Hi There, Would Like Some Advice? Im New At ALL Of This.

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Mariah F.'s Comment
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So for the last couple weeks I've been thinking about truckin. Now I'm determined to do it and that I can do it. I started the cdl practice tests on here, and I'm doing really good on them, although I know its not hard to read material and answer questions correctly. Also, while I'm determined, there is a lot I just don't know about trucks and driving, which I'm not ashamed to admit.

This might turn out to be a long post, if it is I'm sorry.

How much about trucks themselves do I have to actually know? Will the school(s) teach me everything? In the practice tests when it comes to doing daily checkups on your rig, I can remember the answer but that doesn't make me a mechanic. How am I going to be a trucker if i don't know when something might be wrong with my rig?

I'll be 21 on March 26th. Old enough to do it. Is it possible to take my classes, ect, and get my cdl once I'm old enough? For instance, I'll apply and everything, take the classes, pass hopefully, and then on my birthday get my cdl so I can start right out of the gate instead of taking until may to be training with someone. Hope that makes sense. Is it possible? Will a school take you when you will be old enough right around graduation?

Now I am a woman. Naturally, to me any who, I'm curious about how to protect myself. Would a gun be possible? If so how would all that play out? If not then what do I do? Stock up on pepper spray?

I'm also married. We do not have children. We have talked about this together of course. He can do it, be a truckers husband, even if being away from each other could last for weeks. What would your advice be on home relationships?

Which brings me to a closing question, for now at least. I am having some trouble understanding the real basics of trucking. (More often than not i ace the hard stuff and struggle with understanding the simplest things) how do hours work? Explain it for dummies haha. So you get 70 hours to fill your logs per week. And 10.99 hours something, 34 hour resets why? How does working for 7 days to get your 24 home hours fit in? What happens if your on the wrong side of the country when home time comes? Sorry I'm so troublesome haha.

Like I said, I'm new to this, but for the first time, I feel like I can do this. Like I want to do this, I can. I haven't been this confident in a while. I want to start as an otr. I can't afford private schools so I'll aim for company sponsored.

I know that even before I start I have to work for respect in this industry. Another reason I'm sorry this post is so long and that I know so little. Any advice, even if just on one of my rookie questions, will be tremendously appreciated.

Thank you. P.s. I've been on this site for 3 days straight. Husband says I'll go crazy pushing so hard haha. Good miles to all.

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.

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.
Scott O.'s Comment
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1.) You don't need to know that much about trucks.... The pre and post trip inspections are for your and others safety out on the road... It means you will be checking for the same problems day in and day out and you will learn what to look for.....

2.) Since you have to do a company sponsored program you will have to wait till you are 21 in order to drive to different states...

3.) Its illegal to carry a gun in a truck... As for protection you can get a mean dog or a bat.... But for the most part just park in well lit areas and as close to the truck stop as possible...

4.) You both have to really and I mean really want this... If you go otr you will most likely be out for at least a month and home for 3 to 4 days at a time....

5.) You can work for 14 hours in a day but only drive for 11 hours of that 14 then you would take a 10 hour break and you have 70 hours for 8 days then you would take a 34 hour reset to get those 70 hours back.... I know it seems like a lot but it will all come together once you start your career...

Hope this helped

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Mariah F.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you so much Scott. I know I probably asked a lot of silly questions but your advice makes me feel better about choosing this as a career.

Thank you so much :3

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.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

3 - not illegal from a LEGAL STANDPOINT (as in - no actual laws forbidding them) - but they are against pretty much every trucking company and every shipper/receiver's rules. So they might as well be illegal.

The other suggestions Scott made are quite valid. MEAN dogs are usually BIG DOGS - and most companies have a "max weight" limitation on pets. So the 120 Lb Rottweiler is out.

Laws on Pepper Spray tend to vary from state to state also (how big, where/how you can carry it). Similarly - a defensive weapon can only be effective if you CARRY IT ALL THE TIME. So you're not going to be walking around a truckstop with a bat in your hand all the time either.

Due diligence, situational awareness, and developing safe practices (parking close, well lit areas, etc.) and you'll be OK. This applies to men also.

Do your research - this site is one of the best. We also have a bunch of Trucking Blogs, and I really like the CDL Training Diaries here, as they give a "blow-by-blow/day-to-day" view of the experience of members going through the initial phases of getting into the industry.

Best of luck - keep us posted.

Rick

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.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Indy's Comment
member avatar

3.) Its illegal to carry a gun in a truck...

It's not as simple as that, as far as I can tell. In many places, it seems that it is perfectly legal to have a gun in your truck. In some places, it is only legal to have a gun in your truck if it is stored away properly. There may be some places where it is outright illegal to have one, under any circumstances, but I'm not sure about that yet. Then, there is company policy... some companies will not allow a gun in your truck, some don't. It's likely that many truckers do have a gun in there truck...

Indy's Comment
member avatar

Sorry for the redundancy ... didn't see Rick's post before I posted mine.

Scott O.'s Comment
member avatar

Just cuz you have a permit in one state don't make it legal in all states correct? I mean don't you have to register it if you move to another state.... If that's the case you would have to have a permit in all 48 states just to be legal.... I didn't mention the company rules because it will be made clear when this person starts working for a company and then there's shippers and receivers as well a lot of them don't allow weapons on their property and just because you have it locked up in a box your still breaking the rules

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

Laws regarding firearms can be tricky. As far as a carry permit goes, you have to learn which states show reciprocity and which don't. New York for one, fuhgeddaboutit. Get caught and you're done so don't even bother with it. Some of it comes down to officers discretion, you might have an officer who doesn't mind it in a holster next to the seat, another might prefer it to be in a case etc etc etc. Then you have the fact that companies have a zero tolerance policy and just don't allow it. The company policy is the one to look at first and is most important in my book because if you got caught and fired for it, I can imagine it would be pretty tough to get another job.

Indy's Comment
member avatar

As I understand it, when travelling thru a state that does not recognize your state's permit, you can have the gun in your truck, but it must be unloaded and locked up in a place that is not easily accessible.

Indy's Comment
member avatar

I don't know the current status of Mike's law, but I hope it gets enacted.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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