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Old 01-03-2009, 07:55 PM
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Default One year report

Its just over a year since I got my licence and I thought I'd share my experience so far.

I got my licence December 2007. I paid for a 5 week course through TTC (Transport Training Center Canada) which consisted of one week in the class and then 60 hours of truck time spread over 4 weeks. My thought of the training was that it was basically designed to prep me to pass the test as opposed to teaching me to drive. In that amount of time there's only so much you can do I guess but for the amount of money I shelled out I was expecting more.

Anyway, I got my licence and waited until the New Year to start looking for work. Now where I live there's not too many choices on who to drive for. There's only a couple of companies that will take a chance on a new driver so I knew it may take a while to get working.

Fortunately I timed it right and was working almost immediately. After a brief driving test and urine test I got set up with a trainer for a couple of weeks and then spent a week in orientation. With delays between urine test, training and orientation it was mid February when I headed out for my first solo run.

A little over 10 months and 126 000 miles later I have no complaints. Being a brand new driver I started in one of the older tractors the company has, an 11 year old cab over with way too many miles on it. I was given the expectation of spending a minimum 6 months in that one so was pleasantly surprised when I got an almost new truck after 3 months. Working hard, not breaking stuff and meeting expectations pays off I guess.

After doing my homework and spending a couple of weeks out with a trainer I figured I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. As it turns out there were no major surprises. I expected to get lost a couple of times and miss some turns and that happened. I expected to have some major issues backing into tight docks and sure enough the second one I had to hit took me a long long time. It's amazing how warm it can get in the drivers seat when it's cold outside and not really warm in the cab.

The first week went better than expected, the 2nd was a different story. I remember crossing the bridge from Jersey into Philadelphia, following the signs for the interstate and next thing you know I going back across the bridge the other way lol.

For the most part everything has gone well. Of course I've made mistakes but no major ones. As soon as I get into a situation I just remind myself to relax and not turn a small one into a big one.

As a Canadian driver who crosses the border often one thing I've learned the hard way is to always verify phone and fax numbers for the customs broker as soon as possible. Spending the night at the border due to an old fax number, phone number that was oos and a 9-5 broker cemented that lesson.

I think the biggest surprise for me was how hard it can be to eat properly on the road. As one who focuses on the task at hand and hates to waste time when there's a job to get done I still have to make a conscious effort to take the time to stop and have a proper meal in the middle of the day.

Some of the things I hear on the C.B. disgust me but of course it's the vocal few that ruin it for the rest. For the most part I have found other drivers to be courteous and helpful. As for the 4 wheelers I hate to say this but I find the drivers in the U.S. much better around big trucks than those in Canada.

I found out it can be a very small world. I got out at a truck stop a few hundred miles from home about a month ago. Another driver was heading in at the same time. I did the nod, said good morning and then realized it was a guy from my class of 6 back at TTC. I had been wondering how this guy made out and it turns out his experience has been similar to mine.

One of my biggest concerns getting into this business was of course being away from home. My company is great about getting me home almost every weekend which helps and my better half deals fine with me being away for 5 or 6 days at a time. I think that a good thing, hmmm. But yeah, she takes care of everything at home and we talk every day. It working out fine though I guess the biggest downfall is missing family events. It is what it is though and I've never been happier with my 'work'.

That's about it, just thought I'd share a good experience. Hard to believe it's been almost a year already.
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:52 PM
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sounds like you doing fine, and thats good miles!
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Old 01-03-2009, 10:42 PM
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congratulations on a successful first year. :thumbsup: just keep your head on straight and your wits about you and you'll do fine.
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Old 01-04-2009, 02:30 PM
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Thanks, just trying to keep it safe. Really learning what they mean about the learning never stops.
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:07 PM
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Congrats on making it through one Canadian winter. That makes you a "seasoned driver". No, you don't know everything yet, but then, neither does any other season driver. Good luck to you.

American drivers are more courteous around a truck? Ok, maybe true. But I've found that the people on the docks in Canada have a much better attitude than on the docks in the USA. New York, New Jersay, Pennsylvania? That's not America. That's the American Ghetto. America starts where Ohio begins, and gets better as you go west... Till you get to California. Of course, we may not have to worry about CA after Yellowstone blows.
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Windwalker View Post
Congrats on making it through one Canadian winter. That makes you a "seasoned driver". No, you don't know everything yet, but then, neither does any other season driver. Good luck to you.

American drivers are more courteous around a truck? Ok, maybe true. But I've found that the people on the docks in Canada have a much better attitude than on the docks in the USA. New York, New Jersay, Pennsylvania? That's not America. That's the American Ghetto. America starts where Ohio begins, and gets better as you go west... Till you get to California. Of course, we may not have to worry about CA after Yellowstone blows.
X2 on the congrats to a successful year, tinytim !!!! Well done :thumbsup:

I think Canadians are a lot more courteous to trucks. At least east of Windsor. The 4 wheels respect a truck and let them in, don't cut them off. Same is pretty much true for other truck drivers. Much more courteous to other truckers.

And right on about the dock workers. For the most part, they are talkative and helpful. Smile often.

I mentioned in another post, the only time I shake my head is at the bridges between Michigan and Canada. The CB whining that goes on is amazing!!! :hellno:

I am sure your family appreciates, tinytim, what you do for them and knows they are on your mind while you are gone.
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Old 01-04-2009, 06:08 PM
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That was a great write-up! Thanks for sharing your experiences. Stay safe and turn that C.B. off.
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