This page is the answer to a group of questions posted in ask a trucker. There were so many questions the answers couldn't fit in the post a response field under the question so here it is.
1)Don't worry one second about not having driven anything close to a tractor trailer, that describes most people who jump in trucking. 3rd week in school and you will feel like you did on your first 10 speed after a week.
2)A recovering alcoholic.... Well, I think I am too. Congratulations on your sobriety of 5 years. I will tell you this, if you been clean that long you probably have the will power along with the proactive nature in order to find ways to maintain that sobriety by now with prayer and positive reinforcement. Sounds like you are looking at life a little differently already. I know they say we (people) aren't capable to do it themselves but I've seen it done and people do it everyday.(successfully kick the habit solo kinda)
One way that i suggest to keep up the good work is to stay positive on the road by listening to listen to positive programming on the radio most of the time while your driving. SEEK until you hear . . . AFR American Family Radio, or NPR National Public Radio, BBC, The Moody Network, etc.
If you do that you will have all kinds of positive encouragement going on to occupy your mind as opposed to everything else that's out there.
Also continue to be proactive, in case you can't pick up that stuff on the radio take along Steven Covey, Bishop TD Jakes, Tavis Smiley, Cornell West, or Pastor Paul Shepard, Toney Evans, or Zig Ziglar cd's.
As far as the meetings, not trying to talk you out of them I think everybody should go because what you learn is beneficial in life period. I also know that the meetings definitely help a lot of people over and over again. (it is because of the continuous positive reinforcement which forces you to be proactive and look at things a certain way which is what the material I recommended will also achieve but also because of the bond and interaction with others in the same situation) I can't tell you for sure, but AA probably in this day and age can tell you where the local meetings are in every city that you will travel to each week that you are out. The problem is that you probably won't logistically be able to make most of them. So if you really doubt your ability to stay sober without attending you might not want to get out on the road. The ability to plan such things effectively is loss which is one of the disadvantages of becoming a truck driver.
3)the economy is bad, times are hard, but I don't think things are as bad as people perception. Yes we are all suffering but I figured this would happen years ago and i feel that this will change for the better by the end of this year. In my opinion it was a correction that was inevitable. (Poor business practices along with corruption, greed, bad habits of we the people can only sustain growth but for so long before shit hits the fan so it finally did)
4) There is truth to that statement, it depends mostly on the company you end up as to how much truth is in that statement. There is always room to push a little on the limit of things and of course when you get ridiculous it works against you. For instance in Ohio a person might get away with driving 60 but I don't think trying 65 across the state would make good sense looking at the risks so you work with what you have available to you and common sense.
Some guys might get creative with their log books in order to make some things happen for themselves, that is stuff they learn after being on the road a while. However, there is no excuse for not doing your logs for days or not keeping it current on paper. Yes logging is tricking, don't let that scare you ask questions just as you are doing now, when you get on the road directly to drivers (with sense) and you will learn how to get er done.
5) If you don't have money to shell out company training is fine. Just make sure you ask questions and read the contract you sign about the training and repayment agreement. Most companies require a year commitment, if broken often there may be a penalty and an amount due for training (sometimes the amount may be ridiculous unless times have changed). For these reasons, do what you are doing now, ask questions to make sure the company you go to for training is a reasonable company who is fair. If possible you always want to stay at that first company for the term of the agreement. You want to stay anywhere as long as possible and not jump company to company like a lot of guys do. This does not look good on your record.
7 & 8)for choosing a company you should have read this.Choosing a company
For a quality driver trainer, you only have a first impression to go by until you get out on the road. Maybe you want to ask how long he has been driving. Ask him what does he think about the industry. How he feels about new drivers.
His answers to these questions won't really tell you anything about his ability to teach but it will tell you something about his attitude, you do what you feel you need to do based on his character and attitude, I really don't like being around idiots or assholes too long and especially in closed quarters.
This being the case, I would request to be reassigned to a different driver trainer if I thought the guy about to train me was an idiot based on his conversation. If that is not possible I guess I would stick it out. When it is known what type of strong positive person you are from jump people tend not to extend their ignorance to you, so if you sense that your trainer is an idiot and you can't switch you might want to be proactive in letting him know real quick what you are about, what you expect to get out of being trained and how you expect to be treated.
There are some guys out there that do get kick out of being a trainer just because they see themselves as a figure of authority.
That being said, it's not so common that it is a dilemma to be apprehensive about getting out there and making it happen.
If you like driving that much, you should have been out here! :-) since you guys have no kids you should make sure to go with a company that has a rider program so that your wife can ride along for as long as you guys can stand each other.
whew . . . when you get out here you owe me dinner for that one!
Thinking About Trucking?
Life As A Trucker Presents...
Intro To A Career in Trucking
Thinking About Trucking?
For those with little time to read about the trucking jobs.Escape From The CB
Thoughts and ideas meant to awaken the mind!
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