Truck Driver

Lace em up

Woodpecker
If anyone is interested in becoming a truck driver you can ask me anything.

Ive recently climbed back into a semi after my small business was decimated by unforeseen events, and am earning a modest living driving the interstates and highways of america.

Trucking is an industry that has a fairly low bar for entry and you can make a decent living. You are not hounded by your boss, so long as you do your job, and you get to live on the road. It's more of a lifestyle than a job and that cannot be overstated.

As long as you dont have any recent DUI or a pile of serious traffic violations, and you can pee in a cup, you can get your CDL and start a new career. You can earn your CDL while getting paid to train. You can start on Monday. (21+ for interstate)

As with most things in life, its about maintaining a proper mindset. Giving up and quitting is very common with new drivers and the industry has a 150% turnover rate because men today are weak and fail to do that.

In the past Ive worked many aspects of trucking, so if anyone has any questions, and wants the straight truth, dont hesitate. Id be happy to help.
 

monsquid

Kingfisher
Can you talk about hot shot trucking? I watched a bunch of Youtube videos on it and it seems like it's easier to own your car and schedule and make just as much money as semi trucking.
 

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Woodpecker
monsquid said:
Can you talk about hot shot trucking? I watched a bunch of Youtube videos on it and it seems like it's easier to own your car and schedule and make just as much money as semi trucking.

Dont know much about hotshot. Dont think they use cars tho. The ones I see use F-350s or other large dually pickups and pull trailers, hauling cars or construction equipment or whatever.

There are companies that escort oversize trucks/loads. That could be a good business. They always seem to run ragged equipment tho, so who knows.
 

eradicator

Peacock
Gold Member
Aren't you worried about being made redundant by robot driving trucks in the very near future? This would seem to be the last job a young man with potential would want to get started on at this point in time.
 

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Woodpecker
eradicator said:
Aren't you worried about being made redundant by robot driving trucks in the very near future? This would seem to be the last job a young man with potential would want to get started on at this point in time.

No.

Any man presented with a better opportunity should take it.
 
I do have a question that’s tangentially related. On the West Coast there are many renewable natural gas stations, and many of the drivers seem to prefer it to diesel. Are you seeing that concept spread around the country or is it mostly confined to specific regions like the coast? Lots of the trucks out here are being refitted or built with RNG-compliant engines, including large fleets of heavy duty trucks.
 

C-Note

Ostrich
Gold Member
Lace em up said:
In the past Ive worked many aspects of trucking, so if anyone has any questions, and wants the straight truth, dont hesitate. Id be happy to help.

What do you do if you show up at the destination/recipient and they tell you that their forklift operator is out sick and ask you if you'll unload your truck for them?

Also, how common is it for rival truck drivers to sabotage each other like in this video?:

 

Aizen

Kingfisher
What's your long-term plan?

In 10 - 20 years (possibly even sooner), trucks will be fully automated.

What will you do for work after this is widespread?
 

qwertyuiop

Woodpecker
Seems like a good gig if you are laid off right now and have nothing else going on and still need to put food on the table.

Get some audiobooks and drive until the economy improves.
 

Nemausus

Woodpecker
Gold Member
Thanks for starting this thread, Lace em up.

I've begun thinking about making a career change into trucking. At first it was just a vague idea, but it keeps crossing my mind and now find myself doing research into which companies and programs in Canada offer the best training and driver development programs.

I've been mostly working from home (corporate office freelance stuff) for the better part of a decade. It has given me a lot of freedom to travel internationally, but it lacks stability. After years of working from home, the idea of re-entering corporate setting with HR, office politics and all that nonsense isn't particularly appealing, even if it means more stability.

Recently had to do a 3,500KM / 36 hour drive across Canada, from Alberta to Western Quebec as quickly as possible. I was driving at odd hours. There were truck stops where I parked for some rest where I had the only passenger vehicle. I enjoyed the experience, which surprised me and it's what has got me thinking about trucking as a career. I liked seeing the varying landscapes and listening to the many different radio stations across North America. Having said that, I was driving a car, so the experience was totally different than driving a loaded truck on deadline.

Reading r/trucking, it seems like a lot of truckers are born into the life. They have a father or uncle or brother who did it and they followed in those footsteps. I'm from a family of office workers. I was always, by default, put onto that kind of career path. The trades or something like trucking was never on my radar. It's a totally foreign world to me.

The city I was living in for the past two years is a major trucking hub and has a low cost of living. I could become a homeowner and build some wealth fairly quickly if I could make this career work for me.

I was thinking that the next step would be to get in touch with a local trucking association and see what they have to say about training and career development. Maybe when this lock downs end, I can visit some job fairs and talk to recruiters.

If you've got any advice or words of caution for those of us considering this career, I'd love to hear it.
 

Lace em up

Woodpecker
MichaelWitcoff said:
I do have a question that’s tangentially related. On the West Coast there are many renewable natural gas stations, and many of the drivers seem to prefer it to diesel. Are you seeing that concept spread around the country or is it mostly confined to specific regions like the coast? Lots of the trucks out here are being refitted or built with RNG-compliant engines, including large fleets of heavy duty trucks.

I see some RNG stations on the east coast and throughout the midwest. Saw one today and noticed the sign said $1.22. Diesel has dropped significantly recently, so not sure how that will affect that market.

They say, back in the day when trucks ran on gasoline the diesel engine came along and within a few short years, dominated the industry.
 

Lace em up

Woodpecker
Kona said:
What's your cb radio handle?

Aloha!

Always wondered what truck driving is like on Hawaii.

I run a cb but rarely talk into it. I will use it to call out accidents or stopped traffic.

Im a company driver, which means I dont own my own truck. I was issued a brand new truck. It took me 2 days to peel the plastic off of everything.
 

Lace em up

Woodpecker
C-Note said:
Lace em up said:
In the past Ive worked many aspects of trucking, so if anyone has any questions, and wants the straight truth, dont hesitate. Id be happy to help.

What do you do if you show up at the destination/recipient and they tell you that their forklift operator is out sick and ask you if you'll unload your truck for them?

Also, how common is it for rival truck drivers to sabotage each other like in this video?:


Interesting question. I havent been asked to unload a truck yet, unless it was a dollar store account that I signed up for once. Id probably put on gloves and unload it, with forklift, for extra pay.

Sabotage is not a common occurrence, but it can happen. There are a lot of disgruntled drivers out there and they could be looking to get revenge on the company you drive for.

That video is a good reminder of what could easily happen and to take the 5 seconds to make sure your 5th wheel lock is engaged. There are other acts of sabotage to look out for but thats the biggie.
 

Lace em up

Woodpecker
JiggyLordJr said:
What's your long-term plan?

In 10 - 20 years (possibly even sooner), trucks will be fully automated.

What will you do for work after this is widespread?

There are so many obstacles for self driving trucks in the real world that I dont see it happening on a large scale any time soon.

There are federal regulations that require a human to perform under certain situations. Im sure the corporations will find a way around those regulations, but it will take time.

The trucking industry as a whole is not set up for any kind of disruption. Everything runs on a schedule and drivers are expected to make minor repairs and do what needs to be done to deliver on time. You cant program a truck to say "fuck it, I'll fix that after I get unloaded."

I'm not denying the eventual automation of trucks. Its just that I see it as a long way off and when it does roll out, in the real world, there will be set backs.

These trucks already have lots of "driver assistance" stuff on them and mostly its useless garbage. I see the "collision warning" light up every couple of days. Its picking up a stopped car on the shoulder or an overpass or even road signs at times. I'd hate to think an automated truck would be locking up its brakes everytime it sees a guardrail.
 

Lace em up

Woodpecker
qwertyuiop said:
Seems like a good gig if you are laid off right now and have nothing else going on and still need to put food on the table.

Get some audiobooks and drive until the economy improves.

Listening to "Call of the Wild" at the moment. You can download audiobooks from your local library or by them on Audibles.

There is time to kill on the road. If you were disciplined with your time you could take online courses. Some courses require proctored exams and that can be a challenge. Inform your professor that you are an OTR truck driver, they get a kick out of it.
 

Lace em up

Woodpecker
Nemausus said:
Thanks for starting this thread, Lace em up.

I've begun thinking about making a career change into trucking. At first it was just a vague idea, but it keeps crossing my mind and now find myself doing research into which companies and programs in Canada offer the best training and driver development programs.

I've been mostly working from home (corporate office freelance stuff) for the better part of a decade. It has given me a lot of freedom to travel internationally, but it lacks stability. After years of working from home, the idea of re-entering corporate setting with HR, office politics and all that nonsense isn't particularly appealing, even if it means more stability.

Recently had to do a 3,500KM / 36 hour drive across Canada, from Alberta to Western Quebec as quickly as possible. I was driving at odd hours. There were truck stops where I parked for some rest where I had the only passenger vehicle. I enjoyed the experience, which surprised me and it's what has got me thinking about trucking as a career. I liked seeing the varying landscapes and listening to the many different radio stations across North America. Having said that, I was driving a car, so the experience was totally different than driving a loaded truck on deadline.

Reading r/trucking, it seems like a lot of truckers are born into the life. They have a father or uncle or brother who did it and they followed in those footsteps. I'm from a family of office workers. I was always, by default, put onto that kind of career path. The trades or something like trucking was never on my radar. It's a totally foreign world to me.

The city I was living in for the past two years is a major trucking hub and has a low cost of living. I could become a homeowner and build some wealth fairly quickly if I could make this career work for me.

I was thinking that the next step would be to get in touch with a local trucking association and see what they have to say about training and career development. Maybe when this lock downs end, I can visit some job fairs and talk to recruiters.

If you've got any advice or words of caution for those of us considering this career, I'd love to hear it.

People from all walks of life find themselves driving a truck. Its always an option to drive a truck for only a few years to pay down debt or buy a house.

A word of caution, it does "get in your blood" and you might find yourself driving a truck the rest of your life. When I got back on the road after a 2 year hiatus, I did feel a powerful sense of being back at home on the road.

Living near a large trucking hub is advantageous. Job hopping is not really recommended but is pretty common in trucking. Also, being able to make quick, unscheduled stops for the night, at your home, is a luxury.

I see many Canadian trucks down here in the states and they are noticeably well kept trucks. I get the impression Canadian trucking companies are top notch.

Choose a starting company wisely. Stay there a year or two and make the switch to a better company, or niche field. Job hopping is frowned upon by certain employers, such as fuel or chemical haulers. They lay out thousands to train you for specific tasks so want to know you might stick around a while.

Id also add that learning during the spring/summer months is ideal. Its better to become comfortable driving without ice and snow to deal with. Theres plenty of spring summer storms. Today I witnessed the destruction (aftermath) from the tornadoes that ravaged the south in the US, but winter storms are especially challenging for truckers.
 

Kona

Crow
Gold Member
Lace em up said:
Always wondered what truck driving is like on Hawaii.

Lotsa traffic and you don't go very far...

I wanted to be a trucker after college, but didn't. It fascinates me. I knew guys in my later Navy years that got paid big bucks to drive in Iraq. Those days are over.

Can you push your speed, or is the truck governed?

With apps and whatnot, do you get tickets?

Do you call cops "smokey" or does everyone call them "bears" nowadays?

Aloha!
 

Lace em up

Woodpecker
I wouldnt mind traffic so much if I had a coconut drink with a little umbrella to sip on while I waited.

Cant imagine driving in Iraq. I saw a video once.

My truck is governed at 68. A lot of trucks are governed between 65-70. Only once drove an ungoverned truck. That was down in Texas where the speed limit is 80 MPH. Everywhere else, being governed definitely helps to keep your license. "Georgia Overdrive" is rolling downhill in neutral.

Google Maps warns of speed traps and seems fairly accurate. Ive heard there are other, more trucker focused apps, but havent really messed with them much. Truckers Path used to be free but now its like $8 a month. It was helpful, I may pay for it. Too many apps can be a distraction. I have a trucker dedicated Garmin GPS but I didn't bring it on this trip. Figured I would use the trucks navigation but that was a mistake.

I always call out the bears over the cb. "Big bear" or a "Full grown" is state police. "County mounty", or just "bear" is a county or town police car. "Full grown hard at work at the 217 yard stick there northbound" would mean state police has someone pulled over at mile marker 217 on the northbound side. A "bear in the grass" means hes sitting. A "plain wrapper" is an unmarked police car. "Chicken coop" is a weight station.
 
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