What I Love & Hate About My Trucking Job

There are things I love about this job and things I hate about it.

Some days I’m reminded most of the things I like best, other days I’m forced to deal with the parts I’d rather not see. And then there are the days where I get to see a little bit of both.

These are my favorite kind of days. They remind me how challenging trucking can be, but also how many awesome things I get to see because of it.

Take this last route I drove from San Diego heading up into southern Oregon, for example.

My day started out like any other. I had spent the night in my truck, but luckily hadn’t parked too far from where the shower facilities were located, so I washed up and got a bite to eat before heading back.

I hopped into my truck and motored around to where I’d take on my load. I helped haul crates of beer on board until I’d fit in everything I needed, then carefully wormed my truck through the others crowded into the lot.

It took some maneuvering, but I was able to get weighed not too much later.

When my weight was cleared, I headed out the gate and onto the streets of sunny San Diego. And boy, was it sunny. I felt like I needed some kind of extra strength sunglasses to keep from squinting at the road.

I’ve done a bit of driving in the San Diego area before, so I knew generally where I was going until it came time for me to head out of the city.

That’s when I powered up the GPS and tapped in my destination. I was headed up the coast to Portland with my haul and I wanted to be sure I took the quickest route available.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I knew it would be a long drive; California’s an awfully big state and I was starting out pretty much at the bottom. I was aiming for somewhere past the northern border. But when the GPS read out the approximate travel time, my jaw just about landed in my lap.

Seventeen and a half hours, it read.

That’s where I had to confront one of my least favorite parts of the job.

I was going to have to spend that perfectly gorgeous day cooped up in the little cab of my giant, noisy truck. Great!

Trucking’s a blast, really it is, but it doesn’t usually involve too many quick trips from here to there. Not for me, anyway.

I thanked my lucky stars I’d stocked up on water before leaving my loading dock and proceeded to the route that the GPS had found for me. I merged into the traffic of I-5 north, where I just sat. And sat. And sat.

That’s where I came face to face with my other least favorite part of the job: the traffic. Especially in some of California’s big cities, the traffic is enough to make me want to pull my hair out.

San Diego proved to be no different. At the best of times, traffic was stop and go, but some of those stops lasted for nearly twenty minutes. What started out as a good day was quickly extending to a longer than expected day.

The flow of traffic didn’t get any better for several miles. But when things finally did improve, boy, was it something to see.

At that point, I was rewarded with one of my favorite parts of the job: sightseeing.

In my days as a trucker, I’ve had to deal with all sorts of bad weather and irritating traffic or equipment that isn’t working right, but it’s all worth it when I think about how many fantastic places I’ve gotten to see on the job.

I’ve crossed rivers and driven through mountain ranges, even parts of the desert.

As the traffic thinned out the further I got from San Diego, I was able to look around a bit and pay more attention to what was waiting for me out the windows.

As long as the drive was, it was just beautiful. I drove along waterways and through national forests, and towards the end, there was so much open country I thought I might get lost in it all.

It was for that reason that what ended up being a twenty-six hour trip to my destination was tolerable, even enjoyable at some times.

There are gorgeous stretches of this country I live in, and if I wasn’t a trucker who dealt with the few downsides of the job I sometimes have to face, I would never have gotten to see half the wonderful sights I’ve seen.

That’s the thought that’s going to keep me going the next time I’m sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, anyway.

Steps To Help You Study And Pass Your CDL Test

Hey guys, what’s up? It’s Moses here at The Driver Success Channel, and today I just want to share with you a few tips on taking your CDL test or if you want to add HAZMAT to Tankers or any other endorsements on your test but I think these tips work also for anyone that is taking any test. These are things that I do to take my tests. I’m making some changes in my life. Ever since I go to my Class A I have never had any endorsements.

I have always hesitated on getting Hazmat or Tankers or doubles or anything like that because I didn’t really feel the need to…. I was okay with what I was doing and I didn’t have the need to but right now I’m making some changes in my life. We are planning on moving in a few weeks from California going to Texas. I’ll be sharing with you more about that in other videos, just letting you know why I’m moving and just keeping you updated on how things are happening.

But today I just want to share with you what I’m doing. Right now I signed up, I set an appointment in a week’s time to be taking my… you see that? I’m studying for…I’m studying for my Hazmat and I’m thinking probably I want to take my Tankers too so what I am doing, I’m going to study for my Hazmat and my Tankers test and take it on Wednesday. So I’m recording this on a Wednesday and next Wednesday I’ll be taking the test.

So what I did is, I just give myself one week. So that’s one of the things. Give yourself time where you’ll be forced to study. Don’t just put it in a place where you say, “Hah, whenever I get to it. No, give yourself a time period. So I put myself in a dilemma and what I did is I went online and set up an appointment to take the test on Wednesday. So that gives me one week of really studying and taking the test.

Now the way I get the time to study is every time I have a stop and they’re unloading me, right now they’re unloading me, I get out my book and I start reading. But here are some of the tips I want to give you, the way I’m doing it, and hopefully, I’ll let you know when if I pass, and I am thinking I will pass. But here is the way I’m doing it. The first thing I did when I started studying is, I went online and I looked for CDL tests for hazardous material, right, so I went through 25 questions, this is before I read anything.

I went through 25 questions just by reading the questions and trying to answer them. Now, some of these tests that were there said, when you answer a question if you get it wrong they’ll let you know you got it wrong and here is the right answer. So I was just doing some guesswork using common sense.

I ended up passing some of the tests, because if you use common sense some of these things you can pass, but anyway, I went through 25 of them. So after going through those 25 questions, I started reading the book. And the reason I have behind doing it that way is, usually with the brain, the way our mind works is it goes in search for answers.

When you want to know something then your mind goes in search for answers. So for me, I think if you have an opportunity to look at the questions before you even start reading, it will create a curiosity within your mind. You will want to know stuff so based on that when you go to read the book you will realize that some of the stuff that you’re finding in the book you remember you saw the question. And then as you read, the book is divided into different sections, if you feel you are tired of reading the book then go back and do some more questions and then come back and read the book and then try not to read for a long time, give yourself breaks.

When you give yourself breaks and let your mind relax a little bit it helps you retain that information. So now I’m almost done with a section for Hazmat. So when I’m done with that section I’m going to go and just concentrate on just taking questions, so most of the days I’m going to be just doing questions. Answer as many questions as you can. Look for as many tests as you can, there are many websites out there that are giving these tests.

What I’ll do, I’ll put a link to some for these tests on the website, driversuccess.com, so that those of you who want to do tests you can find the links in case you’re looking for these practice tests. You go and you just do the practice. Take as many questions as you can concerning whatever you want to do, whether you’re just getting your license or an endorsement. The more questions you answer, the more information you will get.

Now if you realize there are some questions that you continuously fail then you go back and read the grade book. But that’s the plan I’m going to use and hopefully, I will be able to pass the test. I’m thinking, I looked at the section to do with tankers and it looks like it’s a short section so I’m thinking I’m going to read it too and then go and when I get there and realize I can do the tankers too I’ll do both and see what happens. But anyway, it’s the first time that I’m taking…I’m going to add an endorsement to my license.

And the funny thing is, even just reading through the material just makes me realize why I have always not wanted to do this test. But I think with me making this move to Texas I need more opportunities to open up and I just need to become…to look into other areas and see. I don’t want to just always do the same thing. I want to see what’s out there so I want to venture into other areas like Hazmat and see how it is. As I said, I’ll keep you informed.

Anyway, I just wanted to make a video just to catch up with you guys and also let you know what I’m doing, what’s happening in my life and just give you tips on what I’m doing really to pass my CDL. So for those of you out there that are getting your license maybe for the very first time or you are studying for an endorsement or even any other tests you’re studying for, really if you have an opportunity to look at the questions first, read the questions and then when you go to read the book, the material, your mind will kind of be in that state of looking for answers.

And then when you are done with the material just go back and do as many questions as you can so when you get to the test you will already know most of these things.

Alright guys, until next time, stay safe and stay blest. Don’t forget to subscribe in case you haven’t yet. And if you are not part of the Driver Success family, head over to driver success.com, leave your email address so that in case I’m communicating to any of you, I guess I’m communicating to the family, to the community, you can be able to get that communication.

Until next time again,

stay blessed and stay safe.

Bye bye.

In Trucking News Today

Here are some of the trucking stories in today’s news.

Investigators Say Truck Driver Was Driving For 21 Consecutive Hours Before Fatal Crash

http://www.livetrucking.com/investigators-say-truck-driver-involved-fatal-crash-driving-21-hours-straight/PCP and marijuana were also found in his system. Investigators Say Truck Driver Was Driving For 21 Consecutive Hours Before Fatal Crash

 

Autonomous Trucks That Drive in Packs Could Save Time, Fuel, According to MIT

We look at those same metrics, versus sustainability such as cost, energy and environmental impact. This line of research might really turn transportation on its head. Autonomous Trucks That Drive in Packs Could Save Time, Fuel, According to MIT

Truckers Rely on the Pusher to Get Over California’s Donner Summit

http://www.ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=44341With drought-defying snowstorms romping through the Sierra on a weekly basis, truckers once again are discovering how tough California’s Interstate 80 Donner Pass can be. Truckers Rely on the Pusher to Get Over California’s Donner Summit

 

Trucking makes Montana holidays possible – The Missoulian

http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/columnists/trucking-makes-montana-holidays-possible/article_a0dda56c-2a10-5fc8-a053-790f2a33ed98.htmlTrucking makes Montana holidays possibleWhen more than 100 million drivers are on the road this season – as AAA forecasted for year-end holidays last year – they’ll be driving alongside nearly 3.5 million professional truck drivers, with 6,210 drivers in Montana alone. Trucking makes Montana holidays possible – The Missoulian

Online Courses May Benefit Drivers and Truck Stop Employees

http://www.gobytrucknews.com/online-courses-benefit/123You can access them here. On the truck driving side, Carrier’s Edge is a technology company that offers online training designed to translate complex regulations into real-world context that drivers understand. Online Courses May Benefit Drivers and Truck Stop Employees

Fleet Owner’s Top 10 photo galleries of 2016

http://fleetowner.com/fleet-management/fleet-owner-s-top-10-photo-galleries-2016Throughout the year, Fleet Owner has the opportunity to attend various events, visit manufacturers and fleets, and witness the unveiling of the newest trucks and technologies. Oftentimes, these opportunities produce some great photographs that our editors turn into galleries. Here is a look at the 10 most popular photo galleries appearing on the Fleet Owner website in 2016. To see the individual galleries, click the link in the caption. Fleet Owner’s Top 10 photo galleries of 2016

Hours-of-service moves into #2 in the ATRI list

http://bulktransporter.com/regulations/hours-service-moves-2-atri-listSignificant negative impacts on the industry have been documented by numerous sources due to the 34-hour restart provisions first implemented in July 2013. In 2013, ATRI found that 80% of motor carriers indicated a loss of productivity directly attributable to the now-suspended rules, and driver pay impacts were estimated to range from $1.6 billion to $3.9 billion annually. Hours-of-service moves into #2 in the ATRI list

 

The Perfect Gift For A Truck Driver’s Family

The holiday season is here.

It’s the season we all want to give and get gifts. You may or may not already know what gift you plan to give to your loved ones. Either way, I want to suggest a gift I believe your family and friends will love.

Since you know your family and friends better than I do, it will be up to you to tailor the gift and make it perfect in your own way.

As truck drivers, one of the challenges we face is, getting quality time with the people we love.

For over the road truck drivers, you are away for days or even weeks from home at a time. For us who do local work, we put in a lot of hours. Most of us, work sees us more than home.

So, what is the perfect gift we can give to our family and friends?

THE GIFT OF EXPERIENCE

Giving material presents is good. If you can, please do give them.

BUT, I’m going to ask that you only give them in addition to the gift of experience. Since time with our loved ones is a challenge in this career, l challenge you to invest more in planning to spend A LOT of time with them this holiday season.

Don’t just spend time with them.

Invest in making the time spent with them memorable. That is what I’m referring to as the gift of experience. For the time to be an experience, it doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to be memorable.

And, for it to be memorable, you are going to have to think hard about how to make it happen. You can (and should) even think about it in different aspects.

Think about;

  • Things you can do with your spouse.
  • Things you can do with your children
  • Things you can do together as a family

What are the things you can do with your spouse (alone) this holiday season that you haven’t been able to do?

What can you do with your children (especially if they are still young) that will leave them talking about the experience till next holiday?

Do you get the idea?

It’s amazing to me how much “small” things can mean a lot and make an impact.

One of the ways I come up with ideas of things to do with my family is by always listening to what my wife says (my daughter is still young to tell me what she likes) during conversations.

These may be things she wishes for or things we have done in the past that she remembers. The way she talks about them can give me clues on what she likes and what to plan for.

As men (most truck drivers are) we tend to think logically. We want things to make sense. We buy stuff for our wives and children assuming these will communicate our love for them. And to some extent they do.

But, love is mostly communicated through totally availing ourselves to them NOT things. Through creating memorable experiences with them NOT things.

The memories we have about our loved ones are the experiences we shared with them NOT the things we had with them.

So, I’m asking you to take some time and plan for the GIFT OF EXPERIENCE. Because if it’s going to be memorable, it’s going to take some thought and planning.

I wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY HOLIDAY EXPERIENCE with your loved ones.

If you take my suggestion, I would love to hear about your experience after the holidays.

Until next time,

Stay Safe!

Winter Driving Tips For Truck Drivers

Winter is almost here and driving a truck is not for the faint hearted. It needs a person of character, strength and prime physical fitness to sit behind the steering wheel of an 18 wheeler.

Driving a truck during winter weather can be a real challenge. It needs 100% alertness, courage, experience and above all professionalism. This is because, it is not only your life that is at stake, but so many other drivers and passengers on the road.

Prior to getting on the road especially during winter, it would be appropriate to call upon your experience and professionalism as a truck driver to ensure that you reach your destination safely.

You want to be satisfied that in no way has your actions been responsible for the unfortunate actions of others on the road. You are the professional driver. Others on the road with you may not be displaying the kind of professionalism expected from you.

So, here are a few tips to help you.

Check the weather conditions

Prior to starting your trip, it is important that you check with the relevant authorities, radio and weather reports, so that you know what sort of weather you could expect between your departure point and destination.

Check your truck

A thorough check of your truck should be executed by none other than yourself. This is because you will be the one behind the steering wheel with the responsibility to reach your intended destination safely.

Every documentation and accessories (like chains) you would need to keep your truck within the laws of the State and safely on the road should be with you without any wanting.

Keep your truck clean and visible.

Windows, mirrors, headlights and rear lights should all be well cleaned and in perfect working order. Because with visibility down in winter, it is not only you who should be able to see the road ahead, but other drivers should be able to see you too.

Also, keep in mind that driving with your lights on even during the day time, helps others see you.

Wear appropriate clothing.

Carry appropriate clothing that you would require if you have to stay an extended period of time on the road between the two points of your intended trip. It is not unusual for emergencies that lead to road closures to occur during the winter.

Keep your fuel tank full.

Try to keep your fuel tank filled up as much as possible. This will help to ensure that if you get stranded on the road due to an emergency, you will have enough fuel to keep your engine running to provide you with the heat to keep you warm.

Also, Keep a good supply of water, beverages and snacks in your truck for such emergencies.

Driving on slippery roads

Driving on slippery roads requires defensive slow driving and careful maneuvering.

Keep your truck in the right slow lane.

Drive without making sudden lane changes or quick braking stops.

Keep a very safe distance between you and the vehicles in front of you.

Driving at a moderate speed will make you a safe driver and get you to your destination safe and sound.

Stay Safe!