Tag Archives: driver courtesy

Storytellin’ Truck Drivers

By Larry Pruitt

One thing that is as sure as death and taxes; if you talk to any truck driver for any length of time, you will eventually hear some story about the truckin’ life or some load they have hauled.  Before we go any farther here, let’s just say upfront that some stories are probably pretty much true, but we have all heard stories that have you saying to yourself, “Ain’t no freakin’ way.”  I have been known on certain occasions to not only say it to myself, but also say it out loud – and I should know better, but to no one’s surprise, that doesn’t stop me.
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Kindness, Pass It On

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

A while back, we read a Facebook post that asked people what they did on their time off. Some of the answers were really impressive. Many involved volunteering. That got us thinking about some ideas we could share with you of things you could do to help others.

Lately it seems that there are more people standing on street corners begging for money or food. I have a niece who lives in the Phoenix area. She recently took her two young children with her to pass out food and water to people in their community who are in need. She wanted to teach them that not everyone is as fortunate, or as blessed as they are and they need to learn to share their blessings. What an inspiration!

We’ve read about women who crochet or knit and donate hats they’ve made to cancer patients who lose their hair. Some give hats to preemie babies or to the homeless. What little thing could we do to make a huge difference in another person’s life?

Instead of giving someone money, how about giving a lunch sack with something simple like a peanut butter sandwich, a little bag of chips and a bottle of water? And if that person has a dog with them maybe have another baggie full of dog food and give them a second bottle of water? That animal may be the only companionship this person has. Don’t be too quick to judge you don’t know what may have happened for someone to be in that situation…

When it’s cold out, maybe you could keep a few small fleece blankets on hand? Make a day of going to the local thrift stores when you are home or laid over and pick up some winter scarves, mittens and hats. These things could be priceless to the people you share them with. You can carry quite a few of these items in your truck without using up all of your storage space and without spending a huge amount of money.

Years ago, at a dock in Oakland, there was a homeless man where we were delivering. I took him to the lunch truck and told him he could have whatever he wanted and I would pay for it. I will never forget how polite he was and asked if each thing he got was ok. He got a meal, something to drink and a snack for later. He was not there begging for money and he appreciated the food.

The “pay it forward” idea has also become very popular. One day when I went through the Oklahoma toll booth, the lady working the booth said that a driver in front of me had given her $20.00 and told her to use it until it was gone for the drivers behind him. It was only a $4.00 toll, but it still made my day!

Get creative with showing kindness to others. It doesn’t cost anything to say hello or give a wave to another driver. We see so much hate and negativity on the news and maybe even in person. If each of us would work a little bit harder at being kind and sharing, it may just become contagious and help to make our world a better place! Smiles are free and my favorite saying has always been, “If you see a man today without a smile, give him one of yours.”

We drivers could get out of our truck and help watch for the trailer for a driver who is backing into a tight space. When a new driver asks you a question, help them out instead of giving them a sarcastic response. If you’ve been driving a long time, share your knowledge.

The other day in a parking lot there was a trainer with three students. They were admiring our trucks and we chatted with them. The trainer was so nice and he really loved our trucks and appreciated the time we took to talk to his students. We hope that we inspired them to work hard and a goal to work toward in their careers.

If you can’t hand out lunches, knit hats or pass out blankets, be that driver who takes a few minutes to be nice to another driver. We all know how stressful and challenging it can be on the road. A joke to make us laugh or a friendly hello can help make a crummy day better.

Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!


Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.


 

A Trucker Network

A Trucker Network | Trucker Tips

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

If you have been driving for a long time, you probably have a network of friends and other drivers you have met over the years. If you are just getting on the road, it’s not a bad idea to start creating your own network. Building such a network will be one of the most worthwhile things you ever do for yourself. It is priceless. Reliable people in our industry, those who have each other’s backs, are still out there. We know many and we can count on them as they can us.

People you can trust to give you good information when you are in their neck of the woods, or the areas where they run, are invaluable. It’s nice to have someone you trust that lives in the area to tell you the best route to take. They might know about safe places that you can stop or the places that might not be so safe that you should avoid if possible. We can not tell you how many times we have utilized advice from a friend, or given advice to a friend of a friend in order to keep them safe or save them from driving useless, unnecessary miles. Once you have established a core network, your friends all have friends and it’s arms reach out forever.

Trucker friends who have delivered to the stops you go to can be a wealth of information about things like whether or not you can park there; how long before your appointment they will let you in; if the lumpers are reasonable or they are going to charge a lot; how long you can anticipate being there, etc.

We developed many of our lasting friendships at truck shows and can count on our friends for accurate advice. If they don’t know they will tell us that too. The recent flooding in Louisiana and wildfires in California are prime examples of what we are talking about. I got a call from my best friend who had just pulled into the truck stop in Hesperia, CA to change drivers and had just seen the sign telling her that I-15 was closed due to the fire. We had lived and run there for almost all of our 40 years so I was able to give her a detour route that was less crowded than those being used by most of the rest of the traffic. This helped her get through with less of a delay than she would have otherwise experienced. Calling me was her first thought, she knew I would have good, dependable information and that she could trust me. She knew that I wouldn’t put them out on a restricted route or give her advice that would get them into any trouble. Like I said before, a good, reliable network is worth it’s weight in gold! Once you have developed your network you can share your contacts with others you meet who need their help and the entire network expands across the whole country! It’s a truly beautiful thing.

Sitting in the waiting room at a receivers dock to check in where there is a long line of drivers can sometimes be a place for conversation and information gathering pertaining to a drop you have after the one you are at. At these places a lot of times there will be drivers that run local and are familiar with the area. They know about current construction zones and streets you want to take and ones you might want to stay off of. Use this time to find out as much information as possible. It will make your day easier in the long run!

I do not fully trust my GPS unit. If I’m in doubt, I will at call a shipper or receiver and hopefully, if I can’t talk to a live person, they have a direction line that will tell you the right way to get there with a truck! If I am running behind, I will call my next pickup or drop and the people on the other end of the phone are usually very nice, appreciate the call and tell you that doesn’t happen much anymore. Be the driver that does this and it will usually make your life easier. This can also help establish your network. If you make personal contact with your shipper/consignee, be personable and polite. Hopefully, they will remember you and treat you with the same respect and possibly be flexible when you need it!

Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!


Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.


 

Signs

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

When we hit the road, there are a plethora of signs we need to recognize and understand. Some are suggestive, some are required, some are cautionary, and some are informational. It is SO important that we know which is which so that we can always obey the law.

We all know and recognize the red octagon, the famous STOP sign, STOP is NOT a suggestion! People running these, along with their electric counterpart, the red light, kill or maim innocent people every day. It is for our personal safety as well as the safety of everyone else that these signs are put in place to protect us.

Speed Limit signs that are white and black are law, but they also represent ideal conditions, if the weather conditions are bad you could be cited for traveling the posted speed limit so you always need to use good judgement as well. There are a lot of new electronic signs erected all over the country that will post adjusted speed limits or alert drivers to accidents or bad weather and all kinds of useful information that needs to be communicated to the motoring public that are very helpful.  There are a few states such as Wyoming and Georgia that have speed limit signs that will change with the weather or traffic conditions.

Signs- When we hit the road, there are a plethora of signs we need to recognize and understand. Some are suggestive, some are required, some are cautionary, and some are informational. It is SO important that we know which is which so that we can always obey the law.

There have been several accidents lately involving low overpasses and weight limits on certain roads.  In one instance, a woman destroyed a historic bridge in a town she was familiar with,  after the damage was done she said that she didn’t know how much a ton was.  A ton is 2000 pounds and many roads and bridges are marked with Weight Limit signs telling a driver what is allowable.  If you are over this weight and something as catastrophic as tearing the bridge down occurs you or/and your company just became responsible for that bridge.   Most but not all trailers are 13’6” high which is a standard in the industry, height over that in many states require you to have permits and depending on how high you are they will also require pilot cars.  Each state differs so you should know before you go.  If you approach an overpass that says the clearance is 13’6” slow down!  Some states will pave and not change the signs.  Slowing down could save you the damage and enormous expense of such an accident.

Railroad Crossing Signs warn you of tracks that you are about to cross and you need to heed them. When it comes to truck VS train the truck will lose every time! This sign is even more important to trucks who carry Haz Mat or who pull trailers with low clearance. Getting stuck or hung up on a track could become a major disaster!

Orange signs are used to warn us of upcoming construction, they could tell us there is a flag person ahead or workers and equipment on the roadway. Whatever they tell us, take them seriously, road construction is a necessary part of life and the people who perform it have a very dangerous occupation already, let’s do our part to help keep them safe! Let them do their job and we will reap the rewards of safer smoother roads.

Then there are the blue signs, the service related signs, those telling you where the rest areas are, hospitals and gas stations. All kinds of things we need, restaurants, hotels, motels and other services motorists will need at any given time, that’s when we need to look for those blue signs. We both remember all too well when those signs weren’t around, it was much more difficult to locate necessary places back then, almost a guessing game if you had never run that lane before. Believe me, blue is better! We are grateful for those blue signs!

Another helpful tip is to know that the brown signs out there are used to designate historic places such as National Parks, Zoos, Museums, Visitor Centers and various tourist destinations such as campgrounds, picnic sites, theme parks and such. All in all, we have a very significant and helpful series of signs to help guide us along our travels for all types of purposes. You can joke about that old 60’s song with the chorus that goes “signs, signs, everywhere a sign, blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind” by Five Man Electrical Band. But in all honesty? I’d hate to think where we’d be without them today!

Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!


Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.


 

Driver Courtesy

Being Helpful Doesn’t Hurt

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Good old fashioned manners, words such as ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ can go a long way in almost every situation.  When you drive a truck you are working with dispatchers, shippers, receivers, truck stop employees, and other drivers.  A good attitude can go a long way.  Getting along with the people you work with and are around every day will make life on the road easier and more enjoyable.

Being Helpful Doesn't Hurt- A good attitude can go a long way.  Getting along with the people you work with and are around every day will make life on the road easier and more enjoyable.

Being a courteous driver doesn’t cost you a thing, but the rewards you can reap are enormous.  I was at a dock recently where a driver was struggling to back in next to me, so I got out of my truck and went over to help him.  I was more than happy to do this as he was aimed at my hood, but would have, in fact we both have, done this on many other occasions even when my own truck wasn’t in jeopardy.  It’s the right thing to do.  Don’t just sit there and watch someone back into somebody else when you could get out and help.  The hood you save could be your own!

We always appreciate it when someone helps us and are happy to do the same.  So many loading dock and parking lot accidents are preventable.  G.O.A.L. Get Out And Look!!!  If you don’t have someone there to help watch for you, set your brakes and Get Out And Look!  If you have a co-driver you can carry a walkie-talkie set to an off channel and communicate with each other without having to be able to see them.  This is a useful tool for any team.

Speaking of loading docks, shippers and receivers have quite a bit of power over your immediate life.  Going into their office with a bad attitude won’t get you in or out of there any sooner, in fact, more than likely the opposite will occur.  Be as pleasant and courteous as possible in order to achieve the results you need.  As frustrating as it is, be nice, then, when you get loaded or empty, go out into the quiet privacy of your own truck and holler at the walls.

Flashing bright lights when another big truck passes is a former courtesy that has turned into an annoying and dangerous habit of late.  This started by the quick turning off, then on again of headlights during nighttime to let that passing driver know he/she had cleared you and was able to come on back over into the travel lane.  This morphed into bright lights partially because of the daytime running lights and partially because of the changed handles for turning headlights on and off.  The problem with this practice is that it blinds the driver as they look in their side mirror – – yikes!  This is not safe at all, so can we all agree to stop doing this?  Thanks!

You know how much you appreciate it when somebody lets you over, or stops a line of traffic to let you pull out, or even waits behind the white line so you can get around the corner?  Be THAT driver.  The more of us that do this, maybe the more of us WILL DO THIS.  Maybe we can start a new movement of driver courtesy, help a new generation develop these positive habits.

It’s been said for years that people are quick to complain and not nearly as quick to thank someone.  When you go out of your way to be nice, it really does rub off and people are nicer to you.  Share some of your hard learned lessons with younger drivers, you might be able to help them avoid some of the grief you suffered.

Stay safe out there and Keep it Shiny!


 Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.