Re-newed Trucker Starting Again - Its Changed A Bit Out There!

Topic 74 | Page 1

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William C.'s Comment
member avatar

Greetings all,

New to the forum but have been reading for a couple of months. Enjoyable and very educational, as I just went through CDL School here in Florida (National) and now have my CDL Class A and Hazmat and Tanker Endorsements. I used to drive for a couple of years in the mid 70's and then have had office jobs primarily since then. Put myself thru college in the 80's and a series of tech layoffs and here I am. Some students in the school didnt understand why I was driving again, but for me it was to make some money again and stop collecting unemployment. Tech skills are nice but the job market is tight and being my age didnt help much. So fast forward to today and Im putting my head around this new challenge. This has been a bit of a work culture shock for me but I need to make some money and I do like to drive. I have little OTR exp from the 70's driving from Florida to Michigan for an O/O.. but it was a long time ago. I drove mostly Florida runs back then.

Today my priorities are home time, money is important too, but being gone weeks at a time is not appealing to me anymore. From what I can tell all decent regional positions here in North Florida seem to require some type of recent experience to land. Im going to a company in central florida next week to go thru orientation to drive OTR tanker. They are telling me I will be out 7-10 days and home some weekends. Time will tell.

Look forward to keeping up with the forum and learning from those that have been down the road and hopefully I will be able to add a newbie chapter along the way!

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hey, welcome aboard!

Are you gonna be hauling food grade tanker? I pulled food grade for a year one time and it was a fantastic job - really unique form of trucking. I wouldn't pull a chemical tanker myself - don't want to be in chemical plants all the time hauling dangerous stuff. Especially considering the fact that hauling orange juice pays the same (or better) than hauling gasoline or hydrochloric acid.

But yeah, things have changed quite a bit since the 70's. The most profound difference really is the equipment - the trucks themselves and the technology we have for communicating and navigating. The nature of the job and the industry itself haven't changed as much as the equipment and technology has.

William C.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey, welcome aboard!

Are you gonna be hauling food grade tanker? I pulled food grade for a year one time and it was a fantastic job - really unique form of trucking. I wouldn't pull a chemical tanker myself - don't want to be in chemical plants all the time hauling dangerous stuff. Especially considering the fact that hauling orange juice pays the same (or better) than hauling gasoline or hydrochloric acid.

But yeah, things have changed quite a bit since the 70's. The most profound difference really is the equipment - the trucks themselves and the technology we have for communicating and navigating. The nature of the job and the industry itself haven't changed as much as the equipment and technology has.

The company says "general chemical" transport.... I know they don't pull gas stuff, but not sure on the other yet. I have already done a road test with the company and go for the orientation next week. There is a company in Florida, Indian River that I would have loved to have started with but I needed at least 1 year OTR , so, I think this company will be a great starting point and then I will have more options later ;-) I suspect this is where they start new drivers to see if they can cut it, so , it should be interesting,,,, I figure if I can handle this.... ;-)

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I figure if I can handle this....

Oh I'm sure you'll handle it just fine. The chemical tankers have baffles in them so that helps keep the liquid from sloshing around as violently. Food grade does not have any baffles so it's 48,000 pounds of liquid with nothing keeping it from moving around - a giant thermos bottle.

It can get really hairy at times, like hitting the off-ramps on icy roads in the winter. It's critical to get it slowed down and get the speed stabilized where it needs to be before entering any sort of curves or turns. Once you're in the turn, you hit the brakes or steer a little too hard and you're gonna be in big trouble. Actually, anytime you have to hit the brakes hard it's going to slosh forward in a big way. You hit the brakes hard, you hold your breath for 3 seconds cuz you know what's coming, and BAM - it rocks the entire truck like you got hit from behind by another rig. I've had it knock my hat clear across the cab and clear everything off my shelves.

So you definitely have some challenges that lie ahead with a tanker. Shifting is a real chore too with the liquid sloshing around - you'll see what I mean. But I really loved it. It's like anything else - you have a handful of critical things you have to be aware of and take care of properly. If you do, things will work out just great.

Baffle:

A partition or separator within a liquid tank, used to inhibit the flow of fluids within the tank. During acceleration, turning, and braking, a large liquid-filled tank may produce unexpected forces on the vehicle due to the inertia of liquids.
William C.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Hey, welcome aboard!

Are you gonna be hauling food grade tanker? I pulled food grade for a year one time and it was a fantastic job - really unique form of trucking. I wouldn't pull a chemical tanker myself - don't want to be in chemical plants all the time hauling dangerous stuff. Especially considering the fact that hauling orange juice pays the same (or better) than hauling gasoline or hydrochloric acid.

But yeah, things have changed quite a bit since the 70's. The most profound difference really is the equipment - the trucks themselves and the technology we have for communicating and navigating. The nature of the job and the industry itself haven't changed as much as the equipment and technology has.

double-quotes-end.png

The company says "general chemical" transport.... I know they don't pull gas stuff, but not sure on the other yet. I have already done a road test with the company and go for the orientation next week. There is a company in Florida, Indian River that I would have loved to have started with but I needed at least 1 year OTR , so, I think this company will be a great starting point and then I will have more options later ;-) I suspect this is where they start new drivers to see if they can cut it, so , it should be interesting,,,, I figure if I can handle this.... ;-)

It looks like the truck I will be driving will be a Freightliner with an automatic, so that will take some of the stress out of driving the tanker. I go next Tuesday to finish orientation ;-)

PS.. and all that work I put in at driving school to learn to double clutch again lol!

Bill

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.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

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