Driver Solutions Graduate Interview with John Carpenter - Part 2

In part 2 of our interview with USA Truck driver, John Carpenter, we discuss life on the road, his training experience with Driver Solutions and advice for those just entering the trucking industry. 

Check out part 1 of our interview here and be sure to check back tomorrow for part 3!

Q: How do you balance your family time with life on the road?

A: Well, for me I have a brother in Houston, Texas and mother in Augusta, Georgia…so everything works out great.  I am able to schedule my visits and use them as home time while getting paid to travel out there.  I am a single guy, so this career gives me a lot of flexibility with friends and family.  They are always excited to see me and it’s good I am able to travel to visit all of them.

I also keep in touch with each of them by calling and using social media application.  I have WiFi in my truck along with 2 laptops, an iPad, PS3, and Smartphone…so you could say I am well connected!

Q: What was your truck driver training experience like with Driver Solutions?

A: I came through school back in July of 2010.  Overall, I think training was great. Keith was my first week instructor and he did a lot of the paperwork and book stuff.  His instruction helped us get our permit and everything that we needed to get started.  He was a great instructor with a lot of patience and good sense of humor.  This was important because each class has people with experience that have been in industry and others that have not been around it at all.  Keith was able to mesh everyone together through his humor while still being focused.  We were all very nervous at first and he definitely helped set the mood.  I also really like the idea of allowing graduated students to pop in and give some takeaways to students that were sitting in the same place they were a few weeks ago.

My second week instructor was Gary.  Gary was amazing.  He educated us through the process of driving out on the range.  He got his point across and he did it in a manner to where we would have takeaways to remember every day.  We were divided up into small groups during training.  Most students become good friends with their group and it helps you learn a lot.  I still talk with my group to this day.  We remember back to the things that happened back along the way and laugh a lot.    
One thing is for sure about trucking school - Darlene, Jamie, and Mike all run a tight ship and it’s amazing the way they work together.  There are some others, but I can only speak about those that I encountered.  I praise them…it was amazing.  My group of 4, we all graduated early - 100% on pre-trip inspection and no extra pull ups on the range.

Now, one other thing to understand about training is that they focus on the skills needed to pass the CDL test.  We covered straight backing and parallel parking mostly, but I’ve had to work on alley dock backing as it’s used in more real world situations

Q: What advice would you give to someone just entering the trucking industry?

A: Give it a fair shot.  This is very important.  Sometimes when you are in school for something it doesn’t always make sense at the time, but you will understand it over time. It’s also very important to have a good attitude.  You need to give it time before you make a decision on if it is going to work. 

I offer suggestions and advice to my friends all the time.  I was the guy that was a cheerleader and coach.  I was the sideline guy, but I was always on the field helping others as well.  That’s just who I am.

Remember, to look at yourself first.  Are you the one to blame?  Do you always deliver late?  Do you just have a negative attitude about everything?  It’s not always going to be easy.  There are a lot of frustrations in the world, but a lot of it can be cured by looking at yourself and giving it that fair shot.

Tomorrow, John will provide his top 3 trucking tips, so be sure to check back!