Choosing a Truck Driving Job Part VII – Tankers and Flatbeds

In part 1 of our show, picking A Truck Driving Job Part I: Factors Which Effect All Companies, we talked about different variables and considerations which will affect your expertise at any organization you go to work for.In part 2,”Selecting A Truck Driving Job Part II: You and”Your People” Will Be The Most Important Factor”, we talked about surrounding yourself with the ideal people,

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understanding factors which impact the freight you’re going to be receiving, and things you can do to put yourself in the best position to succeed.In part 3,”Selecting A Truck Driving Job Part III: The Way Your Family and Lifestyle Will Affect Your Selection”, we considered your personality and lifestyle. Are you currently married? Do you have children? Do you love adventure? How long would you prefer to be away from home? These queries all figure into the process of choosing the right truck driving job.In part 4,”Selecting A Truck Driving Job Part IV: Benefits of Big Trucking Companies”, we of course discussed the advantages of working in a large trucking company.In part 5,”Choosing A Truck Driving Job Part V: Assessing Large Trucking businesses to Little Ones”, we contrasted working for companies of different sizes.In part ,”Choosing A Truck Driving Job Part VI: Dry Van and Refrigerated Companies”, we talked a little bit about life on the road with a dry van or a refrigerated carrier.Now, in part 7, we’ll talk a little bit about driving for a tanker or flatbed carrier.You might discover that there is not too much of a difference between driving to get a dry van carrier versus a refrigerated carrier, however, pulling a tanker or a flatbed is a whole different thing altogether. FlatbedPulling a flatbed is a unique way to create a dwelling in trucking, and if you ask anyone that does it they will tell you there’s nothing simple about it. Well, many”flatbedders” are fairly rough guys and now that I think about it, they may tell you there’s nothing for this. And for them, it is probably mostly true. Some of the gaps are apparent – you need to use chains or straps to hold off your load, and often times you need to tarp the load to protect it from the components. These tasks tend to be tedious at best, difficult most of the time, and there are a range of regulations and rules that regulate the methods used to secure your load. The DOT rules loosely specify the kinds of equipment you need to use, along with a number of the techniques you need to use to secure the load. Odds are, if the DOT is considering assessing somebody out, the flatbeds often times go . I pulled dry van that the huge majority of my years on the street, and we had been much less interesting to the DOT compared to flatbeds, for obvious reasons.The work of securing and releasing your load is very physical, and often times quite hard. The tarps, chains, and straps are rather heavy and often times you are outside in the weather getting the load secured or discharged on your own. The tarps, straps, and chains becoming wet, icy, and very hard to take care of in bad weather, not to mention you’re out there crawling around on the load attempting to get everything situated. It can be very dangerous. I’ve heard many, many stories of severe injuries from men falling off of trailers.Now there are a few advantages to pulling a flatbed also. Quite often the tractor and the load you’ve got are far shorter in height compared to your regular trucks, so it is a lot simpler to fit under low bridges from the towns. Also, the lower profile aids the crosswinds move around you somewhat better on slick roads in the wintertime. And lastly, it is an interesting way to make a living. There is always a new challenge, many different different types of loads to fasten, and there is a small camaraderie among the flatbed drivers. It is an interesting and challenging form of truck driving, but I would not suggest it to anybody who isn’t the rugged type.Liquid TankersNow I pulled a food-grade tanker to get a calendar year one time and I truly enjoyed it. I was not too big on the idea of being about a lot of hazardous materials or pulling HAZMAT loads very often.Food grade tankers are intriguing however. There are no baffles in the tank, so there isn’t anything to keep the fluids from sloshing around. It takes a bit of time to understand how to shift the truck because the liquid sloshing will thrust or slow down the truck enough that the shift will not execute at the speed you are now going. You have to”time” your changes so as to begin rolling. It’s no big deal – but it takes some practice.You also have to be additional cautious on slick roads, in turns, and when flying. This liquid moves all around the place and you’ve got to always be aware of what it’s going to do before you attempt maneuvering the vehicle. You don’t get too many second chances should you try to create overly aggressive of a transfer.Additionally, you need to acquire the tank washed out after almost every load. This can take a great deal of additional time, and imply a bunch of extra running between heaps. However, at times it is a relief because a two hour rest is just what the doctor ordered!Lastly, you do need to help unload the truck at times by hooking up a few hoses. Most liquid tankers have hydraulic pumps around the back and at times you are going to have to run the pump to unload the tank. The advantages of pulling a liquid tanker are the crosswinds flow round the tank well, you don’t need to fret about having your axle weights corrected because the liquid is self-balancing, and the majority of the tractors and tanks are fairly short in height, so low bridges aren’t as much of a concern.Most new drivers won’t be dealing with businesses that haul bulk shipments in dry tankers, such as bread, sugar, and sand, but there isn’t too much difference in the occupation and lifestyle from that of a liquid tanker. At the final part of the series we’re going to speak about a few of the best ways to discover if a business you are considering driving for is one which you might be pleased with.

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