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Pass It On

By on March 1, 2009
RoadKing Mag

Toby Bogard - Driving for 8 yrs

I got out of the army in 2001 and was working at a local convenience store in Clarksville, Tenn., when I saw an ad in the newspaper: “Drive a Big Truck. Make Big Money.” So I went to school and got my CDL and have been driving ever since. I love it and have a true passion for what I do.

A few years ago, I was at a truckstop where another driver was selling movies to make some extra money. I started talking to him to find out what was going on and he told me he was not earning enough from driving. I said, “Let me take you in, buy you a meal and we’ll talk.” It turns out that this young man just got his CDL and he didn’t know everything about the industry.

We sat down and went over his pay stubs and he was driving great miles, but killing himself with the advances. He didn’t realize the advances were a loan against the miles he was going to drive. It dawned on me afterward that there is a lot of stuff that drivers aren’t taught in training.

I knew that I’d learned a lot that could be useful to new drivers coming into the industry to help them succeed. I wrote a book, On the Big Road: A Driver’s Trip Plan for Success — running at just 45 pages — that includes safety advice, but also covers the importance of staying mentally, physically and spiritually healthy in the job.

Trucking is really a lifestyle and if you come out here you need to know that it’s more than a job and more than a career. The book is dedicated to the drivers who paid the dues for what we have now. A lot of what I learned came from those seasoned drivers and I have a lot of respect for them. At the truckstops while having a meal I would hear drivers say that they had been driving for 10 or 20 years and I would go up to them and say, “Driver, can I ask you a few questions?” They’ve been out there and know.

I have copies of the book that I pass out to new drivers and get tremendous response.

I’m working on two other books: Semi Aware is for four-wheelers who don’t understand big trucks and how to drive around them. Truck Drivers are Mushrooms is humorous in a sense, but serious in talking about how drivers can develop a rapport with their dispatcher or company.

The best piece of advice I ever got about driving a truck came from a veteran who told me: “Respect yourself. Respect the truck. Respect the road. And respect other drivers.” That hit home. That’s what will make or break you out here.

Tell us how trucking has affected your life  and you may be featured in Road King.

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