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Showing posts with label Trucking Advice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trucking Advice. Show all posts

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Todd McCann Shares, "Truckers Go Turtle Racing"

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ExpressTaxTax learns about turtle racing
Today we have a special gift for you because Todd McCann has agreed to share his turtle racing article and podcast with us. Todd McCann has been a truck driver since '97 and reports on his experiences on the road as he hosts his trucking podcast/blog, Trucker Dump. Check out what he has to say about turtle racing. Read the article here or listen to the podcast here. 

Truckers Go Turtle Racing


Turtles are cool. If I see one trying to cross the road, I'm the kinda guy that'll pull over and carry him across the road to safety. That is, unless it's one of those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If I see one of them in the road, I'm gonna stick out my tongue, close one eye, take aim, and hit the accelerator. Man, those "dudes" are annoying.

So why would I go out of my way to help a turtle cross the road? Well, like I said, they're cool, but it's also because The Evil Overlord likes that about me. What can I say? I'm a sweetie. Still, the main reason is simply because he's so freakin' slow. By the way, I do always assume it's a male turtle crossing the road. My thinking is that the only thing that could make a turtle jump out into traffic is a lady turtle batting her eyes and wiggling her sexy little tail around.

So anyway, why all the talk about turtles? Well, because the trucking industry has its own version of turtles. Only no one likes them. I'm talking about speed-limited trucks. Specifically, I'm talking about two speed-limited trucks trying to pass each other out on the highway. You know; Turtle Racing.

Whether your vehicle has 18 wheels or four, we've all experienced a Turtle Race. You're tooling along in the fast lane, when some trucker jumps out in front of you. You calmly slow down and follow while this truck slooooooowly creeps up and passes the slightly slower truck. I assume you were calm, right? I mean, it only took five minutes for dillmunch #1 to pass dillmunch #2.

Notice that I called both of these drivers "dillmunch." Besides the fact that I have no earthly idea what a dillmunch is, I still say the turtle race was both of these driver's faults. It takes two to do the Tango and it takes two to race. If you were to ask most drivers whose fault it is, they'd blame the guy trying to pass. I agree... and I disagree. Let's take a look at that.

Okay. Say my truck will go a mind-blowing warp speed of 65 mph. I'm coming up on a truck going 64 mph. Sure, I could tap my brake, lower my cruise control, and stare at his trailer doors all day. After all, I am looking pretty smokin' in those reflective doors. But why should I have to slow down because my truck is faster than his? Wouldn't it make more sense to let the faster truck get on with his business?

The thing is, it takes two drivers with common sense, professional attitudes, and the willingness to put themselves in the other driver's shoes. Those are three attributes that are sorely missing in today's trucking industry. Nowadays, everyone is out for themselves.

Drivers can't be bothered to let you go around them before they take ten minutes to back into a wide-open parking spot. The same guys don't have a second thought about butting in line to get to the shipping clerk's window. Nor do they mind parking in front of the fuel bay while they mosey into the truck stop, stand in line to get their fuel receipt, take a dump, fill up their thermos, and grab some to-go food; hopefully in that order. 

Todd McCann explains how to avoid turtle racing to ExpressTruckTax
These are the same drivers who see the faster truck coming up behind them. They're the drivers who see you in their mirror as you pull out to pass. The same jerk who can see the traffic stacking up behind you. The worthless puddle of dog vomit that refuses to tap his brakes, even though he can clearly see you're going to pass him eventually.

Here's how I try to deal with this. First, I give the driver the benefit of the doubt, trusting that as soon as he notices me, he'll let me around. Hey, it could happen. Once I've caught his beady little eyes looking at me in his mirror, I wait a few seconds to see if he's gonna back out of it. If he doesn't, I resort to a drastic step. Well, it is for me anyway.

I break out the "Official Communication Device of Hell", otherwise known as the CB radio. Again, I'll be nice at first. Maybe he's into a good audiobook and the situation just hasn't registered in his puny little brain. I'll key up the mic and say in a friendly voice, "Hey driver. How about a little driver courtesy here?" Sometimes that works. Other times, the guy doesn't have his CB turned on. Can't say as I blame him for that. Still other times, you know you've got a real winner on your hands when he picks up the mic and says, "If you can't pass me faster than that, it's not my problem." Oh my. What do you do with a guy like this?

That's when I take a deep, calming breath and explain to him that we as drivers are never going to get respect and cooperation from the public if we can't even get it from our fellow drivers. I'm often filled with awe from their insightful comeback. Something truly wise, like, "Shut up, stupid."

This is what we're dealing with out here. All this could be avoided if drivers just had a little common courtesy towards each other. Instead, we're all faced with turtle racing every day. And as for you four-wheelers, don't think you're exempt either. The only thing more frustrating than being stuck behind turtle racing trucks, is to be stuck behind turtle racing four-wheelers. For the love of Pete, folks. Trust me on this. It's okay to turn your cruise control off. The car manufacturers have thoroughly tested these devices. You're not gonna break anything. Except for my forehead, which is decisively bashing into my steering wheel with a head-banging force usually reserved for Slayer songs.

So here's my plea to all drivers. Just get off the road and let me do my job. Okay, I guess that's a bit impractical. So practically, let's do this.

- First, keep your eyes open and pay attention. They key to avoiding turtle racing is knowing when it's actually happening and then doing whatever it takes to help the situation.

- If you need to instigate a turtle race, wait until most of the traffic behind you has cleared. If traffic is heavy and you're going to be holding people up, just tap your brakes and follow the slow-poke until traffic thins. Then mount your attack.

- If you're the slower driver, be a sport. Tap your brakes and let the other driver around. It's not like you're approaching 88 mph and if you don't reach it in time, you'll be stuck in the past... or future.

- If you're the faster driver, use the CB to politely ask if the dimwit will let you around. My suggestion would be to NOT use the term "dimwit" when addressing said dimwit.

- If the slower driver ignores you, or worse, laughs at you, feel free to wave at him as you drive past his window. I leave the amount of fingers you use entirely up to you.

- If you're the faster driver, and Captain Slo-Mo just won't let you around, even after multiple attempts, be the bigger man (or woman). Back out of it, get behind him, and let all the backed-up traffic go on their merry little, un-speed-limited way.

- Now for the final and most important step. Concentrate hard and wish for the next toilet seat he visits to be infested with crabs. Now, don't you feel better?

Thanks For Sharing, Todd! 


We hope you enjoyed learning about turtle racing as much as we did. Who is better to learn from than an actual driver?! If you have any thoughts to share about turtle racing please post them in the comment section below and visit ExpressTruckTax.com for more trucking blogs.

Bio: 

Todd McCann is a 20-year trucker, producer of the Trucker Dump podcast/blog, and author of two ebooks; How to Find a Great Truck Driving Job and Trucking Life: An Entertaining, Yet Informative Guide To Becoming And Being A Truck Driver. Learn more at AboutTruckDriving.com.

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Friday, February 3, 2017

These Practices Cause Owner Operators To Fail

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Some owner operators fail, that’s just a plain fact. Sure, some guys make it and bring home the bigger paychecks, but most truckers fail. Becoming an owner operator involves a lot of risks and precise planning, and they guys who don’t make it, usually don’t due to reasons that can easily be avoided. 

Mistakes Made By Owner Operators


The owner operators who fail are generally too big for their britches. They think they can do everything themselves. Even though it’s true that will start out doing the majority of work yourself, it’s best to get the advice of a financial advisor or an accountant to figure out the best plan for your business before jumping in. A man with a plan is generally smarter than the guy without one.

Plus, you shouldn’t be too shy or prideful to ask for advice. Successful owner operators probably know a few tips and techniques about the business that you haven’t heard about before. Why not ask them a few questions to see if they can help you climb up the ladder?

Eventually, as your business grows you’ll get to hire employees! Instead of doing everything yourself, that you probably won’t even have time for, it will be best to hand things off to your trusted team.

2. Speaking of time, a lot of owner operators who fail simply didn’t consider the amount of time the job requires. You’ll be gone a lot more. If you don’t want to drive extra overtime hours and want to be around for more school plays and baseball games then you might want to stick to driving for a carrier.

A lot of owner operators fail to think about the strain it will put on their family when they’ll be gone more, and relationships are tested. Be sure to speak with your partner about being gone more and how to stay in communication with them. This way you won’t end up like the people who had to choose between their new business venture or their relationship.

3. A quick way to find yourself up the creek without a paddle is by not making a budget. If you live paycheck to paycheck you could quickly end up on missing some bills or not having enough cash to pay for dinner. Know how much you’re spending on fuel, insurance bills, your truck, and more a month, so you’ll know how much to set aside for your meals, personal pay, and more. Tracking software like TruckLogics can help you keep up with all of your finances.

Also, a lot of the time new owner operators don’t set aside any money for emergencies, and that’s just not good because things happen. Trucks break down and you’ll need to be able to pay for the repair. If your insurance will cover the repair you’ll still need money to float you by while it’s in the shop.

Keep in mind that being an owner operator isn’t the fast way to success. It takes months and maybe even years to build yourself up as a reputable owner operator who brings in the big bucks, and even then some months are just slow. Always keep an emergency fund set aside for the slow periods.

4. Some people just buy the wrong truck. They get a brand new truck up front that’s all shiny and awesome, but then crumble when they aren’t bringing in enough cash to pay for the bills that come with it.

They don’t explore all their truck options. For example, leasing generally comes with no down payment and lower monthly rates, so it can help owner operators get started in the beginning. Although, at the end of the agreement if you don’t lease to own you won’t have your own truck to trade in towards getting a new one.

If you want to own your own truck avoid getting a lemon. Lemons are new, cheap trucks that don’t have a good turnover rate. You’ll want a truck you can quickly sell to make some of your money back with, in case you find out that owner operating isn’t for you.

Older trucks that are built sturdier are often more fun to drive and have higher turnover rates. They can be great to start out with until you grow your company enough to comfortably buy a new truck.

5. Owner operators who fail are low maintenance. They don’t take care of themselves. They cut corners and drive even if they haven’t gotten enough sleep. Some truckers don’t take their personal health into account and constantly get terrible options from fast food chains, smokes, and don’t even think about making an effort to work out. You have to be healthy and full of energy to put in the time and work that being an owner operator requires.

They also don’t take the time to maintain their trucks. Skipping out on regular maintenance like oil changes and changing your brake pads can wear out your rig pretty quickly. You have to take the steps to winterize your truck, tune it up, check all the fluid levels, and more in order to squeeze all of its value out of it. 

Don’t Fail!


You can make it as an owner operator, we believe in you. Just make sure you don’t make simple mistakes that can easily be avoided. Make a plan for your business, ask the experts and tell your family what you’re up to. Be financially responsible and know where your money is going. Also, don’t forget to take care of your truck and yourself.

For more trucking tips visit ExpressTruckTax.com, and please share your comments about why owner operators fail in the comment section below.
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