Day One As A Rookie Company Driver

Topic 9396 | Page 1

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Matt S.'s Comment
member avatar

Day one as a rookie company driver for Trans Am trucking has come to a close. This day has been one of many ups and downs. The day began with a broken trailer assigned to me. I got coupled to the trailer only to find out that I was unable to raise the landing gear and this was in Kansas heat. So okay, I shrugged my shoulders and sent a message requesting my new trailer and another message to break down to have it repaired. The trucking gods were with me because I only had to drive a short 89 miles today to drop off my empty trailer to be loaded. I successfully made it to the shipper and slid my tandems back like a good boy only to be unable to uncouple the trailer once I dropped it off in the designated space for empty trailers. A Good Samaritan from Tyson Foods came over to give me a few suggestions and we got it on hitched. Then I went ahead and bobtailed to the nearest Flying J truck stop and shut down for the day. After a nap, I discovered that none of my bunk lights are operational even though when I checked the truck out yesterday, all of the lights worked. In light of this, I sent another breakdown message and I learned that I won't be able to get the lights repaired until Monday. Despite these relatively little things, I absolutely love driving down Kansas 35 and taking in the scenery and beautiful blue skies. I am thanking my lucky stars for the friends that I've made in school and at other companies who help to keep me sane and keep my reactions measured. My advice to any new driver is to make use of your cell phone keep in contact with your friends. Oh and I forgot to mention that I left the yard without my king pin lock. So it looks like I will have to purchase one from a truck stop. It is not sanctioned by transam but I have to adapt and overcome.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Congrats on surviving your first day Matt!

What's interesting about this story is that it shows you how challenging an ordinary day is in the life of a trucker. It's a long series of obstacles to overcome and situations you simply have to make the best of. Nothing ever seems quite perfect out there. Your truck will always need a thing or two worked on, the weather & traffic never cooperate for long, the schedules are tight, you're always missing your home & friends, and a million other things. The days are very, very long and most of the time you'll be so exhausted you'll hardly remember going to bed.

Overcoming the challenges and keeping that freight moving safely and efficiently is what makes trucking so rewarding. No two days are ever alike and trucking is almost never easy. You've gotta stay on your toes and keep working hard to get the job done out there. That's what it's all about.

Good luck on day two!

smile.gif

Matt S.'s Comment
member avatar

Well day two has started out very interesting so far. Unfortunately, I have met with partial cab electrical failure. My inverter and APU have also failed completely. At least the tractor diesel starts and on board gauges work and all exterior lights. My DM , Road Assist, and the Load Planners have decided that I'm broke down so another driver just got a sweet 1000 mile run. I'm still at this truck stop at Emporia, KS awaiting further instructions.

On the flip side, this job is teaching me so much about life. One concept that I always struggle with is not being able to accept the things that I cannot change. I have always been something of a control freak. With a smile on my face, I am finally learning to just not need to control the situation. I am also learning to deal with setbacks with patience and understanding. This is something I have never really been able to do previously. Based on what I have learned alone, I think everybody should spend time as a truck driver once in their lives. This experience is helping me to grow as a person.

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.

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.

Matt S.'s Comment
member avatar

Congrats on surviving your first day Matt!

What's interesting about this story is that it shows you how challenging an ordinary day is in the life of a trucker. It's a long series of obstacles to overcome and situations you simply have to make the best of. Nothing ever seems quite perfect out there. Your truck will always need a thing or two worked on, the weather & traffic never cooperate for long, the schedules are tight, you're always missing your home & friends, and a million other things. The days are very, very long and most of the time you'll be so exhausted you'll hardly remember going to bed.

Overcoming the challenges and keeping that freight moving safely and efficiently is what makes trucking so rewarding. No two days are ever alike and trucking is almost never easy. You've gotta stay on your toes and keep working hard to get the job done out there. That's what it's all about.

Good luck on day two!

smile.gif

Thank You Brett. I am ever grateful for the support that this website provides.

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

Hang in there Matt. Vehicles break down, it's what they do unfortunately. With the exception of the APU , I'd almost bet your interior lighting issue is something relatively simple. You might want to check the fuse box if you get a chance, as the interior lights normally all run on the same circuit.

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.

Matt S.'s Comment
member avatar

Hang in there Matt. Vehicles break down, it's what they do unfortunately. With the exception of the APU , I'd almost bet your interior lighting issue is something relatively simple. You might want to check the fuse box if you get a chance, as the interior lights normally all run on the same circuit.

Thanks, Robert. Road Assist had me walk through the fuses and nothing was out of the ordinary. They're now convinced that there is an electrical short somewhere that is draining the batteries rapidly. The reason the interior lights quit working was actually due to a low voltage disconnect. Prior to rolling out of Olathe, KS on Friday, all of the truck's batteries were replaced, thinking that the old batteries had just failed due to age. Mostly, I'm grateful to be running solo when no other company would give me the chance. My patience did wear a bit thin but I had to remind myself that these situations are beyond anyone's control.

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.

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