Reefer Question Need Little Help Please!!

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CarolinaGuy's Comment
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Hello everyone I'm new to the forums and I recently decided to go into the trucking industry, but I'm really torn between if I should go into dry van or reefer side of trucking, and so I've been doing alot of research on trucking lately, watching alot of videos and reading on trucking forums such as this site, and I really tried to search myself to find the answer to my question but haven't been successful in finding the answer so I thought I'd ask here. So basically my question is when it comes to pulling reefer, I noticed that alot of videos and discussions sometimes talk about the wait times associated with being a reefer driver and having to wait at shippers and receivers sometimes for many hours at a time. But I don't understand if for example if I'm waiting at a shipper or receiver getting loaded or unloaded, can I just go to sleep during that time or will I only get a short nap in during that time their loading or unloading the truck? What if I oversleep will someone wake me up or let me know that the load is ready to go? Basically when do reefer drivers sleep is my main question here that I'm trying to ask?? It seems to my understanding that there are no specific designated sleep times? Will I still get to sleep during my 10hr break or not? So that's why I'm having a hard time deciding which type of freight I would like to pull because its also going to determine which cdl school I'm potentially going to be going to. So any advise you guys and gals can give me would be greatly appreciated thank you.

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.

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Carolinaguy, welcome to Trucking Truth!

The easiest answer is that truckers sleep whenever they get a chance. Some of us get a lot of chances. Waiting is part of the job, but reefer drivers will typically do more of it than some of the others.

When you're in a dock waiting to be loaded is a great time to take a nap. They will come and knock on your door when you're loaded. Some places have different methods of alerting you, but most just knock on your door. They might get your cell number and call you, or they may even give you one of those vibrating buzzers like some restaurants use to let you know your table is ready.

You will also be taking your ten hour break everyday. That's another time you can sleep. Truck drivers work and sleep. That's pretty much a pattern for every day. You'll find plenty of time for both.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

As a current reefer driver, I can attest to everything Old School told you. I started out with dry van and then switched to reefer. Of the two, I definitely like pulling reefer the most of the two. The wait time is greater but in my situation, I actually view that as an advantage to me. I use the extra time to rest and do my inside the truck housekeeping. (Yeah, since my cleaning lady quit, I have to do that myself now. Bummer).

Personally, I don’t like to be communicated with by the “knock on the door” method, especially if I’m sleeping. The beeper pad method is great, but many times the shipping/receiving office will take my phone number and then call or text when things are ready. And remember, when you sit waiting for a long time, you will get detention pay for any time over a certain limit. My company limit is two hours, which I think is pretty standard.

If I had to revert to pulling dry van in order to continue my driving career, I would. But I really like the reefer job. At almost 70 years young (October 4), it is just enough different from dry van to fit my life better. Plus, it pays a little better.

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.

BK's Comment
member avatar

And about the sleep time issue, a reefer driver needs to be flexible enough to do a mix of day or night driving. You will get enough time off to get regular sleep, but like day or night driving, it will probably be necessary to sleep during the day and switch back and forth as needed. If you can only sleep during the traditional nighttime hours, then you might want to find a dry van job with more regular hours. Schneider does this with drivers. They will identify your sleep pattern (circadian rhythm) and schedule you accordingly. When I did dry van OTR with them, I rarely had to drive at night and most of my loads were drop and hook. Now with reefer, most of my loads are live loading and live unloading, which I like just because of the time I get to rest and relax during those times.

So, my DM and load planner love me because they never have to take my sleep in to consideration. I can manage my sleep all by myself, (but I still wish my mom was around to tuck me in). All they have to do is see if I have enough HOS time to complete the load on schedule. This makes their job easier and I get great assignment as a result.

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Been pulling reefer almost two years myself, power naps at shippers/receivers plus ten hour breaks. The good thing about my company Marten , is like, BK mentioned with Schneider, they do try to match your proven sleep cycles to load planning, doesn’t always work out that way and you do have to be flexible. That is why the 8/2 split rule is helpful, I am not sure if you know what that is yet or not?

Basically it allows us to split our break up and pause the clock while waiting which allows us to Rest In Peace while not worrying about the 14 hour clock winding down and being stuck somewhere out of hours. For example my truck was down for its 250K+ service while I was on hometime schedule which took the shop almost all day as it’s most of the fluids, filters, belts and various checks on parts for wear and tear, brake inspection blah blah, normally I like to start the day after hometime around 0800 in order to help maintain some of stable sleep/operation schedule , since the truck was down till pretty much the shop closed I had to get a pick up at 2300. Not my ideal, but again I’ve learned to believe flexible.

I called up the shipper and found out they were delayed until midnight possibly, that was at about 1715. They did tell me I was welcome to check in early - left the yard at roughly 1815 and got there at around 1940 - checked in had a nice conversation with the dock guy who handled the paper work and slept till about 2230 when I got the “door knock” (and yes for the record I do wish the pleasant female sounding voice from The Star Trek Next generation eta tv shows was actually a thing as I hate door knocks) but any rate - I got backed in around 2237 and was out of there at 2350. I went back up to our terminal and parked around 0115 after a quick post trip and took a full ten till 1115 when I rolled out and parked last night outside of Boise ID around 2130. My load delivers today at 1715 in Corrine UT Walmart. I am 5 hours from the receiver with plenty of time to spare to get fuel etc before heading in.

Now I COULD have driven more Friday night/early Saturday evening , however since I came off of hometime , I had woken up around 0600 Friday morning and waited till the truck was serviced pretty much all day around the house. This meant I was running pretty jet lagged and didn’t feel myself fit to drive much more than I had already done.

Key is flexibility- reefer companies know you are human, they know you need sleep, food, water and some downtime to avoid going koo koo. As long as you plan things out right, you can pick up or deliver in time and communicate, you can get the rest you need.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

CarolinaGuy's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Old School and BK for your help and insight on this topic, really helps with my decision alot, I actually don't mind so much the idea of waiting to be loaded or unloaded its just that I was mainly worried if someone will actually make the attempt to wake me up if I'm taking a nap in my sleeper, so knowing that someone will most likely bang on my door, call or text me on my phone, or give me a buzzer device makes me feel little bit better about this issue.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

Also a reefer driver here, and I will simply concur with everything the other drivers have already posted.

Don't buy too much into the extremely negative things people have to say about hauling reefer. Trucking is trucking. None of it is easy. The one good thing about reefer is that with any of the companies that are 100+ trucks, reefer is no-touch freight, so you can use the time backed into a dock as personal time and get paid after a certain amount of time (2 hours being typical). The exception to no-touch reefer freight are local jobs like Sysco.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Moe's Comment
member avatar

Because when all else fails, folks have to eat - good times or bad. General merchandise is going to take a dip once the supply chain evens out and there is all this surplus inventory. I plan to stay reefer until the dust settles from COVID and it is starting to already.

Also a reefer driver here, and I will simply concur with everything the other drivers have already posted.

Don't buy too much into the extremely negative things people have to say about hauling reefer. Trucking is trucking. None of it is easy. The one good thing about reefer is that with any of the companies that are 100+ trucks, reefer is no-touch freight, so you can use the time backed into a dock as personal time and get paid after a certain amount of time (2 hours being typical). The exception to no-touch reefer freight are local jobs like Sysco.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

Because when all else fails, folks have to eat - good times or bad. General merchandise is going to take a dip once the supply chain evens out and there is all this surplus inventory. I plan to stay reefer until the dust settles from COVID and it is starting to already.

double-quotes-start.png

Also a reefer driver here, and I will simply concur with everything the other drivers have already posted.

Don't buy too much into the extremely negative things people have to say about hauling reefer. Trucking is trucking. None of it is easy. The one good thing about reefer is that with any of the companies that are 100+ trucks, reefer is no-touch freight, so you can use the time backed into a dock as personal time and get paid after a certain amount of time (2 hours being typical). The exception to no-touch reefer freight are local jobs like Sysco.

double-quotes-end.png

Agreed

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Anne A. (and sometimes To's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Old School and BK for your help and insight on this topic, really helps with my decision alot, I actually don't mind so much the idea of waiting to be loaded or unloaded its just that I was mainly worried if someone will actually make the attempt to wake me up if I'm taking a nap in my sleeper, so knowing that someone will most likely bang on my door, call or text me on my phone, or give me a buzzer device makes me feel little bit better about this issue.

Welcome from me (us,) as well, CarolinaGuy !

You should put 'which' Carolina (in the morning) state in your profile, tho!

My other half did reefer early on in his career, and had a hard time sleeping at home, for the lack of white noise.. on his 34's! You'll develop a pattern; I'll attach a link.

As far as being woken up, be prepared to be spooked at times... humorously! Tom's a deep sleeper, too...when they'd rock the truck he'd jump up to set (the already set) brakes, hahaha!

For starts, some great reading and insight:

Some great videos (sift through, or enjoy all!) from a 7 year reefer trainer and moderator:

Truckin' Along w/Kearsey

Best wishes, good sir!

~ Anne & Tom ~

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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