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Once I was seven years old
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I drove OTR for 6 years, then local for three. I enjoyed OTR, but it really is a good way to test a relationship. I worked for a small carrier and they were constantly running low on fuel account funds. You sometimes had to sit for hours at a time before you could get refueled and back on the road again. Dispatchers can become your best friend or your worst enemy. It's best to try to keep on their good side. Like sugarbush mentioned; You really have to keep your eyes peeled when driving an 18 wheeler. Come up over a rise at 70 miles an hour and find traffic at a dead stop and you'll quickly learn what it feels like to have your butt puckered to a seat. You will see way more than your share of big trucks turned over along your trips, thinking they could make it a few more miles before shutting down for the day/night. Another thing is learning how to handle a truck on steep grades when you're stretching overweight. Our company let us take whatever route we chose. I decided once to come back from out West on I-70 through Vail, Colorado, with no Jake brake. Ummm. I have never been so scared in my life. If you follow what you know you'll come out OK. Don't take any unfamiliar detours in the middle of the night!! LOL
 

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Warner is ALWAYS hiring and they hire right out of driving school... I've got several friends that started with them in the last 3 months.

Western Flyer is also pretty steady with new hires, JCT is also still taking on new hires... both with company trucks or owner operator <--- these 2 do want some experience.

I know there were some others, but can't think of names right now.. I'll ask John when he gets back from the store.
 

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If I need a Shelter
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21,625 Posts
Being the wife of an OTR driver who has been driving for 8 years now. Yes it pays well but it is very hard on the wife and children. And yes I know there are jobs out there other than trucking that are hard on the family too. I get that.

But if you love your family at all dont start driving. It is addicting being on the road, and hard to come home and feel like you are "home". The family lives a completely seperate life. Parenting is a nightmare when he is home because I am used to being the only one here. And the list goes on.

But at this point in the economy switching jobs would not be the wisest thing to do. Where he is he has seniority so gets good loads which pay well and he usually doesnt have much "sitting" time as was mentioned above. For now we have to keep things as they are. But if I could convince anyone to not truck I would! Trucking is a life, so you can have a family OR you can truck. I am sure some will argue but in this economy it is the truth, because as we ALL know, if that truck isnt moving it isnt making any money.

Christina
Yea just nothing like it,one day your in New York City next you are in Mississippi.I always carried a Rod and Reel and Small BBQ Grill.Lots of times I would find a place where I could park,just like Camping to me.And alot cheaper than the Truck Stops.

I stopped driving because I saw too many bad wrecks and knew it would be just a matter of time before I was in one. When you drive 200 k miles a year you are bound to have an accident at some point. I have been involed in several where people around me did stupid stuff and I just happend to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. No body hurt bad or killed in any of them.
First night I was out a Driver topped a hill with Traffic backed up,he couldn't stop,killed 6 people.

The biggest scare I had was a Rig coming off a mountain on ice,he got crosswise in the road,Rig beside me hit the median,all I could do was hold my ground hope everything continued to go forward and he got straighten out.Did alot of Praying,and it came out ok.

big rockpile
 

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The big wages are sorta a fake. Yes you really can make $50,000 at trucking but you can make that much working at Walmart ,McDonalds, and Quickie Mart ....IF you work all three jobs at the same time many of the OTR jobs expect you in the truck 24/7/365 .
OTR and Local are really two different animals, the worst part of OTR and to a lesser extent is that once you are in it its hard to get out.
After all how can you go to welding school when you are 800 miles away in different directions each night?
But like any job as you pay your dues and learn the business things get better.
I work when I want to as much as I want to amd make at least $50 an hour doing it, BUT It took me years to get here and Im one of only about 200 drivers in the nation that do what I do. Expiriance wise Im probably senority number 20 or 30 or so in a small field.
So look for a specialized nitch and expect to deal with crap a while.
 

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First night I was out a Driver topped a hill with Traffic backed up,he couldn't stop,killed 6 people.

big rockpile
The last one I was in I was at a stop light when a semi coming the other way ran the light an T-boned a van. The truck then swirved and went off the road snapping off a power poll. The poll flipped up sideways and went stright through the cab of the truck cleaning it off from the windshield up. I thought that there was no way the driver lived. The power lines dropped down on my truck. I grabbed my cell phone and jumped out of the truck to see if the people in the van were okay. As I got to the van the 911 operator picked up and I told her what happend. She tells me to stay in my truck until the utility company gets the power turned off....Too late, by that time I was pulling the semi driver off the floor of his truck. He was pretty shaken up, but did not have a scratch on him. The people in the van were okay too. I didn't get zapped so I guess the power kicked its self off.

Snooze:
A CDL is a great backup plan even if you don't use it. I got mine out of highschool because I was driving a boom truck for a lumber company. I have used it several times when I was between jobs. If I end up without a job again maybe I will load up and head for the ice roads.
 

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I would really suggest that if someone was interested in truck driving that they start off with a straight truck to see if you like it first then move up to a bigger truck. At least you can get used to the height you're sitting above the ground and get used to a truck transmission, mirrors, clutch and the weight of the vehicle. A lot of straight trucks have the same cab and transmissions as tractor trailers so if you can get used to actually driving one, it's easier to get used to the bigger size of a tractor trailer without having to learn how to actually drive one at the same time.

I started off a long time ago with pickup trucks with trailers, moved up to straight trucks (rolloff or tilt n load) then moved up to tractor trailer and oversize loads after that. I drove mostly local and found it's alot easier to learn the city in a smaller truck and move up to bigger trucks than to learn to drive tractor trailer and learn the city at the same time.
 

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Well, nobody is convincing me this is a good career. But I gotta find something.
You haven't asked any questions relating to the different aspects of truck driving. Have you done any research outside of here? What are you looking for from truck driving or any other other profession?
 

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i totally agree with Myhorsejack don't do it if you are married unless you can get a real good paying local job so you can be home every night. good luck
 

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I've always wanted to be a truck driver but with a 19 month old son and a 2nd baby on the way, I decided not to go into driving school and opted for cnc machining. Now seems like aerospace work is starting to go down and the companies are laying off people. I'm supposed to graduate in May 2009 and hopefully I can find something. My wife plans to take 2 months maternity leave. Oh well.
 

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I drive for a major regional corporation in their woodlands division hauling woodchips. They are so hard up for drivers, they paid the full shot to put us through driving school. Starting pay in our district is normally $15.40/hour, they started us at $13.66/hour probationary because they spent $10K training us. Our sister district starts $15-17 and runs to $19/hour
They also pay us mileage in our personal vehicles at $0.40/km ($0.64/mile)
We work 60 hour weeks, 5 12 hour shifts..we spend more time waiting at the chippers i n the woods or at the mills than we do driving, not hard work at all and awesome benefits, and am home every night/day (i do nights)
With my mileage and pay, I clear $765/week, and my pickup point for the truck is going to be changing to farther away and will be clearing over $1000/week.

A person is hard pressed around here to make the same kind of money without a lot of schooling or training.

But most local work around here the pay starts around $12 and goes to about $25 depending on type and company, whether its gravel, fuel/liquid bulk, chips, heavy haul etc
 

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Personally I think my work is great for a guy with a family. Yes Im gone for a week or 10 days at a time but after that Im home full time for a month or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
The news said DHL is shutting down its US domestic operations, in light of the current (or expected I can't remember which) "challenges". Because they know spending, and thus shipping, is plummeting. 9,700 employees. And probably a lot of truck drivers.
 

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I was a self employed truck operator. My xDH and I had a busy bread franchise. I drove either a cuber or a 26ft straight truck every day around the city in all kinds of weather. Once, and only once, I tried to drive a tractor trailer around town ( with an instructor). I thought I had nerves of steel until I did that.

As a small, blonde and busty female, I ran into a huge number of nasty men who thought a women shouldn't be driving a big truck and making deliveries. I put up with crude jokes and finding porn stapled to my delivery invoices. I also made many friendships with people who realized that I was just trying to make a living like anyone else.

I am seeing more and more female transport drivers these days. Nice.
 

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I was a self employed truck operator. My xDH and I had a busy bread franchise. I drove either a cuber or a 26ft straight truck every day around the city in all kinds of weather. Once, and only once, I tried to drive a tractor trailer around town ( with an instructor). I thought I had nerves of steel until I did that.

As a small, blonde and busty female, I ran into a huge number of nasty men who thought a women shouldn't be driving a big truck and making deliveries. I put up with crude jokes and finding porn stapled to my delivery invoices. I also made many friendships with people who realized that I was just trying to make a living like anyone else.

I am seeing more and more female transport drivers these days. Nice.
I drove OTR for 4 years and I ran into a few males who had a negative attitude about female drivers too. However, for every negative attitude, there are about 100 positive ones. Most of the men that I talked to, either by CB radio, in dispatch or at shippers/consignees, had only positive things to say about female drivers. As far a truck driving as a career...I really liked it. I was married when I drove (truck driving was not a contributor to my divorce), and even though it was difficult to be away from home and my children, they benefited because the income was great...my last year driving I made over $80,000. I stopped driving because I just missed my kids too much to stay out any longer. I started driving to pay bills and save money, which I did, and it payed off when I was able to stop driving. I would do it again, probably locally or regionally, but not OTR mainly because I just remarried this year, have a new career in nursing, and I now have a beautiful little grandson that I could never bear to be away from for even a second.
 

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My dh is a truck driver. He was OTR for the past 4 years (gone 2-8 weeks with very little home time toward the end there) but has now gone back into a more local job (tractor/ trailer dump trucking)...he's gone most all week now and home Friday pm and leaves Sunday pm or Monday morning. Some weeks he's here a night or two through the week.
I hated the OTR job. The kids hated it too, but dh loves trucking. The same way I love farming and the animals. Dh loves the driving but not so much the time away...so the job he has now is good...he's here more and still gets to go when he needs to. We can also ride with him more than we could when he was OTR...with most OTR companies riders are limited to one person (and often immediate family only and must be over 10 or 12 years old) for insurance reasons. With the company he is with now...so long as all riders are restrained (seatbelts or bunk nets) its ok. DD and I went with him Sunday night ...short trip and spur of the moment...we didn't even have a change of clothes!
We've found a good compromise that meets our needs as a family. Financially, home time, riders and all.
I would never recommend OTR trucking to someone with a family. I know a few happy trucking families...but more that are desperately unhappy and/or broken. Dh's decision to move into a more local job did save our marriage.
Trucking was not our only problem, but it was a major one and kept the others from being dealt with...hard to work on a relationship 3000 miles apart...:).
Dh has been shocked by some of the things he missed in mine and the kids' lives...he really hadn't realized until he was back around more that every day is major...ya know ?
I do wish he could be here every day and often he does too...but for him driving the truck is bliss...he needs it...I need dirt on my hands and fur in my eyes...so we compromise...he gets to dumptruck and I get critters...lol.
Whatever you decide make sure you go into it with your eyes open and with a respect for your family and their needs.
Good luck.
 
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