What Did You Do Before Becoming A Truck Driver?

Topic 7924 | Page 36

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Alli's Comment
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High School! Got my CDL the january after I graduated class of 2016. Until I got my license I was a cashier at a bbq restaurant. I still miss the free food. Now I'm taking online classes in addition to driving to get myself an education.

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.
Chuck S.'s Comment
member avatar

I was a boss in the casinos here in Vegas... my uniform was a suit, I ate in all my meals restaurants, not in the employee dining rooms, hung out with all the big shots, had a corporate credit card, made a crap load of money, and every day thought how nice it would of been if I had just stayed an hourly employee free of all the headaches.

30 plus years it took me to find out I should of never taken that first promotion...

lessons learned

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Buckaroo B.'s Comment
member avatar

Automotive parts and service at a repair center and car dealerships from high school and into college. Last two years of college and for 5 years after graduation I was a print journalist. When the newspaper business started tanking in the early 90's I picked up a CDL and drove OTR for 4 years; 1 year in a team operation pulling 53' vans and 3 years as an O/O for a specialized carrier pulling various flatbed configurations. Left OTR for love and went back to auto parts management. Next, I worked for a small aerospace manufacturing company as production manager and later operations manager. After the big economic meltdown in 2009, I went to work for an aerospace defense contractor as a production supervisor in advanced composites. I worked as production supervisor for a few other companies and burned out being an adult babysitter. Currently gearing up to go back to OTR, hopefully flatbed. I have followed trucking from afar over the years. A lot has changed and a lot has remained the same. I had Qualcomm in my trucks in old days but used paper logs. The Internet was in its infancy and mobile phones were expensive and all minutes cost money- peak and off peak rates and the roaming charges would bankrupt you. The mobile phones in those days were analog voice only phones and I had the Motorola brick phone:) I never thought Class 8 tractors would move to automatic transmissions. Times change and so have transmissions. All the double clutching and RPM matching for slip shifting wasted:) But, it seems like the trucks are much better equipped with creature comforts than before. APUs were something you dreamed of and now they are coming as standard equipment as are real refrigerators, not crappy thermoelectric coolers using the Peltier effect. Some of my best life stories came from my days driving OTR. The places I went and the weather conditions I encountered. Driving team was the most interesting. The time on I-80 in Wyoming in a blizzard was a memorable one. I was sleeping in the bunk and suddenly I was being tossed around. Then there was daylight and cold air coming in the sleeper birth from an unusual place- the corner of the roof. When I opened the privacy curtain all was revealed. The trailer had come around and kissed the sleeper and we were in 4 feet of snow in the median. Two hours later, a tow truck, some duct tape and cardboard and we were on our way! Hauling 6K lbs of empty plastic bottles in 53' van across Wyoming on snow and ice covered roads in the dead of winter was not ideal and the 30+ MPH cross wind had its way with my co-driver. Lesson learned at his expense:) Then there was the visit to the Grapevine runaway truck ramp on I-5 in CA. 60MPH to 0 in 150 yards at 78K lbs GVW. Lesson learned: recap tires and poor trailer maintenance are a bad combination. I'm looking forward to returning to OTR driving. A little older and a lot wiser!

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.

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.

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.

Double Clutching:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APUs:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Conrad H.'s Comment
member avatar

I am Air Force retiree (1981 - 2001) and currently a DoD Civil Servant for the past 18 years; and looking at retiring from the Federal Government. At 56 years old, I consider myself too young to retire. Plus I like to work. But, I can’t see myself continuing to sit behind a desk pushing paper for another 10 to 15 years. I have always been thought about becoming a truck driver. (I know others who became truck drivers and, even though hectic at times, they have found driving an enjoyable life-long experience. So I know what I am getting myself into. I now just need to get the wifey to warm up to my decision. 😬) I just registered on the “Trucktruth” website to start preparing to at least getting the pre-requisites steps done before truck driver training. (I am working on identifying a truck driving training program near Martinsburg, WV. Found a couple options and just now need to make some calls before deciding on a school.)

Angela H.'s Comment
member avatar

I was a stay at home mom for 15 years then I started going through a divorce. I got a job at a TA (I was a lot lizard... just kidding but funny when I say that to people and their expressions are like WHAT?!?) I was a service writer. Y'all know... the people who get blamed because your truck blew a tire 50 miles before you ever got to us lol. Anyway I worked grave yard shift and it was usually slow. Most nights I would sit in the doorway and watch trucks come and go and always wonder where they had been and where they were going... so I decided to become a driver and find out!

Bingo's Comment
member avatar

Sooo many varied jobs. But in the year leading up to getting my CDL , I worked for a door factory (boring as hell and payed very little), a foundation repair and waterproofing company, and then driving seed trucks for my brother-in-law's farm while I waited for school to start.

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.
Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

Angela H said: " I got a job at a TA (I was a lot lizard... just kidding but funny when I say that to people and their expressions are like WHAT?!?) "

Angela, now THAT was funny! Thanks for the good laugh!

Mathieu C.'s Comment
member avatar

I did a loooooot of things (small precision for those who don't know i'm french): -warehouseman -painter -mover - a lot of small jobs (sometimes half-day or sometimes full day contracts from 20 to 27 years old) -paramedic (from 27 to 28 years old and from 35 to 39 years old) -school transportation for children and teenagers with disabilities (my longest professional experience from 28 to 35) during the last 10 years i drove nearly 70'000 miles (100'000km) each year I went for professional reason in :Paris Bordeaux Grenoble Tours Blois Orleans Poitiers Nantes etc...(6 days a week paid only 800 € each month) France is a nice and big country but too small for me. If there's something which can describe me it's: the need for driving today i'm 39 and i need a full-time job until i'll retire and i think i can do that while i realise a common dream i have with my father (he drove a truck during 35years): to drive an eighteen wheeler in USA.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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