The Trucker Spotlight series explores the lives of truckers and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview different truck drivers to understand some life lessons that make them who they are today. We also learn more about their motivations, and the problems that they encounter on the job. We also tackle how Trucker Path’s solutions helped them with what they do. The information that they provide helps inform other people who are looking to delve into the trucking world.
Today we are putting the spotlight on Matthew Garnett, who’s been driving for around 10 years now. Trucking is his 3rd career and he was previously a pastor and a front man for a rock band. Let’s get to know more about Matt and how his path made its way into trucking.
What made you decide to be a trucker?
Driving trucks was a childhood dream of mine. But of course when I grew up as a teen, the expectation was to
go to college and “get a real job”. It was only when I was at my wits end with “real jobs”, that I decided to pursue this age old dream. Let me say this, driving trucks is the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. The only regret I have is that I didn’t go into trucking sooner!
In the years that you have been driving, what are the significant changes that you’ve
noticed in the trucking industry?
The biggest thing is the change in the Hours of Service regulations. It seems like this is something Uncle Sam
can’t settle on. Every time we turn around, it seems like the noose tightens more. I wrote an article for TheFederalist as well as interviewed on Fox and Friends about this issue. The bottom line is, it makes us truckers hurry more instead of keeping the motoring public safe.
What made you decide to put up your Youtube channel?
Trucking companies do their best to train drivers but unfortunately there’s nothing better than on the ground
experience. I only wish I had some open deck trucking vet showing me the basics of things via a first person camera. Put simply, there was a lot that I didn’t get in training that I had to learn the hard way. Why should guys have to learn the hard way when I can show them via my own personal experience on a Youtube channel?
Any times when you get lonely while driving? How do you deal with it?
No doubt. You’re not going to avoid that. The way I deal with it is constantly occupying my mind. Each day, I have a plan to learn something new each. I have a plan to listen to radio stations and podcasts that will motivate me to keep trucking. One thing I have found very helpful is to listen to podcasts that feature our war fighters. Listening to those men talk about how they’ve defended my freedom to drive trucks gets me through those rough times.
As a trucker, what are the current struggles in this COVID19 pandemic?
It’s been good for us truckers. The biggest “struggle” has been being required to wear a mask when at shippers and receivers. It’s been a wise move to deem us as “essential”. We’ll throw the rest of you on our backs and get the economy back to normal.Incidentally, I was on Fox Business News with Neil Cavuto discussing this topic.
What are your usual routes? Favorite scenic truck route?
One of the most beautiful routes is I40 out of the Carolinas into Tennessee. The fact you have to shift a lot there is overcome by the beauty of those Smokies! As of late, I’m stuck in the Midwest running regional. But still, some loads put me right on Lake Michigan. A lot of loads put me in the middle of corn fields. Sure I love the spectacular scenery, but looking at acres and acres of corn still inspires me. The rows are perfectly straight. Some farmer took the time to make that happen and I love it.
What was your weirdest or most unusual haul?
I’ve hauled a lot of strange and irregular stuff running open deck, but the one that sticks out to me is a haul I did
when I was training with my veteran teacher, Gary. Gary and I got a run picking up on a farm in the middle of nowhere Nebraska. Honestly, we thought we were lost on the way to the pickup. We were on a narrow dirt road and both of us thought, “This can’t be right……”. Turns out we were picking up a load of potatoes from a small farmer to deliver to Kansas City. It was a unique loading process into our dry van. The unloading was even more amazing. There, we had to detach from the trailer and watch as a gigantic crane and conveyer picked up our trailer into mid-air and emptied it out like a giant emptying out a can of soup! To be sure, if wasn’t hooked on trucking before then, I knew this is what I wanted to do.
How often do you use rest stops / truck stops? What are the things that you look for in a truck stop? Favorite truck stop meal?
Truck stops are a part of the life unless you’re a home daily driver. Being a regional driver, I know the best places to stop for the stuff I’m looking for which is two things: water and coffee. I’ve found that it pays to have your own food and a way to cook it (microwave) already on board. You want to be as self contained as possible. Still, I treat myself to a triple cheeseburger with fries once a week. Don’t do that everyday. But still, you’ve got to give yourself a break! Find a spot to get that sammich!
What are the common troubles or problems you encounter while trucking?
Driving flatbed means you’re going to get into pickles. You’re going to roll into construction sites that are tight
and where you most likely will get stuck…..like stuck where the crane man has to pull you out. Biggest thing is, don’t panic. Take your time and don’t tear up your equipment no matter what. Also, weight is both a blessing and a curse. Weight / over-dimension and miles is big bucks. But if you get popped for being overweight on an axel, that big money now goes to Uncle Sam. Make sure you know how to axel out your truck and run legally.
What are your pet peeves while driving/trucking?
My Number One pet peeve is that Four-Wheelers do not know how to merge onto interstates! Don’t give them the time of day. It’s not my responsibility to help them merge. If you don’t know how to merge, sell your car and take the bus! You have a brake and an accelerator. Either go ahead of me on the ramp or drop back. I ain’t changing lanes for you unless it’s in my interest to do so.
We’re glad that you use the Trucker Path app on your day to day trucking. What features do you enjoy the most?
The Trucker Path app is fantastic. It tells me first and foremost if a truck scale is open or closed. Also, the parking feature is very accurate. It’s a Google maps for truckers.
What are some tips that you would like to share for aspiring truckers?
Do not let your pride get you into an accident. If you’re not sure, don’t do it. Yeah some jackasses might try to make fun of you, but pay them no mind. Always ask questions. The worst drivers are those who act like they know it all. Make it your goal that once you’re driving 50 years you’re still willing to learn and ask questions.