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Lyght's Journey To Become A Truck Driver

Topic 16621 | Page 4

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G-Town's Comment
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Lyght everybody has trouble with backing. It took me into my third month solo before I really began to feel comfortable with it and understand in most cases the setup is more important than the actual back.

You gotta relax...in the practice yard you're not going to break anything. My only other suggestion is to make smaller adjustments and corrections until you begin to see (repeatedly) how the trailer responds to the backward movement and the turning of the steering wheel.

Lyght's Comment
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G-Town is right about both smaller adjustments and how important the set up is. When the truck is set up right I can normally make the backing happen now but if the set up isn't just right and I'm trying to fix my backing from the very start it can become a huge pain.

So three weeks into the four week program now. My wife was told she wasn't progressing fast enough and that she should drop the course about half way through the third week. That really messed with my head and I've been feeling some what mentally blocked since then. I'm not going to name names because that feels childish to me, but there's another student here that seems to get her choice of truck everyday and hours of one on one time. My wife was a little behind from the start and was placed with the other two students that were behind the three of them had the same instructor. For about a week with that instructor they didn't make any progress but they finally switched out instructors and she started to advance but was still to far behind. I guess it annoyed me so much since other students were getting one on one time that I wished they students that were behind were given that kind of treatment. We also had to come to class the first Saturday, half of the second one but due to weather we didn't have class this last Saturday. It seems like Saturday would have been better used just for those behind not the whole class.

This class has seemed like they were making some of the plans up as they went along. Normally its a five week class but CFI worked out a deal with the college to have it as a four week class, with Thanksgiving and Christmas this class started late and is finishing early. We had most of our class test out of their CDL at the end of week three. We started with nine people, one quit after mid-terms, my wife was talked into dropped the class shortly after so now we're down to seven. Three passed on their first time, three failed on their first time and one other person still needs to take his first try.

I had my cdl test on Friday at ten. I had the full pre-trip inspection and passed that, I'm not sure how well I did on it but I passed and that was the important thing. I had straight line backing, driver side lane change backing, nailed both of those with out a pull up or hitting a boundary so I was feeling really good about it. Then I had to do the 90 degree turn and well I failed. The driving range we train on is different than the one we test on so when I did my set up for it I pulled up way to far and I think I might have been to high in the lane as well. I tried the best I could to fix it while backing but had to many pull ups and hit the boundary twice. So once I failed that, it was the end of my CDL test.

After a quick lunch I was hoping to get some time practicing, sadly that didn't seem to be the case. On the practice we only had two trucks and one instructor. The girl that always gets one on one time was in one truck and the other truck was being used to teach the people that passed their CDL test how to do 45 degree backing. So for a while I just rode with her and watched and tried to do my best to take in information that way. After the other students where done with the 45 I took that truck and was able to practice. Still only had one instructor at that point who did his best to go between the two trucks. With his help I was able to do the 90 a few times even once that I only needed a little help and that help was just a nod when I pointed in the direction I thought I was suppose to turn the wheel. After that time he went back to the other truck to help her some more. A little after that another instructor came out and tried to help me but he had a different way then the first guy and by the time class was over I was once again no where near being able to do the backing.

I test again on Monday at 10:30 if I can manage to get past the backing, either by pure luck or some how getting it in the two hours I'll have (hopefully) to practice before the exam I'm pretty sure I'll pass my road trip. I still grind gears sometimes mainly when going up or down hill. When that happens I sometimes can't get it into the next gear but I've gotten better at that and am pretty good at gear recovery. We spend most of the time on the training pad backing up that gear work isn't something I get to work on to often.

I don't mean to speak ill of the program, I'm sure its a great one and most of the instructors are really knowledgeable and they're all really friendly. The trucks are great (well I'm not a fan of number 11), the college is on/next to an old military base so they have a lot of unused roads to drive on which is awesome, the training pad is really big and the in class work is stuff you should know. My wife had to with draw but we feel good enough about the program that she is going to come back for the five week version. However, I'm strongly suggest not coming out during the class between Thanksgiving and Christmas...

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Lyght's Comment
member avatar

WWWwwwwwwwoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! I passed my CDL test! Now the real challenge starts, doing this everyday!

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.
Susan D. 's Comment
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Congratulations! Don't worry because your wife will get through it too.

dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

Lyght's Comment
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Day two of being out with my finisher. He seems like a really nice guy which is a huge plus I don't think I could have done it if I had a jerk for a trainer. He doesn't get much sleep but is always ready to go, me not so much. I'm having a really hard time sleeping in the truck so I always feel tired. Thankfully my trainer understands that and isn't pushing me to hard at least not yet. I'm in an automatic which is awesome because downshifting confused me and seemed to take to much work. I'm still trying to get out of the driving a car mindset espically when it comes to point of no return in enter sections. I stopped hard once already trying to stop for a changing light only to end up in the middle of the enter section and had to give it some gas to get out of there. My back starts hurting an hour or so into driving as well. I can't say I like driving yet but for the most part I don't dislike it either. My biggest worry is still causing an accident and killing someone.

G-Town's Comment
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Most people have trouble sleeping in a moving truck. Earplugs can help.

Lyght's Comment
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Ear plugs? I'll have to try that its just to loud at truck stops. To bright too and my trainer never closes the blinds so staying in the top bunk I used one of my sheets to make like a tent so I can have it at least some what dark but it gets to hot in there after a while.

This morning I drove though the mountains between north and south Carolina I think my finisher said they were the smokey mountains but I could be wrong. I didn't like it at all and had a long line of likely angry trucker behind me because I was doing the speed limit or sometimes five under. To me going down hill is still the scariest part then add on curves and it being dark... No thanks...

Around the 85 & 385 there's some major construction going on, I'm hauling about 40,000 pounds so my trailer is really weighed down, when I was trying to merge on I almost hit my back trailer tires on one of the cement barricades between it being such a tight fit and so busy. Thankfully I just missed it and didn't hit any one.

I'm tired and this job is a lot more stressful and has a lot less down time than I was thinking it would. At this rate I still plan to honor my one year commitment but I think that will be the end of my trucking career at that point.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Ear plugs? I'll have to try that its just to loud at truck stops. To bright too and my trainer never closes the blinds so staying in the top bunk I used one of my sheets to make like a tent so I can have it at least some what dark but it gets to hot in there after a while.

This morning I drove though the mountains between north and south Carolina I think my finisher said they were the smokey mountains but I could be wrong. I didn't like it at all and had a long line of likely angry trucker behind me because I was doing the speed limit or sometimes five under. To me going down hill is still the scariest part then add on curves and it being dark... No thanks...

Around the 85 & 385 there's some major construction going on, I'm hauling about 40,000 pounds so my trailer is really weighed down, when I was trying to merge on I almost hit my back trailer tires on one of the cement barricades between it being such a tight fit and so busy. Thankfully I just missed it and didn't hit any one.

I'm tired and this job is a lot more stressful and has a lot less down time than I was thinking it would. At this rate I still plan to honor my one year commitment but I think that will be the end of my trucking career at that point.

Lyght when you enter, navigate through, and exit a construction cattle chute you must maintain constant vigilance on both sides of your trailer, exercising extreme care. At times it will feel like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. Take your time, have a plan as you approach, manage the space in front of you, and you'll be fine.

Very glad you didn't have any contact and hopefully you learned from it.

Safe travels.

Jodi 's Comment
member avatar

Lyght it gets better. I to really questioned if I made the right choice getting in to trucking when I was in trucking. Being with my trainer was a bit challenging and sleep was difficult in his truck. He didn't close the curtains either so I was always trying to sleep in light. I can tell you once you are out on your own things get better. The first few months solo were a bit stressful but I'm 11 months solo now and loving it. Got my truck set up the way I like it and have gotten a good routine down that works for me. Don't throw in the towel yet. I had a few times when I thought about walking away from it early on and I am so happy I stuck it out. I would have regreted it for ever if I would have quit. Good luck to you and your wife.

Jodi 's Comment
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That first sentence should read when I was in training not trucking.

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