How did you learn to drive?

Discussion in 'Experienced Truckers' Advice' started by Giggles the Original, Apr 29, 2013.

How did YOU learn to drive??

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    self taught??

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    taught by family member

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    Private training

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    trucking school

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    Company Trained

  1. MZdanowicz

    MZdanowicz Light Load Member

    Apr 7, 2013
    peabody, ma
    Pete- I was just thinking about Gortons. I used to to walk my young cousin from harbor loop to St. Peters Club because he wanted to see all the different colored lic. plates on the rigs. He had a passion for big rigs. I seemed then that all O/O's had a piece of the pie. I was like being at the Allen Truck Stop. Remember that place. Rt. 110-495? Mike-Z
    Giggles the Original Thanks this.
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  3. Cranky Yankee

    Cranky Yankee Cranky old ######

    Jan 31, 2012
    Green Bay Wi
    all the wistful remembrances of the old truckstops
    what a dump it was
    country music in the lounge
    before anyone wanted to listen to country in amesbury

    JIMROY Medium Load Member

    Feb 15, 2013
    It was a rainy morning in the end of march 1981 , i rode up coos river with my buddy jon biasca, in the 15 mins it took to get to the turn off he explained the workings of a 5&4. I had already been driving fire pumpers in the fire dept since i was 17 so i knew a little bit about driving...
    Once we got to the turn off he pulled off and jumped out and told me to take it up the mountain.
    I started learning the job from the moment i got in the truck. I took it up to the landing , 30 mins later i was bringing my first load of logs down and headed to the log yard....

    Jon passed on a couple months ago now, but every time i push in that yellow diamond to take the parking brake off i think of him. God bless him..... He was like a brother so i would claim self taught and family friend taught along with shared knowledge of fellow drivers.....
    He and other older drivers passed on their knowledge and time to teach me.
    Some stuff i learned on my own , call it discovery. But i bet some older hand already knew it, but i was so proud at what i had learned on my own....

    In those days you drove the truck , not like today where the truck drives you.... You didn't have sensors to shut down if you had low oil or coolant levels. You used common sense and paid attention to your gauges and used your god given senses to see problem. You didn't have automatic inflators on your tires, you actually had to check the air pressure using a tire pressure gauge to do it.... You learned to wrench your truck and bust your own tires, you paid attention to the c.b. When someone was telling about a problem and how he fixed that problem , then you filed that info in the back of your head for later use , when and if needed...

    Alot of things you just plain figured out yourself , cause you didn't have anyone to hold your hand and teach you,

    you just used good ole common sense.

    These days common sense don't seem to be common knowledge.

    Back then none of us had smart phones or computers or big strapper bluetooth head sets , running around looking like a wannabe airline pilot.

    Being super cool, back then was having a big radio and twin antennas on your radio and more running and marker lights than you needed.... Or going from two sticks to a 13 speed. And upgrading to a big cam 400.

    Jon always said there were 4 levels of driver:

    1.The Cowboy, wears a cowboy hat, hard on equipment but managed to get down the road most of the time.
    2. Chain driver trucker, knows what he is doing mostly, but has chain drive wallet in back pocket.
    3. Trucker: Almost the best , has it down and is good, gets the job done and makes money.....
    4. Rock trucker: Top of the pile. You could back loaded truck and trailer down single lane gravel mountain road 2 miles to the nearest wide spot to get out of the way of the loaded log trucker coming down loaded who negelected to call his location on the radio before you passed the nearest wide spot....

    When i started hauling something different like chips or tanker , i went with an experienced hand for a day maybe two to learn the particulars of that type of hauling then you were turned loose to do the job.

    If you had questions you got on the radio and asked other drivers or asked your mentor after your shift....

    The rest of the time you used the brain god gave you and thought for yourself and figured it out using that brain and a good dose of common sense.....

    You didn't get turned loose if you could not shift gears without grinding a coffee can full off each gear. You didn't get turned loose if you could not back the trailer up into the hole , in under a minute...,

    you didn't get turned loose till you were proficient at tying down a load and tarping the same on your own and doing it properly....

    we learned in the old school of hard knocks quickly, we learned to think for ourselves and you didn't do anything solo till you could prove that you could do it proficiently without breaking stuff or screwing up....

    Right now i would say 65% of the drivers out there today. Would never have a cdl or a job in the old school................. And half of them would have been fired in the first half hour unless they were lucky to make it till the end of the day....

    And in saying that i am being real generous, things were different in the old school that i remember, you either had it or you didn't..... But inversly in that old school , the old guys taught us young guys the trade, other drivers stepped up and taught you and shared their discoveries or knowledge with you,

    Guys jabbered on the radio and shared info about everything from location of the cops to how to fix a problem with their truck..... Drivers would think before acting also,
    e all took care of each other....

    We helped each other to help not to be compensated, you broke down at least 6 to 12 trucks would either stop or holler on the radio and check on ya and help ya if they could....

    I used to carry a case of fuel filters, a guy gave me one once when i didn't have one. After that i made sure i had plenty and gave them away , when a hand was in need of one out in the middle of nowhere.... I had a guy once , gave me 25 gallons of fuel to get me to a truck stop. i laid in the slush and snow with my thumb in the bung of the crossover on his tanks , filling up a delo jug one gallon at a time to put in my tank... a milk hauler who saved my day. I will always remember him , even though i don't remember his name....

    I wasn't above handing over a gal of delo 400 either and never took a dime for it. I would let you replace it at a truck stop but i was not gonna ask for a dime for it otherwise.

    Now its that all about me attitude and screw you and everyone everyone has that big strappers bluetooth headset on looking like a wannabe airline pilot ( see how to spot a rookie) and don't give a diddly squat about anyone else but himself.... That attitude is gonna destroy this nation.....

    They gotta have e logs, computer , and gps to tell them everything but when to pull over and pee... Smart phones, i pods and tablets.... Half these guys probably can't read a good ole rand mcnally, and if their cell phones didn't work and gps went down , they couldn't find their butts with both hands let alone get across the country. Lol in the old school , us old guys remember that c.b. Radio going all the time , you got local informantion and directions to your drop on the radio, usually good info, once in a while you got bad directions .......on that radio , you kept each other awake , you shared info, you taught on that radio, you listened and learned, you bs'ed and visited and made friendships out there, some that lasted for years...

    There are some improvements in trucking these days, for the most part the stuff didn't need improvement.....

    For this old boy, what was not broke didn't need fixing in the first place , so keep your blankety blank blank meat hooks off it and leave it the hell alone. Teach these kids the job and the skills needed to pull it off. School should be at least 6 months long with no graduation till you pass a skills and competency test......

    Trainers should have absolutely no less than 5 years solid experience at bare minimums..... They also should have to go thru an instructors course and be certified by a college or state board, to weed out the dummies who have no business training in the first place....

    Ok , i guess its time to shut up this is starting to sound like one of my rants.... But in closing i think the old school way was best , cause a hand didn't get turned loose most of the time till he knew what he was doing , or he had enuf commons sense that it didn't matter....
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  5. Saddletramp1200

    Saddletramp1200 Road Train Member

    Sep 4, 2011
    Houston Texas,USA
    We have an Auto Car, with a 16 speed, just out of the shop. A pipe trailer, and a load if you want it. I was 23. Got better from there.
    Giggles the Original Thanks this.
  6. Cranky Yankee

    Cranky Yankee Cranky old ######

    Jan 31, 2012
    Green Bay Wi
    i can wax nostalgic for the good ole days too
    but i wont give up my apu, auto, cell phone and air ride
    without a fight

    by the time i quit fishing i wouldnt leave the dock if the auto pilot wasnt working
    and i started fishing before lorans and power steering
    docked the "Big Dipper" one day with a 2 x 4 strapped to the rudder
    she was 71 feet long wasnt my best docking
    Gilley Plunkett left her on the rocks in front of the Gloucester Paint Factory a few years later.......sigh
  7. crb

    crb Road Train Member

    Dec 1, 2009
    Taught by my father, but I Taught myself to pass the test. I also went to truck driving school for four weeks after I had my cdl for a couple years. Insurance required the schooling. I actually learned quite a bit from the school.
    Giggles the Original Thanks this.
  8. Giggles the Original

    Giggles the Original Road Train Member

    i dont think there is enough room on the internet for that:biggrin_2556::biggrin_2559:
    MZdanowicz Thanks this.
  9. drozzer69

    drozzer69 Road Train Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    Spring, TX
    Hey JIMROY, plan on writing a book? My eyes started to glaze over when you mentioned the 5x4. Never drove one(too young), but would love to take a crack at it. Yes a little ranty but that's ok. I got my CDL in 98 but I love the old school ways, but I also like some of the newer stuff as well. Keep bringing these stories on. I certainly enjoy reading them!:yes2557:
  10. rockee

    rockee Road Train Member

    Apr 17, 2007
    Pacific Northwest
    That's for sure but would also be some pretty interesting reading.
    Giggles the Original Thanks this.
  11. Tonythetruckerdude

    Tonythetruckerdude Crusty Deer Slayer

    Dec 8, 2012
    hunting...../ retired
    In reference to JimRoy's post..most guys today don't really grasp what it meant to be a driver back then...very , very rarely if you broke down did you sit for very long without other drivers pulling over to check on you. It was a completely different world then...we talked to each other , shared each others problems and helped each other out.
    I worked with a guy that became one of the best friends I ever had when I 1st started driving OTR...We ran a team to the west coast and 1 of the requirements dispatch had was we were to call in 24 hrs befrore we were to arrive at the yard , just in case they needed us to deliver our load...didn't happen all the time cause the east coast driver handled 90% of that...but we still had to make the call. The way Donald and I handled it was whoever had delivered the load the last time got to stay home and the other one went up to Philly or Hunt's Point ,or Giant Foods in Landover MD.

    Well once Donald made the call and the load had to go up and it was his turn to go....well Donald liked to get it done and by that I mean he didn't let any grass grow under his feet...he also liked to make use of a pair of vise-grip pliers that I you older hands know what he did with' em so no need to explain that...except that it was a big NO-NO to do it. He dropped me off and headed up , delivered and came on back , but neglected ( forgot) to retrieve the pliers....the shop guys found 'em and of course reported it, well the safety guy called Donald in and questioned him and Donald told them that yes they were his and he hopped that they would let this one time thing slide , especially since he did not try and lie his way out and owned up to it. The safety guy didn't however let him slide and fired him on the spot....He did however ask Donald if I knew anything about the use of the pliers....Donald told them I knew nothing at all about them and that it was all on him...Remember now THESE WERE MY PLIERS.....that act act saved my job , but cost him his..Class act all the way that's what Donald was...

    Several years later I ran into him , he was working for a tanker company hauling gas locally..and our friendship continued for several more years.....he had a stroke in '95 and passed away from its complications a few weeks later...his wife called and asked me if I would be a Paul-bearer...even at his death he was still honoring me....
    7-UP, JIMROY, MZdanowicz and 2 others Thank this.
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