Starting A Trucking Career In Winter

Topic 5021 | Page 1

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AJ D.'s Comment
member avatar

I am closing in on pulling the trigger on getting my CDL A via TDI here in Nashville. They have a ton of carriers on board and I have my own list of pre-hire candidates to apply for the second I start school.

I only have one concern. Fall is fast approaching, meaning winter isn't far behind. How many of you guys / gals started your career in the winter?

I suppose it is no big deal for you Yankee's out there ;) , but us Southern boys just toss the car keys in the drawer when there is snow / ice about.

Now, I know they must call them "tractors" for a reason ! I would think modern trucks would pull hard through most conditions.

So, the question is -should I wait until Late Winter / Spring to go for this, or fast track this thing and get in school asap? On the other hand, I will be with a company instructor for several weeks coming out of school, so maybe it would be good to actually be with someone with more experience during some snow / ice so I can learn first hand. I could even go for team driving for a bit during my first year. hmmmmm.....

The more I type, the more I think I should just keep the ball moving and get into school asap.

I feel the driving bug getting me big time! .... time to roll.

Any and all advice is welcome and appreciated from the great folks at TT

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Rolling Thunder's Comment
member avatar

Hello AJ.

I went to TDI there in Nashville, well, Murfreesboro and they were awesome. If you start ASAP, you will be solo before winter kicks in. Lets say you start Sep. 8th and complete the 3 week course with flying colors, you can, as I did, be working with a company a week later which will put you in early October. You will ride with a trainer for at least 4 weeks (I did 5) which puts you into early to mid November.

Now, none of that matters because you will be driving in winter conditions eventually no matter when you start. All you need to remember is keep a lot, lot, lot of space between every other vehicle out there and slow down! Other than that, safe operation should already be a part of you driving by that time.

Go for it! Oh, and if you have any questions about TDI there, I will be happy to answer them for ya.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Colleen W.'s Comment
member avatar

I actually want to start school right before winter gets bad because I would rather have a mentor when the weather's bad than be all by myself.

Eckoh's Comment
member avatar

I actually want to start school right before winter gets bad because I would rather have a mentor when the weather's bad than be all by myself.

i eel the same, i just do not think i can afford to wait.

Sheffield Mick's Comment
member avatar

Hi AJ, I started up here in Michigan just before the start of the worst winter on record so far.......(this past year). I think I did it right as any fears I had of driving these big rigs are out of the way before the new ones arrive......as in driving in snow and ice. What ever your decision I wish you the best of luck.....I've been driving now for around fifteen months and don't regret my own decision one bit.....Take care

HAMMERTIME's Comment
member avatar

I wouldn't be discouraged about Winter driving, if it gets really bad shut it down. The load is not worth your life and most companies nowadays understand that. Winter driving is not as hard as you think, its all about understanding safe driving conditions and proper following distance with speed.

If you find yourself in cold climate, DO NOT SET YOUR TRAILER BRAKES! Set your Tractor brakes only if you can help it.

I'll tell you about my 1st time every solo real quick. I had just got off my Trainers truck and we have been driving in good weather the whole time with no hazardous conditions at all then I went solo at the end of November and I was given a load that went through US395 from Reno, NV to LA and if you're not familiar with that route, it goes right through Mammoth at about 8,000 ft. A snow storm had moved in and chain laws were in effect for almost the whole entire journey from Reno and all the way past Bishop, CA. I had to learn how to chain up and blew out a tire on the journey but I took it slow and safe and made it. If you were to ask me if I would do it again! Its really not as bad as you would think, just use common sense and you'll do fine.

I'm on hometime right now, so I'm a bit drunk. If this doesn't make sense, blame the BEER! Lol

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

St. Elsewhere's Comment
member avatar

Hey AJ, I'm in the same predicament as you; I wasn't sure if I should start CDL school in early November or wait til February so that by the time I was through, I could get out there by early March when the weather was better. I asked the same question to trucker Allie Knight of YouTube and she started in January, and was glad she did it, cause now the worst was behind her. I'm gonna go the same route; save some money in my current job for the next two months, and start CDL school in November. Plus I don't think I can wait til February anyway, I wanna get out there! Hope you decide the same!

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.
AJ D.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey AJ, I'm in the same predicament as you; I wasn't sure if I should start CDL school in early November or wait til February so that by the time I was through, I could get out there by early March when the weather was better. I asked the same question to trucker Allie Knight of YouTube and she started in January, and was glad she did it, cause now the worst was behind her. I'm gonna go the same route; save some money in my current job for the next two months, and start CDL school in November. Plus I don't think I can wait til February anyway, I wanna get out there! Hope you decide the same!

ST. E ,

Thanks for chiming in.

Are you going the private school route?

It looks like I may beat you out to the road by a bit. I'll let you know how it goes. I think getting rolling in the winter is actually a GOOD ideas now, as you will have an instructor with you.

At the pace I'm starting to move this thing along, I may have the instructor out the door and be on my own by the time the bad weather hits. .... I may need to slow it down just a bit ;)

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.
St. Elsewhere's Comment
member avatar

Yeah Ill definitely be going the private school route. Originally I was going to go to Prime cause it seems like one of the best schools, and tuition is free if you stay with them for a year. But my plan was to go to GTI after my first year, which is the company I really want to work for, but I think it's better just to go straight to the company I want from the get go, even if I have to pay for it myself. Plus, Prime is reefer and I'd rather do dry van. I like GTI (Gordon) cause they're a west coast company and 80% of their freight is west of Ohio, and they don't do New York or the northeast. This past January I drove cross-country in my pickup and there was about a hundred mile stretch on I 70 in Illinois where I witnessed NO LESS than 50 big rigs and 4 wheelers that had slid off the shoulder and the median! Needless to say, myself and every car and semi around me were all white-knuckling it at about 25 mph that hundred miles! I remember saying to myself "I will NEVER do this again!" Well, not only am I going to do it again, but in a big rig as well! I gotta screw loose or what?! :) Yeah definitely let me know how it goes since you'll be slightly ahead of me. But I think being with a trainer in extreme conditions would be a benefit, and by next winter we'll have 9 more months of experience under our belt. What companies are you looking at?

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.

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.

Rolling Thunder's Comment
member avatar
This past January I drove cross-country in my pickup and there was about a hundred mile stretch on I 70 in Illinois where I witnessed NO LESS than 50 big rigs and 4 wheelers that had slid off the shoulder and the median! Needless to say, myself and every car and semi around me were all white-knuckling it at about 25 mph that hundred miles! I remember saying to myself "I will NEVER do this again!" Well, not only am I going to do it again, but in a big rig as well! I gotta screw loose or what?! :)

Imagine being in a big rig and driving through the mini apocalypse! I did it a couple of times going up I57. Definitely ups the pucker factor, that is until you realize why they are off the road. Following too close and driving too fast. I would rather be understandably late than explaining how my truck left the road while hundreds of others rolled on.

smile.gif

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

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