Breakdown preparedness, are you ready?

Have you ever broke down at the side of the road? It can be a daunting time especially if the weather is cold or you break down in a strange place. As professional truck drivers you will break down at some point in your career, it is just a matter of time. When these breakdowns happen they can be very costly and frightening for those involved, especially if it happens in the middle of the night or remote location. The bad part is that it happens to all of us. The good part is that you can be prepared.

We all hope that accidents don’t happen very often in transportation Truck on highwaybut they do. What happens more often and without warning is mechanical breakdowns and when they happen they can lead us into a crash which can be very scary. This recently happened to a friend of mine on his way to work. Things were going fine, he was getting on the highway for work like he always did and starting down the highway in his car. All of a sudden there was a loud bang, the front end of the car dropped about a foot, and the car went into a skid. Hanging on for dear life and trying to stay in control the best he could the car kept spinning out of control. He saw the cars from his side of the roadway as he spun out of control, then the vehicle went through the ditch to the other side of the road continuing in its spiral direction. As you can imagine my friend saw his life flash before his eyes as he held on for life. Hold and steer, hold and steer is all he could do and hope this wild ride would be over soon. It was similar to being on a bucking bronco for eight seconds that seemed like an eternity. Finally the car stopped on the opposite side of the road, on the shoulder, facing the wrong way to the direction of traffic. Still holding the wheel my friend tried to gather his thoughts as the dust settled around him. But was it over?

The actual event may have been over, but not the problem at hand of a breakdown. Thankfully my friend was okay, but now he had a car at the side of the road, facing the wrong way of a highway with a broken front end, and a wheel stuffed sideways under the car. That of course in addition to the fact he would now be late for work, is rightfully shaken up, and has little money in his bank account. So how did it end?

The Police showed up writing up a report for mechanical failure. The tow cost him his last three hundred dollars to go a kilometre off the highway. He scrapped the car because it wasn’t worth the cost of repair, and he had to borrow a car to finish out his week.

We can’t be prepared for everything, but there are some things you can do to ease the burden should an incident happen. First of course is to maintain your vehicle in good working order, that’s a no brainer! Second is to do regular inspections of your vehicle to hopefully catch potential problems before they present themselves, usually at times or places we don’t expect. The third thing is to be prepared for mechanical items to breakdown. Have a plan in place for having your vehicle towed such as CAA or AAA that can lower your costs should something happen. Make sure before leaving on any trip no matter how short that you have a fully charged cell phone in case of an emergency. Keep items like water, crackers, and a blanket in your vehicle should you breakdown for a long period of time. These things may not stop a breakdown but hopefully will ease the burden should something happen. Be safe and happy driving!
About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

Reserve your place for the PMTC Golf Tournament-September 12, 2016

Check out the PMTC Golf Tournament on Monday September 12th. Sign up for a great networking event and BEAT THE PRO!

We’ve added a new competition to the Fall Tournament:
BEAT THE PRO. Winner receives 2 tickets to a Buffalo Sabres game, a ride to the game and dinner prior to the game. Sponsored by KRTS Transportation Specialists Inc.

REGISTER TODAY!
$275 + HST per player includes golf, cart, lunch, dinner, on-course beverages and prizes!

Register by clicking here!

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Register today!

You aren’t cheating the instructor, you’re cheating yourself!

Have you ever leaned over to the person beside you in a test situation and asked which answer is correct? We all have at one time or another and in grade school this is a normal situation. When I am teaching courses I see this scenario happen all the time. Many times when that happens the person had the answer correct, but then when they asked the person next to them they changed their mind. That’s because we all interpret things differently, many times they changed their answer and it was incorrect. In the old days we called that cheating, these days it is called some form of confirming. At the end of the day the student thinks they are getting away with a correct answer, but who are they really cheating? Is it the instructor or themselves?

I believe the student is really cheating themselves because at the Class photoend of the day the knowledge test is exactly that, meant to test your knowledge. Although the tests are corrected with the students and they may say they understand and move forward, have they really taken in the information? With eighty percent of students in courses not being comfortable in a class setting and with classes going over multiple days for several hours each day how much are the students really retaining? When the course ends a student is expected to know that information and it is up to the student to retain it the best way possible for them.

So how do you do that? Much of transportation is common sense. Even if you are new to transportation you should have your licence and be familiar with the rules of the road. So taking the course seriously and creating your own resource system for information that you are having trouble with is important. That can be notes taken in class, your answers to summary questions in the textbook, or voice memos from yard work. Your goal for the tests should be to ace those tests as close to 100 percent if possible based on your own information. If you are not sure of the information at test time then you may have not taken in the information properly?

Once you get through the course and are trying to get hired on with a carrier you need to be confident in the processes and procedures to be successful at getting the job. If you are not comfortable with those processes in the training phase you will have trouble at the hiring stage. That won’t help your career at all.

Remember that training in trucking is more than just passing the test. The knowledge you gain in class can save your life.That can only happen if you know what information is important to know and how you best retain it. So forget trying to cheat on the test in class, you may be just cheating yourself at life!
About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

TTSAO Announces John G. Smith 2017 Conference Master Of Ceremonies

August 8th, 2016 – Hamilton, ON – John  G.  Smith,  Editor  of  Today’s  Trucking  will  be  the  Master  of   Ceremonies  for  the  TTSAO  2017  Striving  For  Excellence  Conference  on  February  15th  &  16th  hosted  by   industry  partner  Infrastructure  Health  and  Safety  Association  (IHSA)  in  Mississauga  at  the  Centre  for   Health  and  Safety  Innovation  (CHSI)  state  of  the  art  facility  in  Mississauga  Ontario.  John  G.  Smith  is  an   award-­‐winning  writer  who  has  been  bringing  value  through  his  extensive  experience  and  technical   know-­‐how  to  the  industry  for  many  years.

TTSAO  hosted  their  first  conference  in  2016.  It  was  a  full  house TTSAO-Logo-colour of  Industry   leaders,  suppliers  and  government  officials  and  the  2017  conference  committee   plans  on  making  the  2017  conference  even  better.

Charlie  Charalambous,  Chairman  of  the  TTSAO  Conference  Committee,  says   “Having  John  G.  Smith  return  as  our  Master  of  Ceremonies  is  very  exciting.  John   brings  a  wealth  of  industry  knowledge,  that  along  with  an  action  packed  agenda,
that  will  help  make  the  2nd  Annual  TTSAO  Conference  an  outstanding  event”.

The  IHSA,  a  major  sponsor  of  the  conference,  have  made  arrangements  for  the  event  to  be  held  at  the   CHSI  Building  in  Mississauga.  Kim  Richardson,  TTSAO  Chairman  of  the  Board  says,  “Partnering  with  the   IHSA  will  help  the  conference  reach  new  levels.  The  meeting  centre  at  the  CHSI  building  is  a  fantastic   venue  that  will  help  the  TTSAO  grow  our  conference  and  sponsorship  opportunities”.

The  TTSAO  conference  committee  has  finalized  the  agenda,  which  will  be  released  over  the  next  couple   of  weeks.  If  your  in  the  trucking  industry  you  won’t  want  to  miss  this  opportunity  to  network,  be   educated  and  do  business  with  some  of  the  best  people  and  companies  working  in  transportation  and
training.

For  more  information,  please  contact:

Kim  Richardson  –  Chairman,  TTSAO  –  KRTS  office  –  1-­‐800-­‐771-­‐8171  x  201  or  cell  –  905-­‐512-­‐0254  or  by
email  at  krichardson@krway.com  

Charlie  Charalambous  –  Director  of  Public  Relations,  TTSAO  –  Northbridge  Office  -­‐  1-­‐800-­‐265-­‐7173  or
cell  (416)  473-­‐3986  or  by  email  at  charlie.charalambous@nbfc.com

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Trip planning is much like going on vacation!

We are in the middle of Summer and I am sure many of you have taken or are planning to take a vacation with family or friends. This can be an exciting time. The kids are excited, you are looking to get some quality time with family and a little down time from the grind. A family vacation is a big deal and many items need to be planned out for a successful time away. The reason so much planning has to take place is that it is costing you money and you want your value for the money. The key point is, your money! So if your money is the key to making a plan for a successful vacation why don’t many new drivers make a plan for how they are going to make money on the job?

ttsao truck at sunset

It is just as important and it is still your money, you just don’t have it in your account yet. Look at the similarities between the two scenarios. On vacation you need the know where you will stay, attractions in the area, how you will get to the destination, and the type of environment that you are staying in. You wouldn’t just put the kids in the car, drive them to a destination to find out there are no rooms left or your are staying in the middle of “the hood”!

When taking a load to customers you need to know the same information. Where will you stay on your trip either at your destination or along the way? How will you get to the customer? What is the best and most efficient route? After all you are there to make money. What type of environment will you be stopping or delivering in? If you have ever run into Jersey City you will understand what I am talking about.

Yet even though all of this information is important to know many drivers drive blindly out of their yard following a GPS unit or hoping they will arrive at the destination via the best route possible. As a professional driver you should be trying to maximize the amount of money you will make in the shortest time away from your family. Why wouldn’t you plan your trip? We see it all the time. If you want to make money at trucking planning is a key ingredient. Take it as seriously as that family vacation and you will increase the value of the money earned. It may even pay for the next vacation.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

Your Evaluation Goes Past the Road Test!

Most new drivers worry about two things, their road test for their licence and the road test with the carrier. The truth is that your evaluation goes on for much longer in the workplace with a time period of three months being the norm. That time frame is normal for any company in Ontario and many employers call it the probationary period. During this period a company can dismiss someone without cause or explanation.

It’s very common in the industry for things to happen especially to new drivers. I have always said that most companies won’t dismiss someone for a bent fender if they are a good employee, but that’s the problem. The first three months of employment with any carrier is relationship building as the carrier doesn’t know you. Once they realize how good you are they will want you around. After three to six months it is a lot harder for an employer to dismiss someone, but you need to get to that point.

Truck on highway

So this probationary period is critical! A carrier doesn’t need a liability so if they see things going wrong in the first three months they won’t hesitate to let you go. Where most drivers go wrong is they feel that once they pass the road test the evaluations stop and they begin to rest on their laurels. It is important that you not only perform well in that pre-trial period, but build that relationship so that the carrier can get to know you. That relationship hopefully will keep you in the seat should you have a small bump in the road in the future. If possible keep in mind that you are being evaluated every time you do your job and for a longer period than the law states.

When I used to road test employees I would go out with them for a day. I would meet the customers and talk about our service. I would watch the driver to make sure they were doing everything correctly and discuss problems they were having if any on the job. Our deliveries were quite involved with securing the delivery area with pylons, replacing worn equipment, and more. There were a lot of things to remember. Normally the drivers would get things right the first delivery, but by the third delivery they were starting to forget those things that were not part of their regular routine. It showed me the way the person really works when out on their own.

That is why employers have such a long probationary period. A driver may do fine on a road evaluation as they know they are being watched. After that is complete a driver will get into their own routine on the road and that is when the driver habits will appear, both good and bad.

If you are a new driver it is important to remember you are being evaluated even when you are on your own or in training. In this day and age we are constantly being tested as other potential employees are waiting in the wings for something to go wrong. Always be in evaluation mode even on your own, you never know who’s watching!

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

Save the Date Event- October 4, 2016

Learn how to hire safer drivers through this event presented by MEE  partners TTSAO, PMTC,  DRIVERCHECK, and AVIVA Insurance.

partner logos

Register for this event by clicking here!

Title: Biz and Breakfast
Date: October 4th, 2016
Time: 8:00am – 9:00am — Full breakfast and registration
9:00am – 12:30pm — Seminar
Location: Teatro’s Conference Centre — Milton
Keynote Speaker: Greg Ford — TalentClick
Greg Ford, President of TalentClick, will be presenting new psychometrics research into the correlation between driver-related human error and personality traits (such as distractibility, impatience, rule-resistance, impulsiveness, and more), and then showing how predictive analytics around personality can be used to identify safer drivers at the hiring stage.
Speaker: Dr. Kenneth Shonk — DriverCheck
Dr. Shonk, will present on Fatigue Management and Sleep Apnea, a common issue in the transportation industry. He will discuss challenges, regulations and solutions to this growing problem.

Register for this event by clicking here!

You Can’t Turn From a Stopped Position!

You can’t turn a truck while standing still and you can’t turn your career when standing still either!
I often talk about the importance of choosing good carriers when starting a trucking career and working on the evolution of your career all the time. I tell new drivers to do their homework and have an idea of what they want when beginning the search for a carrier. Sometimes however people don’t know what they want or have too many choices when starting out. This could be holding you back from taking that first step?

This happens in my illustration business all the time. If I am developing a concept for a project I will limit the choices of concept ideas to three. If I offer any more choices many clients can’t make a decision and the project comes to a halt! Our minds can become too confused and stop us from taking action when we have many choices.

The same thing happens when learning how to back up a truck. Often it is thought that backing up is the hardest maneuver a driver can do. It is hard, but certainly not something that can’t be learned and achieved. The more you practice the better you will get at it and over the years you will learn how to assess situations and back into spaces without issue. But if you never start to learn how to back up in the very beginning you will never be good at it later. You have to start!

Starting is the biggest and scariest step you will ever take. If you Girl-in-truckdon’t take that step you will never get your career off the ground. Think of it like a truck that is stopped waiting to make a left turn. You’re sitting at the light,ready to turn the wheel. The light changes and you turn the wheel but don’t step on the fuel pedal. The truck won’t move and you won’t be able to turn. Now in that same situation again in order to turn the truck you begin to move forward by stepping on the fuel pedal and then begin to turn the wheel to make the turn. You can’t turn a truck while standing still!

The same is true for your career. You can analyze over where to work. You can stress over how to drive the truck and you can try to predict the future, but at the end of the day you won’t really know what to do until you get started and driving in the real world. You can’t start from a stopped position.

Here are two things that can get you on your way:

  1. Get good training from a certified school.
  2. Sign on with a good carrier with a training system

Those are the only two things you have to do to get started on your career as a new driver. Once those two things are completed you will be moving in your career and you will be able to make those turns to help you have a successful career. If you don’t start you will always be standing still and wondering about your next move.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

It’s okay to complain, but what are you doing about it?

At an industry event last night I was talking with a colleague about the industry and the fact that many drivers don’t seem to want to improve themselves once they begin driving. They go to class to get their licence because they have to but don’t try to upgrade themselves outside of that. They assume they will learn everything they need to know at the school and many of us know they couldn’t be any further from the truth with that thinking.

On the business side it is amazing to me how many owner operators Truck on highwayhave time to worry about new changes in the industry but aren’t looking to do anything about them. For instance many owner operators are upset about the new mandated law for log books coming in 2017. They feel this new law will stop them making money if they are not somehow able to fudge their log books. The question is how much are you really making by cheating?

In both of these scenarios these drivers are incorrect, not that they don’t have the right to worry about the future or don’t like the classroom situation. It is the fact they are not trying to make their situations better by learning how to improve those situations.

In the old days there wasn’t so much to learn, you shifted gears, delivered on time, and were done. These days the industry is quite different. Rules and regulations are abundant, customers are placing more demands on the industry, and technology is taking over many responsibilities. A driver needs to be much more educated and work a lot smarter than they did in the past.

Business is said to be the biggest game in the world and in my mind it’s true. Think of it as the Olympics that everyone can participate in. The reason it is marked as the biggest game is because you can never rest on your past achievements. The way you ran last year may not work this year as the industry changes. It is important for the business owner to be continually changing their business and improving the way they operate.

In the case of the owner operator not wanting to use new technology it is important to start looking at their operation and learn how to improve it while implementing technology. There are owner operators making very good money and doing well. When talking with those we find that those particular owner operators have specialized in their services and are continually investing in their business.

The important thing to remember is that in today’s transportation industry a driver or owner operator need to keep improving themselves and the way they operate. That means getting information on how to improve wherever they can and constantly looking at their business or careers so they can find areas to improve. Nobody will want to improve as much as you do so make sure you are constantly looking for ways to make things better. Your career depends on it!

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

Striving for Success in Training

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