Things to Expect as a New Driver in Utah

June 11 2021

 

Starting out, being new, being the fresh face at the company is never easy. There are nerves to get over, performance anxieties, and just the simple, human fear of washing out and not making it. It all comes with being the new employee, the newbie, or if you’re a circus clown, being a First of May.

The job is different from anything else you’ve experienced. It’s not a 9 to 5 situation. It’s not an office job, and it certainly isn’t the same thing day in, day out. There are elements of adventure, freedom, and being on the open road. But, there are also elements of solitude, time away from home and family, and the frustrations that come with sharing the highway with people who don’t understand what goes into driving a truck.

However, if you’re driving for a company like Pride Transport, you’re going to have an advantage. Pride drivers are given training that prepares them to drive and prepares them for a truck driver’s life. Pride drivers are given more tools, more information, so that first time drivers are more likely to succeed and thrive in the business. 

If you’re a new driver and you’re facing your first year on the road, listen, pay attention, ask questions, don’t pretend you know it all just to fit in and keep safety foremost in your mind. With those ideas and some insight from vets, you should have a very positive first-year experience.

 

 

Life will change

ariel view of highways

Unless you’ve been driving a truck up to this point then, you’ve never experienced what being a truck driver is all about. Your first adjustments will be around being on the road for weeks at a time and home for a few days. Keep in mind this new schedule is going to affect you and your family. It’s a good idea to sit down and talk to family and friends, explain to them that you’re going to be on a new schedule and that time with them is going to be different. Open, honest, clear communication about the changes that will occur is vital. You want to keep your personal life as stable as possible while you navigate your life changes.

A support system of friends and family is essential when you undertake a new endeavor. Joining the men and women who keep our country supplied and moving is going to be rewarding, but there may be some bumps in the road to deal with as well. If your family and friends' support system is aware and understanding about this new change, then you’ll be able to lean on them, talk to them and turn to them when you have questions, doubts, or just need to blow off steam that comes with being the new driver.

Do what you can to minimize the changes in your life. Try to find a schedule and keep to it. Make the most of your home time. By this, we mean find time for yourself to recharge and center and give your family and friends the time with you they need to feel secure and cared for.

Keep in mind that you’re not going to get the optimum routes or schedules as a new driver. Those come with time on the road and experience. Like any job, dues are paid, and those who have experience will get attractive routes and schedules. Patience, you’ll be one of them soon enough.

 

 

What you eat

Usually, mealtime is simple; what’s in the fridge, what can I cook, that sort of thing. On the road, meals are very different. You don’t want to spend all your money at diners and restaurants; you’ll be eating up your profits and find yourself low on cash very quickly. Diners and restaurants can be a change of pace sort of situation but, not wise for them to be an everyday occurrence.

In your first year, you’ll need to learn about meal prep, making meals at home to warm up in your cab, snack tricks, and tips to avoid the food on offer at truck stops. Again, not bad once in a while, but a steady diet of tube meat that’s been on a roller since Carter was in office will lead to feeling ill and your lower intestine engaging the services of a divorce lawyer. How and what you eat will be a change that you can expect to navigate in your first year.

Since you’ll be sitting in the driver’s seat for a large portion of your day, what you eat is going to have an impact on your overall health. Being aware from the get-go of what you’re putting in your body, from food to energy drinks, will help you stay healthy and save money. Tips for better eating on the road are out there, read some, and stay ahead of the game.

 

 

Physically challenging

pride driver looking under hood of semi truck

You’ve got your CDL, and you’ve spent time in the truck; however, the daily challenge of learning to control the truck you’re driving is going to be a physical challenge, unlike one you may have faced before.

A fully loaded truck is going to weigh in at about 80,000 pounds. That’s heavy. That’s equivalent to 45 Kodiak Bears, 32 Asian Guar, 11 hippos, two whale sharks, or one-fifth of a blue whale. All of which would undoubtedly be physically challenging to transport across the country.

A new driver is going to expect some time to get used to handling that kind of weight. Add to that weather conditions and other drivers on the road, and there is a lot to contend with for a new driver. Patience, relax, in time, you’ll make it look as easy as the vets do.

There are also the physical challenges of sitting all day. Sitting for long periods, has been said, can cause a myriad of health issues, from wasting away of large leg and gluteal muscles to diabetes and heart problems. Getting out of the truck and moving will be a challenge a new driver can expect to face.

Simple in-cab exercises, taking a walk during lunch break or before you bed down for the night. Adding awareness of your physical needs will be a part of your everyday life as a new driver. You’ll want to think about your health to stay on top of potential problems and stay fit so you can drive for a long time.

 

 

Mentally challenging

Time on the road in your first year, you’re going to miss family and, most likely, family gatherings. Schedules for new drivers are usually not great; remember, you’re paying dues. So, you may miss a birthday or holiday gathering. Prepare for that. Have alternate celebrations planned or check in on skype. Do what you can to be as connected as possible because family is vital to staying mentally well.

The life of a driver is very solitary, and in your first year, you’re going to feel that the most. Feelings of loneliness, disconnection, and even depression can appear. If you’re not prepared, these feelings can become overwhelming and may lead to mental illness. Some feelings left untreated or even spoken about can lead to quitting the job or, worse, suicide

It’s not common, but those feelings do arise. If they do, talk to someone immediately. There’s no need to stick it out or hope it passes, loneliness is a big deal, and most people don’t experience actual loneliness daily. This may be new and a bit frightening. However, if you talk to friends, family, other drivers, you’ll discover you’re not alone, and there are paths through it.

There are ways to deal with loneliness, simple things like calling home every day—scheduling facetime when you’re away. Or bring your pet on the road with you. Touchpoints, so you know someone is always thinking about you, and you can let them know you’re thinking about them. Being on the road solo will be a new feeling that first-time drivers can expect—plan on how you’re going to deal with it before it starts to deal with you.

 

 

Can you believe this weather?

storm rolling in over highway

All around the country but, in particular, first time Utah drivers will experience some strange weather. It’s mercurial, and sometimes, if you’re not ready, it can be dangerous.

Most years, Utah experiences about 179 or so days without freezing temperatures. Those cold days with no snow, ice, or frost are great. However, those days can quickly change, and suddenly, you’re looking at snow in May or a first fall freeze happening in September.

There are also extreme weather changes from the valley to the mountains to contend with. From no snow to sudden piles of it as you increase elevation, it can make driving challenging and deciding when to chain up a difficult task.

Utah drivers will also have to contend with the inversion. Low hanging clouds of smog and smoke can make visibility insane. Inversion in January and February can cause streets to look wet, but, in reality, they are covered with black ice. The low temps and trapped air can turn trees into bones of ice and make streets treacherous. On top of that, you’ll be dealing with limited visibility, so as a new driver, you can expect to do some adjusting to the weather.

In the summer, drivers will have to deal with sweltering temperatures that may last for days on end. During these times, the air quality can be harmful and, if you have respiratory problems, the air quality can exacerbate those troubles.

Lightening is also a severe problem in Utah. Utah ranks 11th nationally in lightning deaths. Even more treacherous; avalanches. Something drivers in the mountainous terrain have got to be aware of. There have been more than 116 avalanche-related deaths in Utah since 1951. New drivers should be mindful of weather, road conditions, and mountain conditions during peak times. Expect to change your schedule and routes to accommodate weather-related changes.

 

 

You can handle it

The first year of a new job, be it in Utah or anywhere else, will be a bit discombobulating. You have so much to learn and to digest. Your world changes, and there are adjustments required across all facets of your life. That’s just how it is.

If you’re driving for a company like Pride, you’re lucky. Pride is owned and operated by a family of truck drivers, so they know. Anything you’re experiencing as a first-time driver, they’ve experienced it too. So, no matter what, you’re not alone.

Asking for help is not the same as complaining. As a truck driver, complaining is going to get you nowhere. Asking questions and genuinely listening will get you answers and ease your mind because you’ll see you’re not really alone.

Don’t try to go it alone. There are resources available, people to talk to, experienced drivers who are ready to help you navigate your first year. If you drive with Pride, the owners have an eye on you, and they’ll be there to help you along the way.



**Pride is in no way suggesting that these creatures are fat or out of shape; they are simply large animals.

The Importance of Safety Culture

June 04 2021

 

Safety. It is an essential part of everyday life, and it is imperative on the job. A safe and healthy workplace is vital to most employers and employees. A safe workplace not only protects workers from injury and illness, but it can also lower injury/illness costs, reduce absenteeism and turnover, increase productivity and quality, and raise overall employee morale. When you think about it, safety is good for business. Also, protecting your workers is just the right thing to do.

For a small business, one injury can be a total financial disaster. According to OSHA, injury costs to an employer include:

  • Production losses

  • Wages for work not performed

  • Increased workers' compensation insurance costs

  • Damage to equipment or machinery

  • Hiring and/or training new employees

  • A decline in product quality and worker morale

  • A decline in worker morale

  • High turnover and lost work time

The cost of worker injury, illness, and death are much higher than workers’ compensation insurance alone. And, the overall cost of injury prevention is less than the cost of the injury. It’s important to note that a safe and healthy workplace will attract and retain more quality workers.

 

Safety

Most companies will say they are safe or give some kind of pass at keeping the workplace safe. In reality, many companies do not actually work to keep the workplace safe and healthy. There are vague attempts at safety that are usually comprised of a first-day lecture droned by someone with a been there done that attitude and a safety poster on the wall in the breakroom that’s been partially eclipsed by a snack vending machine.

There are a myriad of “safety solutions” that companies administer, and these solutions are all available online for the perusal of the general public. None of these safety measures are proprietary, and only a handful of them actually work. They’re out there, but they aren’t being given the proper attention.

 

Culture

Culture is the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group. This means there is a shared mindset and drive from a group of people.

We hear the term cultured used a lot these days. Sometimes a cultural movement isn’t productive or significantly positive. Other times, a culture is vital for the success of a particular idea or need. This is the case with safety culture.

The way an organization approaches workplace safety is vital to the success of those safety implementations. Posting safety rules or having a once-a-year “safety chat” are just not enough to keep the workplace as safe as possible. What makes safety work is fostering a safety culture in the workplace.

 

The Difference

There is a vast and essential difference between safety on the job and creating a workplace safety culture. Safety culture is more apt to work and keep employees safe and injury-free. Much more so than the usual vague reference to safety and then hoping it will just take.

A safety culture in an organization is one that puts a high level of importance on safety beliefs, values, and attitudes. The weight that safety carries in these culture-driven companies means that all employees work toward a common safety goal. Employees care and watch out for each other and are actively involved in making the workplace safe and agreeable.

In previous times, safety was mentioned and given the nod, maybe at the orientation meeting or when the new hire is doing paperwork, there is a “safety speech.” The problem is, these situations put the onus of safety on one person. Usually, there is a reference to “we” or “the company” being aware of safety, and it doesn’t go much further than that. The idea of safety and the implementation of safety measures is left up to unknown entities, and so real safety is never at the forefront of the employee’s mind. They are always thinking, well, someone is watching over this, and someone has our safety covered. That’s not true.

 

A Good Safety Culture

When you work in a company that has adopted and fostered a safety culture, there are signs that the culture is doing well and thriving. Not only are there fewer accidents, injuries, and trips to the hospital, but there are other signifiers that a safety culture is at work.

All employees show a working knowledge of both safety and health issues. In working safety cultures, all employees show this kind of knowledge. They know what to do when it counts, and they know their roles and responsibilities when it comes to safety.

Safety is the key priority. In an authentic safety culture, there are no competing issues. If there is competition between issues, a safety culture ensures that safety comes out on top every time. This is the way a safety culture thrives. Safety is always the priority, not just when it’s easy, or someone thinks about it. Every time. It’s simple. Otherwise, a toxic culture is created, and no one feels or is safe.

Effective safety cultures are proactive. Issues are identified before they become costly problems. The culture allows employees to find risk factors and put control measures in place proactively. And there are safety leaders that stay ahead of the curve to resolve problems.

Employees feel comfortable reporting safety issues. In effective safety cultures, employees are comfortable reporting any safety issues. They know they won’t be punished for coming forward. It’s a huge indication of the safety culture working and being adopted by all employees.

You can’t afford to have people who treat safety lightly. For a real safety culture to thrive, you want employees and employers that take safety seriously. Effective safety cultures have safety as a condition of employment. That’s making safety a key organizational value. And that produces results.

Rewarding and recognizing good safety behaviors are the norm in strong safety cultures. They reinforce positive safety behaviors and motivate continued health and safety performances. Eventually, word gets out that the culture recognizes a job well done. That has a significant impact.

One of the main pillars of an active, influential safety culture is that safety is seen as an investment. These effective safety cultures look at resources put into safety as an investment, not as a cost or an expenditure. Good leaders and safe companies recognize that putting time, effort, money, and awareness into safety is an essential investment in their employees’ safety and well-being. When this kind of culture is active and thriving, employees know that they are being cared for, which makes them happier at work, making them more productive.

 

More Than Monetary Concern

Despite the obvious financial benefits of a strong safety culture, that isn’t and shouldn’t be the main focus of the idea. At the base of a safety culture is the care and well-being of all employees. The realization that when employees are well and happy, the entire company runs more efficiently, and the retention rate of employees remains high.

Companies like Pride Transport say that they care and respect all their employees, treat everyone like family, and be backed up by an active safety culture. Pride’s founders and owners were once drivers; in fact, the CEO and the company’s president still drive. They understand the need for safety on the job from a driver’s point of view, and so, they have worked hard to implement a robust and authentic safety culture.

At Pride, they see safety as more than just saving money. They actively show they care about their employees by insisting that safety be a priority all the time. Drivers especially recognize the gravity of poor safety, and drivers recognize the efforts Pride takes to cultivate safety and a safe mindset all the time. This maintenance of a safety culture is one of the primary reasons many drivers come to work for, and stay with Pride.

 

It is Important

Safety is vital to any operation. When employees feel safe on the job, they have increased respect for the higher-ups and work in peace. You cannot put a monetary tag on having happy employees who work together to ensure the safety of all involved. The long-term benefits of a safety culture, lower attrition rates, better quality people applying for work, word of mouth about how careful the company is, and how they take safety seriously will do more for a company than people imagine.

When a company actively creates and maintains a safety culture, employees know they are being seen as people, valuable people, and not just numbers or stats. This creates a unified feeling for the company’s continued success and a more significant investment in staying with that company to help it succeed.

Injuries cost money. Losing an employee means time, energy, and money to replace and train someone new. Creating an influential safety culture saves money and time, but it also elevates every employee’s value, which does not go unnoticed. Companies with effective safety cultures thrive and have happy people working for them for a long time.

 

 



 

Pride Transport, The Best Looking Fleet in the Country

April 15 2021

 

Think of it this way; you’re out with people, you’re talking about work, and someone says, hey, you sound like you know what you’re talking about, how can I get in touch with you? At that point, you produce your business card, one that you struggled over to get the right color, font, paper thickness, the works. Why? Because your business card is a representation of who you are and the company for whom you work.

Business cards are a world unto themselves; however, ask anyone in most lines of business, and they would tell you that the right business card makes a perfect impression, and it’s wise to take time and put effort into selecting the right card.

So, that’s a good tip, spend some time picking the right business card, and you’ll have a good representation of yourself and the company for whom you work. Easy, right?

Well, what happens if your business cards don’t weigh 300 GSM (Grams per square meter) but instead weighs 25,000 pounds. Try finding a snazzy leather holder for that behemoth of a card. Good luck.

Your business card has all your information on it, and when a person looks at it, whether they mean to or not, a judgment is made about you and the company for whom you work. That’s why people carry cards, and they try to avoid writing their information on nacho-stained cocktail napkins. Your business card says something about you and your company.

So does the condition of a Pride truck.

 

A Statement

Just as your business card makes a strong statement about who you are and the people you work with, our Pride trucks are a mobile statement about us, our business, and how we want to be perceived.

A significant difference between our trucks and your business card is that you can decide when and where you pull it out and who you give it to. You have control over that. We really don’t. Our trucks are out in the open and can be seen on highways all over this great nation. We don’t have a choice as to who sees our trucks. Also, it’s much easier to pull a business card from your coat pocket than it is to pull out a 25,000-pound truck.

But we’re not shy about our equipment. We’re happy that our Pride trucks, driven by the road’s safest drivers, are on display all over the place. Our Pride trucks are a great representation of who we are, people who care about our drivers and their comfort and safety.

 

 

Clean, Cool & Reliable

Three words that aptly describe our machines. We keep them clean, they look cool, and because of our expert mechanics, our trucks are reliable.

Our founder and our president, Jeff and Jay England, both have offices that overlook the inbound and outbound truck lane. They see trucks and trailers leaving the yard, and they have been known to make a quick call, if necessary, to stop a driver from exiting the yard with unclean equipment. That may sound demanding, but if you think about it, that’s the kind of attention to detail that keeps Pride on top.

 

 

Our Name

Our name says a lot about who we are. We are like a pride of lions; we take care of each other, we operate as a family, we make sure our family, our Pride, is cared for, respected, and working as a unified force to better our employees' lives every day and to better the entire industry.

If you put the word Pride on the side of your trucks, you know you’re going to open yourself up to incredible scrutiny. There will always be those who will look for the cracks, the scuffs, the missteps so they can say, “really, that’s what you’re proud of?” When you name your company Pride, you better be able to back it up on every level, and we do.

The name on the side of our trucks is a way of life, a business philosophy, and the feeling we have about our employees, especially our drivers. We don’t hide our name or make excuses for it; we proudly and prominently display it to show the world what we are made of. 

We also display our name so our employees have a goal to uphold. To do work and be part of a company that they can have pride in. That’s certainly something to drive for. And, it’s certainly a reason to keep our trucks looking and performing their very best.

 

 

More than Clean

It’s true; Pride has a truck wash on our facility that operates 24/7. We like our trucks looking bright and sharp. It represents our name, but it is also a clear sign to anyone who pays attention to how we feel about our drivers.

You can say you respect your drivers; you can put that in every ad, all over your website and make it part of your marketing materials, but when someone sees one of your trucks on the road, and it’s filthy or worse, broken down by the side of the road, stranding a driver, that’s what people are going to remember.  And they are going to think, wow, it must suck to drive for those buffoons.

We keep our trucks looking and running great because we believe our drivers deserve the very best. Our respect and admiration for our drivers isn’t just lip service, we prove it in many ways, and one way is the trucks we give them to drive. We present them machines that they can be proud to be seen in. That they know are reliable and will let them get the job done safely and without any hassles. 

Our name is on the side of the trucks, but our real pride is sitting behind the wheel.

 

 

The Equipment

Pride Transport runs the finest equipment on the road, running both automatic and manual transmission trucks. Our fleet average age is 23 months, and all trucks come equipped with a refrigerator, satellite radio, optimized idle, available 2000 watt inverter, and fully installed DirecTV.

We give our drivers the very best because we demand the very best from them. No one can succeed without the proper tools and equipment to help them succeed. We make sure our trucks are well serviced and looking sharp so that our drivers look and feel their best about being in them, which translates to happier drivers who do better work.

Here’s what we’re running:

FREIGHTLINER CASCADIA NEXT GEN

Trucking down to a science means attention to every detail. That’s what makes the new Cascadia a best-in-class leader.

 

FREIGHTLINER CASCADIA EVOLUTION

This truck sets the industry benchmark for long-haul applications that demand the highest level of fuel efficiency.

 

PETERBILT 579

The increase in efficiency and the reduction in overall tractor weight are a testament to the focus on maximizing user experience.

This is serious equipment that is a pleasure to drive. Pride has the finest equipment on the road, running both automatic and manual transmissions.

 

 

Maintenance

In our maintenance department, we are all about keeping the fleet moving. Our maintenance people are passionate about keeping our trucks in top-notch condition so our drivers don’t have to worry if they’re going to make it to delivery or will they be stranded in the middle of nowhere.

A truck is their living for a driver, and they cannot make a living if their truck is sitting in a maintenance bay for days on end. Our maintenance experts are continually adjusting their approach to be as efficient as possible while getting repairs right the first time. Their Pride is doing everything to get trucks back to drivers as soon as possible.

Again, a truck with our name on it, broken down by the side of the road, can give the wrong impression about who we are and how we treat our drivers. We put our name on the trucks, so we work hard to keep them running and looking good, to be objects of pride.

 

 

The Best

Why does Pride have the best-looking fleet in Utah? Because they have pride in what they do, who they are, and how they are perceived.

It’s pretty simple; you want the best drivers, want to be the best company, and run the best equipment. Equipment that stops people in their tracks and makes them take notice. Equipment drivers are proud to be seen in and make their already strenuous job a bit easier, a bit more pleasant.

If you say you respect drivers, then it shouldn’t be that hard to show it with the maintenance and upkeep of sound equipment. When a driver sees one of Pride’s trucks, they should think twice about who they’re driving for and wonder what it’s like to drive with Pride.

Maybe one good looking, well-maintained truck isn’t going to have that great an effect on someone outside the business, but one filthy broken down truck holding up traffic is undoubtedly going to make a lasting impression on the people whose lives are being held up.

These are all things a company should think about before they put the name Pride on their trucks. And, trust us, Pride has thought of all this and more. That’s why Pride will continue to have the best looking, the best-maintained trucks in the business.

We put our name on our fleet. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished and what we continually do. Being the best is about tending to details, never allowing things to slip through the cracks, and maintaining a visual presence that supports the company’s philosophy and everyone who works there.

Having pride in the equipment you send out into the world is just one of the many facets that say you’re driving with Pride.

Interview With a Pride Fleet Manager

April 15 2021

 

A fleet manager with a trucking company has an essential job. The connection between drivers and fleet manager is vital and, when handled correctly, the operation runs smoothly, and all are happy. That’s no easy task. And it takes a particular skill set to do the job well. Here at Pride, we’re very proud of our fleet managers. They keep our drivers informed, moving, happy, and much more.

A good fleet manager does the job well and keeps the drivers busy when they need to be and home when they want to be. But that’s just boilerplate. That’s the nuts and bolts of what a fleet manager does. Here at Pride, our fleet managers are anything but basic. They go above and beyond, and they do all they can to keep our drivers busy, happy, and earning money they need to support their family and have a good life.

 

What a Fleet Manager does

If we look at the fleet manager’s basic requirements, we see that their job relies heavily on strong communication skills. That includes listening as well as speaking. Sometimes, it’s more listening than talking. Being a good listener can elevate a fleet manager from good to great. But, what else does the fleet manager do?

A fleet manager helps drivers concentrate on routes and safely deliver cargo on time and correctly.

They coordinate and manage loads to achieve the highest reward at the lowest cost.

They must think quickly and creatively to combine shipments with the best routes while keeping in mind the need to help drivers get the miles they need to support themselves and their families.

A fleet manager must ascertain whether or not there are special needs involved in shipping a load. For example, shipping a load of produce is different from shipping frozen meat, or ice cream. A fleet manager knows the differences and makes sure the needs of the shipment are met.

They help drivers make sure that all documentation is in order and up to date.

A fleet manager rarely experiences downtime. There is always something demanding their attention; coordinating loads, taking calls, handling communication with customers and drivers, as well as managing routes all day.

A fleet manager has to have a good grasp of technology; GPS, satellite tracking, and bypass systems, to name a few.

Lists are a fleet manager’s best friend. They have to maintain a clear schedule and an up-to-date “to-do” list. A fleet manager must learn quickly to make peace with multi-tasking and create a method that works best for them.

And, honestly, one of the primary jobs of a fleet manager is to keep people happy.

And there it is. You have a good idea of what a fleet manager does and they keep their drivers running and happy. But that’s just the textbook definition of sorts. However, we have all experienced situations where the job description is modified to fit the daily requirements. People make adjustments to do the job better and more efficiently.

To find out what the fleet manager’s job with Pride is really like, we spoke with one of our fleet managers to get the inside track.

 

 

Meet Justin Healy, Team Fleet Manager

justin healy

Justin joined Pride in March of 2019; he’s 41, originally from Idaho, and now lives in Utah. He studied geology at the University of Utah, worked in sales for Specialized Bicycles. He enjoyed the job but he didn’t want to move to California to move up in the company. He has a friend who works for Pride, and she told him what an incredible place it is to work and encouraged him to apply.

Justin has no experience driving trucks but that doesn’t matter. He adapted quickly and, in 2020, he was named employee of the year. He thoroughly enjoys the work and thinks Pride is an incredible company to work for. 

Justin is sort of an anomaly; when he started, he worked weekends, and then, he was offered his own fleet to run. To get to that point, Justin did his homework and used his past experiences to move smoothly into a full-time fleet manager’s role. His transition was quick. He now runs a fleet of between 38-40 drivers

He was kind enough to sit down with us to talk about his job and answer some questions about being a fleet manager.

 

What skills did you bring from your previous experience that have helped you here at Pride?

“Communication. As a sales rep listening, talking, really hearing what customers have to say is vital. I listen to my drivers. I really speak with them and get to know them, which makes my job easier.”

“Basically, my job is to keep my drivers happy, and the very best way to do that is to communicate clearly and often.”

 

Did you get any grief when you started because you’re not a driver?

“I had a few drivers look at me sideways, probably thinking I couldn’t do the job because I wasn’t a driver. But, once they realized that I was paying attention, asking the right questions, and listening, it got better. For my part, it’s important to me to remain consistent; that’s how I earned trust. I worked hard to have the trust of my drivers, so; now it doesn’t matter that I was never a driver; we have mutual respect and trust. My boss wants me to get my CDL, and he’s even offered to pay for it. I am going to do it. I want to do it so that I can be better at my job. So I can have a clearer understanding of what my drivers deal with. I think it will help me serve my drivers and the company better.”

Justin remarks that many drivers are surprised, in a good way, at his level of communication. He relays that drivers coming to Pride from other companies tell him that they never had this kind of relationship with their fleet manager before. At other companies, Justin tells us, the fleet manager is behind bulletproof glass. And there is little to no communication beyond what is absolutely necessary.

“I couldn’t work that way,” Justin tells us, “I need to communicate with the drivers. I want to know what they need, how they drive, their likes and dislikes so I know how to schedule them and which routes are best for them. The more I know about my drivers, the easier it is for me to help them be successful.”

And that’s what makes Justin so good. His communication skills and his genuine desire to help drivers to be successful.

 

How long did it take you to feel like you are on top of the job?

“It took me the entire summer when I started. There was so much to understand and to know. I did a lot of homework, and I asked a lot of questions. I mean, a lot of questions. Some very patient people around me have put up with my questions, never got upset, and truly helped me be better at my job.”

 

And how are you doing now?

“Now? I’m still learning, and that’s great. I love a mental challenge, and this job offers that every single day. No matter how much I think I’ve learned, I know there’s more to come. That’s why communication is so vital. I keep trying to have better communication with my drivers—all the time. I have, on average, 38 drivers. That’s 38 different, unique personalities. Drivers tell me that at other companies, you’re just a number. I don’t think I could work that way. I see the drivers as people. Special, unique people who all want something different from the job. If it was just numbers, not people, I don’t think I could do the job well, and I wouldn’t be as interested in it.”

Justin explains that some drivers just want to make as much money as possible. Some want to be home more often and some, just want to see as much of the country as possible. He listens, talks, and gets to know his drivers personally, which allows him to help them achieve their goals.

“In other companies, drivers tell me the relationship between fleet manager and driver is almost adversarial. With me, the better I work with my drivers, the easier my job is, and the better it all works out for Pride.”

 

Do you speak with all your drivers every day?

“Not everyone. I don’t bother my drivers on their home time unless there is an emergency or they call me. But, yes, I check in with my drivers, see how they are, find out how they’re feeling and that allows me to communicate with them better. We talk about the route, the load, and just general life stuff. I care about my drivers, and I want to know how they are so I can know how best to communicate with them.”

 

What do drivers talk to you about when they are on the road?

“Everything. They want to know about the weather, road closures, they missed a fuel stop and need a fuel stop, all sorts of things. Sometimes they just need to hear a voice; they want to hear a joke or just gripe about the day. Now and then, they will complain about the job or get complacent when they are about to have hometime. In those cases, I really listen to what’s underneath the complaint, the complacency. There’s always a reason. So, I listen, and we figure it out, and usually, they feel better. They just need to be heard and be understood, and I’m happy to do that.”

 

It sounds like your job is part therapist.

He laughs at this, agrees but goes on.

“I’ve never taken any psychology courses, but, as I said, the listening part of the past job was a great experience for this one. I like people. I like to help, and I don’t see my drivers as a number. I want to hear what they are thinking and what is troubling them, and that way, I can help them find solutions and; I know I’ve said it already but, I can help them be more successful in the job. I’m not a therapist; I just know how important it is to listen and listen well.”

 

What’s your least favorite part of the job?

“That’s hard to say because I like the job so much and, if anything is going wrong, it’s usually me. Bad days or bad moments are usually about my attitude on the day. If I let life stress or a bad situation influence my day, then things seem bad. But, if I keep my attitude in check and pay attention to what I need to do for my drivers, there’s really nothing about the job I don’t like. Wait, that’s not 100% true. I have to do temp checks of every trailer. I don’t know why; I just hate doing it. It’s not difficult; I just check to make sure the refrigerator trailers’ temp is correct and write it down. It’s simple, but I hate doing it. Sometimes I check in the morning, and I won’t file the report until 4:55 ...I really cannot explain why I don’t like it but, that’s about it. That’s about it. The rest of the job, I really like.”

 

What advice do you have for someone who wants to be a Fleet Manager?

“Advice? Okay, two things, two simple things, really. One, don’t take work home with you. Some days are just going to suck; some days, you won’t have any victories. You won’t have the right solution, or you won’t be quick enough, and you’ll have to lean on those around you, that’s ok. But, leave it at work. Don’t take the bad day home with you because you’ll get into a rut of not being able to put some distance between you and a bad day. I can tell you; it feels super cool when you come up with the solution when you have the right answer at the right time. That’s great but, some days, that doesn’t happen. It’s ok, tomorrow, you’ll have a victory. Just don’t take it home. And, the second point, really, the most important piece of advice, know your drivers. Listen to them, learn what makes them tick, what they want from the job and how best to communicate with them as individuals. They aren’t just “drivers,” they are people, and knowing those people, understanding those people is going to help you to help them to be as successful as they can be in the job. One of the key parts of the job is to make people happy. Be that customers or drivers. With drivers, you work with them all the time, and it just makes life easier for everyone involved if you take the time, put the effort in, and really learn your drivers. Once you know them, you can earn their trust, and once you have that, the rest of the job should be easy.”

 

Do you like working for Pride?

“Yes, I do. Very much. I like the way they treat everyone; as I said, in other places, there’s no effort made to forge relationships between fleet managers and drivers; that’s not the case here. I feel encouraged to get to know my drivers. And, the open-door policy, that’s real. I can go and sit in the owner’s office and just talk to him. No problem, he’s there, and he’s always willing to meet with people. And, sometimes, he drives too.

I like the way everyone is treated like family. We are connected, and everyone is respected for what they bring to the company. I really don’t think I could do this job anywhere else; it wouldn’t be the same. It’s a great place to work. I’m very happy here.”

 

Anything else?

I can’t think of anything. If you’re thinking about being a fleet manager, it’s a great job. It will keep you on your toes constantly, no two days are ever the same, and you learn a ton about people and the industry. It’s really a great challenge, and I look forward to coming to work every day.”

Thank you, Justin, and we look forward to seeing you at work every day. We appreciate Justin taking time out of his challenging day to chat with us. It was exciting and informative.

Are you interested in working for Pride? There are a lot of opportunities for non-drivers and drivers. Check us out online and give us a call; we’ll answer all your questions, and who knows, maybe start you out on the path to a new and exciting career.

OTR, Regional & Local, Driving the Nation

April 15 2021

In 1975, country singer C.W. McCall had a massive crossover hit with his song “Convoy.” The song hit the top of the country and pop charts and spawned a bunch of movies, TV shows, odes, and sales on citizens band or CB radios.

A lot was going on in McCall’s famous song, good guys, the truckers, fighting bad guys, State Troopers, and a big show of camaraderie between the men and women who called the open road their home. But, there was more going on; there was political and social protest as well.

During the ’70s, there was an oil crisis, lines at gas stations were long, and stations often ran out of gas. On top of that, the government put a 55 mph limit on highways. All of this made life for the truck driver pretty miserable. McCall’s song turned from a novelty tune about truck drivers speaking in their CB code to an actual full-on political protest song.

Sales of CB radios shot up, and regular people started using them to connect, listen in and entertain each other. Sort of a precursor to social media. Along the way, the truck drivers’ lifestyle became attractive to people and started them thinking about the romantic life waiting for them on the road in a truck.

What’s the point of all this? We’ll tell you. Some may be mistaken when they think about truck drivers, imagining that all drivers haul radioactive fluids or livestock across the country. Some do, some don’t. There are three types of truck driver jobs; only one will get in the world of the song Convoy.

Here are the three significant types of trucking routes drivers may encounter and what makes them different.

 

 

OTR

When the song begins, we hear The Rubber Duck calling his fellow drivers on the CB. In the movie version, it’s actor Kris Kristofferson calling out to his cohorts. The Duck is heading to New Jersey, driving across the country. In this scenario, The Duck is what is known as an OTR driver -Over The Road.

OTR drivers haul freight over long distances, spending up to three to four weeks on the road. They are usually on routes that cover all of the United States and into Canada. It is that classic, romantic version of the American trucker. Living on the road, skirting the grasp of the cops, and just trying to make an honest living.

OTR drivers carry all types of items from heavy freight, machinery, construction materials to lumber and even livestock.

OTR Drivers also have to contend with long periods on the road, which means they spend a lot of time away from their homes and families. However, once the trip is over, OTR drivers often enjoy extended periods off since they have worked for several weeks in a row.

OTR drivers log a lot of miles. This is a plus if you’re a driver looking to see more of the country,nyou have nothing tying you down to any one place, and you like spending time on long drives.This arrangement appeals to those that like the nomadic lifestyle, the roamers and free-spirited types. The extended downtime post-haul is appealing to a lot of people who are seeking this kind of lifestyle.

OTR driving is challenging, with extended hours alone in the truck and lots of miles to cover. If you are a family person, you’re away from them for long periods and, usually, just when you’re back and settled into a rhythm of life, you’re back on the road for another month or two. To combat this however, many bring along partners, spouses, kids or their dog, to keep them company. But there are those that definitely enjoy being alone.

OTR truck drivers are the backbone of the supply chain in this nation, keeping the country moving. Without them, we’d be lost.

 

 

Regional Truck Drivers

Regional drivers are those who work in a specific part of the country, known as a region. This might mean the Southwest region, which encompasses Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. The Northeast region contains Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Drivers who do regional routes most often drive for predetermined distances within a certain number of hours.

This type of trucking job has a little of both, the long-haul-see-the-country experience, as well as time home with family and friends, providing a better work/life balance.

So, the main difference here is although regional drivers cover a lot of ground, they are not on the road for weeks at a time, and they remain within a predetermined region of the country. OTR drivers cover the country and into the neighborhood to the north, and they are out for long stretches.

What they have in common is that they too keep this country supplied and operational, and, without them, life would be pretty grim.

 

 

Local Truck Drivers

Local drivers, also known as interstate drivers, stay on a particular route within a town or city or any predetermined area, generally within a state’s boundaries.

The income potential for local drivers can sometimes be lower than OTR and regional drivers; however, the trade-off is local drivers usually get to go home to their families every night or, at the very least, several nights per week.

Local drivers usually operate box trucks or vehicles of similar size instead of large tractor-trailers. Local truck driver responsibilities include loading and unloading cargo, making deliveries, and tracking and documenting their mileage and inventory.

Local drivers are “real” truckers, and just because they don’t haul across the country, it doesn’t mean they are not as vital to the country’s continued success. They are a critical component to the “final mile” supply chain. A local driver must have a CDL, driver training, and know all the rules that OTR and regional drivers need to know. In fact, many local drivers take interstate (leaving state boundaries) loads on occasion, to get their fill of being on the open road.

 

 

A Bonus Track

The Rubber Duck may not have mentioned them in the song Convoy, but another class of truck drivers is worth mentioning. And those are the vocational drivers.

 

Vocational Trucking

This refers to drivers who take care of specific jobs and tasks. This includes those who drive dump-trucks, side dumps, garbage trucks, concrete trucks, rail trucks, and the list goes on.

These types of rigs are usually found on construction sites, oil fields, and landfills, to name a few.

Vocational drivers make a little more money because they’re required to be present for long days in harsh working conditions.

There is no worry about loading or unloading for vocational truckers as most loads are bulk; trucks are loaded by other machinery, and there are no docks for loading and unloading. Their drives are usually short and are often city routes moving between load and unload.

Vocational drivers spend more time with their families and usually have weekends free.

It cannot be stressed enough that professional truck drivers are vital to the nation’s economy and the well-being of all the people living here. Without truck drivers, the country would collapse, and that is not an exaggeration.

C.W. McCall’s song got truck drivers more notice. It’s funny when you realize C.W. McCall isn’t a real person, he is the creation of advertising man, William Fries and the song Convoy originally started as an ad for loaf bread. Despite this interesting origin story, McCall’s song was a hit, and it opened the way for truck drivers to get more respect and more understanding from the general population.

The life of a truck driver is a little bit romantic, it’s exciting, and when you consider all that truck drivers do for the nation, it’s noble work as well. It’s also a great way to make a living. If you’re interested in trying this lifestyle, why not try it with one of the best companies in the industry. Talk to the folks at Pride and see what life on the road can do for you.

The significant difference between these three is the time on the road and the distances covered. What they have in common is that all three versions of trucking are vital to this country. 70% of goods in this nation are moved by trucks. There would be serious trouble if those drivers stopped working. This includes OTR, regional and local drivers; they are all necessary for keeping the country moving and supplied.

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