- January 24, 2017 at 11:09 pm #253
Ask a current, seasoned dry van CDL big rig 18 wheel driver whatever questions that you need answered, right here.
Our expert CDL drivers are very well vetted, experience-wise, and exceptionally knowledgeable about all facets of the truck driving career, so don’t worry about getting great advice.
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Red Viking TruckerJanuary 29, 2017 at 4:01 pm #280
What are the advantages to pulling a dry van rather than flatbed, reefer, or tanker?January 29, 2017 at 4:23 pm #282
Thanks for the question. I think there are numerous reasons to pull a dry van, especially new CDL drivers. There are more driving opportunities for dry van drivers since the majority of trailers and trucking companies pull dry vans. Dry vans require the least attention from drivers. This allows new drivers to concentrate on learning the job of CDL driver, and learning to live on the road while working. Many of the skills and techniques you learn as a dry van driver apply to any other types of driving (flatbed, tanker, doubles, etc.). You have to learn to “scale your load”, or adjust the trailer tandems so the weight of truck & cargo are distributed legally and safely. You learn to maneuver your truck on the interstate highways and the rural highways and city streets. You learn the common procedures at shippers/receivers for getting loaded or unloaded. You will likely be taught the methods for communicating with your company, such as with Qualcomm or PeopleNet terminals inside your truck. Some companies, such as with small fleets, may not use anything more advanced than a cellphone or fax machine to communicate information and send/receive shipping paperwork. Most fleets are now using Qualcomm or PeopleNet terminals inside the truck to dispatch, track Hours of Service, send directions, verify your paycheck. You will learn to use this device quickly and for many different things.
In short, I recommend new CDL drivers consider dry vans to start. Chances are there is a trucking company near your hometown with dry vans that needs drivers. I always prefer you investigate trucking companies near you before you widen your net and look at large national companies. The gold standard of investigating a trucking company is talking to current drivers. However, I would also prefer a good local flatbed or reefer company you know very well over a large national dry van company you don’t know much about. The secret to success for drivers in this industry is a good fit between company and driver. If it fits for you it doesn’t matter much if other drivers don’t like that company for their reasons.
Good luck.January 29, 2017 at 4:55 pm #283
Should I look for a company that allows me to park my truck at home?January 29, 2017 at 5:09 pm #284
Bringing the truck home can be a blessing or a curse. Depending on whether you live in a rural area or a more city/suburban area it can make life easier or cause more problems. Just because you see a commercial truck parked somewhere doesn’t mean you can do so safely or without getting a ticket. Many neighborhoods & cities prohibit commercial vehicles being parked in them. Your Home Owners Association almost certainly frowns on parking your truck in your driveway or beside your house. Remember, it’s not a matter if you have room and if YOU are OK with parking the truck, it’s about the rules & regulations that govern the property you propose to park on. I’ve seen new drivers park in a nearby shopping center or big-box store for a few weeks/months before eventually getting a ticket. It’s still somewhat rare, but some property owners like big box stores or shopping centers are now putting boots on vehicles in addition to tickets.
I’ve had the good fortune for all of my trucking career to get home almost every weekend, or more often now, and to work for companies that are an easy drive (15 minutes to an hour) from my house. When my work is done the truck is left with the company and their mechanics. The truck is given its maintenance while I am home. I don’t have to spend time during the week waiting around a shop, burning daylight, waiting to get back on the road. Many truck stops these days are a lot less like the old-style and more like convenience stores with a fast-food restaurant inside. Being kicked out of the truck for half a day, or more, is not helping you make money during the week. I’d prefer to buy a used car, if necessary, and drive to/from the trucking company terminal or yard. You don’t need much of a car to drive once every week or three.
An alternative to leaving the truck at your terminal or your home is renting space from a towing company or self-storage facility. You will likely only pay a charge per day when the truck is parked there. I’ve seen charges of about $20 per day. If you are new and work Over-The-Road (OTR) you may only be home 1-2 days per week or 2-5 days every few months, depending on your employer.January 29, 2017 at 6:20 pm #288
What are some of the terms or lingo in trucking & what do they mean?
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