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Advice on company trainers

Topic 17979 | Page 1

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Landion's Comment
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I've been a trainer now for 6 months or so, and I wanted to toss some info out for the new drivers, on trainers.

When I first got out of school o went to a company, waited days for a trainer and was relieved when I finally got assigned to one. I trained with him for 140 hours, he was horrible! Spent most of his time in the sleeper, he was always cranky, rude, and just overall not a pleasant person. I wanted so badly to be done with training and 4 weeks or so later I was finally done.

I left the company shortly after (with a lot of help and advice from the people here). I didn't have enough time out of the trainers truck to be considered a qualified driver at the new company, so had to go back through another 140 hours. I was not at all amused, but decided it was the best option.

My trainer with the new company was nothing like my first trainer. He was awake, engaged, knowledgeable, and took pride in his job as a trainer. I learned more in a few days with trainer 2 than I learned in a month with trainer 1.

I've heard stories from students that get in my truck, walking through our terminals, and online. 98% of trainers will get you to the point where you can pass your test and become a solo driver. But my job as a trainer isn't to get you to the point of passing a test, its to prepare you for life on the road. There are a lot of good trainers out there that understand this, but there are too many who just want the extra miles they get from you driving.

Sure I have to teach you all the day to day stuff, but life on the road is unpredictable. You will run into problems, and if all you know is how to pass a test those problems are going to be worse on you than what they need to be. Where if you get exposed yo some of those things during training you'll have base information to use in solving the problems you come across.

If you feel that your trainer is disinterested in you or your progress, if they spend most of their time in the sleeper (especially the first week or 2), or of they're having you do things that are unsafe or illegal, CALL YOUR COMPANY, request a new trainer. You wouldn't be the first or last student who has requested a new trainer.

All that said, training is tough. But once you get through it, its done.

Good luck new drivers!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Who are you with now?

Rick

Landion's Comment
member avatar

Werner

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

I'm sitting at my company terminal. . With absolutely no preplan. I suppose it's a forced 34 hr reset.

My company's safety department asked me to become a driver trainer. My guess is they have us sitting here for Monday morning so I can attend a required class, figure out what truck I'll be in, since I've been teaming, and send me on my way with a new student.

I'm excited but quite nervous too. I don't want to let these new drivers down. I'm going to miss my bf/codriver terribly, but itll be much like when I was still solo-- shared home time and "stolen" 10 hr breaks or chance encounters lol.

He is opting to not return to training at this time, because he wants his space to himself for a while. Also, if I decide training isn't for me, we'll go back to teaming again.

I do have a question for you though. . Do you or have you ever used cones, or other bright colored markers dropped on the ground to help your trainees with backing? If so, where's a good place to purchase a couple of cones? Do you use a company prepared checklist/training guide or did you make your own or not use one at all?

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Parrothead66's Comment
member avatar

Sue I see lots of bright orange cones just sitting around every day. Usually big one and some smaller ones. Just stop and pick a few up. Also be doing a community service cleaning up the roadway. Btw trainings not so bad after you've gotten through a couple.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

Those bright red shop rags work great for pacing off distances.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Susan, two things. First, check with your safety people, or even the company school. They might just hand you some. Or you can investigate the mysteries of the internet. I hear you can get anything there.

Part two: Real Life rarely uses cones. When you both are in almost any trailer drop area, just do the backing, then pull out, drive around, and do it again. I bet even the yard dogs won't notice.

Also I feel cones (down there on the ground) do not really represent the visual target of a trailer you need to back in next to. Think of those times the trailer you were backing was just a paper's thickness away from the other trailer. You can't see that with cones. Just a thought ...

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I don't have cones, but I usually have 3-bottles of windshield wash with me that I use as cones.

They work just as well, without adding more stuff to the side box.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Awesome ideas and thanks. I know as a new driver sometimes in the very beginning its helpful to have some kind of temporary marker for practice backing.

Errol, my company does not have a school. We only accept CDL A holders, but theyre sometimes fresh out of school and often need backing practice and are accustomed to cones and other markers (like I was lol) I just thought it might ease the transition to "real world" backing.

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.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Susan says:

Errol, my company does not have a school. We only accept CDL A holders, but theyre sometimes fresh out of school and often need backing practice and are accustomed to cones and other markers (like I was lol) I just thought it might ease the transition to "real world" backing.

We are all captains of our trucks (& teaching methods). Sourcing cones: no school? Oh, well!

My philosophy for training is to get as close to reality as possible. We all know that school only gets you to the "barely there" level. Yes, you do the way you are most comfortable with. My thinking is in backing, the driver has that tight angle (driver seat to end of trailer) to watch with. And a tiny cone does not match a 13 foot high wall of that other trailer.

So get your student the best and most practice you two have time for. I bet you'll get to love that job.

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.
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