Coordinating Your Schedule With Your Circadian Rhythm?

Topic 32641 | Page 1

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The Zen Joker 's Comment
member avatar

First off, Happy Thanksgiving All!!

As my (current industry) fruitless job searches grind to a halt the odds of me getting into trucking late winter/early this coming spring grows weekly. As such, I am preparing not only mentally but also preparing physically in the probable case of me going to CDL school in March via Roehl.

So here is my question, it seems the majority of truckers are early risers and get up between 3-5 am and are on duty between 4-6 am. So here is my question.. I am NOT really a morning person and in a perfect world (which may NOT work at all as a regional truck driver) I'd work 7 am to 9 pm. So do I spend the next 8-12 weeks trying to reprogram my biological clock to be functional in the early morning hours so I'm not nodding off after 10 am OR will it be even remotely practical to expect to consistently be on duty from 7 am to 9 pm as my core sleeping hours by default are midnight to 6? Just looking for ideas, as I want to be as productive as possible 14 hours a day and I gather from much of what I am reading that the 14 hour day is constantly changing. Just looking for feedback on this please.

Thanks!

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.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

I’m one of those who prefers to start at 0200-0300 and for a couple reasons really. I like being able to plan around larger cities where rush hour traffic can really bind up a day and I can generally avoid that. The other reason being that it gives me a chance to shut down a little earlier with less worries about finding parking and less chance of waiting for a shower. Some days though, I’m up and ready to go but I’ll drive a few hours, take my 30 and stretch it out to an hour, maybe 90 minutes and grab a nap if I need it and then I’m ready to go for the rest of the day. This time of year though, I do change it up a bit. Being in the upper Midwest, the weather can get pretty sketchy. To me, it’s safer to start a bit later, get a better look at the roads and impending weather, also giving road crews the chance to do what they need to do, making the roads a bit easier to navigate.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

When you get to the point of finding a company to drive for, make that issue something you discuss with recruiters as it is a very critical issue.

My first employer, Schneider, was very dialed into determining what my natural sleep cycle was and they gave me assignments based on that. So my driving hours were very predictable and during the day driving dry van. Now refrigerated can be a different animal. My current employer only runs refrigerated and my driving hours are all over the place. They will not hire a driver who isn’t willing to drive at night. I find I can flip the script and still maintain adequate rest, but I can sleep during the day or night as required. You will have to take your own rhythm into consideration when you choose a company.

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.

OOS:

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.

The Zen Joker 's Comment
member avatar

Robert and BK great feedback, and thank you! When it gets to that point, I will be sure to mention it to the recruiter. Honestly, I could probably go 8 AM to 10 pm very strongly, and between Roehl having terminals, and just about every area, I’d be driving and using rest stops I’m hoping to be able to find out a quick parking.

BK hello from Othello cheese, and by the way! I’m originally from Milwaukee metro and currently live in the upper peninsula of Michigan 🤠

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.

The Zen Joker 's Comment
member avatar

*dang speech to text “from a fellow cheesehead” 🤣

Robert and BK great feedback, and thank you! When it gets to that point, I will be sure to mention it to the recruiter. Honestly, I could probably go 8 AM to 10 pm very strongly, and between Roehl having terminals, and just about every area, I’d be driving and using rest stops I’m hoping to be able to find out a quick parking.

BK hello from Othello cheese, and by the way! I’m originally from Milwaukee metro and currently live in the upper peninsula of Michigan 🤠

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.

The Pelican's Comment
member avatar

I'm glad you've posted this. I'm considering a career in this field as well and one thing that intrigues me is the prospect of night driving.

I have always been, and always will be, a night owl. Now, I've learned to force myself to sleep at night because that's what my current job requires, but sometimes it isn't easy because I typically get a second burst of energy around 9 PM.

I've heard that some truck drivers exclusively drive at night. That's something I'm interested in. But I don't know how the industry works. It may be a case of you sleep when your company lets you sleep lol

P.S. Also, I highly recommend the High Road Training Program here. It's super easy, like a study guide with questions. I've learned so much and it will help prepare you for the CDL test, should you decide to make the leap.

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.
Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm a night owl, I normally don't wake up til 11 am or noon. I stay up til 4 or 5 am. I forced myself to adjust during school and training. I documented that in my cdl diary.

My DMs and Terminal manager know my preferred schedule and work to accommodate it, which is fairly easy because so few at our terminal drive nights but ultimately, I do whatever I need to get the load in safely and on time.

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.

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.

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.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

I have always been a night person and suffered from insomnia. When I went OTR it was awesome cause I could sleep when I wanted.

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.

Pacific Pearl's Comment
member avatar

First, focus on getting your CDL. You can worry about other things AFTER you get your CDL.

There's an old Yiddish proverb - Man plans and God laughs. Your plans and working hours are often CRUSHED by factors beyond your control. Breakdowns, weather, layovers, cancelled loads and the Wyoming DOT will all conspire against you. Your best bet is to be flexible, revise your plans as needed and know your limits.

Your late night shutdown plan will meet the cold, hard reality of trying to find a safe, legal place to park after dark real quick. You will ROAM THE EARTH trying to find a place to find your truck in many parts of the country. Even if you can find an open space at that hour it will probably have an issue making it dangerous to use that you, as a rookie, will be hard pressed to spot.

Legally, you can drive 11 hours a day BUT the odds of a truck stop magically appearing in front of you as your clock turns to 10:59 are pretty slim. If your clock is at 9 hours but the next truck stop is 2.5 hours away you will be shutting down at 9 hours. If you average 10 hours of drive time a day, take a 30 minute break and 15 minutes for your pre-trip and post-trip inspections your workday will be 11 hours long. The 11 hour workday and your 10 hour break will only take up 21 hours - meaning your next workday will start 3 hours earlier - unless you take more than a 10 hour break, then so much for your productivity. In addition to the rolling clock you may lose or gain an hour every day as you cross time zones.

Now, that's just the driving part. What happens when your GPS informs you that I-80 is closed in Laramie, but you're still safely in Nebraska? You can shut down in Sidney, NE or you can drive to Laramie knowing all the parking spaces will already be filled when you get there. Sometimes you may be able to divert to I-70 depending on your destination but you're usually not that lucky. You may have to shut down with only 8 hours of drive time for the day, of course that means you'll be starting even earlier the next day.

On the other end of the spectrum if you have a delivery appointment at 6 am with the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Plainfield, IN you may need to shut down early the night before to make sure you're able to make your delivery appointment. Once you arrive you learn that they will not sign your bills until they have inspected your entire load for damage. When will they inspect the load? When they get around to it. So you sit and wait, call your dispatcher to cancel your next load then sit and wait some more. You notice that your 14 hour clock is about expire so you ask if it's o.k. to take your 10 there - of course not - so you explain to your dispatcher that you're still waiting for proof of delivery but have to leave for a nearby truck stop. The next day you go back to get you bills and discover they were signed a mere 16 hours after your delivery appointment.

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dispatcher:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

"Focus on getting your CDL."

I think the questions being asked are good questions. Before committing to getting a CDL , a person should first learn as much as possible about driving OTR (the most common entry point to trucking), and then make an informed decision.

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.

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.

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