My Truck Driving Experiences

Gather round while I share my experiences traveling across the US and Canada in a Semi-Truck.

My Photo
Location: Dayton, Ohio, United States

Friday, June 05, 2009

Heavy, drowsy truckers pose risk on the road

Article from msnbc.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Web Developing Truck Driver

While I traveled the North American continent I accessed the internet via wireless card from my laptop continuing to maintain/update web pages when I had the spare time. I made myself available to do web page updates and worked on maintaining over a dozen web pages while I traveled. To learn more about the web pages that I worked on visit

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New York, New York

Thought I would add another experience to my blog, New York City, Long Island. What a trip? Every time I went into New York City I would get turned around, but I survived. Towards the end of my driving time with Schneider I went into New York City quite a bit, more than I wanted to. The problem with New York City is that you could easily get onto a road where your rig would not fit under a bridge. Most of the traffic going into and out of New York City goes in/out via the George Washington Bridge and all of the trucks have to use the upper level. I lucked out though because I never did find a bridge that my truck would not fit under, but it was more of a miracle I think than luck. I had never even driven a car into New York City and there I was in a Semi, driving into and through New York City.

A couple of times I had to drive out onto Long Island to deliver. One of the times they were doing maintenance on the interstate and I had to drive on the side road. Luckily the side road was more of an access road and I did not run into any over passes that I could not get under.

The loads I had taken into Long Island were always floor loaded, so they were not on pallets. I had to move the boxes from the floor onto pallets and then wheel the pallets out into the warehouse. The ramp I had to back into was at an incline, so the bed of the truck was at an angle. Even though the stock was on the floor it was shrink wrapped in plastic. Without thinking, I was cutting the plastic to get to the boxes, and one time the boxes started falling on me and knocked my glasses off, and almost knocked me out. After that, I always stood to the side of the boxes when I cut the plastic off and was very careful about how I was pulling the boxes off each other.

Another time I was driving along the interstate and somehow got trapped into and exit that took me into the John F. Kennedy Airport terminal roads. I was thinking great! How am I going to get through here. Luckily though I was able to stay in the outside lanes and maneuver my way past the terminals and back out onto the interstate in the direction I needed to go. I am sure that everyone was wondering why a big orange truck was making its way to the terminals. I was worried that I would get pulled over, but it never happened.

I do remember driving a 13 foot 6 inch trailer under a 12 foot 9 inch overpass though, quite a few times. The first time I noticed the sign I almost stopped and then realized all of the other trucks were getting under the bridge with no problem and that my trainer had taken me under the bridge a couple of times when I was riding with him. I finally realized the inches in New York must be longer than the ones in the rest of the country.

Back to the George Washington Bridge, narrow lanes and heavily traveled. I had to keep watching my rear view mirrors to make sure my trailer was staying between the lines on the road. Once when going over the bridge into New York, a tanker truck got so close to me that his mirror hit mine and almost broke it, but it did not, it just pushed it way forward. I had to reach out the window and pull it back so I could see the the back of my trailer and keep it within the lines. Other drivers I had spoken to had said they lost a lot of mirrors going over the George Washington Bridge.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Insurance Issues

I thought I would add a new post to my blog to let those of you who wonder about the magical two years that everyone tells you that you need to put in before you can go anywhere. The key is the insurance. Most insurance companies require that a trucker have at least two years in before they become insurable without jacking up the premium the company pays for insurance for their drivers. So it is not the experience thing for the companies, but the insurance. I found this out the hard way because I quit Scheider with only 16 months of driving time in and then tried to get a job at a local trucking company to drive locally. They told me to go back and drive for a company like Schneider for another 8 months to get in my two years and then they would be able to consider me for employment. This is the reason why companies like Schneider do not have insurance. They are "self insured" because the premiums they would pay for insurance on their drivers would cost them more than the money they actually pay out in settlements.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fighter Pilot

I was traveling through Florida when the fires were going on and you could barely see the vehicles around you. I wear a CPAP(Constant Pressure on the Airway Passage) machine due to sleep apnea because I stop breathing for over two minutes at a time while sleeping, which can be hazardous to your health. Well, the smell of the smoke was more than I could stand, so I pulled over and put my mask over my face and started my CPAP machine. The CPAP has a micronics filter to remove minute particles from the air. This made it possible for me to breathe fresh air and drive without the aggravation of the pollutants being put into the air from the burning trees, brush, and whatever else was burning. I am sure that those who may have saw me was wondering why I was wearing a mask, but I doubt many people saw me as the visibility was pretty bad. I looked like a fighter pilot with an oxygen mask.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Visit my LinkedIn Public Profile!

View Rick Smith's profile on LinkedIn

Sunday, October 21, 2007

DOT Bumper

The DOT Bumper is the bumper on the back of semi-trailers. This bumper is designed to keep cars from going underneath the trailer and decapitating passengers. Think about that the next time you are following a tractor-trailer too closely.

Chewing Gum - vehicles that follow so closely behind a tractor-trailer that the driver cannot see them in their mirrors. Some drivers do this to save fuel, thinking that if the get close enough to the truck they will not have wind resistance and the wind draft behind the truck will pull them along, thus the use of less fuel. What is the trade off here though?

Living or saving fuel. Keep my head attached or who cares if it is there or not?

If you happen to miss the DOT Bumper, guess what is next? Those big hard tires that will roll over and flatten everything. On the way in you will lose the roof of your vehicle and everything above the heighth of your seat back.

Oh, and if you are expecting the driver to maneuver the truck in a way to avoid hurting you, don't count on it. I am sure the driver will do everything in his/her power to make the accident less fatal, however, there is only so much maneuvering that can be done with a loaded trailer traveling down the highway at 60 MPH without jack-knifing.

Super Trucker

Trucker with a superior attitude. This type of trucker is most likely the ones that end up laying on their side, upside down, or jack-knifed along the roadway. They think they own the road and try to run over anyone in their way. They push/tailgate others who are going at speeds slower than they are. They come in all ages and different levels of experience. If one of these come upon you, it is best to treat them as an agressive driver and let them pass you, because they are not using common sense. With a fully loaded tractor-trailer they would be carrying a combined weight of 80,000 pounds. Take that figure and calculate how long it will take them to stop if traveling at 60 MPH. They are supposed to be following at a rate of 7 seconds in dry weather and 14 seconds in wet/inclement weather in order to have time to stop. That is about 7 or 14 striped lines in the middle of the highway/interstate. The trucker who is following a car on their bumper has no respect for their safety nor the lives of the individuals in front of them.

I also have to point out a safety factor here for cars and other vehicles sharing the highway/interstate with the tractor-trailers. If you pass a semi, you should not merge back into the lane in front of the semi until you are at least 7 seconds in front of the semi. Merging any closer puts your life at risk if you happen to hit your brakes. I am sure you have seen the signs that are popping up on the freeway that says, "Leave more space, don't get a ticket". If you pay close attention to that sign, you will see about 7 dashed lines between the semi and the arrow that puts the car back into the lane in front of it. You can be ticketed for following too closely to another vehicle or pulling too closely in front of a semi. The standard following distance between two automobiles is two seconds. That would be about two of those striped lines. This would give you reaction time to hit your brakes if the vehicle in front of you happens to hit their brakes.

Miles vs Hourly Pay

When considering a truck driving job you should examine closely the pay rate. There are some companies that pay by the mile and some that pay by the hour, and then there are some that pay both. One thing you need to find out is whether the company is paying "mover miles" or actual mileage. The difference in actual mileage vs mover miles may be small but can add up over a pay period.

If you are looking for a truck driving job there are several web pages on the internet that compare trucking companies which may be of interest to you. I have listed them below.

If you want to find more web pages like the ones above just Google "truck driving jobs".