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i'm do a truck for a living, so this is a thread for
  • questions about the wild world of truck? ask them!!
  • pictures of sights I see
  • various anecdotes and information dumps
  • etc

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I'll try to update at least two times a week. beep beep!

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Quote:Satomi - Today at 1:52 AM:
i was taking a photoshop exam and they made me make this picture
"in a 24 pt font, type the word 'truck' underneath the truck."
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(click for full)
I-40, heading eastward of albuquerque, NM. East of Albuquerque is the high plains, which stretches on like this with huge clouds like this often.
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How long do you have to own a pickup truck before it evolves into an 18 wheeler?
depends on the make. different makes require different odometer levels before they evolve.
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in which state did you get your license? do you haul hazardous materials?
If the circumference of the earth is about 25,000 miles, how many times would you have circled the globe in your truck?
what's you favorite place to drive?

what's the weirdest thing you've seen on the road?
(04-17-2016, 04:55 AM)btp Wrote: »If the circumference of the earth is about 25,000 miles, how many times would you have circled the globe in your truck?

what if the circumference of the earth was about 2.5 miles
~~Hazardous Materials~~
(04-17-2016, 04:57 AM)sfou Wrote: »what's you favorite place to drive?

what's the weirdest thing you've seen on the road?
I don't really know about a definitive favorite. Maybe in the summer, it'd have to be the mountain states? Or the pacific northwest? Also, there are a few strips of Maryland and North Carolina that are really pretty to drive through. In the winter, probably the Southwest. There are some impossible landscapes out there. I like visiting all of the places every now and then, though, to get a little sampling of foods and goings-on. There are so many little subtle changes between this place and that which you might otherwise not notice or take for granted.

I haven't seen much weird on the road, other than various wildlife. Off the road, you see flipped-over cars every now and then and go "that definitely shouldn't be that way."

(04-17-2016, 04:55 AM)btp Wrote: »If the circumference of the earth is about 25,000 miles, how many times would you have circled the globe in your truck?

about 10 maybe? probably
(04-17-2016, 04:54 AM)☆ C.H.W.O.K.A ☆ Wrote: »in which state did you get your license? do you haul hazardous materials?
Ohio, and yes to hazmat. I could talk at length about either GETTING MY LICENSE or HAZMAT since they're two separate topics. i'll go with HAZMAT for this post.

Okay, so hazardous materials are things that pose a risk to the public if they were to get all spilled-like, so parties on all three fronts of the transportation process (the shipper, or person/company who sends a thing; the carrier, (me!) or company/driver that transports it from points a to b; and the the cosignee, or company that receives the delivery) of materials have to take special precautions.

On the carrier end of the equation, here's the things I have to make sure I do:
  • Make sure the load is properly secured with at least two load straps, so that it doesn't go sliding around or roll out the back of the truck somehow
  • Avoid certain routes like city centers or certain tunnels and bridges. A hazmat-restricted route will be marked with an HM with the red ghostbusters circle with a line symbol over it. (a few places have a propane canister instead of HM)
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  • Put up diamond-shaped placards on each side of your trailer for the type of hazard you have:
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    The class is the type of hazard it is. There's 1. explosives 2. non-flammable gasses 3. flammable liquids 4. flammable solids 5. oxidizers 6. poison/toxic materials or infectious substances 7. radioactive 8. corrosive 9. miscellaneous hazards (including marine pollutants, the dead fish one)
  • some of those hazard classes are more restrictive than others; for instance, you can't go in tunnels on (let's say) the pennsylvania turnpike with explosives or hazardous when wet, but you can with corrosives.
  • Make sure all pieces of placards are removed after a load is done, in case you use big ol adhesive placards. This is a pain in the patoot because they stick too well and you have to use a putty knife.
  • Also you can't have some types of hazardous materials on the same load:

I'm sure there's other parts I'm forgetting or not making clear, feel free to ask for clarification.

(04-17-2016, 04:57 AM)☆ C.H.W.O.K.A ☆ Wrote: »
(04-17-2016, 04:55 AM)btp Wrote: »If the circumference of the earth is about 25,000 miles, how many times would you have circled the globe in your truck?

what if the circumference of the earth was about 2.5 miles
then i'd say "small world, huh"
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Is that truck stop in Iowa really the biggest?

What are some neat things you've transported?
(04-17-2016, 05:26 AM)btp Wrote: »Is that truck stop in Iowa really the biggest?

What are some neat things you've transported?
It's. At least that's what wiki says.

I mean it was sort of big when I went inside, though I expected bigger, and more food choices. There's lots of kitsch in the gift shops. Also a dentist and a barber, though a few other big truck stops have those.

Also, across from it, there was a MUSEUM OF TRUCKING, which was an interesting little visit. Lots of old timey trucks with information about them. I resisted the urge to buy a "GHOST STORIES FROM THE ROAD" book from the museum gift shop.

Probably the neatest thing, conceptually, that i've transported:

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an entire 53 foot (16m) trailer packed with packing peanuts
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this is what a placarded tanker vehicle would look like.
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not my picture

The number displayed on there is the UN number, which refers to its number in the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. This way, in case of an accident, first responders and other people involved can more quickly tell what kind of materials they are dealing with. Drivers have to have a little handbook they keep in the side door panel which gives quick lookup for UN numbers, as well as the recommended action of either dealing with a spill/fire (probably not) or helping authorities to create a 'safe' zone for the public which can be like a mile downwind depending on the material being dispersed. You shouldn't ever have to deal with this, it's worst case scenario only.

Anyway the placard above with UN 3295 corresponds to Hydrocarbons, liquid, n.o.s.. this tanker has "liquefied petroleum gas" printed on it too because it's probably a specialty-use tanker for whatever company that is.

I don't drive a tanker, but I do have a tanker endorsement on my license. That means means I'm legally able to drive a tanker truck. Also, some liquid hazardous materials that are carried in drums have recently been reclassified so that you have to have a tanker endorsement, because they slosh around when a truck stops (liquid surge) or turns so you have to be aware of that extra momentum. With tankers, think of how, when you slide a glass of liquid over a table, it jerks an extra time after stopping the first time. Most liquid tankers have "baffles" - dividers which segregate the liquid so that the surge isn't as great - but some tankers are not allowed to have those, like milk tankers (for hygienic reasons).

These aren't tankers, but they're tanks filled with milk. in a desert. near el paso tx

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e: i got fooled it's actually just a board covered with a black banner.
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seems like a good recipe for the dairy heist of a lifetime...
you're really milking this thread for all it's worth
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What do you listen to while on the road?

How often do you stop to rest?
(04-17-2016, 07:38 PM)btp Wrote: »What do you listen to while on the road?
About a quarter to half the time, nothing. Silence.

I listen to audiobooks off CDs from the library, or audiobooks from the free public domain audiobooks site. Or sometimes I'll try out new
Also, my standard music library.

Also this company (i won't share any information about what company i work for in this thread) pays for a subscription to satellite radio. I barely listen to it, but when I do it's mainly the "real jazz" channel.
I listen more to the OSHA weather report, which is set to its own radio setting. Hearing about weather is nice and calming to me, plus it's nice to know when I'm going to be heading into Death Weather.

Lastly, around San Antonio i'll listen to actual FM radio for the Tejano music that's down there (it's latino/us-folk pop with accordions)
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~Hours of Service~

(04-17-2016, 07:38 PM)btp Wrote: »How often do you stop to rest?


When it comes to rest breaks, things are pretty heavily regulated so you have to accommodate that. You're only allowed to drive a certain number of hours in a driving day, and your duty statuses must be marked in a log. Back in the day, individual drivers would have to fill out paper logs in a logbook, recording their status after each stop/change of duty status and also mailing logs in to your company periodically.

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They were a pain, though many drivers like it because it's easier to fake your hours in order to drive more. Nowadays, though, there's almost universal adoption of electronic logs, which record any time you're driving.

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Drivers can enter in one of 4 statuses: On duty, driving (this starts automatically when you drive a few miles), off duty, and sleeper berth. The rules are, in the US:

a) Can't drive more than 11 hours in a shift-day.
b) Can't drive at any time after the 14th hour since your shift starts
c) Have to have a 10 hour long off-duty break, and this resets your shift day. So you could drive 11 hours starting at midnight, take a 10 hr break and start a new day at 10pm if you started your break at noon.
d) Can't go more than 8 hours on duty or driving without a 30 minute break.
e) Can't be on duty for more than 70 hours in a 8 day period

an exception to b and c is youcan do a split 8 hour sleeper-berth duty status and 2 hr break later to reset your hours, or 2 hrs off then 8 hr sleeper birth.
an exception to e is if you're off duty for more than 34 hrs in a row, your 8-day clock resets.

A lot of work that should be considered on-duty work truckers mark as off duty, because they're almost always paid by the mile and want to get as much time available in the 70 hr period as possible for driving. Companies deliberately look the other way at this, because that means more freight moved around and also since it's piece-wage, there's a lot of work they don't have to give wages for like all of the time you spend at a delivery place backing into a dock and waiting to be loaded/unloaded.

The regulations are there not just because companies will otherwise work you to death from fatigue-crash, but because the piece-wage system means truckers themselves need to be protected from running themselves to death. After all, truckers are away from home and there's not much to do a lot of the time, so what else is there to do but run as many miles as possible???

Rest regulations are more lax in canada; there's no 30 min breaks needed and you get more hours in a shift. It's 16 hrs in a shift, with 14 hours on duty allowed and 13 hours of driving allowed. However, you have to have a 24 hr period off every 2 weeks in Canada.
There are even less restrictive rules for "Canada North" but I've never run into them.

My schedule itself really depends on where I have to go and by when. I sleep a lot because sleep is important, and not having sleep leaves me a lot more irritable when driving and makes the day ahead a slog. I follow all the rest rules and haven't been dinged for an Hours of Service violation yet. That means at least one 30 minute break every 8 hours on duty.
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why are you do truck?
what color truck?
how to drive truck?
(04-18-2016, 01:03 AM)a52 Wrote: »1.why are you do truck?
2. what color truck?
3. how to drive truck?
1. What made me first want to do it? Love of travel. this goes way way back to when I was like 5 and lived in new jersey but my dad insisted on visiting my grandma in ohio once a month, resulting in lots of long trips in the car that instilled a love, or at least a nostalgia for, long aimless drives and traveling.

The year I graduated high school I really wanted to travel around but never did. There was some song about trucking (actually it was not about trucking it was about doing "the meth" but I didn't know that at the time) that I liked a lot at that time. So when I went off to college the idea of trucking was a sort of escape plan in the back of my mind the whole time. I dropped out of college and transfered to a community college which still didn't really give me any job prospects. Worked at a mall sandwich shop after that which sucked while I saved up for trucking school.
(other jobs held during high school/college: mcdonalds, busser at a restaurant, in-stands foam finger/souvenir seller at baseball stadium and soccer referee)

As jobs go, it pays better than most other service sector stuff. Beats the heck out of working at a mall sandwich shop. Gives you free room and board, and I don't have to talk to many people/get constant direction from a boss or co-workers. I get to travel, and I get to visit friends from On-Line.

2. right now I work for a company so truck is not mine. I mean I live in it but it's technically not mine. its their equipment that I drive

last company I worked for, same deal, but I don't work there anymore so I'll answer the question about them. they had red trucks and the first truck I got was one with like 800,000 miles already on it. I nicknamed it "Napoleon Fallaparte". It had something wrong with a gasket/radiator so that coolant kept mixing with the gasoline or oil or something and making fumes that made me sick and also made the truck overheat many times. When it'd overheat the company kept bringing it in to be fixed but it'd go all fucko-mode again a day after I left the truck terminal, since they only patched over the problem. Finally they saw that the engine itself was bad and said "let's find you another truck".
The next truck was also bad and lasted a month so I quit that place

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(this was napoleon fallaparte)


3. i'll answer this one more in depth, but the basic learning process is:
 i. go pick up information book from bmv about commercial vehicles to learn enough to pass test.
 ii. pass knowledge test to get learners permit
 iii. get trained by either a company that has its own training school, or pay for trucking school
 iv. pass driver's license test at bmv to get your CDL class a.
 v. get hired (actually very easy!) by one of the relatively few companies that hires new graduates and is shitty.
 vi. get hired somewhere else better a year/half year later.

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CDL=commerical driver's license class a.
Class A is the best.
Class B is less good.
Class C is for busses/passenger vehicles.
Someone with a class A can drive Class C and B things (if they have the right extra endorsements; for instance you could drive a bus with a Class A CDL if you had the passenger endorsement; you couldn't drive a Class A thing with a Class C CDL).
Classes D and E are not CDLs; D=regular driver license and E=taxis. E is better than D?
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  • $35-60k salary in the first years.
  • super easy to get a job. both companies i've worked for I've been hired on the phone first call, within the week I applied.
  • that means even if you just try it for a bit and go decide to do something else it's always something you can pick up again if you need the money
  • you don't get hassled a lot if you work for a not bad company (though it's up to luck finding on), don't have to interact at all with customers or employer for most of your time working and can spend your time listening to music or audiobooks or podcasts
  • you get a mobile living space that you can sleep in rent free
  • get to see places and visit faraway friends without having to pay for fuel expenses

  • many hours a week (50-70 hrs on duty) and long periods away from home, during which you can't be on the drug or the liquor. You might be able to find local or regional driving jobs that get you home nightly or on the weekend, but those usually don't pay as much or are reserved for people with more experience
  • often in nowheresville or at truck stops that smell like piss
  • have to find workarounds for basic amenities
  • there are many truckers with undesirable personalities, and you might go through a culture shock
  • requires about a month of training (sometimes costing a few thousand dollars, though you can get loans and/or companies can reimburse you once hired) and a license
  • early on you'll probably have to drive a broken truck for a bad company because bad companies are the ones that hire people with less than 6 months previous experience

if you can find workarounds for basic amenities and have the fortitude/coping methods to handle long times by yourself, then it might be something to try since it pays pretty well
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Any cool stories about meeting people?

Any sucky stories about trucker culture shock?

E: are you in a truck RIGHT NOW?

Also, how do you internet on the road?
what do you usually do for meals? do you ever get vacations?
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This was napoleon fallaparte on the outside. The damage to the front bumper (the part of the bumper that's missing) was from hitting a deer. That's a story for later.

Also, what was that grey thing on the side? zoom and enhance..........
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some dumb looking dog sticker that was stuck on there when I got it. i don't much care for that dog but couldn't get it off

Now let's tour the cozy insides of that piece of shit
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My current truck is definitely bigger on the inside so there's much more room to do things, in theory though in practice most of the space gets taken up by additional junk because I stay out on the road for 2 months at a time and keep everything with me
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Wheat have I ever told you you're super cool?

Because you are.
(04-18-2016, 02:31 AM)Loather Wrote: »what do you usually do for meals? do you ever get vacations?

okay so there's OTR/over the road (long distance), regional and local drivers. I'm over the road and pretty standard across the industry for over the road (and regional)? is you get one day off banked for every six days out. This means when I take my time off every few months i'll do like a week or 10 days off.


For meals, I eat pretty normally. I've got plenty of dry and canned goods. I stop at a grocery store every few days for fresh goods (especially kale). Also I cook a batch of, usually, rice and beans plus some other foodstuff + spices/sauces to make it less monotonous and throw it in my plug-in cooler.

The cooler is a 12v DC cooler/fridge that keeps things 40°F/22°C cooler than room temperature. You can't use a standard minifridge because they drain the battery too quickly to be used overnight without keeping the truck running all the time. (I like the truck being off.) A minifridge would run on an AC power outlet, which trucks don't normally have - you have to have a power inverter which changes the truck's DC 12 volt battery power to the kind of AC power you find in BULDINGS. My truck has a power inverter but no. I just use the cooler. Or, if it's cold weather outside, I don't and just hang my perishables from the sideview window outside in a satchel. (You have to conserve battery power in cold weather, because your batteries need more juice to start your truck. Marelo and Em had to jumpstart my truck when I visited them one time because I left a slowcooker that was cooking beans on).

I have a microwave and a hotplate and a 'lectric skillet and a slowcooker and a rice cooker and a coffee grinder. For each of these things, I have to actually run the truck or plug it into some other building's power in order to run it or else I'd screw up the electric system and drain the battery. For coffee, I use a french press which you just need some hot water and coffee grounds - throw em in together and let it sit. (I use a plastic mug of the same size instead of the glass container it originally came with because the glass broke with how much the truck moves around.)

Also I eat plenty of bread and baked goods, and have a big cannister of Tang powder for vitamin C.

And lastly, water. I don't have running water, so I fill up gallon jugs of water at faucets at truck stops/rest areas when I can. Water is necessary for drinking, cleaning, and making other foodstuffs.

A lot of other truckers eat a bunch of greasy junk food, since that's what's available at truckstops. There's a big problem with access to good fresh food for truck drivers if you don't plan for it, since most of the places you stop only keep stuff with long shelf lives that you can buy for cheap, sell for a large markup, and keep around for a while until somebody buys it or the expiration date comes around. Truck stops are often built away from other restaurants so there's less choice for truckers who have to stop there. And truckers may have to stop there, because it's one of the only places you're assured that your parking there is legal.

(04-18-2016, 02:43 AM)Reyweld Wrote: »Wheat have I ever told you you're super cool?

Because you are.

Thanks, you're a coolface too.
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