Choosing a Truck Driving Job Part VII – Tankers and Flatbeds
In part one of our series, Choosing a Truck Driving Job Part I: Factors Affecting All Businesses, we talked about several factors and considerations that will affect your experience at any business you work for.
In Part 2, “Choosing a Job to Drive a Truck Part II: You and” your people “are the most important factor,” we talked about surrounding yourself with the right people, understanding the factors that affect the cargo you will receive, and more you can do to put yourself in the best position to be successful.
In Part 3, “Choosing a Job to Drive a Truck Part III: How Your Family and Lifestyle Will Affect Your Choice”, we considered your personality and lifestyle. He is married? Do you have children? Do you love adventure? How long would you like to be away from home? All of these questions are part of the process of choosing the right truck driving job.
In Part 4, “Choosing a Truck Driving Job, Part IV: Benefits of Large Trucking Companies”, we obviously talked about the benefits of working in a large trucking company.
In Part 5, “Choosing a Truck Driving Job Part V: Comparing Large Small Trucking Companies,” we compared the job for different sized companies.
In Part 6, “Choosing a Truck Driving Job, Part VI: Refrigerated Vans and Businesses,” we talked a little about life on the road with a dry van or refrigerated transporter.
Now, in part 7, we will talk a little about driving a tanker or flatbed transporter.
You will find that there is not much difference between driving for a dry van transporter and a refrigerated transporter, but pulling a tanker or flatbed is a completely different thing. There are some significant differences between the lifestyles and job duties of flatbed and tank drivers.
Pulling a flatbed is a unique way to make a living from trucking and if you ask someone who does they will tell you that there is nothing easy about it. Well, most “flatbedders” are pretty tough guys and now that I think about it, they might tell you there’s nothing they can do. And for them, it’s probably mostly true. It has its moments for sure, but overall most people who make a living this way enjoy the physical work and enjoy the unique challenges that come with it.
Some of the differences are obvious: you have to use chains or straps to hold the load, and you often have to cover the load to protect it from the elements. These jobs are often boring at best, difficult most of the time, and there are a number of rules and regulations governing the Jobs in Tupelo methods used to secure the cargo. The DOT rules loosely specify the types of equipment you need to use, along with some of the techniques you need to use to secure cargo. And believe me, the DOT is watching closely!
I felt relieved every time I walked into a weighing station and there was a platform in front of me. Chances are, if the DOT is interested in controlling someone, flat beds often go first. I’ve been pulling a dry van for the vast majority of my years on the road, and we were a lot less interesting to the DOT than flat beds, for obvious reasons.
The work of securing and releasing the load is quite physical and is often quite difficult. Tarpaulins, chains and straps are quite heavy and you are often out with time to secure or unhook the load yourself. Tarps, straps and chains get wet, freeze and are very difficult to handle in bad weather, not to mention you’re out there crawling on cargo trying to fix everything. It can be quite dangerous. I’ve heard many, many stories of serious injuries from kids falling off trailers.
There are now some benefits to pulling a flatbed too. Often the tractor and the load you have are much shorter in height than your standard trucks, so it’s much easier to fit under low bridges in cities. Plus, the bottom profile helps cross winds to get around you a little better on slippery roads in winter. Finally, it is an interesting way to make a living. There’s always a new challenge, a variety of different types of loads to protect, and there’s some camaraderie among flatbed drivers. It’s an interesting and challenging form of truck driving, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone other than the tough type.
Tankers for liquids
I once towed a food tanker for a year and really enjoyed it. I have never towed a chemical tanker and have never been too interested in doing so. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of dealing with a lot of subject matter