Swift Diary

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Traffic Jam's Comment
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5/26/16 We actually started class on Sun 5/22/17 and will test out on 6/09/17.

Thanks Brett. And that was the subject matter I never really understood when I worked a couple of years ago for Averitt. I was real lucky I was never understood. My lack of logs then would have got me in hot water. One can read that stuff and walk away thinking they have it. I am here to say that one needs the High Road on that and then go down to a Love's or something n pick up a log book. And enter different work scenarios and all and practice.

Thank you to G-Town and Big-T! This has been a lot of fun. We have it pretty cushy with Sun and Mon off. Gives me time to go over PTI and some other stuff. Sounds funny but I sit here practice shifting. Then I was thru a PTI saying the patter out load. Helps a lot.

Today we went out and went overpti and the took the morning doing it hands on. Then got to work on offsode backing and parallel parking also. Still working on the off side!

The class lost about three people, unfortunately. Tomorrow more of the same and that will be good.

We were handed off to a different instructor and he is just fine. He takes time to review the different things we are working on and also other staff are out there and help also. I bought a water bottle to take as the store bought ones all look the same.

Let me say something to anyone under say .... 5 years old. Not that anyone older than 50 holds the corner on common sense: if you enroll in a course such as this please leave your cell phone in you car or back at the motel room. I leave mine in the car but the last place you need it is on a range course where this type of rain is taking place. Now understand they make you leave it in the classroom when you go to the ranfe. Usually they supply a box for everyone to place it in. I for one am not comfortable leaving this valuable tool in a box with lots of others waking by w when I am not there. The security of that bothers me. Get used to jot having a cell phone there to constantly check and all. Please .... just saying.

if you are new or tracking and when you see the Pre-trip Inspection list don't let it phase you. Remember there is loads of repetition. You work with that list to refer to, of you need to, and you'll have it unless a week..

A fellow named Jamal are working together on stuuf. A real fine fellow from Pakistan.

Ok, time for nite nite.

-Traffic Jam

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.

Traffic Jam's Comment
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5/27/17 Had a great day today with off side and parallel parking practice continued. Did real well until but three o'clock and no one could do it right we were all so tired, sweaty, hot, etc. But I feel more than half the time I was doing the man version satisfactorily. Yeah!!

Oh, we started off with PTI and all.

We go back again on Tues due to the holiday weekend. So that's kind of nice. Gives me some time to review and study and all. I'll be working on PTI, coupling and uncoupling, brakes system tests and shifting. This is not assigned per sale for the weekend, just something I feel would be a wise use of my time.

Man, if you come to Corsicana for training be sure to bring a water bottle. I can't imagine what it would be like in July or August!

We had one instructor there today and he was great. Actually, they are all friendly, helpful, knowledgable a high experience and knowledge of trucking and they want us to succeed.

Well, it feels like it's late but it's only 7 p.m., but man are we tired. I was told that the clutch would tire me out but that didn't phase either of us. What got me tired out was climbing in and out of the cab! Ha!

Ok, if you read please leave a comment as it is so encouraging.

Traffic Jam

Traffic Jam's Comment
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5/28/17 I re-read my earlier posts and let me make a couple of comments even though today is an off day.

Haz Mat at Corsicana Swift Academy- disregard my uninformed comments earlier on this. They do not train on this here and you are on your own to obtain it down the road. No need at this point to get on top of this if you are coming here.

"Study Questions"-the first day they do give you some homework study questions to complete and a text also. The text is really a gold mine. I kept reviewing it on breaks and all. This is an easy assignment but I recommend you complete it that first night you return to the motel. Don't put it off as you will be more tired each night the first few days as you make physical adjustments. We were given the three chapter read/questions on Mon and they were due on Thrs. There are other tests on Thrs you will want to focus on, so have these already put away and done.

Map test: when they give you this they will say you may work in groups if three and you have two hours. I opted to do it by myself and ended up having to really really scramble to get it completely done. I ended up passing with a high score, but I mean I barely made it under the wire. If they say something like this take them up on it. Just have someone in mind that is reasonably intelligent to work with. Not some freeloader.

Skin protection- be sure you bring sun tan lotion, brimmed hat (not just a baseball cap), commercially made water bottle to take water out to the range with you (one with a large mouth you can add ice to from the ice machine), leather gloves, rain gear (yeah, even when it's hot weather) jacket or sweater for cold mornings. These are all areas students had problems in when they were unprepared. If you are coming in winter or fall pack a set of real cheap long Johns you can purchase. I mean to say that each student is told to be prepared but we still had students who complained a bit ...e,gm it being cold in the morning on the range! Like it's Swifts fault. Ha, ha, that one made me laugh. Comon people grow up, get prepared. No jacket? Oh well, suck it up and pray for the sun to rise (you are out prior to the sun rising).

A back pack or some kind or boxy clipboard to put your papers in. I personally leave my backpack at the motel. I carry the aluminum boxy clipboard that you can purchase at a big box store. This gives you about an inch of depth to put stuff in real secure in there. Its helpful to have about 3 ball point pens, plastic ruler, tape white out (VERY important), logs (they will give them to you), small thin calculator. One can also throw in your leather gloves and you are all set to run out the door and take off in the morning, out the classroom etc. Should go without saying but have a couple of ball point pens! We STILL have a student each day ask to borrow a ball point pen. The same guys asks if anyone has some whiteout he can borrow. This guy got put back as he did not make it with his original class. Go figure. I'm sorry but I ignore him and never give him a ball point pen. I mean hello, anyone home upstairs??!?

There are certain places they want you to leave your personal items and this box clipboard system makes it real easy for you in the bldg and in/out of the truck. Also, on the backpack- if you use that get a cheapie from a big box store. One you are willing to loose, don't bring your favorite backpacking and valuable one from home. I for one have already lost my leather gloves. I know I was keeping pretty good track on them but I left them somewhere ..... The plastic clipboards that have a calculator on top are good also, some students have them although the depth is not as good as the aluminium ones. They seem flimsy also. They are real intentional about where a student is to leave their stuff. Do exactly as they say and you will be fine. Following these simple instructions I felt were a set up for being out on the range around the big machine when following instructions was more than important.

I would make an attempt to label stuff and leave valuable things at the motel or in your car if you drive. You are in a group setting and unless you are naive, you want to be at least a little worldly wise. Ok, this could be my 25 years of working in Texas prisons coming out. But I have heard all the stories, and people cross the line all the time. Make sure you do not allure them to take your stuff. Or at least try.

Cell phones it simply worked best for me to leave my cell in my car. If I had rode the bus I would leave it at the motel. Each day we have to wait for the students who forgot to place their phones away in the classroom in a plastic box. People just simply toss their phone onto the pile. The lid is never secure, the box is clear and we all walk out and leave them for hours unattended. Are you starting to see where I am going? Man, I paid over $600 dollars for that gadjet. It did not appeal to me to bring it in in the first place as I feel that my personal cell phone should not be brought to the work place. My time is not my own at work and that really also goes for breaks. Oh boy, that ought to set off a bunch of comments. Ok, enough on cell phones.

Ok. I have sure had fun here putting my comments down. I hope someone reads thi and finds it useful. If you read please leave a comment. Thanks. -Traffic Jam

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.

Traffic Jam's Comment
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5/28/17 Sorry, I meant to also say you need to have a pad of paper in your box/clipboard or backpack so you are ready to take notes. Please don't be the person who asks if they can "borrow" some paper from someone. Yeah, we had this. All I can do at these moments is do an inner hick response: ("Haw, haw!!"). Yesssir, I are a hick ...,. And lovin' it!

Traffic Jam

Han Solo Cup's Comment
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Your latest few posts might be some of the best I've ever read on here with regards to training. I love how you mentioned not only the things we should have (clipboard, etc) but the why. And I'm with you on the group stuff and the freeloader. I'd rather do it all myself if I can't rely on anyone else (unless, as you mentioned, it's someone you can trust to share the workload). And to heck with that guy that never plans or prepares. I get loaning a pen or something ever so often. But every day?!? How is he going to be out on the road as a solo driver with no one to bum stuff off of?

Big T's Comment
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The clipboards are a great idea. If you're lucky and can get a couple for cheap you'll end up with cash at school lol. I sold one of my box ones to a classmate after he started to realize the importance of keeping his paperwork neat.

Word of caution though when you get into a truck. DO NOT put your clipboard in the space directly above your head. That is where I kept mine until driving across Oklahoma and it bounced out and put a knot on my head. Sometimes it is the stupid little things that create the most dangerous situations.

Traffic Jam's Comment
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5/31/17

Hey thanks for the replies! Ha! I can just imagine, Big T. Han Solo, thanks. Keep it all in perspective though, most of the students are prepared, hard working and learning all the stuff there is to learn.

I for one have progressed today where I passed my in cab safety check, air brakes test, off set parking and parallel parking. Yeeehaw!

The day started with us going out at dark to do our pre-trip and the in cab and air brakes (practicing for the real thing). Jamal and I did this over and over until 0700 hrs. Then we started doing our practicing on off set and parallel parking. Which culminated in paying off. The rest of the day I spent helping other students. I learn a lot helping others this way as it reinforces what I have learned.

In our class we have 13 of the original 15 with us which I feel is pretty good. The class start behind us (this is there second day) have already lost 4.

The range work, practicing backing and PTI, testing is all hot, dusty, dirty work. We are crawling over these trucks and in and out of the cabs in the TX sun so ....... thank God for showers and AC back at the motel!

Truck driving is glamorous-NOT. At least not yet for me. But there is a sense of good hard work, honest work. I like that feeling. I am learning this stuff, mastering it to the level needed right now at least, and making progress. I used to work for a very successful businessman who taught me that "daily progression towards predetermined worthwhile goals equals success." So, in this endeavor me and my classmates are a success.

Tomorrow, I believe we have more of the same and some like me will help others. I will do some practicing also and that will be the end of our second week. Our third week starts on Friday with road driving coming on.

If you come to Swift Academy at Corsicana I would really recommend you do the High Road first. This will give you as it has me many advantages. Then be prepared to hit the ground running. I found I could not just go to the motel and take it easy every night. Even on my days off I drilled myself and studied. I am still doing this as we are not done yet.....

It's unfortunate but our class is coming down to a deadline where some will "be set back a week" to review stuff we have already covered and then be tested again. I hope to make it and finish by June 9 and then report to the Lancaster terminal for orientation and employment on June 19. This has been prepaeed ahead of time for each student and is presupposed we will finish on time. There is some Lee way to when you report for orientation but there is a limit. I opted to go home for a couple of nights. It's only a 6 hrs drive there and back. The Lancaster Terminal is in the Dallas vicinity it seems.

Now I have to keep working on the training as at the academy there are no free rides or just getting by. There is no let up, each day is serious. I treat this time here as time I am paying (a lot for) and each minute is mine to claim and learn, "perform", and make the absolute most of. I would be a fool to come to training that I have agreed to, that will benefit my life, that I am paying for (a substantial amount), and just dink around. I was paired today to a guy to help him with his pre-trip and he hardly knew anything on the list, had not done the some basic memory work on it. So I guess I am doing a little preaching here and I shouldn't because I am just a student also.

After this I will never refer to SWIFT as "Sure Wished I'd Finished Training" again. I don't think Swifties have anything to apologize for or to feel inferior about.

Good night one and all. 0400 comes early and I am tired. God bless you.

Traffic Jam

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.

Big T's Comment
member avatar

I'm the same way when it comes to helping others. It is frustrating though when you're trying to help a classmate out and you realize they really aren't putting in the effort. We had three in our class and at least two ended up not finishing.

Good work so far. The first finish line is getting close.

Traffic Jam's Comment
member avatar

6/1/17

Thanks, Big T. Yep, those very few I just quietly leave alone albeit I am encouraging to them when I can. It's about 03:5 5 hrs and about time to get up. Yes, finish line is getting closer. I'll have real news to talk about in a few days as we start driving.

One student commented on the older tractors we are using backing up and down the lot. I did not comment in the group as I put into practice "keep your mouth shut, some one else will say it" type of thing. But, these companies are not going to place brand new trucks out here on their practice range for newbie wanna be drivers to use. It would be a loosing proposition, I am glad on this Academy Swift has more than enough trucks. The 13 of us each have our own truck to practice in man this is great. Gotta go.

Traffic Jam

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Traffic Jam's Comment
member avatar

6/1/17

Almost a Swiftie! I think I am going to start thinking that way now.

Today was more backing up am doing the maneuvers like off set parking and parallel parking. Coupling and uncoupling, Pre-trip inspections, air brake tests, in-car safety inspection. Lots of repetition, but that is a good learning methodology.

We lost one today, who did not report as he had a situation at home to deal with, so down to 12 from 15. Tomorrow is a major test day, and only a few have not already tested. I expect we might loose 1-3 tomorrow. Hope it's not as bad.

We are all pretty much helping and working together on this training. A sense of team work has gelled and so that is good. I took a group and we went to the local D.P.S. office and paid for our cdl test that will be done by "a third party tester" -instructor at the Academy next week.

I think on Sat we will start driving and then have Sunday off. Return to driving next Mon then and do that all week. So, the end is in sight. What did you feel like, Big-T, at this point?

By this time we have figured out which trucks have air conditioning and which ones don't, ha, ha. Most of the time I am on one with jine.

It's pretty hot, I am glad I am here now and not later in the summer when it gets really hot. Nonetheless, today at one point I was struggling and felt shaky on my feet. I drank some more water and sought out the shade where possible and completed the day. But the rest of the day I kept close tabs on my water bottle and the shade and etc. I did purchase a big sun hat from the local big box store a few days ago. When I wet it and put back on it really helps also. My feet were hurting also a little so ..... feeling it today. One day at a time though and it is all temporary so there is nothing to do but hang in there and work to accomplish the goal. A little pain will just make it that much more valuable in the end. I did all my parking drills over many times today to hone them down. It was good to do that. I also was able to get in a truck for a couple of hours to drill on PTI and etc. Nite!

-Traffic Jam

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.

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.

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