Prior to my first week of work at Britton Transport, I knew very little about the trucking industry. Most of my previous experience was working in the shipping and delivering side of Customer Service, but my knowledge of how things work in between didn’t go much further than that. Starting at Britton Transport, I knew this was about to change.
Before accepting my offer as Customer Service Representative, Mike, Britton’s Director of Recruiting, let me know that as part of my training I would be riding along with an experienced driver to gain a better understanding about the trucking industry from a driver’s perspective. It would be the first time at Britton Transport a new hire would participate in a Ride-Along Experience.
My first week of work was spent in the truck with Bob, a veteran Britton Driver. We left Grand Forks, ND on a Tuesday morning to Maryland and back to Grand Forks, ND Saturday afternoon. It was both a surreal and valuable experience, especially for someone like me who had never ridden in a semi-truck for an extended amount of time. It was an experience I will never forget.
We spent much of our time in the truck and was surprised how strenuous driving (or in my case, sitting in the passenger seat) for 14 hours a day has on a person, both physically and emotionally. I think there is a common misconception that all professional drivers do is “drive”, but there’s so much more to it than that: it involves problem solving, self-awareness, strong discipline and the ability to adapt to the ever-changing demands on the road.
Bob and I experienced a tire blow out (Bob swore it wasn’t planned just to enhance my experience). It was scary, but Bob handled it both calmly and safely. He didn’t even seem stressed. It took us an hour and a half to get ourselves back up and running after the blow out, which put us behind schedule.
It is easy to overlook what takes place between pickup and delivery and what our drivers deal with during this time. This experience was a great way for me to understand this and gave me the perspective that my time in the office needs to be spent making this time as smooth as possible for our drivers.
I would recommend anyone new to the industry, or even new to Britton Transport to take a ride with a driver, as it gives an understanding of the industry, and the drivers who are at the heart of it, that you can’t learn behind a desk or at a basic orientation session.