Start Here, Just start

Ok where to start, where to start……….well that seems to be the question at hand and the reason for this

article…so let’s dig in!!

Hi my name is Mike and I am an author here at Les Talks Trucking. I wanted to get on and share my experience and let you know what would have helped me in the beginning. Because let’s be honest, when I stepped into this industry. It was a career change for me, carpentry to Over-The-Road truck driving (OTR). I have about 15 years of driving experience and that is why I wanted to share. But the first and most important thing I will tell you about trucking an old timer shared with me. I have kept it in my head and it is what I use to train all newbies that are with me. It is a phrase I want you to remember as the golden rule, it can be applied in life, but it is really key here. That phrase is as follows ” If you ever think you know it all about trucking, PLEASE get out of that seat, away from behind the wheel and off the road!! Because at that point you are dangerous! You can ALWAYS learn something! ALWAYS!” This is my way of helping with the fundamentals of the career path you are now embarking on.

Let’s Get into the MEAT

Now when I started, I was given the same basic information that all drivers, for the most part are given. This was the list I was given that most new drivers don’t get

1. Take 30 days worth of clothes, I know it seems like a bunch. But if you are OTR, you will need it before you get to go back home to collect your stuff for your truck. It will give you an idea of what you really need on the road.

2. Take a pillow and a sleeping bag or other bedding like a blanket and sheet. Yes you will need these. They are vitally important.

3. Take some money for the month. (debit card, cash, cash app card, whatever you want to use on the road)

4. Baby wipes! Essential for when you can’t get a shower in. I know it seems like HUH no shower, it’s true. You don’t always get a shower.

5. Towels for places that don’t provide them or have them. Washcloths are good to.

6. Plastic baggies for your wet items.

7. Travel size items for hygiene.

This is just a basic list. Keep in mind to pack like you are camping.

The problem is they don’t tell you about the other things you’re going to run into while your out there… Let’s talk about those items:

1. Getting lost is going to happen, it is a natural thing. Bring a map! Most truck stops carry them and they’re not horrible

expensive maybe $20.

2. It would also be good to look into a GPS. People will tell you, you need this one or that one..this brand is better, this one has traffic …..great they also cost a fortune… You can get a cheap GPS for cars. It will work JUST FINE as long as you keep this in mind and it goes hand in hand with all the other things in this field. It is VERY important!

USE YOUR BRAIN!

Everything else is just that, a TOOL!!. The most powerful tool in your arsenal is what is located right between your ears. It is the single most important tool you have… and you will hear it a lot “think it through”, “get out and look” (G.O.A.L)

“stop and take a second to think about it”, yes these are all great points. It’s your head use it!! you have a

phone, everybody does you have access to google maps …look at where your going it will make getting

there and checking in much easier. Everyone has a phone, in this case if you are stopped look at the overhead, see if you can make that turn, hit that swing. Tools will NEVER make up for your good common sense.

Tools that assist you in being a better driver:

Get a C.B. .(Citizens Band Radio)…Oh wait, I can hear all the objections now:

1. “Why? i have a phone don’t I?

2. They are old and outdated.

3. They are expensive.

So let’s break down the tires on this one! FMCSA requirements (392.80- 392.82) requires you to have 2way communications in your vehicle at all times. But your not allowed to use a cell phone while in control of the vehicle. Also, there are many locations around the country that are what we call dead zones, places where your phone won’t work…guess what? you are now in violation of said law. Guess what, the fine boys “protecting” the highways and byways of the great land can be a little jaded against our profession, and if they feel so inclined, can be a really decent sized ticket. It’s also

points on your DAC and FMCSA reports. Now that’s the legal part you have to know, now let’s talk practical reasons you need that C.B.

No one is going to call you to tell you what lane to be in at a road closure or an accident. While I love this job I do, construction cones seem to also be a bit misplaced. So on top of road closures accidents now you have to dodge those orange cones EVERYWHERE IT SEEMS. However, if you have a C.B. other truck drivers are likely to be talking about the backup and giving you suggestions to get around it. Many times the wife and I have listened to the C.B. heard the report and got off early to follow someone around the backup, while everyone else was stuck in traffic all because they didn’t have a C.B. so they didn’t know till it was too late.

Another safety item is a dash cam. You wouldn’t think you would need one but you quickly learn, you

really do for safety reasons. The motoring public will cut you off at the drop of a hat just to get where they think they need to be, or to get ahead in traffic. I often wonder how people can live in a city their whole life and still consistently forget

which exit they need, till they have to cut across 4 lanes of traffic at rush hour so they don’t miss their exit. It blows me away. If you hit them, or they hit you, unless you have proof otherwise, then the truck is always at fault, its best to cover your bases.

Conclusion

This is just a basic run down! I will have more for you in another upcoming article. Please keep in mind these are things that would have helped me! I hope that on the journey you are taking you know that I wanted to share this with you to make your journey more successful. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to add those! We would love to hear from you!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *