Only being on the road for 10 hours taught me so much more about a typical day in a local truck driver’s life. We started our day in Defiance, OH at 6 am and returned at 4:30 pm that same afternoon. Throughout our day we made many stops, which included Archbold, Holiday City, Clyde, Napoleon, and Bryan. I learned many different things from the challenges they face daily to the different rules and regulations they have to follow and also have a new found respect for drivers.
Throughout the day I learned and even experienced first-hand some of the challenges that drivers face every day. At one of our stops, we had to wait 45 minutes for them to check our product. They reported back that our product was fine which was great news! However, they wanted us to un-dock and go to a different location 3 miles down the road to get unloaded. As a result, we were going to be late to our next appointment, so dispatch had to bump our appointment time back a few hours.
Top 5 things Learned during Ride Along
1.) Detention Time – Detention time is when a truck is detained at a shipper’s or customer’s loading dock beyond a reasonable period of time. Generally in the industry, 2 hours are needed for loading or unloading a truck. Any time after that, the driver gets paid a flat rate per hour they sit there.
2.) People Net – Communication is key in the trucking industry. I learned that People Net is essential to keeping a driver on schedule. Every time they leave or arrive somewhere they have to enter it. By doing that it also allows the dispatchers to know what is going on with frequent updates.
3.) Be PATIENT! - A big thing I realized that a driver has to be patient in almost every aspect of their day, whether it’s waiting to be unloaded, waiting in traffic, or being patient with employees where they are dropping off at.
4.) Hours of Service – There are different rules regarding how many consecutive hours a driver can work before they need to take a break. A driver is limited to the 14-hour consecutive hours in which to drive up to 11 hours after being of duty for 10 or more consecutive hours. The 14 consecutive hour window begins when you start any kind of work. Once you have reached the end of this 14 consecutive hour period, you cannot drive again until you have been off duty for another 10 consecutive hours.
5.) Being Aware – I realized how it important it is for us as drivers on the road to be more aware. For example, leave a little extra room at an intersection for the semi-trucks to make an easier turn. Be smart and remember that a truck could weigh 80,000 (which is comparable to 20 average size cars), so it takes them longer to slow down. Be careful when pulling out in front of them or passing them.
I can definitely say that after being out on the road for one day, I gained a lot of respect for truck drivers and what they do on a daily basis. Thank you truck drivers for keeping this world running!