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Discussion Starter #1
I'm sure somehow I'm going to get beat on for this question, but here goes.

There seem to be a lot of truck drivers on this thread, former or current, I can't tell, but a lot who sound like they do that. Anyway, I am curious. Somehow the thought of driving appeals to me, but I'm on the outside of this one and really have no frickin idea. My uncle drove, he liked it, and I used to ride along with him on shorter hauls when I was a kid. It was fun, but I was a kid, and a few hours in the truck as a kid is only just nostalgia to me these days.

So what's it like. The good the bad. Do you love it, hate it, or mixed. Tell me. I'm asking an honest question.
 

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Trucking companies have a 90% per year turnover rate. Pick your company carefully. Few are better or worse than any other, but they are all different so check into it and choose the one that best suits you.

Assuming you can present well to your company's customers.
Assuming you can present well to the various law enforcement idiots out there who see you as a meal ticket.
Assuming you can present well to your company office employees, the vast majority of whom are ex-truckers and/or sleeping with one or six ex-truckers.
Assuming you can present well to service providers such as truck stop employees, repair shop employees, rest stop employees, restaurant employees, and others who have to put up with truckers' crap all day, every day.
Assuming you can present a threatening enough demeanor to discourage the lot thieves from phuqueing with your rig when your back is turned.
Assuming you can present yourself well enough to the lot lizards and beggars to send them on their ways without your money and without leaving behind something that will scare the heck out of a penicillin shot.
Assuming you can manage your money well enough to carry through the short weeks.
Assuming you can present yourself in a manner that inhibits the criminal element from attempting to steal your stash on that long, cold, lonely walk from the shipping office across an unlit lot in a ghetto at 03:21 to your truck.
Assuming you can discipline yourself to exercise enough to keep the flexibility up and the blood pressure down, as well as live a drug and alcohol free life.
Assuming you can present a person that other truckers, regardless of race, creed, color, nation of origin, gender, native language, etc., redundantly, ad nauseum, won't smack over the head because you're their dysfunctional version of an donkey void.
Assuming you can survive in an eight by eight box without running water, flush toilet, shower, or cooking facilities for months at a time.
Assuming you have the heart to be alone and independent, taking care of EVERYTHING that comes along to ruin your day all by yourself, for months at a time.
Assuming nobody is really going to care if you don't come around so you don't have to put up with all the whining associated with that.

Well, if you can live with all that, you might enjoy trucking.
 

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Go with your heart MSWRC. Good that you are doing research and asking questions. Perhaps research more on careers in driving, perhaps look for negative aspects posted on truck forums. It is not an easy life as qwerty can attest to. The career has so many different forms from local delivery to long haul , independent or employed.
Personally my limited trucking experience is more of Close Encounters of the Tonka Kind..
 

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Fred gives good advice on the research side and qwerty is giving you the real dope on trucking. Most of what you see on TV is romanticised or glorified. I was all around trucking for 20 years... 20 years ago so my opinions are dated. Maintenance supervision, driving trainer, mechanic, gravel hacks, heavy haul local, and a little bit of overnight hauling. It is not an area of employment I would go back to unless you do like Hoot and ferry fun rides around the country. The nostalgia and fantasy are a far cry from the reality... the open road ain't what it used to be
 

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HEY! I gave that same model Tonka dump and loader to my younger grandson for Christmas. I also tossed in a grader, trencher, and bulldozer. The big ones are surprisingly expensive these days, but every American boy should have Tonka toys. No sandbox, yet, because of neighborhood cats, but we have built a Tonka garage/shop so nothing sits out and rusts.
 

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Cro your care for cats is commendable. Hope you find homes for all your rescued units.

Certainly professional truck drivers benefit from a patient calm personality for they see some bad, selfish, unsafe drivers on a daily basis. MSWRC's polite postings would make him seem a good candidate.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Idiot drivers, yeah I can only imagine. Actually a lot of the stuff QWERTY brought up are not too big of a deal to me. I am a bit surprised about all the violence/theft drivers deal with. Shows my ignorance that I didn't even know/think about that one. I never heard my uncle complain about that. Probably like Troll says, a lot has changed in this country in the last 30 to 40 years. My Uncle did complain about all the idiots drivers, the trucking companies, and especially people who didn't load/unload his trailer correctly. The last one used to really get him going.

What is a "ferry fun ride"?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm just sayin.... Hoots ride not mine...
Call me slow, but I still don't get it...

...and FYI, I don't watch TV so apparently I'm missing out on trucker dramas.
I wouldn't mind making duck calls though. :D
 

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Call me slow, but I still don't get it... :D
Hoot notes in some of his posts that he ferried RV units across country. I think he indicated that he enjoyed it.

I assumed Croatoan was making a play on those words.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hoot notes in some of his posts that he ferried RV units across country. I think he indicated that he enjoyed it.

I assumed Croatoan was making a play on those words.
Ahhh. Get it, thanks. I'm not as regular as the rest of you, so I miss a lot of the goings on.
 

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Anywho, if you can handle independence, which most people can't, trucking is good. Most any conscientious driver can take home $600-800 per week with no investment in a company truck, with opportunities to double that if willing to put up with the crap. That might not seem like much to a degreed professional who can still find work, or an unemployed former union worker living on comp, but it's money in the bank on a fairly consistent basis for everyone else.

Most people, if forced to choose between wrecking a truck or wrecking a motorcycle, will smash the motorcycle every time. It's simple self-preservation. Since trucks outweigh small cars by a factor of 20:1, idiot drivers are about 1/20th the problem to truckers because we are bigger, heavier, and most people don't want to die. However, there are a few, and any decent training program will teach how to stay aware of and avoid most without much hassle.

Truckers with medical issues have various means of avoiding that long middle-of-the-night walk to the flush toilets, so even that isn't much of an issue these days. C-PAP machines are often installed in trucks these days. There are powered lifts for those with access issues. Drivers, especially OTR, are in such demand companies will provide accommodations.

Legal mandates a few years ago critically limited parking opportunities for big trucks so LEOs could feast on truckers, but expanding truck stop locations have helped alleviate that problem. Actually, a family named Haslam owns a couple nationwide truck stop chains and are involved in politics big time, so what better way to build business than ticket truckers who don't use the business.

Now LEOs look for other things to ticket, in the name of "highway safety." Remember, truckers are an easy target because they are big and slow and most companies don't allow firearms in their vehicles. LEOs love easy targets. God forbid an LEO make a case against texting teen even with a video of her offense. Heck, might harm her self-esteem. Trust me, her self-esteem will be a non-issue after she ruins some trucker's life by committing suicide-while-texting.

Anywho, lots of rules and regs, but if LEOs see evidence that you actually do your daily required tasks, most are friendly and not really anxious to screw up your life. The vast majority really do only care about keeping it safe. However, there is always that 1% who give the 99% a bad rep, as all LEOs have the ability to really ruin a trucker's life, just like any other citizen, and some thrive on doing so, which is why cops are getting shot in the face these days, but that's a whole 'nother thread. Just buy the insurance that covers legal bills to deal with the 1% and don't worry about it. I've actually had LEOs ask for my legal defense insurance company card. Once they know you'll have the means to fight, that they can't win by you not showing up, the cowardly bastards turn you loose and seek drivers too cheap to buy the coverage.

Fact is, if it is evident you make a good faith effort to stay legal, then a LEO finds a not-so-obvious violation they will let you fix it on the spot or escort you to a repair facility, or simply let you go after you contact the company's maintenance team.

Fact is, most of the rules and regs are common sense, which is something most truckers don't have judging but what I see on the road. Keep your lights, windows, and reflective devices clean. Takes 5 minutes. Pop the hood and look for anything broken, cut, frayed, bent, missing, or leaking. Are the brakes clean and linings thick? Easy enough to see as there are no backing plates on truck brakes--everything hangs out in the open. Hear any air leaks as you walk around cleaning lights and such? All the leaves in the spring packs aligned properly? Air hoses supported off the ground and away from tires? Axles and hitch adjusted to properly distribute the gross weight? Tires have tread and proper inflation? It's your rig, and your life. Shouldn't you really be doing this, anyway?

Really, just do it. I've had LEOs pull up behind me, pull out, pass. Pull up to the next truck, pull out, pass. Pull up to the next truck, pull out, hit the blues. The difference? Clean lights, reflectors, and glass on my truck and the next, part of the requirements. Dirty lights, reflectors, and glass on the truck that got pulled over, thus advertising the driver did not follow regs and would thus be an easy citation as the offense is clearly visible at 70mph, and more than likely three or four more citations because nothing else has been checked. Never mind the semantic arguments offered by LEOs, they do have quotas to live up to, and they look for easy tickets to make those quotas. If you look like you try to do things right, they leave you alone.

The exception would be agencies that go by some random number rule. Stop at an overlook, stop the fourth truck that goes by. These LEOs tend to get credit for the number of stops instead of the number of tickets. If that truck happens to be you, and it is obvious you've done your pretrip, expect a VERY friendly LEO. He's going to check your paperwork and send you away, as you've made his job VERY easy. If you apparently haven't done your pretrip, expect a VERY unfriendly LEO because you are making him work harder.

As for paperwork, there are folders that hold all the tractor papers (registration, IFTA, permits, insurance, inspection records, etc.) in one location, all neatly organized. When a LEO starts asking for things, open the folder and ask him for one at a time. Not all states require the same pile of paperwork. This makes their job quick and easy and that will come back to you.

Old time truckers cuss Electronic On Board Recorders (EOBRs), but they really make things easier if you are not the pocket rocket type. LEOs see the EOBR sticker and just pass on checking logs. EOBRs can be cheated, but it isn't easy, and self-diagnostics notify the company of any attempts to do so.

There is still way too much paperwork and report filing, even with the EOBR. Nothing can be done as it is mandated by law. However, some companies actually set up a spreadsheet file and generating reports is darn near automatic. The driver simply reviews and approves the reports. Other systems require the driver to enter, reenter, and write the same info several times. Also, your pay may be dependent on your filing reports. There are several means of doing so, ranging from a special FAX system called TransFlo to cell phone apps to scanning shipping papers on the dash of the truck and having the computer read the pertinent info and place it in a spread sheet for you. Different companies use different methods, one of those choices that makes for a good match.

Most companies provide a card for expenses. Different service providers have different procedures for using the cards. Loves, Pilot, and Flying J usually work well right at the pump, and you can even charge things like anti-gel and lights when pre-approved--just walk up to the counter and they add it to your company's fuel and DEF bill. Petro and TA seem to have technology issues and you'll often have to go in, swipe your card to fuel, go in again to swipe the card to authorize DEF, then go in again to approve the purchases. Every go in can have you waiting in line ten to thirty minutes or more. I think it's a ploy to promote impulse buys of snacks and stuff, but it can turn a ten minute fuel stop into a two hour ordeal.

A small investment in an inverter, microwave, and frig can cut your eating expenses drastically. I've added a couple deep cycle batteries to my rig just to power these devices, because I basically live in my truck, but it isn't really necessary. I also have 12 volt appliances such as a coffee maker, a toaster oven, a roaster, and a slow cooker. However, these all require a lot of water and washing of pots and pans and such, so most of my cooking is microwave. I am sitting today so I do have beef stew in the slow cooker since I have to start the truck up due to cold temps. Company policy is to run the engine enough to keep the gauge up--90% of our drivers are newbies and have no idea how to cold start in cold weather. Another of those company/driver compatibility issues.

Ice is free in truck stops. You'll stop at least every other day for fuel, and you can fill a big insulated mug with ice every stop. A good cooler will thrive on one mug of ice per day, and if you dump the ice in a plastic storage container instead of dumping directly in the cooler you'll have no mess and clean, drinkable melt water. I have a custom made cooler with a thermo-electric device that takes over when parked without access to ice. Doesn't happen very often. The extra batteries for extra accessories qualifies as a green improvement that reduces engine idling. The law allows 400+ extra pounds of gross weight so I can load 250 pounds heavier if necessary. I've had to do that a couple times to avoid waiting for another load.

I started out with a cheap square Styrofoam cooler from Walmart(not the really cheap ones tapered at the bottom), and it did a really good job on one mug of ice a day. It didn't fit the space available, and squeaked when it rubbed while traveling. Food was lost when ice wasn't available. That's why I built the custom cooler with thermo-electric system.

These are just some solutions to common trucker issues. Most people simply bee itch, but being a Tdubber, I expect you've plenty of ingenuity to address such issues in a mature, safe manner as they come up.
 

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Ya the neighborhood cats just love the kids sandboxes. People who allow their cats to wander the neighborhood should be taken to task for their irresponsibility.
I hate having to deal with problem animals, especially nonindigenous. Owner irresponsibility is a HUGE problem. I would much prefer to shoot such people in the groin, steal their wealth, and invest it in spayings. I wouldn't waste money on neuterings because as long as there is one potent male, every unspayed female will be pregnant. I think the critters would approve. If I was a critter, I would approve. I'd get to keep my testicles. Yup. sounds like a good idea to me.
 

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I live on the border adjacent to interstate freeway and usually Nevada State Patrol pickups dedicated to pulling over eastbound truckers within a few miles of entering the state. Must be a lucrative business for the state since the enforcement patrol is usually out pulling over numerous trucks usually checking permits and paperwork rather than vehicle inspections.
 

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qwerty, great dissertation on aspects of Long-haul trucking. Watched a program on sleep deprivation and a segment of it was about the effects on drivers and presented by Fed safety guys and a couple of large trucking companies. The C-PAPs were a big part because of the focus on sleep deprivation
 

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I guess neutering makes better pets of them. I don't keep fuzzy pets. $20 is cheap. $100 around home. Spay is $300. That's why such a big problem.
 

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I use to have only female dogs. When I got my Murphy he was my first male, because that's all I could find. I learned males are cheaper to buy- purebred and cheaper to sterilize. So next purebred dog was a male, ELI . Rodney cat doesn't count, cause I wasn't "keeping" him. Sometimes it bothers me that I bought purebreds. Then I remember all my attempts to adopt, Im still confused about some of those places.
 
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