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    A Day In The Life...Of A Truck Driver

    Nov 23, 2011

    If you drive a vehicle, then you’re aware of semi trucks.  If you are a Red Gold’er, you know the feeling of pride and excitement when you see our brightly colored trucks cruising down the road.  But, did you know that nearly everything we eat, drink, wear, use, build, consume…literally all of our goods are delivered by semi trucks?  We recently had the opportunity to speak with one of our Over-The-Road (OTR) drivers, Chris Welborn, to give us a little perspective on what it’s like to be a part of the delivery system our country relies on.

     

    Chris has been driving for RG Transport for a little over five years.  So, what is an OTR driver?  These are the people who pretty much drive all over the country to deliver Red Gold products, as well as pick up any needed material we use in our manufacturing facilities.  Chris drives to the Northeast, Midwest, South, and Southeast regions of the USA.  Covering such a wide territory, it is no surprise that drivers like Chris average about 2,500 miles each week!  That’s 125,000 miles per year!

     

    Their trucks hold about 300 gallons of fuel, and with diesel fuel prices being more expensive than regular gas, well, you can do the math on what it costs to “fill ‘er up” these days.  Chris usually leaves to begin his work week on Sunday night, or Monday morning, and returns Friday or sometimes Saturday morning.  A delivery or a pick up  takes about two to three hours to load or unload.  This, of course, is dependent on the staff within the various shipping and receiving departments.  Chris hopes they are running on time and are aware of a driver’s strict schedule.  Other than loading and unloading time, the rest of the hours throughout the week are spent in the truck.

     

    The trucks are designed to make the driver’s time spent in them as enjoyable as possible.  Each OTR truck has a sleeper berth, otherwise known as a bunk, for the driver to relax in when taking a break from the road.  Chris’s truck has a bed about the size of a twin bed, with a computer table for his laptop.  There’s also a small closet to keep personal items in, such as clothes.  Several drivers keep mini refrigerators or TVs (some even with satellite!) in their bunk, where others, such as Chris, bring along their hobbies.  Chris keeps a guitar amp in his bunk so that he can practice his guitar when he has time to relax. 

     

    If you’ve driven through a truck stop recently, you noticed many trucks are sitting there running, or idling.  The truck engines must run to keep the batteries charged and to power the air conditioner or the heaters while the drivers are sleeping inside them.  With the increased awareness and concern for the environment, many states have started enforcing “No Idling” laws.  In these states, the driver is forced to turn off their truck.  That may be easier said than done, especially if you’re trying to sleep when it’s 10 degrees below zero outside!  New York is a state known to be really cracking down on idling trucks, and Indiana is apparently not too far behind.  Luckily, all of our trucks have auxiliary power units (APUs) that can power everything and burn just a fraction of the fuel.  Most states seem to be more understanding when the drivers use APUs.

               

    One of the most difficult things for drivers, such as Chris, is to be away from their families throughout the week.  Laptops and cell phones make this a little more tolerable.  As with any job, there are several pros and cons about the profession.  Understandably, one thing Chris and many other drivers would like people to be aware of is how important it is for everyone to drive safely, especially when sharing the roads around semi trucks.  To put it in perspective, it takes approximately two football fields to stop a semi truck when it is traveling at 55 miles per hour.  With such a scary bit of info, it makes sense that Chris always drives defensively.    

     

    So, what’s Chris’s favorite part of the job?  He enjoys the freedom involved with driving.  Like everyone, drivers have supervisors and SOPs to follow…but when they pick up a load, how that product gets to where it’s going is totally dependent on them.  Chris likes working for RG Transport and Red Gold because of the people.  Besides treating the drivers so well, it’s the fellow employees here that make Chris like his job.  Drivers interact with several departments and get to know everyone at our companies.  Drivers appreciate it when “the people in the office understand what you go through”.  We all can relate to the frustration involved with being stuck in traffic for hours.  If that’s your everyday job, it’s extremely comforting to know that people back at the home office really care.

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