According to Gordon Knapp, there are two kinds of people in the world: truck drivers and people who wish they were.
After 40 years in the trucking industry, Knapp, 61, has seen a lot from the men and women who drive the highways in big rigs. He’s been a company driver, an owner-operator and a driver trainer. Now, he has taken those years of experience and compressed them into 117 pages about trucking. How did Knapp decide what was important?
“I couldn’t get it all in,” he says. “There’s just so much information that people need to know. So I’m working on another book.”
Knapp’s first book, All About Trucking And Becoming a Driver-Trainer, is what he calls the “meat and potatoes” of trucking. Written as an introduction into long-haul trucking, Knapp says the book is important for people considering a career in driving.
“As a trainer, I have experienced so many people trying to come in to the field,” he says. “Then, once they do, they realize it isn’t what they expected, and they can’t endure it. Trucking is not for everybody. Even those who can do it have to do it at the right time in life, or it’s not going to work for them.”
All About Trucking covers a wide range of topics. Knapp includes information from the “must-know” category, such as directions on highway routes to bypass congested areas and cut trip time, as well as trivia about the history of trucking. He gives tips on squeezing the most out of every hour of log time, and he gives helpful suggestions for managing time wisely and overcoming fatigue.
Knapp also shares a list of pet peeves caused by inexperienced or inconsiderate drivers, such as bunching or boxing in by other trucks, blocking a driveway in a truckstop, sliding axles on a scale and not using turn signals. With a little common courtesy, Knapp says, truckers could repair the image of the industry and improve highway safety.
So what prompted this trucking veteran to share knowledge gained over the years?
“Whenever I meet new people, it’s like a quiz show,” Knapp says. “Everyone wants to know all about trucking. I found myself explaining the same things over and over. I thought I would write the book and not have to do that anymore.”
In the book, Knapp says he was careful to include positive and negative aspects of the trucking industry. He says it’s important for people to have a realistic picture of life on the road before they begin a career in trucking.
Knapp is currently writing a book for established drivers. The new book, still unnamed, will take a comprehensive look at training schools and driver training programs. He will also compare the benefits and drawbacks of being a company driver, a leased owner-operator and an independent owner-operator.
“I do lots of research just to get my ducks in a row,” Knapp says. “I’m not going to badmouth the trucking industry unless it needs it. It’s been a wonderful life and a good profession. If you’re having a hard time, hang in there and stay with it. If you’re sick, trucking will make you well again.”
Knapp and his wife, Diane, live in Arizona. He has two daughters and two stepsons.
For more information about All About Trucking, contact Trafford Publishing at (888) 232-4444 or find it online at www.trafford.com/ robots/00-0206.html. The book is also available at www.barnesandnoble.com or www.amazon.com.