captain rat's tips for drivers
tip#1. COPYING CALLS:
The term is a little misleading, and the proper technique is not often explained.
DO NOT try to write down the address info while the dispatcher reads it.
LISTEN to the address. REPEAT it back to the dispatcher. Your repeating it will put it
TEMPORARILY into your memory. Then put down your microphone, pick up your pad, and
write it down. Don't depend on memory for long--its accuracy decreases with every
additional thought you have.
The reasons for this technique are:
(a) It takes less airtime. (b) If you are driving, you do not want to hold a microphone,
a pen and pad, and the steering wheel all at the same time. (c) It is more accurate,
because you do not have to write as hurriedly, and because the mental processes of
intaking the info and translating it to written form often distract from one another.
When repeating and writing, do not try to include every word said. Concentrate on the
essentials, usually the numbers. DO remember to say the numbers individually:
'one-one-four-five-nine north two-eight drive." Otherwise such confusions as fiftieth,
sixtieth, etc. will run rampant.
Dispatchers should help facilitate copying by not interjecting secondary information
while reading the address, and by waiting a moment after the copy before speaking to
the driver again.
Practice the technique; you will find copying becoming both smoother
and more accurate.
tip#2. TAKING LEAKS
It is often difficult to find a public restroom, especially at night
A good alternative is the self-service carwash. Just drive into the
open the driver's door AND the left rear door (right rear
U.K. drivers). It provides a hidden area and a drain. It's
better and safer than those dark dumpster enclosures. And,
once you're relieved, you can wash your cab.
tip#3. DO WINDOWS
Cleaning your windshield frequently can keep you more alert!
Windshields quickly collect a film of smog and dust that may go
unnoticed. It causes eyestrain and increases glare and distortion
which can make you feel tired, irritable, and less awake.
Use the squeegees at gas stations--they're quick and free.
Do all the windows, inside and out, while you're at it.
Is everything perfectly clear?
tip#4. KEEPING IT LUBED
when you need to add oil on the road, you can't always find a
you don't want to spill it on the manifold, but you don't want to
delay the needed transfusion, either. an empty plastic oil or atf
bottle, with the bottom cut out, makes a perfect funnel.
but the opening is too big for the atf tube. the answer?
take the valve-type top from one of those little bottles
of overpriced drinking water (find a discarded one)--it fits
perfectly on the oil bottle. pop off the valve. presto,
your funnel is adapted for atf! and it's free. keep one in the
TOOLS OF THE TRADE:
all drivers need the following: (1) a good street map book
(2) the cosmic cabdrivers' guide
(3) a street guide (100-block listing)
(6) pad and paper
(7) A GIRLFRIEND WTH A JOB![ contributed by GARY the dispatcher at TLC]
REMOTE SPEAKER for your cab radio: don't miss calls while stopping at home--
all you need is a speaker, some wire, a miniplug (same kind used on portable-radio earphones)
and a small hole in your wall. see diagram.
When I need to take a break at home, I use a baby monitor.
It works great; I can run out to my car when they call me!!!
I adopted this one myself; my sending unit hangs on a post beside the
driveway, waterproofed with plastic bags. When I pull up, I just plop it
inside the window. Thanks for the idea, BT. --cr
SUBMIT YOUR IDEA FOR DRIVER TIPS. IF I LIKE IT, I'LL INCLUDE IT.