more newbie drama

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by navigatordr, May 9, 2006.

  1. tdc

    tdc Bobtail Member

    Jan 22, 2007
    Ditto! Baited breath here...

    Don't leave us hanging like this LOL.
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  3. lookingup

    lookingup Medium Load Member

    Dec 3, 2006
    Tip I take it you had your CDL before going to Salt Lake City, Did they have you do further training also?
  4. Cerberus101

    Cerberus101 Heavy Load Member

    Oct 25, 2006
    well is he gonna tell us how it went/is going or what ? i just read this thread for the first time and found it interesting but i don't understand something....whats wrong with a reefer trailer ? only difference from a box is the reefer unit and they haul pretty much the same freight but the up side is i can haul refiderated and dry loads box trlrs can't. i don't really hear the unit that much.
  5. Light Traveler

    Light Traveler Light Load Member

    Feb 5, 2007
    Somewhere out there...
    Check your local paper for smaller regional companies. The pay may be small, but it's a start. Good luck.
  6. navigatordr

    navigatordr Bobtail Member

    May 9, 2006
    Trucking is a pretty manic way to make a buck. I should say that most of the time it can be completely booorring, so you'll listen to music or some sort of talk program to keep yourself from feeling isolated or so that you'll feel detached from the lack of activity, but not in an unsafe way, mind you. I saw not a few overturned trucks, and this should be an alarm to anyone who becomes too complacent. In the beginning, I think that most drivers, like anyone who begins to drive for the first time, are textbook cautious, and over time a driver will know how to comfortably operate such a huge vehicle. It never really ceased to amaze me how comfortable I could feel driving an eighteen wheel truck - an open interstate with cruise control and it's nothing...and you'll park your truck and get out to fuel, and only then do you realize what a beast you're in charge of controlling.

    But, getting lost in a big city is completely different as you quickly realize how big your vehicle is. One trip to Chicago was absolutely no fun at all...

    But, um, it's dinner time so I'll post a continuation later.

  7. passingtrucker

    passingtrucker Light Load Member

    Nov 16, 2007
    Diamond Bar, California
    NavigatorDr, I'm curious to know if you live in a city or small town? As you ponder your options, I advice you also take into consideration the local driving positions in your area. As a newbie, you're not yet qualified for these, but after you've completed 1 year of verifiable experience, then you're eligible as a candidate for a local, hourly-paying driver position.
    In your research, I presume you're aware of the 100% + turnover rates these OTR companies are experiencing. What few/none sites had mentioned are the causes of this high driver turnover rate. If you research truck driver job listings, observe that they're mostly OTR, and very few local hourly-paying positions. Local trucking is where a lot of drivers go into eventually. OTR is comprised of older men/women who's children are already grown up, and have taken it upon themselves to see the country before they become too old to travel. Another portion of OTR drivers are those who don't like having to manually load/unload the freight, which is 50% of the time when you're a local hourly-paid driver. Finally, the last and vast majority of OTR drivers are newbies who are working to establish their verifiable driving experience. You're correct to target a company you'll likely stay with for at least a year. A lot of these OTR drivers had built up a job-hopping history, which disqualifies them from consideration as local drivers. A lot of local employers frown on drivers with job hopping history. It gives the impression the applicant can't make up his/her mind; and will likely resign in a few months after the employer had invested considerable time in training them to their unique local operation/method of doing business.

    Advice you find out what the hiring criteria is around your area for local driving positions, then come back a year or so in the future and submit a resume/application after you've met the driving experience portion. I would presume you have lovelife, OTR is not condusive to a healthy relationship. The divorce rate among OTR drivers is high, and women complain of having to live like a widow while husband is gone. When a man has a bad week because load/ freight volume is down, or delays from broken down tractor, or low mileage week had occured, the wife suspects there's little/no $$ because we're seeing another woman while we're out on the road.
    Your 1st year as an OTR driver will be an economic struggle. Contrary to what OTR companies are saying, you'll have good weeks and bad weeks. On a good week, you'll experience minimal delays at the shipper/receiver and loads/ freight volume are consistent. On a bad week, you'll have delays at the docks, resulting in missed pickups/deliveries where you layover until the next day, or over a weekend, because the shipper/receiver had taken too long loading/unloading you at the last stop.
    If it seems I'm trying to discourage you, that is not my intention. I'm trying to paint a realistic picture of what OTR is all about; to mentally prepare you for what you're about to enter.

    Driver recruiters/spokesperson will only accentuate the positive side of trucking, and disregard telling you the negative sides. These people are paid a commission ($300 or more per body) for every driver they sign on. So theres monetary incentive to deceive you. When talking to drivers at the truckstops to get their feedback, be suspicious when they ask for your full name. Some companies give a driver referral bonus; a monetary incentive for drivers to lie and paint a positive picture of the company to convince you to submit an application. As you talk to drivers, take note of signs to indicate they're not getting enough rest. Lack of hygiene/body odor is a clue they're not getting enough time to shower/clean up, because dispatch is overscheduling them. Bags under their eyes, blood shot eyes, and a temperamental attitude are the results of sleep deprivation. Talk to drivers while they're in their truck so you can see if theres a lot of over the counter medicine on the dash, passenger seat, or within easy reach while the driver is driving. The presence of medications are indicative the drivers immune system is down, which is another result of sleep deprivation; often caused by dispatch overscheduling the driver.

    You asked about whats up with reefer operation. Refrigerated trailers is hauling perishables, frozen products, and temperature-sensitive products. Perishable food products will have their unique challenges thats different from dry vans. You'll need to get used to the reefer noise while trying to sleep. Every 2 or 3 hours, you look at the temperature reading to ascertain the trailer's interior environment is in compliance with the manifest, which will say what the temperature be set at during its entire transport. Shippers will include a tattle tale box inside the cargo hold to monitor the trailers temperature. When you arrive at the receiver, they inspect this box to ascertain the trailer stayed within the specified temperature during transport. If the reefer had stopped functioning and temperature had climbed outside parameters specified on the manifest, the receiver will refuse the load, you are dispatched to the nearest terminal, and fired for failure to monitor the temperature while it was under your name.

    Delivering to grocery distribution warehouses (regardless wether its dry van, or reefer) will have their own unique challenges. If all goes well, you arrive, check in with the reciever, then find the lumper foreman, who looks at his clipboard and smiles as he says "why yes, your company does have an account set up with us. You can either wait in the drivers' room, or take a nap in your sleeper; we'll call you when the trailer is empty." On the opposite side of this scenenario; "No, you're not on my list of established accounts. Its $300 to unload your trailer, cash or comchex." DO NOT PAY THE LUMPER IN ADVANCE There had been pass cases when lumpers unloaded a small portion of the trailer, then took off with the driver's $$$ and left 80% (or more) of the freight still in the cargo hold. If he insist on payment in advance, check with the receiver to make sure the lumper is reliable, trustworthy, and receiver will vouch for his credibility, or the receiver will unload if the lumpers takes off and leaves while the job had not been completed.

    The absolute, worst-case scenario-- driver unload. Dispatch will not authorize a lumper, and its 32,000 to 44,000 lbs of freight that must be restacked. If the carrier doesn't guarantee/promise 100% no-touch freight, expect to take 3 hours (or more) manually having to unload the trailer whenever you pickup food or retail merchandise bound for a grocery distribution warehouse.
  8. palerdr

    palerdr Medium Load Member

    Nov 18, 2007
    is your own !! You can read all the posts about other drivers likes or dislikes but the bottom line is to do what's right for you. I pull a reefer in a dedicated division and have no problem what-so-ever. You may not be able to get into a dedicated position until you've gained some otr experience. My advice is to call different companies and ask a million questions. It's difficult to know exactly what you might like right off the bat. It takes some experience to get a better idea.

  9. hendersoncnc

    hendersoncnc Light Load Member

    Oct 28, 2007
    wtf..he never came back to tell us the rest..this newbie
  10. acw

    acw Bobtail Member

    Nov 4, 2007
    wow....quite a post!

    Thanks passingtrucker...!

  11. durrty

    durrty Light Load Member

    May 10, 2008
    thats a good start
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