Super Hot Load

Topic 7423 | Page 1

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Old School's Comment
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That was the message on my qualcomm that started the following ordeal.

This is an excerpt from a personal blog that I keep up for my family to stay up to date on my comings and goings. I try to throw in a little information here and there about the industry so that they can learn what it is that I do, and the things I come up against every day. After posting this commentary this morning I thought it had merit and information that might be helpful or informative/entertaining to some of you. So I'm copiyin g and pasting it here for you. Due to the length of it I had to divide it up into two parts.

After waiting about twenty hours in Cressona I finally got the message I had been waiting for from the security guard, who told me my load was ready, and I could come on inside the gate to get my trailer. I mentioned the waiting scenarios we go through in the previous post, but let me elaborate just a little on it in this one. From past experiences, I know at Cressona they will, a lot of times, have issues with deadlines and appointment times. I had an appointment time, and according to my careful calculations I could make my end of the bargain and just be close to having maximized my legal working hours for the day when I arrived there. With that information in mind, I approached this appointment knowing that if they mess up on their end, which is highly likely, then my company will charge them what is known in the trucking industry as “detention pay,” and I will therefore get paid detention pay for my wasted time. Well, as soon as I arrived and dropped my trailer where instructed, I logged onto the sleeper berth with just a few moments left on my legal working hours, and I went to sleep. That way I can start getting my rest for the next time I start rolling, but also now I'm getting paid for sleeping if they can't get my load together!

The procedure at this plant is that the guard takes your phone number and calls you when your load is ready. Well, when I woke up on my own volition and realized I hadn't been contacted yet, I quickly ate some breakfast and then made a brisk walk (it's about five below zero) to the guard shack to check on things, and make sure there hadn't been some kind of mis-communication. Sure enough, as expected, my load was not ready yet, and the guard had not heard a word about it yet.

The funny thing about this load is that my dispatcher had originally told me to just go ahead and start dead heading back to Delhi. He was a little irritated because the person who is supposed to be planning back-haul loads for us just wasn't coming up with much for us, and that person wanted me to sit and wait there in New Hampshire until they could come up with something. My dispatcher expressed his attitude concerning this situation to me like this: “I told them no, Dale told us three days ago exactly what time and day he would be empty, and he did just what he said he would do. I need him back down here in Louisiana, and it is your job to get him here. We are not gonna keep waiting on you to get done the work you should have done three days ago.” I guess somehow that got the guy motivated because he quickly found this “super hot load” for us to pick up in Cressona. When they tell us it is a “hot” load that usually means it is something that the customer really needs quickly, and they are probably paying extra to get it done on time. So much for “super hot” stuff!

I wish you could have seen the e-mail exchange between my dispatcher and myself over whether or not I was going to make it on time with this load. I think he just wanted to make the load planner look bad or something because he seemed to be wanting me to say I couldn't make it by the dead line. He had me confirm three different times in a row that I could make it and get both deliveries done by 1500 on Friday (that's 3 pm) I can do this, even though he is not so sure. I'm already in Tennessee this Thursday morning. I made it to Dandridge, Tennessee last night after driving through the snow storms that were dancing their way through the state of Virginia. I saw a lot of trucks that gave up and pulled over on the side of the interstate to wait it out. That is actually more dangerous in most cases than just pushing through. So many times the cars on the highway upon seeing the tail lights of a parked truck will become disoriented and think they have gotten out of their lane. They then move over to line up with the truck and wham, they have run into the back of a parked truck – I've seen this so many times up in the North East where the truck drivers are struggling to find some where to park anyway. The truck driver leaves his lights on so passing motorists will be aware he's there, and yet it causes confusion for the motorists who are already stressed and straining to get through the storm.

*****CONTINUED*****

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Interstate:

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

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
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I arrived here at about three thirty this morning, and after getting my ten hour break in I will proceed on over to Hendersonville, Tennessee where I will sleep on the customers property tonight after arriving there approximately at 7:30 or 8:00 tonight. Then after they unload their portion of this load on Friday morning I will make a short jaunt over to Mount Juliet to get the remainder of this load emptied out. I will have delivered early and be well on my way back to Delhi before the clock strikes on my 3:00 pm delivery time. Keeping yourself available for the next load is what keeps you at the top of the food chain in this competitive work environment. So many truck drivers don't even have a concept that they are competing for loads with the other drivers at their company, and because of that they are left trying to survive on the crumbs that fall from the table. Are you aware that the trucking industry has a 100% employee turn over rate? The lack of understanding about how to make a successful start, and how to maintain some level of success in this business are the main two reasons for that incredible statistic.

I was very fortunate to get a parking spot in Dandridge. It was the ideal destination for me for last night as far as the mileage was concerned, but I was taking a risk in that the parking is fairly limited at that truck stop. Here's how I calculated the risk: I fully knew it was risky, but being the ideal location for me to stop and still be able to get everything accomplished according to my plan I decided to go for it. I know that many truck drivers start their day out very early, something like three or four in the morning. And because of that there would likely be a few drivers who had parked there much earlier in the day with the design of leaving early for their trip plan just as I had to plan my trip to arrive there early in the morning. I must admit that I was a little nervous as I took exit 417 off of I-40 because immediately I began to see a multitude of trucks parked along the exit ramp (another dangerous practice that you won't find me doing). Now whenever taking a calculated risk on parking like this I will always have a back-up plan in place. My back-up plan was that there is a pretty large Love's truck stop another 12 -15 miles down the road. I had enough time to make it there if needed, and felt for sure there would be enough drivers there who needed to leave early to assure me a spot there if I had to go for it.

I was blessed indeed when I started perusing the parking situation here in Dandridge because there were actually two spots that had just been recently vacated. I could tell they had both just left because of their fresh tire tracks in the snow. It's all good! I've had a nice rest, and I'm up at my computer posting this message just before I get out there in the 4 degrees weather here to try and scrounge up some breakfast. I'm gonna eat out this morning – I've been so cooped up in this truck for the last five or six days of frigid weather that I'm gonna get out, move around and find me a decent little something to eat! As soon as my ten hours clicks off, I'm back on the highway, chasing that long black ribbon to my next destination.

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.
Tracy W.'s Comment
member avatar

Excellent work. You get it when it comes to planning the drive and places to stop. Many drivers never get it and are either screwed when it comes time to stop, or are always out of hours when they should be picking up the next load.

Tracy

Daniel's Comment
member avatar

Excellent work. You get it when it comes to planning the drive and places to stop. Many drivers never get it and are either screwed when it comes time to stop, or are always out of hours when they should be picking up the next load.

Tracy

It sounds like common sense to me (you plan accordingly so when your clock runs out: You have a 'safe' place to rest on the trip), but that may just be my ego talking.

What's a good word of advice regarding how to "plan" start/stops (such as your clock running out, and being 'forced' to pull over to take the mandatory break)? Thanks. :)

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the tips Old School.

Count me as one that starts early and anyone who needs parking @ 4am is welcome to my spot. I hope this doesn't make me scrounging for crumbs, but only a month in and I usually have my next assignment by the time I make a delivery. I'm a dry van driver though and I'm sure that makes things different.

I am glad to hear your advice on off ramps and such. I never want to do that and always wondered if it was safe.

Thanks again and glad you showed us how to get it done.

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.
Mikki 's Comment
member avatar

Good stuff. I plan on being one of those who "get it". As always appreciate your time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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