Thoughts on My First 6 Months OTR Driving

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by DARKNIGHTRUCKER, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. DARKNIGHTRUCKER

    DARKNIGHTRUCKER Light Load Member

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    May 3, 2020
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    So I've survived my first 6 months (more accurately about 6.5 months as of today). It's been an absolute rollercoaster.

    First month I was all nerves and everything that could go wrong , went wrong seemingly. First two weeks constantly on phone asking people how to do xyz. Asking yard drivers for help even though they're busy . I screwed up my very first back to a shipper solo driving and clipped two different objects in the process (no one was harmed) . Thought my driving career was over as soon as it started but I was put on probation. Other wise In the first month I had a ton of trailer problems , got issued an old dusty truck , got lost several times , tons of other crazy things happened but I never hit another tractor or a car . One bright light in the storm of month 1: veteran truck I met at a shop gave me his gps and a ton of tips /pointers .

    Months 2-4 ran a bit smoother . By this point I knew what I was doing enough to sit back and enjoy it a bit. Paychecks became a little more consistent, got a 3 month bonus . Alot more comfortable with my backing skills (although still hating it, GOAL several times in difficult situations). Experienced two different dedicated walmart runs , a north east dedicated run , went to several mid western states , I drove through the town/state I was born in first time in over 20 years . Near month 4 allowed to start running auto parts loads .

    Month 5 I got too complacent in my skills. Stopped GOAL everytime. Got to a auto parts dealer tight lot and clipped a trailer with my small hood mirror thinking I cleared a small space without GOAL to make absolutely sure. I cleared the previous probation , now on another one for the rest of my 1 year contract.

    Been extra cautious ever since , STILL having very close calls in some places even with GOAL (yes i still hate backing ). In my most recent month I've not been running much . I got issued 2nd truck 2 months ago and it's been constantly in and out of the shop. Then I had to return home in the past week to get an issuing error with my CDL corrected and now I'm waiting to be issued a new truck .

    Overall it's been a mixed experience. I blame myself for 90% of the negatives I've experienced , other 10% part of the job or specific problems to my company (that recently got a new CEO and is under change. ) Technically I've made more money in this job that any other job I've had before , but the paychecks vary too much due to getting paid by the mile and being down so often.

    What I like the most about it is the freedom. I don't have managers breathing down my neck , don't have to keep going back to the same place every. I never wake up and feel miserable about work which is huge for me personally. It gets a little lonely sometimes but coming home every month or every other month is okay for me for now. Probably won't be 5-10 years in the future.

    My entire driving class (we were contracted to work for the same company that paid for our driving school ) has already gone to other companies to seek better cpm / more pay, I can't blame them. Due to my situation it's clear I need to finish out the contract and focus on safety while backing particularly. I've gotten offers from other places even with the above mentioned circumstances (no points or DOT recordables) , but this is still probably the best thing to do for my future. Well that and I don't want that contract payment hanging over my head for years in the future if I leave early .

    Hoping the 2nd 6 months goes alot smoother, but that's not saying everything was bad the first half. Just mixed . Me getting a non problematic truck and GOAL every back will go a long way to making that happen .

    I've not talked to alot of truckers in my travels but most of the ones I did seem fairly nice. There's definitely a stigma/stereotype of the mean old trucker but more often than not I've had others leap at the chance of helping me out of nasty situations and I'm thankful to them and anyone here that has helped me with advice .
     
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  3. spindrift

    spindrift Road Train Member

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    Stay the course, driver.
     
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  4. Atlaw4u

    Atlaw4u Medium Load Member

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    Congratulations on surviving your firsy 6 months. Hopefully, the next 6 will be more enjoyable and more rewarding.
     
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  5. BeHereNow97

    BeHereNow97 Light Load Member

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    Sep 15, 2020
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    Where did you go to work for, if you don't mind me asking (you don't have to answer if you don't want to)?

    Good luck to you and glad it's working out good for you so far. Any idea of where you want to go after your year is up and your contract is forgiven/paid off? Do you still want to do OTR, or maybe regional, or maybe LTL or something?
     
  6. sirhwy

    sirhwy Medium Load Member

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    Why did you decide to hit the things you hit?
     
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  7. meechyaboy

    meechyaboy Medium Load Member

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    Congrats, man I’m glad you enjoy the freedom...sounds like trucking got into your blood... all I can say is treat it like a paid internship. Pull into a truck stop and back into a spot every 2-3 hours til you get to the point where it starts to become easy. Don’t get down on yourself. I look at it as I’m still a rookie until I get 5 years exp... I still have yet to run into a driver that has less experience than I have when talking to them..
     
  8. DARKNIGHTRUCKER

    DARKNIGHTRUCKER Light Load Member

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    May 3, 2020
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    Someone told me the more OTR experience you have the better so it'll probably be OTR. The incidents I had will rule me out of the top shelf jobs so I'm not sure where I'll be going . Going to be talking to alot of different companies once my year is up and try to make the best decision after I have alot of information gathered and analyzed.

    At the very least I'm looking for much better cpm and good reviews. Thus far I've only found one company OTR that has good reviews mostly across the board
     
  9. DARKNIGHTRUCKER

    DARKNIGHTRUCKER Light Load Member

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    May 3, 2020
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    First time I was just frustrated after attempting it several times , didn't GOAL, first back to a live load ever by myself . Looking back on it I did not have the skills to do it at the time , should've dropped it elsewhere and asked a yard dog to do it (that backing setup is so awkward I wouldn't even attempt it now).

    Second time was just carelessness and complacency after 4 months of safe driving . I should've GOAL and I just assumed there was enough space for my tractor to clear the trailer.
     
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  10. The Big T

    The Big T Light Load Member

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    Jan 22, 2012
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    Nice read. Thanks for sharing your experience. There is no shame in getting out to look. I'll do it multiple times if I have to. Whether it's in the woods backing up to a chipper or log loader, bumping a dock, or in a truck stop. I'll get out as many times as I see fit and don't give a #### what anyone thinks... And I've driven a long time. Its your record. Protect it. Keep safe, stay sharp and roll on
     
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  11. meechyaboy

    meechyaboy Medium Load Member

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    in your year figure out what you like/ dislike about your company , otr, and most importantly figure out what you want to do next. The sooner you can figure it out the easier it’ll be to tailor a plan to get it
     
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