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Prime Inc. training. Springfield, Missouri

Topic 17418 | Page 7

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Patrick R.'s Comment
member avatar

Also, Turtle, do you know if its possible to request where to be trained, I wasn't smart and didn't look at their training areas just assumed I would be in the MO one like you so that's where I've been studying for would kinda suck to get shipped to PA (since its closer to NC) after cramming for the MO CDL tests.

Ignore this got my answer lol.

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.
Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Thursday 1/5/17 0445hrs

No sleeping here. I began waking up about 2 hours ago. This test is all I can think about. The preperation I've put into this should have me feeling totally at ease. But I'm just filled with anticipation over it. Maybe it's because I want it so bad. Maybe it's because I quit my career to pursue this new endeavor. Maybe it's because there's a lot on the line.

I suppose everyone gets this way before a big test. But it's not really that big of a test. Seriously, it's simply a pretrip, which I've studied for extensively. Then an easy skills test, which I've practiced for extensively. Then a short road test, which I've rehearsed for extensively. This is a no brainer. Or it should be.

But it's the X factor I worry about lol. The "What ifs". The auto fail scenarios. I'll drive myself batty thinking about such things. I just want to get this test started.

0600hrs I walk outside to wait for Danny to pick me up. I can't believe it, it snowed last night! Like 2 inches! I'm from the northeast so snow doesn't scare me, especially a mere 2 inches. Heck, thats just a dusting back home. But this is my CDL exam. I want the best odds I can get. Remember that X factor I mentioned earlier? Well, there it is.

Our backing maneuvers are based on cones and painted lines. I sure hope they clear the pad. After that would be the road test, and the added difficulty of driving in snow. I don't know, we'll see what happens.

We're supposed to be there early, as I'm first up to test. That's just as well. The less time I have to stress over it the better lol.

0830hrs Finally we are getting started. At this point, only pretrip tests are being conducted. Supposedly they're going to plow and salt the lot.

0930hrs I passed the pretrip test! Out of the entire truck, I only forgot the dang coolant reservoir, missing 1 lousy point. In all my practice, the reservoir was never missed. X factor lol. I'm upset that I came so close, only to miss 1 point. But I'll take it :)

Still waiting for the snow to melt...

1130hrs After plowing and salting, the pad is finally melted enough to see most of the lines. As students, we have the option to refuse to test until conditions are optimal, but after waiting this time, I'm itching to get this over with. On to the skills test.

First up-Straightback. No worries here. The easiest one. Right through the box nice and easy. Then came blindside offset, driver side parallel, and finally alley dock. The only issue I had was during alley dock.

I've completed alley dock countless times. This time was different. Although I used the same reference points as always, the trailer just slid further to the outside than usual. My trainer said it was because of the ice on the pad, and in fact he had warned me about that earlier. The smart thing to do would have been to GOAL, but I really thought I had it. I barely touched the line BEEEEEEP! Out of bounds! 2 points! It pains me to admit that, but there it is. X factor

Beyond that it went great. I easily passed and now I can move on to the road test. But........

Apparently the roads are still too icy for them to feel safe sending us students out for road tests. For those of us who passed everything today, we get to come back first thing in the morning and road test before everyone else scheduled tomorrow.

So even though we didn't get to finish today, I'm completely happy with how it went. I would have liked to ace both of the tests, but so be it. I'll take the pass.

So on the way back to the hotel, Danny & I stopped at the local Culvers (GREAT burgers btw, half a block fron campus). We finished and walked out to the car.....FLAT TIRE!

Good thing Culvers is directly in front of the Walmart auto center. 30 minutes later the hole was plugged and Danny went on his way. I chose to walk the half block back to campus to burn off some energy. I'm pumped to get this road test out of the way.

There is an added urgency to getting this done. Did I mention I already had a TNT trainer set up for tomorrow? I think I did, but the days are running together now lol. Anyway, I need to get this testing done since I'm scheduled to leave on TNT Friday pm. Not only that, our first dispatch is to Riverside, CA! I seriously don't want to miss that. I've never been further west than maybe Alabama before this.

Bring on that road test!!

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14ยข per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

You got this buddy! I've been sitting in this damned cubicle taking practice test after practice test on MO CDL tests, half of it I have memorized but every once in a while a new one pops up. Think I will start making calls to Prime like the 3rd week of Jan since I have a week of PTO I have scheduled to use in the last week. Still trying to find a place around here I can check my BP checked at. The more I think about how soon I'm looking to do this the more stressed I get, I have a hard time with big changes, leaving my job to hopefully go onto a better career but always the chance of failing.

One thing I did notice about your last post is you saying a lot of people complaining about not enough time to practice, how do you feel about that? I take everything with a grain of salt and I feel like if they asked for it the trainer may have been ok with giving them more time. You got really lucky being able to stay on the pad and in town, super jealous. I guess I am just over thinking this but I don't want to be one of those people to come back after a couple of weeks and be like "well...trainer didn't teach me squat...now yall kicking me out because I cant pass"

It's true that some trainers will only see you as labor. It'll be up to you to insist on practice. For pretrip, you won't need anyone. You should just start doing it yourself if the trainer won't help. You're given a pretrip cheat sheet to follow. It just comes down to memorization and becoming familiar with the parts, then establishing an easy to follow routine.

For backing you'll need to insist on doing all the backing. If you aren't getting the practice you need, then speak up to someone at Prime. They may have a talk with your trainer. I know of one girl who want getting enough practice. She called her DM and her truck was routed back to Prime, and she was placed in an on site class to practice.

Prime will not just kick you out. They will give you every opportunity to acquire the skills needed BEFORE you test out. But if you don't speak up, they won't know there's a problem.

With all that being said, I'm sure the vast majority of trainers are very good at their job. I only know of a couple students who weren't happy with their trainer. But those students might not have put forth an effort to SHOW they really wanted to learn. We'll never know.

Like I said, Prime wants.....no, NEEDS you to learn, and they will make sure you do. You gotta communicate.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Thanks for the feedback mate! I'm loving reading about your progress, one more day and you will be done! lol. Don't over think it to much or you might end up forgetting something. Just a nice lil drive same as you always do yanno.

Atleast your day has been exciting, I've got to the point with the MO CDl practice tests that I'm acing all of them or only get like 1 wrong so I've moved to random High Road tests and still only missing like 1 question each. Soooo much repetitive reading, which I'm OK with, just ready to start learning the actual Pretrip its what I'm most worried about aside from the actual driving.

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.
Turtle's Comment
member avatar

I studied exclusively with the hrtp, so I'm not sure what the MO cdl practice test entails. I'm sure it's good, just make sure it includes general knowledge, combination, air-brakes, and tanker. That's what Prime wants.

The pretrip isn't really as hard as it sounds or looks. The trick is establishing a repetitive pattern to follow, and practice. There's a truck parked at the hotel 24/7 for practice. The parts are broken down into sections: Engine compartment, driver's door fuel area, coupling, trailer, lights, and in-cab.

During your test, you will definitely get in-cab, coupling, and lights. Those tests are mandatory for everyone. You will also get one of the other sections, picked randomly. Some folks even randomly get the whole truck.

Also, many parts are duplicated in other sections. For example, once you learn an axle, the same pattern you follow will work for ALL axles. One axle has like 14 points of inspection, I think. The engine compartment, driver's door fuel area, and trailer all have axles as a major component of the pretrip. Once you learn one axle, you can do them all. That's a lot of points.

Look up Apex driving school pretrip video on youtube. It's long but very detailed and very similar to Prime's pretrip. You can think Rainy for that tip. She turned me on to it.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Thanks mate!

I've been doin the HRTP Air Brakes and Combo tests, super easy most of it is common sense, they don't have just a "general" one so I havnt done much for HRTP in that aspect mostly just using a site that has the DMV practice tests for MO. I will focus on Tanker in about a week I don't think that one section will take long to master, I do Brakes, Combo, and General atleast 4 times a day just to keep it repeating and help memorize things. Gotta call Prime here soon so I can try to get a date and set up an LOA at work just in case...I'm a lil concerned about the DOT Med card form though...Might need to see if a recruiter can answer a few questions about it or if they do the whole 'I'm not qualified to answer if you will be fine or not will have to come up here and find out'

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.

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.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Friday 1/6/17 0730hrs

I'm sitting in the truck, waiting for the examiner to get the ball rolling. After being postponed yesterday, I had all night to sweat over this test again. I know it should be fine, but man I'm just ready to get this part behind me.

I think he's headed this way, gotta go. Focus

1330hrs

I passed!!!! TRIFECTA!!!

I am now an official CDL-A holder! With this license I can now go anywhere. Of course my long term plan is to stay with Prime until I retire. But having the CDL opens up a ton of potential opportunity to me, should I choose to seek it out. This is a major reason why I chose this career path.

So the road test:

No big deal whatsoever. Just drive the truck. Now is not the time to try anything different. Just do exactly as your trainer said. You may have been a little rough during your last practice runs, but repetition is key. Do what you were taught and it's gravy. The examiners aren't going to beat you up. They just wanna make sure you can control the truck.

The test route may vary from trainer to trainer, but all routes are relatively short. Mine took roughly 20 minutes. I'll try to give you a play by play of my test so you can have some idea of what to expect. Bear with me....

Turn right out of the pad. Wait until the road is CLEAR, do not pull out in front of somebody. You will autofail. Swing wide, do NOT hit the rocks. You will autofail. Per Danny's instructions, I am to do 5mph under all speed limits, everywhere but highway. On the highway, just do the best you can. Prime trucks are slow lol.

7th gear at 25mph up to the light. Your examiner may have you go either way, I went left. Unless starting from a dead stop, you cannot shift while turning. Wait until your wheel is straight before grabbing a gear. It's okay if you shift before turning that wheel to the left or right, just not during a turn. This is meant to prevent a stall, which would autofail you.

In the course of this left turn, my left rear tire barely touched the yellow line separating my lane from opposing traffic. A very minor mistake, but I got a point there (points are bad lol).

Immediately after this left turn, we approached a bridge. Any time you approach a bridge, pay attention to bridge weight limits. The examiner will wait until after you cross that bridge, then ask you what the posted weight limit was. You need to know the answer. I did.

Left turn onto the freeway on ramp. The examiner will be checking to see how well you accelerate to highway speed. No big deal. We got off the very next exit off ramp. Pay attention to posted off ramp speeds. The examiner will probably ask you what the posted speed was after you passed that sign. You need to know the answer. I did.

At some point the examiner will ask you to safely make a lane change. It is exactly what it sounds like. Turn your signal on, change lanes IF you are clear, wait until your trailer is completely in your lane before turning signal off. No biggie. Then he'll ask you to safely change lanes back. If traffic is bad and you can't get over, tell the examiner you can't safely make the change, and he'll tell you what to do from there. Do not cut somebody off. That could be an autofail.

A little ways up we approached an overpass. Pay attention to overhead clearance signs. He may ask you what the clearance was after you passed the sign. In this case he didn't ask, but I was ready. It was 15'9.

We exited this highway and turned onto a rural 2 lane hwy. Again, pay attention to the exit ramp speed. He asked me again, and I was ready again.

Another right turn onto another 2 lane hwy. By the way, all of these turns have been very wide, easy to make turns. No sharp corners. If you hit a curb here, it's entirely your fault, and depending on the examiner and severity of the hit, you could autofail.

Remember, no shifting during turns or lane changes, or while in an intersection. I shifted a split second before completing this turn. Another point. Grrr

This stretch goes for 4 miles or so. There is a set of railroad tracks along the way. I simply have to slow 5mph or so and demonstrate that I'd look for trains, since there are no cross arms at these tracks. Nothing much else to worry about in this stretch. Just watch your speed and ALWAYS stay centered in your lane.

Throughout the entire test, he's watching. Not so much to pick on every little thing you do, but just to see how well you stay in control of the truck. If you miss a gear, don't panic and start grinding it in trying to force it. Keep your cool and do what you were taught. Stay in control. I missed a gear once and it took a second to find the right one. Got a point there. But a point is better than panicking, then slowing too much, creating an autofail hazard.

Pay attention to your intersections. When approaching and passing through, swivel your head a couple times to check the intersection looking for traffic. Just show that you're aware of surroundings.

So we continue to another intersection, followed by a bridge. The light turned red and I slowed. Don't push in your clutch too early. They want you to wait until you're within your truck & trailer length from the stop line to engage the clutch. I was taught to stop early to get into the gear I wanted, then creep up to the line. This way I'd know I was in the right gear BEFORE the light turned green. Thus preventing a stall, which would impede traffic. You will autofail for impeding traffic.

Continued.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Continued...

I managed the intersection fine, but when I crossed the bridge, he asked me if I could tell him what the posted weight limit was. I couldnt. It turns out there wasn't a weight limit posted, but I had failed to even look. Got 2 points there.

A couple of easy turns and miles later, he asked me to do a roadside stop. Just signal, pull to the side, set brakes, cancel signal, set 4way flashers, and turn wheel to left if you're facing uphill or right if downhill. This is so your truck rolls off the road if brakes release.

Finally, we made our way back. During a lane change, I cancelled my turn signal before my trailor made it completely in my lane. Got a final point there, for a total of 6.

You're allowed 30 points before you fail. So at 6, I was well below the average score. Obviously I'd hoped to ace this too, but considering the average driver scores in the high teens, I'm more than happy with the result.

They say it's very hard to "point out", or fail by amassing too many points. Most failures are the autofails I mentioned above. Impeding traffic and creating a hazard are by far the most common cause of failure. So learn something from that. Control the truck, and just drive.

When it's all said and done, the points don't matter if you pass. All that matters is having that fresh CDL-A in hand. That's a huge weight off my shoulders.

I know I mentioned it earlier, but I gotta say it again........TRIFECTA BABY!!! Yeah I'm proud.

Peace, my friends

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.
Patrick R.'s Comment
member avatar

FINALLY!! BEEN WAITING ALL DAY!!! lol. congrats man! Now that I am a bit more stressed after reading this...I know what to expect lol

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

FINALLY!! BEEN WAITING ALL DAY!!! lol. congrats man! Now that I am a bit more stressed after reading this...I know what to expect lol

Thanks man!

Please understand that when I say autofail, I don't mean you fail and go home. It just means you have to come back the next day and try again. You get a trifecta if you pass all three tests on the first try.

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