Does It Ever Get Any Easier For A Rookie In Trucking??

Topic 6415 | Page 1

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Ladybug 's Comment
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They told me I'm ready but I don't think I'm ready, I don't feel ready. My OTR instructor got mad a couple of times because I was going too slow (I don't speed, not even in my car) or I will slow down before the curves, he wasn't really happy about it. I have to work on my backing. I asked them about the mentor program but they don't have any females mentor and the male don't want to mentor a girl, they said I need to have more confidence on myself and to stop being so hard on myself. I really want to do a good job, I will hate to screw up, they want me to start solo next week... I'm excite, nervous...too many mix feelings... How do you know if you are ready??? Does it get any easier?

Thanks....

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.

Pat M.'s Comment
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You will never feel that you are ready but if they say that you are, you have to have faith and believe them. As for your speed, NEVER let anyone take you out of your comfort zone. Don't worry about the people behind you. The only thing I can say negative about that is you need to be aware what is ahead of you and that is what is taught but you also need to be aware that you are not causing an issue behind you either. I say if you are doing the speed limit then screw them. If they wanted to be ahead of you, they should have gotten up earlier.

You have been trained and have not hit anything so now it is time to leave the nest and fly on your own. You got this.

Jopa's Comment
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Ladybug, you are asking a tough question that only you can answer. Normally I am prone to flippant answers and I try to be humorous but this deserves a serious answer. First, answer a few questions - in your own mind.

Are you generally confident in your ability to accomplish tasks you set before yourself? Do you tend to solve your own problems, extract yourself from "situations," or is your first impulse to look around for help? Help is not a bad thing but there is not always a "savior" available when the going gets rough.

Does it get easier? In a word, yes. But only if you are willing to assume ALL responsibility for your decisions. Slowing down in curves, being conservative about road speed, these are GOOD things not bad. Do you do so to be safe or because you are too timid? The main attribute you want to develop is confidence: confidence in your ability to control the truck & trailer, confidence to make quick decisions, confidence to make a slight fool of yourself in front of others. The skill will come with time and experience but the problem solving (and there will be LOTS of problems) has to be part of your instinct.

Continue to be conservative. Do not let peer pressure (like other truck drivers on the road) cause you to make decisions against your better judgement. That is a BIG piece of iron you are wheeling around and even small mistakes can have very surprising and expensive consequences. Take your time to make sure you are in control and are willing to make the next move as if you know what you are doing. Safety is - of course - your first priority. Looking good while doing what you do is you LAST priority. It is really good to accept tips and assistance as you learn but treat those things as optional and worthwhile but not essential.

In other words, keep control over the situation so you always feel you will be able to figure it out and not have to rely on others. Good advice is good and people will share techniques and shortcuts as you develop your skill level. But don't ever let yourself get into a situation where you feel YOU cannot get yourself out of it. Admit to yourself and to your dispatcher when a task is being asked of you that exceeds your current skill level. Don't feel obligated to perform something you have no confidence that you will be successful at. You know, don't give into "peer" pressure in any form.

Lots of people (including myself) have gone through the very thing you are embarking on. They did it and so will you. The main thing is to look back at each milestone and appreciate the skills you are developing. Celebrate the small victories and before you know it you will be doing many things you thought difficult before with ease. Take you time, and HAVE FUN!!

Jopa

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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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rolling Thunder's Comment
member avatar

Yes, it absolutely gets easier. Like the two above said, go at your own pace. As you learn and develop skills, your pace will become faster. My trainer didn`t like how cautious I was when going around tight corners and when driving in a yard or truck stop. He said I was going too slow. My response? (respectfully) This is my way of learning.

Old School's Comment
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I'm excited, nervous...too many mix feelings... How do you know if you are ready??? Does it get any easier?

Ladybug, I don't think any of us were really "ready" when we got handed that first set of keys to a big rig. I think back about when I first got started, and it's a miracle I didn't have any more problems than I did have. We talk a lot in here about just how tough it is to get this career started, and yet most people don't really get it. I'm glad to hear you have some apprehensions, but I'm also glad to hear that those who have been actually observing you are confident that you are ready for this.

I tell people all the time that your real "training" is that first year of running solo - that is when I got the hang of all this stuff. It is a steep learning curve, and that first year will challenge you and stretch the boundaries of your comfort zone way beyond what you ever dreamed possible. That is all normal in getting this career underway.

Here's the main thing you want to concentrate on at the beginning - "Don't hit anything". Let that be your mantra. Don't worry so much about all the other stuff that seems important, like being efficient and on time, concentrate on being safe and not tearing anything up. You are going to get lost, you are going to make a wrong turn and get yourself in a bind, but as long as you can recover safely, then all is well. They know you are a beginner, and they will actually be expecting you to mess up a little bit. Normally they will take it a little easy on the rookies until they start getting better at their efficiency. You are not going to get rich during your first year, but if you are safe then that means a lot to your future in this career.

Hold your head high, trust your good judgement, and take it slow and easy. When you can, plan your day out so that you start early - that way you can end early in the day and it will be a whole lot easier to find easier parking. This is important as a beginner. You don't want to be stopping your day at ten o'clock at night and having to try to back into the few really difficult parking spots that are only left because others had the good sense not to take them. If you can start very early in the mornings and quit around 2 or 3 in the afternoon that will help you considerably.

Best of luck to ya! Keep us posted. We love to hear from all of you guys and gals out there just busting into this great and rewarding, yet extremely challenging job we call "trucking".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

All of those answers are completely and utterly correct. I just want to add something to your backing concerns. Yes it will get easier! Each time you back will be different, but you'll learn a little more each time. Just remember a few things: first TURN OFF YOUR CB! The last thing your confidence needs at this point is listening to a bunch of super truckers mouth off on the radio. So just turn it off and you won't have go deal with it. Second: GOAL as many times as you have to. Remember this isn't your cdl test, so you can get out as many times as you like. Also use as many pull ups as you need. The idea is to put that trailer in its spot without hitting anything so go slow and do what you have to do. Just take the advice you've gotten here and from your trainer and you'll do fine!. Good luck to you! Stay safe

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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