Young Truck Driver Looking For Some Advice!

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Max E.'s Comment
member avatar

First off i have been looking at this site on and off for about 3 months now. definitely the most helpful site i have come across! thank you so much for that. so here is the deal with me. The name is Max. Im young. 21 years old to be exact. I'll be 22 in 3 weeks however. Ever since i was younger i have been amazed by semi trucks. always wanted to drive one. I currently have a Class B CDL for my job right now of driving school Bus. i want to get the class A. however i just would like anyones input on a couple things. my number one question/concern would be my age. since im so young and i really do have a baby face has anyone had experience with being in trucking at a young age? with how the companies may treat a young guy? how other truck drivers may treat me? i understand that there will be good and bad people no matter what i do or where i work but still it be nice to talk to someone who was a bit younger when they started or who has dealt with personally or trained a young driver. next question is if anyone has attempted to go to school while they have been on the road. i am very close to getting a 2 year degree and would like to finish it so has anyone attempted to do online classes or whatever while they have been on the road? i am honestly so burnt out from school. so i don't want to hear from you guys "don't get into trucking and stay in school" i already have heard that from EVERYONE else. i want to experience life on the road. i love driving and just being on the road. its fun to me. any advice you all have i am open to it! if and when i do decide to pull the trigger on this (I'm thinking when this semester of school ends in May) ill let you all know how it goes.

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.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome Max!!!

About your age, it really isn't a problem. I'm actually 21 myself and have been driving for almost four months now. I'm not going to tell you that it's easy or a piece of cake, you'll definitely feel more challenged because of your age. You'll hear about a million times "are you even old enough to drive?". It gets old, I've heard it like 489 times by now hehe. Just shrug it off and be friendly. I've gotten into conversations at truck stops and sometimes the guys poke at my age, but it's all in good fun. Sometimes when I'm backing, the trucks around me "watch" me a little more closely because they probably think I suck at backing.

So to sum it up, you'll get joked about your age sometimes. Nothing to get a firey head about. When people say to me "are you even old enough to drive?" I reply back "I've actually been driving for almost half a year now, went to school as soon as I turned 21."

Worry more about your ability to drive, be on time, and don't hit anything more than your age. I've had no trouble with my company about my age, I'm just another number. My dispatcher even calls me 'sir' sometimes :0 lol

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.
Houkie's Comment
member avatar

I don't have a lot of advice on the age thing, except to say that it seems like there are quite a lot of young twenty-something drivers on this site, so it stands to reason that young drivers aren't all that uncommon in this field.

Where the whole "OMG, don't do this! Stay in college instead!!" thing is concerned, I feel your pain there. I'm currently in college myself and thinking about quitting and driving for a few years, and it seems like everyone around me is having a meltdown. Ugh. It's so annoying! I don't know how much time you'll realistically have for college classes, though. I haven't started driving yet myself, but from what I've read on this site from other drivers, your first year or two is going to be pretty slammed busy and overwhelming with all the road-related stuff you have to learn.

Larry E.'s Comment
member avatar

Life is short, you are young. School will be there down the road and you may be able to save some $$$ so you won't have some of the bills later. If you don't like the trucking industry, then you have great experiences to draw on as you journey through life. There is way too much emphasis in this country to know what you are going to do with your life half way through high school! I want to be able to go out of this life with no regrets of, "wish I had done..." We all have plenty of time to settle down and figure out what we want (I'm almost 57 and am embarking on my 3rd career). It gets tougher when/if you get married and have kids, but they are not around for ever. Thank those who are "telling" you what to do and then do what YOU want to do. Enjoy the journey, but be ready to navigate the pot holes and bumps.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Welcome Max!!!

About your age, it really isn't a problem. I'm actually 21 myself and have been driving for almost four months now.

Thanks for that man! its good to know i wont be the only 21 year old out there on the road.

Max E.'s Comment
member avatar

Life is short, you are young. School will be there down the road and you may be able to save some $$$ so you won't have some of the bills later.

thats exactly my thought process if and when i do decide to hang the keys up ill only have 2 years of school left to get a four year degree. plus im sure if i have a degree when i get into the business they will be an opportunity for me to move up into management positions.

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

I had to smile when I read your school stuff.....Do you know how many people with PHD's and Masters are truck drivers ??? You would be amazed.....And its because they can't find a decent job in their profession. And if at any time, you want to go back to school, your credits are there. Now looking at that the other way....if at anytime, after you've got your degree, a wife, some kids, and your burnt out in your field, would trucking be an option ??? maybe not. It takes a strong woman to be married to a trucker. And its not a kind thing to try and convince the woman who has known you as a white collar professional, that you want to run away and become a blue collar trucker, and she won't see you but once every 6 weeks, and she will have to deal with everything around the house, plus the kids. etc, etc. Sometimes, when the rules change in a marriage, I can't really blame someone for checkin' out...So yeah....go enjoy your adventure in trucking!!!! And if you tire (pun !!!) of the asphalt, then go get that fancy degree, and settle down, and prepare to be bored...or not....but atleast you know that you did what your heart yearned to do. Besides theres nothing that enthralls kids like trucker's stories !!!

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Welcome aboard! There's been a ton of great responses to this one already - awesome! All of them were very well said. Larry summed it up really well:

Life is short, you are young. School will be there down the road and you may be able to save some $$$ so you won't have some of the bills later. If you don't like the trucking industry, then you have great experiences to draw on as you journey through life. There is way too much emphasis in this country to know what you are going to do with your life half way through high school! I want to be able to go out of this life with no regrets of, "wish I had done..." We all have plenty of time to settle down and figure out what we want (I'm almost 57 and am embarking on my 3rd career).

I agree wholeheartedly!

I can also give you my personal experience with your situation. I was 21 when I started driving. Here's a pic from those days with my sister, niece, and nephew:

Brett Aquila truck driver standing in front of Gainey Transport truck in the early 1990's

That picture is from '93. And don't worry...you don't have to go with the leather gloves and black cowboy boots. It was the end of the Heavy Metal days and I played guitar and did the whole 80's metal thing so that's how it was back then for us young guys. smile.gif

Interestingly enough, I was literally born with the brain of a rocket scientist. I could've been anything on Earth. To give you an idea, I was in the engineering society taking advanced sophomore level calculus at the local university at 17 years old and getting straight A's. I was previously accepted into the Coast Guard Academy (which runs the same as the military academies) at 17 and would have graduated a 2nd Lieutenant with my own ship and crew at 21 years old. I could have written my own ticket to go anywhere I wanted and do anything I wanted...so I did. I played guitar, partied, and chased girls. rofl-3.gif

I left home with two buddies in an old, falling apart Chevy van at 19 and went to Atlanta. Wound up working in a warehouse for a while at $5.50/hour and decided at 21 that trucking sounded like a fun career. My ma, upon hearing this, wanted to jump in her grave. She couldn't imagine for the life of her why I wouldn't use my brain to make a living. Well that was easy for me to understand but impossible for her and others - because I wanted to live my life in a way that was fun, exciting, and challenging. I wanted to travel and experience everything I could. I wanted to know what the world had to offer and the best way to find out was to try everything I could think of. And most importantly, I wasn't interested in what anyone else thought of my choices. If someone thinks being an accountant is the way to go then they should do that. But I'm going to follow my heart and do what I think sounds fun and exciting.

And thank God I did!!!!

I spent 15 years in trucking and those years were priceless. But I also took some time away to try other things. I went to school at Motorcycle Mechanics Institute for Harley Davidson, graduated, and worked at a dealership for a few months. I also took some welding classes and got certified at that. I also taught myself a bunch of computer programming over the years as a hobby - I always loved computers. So I basically did whatever I wanted to do over the years and I have absolutely no regrets. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I'm thrilled that I decided to follow my own path in life without worrying about what anyone else thought I should be doing. I've lived a far more rich and rewarding life than anyone I know. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I have a tattoo that sums up the approach I take pretty well. It's a line from the movie Braveheart that reads "Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it."

We all have that innate desire to be social and to please others around us to some degree. It's hard-wired into us after 100,000 years of evolving as social beings. Nobody wants to look like an idiot or be chastised by their family and friends. But let me tell you something...if 50 years from now you look back on your life and realize with regret that you never chased your dreams and did what others thought you should do instead, there is no "do over" button. There is no "rewind".

To me, the most important thing in life was to experience everything I could and learn from those experiences. I wanted to discover who I really was and understand what the world around me had to offer so I could build a life that was right for me. And that's exactly what I've done all these years. And it all worked out beautifully.

If you follow your heart, put everything you have into everything you do, learn all you can along the way, and do your best to make smart decisions, things will come together for you. There's no way of knowing where you'll wind up or what you'll be doing as the years go on because there's no way to predict the direction your life will go as you learn more about yourself and the world around you. But I've never in my life heard someone with courage and ambition say "I should have just lived the way everyone told me to instead of following my own dreams."

How are you going to know who you are and what the world has to offer if you don't experience all you can in life?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Steve B.'s Comment
member avatar
. I currently have a Class B CDL for my job right now of driving school Bus.

I also went from driving school bus to a class A & now driving OTR. Your experience will give you a great foundation on passing your tests. Something I did was create my own flash cards that I found here on this site and carried them with me while driving bus. Also it was great to leave the bus company on good terms so when there was a gap between CDL school & orientation I picked up shifts driving bus.

Go for your dream!

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.

ThinksTooMuch's Comment
member avatar

Brett that is the most beautiful, thoughtful, and true string of words I have ever read on the internet.

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