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My journey with Prime in Pittston

Topic 17637 | Page 3

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Adam B.'s Comment
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We currently split. Trainer drives morning - mid afternoon and I do the evening into the early morning. I didn't miss much not driving. Kansas is not exactly a hard drive.

Prime does team training for the TNT phase. I don't necessarily like it but there is alot of miles you need to put on (40,000) to go solo. If it was just you and a trainer, where the trainee does all the driving, you'd be training for 6 months.

I don't understand you not driving. When I was in training I drove every mile unless I was just flat out of drive time and the delivery would be late if we stopped but I think that only happened once. I guess all companies do it different but you need all the drive time you can get to be ready to go solo. Does any body else know if this is common practice.

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.

Adam B.'s Comment
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Yesterday was a good and bad day.

Started driving just outside of Kansas City around 4pm. Was doing pretty good. I'm having less problems shifting, so I think I'm getting more comfortable with the truck. Pretty relaxing just driving and listening to music. Took the St. Louis bypass and went to a truck stop to refuel. This is where I'm a moron.

My trainer wanted all 3 tanks (tractor, def, reefer) filled. Filled the tractor with diesel no problem, though I did pull up a bit further than I should to the pump. Remove the cap to the def tank, put the def pump nozzle in and holding the trigger.

Nothing was coming from the pump. Try it again. Still nothing. OK, maybe the pump has one of those things to lift up like the diesel pump have. Nope. Eventually I ask a fellow driver at the next pump why I can't get the def to pump. He asks me if I pressed the big yellow def button on the pump. Oops, how did I miss that? At this point the transaction ended for waiting too long and my fuel card would not work wfs for 2 hours. My trainer was watching this btw. Talk about embarrassing. Thankfully I did have enough def left for the engine to not derate itself (truck derates to 55 govern with a quarter tank of def)

I ended up going to just near the Ohio/Indiana border and finished by 3:30 am. Trainer had to help me back into a spot. 500 moves logged, a personal best. During this time I felt a cold coming on and sure enough today I'm sick.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

So let's see. 2 days ago. We drove until we got Carlisle Pennsylvania, whixh aas around 7pm before we shut down for a few hours. Our delivery appointment was at 6 am the following day. Tried to sleep for a bit (didn't work too well) before heading back to the road at midnight. Not much to say about the drive to New Jersey.

Once we got to Newark, signs for New York City started popping up. Must really be close to it. Then I got to experience a small taste of the northeast. Exits were coming up left and right and the streets were getting narrow. Got lost for about 10 minutes despite GPS. Not to mention it didn't look lie we were in a good part of town. Looked really rundown, like if I was ib Detroit or something. Ended up getting to the receiver by 3:30 am and I crashed to bed.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. Got a load of pineapples just outside of Philadelphia. Had to watch them load the trailer. The part of the warehouse we were in was massive and there was still other sections to this place. Just tons of pallets of produce everywhere. We get loaded and start heading to Columbus. I start driving around 2pm. Felt my driving was pretty good, though I think I took a few curves a hair too fast. Really starting to get floating gears down and I think it was split between double clutching and floating. Made it to the outskirts of Columbus before we called it a night. Was really happy about how I did as my trainer didn't have to babysit me at all for once.

One thing I forgot to mention is my fleet manager gave me a call. He is concerned about my sleep. I've been getting better at sleeping in the truck but I still can't sleep when the truck is moving and that is what causes my lack of sleep at times. I would love to get 8 hours every night but it's really hard sometimes.

Anyway, we're waiting to get unloaded now. No preplan so we'll have to set what happens.

Floating Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Jodi 's Comment
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Adam b where did you go haven't seen a update for a bit. Was enjoying reading your post. Hope all is well.

Adam B.'s Comment
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I'm still here. Been super busy so I haven't had a chance to update yet.

Adam B.'s Comment
member avatar

Ok I'm gonna try and update this now.

It's been 3 weeks since I last updated. Going to give you the TLDR for 3 weeks. First off I love traveling and boy did I travel in a month. Here's my Google Maps location history for 2017. Take away Milwaukee and all of this is from trucking: Click Me My favorite states so far? Pennsylvania and Florida. I love the mountains in Pennsylvania and the architecture of the small towns. I'm a big city guy but Pennsylvania is one of the few states I could see living in a small town. Specifically I fell in love with the Elizabeth township. Florida was awesome because its 85 degrees in January. Messes with your brain when you're from the Midwest.

Ok so back to trucking. To avoid repeating myself, I wrote this post not too long ago about my struggles. I would go read that to sum up some of the not so enjoyable things that have hit me. Also sleep. I still can't sleep while the truck is moving. I kinda gave up on that since once I get my own truck this won't be a problem ****il self driving trucks come anyway!). My sleep is terrible. I average 4-5 hours of sleep a day. My driving is powered by Monster energy drinks. I don't want to be a debbie downer though so how about some good things lately?

I've learned a ton since I last posted. I float gears exclusively now and only double clutch if I have to skip a bunch of gears. My shifting is probably the best it's ever been. I'm not really afraid to downshift anymore. My trainer feels super comfortable while I'm on the road. He almost never wakes up unless I stop, then he does (see why in the link above). I consider it a compliment when he asks if I fueled up the truck while he was sleeping because that means my driving was so smooth he didn't wake up. I've also learned how to work with receivers and shippers. I know how to check in at both now. It's super simple. Find the shipping and receiving door, give them your paperwork or an order number and off you go.

Home time. Oh man home time. I put in the request less than a week ago and I'll give Prime credit for getting me home ASAP. I requested home time for this upcoming Monday and ended up getting home a few days early. The downside is miles were terrible. To prepare for home time they throw you loads throughout the week near home. This meant we had loads that delivered from say Illinois to Ohio and vice versa. Yesterday there was a load we picked up early afternoon and delivered it that night. That's how short these loads have been. I would have preferred 2 medium loads instead of getting a new load every day but hey whatever.

If you're considering OTR as a possible career or even as just a temporary gig until you go local, let me say this. Enjoy being at home now. You don't realize how nice home is until you're gone from it for months at a time. Yes I was looking forward to being home but being back is better than I imagined. It feels so good to be back and honestly I'm dreading going back into a truck. I can't wait to sleep in my own bed tonight in dead silence and not have a noisy reefer or APU behind me.

So what happens next. I'm thinking about requesting a new trainer. My trainer has been ok. There have been days I loved him and days I despised him. At the end of the day though I'm with him to learn and while I have learned alot, I don't think he has the patience to help me overcome my biggest hurdle (backing). I'll probably call my fleet manager on Monday. Until then I'm going to relax at home.

That's it for now. I hope my next update wont be another 3 weeks away.

Float Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Adam...backing is all about repetition. You are likely not getting enough reps. Take it upon yourself to practice when you can. Look for opportunities to do this. Truck stops, vacant lots, shipper drop lots...where ever and when ever you can.

If you need extra input, ask your trainer for help and input. Be specific and persistent. Struggling with it on your own I strongly believe will yield quicker results than switching trainers. It might be worse if you switch,...then what? Ask for another one? Try to work it out...

Good luck.

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.

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