Taking Brett's Advice And Talking To Drivers At Truck Stops For Info

Topic 829 | Page 1

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Tim L.'s Comment
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Sunday, I think I will drive into San Antonio to one of the big truck stops like Petro, TA or Flying J on I-10. I am going to take Brett's advice and talk to drivers that work for the companies I will likely have the best chance of working for. I don't want to be a pest. Where would be the best place to approach the drivers to ask them questions? A best time?

Daniel B.'s Comment
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Talk to them while they're fueling. Fueling can take me 15 minutes sometimes because I have 4 tanks to fill up and I honestly would love a chat while I'm waiting for it. Obviously, if they seem like they're in a super rush then leave them alone but most drivers are very relaxed and slow paced when fueling.

Tim L.'s Comment
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Talk to them while they're fueling. Fueling can take me 15 minutes sometimes because I have 4 tanks to fill up and I honestly would love a chat while I'm waiting for it. Obviously, if they seem like they're in a super rush then leave them alone but most drivers are very relaxed and slow paced when fueling.

Are drivers willing to chat while waiting in line to fuel, or just while actually filling their tanks?

Daniel B.'s Comment
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If they are waiting in line then I don't think it would be comfortable to talk. First, they probably wouldn't hear you if their truck is on or if their reefer is running. If they are in line then its usually the busy parts of the day. When I'm waiting I'm usually doing something else, whether its on my Qualcomm or studying my route.

I'd definitely aim to talk to them whe they're fueling not while they're in line.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Yap, I agree. When they're fueling is a great time. Also, you can stand near the entrance and catch drivers as they're walking into the truck stop. They might be in a bit of a hurry so they may not be able to talk for more than a minute or two, but that's all you need.

Drivers ask other drivers all the time how they like working where they're at. It's very common. So nobody is going to think anything of it.

All you have to say is "Hey, you like working for [company name]? I was thinking about trying to get on with them. Do they keep you rollin pretty good?" Simple as that. You might ask how many miles they average a week, how well they take care of the equipment, and how well the company does getting you home when it's time. Those are about the most common questions drivers ask about other companies.

And make sure you get several different opinions on each company of course.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Tim L.'s Comment
member avatar

I just returned from San Antonio where I spent two hours at the Flying J TS on the east side on I-10. I took the advice from the previous posts and talked to drivers while they were fueling. I was a little disappointed in one regard. I was able to speak with only one driver working for one of the big carriers that hire newbie truckers. He was from CRST. You guys were right. They were very willing to chat while fueling. In fact, the CRST driver in particular. Every time I told him thanks and that I would let him get finished with what he was doing, he just kept on and on, lol. Very nice fellow. Now CRST is one company that seems to catch their share of the grief on Truckers Report. When I asked this fella how he liked the company, it was almost like he puffed out his chest and said, "been with them for 8 years". He started out with the same issues that all new drivers face, but he is now an O/O and making very good pay. He just paid off his Cascadia. He said basically the same things Brett, Starcar, and the others have said here. He asked about my health, and I told him I had some moderate hearing loss. He said his hearing loss was probably worse than mine, lol.

The most unhappy driver I spoke with was from a small company out of CA. He had only been with them one week and was ready to quit. He said the company was in financial trouble, and his equipment was not properly maintained and safe as it should be. Another driver complained about not being paid enough not getting miles, but lo and behold, his personality as we spoke shown itself very clearly...a loudmouth whiner. I wanted to get away from him quickly.

I was wanting to speak with a Con-way Truckload driver more than any other, because I like what I have seen about them so far. Sadly, a Con-way truck was just leaving the fuel area as I drove up. I saw bunches of tankers, hoppers and flatbeds, mostly hauling for the oil field, as the Eagle Ford Shale is close to the east side of San Antonio.

I watched a lot of drivers go through the paces while fueling, and even though I did not get to talk to more of the drivers from companies that would likely hire me, I still learned a a good bit just hanging out.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Tim, I had a friend who drove for Conway, he's not a driver anymore as he moved into a management position with Conway, but he always spoke highly of his experiences as a driver at Conway. It is a very successful company, and I don't think you'd go wrong with them in your bag of possible choices of employers.

Tim L.'s Comment
member avatar

Tim, I had a friend who drove for Conway, he's not a driver anymore as he moved into a management position with Conway, but he always spoke highly of his experiences as a driver at Conway. It is a very successful company, and I don't think you'd go wrong with them in your bag of possible choices of employers.

Thanks for that, Old School. Even on the Truckers Report, there is a lot of positive info on Con-way, although I take most info over there in the forum with caution. Tomorrow, I am going to call a Con-way recruiter and speak with them to find out what I need to do to get hired with them as far as CDL-A training and endorsements. As of now at least, they are one of my top choices, of course subject to change at this early stage. I like that they should be able to get me to Laredo without much problem where they have a terminal. I have family nearby both here in Uvalde and in Corpus Christi. I won't need to see them often, but I will be keeping my address in Uvalde.

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

TMan's Comment
member avatar

Tim, I am in the middle of CDL training now and have done considerable research on companies. My next door neighbor drove for Conway and loved it. He has since taken a management position with a different company. I am focused on flatbed otherwise (for what its worth) Conway would have my attention.

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.
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