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Ms. Manners: Dealing With Dispatchers


Have you ever wondered how to handle your dispatcher  when he or she requests you to drive, push through to get the load in on time,  after you have told dispatch you’re sick, tired or whatever physically prevents you from continuing safely?

You are the captain of that ship.  You are out there, and you, and only you, know your threshold experiences, capabilities and tolerances.-  If it feels wrong, shut it down. Your safety department will back you up on this. If you are tired, shut it down. If you feel sick, shut it down. Is there are high winds and you’re carrying a light load and feel unsafe, shut it down. If the roads are icy and unsafe, shut it down. Just let dispatch know what you are doing and why you are doing it.

Every driver has different weather driving experiences; for instance, some drivers are from the south and are not as capable or knowledgeable in the snow and ice as somebody who lived in it all their life. One guy might be caring 42,000 in the box and you’re going down the road with 11,000 in the box with high wind warnings for the area. There is a big differences between the two and different actions need to be taken for each one.

Common sense comes into play here.

Document everything on your Q-coms, PeopleNet, etc.  Your electronic log message boards are actually legal documents. Everything you type is on there for life and it cannot be erased by anyone. It can and will be called into any dispute or litigation, good bad or otherwise, so keep IT professional.

Be careful out there. Do what you think is best. If it feels wrong don’t do it.

Remember: common sense and your experience in the conditions you’re driving in need to be constantly evaluated. It might not be your truck but YOU are the only one responsible for what happens to it, the load and to your personal safety.

Trucking is not just a profession is a way of life.

Read more Ms. Manners trucking etiquette articles here.


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