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ButtonUp's Comment
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Hello everyone! Been a while since I've checked in to ye olde site here. I am glad to see the site is as spry as ever, but I am sure it's only going to grow as time goes on.

I just hit my 2 year anniversary with the company, and if you add in the few months in-between getting my CDL and driving for someone else, that makes it almost 28 months.

As most of you know, you have a lot of time to think when churning out the miles. I often think about Trucking Truth, the friends I've made here, and what I would post on a blog, but the simple truth is that when I am not driving I am doing other stuff or resting, and I just haven't made the time.

Looks like I will net about what I grossed last year. About what I'd hoped for. Only 28 more years to retirement! (Think I can keep it up until I am 70?) Just got my 2-yr medical card renewed. Had a little scare with the blood pressure, but if I could just get myself to walk more and control my diet I don't think that will be an issue.

I started out with an International day cab , which unfortunately met an early retirement when I drove an empty trailer through a tornado. I then got a Columbia. I didn't like it at first, but I have to say it is probably my favorite truck now as I drove it a year and a half, and could get around pretty good in it, as well as having a place for everything, good visibility, etc., Well, they sold it and now I've got a Kenworth T660. A full size OTR truck. How in the world I am going to get in and out of some of the places they send me in this huge truck... well, it's a mystery, but I guess I'll get used to it in time.

Anyway, I've asked myself what could I offer to the newer drivers on here. For what it's worth, here's what I came up with. I think back to the things I was told as a new driver, and how those things compare to the reality of the time I've been driving.

1) "Do you see the other trucks sliding off the road?" You can't always gauge how safe you are driving by looking at the other trucks. For one thing, there's not always another truck to reference. Yes, if you see trucks in the ditch, then definitely think about what you're doing and be cautious, but just because the other trucks aren't going off the road doesn't mean you won't. There's weren't any other trucks in the ditch when I ended up there. Use your common sense and drive the way you know is safe. Once you find yourself pushing the envelope, sometimes it's hard to hold back before it's too late.

2) "A truck is a truck." Ummm, no. All trucks are not the same. Even though the basics of shifting remain the same, they don't all shift the same as certain gears may require a little more attention depending on the gearing, and previous abuse from other drivers and the like. Don't get discouraged if suddenly you feel like a student again. You are a student again, learning a new truck. The steering could be more or less sensitive, causing over correction when backing. I've been in some trucks that were very particular about how they wanted to be shifted, and others that I couldn't believe how smoothly it went. So a little learning curve in a new truck is perfectly normal, don't get discouraged! I also want to share something as regards shifting. In school, they taught us clutch-out of gear-in to gear- clutch. Downshifting was clutch-out of gear-accelerator-in to gear-clutch. It was awkward. No one, including my CDL Tester, or anyone other than the instructors at the school, had ever heard of doing it that way. In theory, I guess it can work, but it's very awkward and I don't know anyone that actually does it that way. I struggled with shifting for some time, until my second trainer said lookit, and put his hand on mine when I was about to shift. I gave him a stern look at that point, but he said to trust him, and then he showed me how smoothly one can float to the next gear. Why on earth I had been taught to go by the rpms and grind so many gears before, I don' t know. There's a delay between the engine revving and the rpm gauge responding. Also, different engine types raise and lower rpm's at a different rate. For instance, if I am not mistaken, I remember the DD15 was slow, and the International Maxxforce were quick. The Mercedes and Cummins seem to be somewhere in the middle. How fast those rpm's raise and lower is another factor in the shifting, as well as your weight, and if you're going up or down hill. Don't be discouraged if you are struggling, you will get used to it in time. We have all had bad days, but in time they become fewer as your experience grows. Make your trainer let you do backing! As a new student, you probably aren't going to feel like it, but do it, because you'll have to back a LOT when you don't feel like it. And, in time, it will just "click." That doesn't mean you are always going to be perfectly set up or get in there without some corrections, but it does mean that your heart-rate will remain mostly normal and you'll have the confidence to know you can get it in there without hitting anything. As long as you can do that, what's the problem?

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.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
ButtonUp's Comment
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3) "I thought you wanted to be a real trucker!" Well, let me tell ya, if you start nodding off, fighting fatigue, becoming unsafe (and let's be honest, WE KNOW when we're pushing our limits), pull into the nearest rest area or wherever you can safely park, and take a 15-20 minute nap. I used to drive nights only as a student, and it didn't matter how much sleep I'd have, about 3-4 in the morning I would start fighting sleep. Stopping at a trucks stop, walking around, getting coffee and energy drinks, didn't matter... as soon as I got back on the road... it would start again. Stopping to take a 15 minute nap worked EVERY time. I may still feel kinda tired, but I wasn't fighting to keep my eyes open. Something I am not proud of, I will admit to you all, the Mobile Eye probably saved my life and the life of my passengers on at least 3 occasions. If you are over the road , or a student, as annoying as it is, the Mobile Eye can be a life saver. I don't have that problem anymore as have a "normal" workday and rarely get fatigued when driving, but if I do, I stop and take a short nap. Better safe than sorry.

Over The Road:

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.
ButtonUp's Comment
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Anyway, it's not much, but there it is for what it's worth. Seems like I had more to say but I've had a long day and need to take a break.

One thing I will add, I am thankful every day that I found this website and pursued trucking as a career. As long as I can keep my health up, I believe I am in for a long haul of enjoying my job. Sure, there are days that stink. But they are few compared to the fulfilling ones.

Thanks everyone!

Daniel B.'s Comment
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Great to hear from you again sir! You should stop on by more often. We need posts like that! smile.gif

ButtonUp's Comment
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Great to hear from you again sir! You should stop on by more often. We need posts like that! smile.gif

Thanks, man!

I just realized you have a photo button there. I guess you add photos via messages? I have been putting links on my bio, but I am going to try to use this reply to add them to the photos section.

Eventually, I hope to better convey the enthusiasm I get from driving. I will try to visit more. There's a lot of repeat questions, but that's to be expected, and the moderators here do an awesome job giving attention to everyone who deserves it. I hope to be able to contribute something unique occasionally.

484374_3611171003234_630064383_n.jpg10440937_10202771561395446_89165154332151653348_10203493079272942_39940172770170

ButtonUp's Comment
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Well I still don't see a photos button under my name... I need to look around the site more apparently.

ButtonUp's Comment
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301316_3978551067506_1910939113_n.jpg?oh

ButtonUp's Comment
member avatar

Ok, well I don't see an option for adding photos to the photos section. I might be too tired, but I feel like I looked pretty thoroughly.

Help?

Thanks in advance!

ButtonUp's Comment
member avatar

Ok, I figured it out!

Now if I could only edit this thread to shorten it some...

ButtonUp's Comment
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One thing I forgot to mention, I just mailed off my final payment to CR England for my training. There's a lot of horror stories in regard to their tuition loan, and I will admit I missed some months. But, I stayed in contact with them and they were very understanding and didn't charge me a lot of fees or anything. I asked for a final statement showing my loan was paid. If I don't get it I will let you know! Otherwise, the fact I made an effort to pay them what I owed went a long way. I am sure they could have charged me a lot of fees that they didn't.

The only issue I have with CR England is that when I got done with my training they made me sign something saying that I was no longer an employee of CR England. At that point I rode with a lease operator as his second seat. He paid me directly. I worked for him. After I left the company, and got a copy of my DAK report, it says I was a no call no show. I am not sure how that's possible considering I was not their employee... but I haven't pursued action to have it removed, so I don't know how difficult that may be.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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