Big T's Swift Adventure

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Big T's Comment
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Today we did our mock test for in cab and air brakes. I aced it as was expected of me, but managed to scare the one instructor for a second because I told her I screwed up the air brakes by forgetting to put in neutral.

To be honest I am glad this phase is over. Once they figured out I could still do this I was left alone. I understand I didn't need the same level of help as others, but I still had not touched a truck since 09 and I'm still on the hook for the same tuition as everyone else.

We move on to skills Monday and that excites me. I'm confident I can still maneuver the truck, but I haven't done parallel parking since I went to school the first time in 04.

We have tomorrow (Sunday) off so some of us are going to breakfast and then going laundromat hunting.

Have a great mother's day.

Tommy's Comment
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Good luck, Big T. Monday is donuts day.

Big T's Comment
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Yesterday we started our skills practice beginning with straight line backing and then moving on to offset backing.

Most of the class did fairly well. Some struggled with using the clutch and understanding what the reference points were, but they will get it.

Unfortunately we lost three classmates yesterday. One to a failed drug test and two decided they didn't want to continue for whatever reason.

Today we are continuing with offset backing and starting on sight side parallel parking. We will also start going on the road today.

The test will include three backing maneuvers: straight line, offset, and then either parallel OR 90 degree alley dock. I think we should either be tested on all of them or have it be straight line, offset, and alley dock. Alley dock is a more used skill and should be more important than parallel, but I'm not in charge of DMV lol.

Hope everyone is having a safe day.

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.

Traffic Jam's Comment
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Big-T:

You seem to be doing an admirable job. I am enjoying following your log. Thanks for posting. Are you enjoying yourself?

-Traffic Jam

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Big T's Comment
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Thank you Traffic Jam. I am enjoying myself. Today I'm just beat though. I'm sure falling asleep around midnight and waking up before 0400 has a lot to do with that.

Today was fun. We broke into groups of four and went out on the road this morning. Our instructor was great. He was very patient and really took the time to explain double clutching and making a turn.

After lunch we went back to skills practice. I did offset backing and have gotten to the point I can do it without needing pull ups most of the time.

Tomorrow will be the same except they will be adding the parallel parking maneuver.

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.

Big T's Comment
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Today was a frustrating day. We did skills all day because a couple of the instructors were out.

I struggled with the parallel parking maneuver. I couldn't seem to hit the set up to save my life. I always seemed to be off by a half foot in either direction. Once I got the set up right it went in smoothly.

Hopefully we will get some drive time tomorrow. We only have a few days left so every minute counts.

Big T's Comment
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Today was more parallel parking maneuvers. I am much more confident today than I was yesterday. I still need to work on my set up, but I'm getting the truck in the box everytime and with a passing score.

I got more drive time this afternoon and it was like I hadn't quit driving. I'll get two more rounds of driving, but at this moment I could comfortably pass the driving test. I need to focus on the skills and button that up and I will be good.

We have orientation Monday through Wed next week and then begin testing on Thursday. They test the strongest half on Thursday so that's when I'll get tested and most likely I will be lucky number one since I'm the strongest.

I have to run home after class Saturday to find my birth certificate because effective May 10th anyone getting or renewing a cdl must provide proof of residence and citizenship. Ignore the fact that we already did that to get our original license. If I cannot find it then I'm sol for a couple months. I have to go through the State Department because I was born abroad and that takes 4 to 6 weeks.

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.
Tinker's Comment
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Hang in there. What helped me with the parallel was the realization that it is just an offset in to a box. Once I stopped freaking myself out about it and just offset the vehicle, it dropped in every time. One student in my class had trouble with every maneuver until an instructor told her, "stop thinking so much and drive the truck! Just put it where you want it!" She got mad, climbed in the truck and nailed the blindside parallel with no points.

Big T's Comment
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You're right it is just an offset. I just cant seem to get as straight as I should during the set up.

Hang in there. What helped me with the parallel was the realization that it is just an offset in to a box. Once I stopped freaking myself out about it and just offset the vehicle, it dropped in every time. One student in my class had trouble with every maneuver until an instructor told her, "stop thinking so much and drive the truck! Just put it where you want it!" She got mad, climbed in the truck and nailed the blindside parallel with no points.

Big T's Comment
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Today we were shown the 90 degree alley dock skill. If you get the set up right it is a fairly simple skill. Turn the wheel one way till drives are parallel with the landing gear then turn the wheel the other way. If your set up is correct you can slide in in one shot. I did ok on it, but needed three pull ups on one of my runs. We get two free pull ups so that third pull up only cost me a point. I'll take it lol.

Another student and I gave up our drive times today so that a couple students that are really struggling could get some extra time. I'll have one more driving opportunity tomorrow and that's it till we test Thursday.

One thing those considering company sponsored school is that it is usually an accelerated program. They get you in, show you what you need to pass your state test, and get you out with a trainer. If you are not able to learn quickly, aren't willing to put in the work needed, or your not going to listen then this may not be the approach for you.

The students that are having the most trouble are also the ones that are not taking it serious. Trucking is not a career path for those that can't even take the school serious. On the yard if you screw up you crush a cone. In real life it could be a car, truck, person, or structure.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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