you'll be able to work your clock to run the hours you prefer though sometimes you'll need to flip your schedule to make appointments. On the days I'm having trouble staying focused I grab a soda (I hate coffee and unless it's Milos sweet tea I don't drink tea), or pull over and walk a bit whether it's into rest area/truck stop for potty break. If neither of those help I will pull over and take a 20 minute or so nap. Usually that's enough to get me through. Once the sun starts coming up I'm good. A couple things I've noticed that help is keeping the lights to a minimum inside the cab. Dim the dash, turn screen off GPS or ELD unless you absolutely need it at that time. Another thing that helps me is keeping my windows closed. The fresh air feels very good but I feel like it dries my eyes out if I have driver side down. If I want fresh air I'll crack my passenger side window. Unfortunately I don't have a solution to the dummies that run their high beams as they drive towards you. If someone behind you has high beams tilt your mirror away until they pass. Just make sure you tilt it back right away. I may have forgotten to a couple times and have a OMFG moment when I look in that mirror and don't see my trailer....rofl-1.gif

As you gain experience you may find that you prefer running nights. Less traffic allows you to have a much more relaxing drive. Less traffic also allows you to run your top speed more of your shift turning more miles. Especially good when you roll through the big cities.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Hi. As a team trainer and CDL instructor I will.tell you that many trainers put the students on nights right away. The idea that there is less traffic and you can slow down to read signs or stop to decide to make a turn without impeding traffic is one reason. Another is that in reefer we need to drive nights a lot. The sooner you get used to it the better. Some trainers are just jerks and only want to drive days themselves.

Something that new solo drivers often complain about is "dispatch flipped my clock from driving days to nights". The sooner you get that out of your head the better. We don't have a schedule so our clock constantly rotates.

I usually start the student driving days with me in the passenger seat until I know they are safe and reading signs. This could be a few hours to a week depending on the student. I usually start them out on days to get used to traffic and drive nights myself and then rotate as the loads/clocks allow. That is me. My team trainer put me on nights right away and said "I'm going to torture you". I told her she was out of luck since I did 20 years of nightshift at previous jobs.

When it comes to eating... The more you eat and drink. The more you have to stop for a restroom. The longer you take to eat or restroom, the more you delay your delivery. Even just running into a rest area can waste 15 minutes. Stop at a truck stop and you could waste 45 minutes or more. Do that several times a shift and you could delay the load. Rest areas at night can block you in without any way to get out because of illegally parked trucks.

When you are solo you will have a better balance of all of this. So try to get through it When you are in control you can stop several times a day and no one will care as long as you are on time.

I had a student who ate/drank so much and restroom stopped so often that in a 10 hour period. He only drove 300 miles. I had to drive 700 miles per shift just to make up for his constant stopping. Everytime he stopped I woke up and got no sleep. As a trainer. I am responsible for the load and my record of 7 years of in time delivery is jeopardize by the student (and my bonus for such).

Talk to your trainer and come up with a plan. You can go 5 hours without stopping but you are tired. See if stopping every 4 hours makes a difference. Try briskly walking a bit to pump your heart rate up to wake you up. Do jumping jacks. It sounds nuts but helps.

I had a student who did much better when I had him drive 5 hours then we stopped for showers and meals. Then he drove the rest of his shift without issue. Ask if this type of thing is possible. Or ask if you can shower at the start of your shift to wake you up. See if you have enough time to take an hour nap in the middle of your shift. Plan it from the beginning of the shift. A nap can supercharge you.

Ask the trainer for suggestions. See what they say.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Lil'RedRidingHood's Comment
member avatar

Thank you so much Rob. Especially appreciate all the tips on how to stay awake and not get blinded.

I may love nights later. I’m a night-time person. Traffic being better for sure.

I just feel very unsafe about it right now, especially if I cannot stop to stretch or eat. A split I would do now, say run till 2AM or start at 4AM. That would give me some hours of daylight.

The training is 6 to 9 weeks depending. Team starts after 100hrs if student is ready.

At least the megas’ ban on trainee graveyard shift tells me I’m not entirely crazy here.

And it had not even occurred to me that my company could have a policy on this also.

thank-you-2.gif

Lil’Red

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

The midnight to 5am.ban on students driving is something Prime did for those without their CDL. The students make deliveries with their permits. I don't know any other carrier that had this...so I'm guessing it is Prime.

Anyone with a CDL is required to drive whatever hours the trainer specified.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Kearsey gave you excellent advice from a trainers prospective. I haven't done OTR so I haven't had to deal with changing sleep patterns to make appts the way y'all do.

At least the megas’ ban on trainee graveyard shift tells me I’m not entirely crazy here.

The company I'm thinking of wasn't a full out ban during training, it was something like their first 2 weeks. Driving overnight is something you'll get accustomed. Talking to others on the phone that run similiar hours always helps as well. Instead of listening to music try listening to stand up comedy, podcasts, audio books or something else that can catch your attention without being too much of a distraction. I signed up for Sirius radio to change it up. I get a kick out of listening to the national news stations on there, after I stop switch it to another one and hear how the same story is different between the 2 to fit their political leanings. I believe it costs me $9 a month to stream from my phone.

Personally if I eat when I'm already tired it makes it much harder to stay awake so I minimize eating until atleast daylight.

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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

The midnight to 5am.ban on students driving is something Prime did for those without their CDL. The students make deliveries with their permits. I don't know any other carrier that had this...so I'm guessing it is Prime.

Anyone with a CDL is required to drive whatever hours the trainer specified.

Thank you clearing that up, that's what I was thinking of. It's just been a while since I've seen it mentioned anywhere so I couldn't recall the specifics involved.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Lil'RedRidingHood's Comment
member avatar

Thank you so so much Kearsey!

This was exactly what I needed. Now I know he’s not doing it to be mean.

Yes I will ask for the 4 hours instead of 5.

Only 1 shower every 2-days - and likely no time to nap for an hour, but I might get 15 to 30 minutes. I’ll take it.

We only stopped for a sit-down meal once, so likely that one’s out of the picture.

But—I can do smaller versions of these tho. If a sink is present—wash hair & face. Put the energy bar in the microwave. There’s a hot meal.

I’ll definitely start with the 4-hour interval, and make sure to exercise.

So appreciate you. I don’t feel ready to hop off a building anymore.

Lil’Red

NaeNaeInNC's Comment
member avatar

To be perfectly honest, the first two weeks of training SUCKED. There really isn't any way around it. Your body isn't used to it, you have the fear of messing up, AND the new mental energy expenditure checking mirrors and reading signs.

Add in learning how to sleep in a moving truck? It's not a fun time, by any means. I thought my trainer was going to throttle me my first week, because I had such a hard time between 2am and sunrise. Once we landed a load that allowed me to have the witching hours front loaded to my drive time, it worked out much better.

I second audiobook, comedy, and news. Just enough to keep your brain engaged, but not over taxed. Once you are in the sleeper, put the phone down. Don't call or text anyone beyond "proof of life." It's way too easy to burn sleep time hours farting around on the phone.

I used a sleeping bag, headphones with relaxing music, of course my CPAP mask, and hoodie/sweats because my trainer kept the truck ice cold. After a week, I'd hop into bed, send the goodnight texts out, and was out by the time he was even back on the interstate.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

Lil'RedRidingHood's Comment
member avatar

Thank you so much NaeNae. I like the idea of front loading the dark hours.

And thank you for “this is how it is”. At this point I sure hope I don’t get stuck with a third or 4th week before team starts. The long resets makes that a possibility.

Hope I can sleep in the moving truck. The idea of music and no screen-time is good.

Page 1 of 3 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

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