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When truckers have questions, other truckers often have the best answers

By on May 1, 2015
Truckers-Helping-Truckers

Even the most experienced drivers can find themselves in situations that only another trucker will understand. When help is needed, these organizations bring truckers together to share information. The goal is to make trucking safer, more profitable and more pleasant for everyone.

Ask a Veteran Driver was created to build the camaraderie among truckers and help rookies who have completed their time with trainers, yet have more questions and need somewhere to turn. Questions are answered on their website and Facebook page. Most importantly, they encourage face-to-face contact. Veteran truckers can register at the website and purchase a decal to display on their trucks. It lets others know that the driver inside is willing and able to answer trucking questions.

Women In Trucking encourages both male and female drivers to connect on their Facebook page. Those thinking about getting into trucking as a career, just-graduated student truckers and all levels of experienced truckers can come and ask questions, share experiences and gather information about life and work on the road.

Revenue: Knowing Rates and Lanes is a Facebook page for owner-operators, either leased to a carrier or with their own authority, who dispatch themselves and negotiate their own rates — true business owners. The site’s purpose is to help members increase their bottom lines by focusing on the overall picture, from negotiation to dispatch. Members include many successful owner-operators who have learned by trial and error the best ways to negotiate the top hauling rates.

What are the most common questions a trucker seeking help asks your group?

Ask a Veteran Driver:
By far, they want to know about jobs. Newcomers just thinking about trucking, new students entering training, drivers who have completed training and are at their sixmonth mark; then one-year mark and are ready to make more money, veteran drivers who want to round out their resumes and drivers just ready for a change ask about what’s out there for them.

Women In Trucking:
In the winter, drivers ask about chaining and road conditions. There are road reports from around the country from other drivers. Other common questions involve electronic logs, HOS rules and the mandatory 30-minute break. Solo drivers have constant issues with trying to manage their time. How to scale a load is another popular question. New drivers ask what they need to have on the truck: clothing, tools, gloves, bedding and so on.

Revenue: Knowing Rates and Lanes:
What’s the secret to getting great rates? Of course, there is no secret, no formula, and no magic. Finding the best rates takes knowledge, skill and hard work. Our page provides the skill and knowledge and hopefully inspires them to do the necessary hard work.

What has been the most interesting question any trucker seeking help has asked?

Women In Trucking:
A few months ago a trainee was left in a truck parked in a vacant parking area with no facilities while her trainer went home. Her cell signal was also very sketchy and without a key to the truck, she couldn’t take care of basic needs like charging a phone or having A/C.

The overwhelming responses from our members immediately got the company aware of the situation and the trainee was rescued and put in a hotel while they resolved issues with the trainer. In years past, without social media or a page like ours, that trainee would not have had an outpouring of support and help from her fellow truckers. No one would have known she was there and alone.

Revenue: Knowing Rates and Lanes:
How do I build relationships with my customers? That’s a fantastic question because forming relationships ensures longterm success. When people ask those types of questions, they have big aspirations and long-term goals.

Ask a Veteran Driver:
We’re still figuring out the answer to this one: Which states and on which roads and interstates can a trucker run overweight with permits with a multi-axle 53’ dry van? For example, Nebraska does not allow overweight loads on interstates.

What was the most helpful answer a trucker gave another trucker?

Ask a Veteran Driver:
Our number one question from drivers is about whether their weight is legal in any given state and our members give them help immediately on our Facebook page. If they are asking, it usually means they need that help right away because the clock is ticking. The laws are complicated and a lot of times their dispatchers won’t have the answer. A driver can take a picture of their Cat Scale ticket, put it on our Facebook page. They may need to answer a few questions, but they will get their answer.

Women In Trucking:
The most helpful answers are always to questions truckers are most passionate about. If a student trucker posts about an injustice done to them, group members are quick with support, advice and help. The most practical answers include tips on backing; it seems most trainees are never given enough instruction or practice on how to best back a tractor-trailer.

Revenue: Knowing Rates and Lanes:
To remember that you and the broker both have the same goal — to move a load — and you should work together to reach that goal. It’s extremely valuable advice. The brokers aren’t the enemy, but a partner in business. Negotiating to reach a common goal tends to achieve better results than beating each other up to get the best price. It also goes a long way toward relationship building and future success!

Where would you like to see improvements in truckers helping their fellow truckers?

Ask a Veteran Driver:
Bringing back courtesy and helping one another. Given the gravity of our jobs (truck driving is rated the eighth most deadly job in the country) and the size of our tractortrailers, we must work together in so many situations every day: backing, merging, fuel islands and mountain driving. Why not take that extra minute when you see someone struggling and lend a hand? Share your expertise; make a friend that day. You just might bring it back, one act of kindness at a time.

Revenue: Knowing Rates and Lanes:
We have to be business owners first; always professional and courteous. Share helpful advice when you can but don’t be afraid to ask questions when you don’t know all of the answers. The most helpful thing truckers can do to truly improve the whole industry is put an end to the “lunch counter” advice, those tales about how things “really are” that often have a negative connotation about the industry.

Women In Trucking:
The schools can only do so much. Companies themselves need to step up on the training. If they’re going to hire students, then they should train them correctly. How can a person who has been out on the road for only six months to a year train someone else?

Even people who have been out here many years still run into tough situations. Instead of getting on the CB and making fun of a driver or posting pictures or videos of them on Facebook, we’d like to see the person on the radio or snapping photos get out and offer assistance.

We cannot change the public’s view of us until we stand up and start helping one another.

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