by Pride Transport | Jul 12, 2019
Here at Pride Transport, we have the finest drivers on the road today. Our drivers are the heart of our operation and we know that we’d be nothing without them. Each one is unique and important to us but, now and then, we like to acknowledge a driver that stands out, goes the extra distance and is worthy of special recognition by his fellow drivers. That’s why we created the Driver of the Month Program.
For the month of June, we have chosen to honor Don Rivers. Don has been driving professionally for the past 10 years and 7 of those have been spent with Pride Transport as an OTR driver. He’s usually on the road for 2-3 months at a time driving coast to coast and taking in the beauty of our country. We took some time to get to know Don and dig into his experience as a professional driver.
Don Rivers, Driver of the Month
You’ve been doing this for a while, what’s your favorite part about driving professionally?
Oh man, I’ll need to think about that one for a second. I think a lot of it has to do with who I’m driving for - Pride has really made a difference. The first company I worked with was not enjoyable at all, but with Pride, I drive state of the art equipment, and there’s never any drama. I know my hours, where I need to go, and they trust me to get it done. I do also love seeing the country. I drive coast to coast so I’ve seen it all. It starts to look the same after a while, but it’s still beautiful nevertheless.
Sounds amazing! Where’s your favorite place to drive?
There are so many beautiful places in the U.S. it can be hard to choose. I go back to Philly and West Virginia from time to time and it’s just stunning. Oregon and Washington are also very scenic, but that can be some tough terrain to drive in because of how narrow and winding the roads can be. I always say “the prettier the drive, the more tedious the driving.” So for that reason, I do love driving out west. The roads are always wide open.
You clearly have a lot of experience, what advice would you give to someone who was looking to start driving professionally?
Something that’s very interesting about the trucking industry is how high the turnover rate is and there are a lot of reasons for that. When you start out, you have to pay your dues to get the routes and home time that you want. You need to be patient and be mature about the process. As long as you go into it with realistic expectations and bite the bullet, then you’ll get to where you want to be in no time. It’s hard work, but it pays off.
We know it’s not always easy, what’s your least favorite part about driving?
Driving during the winter with all the snow and ice. I’m in my 60’s and when it comes to chaining up because of winter conditions, well, it’s not my favorite. With enough experience driving, you can handle anything, but it definitely takes a lot of patience to drive in those conditions. One thing I would like to say about Pride is that they really value driver safety. They have never suggested anything to me that would compromise my safety and they trust my judgment. They’ll tell you “you’re the guy in the truck. If you don’t feel safe then park and wait it out.”
It’s hard not to snack on the road, what do you usually grab to munch on?
Oh man, I basically live on snacks. I like to keep my options open so I usually stock up on a few things at Walmart. Yogurt, lunchables, and Reeses Pieces are always a favorite of mine. If I don’t feel like eating at a truck stop I’ll just whip something up in the microwave.
Long drives can get boring, how do you keep yourself entertained when driving?
I have Sirius XM so I have a lot of music options and I like to keep up with football and baseball during season. I used to listen to a lot of audiobooks, but I’m a huge true-crime podcast junkie now. I think the best one is Up and Vanished. It’s over now, but I loved it.
Spending all this time on the road you’ve had to witness something odd, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen?
Between Cheyanne and Laramie there’s a mountain range you drive through with cliffs on either side of the highway. I pulled up on a flood of emergency vehicles and a single-engine airplane that had landed on the road. I looked it up later that day. I guess he was from Wisconsin and lost power while he was flying over the mountain range and had to emergency land. He survived too. Crazy stuff.
You’ve been with Pride for 7 years now, what do you love most about driving for them?
They’re just so on top of everything and they really do take care of you. In my 7 years with them, I’ve never had an issue. The safety department is fantastic and they take their job very seriously, but they never berate you. My dispatcher Neil is the best guy and great at his job. I feel like he knows my thoughts before I even have them! He’s always looking for a load to back me up and keeps me busy.
Professional truck driving is no ordinary job, what’s something that you’ve learned while driving that you wouldn’t have known otherwise?
Road safety is number one. The older I get the more I realize that all of the things we’re taught when we learn to drive, like following distance, is what will keep you alive. Seeing the way that people drive around trucks and each other, it’s kind of crazy how little they care. They don’t realize that if they’re impatient then they would be the one getting the short end of the stick.
What’s your pride? This is a question we’ve been asking ourselves and each other lately. What is your Pride, is it your truck, your skill at maintenance, your exceptional driver support skills? What makes you proud to be a part of the Pride family?
My Pride is in the family sense of leadership that they have established as a company. It’s been such a prosperous and safe experience.
Thank you to Don for taking the time to chat with us! Check back each month and meet the next drive of the month, learn something about what it’s like driving a truck and maybe, you’ll discover what your Pride is.