The Tough Reality Of OTR Team Driving

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classA's Comment
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OTR Realizations -

I just returned from 3 weeks of travel as a team driver. Having experienced both the team and solo driver OTR roles, I can affirm that each deserves great respect for their work. However, the team driver must be especially commended for their ability to adapt to a constantly moving truck. Over the past few weeks I have only been able to sleep maybe 2 to 3 hours straight at the most during any given day. And that was because I literally passed out from exhaustion. My co-driver described it so well, "It's like almost going to sleep and then having someone punch you in the shoulder each time you are about to doze off."

My co-driver and I realized how to manage the 70-hour clock so that it will continually be replenished every 8 days. But subsequently we also realized that regardless of how we worked the 70-hour clock, we still could not make any more money. One hour is approximately 50 miles. 11 hours of driving is approximately 550 miles. Drive less, get less miles. Drive more, get more miles. Drive less, get more rest. Drive more, get less rest. Either way, you can only go so many miles in one hour. It was disheartening to know that there is certainly a defined limit to how much money we could earn even as a team. Basic math.

Let's be honest. Trucking is just like any other career. The advertisements glamorize the money, the home time, or whatever else marketing deems inspirational (the psychology of advertising is to manipulate the thinking of the public and stir an emotional response). But when all is said and done, there are still only so many hours that can be worked on any given day. And there are only so many miles that can be traveled in any hour. I recently had a tight backing situation in lower Los Angeles, CA. It took about 30 minutes to get backed in to the appropriate dock door. After I finished I walked to the dock and asked the dockworker, "I get paid by the mile, so how much do you think I just made backing this trailer in?" He affirmed understanding as we both chuckled. Not to mention the time it takes to get through some of the mountain passes. Remember, the pay is "per mile", not hour in most cases. If it takes 1 hour to go across a 15 mile pass, you are paid for 15 miles (@..30 per mile or whatever the rate is for your gig). I cannot imagine how one earns a livable wage during the winter months when snow and ice cover the road. The chaining and unchaining as required in the Rocky Mountains certainly requires many Hours of Service.

I've actually been disappointed with the money I've earned so far (although I had a realistic expectation). If you take the hours I've worked (driving, coupling/uncoupling, inspecting, trip planning, etc.) and divide them into the paychecks I've received, it turns out that I've been making about $1.00 an hour. That isn't even minimum wage! And the work literally drains the life from your soul. Days away from the solitude of home, family, loved ones, regular showers, relaxation, meals, etc. is very taxing on your being. It can easily be seen in almost every driver at a truck stop. The lack of facial expression coupled with the slow gait is almost zombie-like!

In the team scenario, you drive 5 hours, stop for the 30-minute DOT break, fuel, etc. and then drive another 5 hours (example of time only). Then it is time for your Post-Trip and your co-driver's Pre-Trip. They start driving and you have 2 hours (by DOT regulations) that you can actually sit up front and not be in the Sleeper Berth. After that, you must (by DOT regulations) get in the back and bounce around for at least 10 hours. Afterwards you have to start the process all over again ......... every day ............ never ending ........... over and over and over. And here's the kicker with team driving, the employer expects this every day. I understand why. They make more money with the truck moving. At least as a solo driver, the truck does shut down for 10 hours!

Don't get me wrong. I'm not bashing the career. As most of you know, I'm still a rookie and I am just learning how to work the system. But I wasn't born yesterday and already I see the truth of the trade. Truck driving is obviously one of the most honorable professions out there. It is very demanding work every moment. It requires mental discipline, patience, physical endurance, and many other qualities that must be experienced in order to be truly learned.

Thankfully I have had the benefit of reading Trucking Truth prior to ever becoming a driver. I didn't expect to make a lot of money in the beginning. In any job, one must start at the bottom generally and then work the way up the ladder (pay scale and otherwise). Likewise I do see where it can become a lucrative career over time. I have friends who actually make good money and they are home every night or every weekend. They worked for it though.

This web site has helped me prepare for the reality of the work. And accordingly it has helped me prepare for what can be expected. I'm going to succeed, although I probably won't be a driver for the rest of my life. But I am already a better person because of it. That is the OTR realization that I have so far.

Thanks to all of the experienced drivers here for their insights!

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.

Over The Road:

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.

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.

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

That was an excellent look at the realities of life on the road. Personally I hated driving team. I only did it twice. Once when I was in my initial training phase for two weeks and once when I landed a food grade tanker job and went for a week with an experienced tanker driver to learn the pumps, hoses, venting, and all that.

If you take the hours I've worked (driving, coupling/uncoupling, inspecting, trip planning, etc.) and divide them into the paychecks I've received, it turns out that I've been making about $1.00 an hour. That isn't even minimum wage!

Every driver at some point does that sort of math and either concludes, "Wow, now I know why they call it a lifestyle and not just a job." or "I'm getting ripped off and I'm not doing this anymore."

Now running solo gives you a lot more opportunities to take time off on the road and enjoy yourself. I spent countless weekends in Vegas, New Orleans, Miami, Seattle, Atlanta, and had a blast. I watched the sunrise and sunset over the ocean, the desert, and the mountains for years and years. I saw Yosemite, drove across the Hoover Dam (when trucks could back in the day), took flying lessons in different states, went hiking in every state in the country, and almost won a pickup truck trying to get a hockey puck through a tiny hole in a board from center ice in front of almost 10,000 people at a minor league hockey game in Albuquerque. And that was a typical year. I spent about 15 of them out there so you can imagine how much I saw and how much fun I had.

That's why I've always said that trucking really isn't worth the money alone if you're not enjoying the travelling lifestyle. People wish, hope, pray, and save for years and years to see the things we see everyday. To drive across the country and live like a gypsy is so much fun if you're the type of person that enjoys that kind of adventure. Countless people would cherish that opportunity.

No question trucking is a super tough job. It's incredibly demanding. You have to be super ambitious to really thrive in this industry. Anyone looking to put in eight hours of ordinary, simple stuff and go home with a paycheck is certainly not going to like trucking. Even the local guys rarely have that as a job description.

Even after reading and preparing here for life on the road it's a h*ll of a reality check when you get out there and see how demanding it is, ya know? It's not difficult at all for you to imagine how many people do not prepare themselves properly and are completely overwhelmed by the demands of this career. A lot of people that could have had a great career in this industry never even made it through training when the realities smacked them upside the head. I'm glad you're hanging in there!

Keep at it and keep learning every day. Try like crazy to enjoy yourself as much as possible. I agree with your assessment of running team though. I think it's terrible but others love it. Find your niche out there. For everyone that wants to drive a truck there are great jobs perfectly suited to your needs. In the beginning you have to be patient and take what you can get, but soon enough you'll have the experience to land the job you're looking for.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
How do people take time doing things like hI king and seeing the sites when they are working? Maybe I just have a intolerable instructor. It seems like we park at shippers and recievers much too often and go without meals constantly.

Jeremy, you are with your trainer right now, and he is in charge. He's making money by keeping those wheels turning, and unfortunately he is probably more interested in getting the extra miles that he can out of you than he is in helping you to become an efficient and professional driver. That is the sad reality of being with many of today's trainers. He may be a lease operator and really struggling for money, or he may just be a little on the greedy side, whatever the case you just hang in there and do the best you can. You will have lots of chances to do it your own way after you are set loose from him, but I will warn you that as much as you may dislike his style there are going to be moments in your first two or three weeks solo that you will be desperately wishing he was over there in that jump seat so you could ask him "what the **** do I do now?" He is also teaching you some of the strategies that are used by successful operators in this business by showing you how you can sleep at shippers and receivers.

You will find time to do some fun things when you are on your own. You can check out my thread where I have my youngest daughter with me, we definitely took the time to have some fun on the road. I put all that stuff in there to show people how you can take time to do some fun things along your way.

Training can be very tough - I understand because I had a trainer that was nuts! I still learned a lot from him though, and if you hang in there it will pay off. Training very seldom goes like people expect it to, in fact most people's introduction to this whole career is usually completely skewed from what their expectations were. You feel free to jump in here and ask us anything that you are confused about. We will shoot straight with you, but the main thing right now is just hang in there, and it will soon be over. Then a whole new set of challenges will arise when they hand you the deys to your own truck. The learning never stops, the challenges never keep rising to the forefront, and the winners at this game are the ones who can roll with the punches.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Jeremy, I went through all that same kind of stuff with my mentor - there were times it seemed more like torture than teaching. I don't remember him ever even complimenting me but one time, and I was worried what he was going to say about me when we finally went to see the people in the office about me getting put into my own truck. Here is how it went down:

I was seriously worried that he was going to tell them that he didn't think I could cut it and they would send me home. Instead he starts singing my praises and telling them how great a driver I was! My jaw dropped, because I had never even had a clue from his actions during our time together that he thought I was even half way any good! There were two men in suits in the room that we were talking to. I had been introduced to one of them, but the other one seemed busy with something on his computer and he hadn't even looked up at us yet. After a few rounds of those unexpected compliments from my trainer the guy that I hadn't met yet starts getting a big grin on his face and interrupts my trainer by speaking to me - here is what he said: I want you to go out there in the yard and find an older gentleman named Delbert, he is gonna road test you - in the mean time I will be trying to locate a truck for you. Any time we have a driver make it all the way through with this trainer we know we have found someone who is tough enough for the job. Only about half of his students manage to make it through with him, and they have all turned out to be good drivers.

The point of what I'm trying to help you with is that often times what you consider to be a training time they are considering it as testing time. Many of these training times at a company are designed to test your resolve and your ability to handle tough and draining situations. If you break down and can't handle it then they are concerned that you can't handle the pressures of the job. If you hang in there and keep a good attitude, then they are impressed. It's just a few short weeks Jeremy, but it seems like it will last forever. Hang tough, you will be glad you did come this time next year.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Jeremy, the food thing is simple of course.......stock up on some dry goods and bottles of water so you have them for the long waits. There will be times you're going to sit for 12+ hours without a bathroom or food supply even when you're solo so you have to be resourceful and plan ahead.

The sleeping thing is something you'll learn to adapt to. Most truckers can famously fall asleep or wake up like the flip of the switch. Why? Well you're experiencing it right now. You normally won't know very far in advance when you're going to be sitting and when you're going to be running. So you sleep when you must so you can run when it's time. It's difficult in the beginning because you're stressed out with all there is to learn and you haven't adapted to an erratic sleep pattern yet, but you will.

About a year ago I literally fell fast asleep in the chair while my dentist was drilling a cavity. And I don't mean he was preparing to drill, I mean he was in the process of drilling. I was lying there one moment trying to just daydream about flowers and unicorns and the next thing I hear, "Uh oh. I think we're losing Brett" and sure enough I wake up and realize I had fallen fast asleep. The dentist laughed and said, "I take that as a compliment." As he should. I told him, "I was a trucker for 15 years. I can fall asleep and wake up on demand."

And by the way, you did the right thing by tapping out when you were too tired to be safe. If you know you've reached your limit then refuse to drive. Ideally of course you want to be ready to run when it's time.

One thing to keep in mind for future reference is that you want to avoid having to tell dispatch you've been sitting for X number of hours but couldn't sleep so now you can't run. That doesn't cut it in this industry. They won't make you drive if you say that, but you won't be hurting for sleep anytime soon either because they're not going to give you any freight. "If he needs sleep we'll give him all the sleep he could ever ask for" will be what your dispatcher mumbles under his breath as he removes you from "available" status and lets you sit for three days.

Trust me, the veterans here understand fully how difficult this is for you right now. Everyone is in the same boat. This is just part of the training process and it's why so many people never even make it to their solo career before dropping out of the industry altogether. It's a super demanding job and not everyone is willing or able to do it. Even those who really are cut out for it struggle in the beginning to learn and to adapt. But hang in there! Just take it one day at a time and focus on safety.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

You may be right. What has me down and out is the experiences other people are having in comparison to mine. I'll quit the complaining and work on this at a different level.

I've gotta tell ya.....I was sooooooo d*mn excited when I first started my trucking career I can remember details from 1993 vividly, like they just happened yesterday. I can remember word for word conversations with my instructors at school and my trainer on the road. I can remember my classmates, my first time ever climbing into a truck, and my first time ever driving one on the highway in school. I remember meeting my trainer for the first time, driving on the highway for the first time with my first company, and I even remember ordering a cheeseburger and fries at the very first truck stop I ever went to the first day on the road with that same trainer. I remember we were going up I-85 out of Atlanta. We stopped at a truck stop just over the border in South Carolina on our way to my first delivery ever in Maryland. I even remember parking on the back row so he could let me back into a spot with nobody else around. My first time ever backing into a spot at a truck stop!!

dancing-dog.gif

I just thought getting to drive a rig was the coolest experience imaginable and I don't think I slept for weeks I was so wound up. I couldn't stop smiling and I couldn't stop asking everyone questions. To me the whole thing felt like I got hired to be a paid tourist at DisneyWorld. It was just overwhelming and priceless to me.

I can even remember after delivering in Maryland we got a load to Northern California. I had never been west of Pennsylvania for God's sake! I couldn't believe we were going to drive to California! I remember my trainer giving me a break and taking the wheel for a while. We were going through Wyoming and I was supposed to be sleeping but how could I sleep??? I never saw Wyoming before. It looked like Cowboys and Indians were going to come riding towards us from the horizon at any moment just like on TV!

shocked.png

It's a shame everyone can't be that excited about this career. I can absolutely promise you I didn't have a single complaint in the world all through schooling or training. In fact I did my training in July and August in a gigantic stone lot in Georgia where it was 150 degrees every day, no air conditioning in the black trucks we were learning backing with, and when we'd come in we'd all have to wash about 1/4 inch of dirt off of our sweat-soaked faces.......and all I could do was laugh with delight. What a treat to learn to drive a big rig.

I hope you can find the fun and the great opportunity in all of this. You'll obviously never feel like I did about it, but come on man! You're driving a great big American Big Rig! How cool is that???? Grab a granola bar for the next time you're stuck in a parking lot and enjoy a good book. Is that really so bad that it's making you miserable? Seems like a shame to me. To this day I still get all wound up and excited telling stories about trucking school from 25 years ago. I'm sitting here smiling from ear to ear just remembering it all.

smile.gif

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

That was an excellent look at the realities of life on the road. Personally I hated driving team. I only did it twice. Once when I was in my initial training phase for two weeks and once when I landed a food grade tanker job and went for a week with an experienced tanker driver to learn the pumps, hoses, venting, and all that.

If you take the hours I've worked (driving, coupling/uncoupling, inspecting, trip planning, etc.) and divide them into the paychecks I've received, it turns out that I've been making about $1.00 an hour. That isn't even minimum wage!

Every driver at some point does that sort of math and either concludes, "Wow, now I know why they call it a lifestyle and not just a job." or "I'm getting ripped off and I'm not doing this anymore."

Now running solo gives you a lot more opportunities to take time off on the road and enjoy yourself. I spent countless weekends in Vegas, New Orleans, Miami, Seattle, Atlanta, and had a blast. I watched the sunrise and sunset over the ocean, the desert, and the mountains for years and years. I saw Yosemite, drove across the Hoover Dam (when trucks could back in the day), took flying lessons in different states, went hiking in every state in the country, and almost won a pickup truck trying to get a hockey puck through a tiny hole in a board from center ice in front of almost 10,000 people at a minor league hockey game in Albuquerque. And that was a typical year. I spent about 15 of them out there so you can imagine how much I saw and how much fun I had.

That's why I've always said that trucking really isn't worth the money alone if you're not enjoying the travelling lifestyle. People wish, hope, pray, and save for years and years to see the things we see everyday. To drive across the country and live like a gypsy is so much fun if you're the type of person that enjoys that kind of adventure. Countless people would cherish that opportunity.

No question trucking is a super tough job. It's incredibly demanding. You have to be super ambitious to really thrive in this industry. Anyone looking to put in eight hours of ordinary, simple stuff and go home with a paycheck is certainly not going to like trucking. Even the local guys rarely have that as a job description.

Even after reading and preparing here for life on the road it's a h*ll of a reality check when you get out there and see how demanding it is, ya know? It's not difficult at all for you to imagine how many people do not prepare themselves properly and are completely overwhelmed by the demands of this career. A lot of people that could have had a great career in this industry never even made it through training when the realities smacked them upside the head. I'm glad you're hanging in there!

Keep at it and keep learning every day. Try like crazy to enjoy yourself as much as possible. I agree with your assessment of running team though. I think it's terrible but others love it. Find your niche out there. For everyone that wants to drive a truck there are great jobs perfectly suited to your needs. In the beginning you have to be patient and take what you can get, but soon enough you'll have the experience to land the job you're looking for.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Keiler M.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm getting ready to start driving OTR myself. I've never done it before so I am going out with a trainer for 2 weeks. This company says they don't team drive (while training) because they want the trainer there with you at all times to answer questions and guide you. We'll see how true it is and how it goes. I already know how to drive, I worked as a vacuum truck driver in the oilfield hauling produced water. A lot of us oilfield workers are switching to OTR because of the work there slowed down.

One thing I liked during my driving test was the truck, I don't know how "new" it was but to me, it was amazing. The AC was ice cold and I loved it, the breaks were great, the gears went in with no problem.. What a different aspect of it. I'm used to having a truck with no AC and all kinds of problems. I'm glad I never got stopped by DOT haha..

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

C. S.'s Comment
member avatar

I agree with most everything you wrote, and even though you're a little disappointed in it all you're still keeping a great attitude about it.

Team only makes sense for me because my fiancé and I drive together. The money goes in the same bank account and we have no rent, no bills except cell phones and car insurance. No way would I ever drive team with somone I didn't know going in. Serious respect to those who do, as hard as it has been for us I can't imagine teaming with a company assigned partner.

As to sleeping in the truck, it does get easier. Of course I still get better sleep if the truck isn't moving, and there are times when the roads are just too rough for good sleep. But after about two months your body acclimates to it much better than at first. Also, try taking some over the counter sleep aids and wearing good ear plugs (the thick, coated foam kind worn by factory workers). We use Walmart's brand of max strength sleep aid and it puts me out. There is a brand sold in many truckstops called Good-nites or something similar that I would not recommend. Pretty sure they're sugar pills.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I completely agree with the statements made here. I also read trucking truth and talked to family that have driven for years and so i was pretty sure i knew what i was getting into but once you're out there living it its a whole new ball game. I'm slowly beginning to realize all the stuff that i didn't know and im lucky enough to have a trainer that is letting me experience it in small doses.

classA's Comment
member avatar

Even after reading and preparing here for life on the road it's a h*ll of a reality check when you get out there and see how demanding it is, ya know? It's not difficult at all for you to imagine how many people do not prepare themselves properly and are completely overwhelmed by the demands of this career. A lot of people that could have had a great career in this industry never even made it through training when the realities smacked them upside the head. I'm glad you're hanging in there!

Keep at it and keep learning every day. Try like crazy to enjoy yourself as much as possible. I agree with your assessment of running team though. I think it's terrible but others love it. Find your niche out there. For everyone that wants to drive a truck there are great jobs perfectly suited to your needs. In the beginning you have to be patient and take what you can get, but soon enough you'll have the experience to land the job you're looking for.

Indeed. I appreciate your insight, Brett. "Try like crazy to enjoy yourself as much as possible ............" That, sir, is the key that I need to get a grasp on. And I will probably never run Team again. That just isn't for me either. (Thank you, sir, for the "Title" insertion.)

Although as C.S. stated, if you are in it with your life partner and make some financial gains with it, then it can be good. That sleeping thing is still tough as my body simply doesn't agree with any synthetic substances (except McDonald's fries occasionally).

As always, this is a very encouraging community with the truth of trucking.

Dennis R. (Greatest Drive's Comment
member avatar

I cant stand running solo,as getting stuck at a shipper ,can ruin your day.I have no trouble getting restfull sleep in the bunk.Running team you can plan your stops,and rarely run out of hours,stuck in some horrible truck stop.I realize not everyone can team,but it works great for me.

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.

Alexx 's Comment
member avatar

I've done both team and solo driving in the past, therefore I can tell you that I prefer team driving to solo driving hands down. I completly understand about not being able sleep while the truck is moving, I can't speak for anyone else but myself but I got used to the truck moving while I slept, in fact, I couldn't sleep when the truck wasn't moving. Obviously you have to be paired up with the right team driver otherwise it's not going to work, in my case, my brother-in-law was my co-driver and also my trainer, I learned a lot from him. One of the things he would say was that "it's always better to have a second pair of eyes", having a team driver allows you to back in or out of tight spots much easier because you have someone guiding you, it allows you the flexibility of being able to depend on someone else if you get in trouble in certain situations or during the Winter Season and in my case, having him as a trainer as well as an experience driver, was invaluable. I'm about to start my solo career with Schneider next Monday 08/03/2015, I'm excited but also apprehensive to get back driving after being off for 7 years.

Shirley K.'s Comment
member avatar

ClassA, Thank you for the honest and yet positive look at life from a rookie's POV. Your post feels like an equal balance of harsh reality and great attitude, and it was just what I needed to read this morning. Thanks and best of luck!

Now running solo gives you a lot more opportunities to take time off on the road and enjoy yourself. I spent countless weekends in Vegas, New Orleans, Miami, Seattle, Atlanta, and had a blast. I watched the sunrise and sunset over the ocean, the desert, and the mountains for years and years. I saw Yosemite, drove across the Hoover Dam (when trucks could back in the day), took flying lessons in different states, went hiking in every state in the country, and almost won a pickup truck trying to get a hockey puck through a tiny hole in a board from center ice in front of almost 10,000 people at a minor league hockey game in Albuquerque. And that was a typical year. I spent about 15 of them out there so you can imagine how much I saw and how much fun I had.

That's why I've always said that trucking really isn't worth the money alone if you're not enjoying the travelling lifestyle. People wish, hope, pray, and save for years and years to see the things we see everyday. To drive across the country and live like a gypsy is so much fun if you're the type of person that enjoys that kind of adventure. Countless people would cherish that opportunity.

Brett, Thanks for that amazing description. THAT is the gold ring I'm reaching for and you put into words what I'm hoping to find down this path I've just started onto. I'm willing to work hard, long hours to be able to wake up in a different place every day and to be able to spend long stretches with just my thoughts and the road. I dread the team training portion of the driving....not dread....but not looking forward to sharing space with another human for that many hours at a stretch. I'm definitely looking forward to earning a solo spot.

Y'all all rock for being so encouraging and so realistic and honest. Keep it coming! 22 days until school starts....not that I'm counting ;)

Stephanie D.'s Comment
member avatar

As a rookie's wife, I really appreciate you sharing this. He's currently in his TNT phase and tells me every day how he can't wait to get on his own truck. He has no issues with his trainer (thankfully), he just cannot get used to trying to sleep while the other guys is driving and getting woke up at every bump, which makes me worry more about him driving the overnight shift on so little sleep. Thanks for sharing and best of luck to you! :)

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

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