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So…on with the real world of driving after school. What can you expect that first time out? Well, that first truck driving job will be a learning process.
When You Take Your First Truck Driving Job
Once school is done and you get hired on to a company that you have chosen, you will go to orientation. Some places will fly you or rent you a car. You can take your own car, but you must remember that, if you have no one to drive it home, it will sit there until you get done with the driver trainer. For our first job together, we went to Werner Ent. for 8 months. We were in orientation for 4 days.
You will have to fill out paperwork, go over the rules and regulations of the company, get your badges, learn about the sat-com, and take a tour of the place. You will have to have another drug test and a DOT physical. You sometimes have to pass a few strength tests as well, just to make sure you can get under your trailer, go in and out of the trailer, and lift the chains. You will also have to wait for your background check, your DMV report, and your references. Finally, you will be taken out to one of the trucks for a road test.
The Driver Trainer: Your First Mentor
Once all this is done and you pass everything with the company, you will be assigned a dispatcher and a driver trainer. Sometimes it takes a day or two to get the driver trainer routed to where you are to pick you up. You will be out with them for a while to get some road time under you before you become a first-seat driver. If you have any problems with your driver trainer, and you feel it will put you at risk, you need to make sure you call someone or talk to someone about it. In most cases, you should call either your dispatcher, a manager at the company, or your student advocate. Do not let them make you do something you feel is unsafe. Safety really is a big thing. Do NOT let your driver trainer take advantage of you.
Sanitation is another big issue with some driver trainers. If something is unsanitary, then you must tell someone (one of the same people mentioned above). I have heard that some driver trainers have had buckets to poop and pee in, and that is the biggest no-no. Some will not stop for showers. Please don’t let this happen to you. Speak up if it happens.
Time Is Of The Essence
Another thing you must remember as a new driver is your driving time. If you have time to pick up a load or drop off a load, then do it. Calculate your time. If you have a smart phone look up the Trucker Path app. It will have all the truck stops in it, so you can plan your stops. It will show you where all the rest stops, Wal-Marts, and weigh stations are at. If you do not have enough time to pick up a load and get to a safe place to shut down due to your hours of service, you need to stress that to dispatch. Always message by satcom, even if you call them, because it will save your butt.
Put Things In Writing (Or, CYA)
Ensure that you put in writing that you do not have enough time, and why. If you have nasty weather, snow, or high winds that are too much for your load, and it is unsafe for you to continue, then you put it in writing that it is unsafe. The reason this is so important is because you will, at some time in your career, get a dispatcher that will be pushy and disrespectful. Don’t let them treat you that way. You are the captain of your ship. You know what is dangerous and what isn’t. You are in charge of your safety and the public’s safety.
We have seen so many things with today’s new drivers. Have fun with this job, look at the scenery and stay safe. Tallyhoe……..