Well It All STARTED Good, Not So Anymore

Topic 3297 | Page 1

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Heavy C's Comment
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Well after starting my trucking career well everything has taken a turn and not for the good. As I mentioned in a previous post I had an incident backing into a garage and broke a shelving unit. Boy oh boy if that was the worst of it. This past Friday after doing my due diligence as i do before every trip i had the trailer come off on me as I was leaving the parking lot. Luckily no damage to the truck and very minor damage to the trailer, but still not my proudest moment. And from what my company tells me the fifth wheel the tractor needed to be rebuilt because it was screwed up, so not entirely my fault. Doesn't make me feel better about though. Then to add to it all today i had another first. As I'm heading to my third stop in Poughkeepsie N.Y. I took a wrong turn. Well in all my confusion to try and find a way to turn around I went by the entrance to a DOT check point. I stopped immediately but it was to late. I was issued a citation for bypassing a level three inspection stop. Holy crap i can't believe I did that. It was an honest mistake it didn't matter. On top of that I won't know what the fine is until i plead guilty. Could my trucking career start any worse? Can someone please just help me with some words of encouragement our something. I'm trying to remember that this is what I want to do. But if these stupid screw ups keep happening i feel I won't be in this career to long.

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.

Old School's Comment
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Hey Heavy C, man what a bummer of a week you are going through!

You know what? Everybody here has had times like that (well, maybe not quite as bad as yours) but we just had to dust ourselves off and try it again the next day. We've all experienced a day where we just wish we would have stayed in the sleeper and never cranked up our truck. This is one career that has the ability to humble or maybe more like humiliate you incredibly in just a matter of a few seconds. People don't even realize how on top of your game you've got to be every moment when executing your duties as a professional driver. There are just way too many things that can turn around and bite you in the back side!

All we can do is try to learn from our experiences. It sounds like the trailer coming off wasn't really due to any negligence on your part, and I know exactly how you feel when getting disoriented and concerned about what to do when you've taken a wrong turn or missed an exit. The main thing about this driving in unfamiliar areas is to keep a level head and don't let the nerves or fear start to eat away at your confidence. Always do your best to stay calm, and you can usually find a way to get yourself back on course if you take things slow and easy. As you develop as a driver you will learn to be very cognizant of escape routes available to you when you get yourself in a pickle. Don't be too hard on yourself, and hopefully your employer won't be either. You're just getting started at this, but you will have to buckle down and be a smooth operator from here on. I think you can do it, but the one person that really counts in this situation is you. You're gonna have to believe in yourself in spite of the circumstances that are conspiring together to break your confidence.

Jopa's Comment
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Hey Heavy C - nothing specific about your circumstances but I can tell you something from a Christian nature & perspective. When we are trying to make one another feel better about "dark times and bad days" we simply remind ourselves and others that the Lord is still on the throne and He is in charge. That means we accept what happens (the good and the bad) in faith and in gratitude because He never send adversity (or allows it to happen to us) that we cannot handle. He knows our hearts and he knows our resiliency and he uses adversity to develop our faith and trust in Him. If you would like to read a scripture that goes to the heart of this matter, the Book of Romans, chapter 5 verses 3 through 5 talks about what adversity does for the heart of a believer. If you are not a believer and you are not comforted by scripture, then know that even the darkest times are always followed by the light of dawn. And everyone who looks at a sunrise is heartened by the beauty and potential of a new day. Best I can do . . .

Jopa

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Jopa's Comment
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Guess I AM too slow . . . Old School beat me to the punch again . . .

Jopa

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Brett Aquila's Comment
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Oh man....things could start off way worse than that. The fact that you're hear talking to us right now, nobody has been injured, and no vehicles have been smashed to bits means you've gotten your career off to a better start than a lot of people have.

This kind of stuff is completely normal for new drivers. It's exactly why we tell people they're going to want to quit trucking about 1000 times that first six months. You don't realize how little you know until you get out there on your own running solo and have to figure everything out. Every day the road throws you a million curve balls and 95% of it you won't read about in a book, you won't learn it in school, and you won't learn it from your trainer. You just have to learn it the hard way and it takes a lot of time, patience, and nerve.

I think the most important things for you to do at this point are:

1) Take your time and keep your cool out there. This is critical. So many problems happen because new drivers get in a hurry, get unnerved, or try to do something before they've taken the time to think everything through. So just try to stay calm, relaxed, and focused. Take all the time you need to get the job done safely and ignore what anyone might think if you're holding them up. Too bad. We've all held people up a million times. Sometimes you're waiting on others, sometimes they're waiting on you. That's life.

2) Remain confident. It's easy to start second guessing yourself, but don't! You're in one of the most difficult careers anywhere on the planet and nobody gets through unscathed. We've all made a ton of mistakes out there. That's part of the learning process. If you've gotten to this point then you definitely have what it takes to be an awesome driver. It's just a matter of putting in the time out there and learning every day. Focus on the golden rule - don't hit anything. That's it. Everything else quickly becomes a distant memory and will someday make for a great story to tell.

3) Talk to your company and be up front with them about these incidents. Show them on no uncertain terms that you're doing everything in your power to become the best driver you can be and that you take safety very seriously. As long as they know you're giving it everything you have and your mistakes remain relatively small like they have been you should be fine. But don't think, "Oh man...I hope they're not mad. I'm just going to avoid the office altogether." Do the opposite. Be up front and be available to talk. If you avoid them it leaves them no choice but to guess at your state of mind. They need to know that your attitude and your state of mind are good and that you're out there giving it everything you've got out there. People are obviously much more prone to be patient and stand by someone when they know the person is putting everything they have into getting better. Let em know you're that guy and that things will get better.

Just keep pushing forward. You'll be fine. Take your time, think things through, remain confident, and learn from everything you do. That's the formula it takes to become great at this.

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Old School's Comment
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Hey Jopa, you might be slow rofl-3.gif , but what you've got to say is worth waiting for!

Daniel B.'s Comment
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That's it?

Give yourself a pat on the back Heavy. Because I don't think you did all that bad.

There's a very good reason why we say those first few months can make or break you. You come into trucking thinking you'll achieve excellence but that's silly. Because before you can achieve excellence you'll be chewed up and spat at by this industry. And if you survive, you'll become a much better driver for it.

Keep going, take it slow. Those first few months humbled all of us - myself included. There's not a single person in this world who can say they came into this industry and did fantastic. You're just blending in...

The fifth wheel was not your fault if it was malfunctioning. Be sure to always visually inspect the jaws when you've coupled and to do multiple tug tests with the landing gear down.

The ticket obviously was. But mistakes happen. No one is perfect. Chock that one up to **** happens.

I can't begin to tell you how many near-misses I had in my first few months.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Matthew D.'s Comment
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I still remember my first day. It was the first week of December, got into my first truck and had a load of paper rolls that was heading to Chicago from our yard in Grand Rapids. About 20 minutes into the trip, the heat in the cab went, only had heat in the berth. Had to put on extra socks and stop for a few minutes now and then to warm up in the berth before heading back out. Got to Chicago, getting off the highway, I bumped into a metal street light, and bent the pole. Got to my delivery, where they had me move the trailer axle all the way back for an easier unload. Pulled the pin to move the axle, the spring broke off, so now I had a trailer axle that was slipping and sliding as I was backing in. reported it to the company, they tell me to go across town-slipping axle and all- t get it fixed. Took a wrong turn and 3 blocks later, found a low bridge. Had to back up 3 blocks and turn around. Ended up in a residential neighborhood due to bad directions. Finally, 4 hours after the insanity started, I get to the place, park in the alley behind, and the mechanic just goes under the trailer and pops the spring on like it was nothing.... It got easier after that, then a few hard days, then it got easier again. There were many days I questioned whether I wanted to continue my driving career. But I kept my nose to the grindstone, and it ended up being the best times of my life. Try not to let it get to you!

Rico's Comment
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I can't help but wonder what my "guess what happened to me the first few months after I started driving" stories are going to be! I have already resigned myself to the fact that some crazy things are most likely going to happen. I just hope that I can maintain a good attitude about it when it does happen.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
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Heavy C don't sweat it. If you will take a quick second and hit the blue button under my name and you will see two pics I just uploaded. Both pics are of the same warning ticket I just got on March 4th. Little over a month a go. Thankfully it's only a warning tick.

But I got that ticket for the same exact thing. Missed the the off ramp for a temp pop up scale that is not usually open and could not get over in time. I stopped even with the dot officers inside the rest area on the shoulder so I was not going to fast. Only received the warning cause I actually did stop granted it was outside of the check point.

Point is things like that can happen to anyone at any time. That was my first ticket in a very long time though only a warning.

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.

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