Lyght's Journey To Become A Truck Driver

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Lyght's Comment
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I've been doing CDL Practice Tests on and off all day only gotten below an 90 once and then it was just an 80. Keeping track of the questions I get wrong so I can study them. Feeling good about it so far! Also talked to the wife, this being our last week to study before the permit test (and me not feeling she's working hard enough towards it) we're going to set down and get set studying times for the rest of the week to make sure she is ready come Friday. I also got our absentee voting taken care of, in my own thread I don't mind saying I'm proud to have voted for Hillary even if they say she only has 0.4% chance of winning my state I was still happy to vote for her.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Lyght's Comment
member avatar

So far the most frustrating part of this has been getting my dot physical. I honestly thought the accident on my driving record would be the hardest part of it, then the studying, then finding someone to keep my cat until we get our truck. Right now however getting my dot physical seems to be proving the hardest, I found a list of people that do it in my area, I call and either the phone just rings and rings, the number is out of order or I get a voice mail box and my calls aren't returned. Looks like I'll go some place and try to get the appointment set up in person, hopefully.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Lyght wrote:

I'll do my best to keep you updated. Today we're working on going through the CDL manual, I've taken the practice CDL exam on this site (which is a big help again a huge thank you to the people running this place) just trying to common sense my way through it and so far haven't gotten less than a 70 on it, not enough to pass the exam but high enough I'm feeling pretty good about it. I'm doing the XPO training I'm honestly a little confused on what their schooling will consist of since they require a permit before going and that covers most of the book. Still excited about it though. How do you feel about the 3 months of separate behind the wheel training?

Lyght, The schooling will teach you the basics of service rules (logs), road driving, backing and the pre-trip inspection. You need the permit in order to drive the truck on a public street with the supervision of an instructor. The 3 months of road training (behind the wheel training you mentioned) is entirely necessary in order for you to safely learn how to handle the truck and everything that goes along with it. Things like trip planning, fueling, docking, coupling/uncoupling, safe operation during inclement weather, shipper/receiver protocols, etc. are typically not covered during formal schooling. Driving under a load is also something you will need to master and is not usually a part of CDL school. No one comes out of CDL School (with their CDL) ready to run solo, only enough to pass the CDL tests. Even after the 3 months of road training, for some it barely scratches the surface and more training is necessary before going solo. Try to be patient...learning how to drive a loaded semi correctly is a protracted process, at times tedious.

Lyght also wrote this:

Thanks for the tip Doonnie! I'm also glad to hear I wasn't the only one having a problem with the air break. I'm some what using the same 2-3 3-4 thing so I know if one answer is 2 the other has to be 3, and that you lose more air when the breaks are pushed. I didn't think the pre-trip or driving would be on the permit at least in to much depth since a lot of that seems hands on changes depending on the truck you'll be driving.

Lyght, Contrary to what Donnie suggested, it is probable that some driving and pre-trip questions could be contained in the written CDL A permit exams. If you haven't already you might want to click on these links:

Also, the pre-trip inspection steps and basic diving rules/guidance does not vary from truck to truck. Regardless of the manufacturer or model, the pre-trip inspection is the same for all of them. Some of the engine componentry might be in slightly different places, however the steps and what you are inspecting are the same. Same for driving, regardless of the truck (tractor & 48' or 53' trailer), executing a right hand turn onto a side street (for example) is the same.

Good luck.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Donnie M.'s Comment
member avatar

Lyght, sorry for the delay. We are at Arbuckle Truck Training in Ok. We came in withe permits and we're behind the wheel on the first day. Starting day three this morning. It is not a cake walk for sure! Double clutching has been a challenge. We are making progress, but it is tough to get my mind to want to Rev to downshift and drop rpm to upshift. I had read on the forums that previous manual driving would not help in a big truck. That is SO true! Actually think it hurts me a bit. I'm having to retrain my brain. We are making progress though. They have us working on previous trips at this point also. Our instructor has been great. I admire the patience he has with us. It has also been nice that there are only 3 students in the truck, which allows for more drive time.

G-Town, thanks for the clarification for Lyght. I hesitate to add any advise because at this point I know basically nothing!

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Lyght's Comment
member avatar

Tomorrow I go to take my CDL permit test... I am now worried having read XPO Logistics Sells Truckload Shipping Business to TransForce for $558 Million I'm hoping that the job offer is still going to be there. I guess I'll find out tomorrow after I pass the test and give them call.

The double clutch thing is going to be a pain, I've driven a manual car for like past 10 years and everyone tells me its very different in a semi, my wife doesn't know how to drive a manual at all and we're told that might actually make it easier on her than it will be for me because I'll have to re-learn and i already have manual bad habits.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Tomorrow I go to take my CDL permit test... I am now worried having read XPO Logistics Sells Truckload Shipping Business to TransForce for $558 Million I'm hoping that the job offer is still going to be there. I guess I'll find out tomorrow after I pass the test and give them call.

The double clutch thing is going to be a pain, I've driven a manual car for like past 10 years and everyone tells me its very different in a semi, my wife doesn't know how to drive a manual at all and we're told that might actually make it easier on her than it will be for me because I'll have to re-learn and i already have manual bad habits.

Lyght try not to sweat the sale. Usually the drivers are unaffected by this sort of thing because we are a primary link in the supply chain and not a cost center for these big corporations. We make them money and we are in high demand. Check that off as a non-issue.

The trainers are experienced teaching and helping you un-learn habits developed shifting a 4-wheeler. They expect everyone to struggle with shifting,...it a right of passage. Although in the beginning it will cause frustration, you will learn it and about the 3rd or 4th time in the truck you'll begin to "get-it".

Relax...take it one step at a time. Good luck.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Lyght's Comment
member avatar

Alright last Friday was suppose to be my cdl permit test but due to things outside of my control it had to be pushed back, now it'll be the 10th. Its a bit of a stress issue me and my wife only planned to be out of work for 2-3 weeks so its what we saved for it'll be week five when we finally get to take the permit test. Really excited to take the test though. :)

G-Town thank you for that, I was a bit worried about that.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Kemo's Comment
member avatar

O.o! your taking your permit test today :D. You had to make an appointment to take your permit test?

Relax, review, relax.

good-luck.gif

Lyght's Comment
member avatar

I didn't have to make an appointment but I did anyway just because I didn't want to wait in line all day and the nearest DMV to me that does CDL permits is about an hour and a half away. Me and my wife both had our appointments today, I had to take the general knowledge test, air breaks and combination vehicles tests, my wife only had to take the air breaks and combination vehicles tests having passed the general knowledge test the first time we went. I wasn't able to take my tests the first time we tried because Cali had a hold on my drivers license that I didn't know about. Thankfully I passed all three tests on my first try and my wife was able to pass the two she failed the first time. The I don't think I saw any of the questions from the practice CDL tests here on the permit, but thankfully the High Road Online CDL Training Program worked well enough I was still able to get through the with ease. The Air breaks test did however come down to one question that if I got wrong I would have failed but thankfully I was able to get it right and passed. Tomorrow is Venetians Day so I'm not sure if XPO Logistics (now called CFI I think?) is open or not so I might need to wait until Monday to call them up and say I'm ready to go. I only have my paper permit with the hard copy coming in about two weeks so I'm not sure if they'll make me wait until it comes in the mail or not but either way I'm ready to take the next step! Very excited about all of this and happy to see my wife put in more effort, I think failing the tests the first time around made her realize it was a lot harder than she thought.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Kemo's Comment
member avatar

GOOD JOB to the both of you!! I wouldn't think you would need to wait as your paper permit is usually active for quite a decent amount of time. Maybe someone from home would be able to send you both your "hard copy" permits after they arrive if you've already been "shipped out". Good luck to you both :D

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