Friends, having been a member for a while before getting my cdl, I've learned buckets of good solid knowledge from many great folks here.
My turn to return that favor, in some small part.
Anyone considering hauling fuel, here's some valuable lessons...
Fuel haulers are a pretty tight bunch.
Help is never more than a phone call away.
Those gorilla gloves are ugly as sin, and a bear to dry out, but great after breaking them in...
Develop a standard sequence of actions and be consistent with it.
Drop diesel first. And by itself.
Check, double check, and then check one more time, before pulling that valve open.
Full chambers are much easier to roll with than under filled ones.
Pull down every chance you get.
Verify your diesel isn't dyed red...and the last guy didn't leave dye in the line
Loading racks are like ice cream... Some are great, others suck, and brain freeze happens.
When you're not absolutely sure of the action you're about to take, stop. Start over from the beginning, validate each step, in order, and be absolutely sure you're spot on.
E10 and clear are not the same.
Mini vans and sports cars are the most dangerous... SUVs a close second...
That space cushion you keep before you? Double it with a tanker... Most trucks can swerve to avoid a threat... We can't... That slosh will roll you fast, quick, and in a hurry.
FR gear is pricey, and how helpful it is is debatable.
Make friends with dispatch. Your wallet will thank you come payday.
Mistakes happen. Be honest. Own them. Most are fixable, with prompt action and truth.
Be respectful with everyone.
Smile when interacting with others, even if you're having a day from hell. You will likely see them again.
Folks may not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel... Every time...
Be the one that brings happiness when you show up, instead of when you leave.
Things I have learned while being a gas hauler
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If you ever get an opportunity to get in with a small local carrier...I'd say at least give them a look. I've worked for 2 larger companies that are sprawled across the Southeast. This past Sept, I got on with a small company. We have 3 tractor trailers and 2 straight trucks...one of which the boss uses.
#1 There's no slip seating. I'm the only one that uses my truck
#2 We don't work weekends or holidays (I am guaranteed a set minimum salary weekly)
#3 Most of our customers are government agencies such as school bus shops, city/county maintenance shops and law enforcement agencies. The rest are other institutions with on-site fuel pumps, such as sanitation companies, road construction companies, rock quarries, and other company bulk plants. Only about 10% of our loads are gas stations.
When most carriers are slow...like it is this time of year, we remain steady.
You're correct about most drivers being tight knit. At our local terminal, pretty much everybody knows each other and most of us have nearly every other driver's phone number. If I don't know a name...I at least know their face and truck.
I've trained my share of drivers how to haul fuel. One of the biggest and likely most important things you left off your list...DO NOT WORK DISTRACTED. I've seen 30 year veterans screw up when they get distracted.
Most big companies now have nanny systems to track truck speed via GPS and forward facing cameras that actually can detect speed limit signs on the side of the road. If you break the speed limit...you get a visit from the safety man.
Also, if an owner/op wants to pull for some of these companies and be covered by that company's insurance, they have to have GPS tracking installed and their road speed governed with documents to show it. Most are capped at 65mph. I likely won't ever go back to a big company if I can help it.
Look at load visualize how you Are going to load it
It may help to write it down but before you step out to load have a plan. If the rack allows you to drain down always drain down no excuse. Every hauler has had a interaction with the scully but in the event that you do scully they will see you on cameras draining down. Always protect yourself while loading also. If you don’t have to max out a compartment don’t. if you have a split load the stop you’re doing first at the rear of your trailer.. after you load a compartment put the hog nose on immediately to prevent trying to load into that compartment accidentally.. before you click yes on are you sure you want to load such and such and say arm x is connected to compartment x then go to the screen and verify.. if you every get caught loading a split at inventory say you get one load on then the computers go down.. disconnect all arms and cap what’s loaded... prevents you from loading into a compartment you loaded already again.
Get everybody on nights number and ask all of em individually how to do it and pick the easiest way.. get some day driver numbers to cause every now and then their work might get pushed on you.. nobody on nights would have heard of it and a day guy will walk you right in there in their sleep. Don’t call nobody at to crazy of a time though.
If you are new meaning under 6 mos with tanker. Drop one hose at a time please... don’t overwhelm yourself..you may be slower but it’s not a race. Speed is gained with knowledge..
but always get your off product off first. Diesel first if possible then premium then regular.
Before you pull a handle yell product x follow your line tell tank x.. some people move the fitting first then the compartment(best way as if you pull a handle on a empty compartment no harm) but some people do it the other way... regardless before you pull the handle yell each one out and follow your line.. whatever distractions are around you don’t matter there’s no reason to cross drop!!
If loaded with a split only uncap what you are doing at that station. Still odd product first... if I have more than one product. I like to get all my hoses set up before I pull a handle
Unless I just have gas and diesel .. I’ll drop my diesel first so I don’t have to cap my hoses afterwards.
Also cones cones cones... put them out as people are stupid and your most common excuses are “my bad I wasn’t thinking” or my personal favorite “I didn’t even see the truck”...
Be aware and proactive gotta speak up if you even think somebody is about to to something stupid...cause if given the chance they will.
Lastly as you learn the stations pull in and park to protect yourself.. some people fly into stations even with the truck there.. if the situation allows #### your truck or trailer so even if that was to happen they wouldn’t have a straight line at you... and also try to position so that you are working facing the station.. that way if anything happens it’s on camera
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