Rise and Shine

It was early April 2013 and today was the day! For the past several days I had been studiously observing my trainer drive the truck and quenching my inquisitive thirst for knowledge by asking him any questions that popped into my mind. Let’s refer to my trainer by the name Jim. Well yesterday, after riding in the passenger seat for several days, Jim told me that it was finally time for me to jump behind the wheel and drive the truck. Of course I was ready to take the next step in my new truck driving career by driving the truck over-the-road (OTR), but was I ready? Driving a semi truck with a 53 foot trailer and a total weight of up to 80,000 pounds was no small task after all. Up until this point I had driven local routes here and there in truck driving school and I had driven a truck during my road tests, but today was the real-world test of my skills!

Jim and I had spent the night parked at a truck stop off of Interstate 81 near Staunton, Virginia. We decided to hit the road early today, so after waking up and getting ready for the day I jumped behind the wheel and pulled out of our parking space. It must have been 5 or 6am as it was still pitch black outside, but I carefully maneuvered through the crowded truck stop and onto the main road towards the I-81 North entrance ramp. Being the new driver that I was and being in a new and unfamiliar truck, I scraped a gear or two, but my eyes carefully scanned my right mirror and watched my trailer’s offset as I turned right onto the entrance ramp and slowly shifted through my truck’s 10 gears.

Inside view of the truck

Inside view of the truck