Ive been posting on this site since attempting to obtain my CDL permit, so it's only right I share my experience at my first gig with ya.
I came on board on a Team Driver dedicated run. The fact that I was allowed to be home for 7 days after 3 weeks was the hook AND that I had a guy who was driving solo who swore we would make a good team and good money. And that was where it all begun to spiral down! I'm 55 my partner is 22, I wanted to work and learn the ropes, this kid thought of us as a marriage, increadibly needy and talking like a 22 year old of which I have no tolerance with. I attempting to set the boundaries with this kid, he jumped ship after 3 days! I had the option to go home and wait for him to "come back" (he claimed his grandfather is dying) or go solo. I chose solo, which turned out to be a good thing cause before the week was out he was hinting about coming off the Team Account.
My first mistake was taking for granted that this kid was going to be with me so when it came time to read the tablet showing my next load I was lost outside of an address. One mistake snowballed into 2 and before you know it I was getting jammed on the table, backing up into the docks looked nothing like the ones I practiced on. Thge anount of space I had made it nearly impossible for me to manevuer. This, and the fact that other truckers was waiting for me to get out the way only increased my anxieties. I also learned that the trucks have numerous sensors and according to my supervisors I was driving to fast, breaking too hard, veering out of my lane, allowing cars and trucks to get too near me AND had several "collision warning" lights come on. I'm not done, because the company GPS only reflected the final destination, I had no way of knowing when and where a truck stop would be coming up and when I would see one I would exit to use the bathroom/eat only to waste 45min-1 hoour having to park. When it was time to shup down and I would drive into a Love's/Pilot I wouldnt find any parking and if I did it would be soo tight that I would decide to get back on the road and find another only to find the next one worse than the previous.
In total, I was out 3 weeks alone, got a ticket for avoiding a weigh station (had to be escorted back and inspected as a result), ran a red light (camara caught that one cause I chose not slam my breaks and get yet another "critical event". And last but not least, had the 70 hour clock sneak on me where I had to pull over after only 4 hours driving. Thought to myself well this is it for the next 35 hours only to be awakened around midnight having to move because the spot was reserved, as a result my trailer took off the front end of the one parked on the left of me pulling out.
It has been a terrible experience and I am completely ashamed of my performance. I was told I would have to reapply for another position because the account I was on is for a team. I have done so and am in the process of awaiting for a transfer. I am also at home reading and re-reading the manual on how to work the tablet. I swore that if given another chance I will not go any faster than 63, make my curves at 35-40 and make a better attempt to plan my trip before leaving ( bought a GPS).
Anyway, writing this has only depressed me even more, nevermind that I have spared you the little things that would happen regularly. I try to find comfort in knowing, as I have been told that this is all "new guy" stuff but it is hard, real hard. I have new found respect for all of you and desire to, at least have a sense of direction as to what I'm doing rather than driving on impulse while reading a GPS....
My first run experience.....HORRIBLE!
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If you can pick yourself up and get on with it. You’ll be a better driver for it.
My personal biggest lesson over the years is to take my time and not be in a hurry. I find I can make lots of mistakes when I rush things.
From everything you just posted........you have NO BUSINESS running solo right now. You need a minimum of 4-6 weeks with a TRAINER. Talk to your DM about getting proper training. You are going to end up getting into trouble you do not need, end up without a job and UNHIRABLE.
Buy an atlas from the truckstop and learn how to read it. It’ll help you trip plan more than any GPS will. And won’t put you down any roads you’re not supposed to be. You still can end down then just you won’t be blindly following a gps.
Download Google earth- Has a globe satellite view so you can see and plot out a path Into either town or customers. It’ll help you visualize it.
Download truckers path- it has a map of most places trucks can fuel, shower, park and it show parking availability.. not 100% correct on parking but you can see parking lot size and plot from there.
When planning Assume your rate of travel to be 50 mph so if you come up with your route being 500 miles assume 10 hours for driving. Highway speed is 65 you may do 60 but assume 50mph to account for traffic/accidents.
Also account for a 15-30 min stop every 5 hours gives you time to stretch, eat, bathroom.
You can do them whenever long as you account for them.
If your doing live loads/unloads assume 2 hours for those.
Drop and hooks assume 30-45mins to drop, hook and pretrip the trailer. Don’t be the guy that picks up the trailer with bald tire, and no lights.
Everytime you stop for your 15-30 min break try to back into a spot, work on your setup. The better you can setup the easier the back will be. Lastly lines are going to pile up ... they can wait. They all went through it.. do not hit anything cause you felt pressured even with a line get out and look to make sure you’re clear. Even with a spotter get out and look because you hit something they won’t blame the spotter it’ll be your a-~.Take your time do it right.
good advice ^^^
everything in the above post should have been taught to you by the CDL class or by the company orientation or by the guy you were running with .
and if it’s a tight space to back into. Don’t be afraid to ask another driver if they will spot for you. some will say no, but most will help.
I once pulled in to a place and got a dock door assigned, pulled down and while driving past it I could tell there was just not enough space to do it.
So I drive back to the shipping office and tell them and they said just find another door and come tell us which one you’re at. I found one which had plenty of room. And while walking back to the shipping office I see a driver attempting to back into the dock door I was originally assigned and right as I was walking by he hits the cab of the truck in the next dock.
if you didn’t get fired for all the stuff you wrote about, stick with them for a while.
They obviously didn’t give you the training you needed but with a few “incidents “ you may not get another job offer.Last edited: Apr 20, 2021
Get the 'Trucker Path App' on your phone to find truck stops and rest areas.
Start your day early so you can end it early. Parking usually isn't an issue if you can end your day before 5pm.
If a parking spot says reserved then either pay for the spot or don't park there because they'll wake you up in the middle of the night every time.
Heck of a way to start a new career!
This, too shall pass. Look at all you've learned in 3 weeks! Take your time, don't let others get in your wheelhouse, and make you nervous, and Get Out And Look often.
I will guarantee you everyone who responds here has had similar incidents when they first started out. Maybe not all at once, but they've had them.
Have your C/B on when you are backing up at all times the driver sitting in his or her truck next to where you are backing into may give you help to yell stop before you hit his truck or trailer, just get on out to ck. as much as you need to keep from hitting any/thing?
Try not to beat yourself up and hang in there. Everyone was a rookie once, we all have made mistakes.... It will get easier over time, and less stressful. Take your time, take it slow and easy. If you feel that you need more training, ask to retrain with someone.
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