Might As Well Introduce Myself...

Topic 9797 | Page 1

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Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

I'm going to be.. gasp... a truck driver. My dads would both be laughing their ass off from the grave about now. My dad drove OTR for 40+ years, at times as a company driver, and others with his own truck. My stepfather owned a couple small local companies. . Hauling rock out of a family owned quarry and an asphalt, paving, and redi-mix company. Even though I grew up around trucks (dry vans, reefers, bottom dumps, covered wagons, & 10 wheeler gravel dumps), and actually had a CDL-A permit years ago, I laughed when a family member who worked at the dmv where I took all my writtens asked if I was seriously going to stop working (in a hospital) to drive a truck. Oh, no way.. of course not! I was simply learning to drive for fun while I took the occasional run with my husband and jumped into the trucks of a couple friends we tended to make runs out west with. No, I never bothered to get my CDL , but I did enjoy my time driving for fun while the real O/Os kicked back in the jump seat for a bit and let me learn while they got paid for my miles.

Even though the marriage didn't work out, I always enjoyed the times I was able to be on the trucks. Fast forward 15 years and I discovered that I'm completely sick of sick people and I want nothing to do with a hospital or healthcare. Recently while talking to a young nephew on Facebook, I discovered he had gotten his CDL-A earlier this year and is now OTR. Wow, that seems like fun.

Then, to my amazement, my current employer is paying for and arranging a CDL-A School with absolutely no obligation for me to remain with them if I don't want to stay and be a yard driver.

So why am I so scared? I've experienced the OTR life, sand storms, blowouts, mountain grades, DOT inspections, Ag Inspectors aka The Bug Police in NM, driven out west-- can we say Cali rules suck or did they change? Mexico, Canada. Ahem.. I never learned to double clutch. Always floated gears, and still do even if I'm in a personal vehicle with a standard transmission and yeah, Twas a cold day in hell they'd have me back their precious trucks into a tight dock in Cleveland or Toronto markets.. for very good reason. Those docks were brutal to get into and no place to learn, so my backing skills were never well developed. I've never seen an eLog , only paper ones and no winter driving skill and I'll be job hunting in late October. I'm also female. I know some of the places you deliver to aren't in the best neighborhoods.

Should I consider teaming with an experienced driver for a while (beyond a company training) until I'm better prepared? How do you find someone to team with? Good starter companies? I know I won't make as much starting out, but I gotta start somewhere.

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.

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.

Covered Wagon:

A flatbed with specially fitted side plates and curved ribs supporting a tarp covering, commonly referred to as a "side kit". Named for the resemblance to horse-drawn covered wagons.

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.

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.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Sounds like your expectations are realistic, so you should be fine. As to teaming-can't help you there much; I think some starter companies will team you up with another new driver after you get past the time with a trainer. Good luck to ya. Try to stay in the South during the winter, but when you are OTR and new to the industry, that is probably not realistic.

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.

The Professional's Comment
member avatar

I'm going to be.. gasp... a truck driver. My dads would both be laughing their ass off from the grave about now. My dad drove OTR for 40+ years, at times as a company driver, and others with his own truck. My stepfather owned a couple small local companies. . Hauling rock out of a family owned quarry and an asphalt, paving, and redi-mix company. Even though I grew up around trucks (dry vans, reefers, bottom dumps, covered wagons, & 10 wheeler gravel dumps), and actually had a CDL-A permit years ago, I laughed when a family member who worked at the dmv where I took all my writtens asked if I was seriously going to stop working (in a hospital) to drive a truck. Oh, no way.. of course not! I was simply learning to drive for fun while I took the occasional run with my husband and jumped into the trucks of a couple friends we tended to make runs out west with. No, I never bothered to get my CDL , but I did enjoy my time driving for fun while the real O/Os kicked back in the jump seat for a bit and let me learn while they got paid for my miles.

Even though the marriage didn't work out, I always enjoyed the times I was able to be on the trucks. Fast forward 15 years and I discovered that I'm completely sick of sick people and I want nothing to do with a hospital or healthcare. Recently while talking to a young nephew on Facebook, I discovered he had gotten his CDL-A earlier this year and is now OTR. Wow, that seems like fun.

Then, to my amazement, my current employer is paying for and arranging a CDL-A School with absolutely no obligation for me to remain with them if I don't want to stay and be a yard driver.

So why am I so scared? I've experienced the OTR life, sand storms, blowouts, mountain grades, DOT inspections, Ag Inspectors aka The Bug Police in NM, driven out west-- can we say Cali rules suck or did they change? Mexico, Canada. Ahem.. I never learned to double clutch. Always floated gears, and still do even if I'm in a personal vehicle with a standard transmission and yeah, Twas a cold day in hell they'd have me back their precious trucks into a tight dock in Cleveland or Toronto markets.. for very good reason. Those docks were brutal to get into and no place to learn, so my backing skills were never well developed. I've never seen an eLog , only paper ones and no winter driving skill and I'll be job hunting in late October. I'm also female. I know some of the places you deliver to aren't in the best neighborhoods.

Should I consider teaming with an experienced driver for a while (beyond a company training) until I'm better prepared? How do you find someone to team with? Good starter companies? I know I won't make as much starting out, but I gotta start somewhere.

Good luck with trucking school, Sue and keep updating your progress. I'm giving serious consideration to OTR.

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.

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.

Covered Wagon:

A flatbed with specially fitted side plates and curved ribs supporting a tarp covering, commonly referred to as a "side kit". Named for the resemblance to horse-drawn covered wagons.

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.

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.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I start class on Aug. 21st. I'll be attending Lake Cumberland CDL Training. It's a 160 hour class, so 2 days a week for 10 weeks. I'll finish October 24th. I've heard from Schneider already.. the school really seems to push Schneider and TMC. Schneider seems to be offering a sign on bonus even to new drivers fresh out of school here. I'll be 53 in a few weeks and not interested in flatbed at all so TMC is out. JB Hunt wants 3 months OTR experience for a regional run in my area. I've heard Prime and Knight pay the most during company training and not interested in any kind of lease arrangements.

My plan is to get my OTR experience in with whomever and find a dedicated regional run later.

I'm excited and terrified all at the same time! I'm also finding the training on here to be very helpful. ☺

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.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
member avatar

Sue,

It's never too late to follow your dream. I was 56 when I started Oct 2011.

As far as teaming after training, I know for me that was not an option (personal preference). Just had a very difficult time with the truck moving all the time while trying to sleep just does nothing for me.

I am sure you can find folks to team with after training if you so desire. I know when I was with Prime, lots of folks always looking for team mates for some of the very reasons you mentioned. Just not for me. I like my solitude too much. But that's just me.

Also, look at a company that fits your needs as you start out on this wild adventure you are about to begin. Lots of very good training programs out there to chose from. Here are some links for you to check, Truck Driver's Career Guide, Company-Sponsored Training , How To Choose A School, How To Choose A Company

Ernie

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.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

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